Originally shared 11/2/15
Many of you know that my dad had a wild ride in an ambulance last Wednesday when he was unresponsive.
(Quick recap: my dad suffered a massive stroke at the age of 48 in the year 2000. Physical therapy worked wonders for his body the first 8 years, but to maintain a pain-free quality of life, narcotics have been used to manage his pain for the past 7 years.)
Here’s the fingerprints of God from that day that you don’t know….
There’s 2 long-term prayer requests I’ve been praying…1) my dad’s restoration 2) Pastor Saeed’s release (FB: Pray for Pastor Saeed Abedini). Lately, I’ve been waking up with the hope of: “Lord! This could be the day that you restore my dad & free Pastor Saeed!” Now, you all know that I did not get to this way of hope overnight. It came through a big learning lesson on trusting the sovereignty of God. (See my post titled “A Skeleton from My Closet” for details on this learning lesson.)
Last Wednesday, I woke up with this same expectancy. I was unable to go to work, because my daughter had run a mild fever the evening before. We were able to spend a low-key day together & take an unheard-of-afternoon-nap (fingerprint: God knew I would need this rest). On Wednesdays, I lead the “Sparkies” group at church (K-2nd graders), but since I had a recovering child at home, my husband, Brandon, was filling in for me (fingerprint: God knew I’d be less likely to leave a commitment, especially if I was already there).
I had been talking to my mom earlier in the afternoon, and she was telling me that dad was much less active/awake, which is not terribly uncommon. Anyone who cares for someone long-term (especially with a brain injury) knows that there are good days & bad days. Later, however, she had called me back & said that she was really worried because she couldn’t rouse dad & was going to call 911, at which point, I called my sister, Ashley, to let her know. A short time later, I received another phone call, this time from my mom who was fighting back tears, from inside the ambulance where I could hear the sirens wailing, and the loud horn as they were flying through intersections.
You see, the paramedics couldn’t rouse my dad either.
I told my mom, “It’s going to be okay. No matter what, all will be okay.” I had put on my “big girl” gear & steadied myself to be strong for my mom. When I called my sister, however, that strong fortitude fell, and I broke down as I told her what was happening. I did, however, tell her the same reassurance I had told my mom.
How did I know that it was going to be okay? Because, you see, whichever way this hospital trip ended, in either scenario, my dad would be restored. He would either be restored here on earth by becoming conscious again, or he would have the ULTIMATE restoration with his new body in heaven. I was absolutely prepared for either of these, whichever scenario God picked, for I trust Him completely.
I called Brandon to let him know that I needed to head to the hospital, and amazing people at our church completely dropped all to fill in for him, who was filling in for me. It was already a low-volunteer night at church for illness, and prior commitments, but awesomely, the night had gone so smooth (yet another fingerprint of God), so much so, that our children’s minister was able to testify how awesome our God is!
The hospital was an hour away, but I was making great time. It was forecasted for thunderstorms, but not a drop fell from the sky (another fingerprint) & the sky was actually a beautiful canvas of God’s handiwork. This made it very easy to pray my whole way in. I broke down once, recalling the last phone conversation with my dad. He had called me during the bonfire we had with our church, and I told him that I couldn’t talk, but that I would call him back on my way home, which I forgot to do. Not too long after that, my mom let me know that dad was conscious, and that they were sending him for a CT scan to see if the lack of oxygen had damaged any more of his brain.
I called Ashley (my sister, who was an hour away from the opposite direction), and we breathed a collective sigh of relief. When we arrived at the hospital, dad was in a lot of pain, as he had been given a narcotic-blocking drug, which brought consciousness, along with every ounce of pain that the drugs had been blocking. I went straight to his side, purse on my shoulder and all, and My dad, who loves his Lord so, calmed while I prayed over him. I told him that we would have to depend on The Great Physician to take his pain while we waited on the hospital pharmacy to get the order. (Since the stroke affected my dad’s right side, he drags his right arm & leg. If you could just let your arm fall limp at your side for a moment, you can image the pain that would cause on your shoulder, and then your hip & knee). There were other happenings that involved all three of us (mom, sis, & I) wearing gloves and making dad more comfortable, but these happenings are best left un-detailed. Trust me.
In the picture, this was dad before the pain relievers came. I know without a doubt that it was all the prayers that calmed him. I had received a message that the Sparkies prayed for my dad that night. Children praying touches my soul like nothing else, so of course, I had to let a few happy tears fall. The CT & blood work came back fine, and dad was released that same night. Side effects of his pain meds will be watched more closely.
After dad calmed, my sister & I were able to catch up while waiting at the hospital (her living 2 hours away is 2 hours too long). She was sharing how she’s been struggling with a prayer request, but just felt as if her prayers weren’t being heard. She was very real with mom & I, when she told us that she had been tempted to ask God for a sign that He was hearing her. She had also told us about her last 24 hours, and she was able to see
where God had directed her path.
Come take a peek with me at her events:
-the night before, even though she had 44 miles left on her tank of gas, for some reason she felt the urge to stop & fill up (God knew that she’d want to get to the hospital as soon as possible.)
-that day, for some reason, she had put a meal in the crock-pot, even though her husband is the cook in their house; so her & her girls had already eaten dinner when I called her (God knew there would be no time for dinner before Ash had dropped the girls off at a sweet neighbor’s house, so she could leave.)
-earlier in the week, for some reason, they worked on her daughter’s homework for the whole week (God knew to take away the homework stress.)
I’d say that God had shown up for Ashley. I’d say that He is listening, but wanting her to wait upon Him.
Can you see these fingerprints? I say all the time that God is always 100 steps ahead of me. Sure, some could say that these are all just coincidence, but not to me. To me, these are God directing our paths.
So, what now? Now, I will continue to wait upon the Lord & wake up again tomorrow with the expectancy that this just might be the day that my prayers are answered. For, I know that in waiting upon the Lord, that He will give me strength. That He will mount me up with wings like eagles. That I will be able to run this life and not grow tired. For my strength comes from Him. What better place for strength to come from?
If you need to be strengthened in this life (who doesn’t?!), surrender your life/plans/hopes/dreams to God. Then, look back on events and see His fingerprints. Your maker loves you fiercely. So fiercely, that He gives us the choice to follow Him, or not. Follow Him, trust me, you won’t regret it.
“Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength,
They will mount up with wings
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.”