Hello friends! I took a break from the blog because my husband and I had planned some time off for the summer to travel west and spend time with family and friends. Only the Lord knew what kind of journeys were in store for this summer.
Our trip west was wonderful. Camping with family in Colorado was a highlight of the trip. Although the mosquitoes were helicopter sized—and hungry—nothing could take away from the beautiful campground in the Colorado River Gorge. All day long God gave us Technicolor views of the bluffs that wrapped around the campground as the light played on rock walls. Games with kids and grand-kids, and exploring to the top of the Grand Mesa and back made sweet memories for this grandma.
We also went camping along the Oregon coast with dear friends. If you ever have the chance to visit or camp at Beverly Beach, just north of Newport, OR—go for it. It is a wonderland, and I really do not know how we missed it while we lived in Idaho for 12 years! I thought God had blessed us with this journey, to rest up from the pressure and non-stop schedule of the previous few years. We read, rested, visited, hiked, biked and explored. But only God knew we would need to find Beverly Beach this summer to rest up for what was to come.
Back home after a month, we resumed our normal summer routine. Gardening and yard work occupied my time, and my husband and the team at St. Louis Christian College geared up for the next school term. A few visitors came and went, and then there was the annual check-up for my husband. The doctor thought it was time for a stress test…“just to have a baseline.” Terry went through the paces, feeling no stress. On the Saturday after; however, the doctor’s office called to say an appointment with a cardiologist had been made and until then…no lifting,
Hmmmm…ten bags of patio gravel, arranging the camper and canoe, carrying a few doors up from the basement for painting was all the lifting he did, and still ‘feeling no stress’. The cardiologist gave the verdict after the catheterization showed blockages in at least three places in his heart, “You can lift the remote.” A few minutes later the surgeon walked in and announced the surgery would be the next Friday.
This journey we had not planned. In fact, this little trip interfered with several things we had planned, like several commitments to speak and preach; the arrival of new and returning students; the President’s reception for new student—to name a few ‘minor’ plans. We surely had the ‘deer in the headlight look’ as we left the hospital with a bunch of prescriptions and a page of instructions.
I cannot say we have lost that look yet because of the whirlwind nature of the whole experience. My first thought as I stood by the bed and heard the surgeon say ‘open heart surgery’ was, “Oh Lord, just let him live as long as you have a purpose for his life on this earth.” I was not so holy or wise thinking that prayer, because I certainly could name several purposes for his life to continue on this earth, namely…ME! However, this joy journey came to me in a peculiar package, without panic or burdensome worry.
All I knew was that God had protected his heart during the several times he had positioned an 1800 lb. camper around in the previous weeks. (He is quick to say the ‘tongue-weight’ is only 200 pounds.) I knew that we had traveled around 5000 miles to the coast and back with no incidents. Only God knows how many times he protected our family during our years of mission work and travel in Mexico. I could go on and on, but what I knew about God’s faithfulness to us helped me trust that this journey too, belonged completely in his hands. The amazing health care team had to have been put together by God’s hand. He went into surgery with a strong undamaged heart that had three 99% blocked heart valves, one 68% blockage. He came out of surgery with a strong, undamaged heart that had some new pathways.
I came out of this experience with some realizations that deepened my addiction to joy and called me back to the blog:
- We cannot take life for granted; it is precious, and we should cherish every moment. Life in Christ is an investment in us by God himself. We are not here to “find ourselves” but to know Jesus. Knowing Jesus is how we have joy in this life, and it is also how we give joy to our Lord and Savior.
- Peace that passes all understanding is real. We could feel the comfort from brothers and sisters in Christ who, even though separated by years and miles, were praying for us. Prayer brings us together.
- A peculiar mixture of thankfulness, humility, sadness, and wonder still lingers as I think about family and friends who also prayed and were prayed for; who were faithful through their hard journey; but who no longer have their loved one with them. I have no doubt that in the back of some minds is the thought, “Sure, you can be faithful because your prayers were answered.” Believe me; I know some are thinking that because I am thinking that. Why us? Why not them? This too, I leave in God’s hands and praise Him for the example of faithfulness in friends and family who will not see a child, or a spouse, or a parent, until they meet again in heaven. I wonder…is my faith that strong?
Oswald Chambers writes in MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST, “Can you venture heroically on Jesus Christ’s statements when the facts of your common-sense life shout—‘It’s a lie?’ On the mount, it is easy to say—‘Oh, yes, I believe God can do it’; but you have to come down into the demon-possessed valley and meet with facts that laugh ironically at the whole of your mount-of-transfiguration belief.”
Our journeys this summer have been to high places and hard places. All I know is that each day of life is another day to know the joy of relationship with Christ; he has given grace to me. I am not talking about the grace of answered prayer; I am talking about the grace of salvation that holds me to the hope of the resurrection, and on that day, when I will see Jesus face to face.