Monday, July 18, 2016

Where are the Miracles?

Let me introduce you to my friend, Julie!  

Julie was another speaker at the Women's Conference I attended and what a testimony she has!  Before she spoke, the song, Cry Out To Jesus, was played.  You can listen to that HERE!  Her words will touch you deeply...and a reminder that we truly are better together!

Good Morning Ladies! Before I start I need to address two very important things.  First, I’m not remotely qualified to be in front of you today and secondly the fact that I am in front of you is a miracle in itself so bear with me!

Before I get too far in my story let’s take a moment and talk about the song that was just played,  “Cry out to Jesus”.

I want everyone to stand up and while I ask a few questions, and please remember that we are all here for a reason and that this is a safe place to just be free and let it all go!!

Ok let’s start; remember please only sit once I’ve read them all IF none of these questions apply to you personally in some way!
Who has lost someone the love long before it was there time?
Who has a marriage that is struggling to just hang on?
Who has burdens and chains?
Who is widow that suffers from being alone?
Who has felt like the world is falling on you?
Who has struggled with the chains of addiction?
Who knows children or has even been one who had no safe place or is without a home?
I'm okay with telling you that 6 of them apply to me all and that’s why I am here!
Thank you ladies please look around before you sit down!!
We are definitely in the right place this weekend and it should be a wonderful feeling to know that we aren’t alone and it’s more important for us to love each other and encourage each other, not talk about each other and rip each other apart!! Let’s remember that most importantly in all those situations that I just read and I’m sure there are many more situations that I didn’t mention…But as the song stated… Remember there is GRACE and Forgiveness, Mercy and HEALING that will meet you wherever you are!!! Just like the song said “Cry out to Jesus”

On July 17th 2012 my life changed forever, and I will never be the same person I was prior to that day... some of that is good and some has been not so good!  Each and every day since that day has been a struggle to even function with daily responsibilities of life.  I have had many days where staying in bed and just wallowing in my sorrow would be a far better option than trying to pull myself together and get through the day, Especially when the days are left with fear, anxiety and helplessness.  
My husband and I didn’t have a perfect marriage, matter a fact just before my world was forever changed the “D” word was starting to be used! We had a blended family and regardless of how much you love each other that presented its own problems on its own! We both worked full time and were busy all the time and the reality was our marriage was suffering greatly and other problems where creeping in!

Now let me stop for a second a stress something that is very important to know if you don’t know this already, just because you are a Christian and love the lord DOES NOT MEAN YOU WILL HAVE A GREAT MARRIAGE!!! Which I truly thought that was how marriage would be, you would still have disagreements here and there but that’s normal! I grew up in church and I never saw “unhappy married people there” well now I know why!  Now I know that Christian married couples argue on the way to church and once they open the car door they instantly put their Sunday face and Sunday marriage on and it is in full swing!  Life is great and you wouldn’t dream of saying otherwise, I mean what would people say? Well I can answer that question they would say, oh honey I know just what you are going through or they could relate to some degree!! Looking back I wished I had been more honest instead of letting pride and shame take over!

My husband and I married in 2005 and in 2008 had our own daughter together! As I mentioned earlier we had our share of problems but we always tried to fix them, but by 2012 things were piling up and our marriage was truly being neglected.  We had some very unfortunate things taken place and wounds were getting deeper. I had given up and felt like this would never get better, the love we had was slowly diminishing and bitterness and resentment were getting stronger! We loved each other but we weren’t in love, we were a players on a different team and there were no winners!  We were married and this was all it would be the rest of my life unless we did the “D” word!! My poor mother heard me cry and cry so many times about what to do I was stuck and miserable!! But I didn’t want to really give up!! 
 Sadly on July 17, 2012 God did the unthinkable. My husband was having some speech problems for about a week, and if you knew my husband he was very intelligent and for him to not remember certain words and not be able to say them meant we had a problem.  From that we went to him dragging his right leg every so often.  He went to the hospital where they did some testing and ruled out a stroke! They decided to do a MRI and they found a mass on his brain!! I’ll never forget that phone call from the hospital, simply asking me to get to the hospital they needed to speak to me.  I was so afraid that I kept asking them tell me what’s wrong tell me what’s wrong, then I was told they found a mass on his brain.  Now just so we all know I wanted to be there when my husband went to the emergency room that night but he refused to allow me go and just keep saying he was fine and that I should get some sleep because it was late at night and my step children where all here for the summer so he went alone! If all my kids where here including my step kids they would tell you that when I hung that phone up after talking to the doctor I was hysterical and couldn’t stop shaking to even get dressed. Talk about FEAR!! My parents were called and off we went to the hospital at 1:30 in the morning. 
Surgery to remove this mass was 2 days later and that was extremely scary but he made it!  Then on to pathology results………Stage 4 brain cancer better known as Glioblastoma!!!! Never heard of it and didn’t want to hear of it again!! I wanted to go home, let him recovery, get through therapy and let that be it!!! Like in my mind a high five to God was doable, thanks for waking us up and showing us that life is precious and so is MARRIAGE!!!!! Oh but that wasn’t God’s plan!!! We went through the radiation and chemo together.  I researched and studied this cancer and we lived each day after that as if it was our last together.  My husband was given 15 months to live!
God gave my husband and I 18 months before this ugly tumor showed up again! We did what the doctors suggested after seeing some from John’s Hopkins and here locally! Second surgery was schedule and we spent our 1st Valentine’s Day in the hospital recovering! The risk were higher with the second surgery so the chances of him speaking to me was slim due to the location of his tumor which was on his speech and motor skill side! Each time they go in with this type of tumor they aren’t able to get all of it because it grows little tentacles around other areas in the brain which is why they use the radiation to kill what’s left.  After this surgery chemo was available but not radiation! So we were off to Christiana hospital for a trial drug that my husband didn’t want to do! So we prayed for healing, he was anointed with oil!! Every appointment and MRI we were praying for healing!! Less than 6 months later my husband was back to work and doing his best at a career he loved dearly, but he would come home throughout the day and tell me different things that were happening, I was concerned and always called the doctor and we would do another MRI or if one was coming up so we would wait.  In September we went back to Johns Hopkins and I was told everything looked great it’s just scar tissue pressing against things in the brain maybe we should consider taking some of it out if it continues to get worse! I never believed what they said for a minute but they were good doctors so I just accepted it!  By November I was on the phone again demanding help that something was wrong!! MRI was done and I’ll never forget hearing the doctor’s voice on my cell phone, the tumor was back and they wanted to see him the next day to prepare him for surgery! My husband and I cried in my den floor, I called my parents and we prayed!! My husband was not as willing to get the surgery this time he was tired of fighting! He finally made the decision to try one more time, with huge risks this time that gripped me with unbelievable fear! The tumor had grown under that scar tissue since Sept and they are very aggressive tumors.
I just knew he would never walk again and might not know who I am! Our surgeon was so concerned that she spoke with us one more time before they rolled him away to operating room and I cried like a baby to her!! That Surgeon was prayed for a lot! My husband made it through that surgery and was home for the best Christmas ever!! In January he had a repeat MRI done and that phone call was the end for me, the tumor was back and had doubled its size from just 4 weeks ago!! Through our news of hearing I had less than 6 weeks before my husband would be gone, the Facebook page #Salvasstrong was created! I wanted to make as many memories for our family as possible. I had no idea what was going to happen or even how we would survive with both of us not working. So we prayed.
Throughout many of our prayers together privately my husband would reminded me that sometimes God says NO!! He would be so strong in front of others but would be so weak when we were alone! Seeing my husband scared truly broke my heart! He also would say to me and has also said in the past when asked why him, his response would be why not me? I really struggled with that.  Why him? Why me? Why my marriage? Why do my kids have to suffer watching their Dad be sick and have a death sentence? Why am I in this funeral home preplanning his arrangements? What happened to OUR plan? I mean didn’t God get the memo!
My prayers were more intense with God, and I would really tell him my true feelings sometimes I found myself not praying because if God really cared He would heal my marriage, He would heal my husband and let me have the life that I wanted back!  I mean my husband and I had a plan and he was going to retire from the state police 6 months prior to his diagnosis and he was going to work in D.C and I was going back to school! I mean for the first time we were going to be able to have some extra money!! Why would God want to do this to us? What did I do? Why am I being punished? Well I don’t have the answers for all those questions, I wish I did! But what I do know is this, the miracles that we prayed for came in a different ways then what we wanted them to! We always want the nice ones that are easy to see!

God’s chose to take my husband home with him on August the 18th 2015! I miss him every single day, but I know he is healed and much happier! I know this because I prayed for a sign a few months ago and I got it that very night, and although it hurt it was exactly what I needed to know! In my dream my husband reached out for my hand and held it, he looked at me and told me he loved me (pause) but that he wouldn’t come back even if he could! WOW, that’s how wonderful it is in heaven!! That doesn’t change the fact that I miss him and wish I could go pick him up take him to get a his favorite donut and a cherry coke and take him back home!! But knowing he is ok and happy gave me peace and comfort. Now I’ve been blessed to have had more little things like that happen when I have had really bad days! I thank God each time cause I need them.
About 2 months ago when I was trying to really get my story together I was coming up with nothing, I spoke to Kim one morning at the gym and said I can’t do this I have nothing to share!! As always she encouraged me and reassured me that I got this! I had some classes that afternoon so while I was getting ready the house was empty and my mind was flooded with the majority of what I’ve already said here today. It was so intense that I had to go find my notebook and a pen so I could write, so I put the makeup down and did just that. Then I would go back to getting ready again and I would have to pause to write some more notes.  While this was happening I was talking to God and I said God Why? Why me, why did you choose this path for me? Now I’ve heard from God before but nothing like this, it was as if he was in front of me holding my hands, his response was Why not you…LOOK AT WHAT I DID TO MY SON!! LOOK AT HIS PATH THAT WAS CHOSEN FOR HIM! I cried and thought how selfish am I! We all know that Jesus suffered a horrible death for our SINS!! He was born to die, with his mother watching him suffer to the end!!! I pray that we all remember that when we get so hung up on the why’s?? It won’t take them away but it should give you some peace.
So as I close let’s take a look at my miracles that are hard to see when you’re going through the eye of the storm.
Job 9:10 States: He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.
Psalms 77:13.14 States: Your ways, O God, are holy (think about that his ways are holy no matter how bad they seem to us or how bad the pain is his ways are always holy) What god is so great as our God? (14) You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples.

My list of miracles that came out of this situation hasn’t been easy for me to see!  As hard as it is to say my marriage was healed by this diagnosis. My husband was too proud and apologies weren’t his thing, and I was hurt and had a wall up! I was in survival mode!  There were walls broken down, love and compassion shown and apologies said between us both that would have never happened if we weren’t placed in that situation.  We were able to not take each other for granted which is so easy to do. My husband was also given 3 years and 1 month instead of the 15 months that we were told, he also got an extra 6 months instead of 6 weeks!!!
The Facebook page raised enough money for a weeklong trip to Florida at a resort where we were able to swim with manatees, eat dinner with the princesses and make some awesome memories.  Just through that #Salvasstrong page I could spend an hour on the miracles that poured in from people all over that didn’t know us.  My husband had a love for bald eagles, through our facebook page a gentleman heard our story wanted to help with the trip also learned of my husband love for bald eagles and he helped us have one brought to our home for him to see and get close with! Talk about an amazing sight I mean who has a Bald Eagle in your living room!! He was so happy and surprised.
Another huge miracle for us was that the money that came in assisted us with his medicine and bills so that we were able to keep everything going and I was able to care for him at home!! That was a HUGE blessing!! I was able to do things with my husband that he wanted to do while he could and not worry about bills not being paid.  Another very special moment when those donations were being left people would leave messages that I would read to my husband which gave him lots of love and support from strangers!! I also was able to get in touch with others that had gone through this with their spouse! Another miracle was when Chuck had to be transported to Deer’s Head due to rapid decline that was so sudden and fast. The doctors needed to reevaluate a plan for him and keep him for a few days. For him to come home I would need a wheel chair, a wheel chair ramp, and a hospital bed!! That was on a Friday, his birthday was the very next day and I wanted him to be home!!! I made it very clear that he needed to come home to all the staff and I know they thought I was crazy!  I remember the social worker seeing my pain and saying let me see what I can do! I also remember looking at my dear friend Kim and saying I want him home, and her response was ok what do we need to do? I said I need a ramp, she said I can handle that and that ramp was built that weekend and my husband was transported back home that afternoon with a hospital bed already set up in my house!
God is good, he spent his last birthday on earth at home and was surrounded by friends and family!  I was able to show my husband unconditional love that he never thought was possible this side of heaven, and he would say that to me!  I was able to read a letter that he wrote me on our last anniversary together that stated “ I now know what unconditional love feels like! "
Each and every day that I bathed him, pulled on him and feed him through lots of nights with little to no sleep! I protected to him to best of my ability! I prayed with him and read to him, I even sang to him!! I thank god for every moment we had those were miracles! Every word that was able to be spoken was a miracle! Hearing that he would miss me the most one day when we were struggling to get out of the wheelchair was a miracle, because if you recall from earlier my husband should have lost his speech after the second surgery and he didn’t!
After the third surgery he should have never spoke again and should have lost use of his right side. Well he spoke right when he woke up after that surgery and asked for his wife!!! He walked for months after the final surgery!! Those are miracles!!! Hearing him sing (he was good at singing) one more time in church was a miracle. Having family and friends stay the night so I could rest expecting nothing in return was a miracle! Lastly a miracle that I prayed for months after hospice told me that I would more than likely miss him passing away, I was there by his side until his last breath, holding his hand and reassuring him that I was there! God carried that prayer request from me even further and allowed some close family and friends to be there as well, as well Kamryn our daughter together and my oldest Kayla who really showed her love for her step-father by assisting me with his daily care. Those are miracles!!! Thank you ladies and I pray that we all look a little closer for those miracles!! God still performs them!!!!


Words  - Isaac Wimberely
If there are words for him then I don’t have them…you see my brain has not yet reached a point where it could form a thought that could adequately describe the greatness of my God!
And my lungs have not built up enough ability to release a breath with enough agility to breathe out the greatness of his love, and my voice you see my voice is so inhibited restrained by human limits that it’s hard to even send a praise up, you see if there are words for him then I don’t have them.
My God his grace is remarkable, mercies are innumerable, strength impenetrable, he is honorable, accountable, favorable, he’s searchable yet knowable, indefinable yet approachable, indescribable, yet personal, he is beyond all comprehension, further than imagination, constant through generation, king of every nation, but if there are words for him  that I don’t have them.
You see my words are few and to try and capture the one true God using my vocabulary would never do! But I use words as an expression of worship to a savior, a savior who is both worthy and deserving of my praise so I use words. My heart bestows the lord blesses his name forever he has won my heart captured my mind and has bound them both together. He defeated me in my rebellion conquered me in my sin, he has welcomed me into his presence, completely invited me in.  He has made himself the object of my sight flooded with mercies in the morning drowned me with grace in the night, but if there are words for him then I don’t have them.
But what I do have is good news for my God knew that man-made words would never do, for words are just tools that we use to point to the truth so he sent his son Jesus Christ as thee word living proof he is the imagine of the invisible God, first born of all creation for by him all things are created giving nothingness formation.
By his word sustains in the power of his name for all things and over all things he reigns holy is his name!!
So praise him for his life the way he preserved in strife the humble son of god, becoming the perfect sacrifice. Praise him for his death that he willing stood in our place that he loving endures the grave that he bowed our enemy and on the third day rose in VICTORY!!!!
He is everything that was promised. Praise him as a RISEN KING!! Left your voice and sing for one day he will return for us and we will finally be united with our savior for ETERNITY!!!
SO it’s just words that I proclaim for my words point to thee words and thee word has name. HOPE has a name. JOY has a name. PEACE has a name. LOVE has a name. BROKENESS has a name. FORGIVENESS has a name. AND THAT NAME IS JESUS CHRIST PRAISE HIS NAME FOREVER!!!

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