I was reading this morning and came across Psalm 143:8 -- "Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul."
Over the last week or so my heart has been reliving those days before Derek's hospital transfer. A few posts ago [all things good] I mentioned a little bit about the weight of it all ... and ever since I can't seem to shake it.
Back in January I was faced with one of the biggest decisions I would ever have to make in this life. It sounds sort of over the top to use those words... but after sitting here and thinking about all this... that's actually a true statement. I've never had to make a decision that could ultimately lead to someone I love living or dying. But there I was, making decisions and having conversations on behalf of my husband who could no longer speak or act on his own... How do you transfer a man to a whole other hospital and team when he's basically dying right in front of you? There were so many doctors working to keep him alive at that point...running tests, asking questions, maintaining the machines that were sustaining him. It was like every second counted. How could I risk packing him up and sending him off? That felt like starting over. The thought of transferring him seemed too big, too dangerous and wasn't something I thought necessary. He seemed "safe" where he was. I needed safe.
I think when I was there in that moment, trying to walk thru those minutes, all I could do was process what was right in front of me. Doctors...nurses...all of the tubes and machines...watching his body struggle and the numbers go up and down. The first few times people mentioned transferring Derek, I just wasn't ready to hear it. It was like there was a road block in my mind and I just could not go there. What was going on right before my eyes was hard enough to digest on it's own. And I trusted our doctors. I had heard from quite a few people how great one of his doctors was...and they were all so forthcoming and available to us. I never once questioned whether he was in good hands. I knew he was. I decided however, that no matter what I thought was best, I would give it some serious prayer and consideration...and start asking some hard questions. I knew that I was responsible for Derek, and I didn't want fear or anything else to stand in the way of what was best for him.
So I asked those questions. You know, the hard ones. I started cornering the doctors and asking about things that most people probably don't want to hear about. Like was Derek going to die in a few days or weeks if things kept progressing as they were. It was obvious he was on a downward slope at that point, and I needed real answers. I had to be prepared...I was pregnant...there were two little ones that needed me to keep it together. I couldn't have the rug pulled out from underneath me in a day or two if he did die. I had to know what the possibilities were, whether good or bad.
The answers I was getting from the doctors were also not positive by any means. I kept hearing doctor upon doctor use the words "very very very sick"...and I'm not exaggerating. I heard it multiple times a day from different doctors...[very very very]. I think they were trying to prepare me for the worst. I feel like doctors typically are trying to keep people from overreacting; like they want to reassure you everything is going to be fine...not to worry...they've got it all under control. That's at least what I expected to hear. But no one was uttering those words. I was starting to see the writing on the wall and it just wasn't looking good.
And there it was the next morning...God's fingerprints...literally all over everything. One of Derek's doctors approached me first thing and before I knew it, we were discussing transferring him. It was like God used that doctor to get me moving; he told me exactly what I needed to hear...in just the right way AND wrapped it in faith...letting me know he was praying for Derek. There are too many details to share, really. Let's just say I had doctors and friends and pastors, all showing up at just the right time to walk me step by step thru the impossible. And as the doctor went to make a few phone calls to see if any beds were even available in Chicago to transfer him to, I had a group of people praying in the waiting room. I still wasn't sure how to flip the switch and say yes...I didn't want to make a wrong decision. I was so afraid I would choose the wrong one and he would die.
So I went to Derek's side and played the song that was on repeat in my heart...the one my heart broke to every morning in the shower...that I would pray and sing and bawl my eyes out to. "Whom Shall I Fear...(God of angel armies)" by Chris Tomlin. I probably sang that song to Derek a hundred times without him even knowing it. It gave me hope and strength.
[see lyrics below...they still give me chills].
You hear me when I call
You are my morning song
Though darkness fills the night
It cannot hide the light
Whom shall I fear???
You crush the enemy
Underneath my feet
You are my sword and shield
Though troubles linger still
Whom shall I fear???
I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side
The one who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side
And nothing formed against me shall stand
You hold the whole world in Your hands
I'm holding on to Your promises
You are faithful...You are faithful
I would whisper in Derek's ear while he was unconscious that the God of angel armies was there in that room with us...that the room was crowded with angels ready to go to war on his behalf. We had NOTHING to fear. We stood shoulder to shoulder with an invisible army and God himself.
It was actually this song that gave me the answer I needed at that moment too. As I read those lyrics to Derek, I realized that this God who goes before me...who stands behind...He would be with us wherever we went. If we stayed. If we went. HE goes before, HE stands behind, and HE would be right there by our side. I couldn't make a decision that would not involve Him sustaining and seeing Derek thru. And there it was... my answer. I could do this because God... the one who reigns forever... would go with us or stay with us. I couldn't send him anywhere his God would not be. ! Right then I prayed... so thankful for the certainty... and broken and humbled that I never saw this before.
And as soon as I lifted my head from praying... literally within a minute... the phone rang at the nurses station and the nurse said I had a phone call. It was the doctor calling to tell me there was a room available at Northwestern for Derek... He wanted to know if I wanted it. I could finally say YES.
One of the craziest parts of this story is that I wasn't asked to transfer Derek until I had the answer. I wasn't offered a bed five minutes before or two days before...I wasn't offered until the indecision and the fear was gone. Until God showed me that He was in every bit of it. I'm still amazed how that day played out. And I'm so thankful that God spared me the weight of that decision before I was ready. Talk about going before... :)
I've decided to share a few photos of the big event. Mainly because this moment for us was mind blowing... life changing... and believe it or not, God even threw in a dream come true. Derek always wanted to fly in a helicopter. I guess he got his wish [although unconscious... lol].
I made sure someone got some pics so we could prove it to him.
|his fabulous flight crew |
packing him up like a giant burrito
|almost ready to go...|
just him and a room full of angels :)
|his dad on the left...making sure his boy is ok|
|and there it is...PROOF|
you're actually on that babe!