I had big plans to finish the year strong, as far as my blog was concerned. The holidays always provide lots of opportunity for crafting and painting projects, and, believe me, I had my share! But something happened December 6th that put those plans on hold and, very literally, brought me to my knees. My sister called to tell me my father had collapsed and was being rushed to the hospital. I knew from her voice, it was serious enough for me to get on a plane and head home to New Mexico. Truth be told, we almost lost him, were it not for the fact I come from a family of faith and God answered our prayers.
My Dad, who just turned 77 a few days earlier, has always been a strong man, so to walk into his ICU room and see him unconscious and on life support was just awful. It all stemmed from a back surgery he had in October and his blood, we were told, now had some sort of infection. There were tubes hooked up to his arms, tubes going down his nose and his mouth, and all sorts of instruments monitoring his heart rate and breathing. My brothers and sisters and I became intimately familiar with every one of those monitors, not to mention the doctors and nursing staff that took care of my Dad with the highest level of excellence.
I wonder what the nurses thought when they saw all five of us kids there? Each time they’d walk into the room, it seemed we were either praying over him or reading Bible scriptures to him, regardless of whether he could actually hear us. And, as if that didn’t get their attention enough, I spent the first five nights sleeping on a chair, in my boots, coat, scarf and gloves…even though I had a couple of blankets! (Living in Phoenix has turned me into a wimp when it comes to the cold!)
It was quite the emotional roller coaster, but one I feel compelled to share with you because I am just so thankful. I’m thankful for my two brothers and two sisters who, like me, refused to let one negative word come out of their mouths, even when things looked bleak and we were holding back tears. We remembered Proverbs 18:21 that tells us, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue; and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” Instead of becoming scared when the nurses explained how my Dad’s erratic heart rate could lead to a heart attack, we just thought “Nope, not our Dad!” And what happened? In the middle of a prayer, his heart rate stabilized! I remember asking my sister, “Is there something wrong with that monitor or are we witnessing a miracle?” From that point forward, my Dad slowly got better and better. By the end of the week, he was breathing on his own and talking, even making us laugh! He was still in ICU, but now we were filled with hope…and I was ready to come back home to my husband and daughter, although a big part of me wanted to stay.
With Christmas only days away, it just felt different this year. We didn’t go all out with the decorations. Nor did we get carried away with the shopping. Instead, we received the only gift we really wanted. Our Dad continues to improve and will be going home in a few days! We also received a reminder of God’s goodness and how faith in Him can sustain you during the most difficult of times.
I apologize if you were expecting one of my “how-to” blogs, but I just had to take a break from it all and focus on what matters most. I’ll be back in 2014 with more fun painting projects. It’s going to be a great year! Until then, my cup runneth over with gratitude. Thank you, Lord!!!