Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Long December?

I know everyone in my generation can remember the song A Long December by the Counting Crows. My husband keeps singing it because this month has felt long, and we DO have hope that this year will be better than the last. Because in reality, our family has had a long September, October, November and December.

In September, I learned the day before my birthday that my pregnancy was not developing properly, and there was no little baby to be seen on my ultrasound. I prayed to God that He would just have to give me a miracle, because I know He promised me that there would be a new baby, because I had never asked Him for one before and the time had come for me to ask. He told me. I know it makes sense, at least  to Christians, when I say that. I kept asking for about 10 months before I finally tested positive. All the bloodwork was normal but my ultrasounds were not. I still kept demanding my miracle and believing the the Holy Spirit power that God has infused in us all who love Him would come through. I asked to be seen at a different office, on a different machine, but before that appointed day came, I found myself in the hospital, having a miscarriage, bleeding more than I ever knew was possible and having to have a procedure to stop the flow and the pain. I still believe my miracle will come. But it was very much heartbreaking to experience the loss of that dream, and to not have it come to pass in time for my mom to see it. I knew her time was short, and I wanted her to meet her next grandchild. But at the time of my loss, I didn't know just how short her time here with us was going to be. 

The month of October was painful for everyone. Mom had both dementia and ALS, and she couldn't understand anything that was happening to her. She couldn't remember things, or grasp what was taking place. She was getting gradually weaker, experiencing more pain, and more loss of understanding by the day. Then one late October Friday, she went down hill at an unbelievably fast rate. She was still smiling for company that day, but by that night was in a terribly painful state. She couldn't seem to get her breath and was displaying complete agony and there was not a thing anyone could do. We gave her medicine to calm her and something to take away the pain in her stomach but she could not swallow any longer at all. Since she had refused any type of feeding tubes, I knew it wouldn't be long. On Saturday, she could no longer stand up or raise her arms and I didn't think she would live through the night. She did, and for a few hours of that Sunday she was awake and did not seem agitated, although there was no ability to speak. She was aware of the presence of family and friends, people who had come to pray, sit by her, and fill the room with singing and the reading of the Word. Lucas was with her and she reached out to him and he touched her hand, smiled  and bounced on the bed like it was any other day. She feel asleep in the late hours of the evening and only woke up again once, seemingly panicked. We gave her more of the medicine and a sponge of water and I read scriptures to her and turned on some of her favorite songs. I asked her if she knew it was ok for her to go be with Jesus, and she nodded. I told her that she didn't have to worry about us, we would be ok. She fell asleep and never woke up again. He spirit left us around 3:00 Monday afternoon. 

November brought the sad aftermath of losing someone you love. Bad behavior from my autistic son who has no other way of communicating his feelings, sorting through belongings, deciding what to keep and what to give away, and lots and lots of tears from everyone. We are all so thankful that she is with Jesus now, that she has met my children whom I never did, and that she is free from the anguish and misery she felt. But it still leaves a hole in your heart when someone goes away and you know you won't see them again until your time comes, or Jesus comes back....whatever comes first. Despite all the pain I had just experienced, I found that the peace of God, which as scripture says, surpasses all understanding was on me. Instead of continuing to dwell on these past losses, I felt the strength rise up in me to honor my mother's life by living mine the best way I could. I felt driven to follow God's leading in my life and do as much good as possible within my circle of influence and with the gifts I have, When you are at peace, the enemy doesn't like that, and I believe a lot of challenges we face in the world come from his opposition. 

Ephesians 6:12King James Version (KJV)

12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

The devil only comes to steal and destroy our joy and our peace, So that leads me to our December. It started out with several unexpected expenses, not all of which are remedied yet. Then, let's just take a look at last week alone. On Thursday, our dryer stopped working. On Friday, Lucas flushed a bar of soap down our new toilet that was recently installed. On Saturday, he sliced the tip of his finger while spinning in a computer chair at home, and I found myself in that awful position of trying to determine what had just happened since I didn't see it, and my son is non-verbal for the most part. He wouldn't let me touch him to find out where the injury was, and where all the blood was coming from. Finally after getting him cleaned off in the bath tub, I saw his finger. Off the the ER for his first set of stitches! I was filled with praise that the doctor we got was a dad who has a son with autism, and that we did make it through the procedure without sedation, and it went MUCH better than we ever expected. I believe the prayers of our friends and the ones I sent up were answered in this aspect. Now he is still a bit sore there, so leaving on his bandages without much of a fight either, but I have come down with my first cold in a year and a half, at 5 days before Christmas, and my prayer is just that my poor injured little boy doesn't get sick as well. As you know life does not stop because you are having a hard time. You still have to do all the day to day things. Church events have been going on every weekend this month and my husband works there part time, so in addition to his full time job, he is away for all those things. They are all good things, very much worth doing, but I have to admit I am tired. It HAS been a long December, and all those other months too. 
Even as I write this, I know there are others who have much greater troubles and heartaches than mine. But I found a Word today that reminded me of why I am not falling completely apart. I am reminded of why my heart is still hopeful, still happy. (Mostly.) 

1 Peter 1:5-6English Standard Version (ESV)

 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,

There are many passages in scripture that remind us that if we belong to Christ, ALL our problems are temporary, and we will have glory to be gained if we suffer, just as Jesus did. Reading the pages of the Bible, you find that nobody ever had it easy. Everyone who ever accomplished great things for God had troubles, and lots of them. Some of the seasons of hardship must have seemed to go on forever. But God had plans for each of them, just as He does for you and me. I dare to say that if we keep focusing on what is good, and we keep on loving other people who need it, even when we are down, God's blessings will be so great we can't even imagine what it will look like. I hope that sharing my story has brought hope to you, knowing that we always have good reason for joy, no matter how hard this life may get. Jesus is alive forever, and will stay at our side always. If you are having a long December too, I pray that His supernatural peace will take over in your heart, and I do hope for you a new year that is better than the last. 

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