My Survival Guide

It’s been YEARS since I really posted anything here. Obviously, so much has gone on. There’s just no way I can write it all here! Recently, Louis and I have faced significant challenges.

7 months ago TODAY (December 6th, 2018), Louis slipped on black ice on the back deck and broke his femur. On New Year’s Eve, he returned home after surgery to place an internal plate and other hardware and a short stint in the rehab hospital. A short 18 days later, the hardware failed; and he landed himself back in the hospital. He suffered many complications… blood clots, kidney failure (resulting in an additional 75+ pounds of fluid on his body), wound infection, lymphedema, sepsis, rigors with high fever, and other complications. Nearly 5 months in the hospital put quite a strain on us – emotionally, physically, financially, relationally, and even spiritually.

As he laid in the hospital bed, struggling with high fevers, rigors, delusions, an extra 75-100lbs of fluid, confusion, and more, there were times that I wasn’t sure that Louis was ever going to make it out of the hospital. Later, several doctors confirmed that they too weren’t sure that he would make it home. Finally, he made the turn for the better and made great strides toward totally healing.

Now ~ 7 months later, Louis is facing another surgery on his knee. It appears that his 6 year old knee replacement, was also damaged in the fall. Lots of risks are associated with doing another surgery, but we are trust the Lord who carried us through these difficult times.

I am surprised at people’s response to watching us go through the last 7 months, commenting that we have inspired them on how to keep the faith during challenging times.  So, I thought I would share some of my tips… my survival guide.

  • Keeping your Faith in difficult situations starts way before the challenging times. It’s like exercise. You build your strength and faith during the ‘easy times’ and in the minor challenges. Not only do we review the Bible for stories of God’s love and faithfulness long ago, but we can also review our own lives. We have our own stories. My walk with the Lord has been more and more dear as years have passed. I clung to Jesus like a barnacle on a Rock during a storm.
  • Louis and I live our lives pretty out loud. Not everyone does. We don’t hesitate to share when we are in ‘trouble’. Honestly – I can’t even hide it anymore. The few years leading up to this medical crisis has been extremely difficult >> another medical crisis when Louis went septic due to a hole in his intestine, a unexpected loss of job, head on collision and totaled car for me, and a year later – a mac truck rear-ended me and totaled a 2nd car. This totally ruined me. Tears flow for different reasons, or no reason at all.
  • Friends and family – they have totally rocked it!!!! in so many ways. Don’t be afraid to ‘not have it all together’. It’s OK to fall apart. It’s OK not to “wash your face”. It’s OK to ask for help. It’s OK to accept the help. Yard work. House work. Meals. Rides to/from therapy. Rearrange furniture. Build a ramp. Let the dogs in/out. Run errands. Visit him at the hospital. It’s also ok to say – “No visits. we are tired.”  Take care of YOU!!! Invite people into the crisis.
    • One friend had the gift of availability. She was at the hospital – nearly every day. And definitely whenever I called, and especially in crisis mode. On his worse days – when I sat in the corner of his room just staring at him – not knowing what to do. She would say – you sit there and take care of you. I will take care of him. It was OK for me to watch her care for my husband. No guilt or shame that I was a bad wife. No time for that!
    • Other friends, who also have the gift of availability, managed ministry efforts we were doing at the jail, recovery homes, etc.  Something I just didn’t have to think about.
  • This is warfare! Prayer is a MUST! I prayed for Louis, and was also intentional about praying for others I knew were in need. Seeking friends to Fast and Pray with me. Just as Aaron and Hur held Moses’ arms up during the battle, friend’s and family’s prayers kept us going.

 

  • Give Thanks!!! I looked for reasons to thank the Lord! It’s easy to get swallowed up in the dire or weary circumstances.  When we focus on things that we are thankful for, things don’t seem as dire.

This song spoke volumes to me.  “My weapon is a melody.”

Raise A Hallelujah – Bethel Music

The Story Behind the Song

Lyric video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2XtRuPfaAU&feature=youtu.be

 

  • Praise and Worship!!  We played worship music – all the time, well… OK… excect when March Madness was on!
  • Give – When I was the one who was always on the receiving end, it got hard to constantly accept. I looked for ways I could give. Giving goodies to the nurses and staff. We were there on Christmas, so we held a Christmas Eve Service for the others on the floor, family and staff members. One of the best memories I have.  I found myself having conversations with other family members – praying with them, encouraging them, showing them the ropes.

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  • 7/6/2019 – Edit #1 – I can’t believe I forgot this part!!!  A friend texted me this evening and it made me think about it!  OK… so I have talked about the crying part. I have that down. But I also want to stress that it’s also OK to laugh and be silly. I know… I’m 56 years old…and I still like to be silly! I have this friend whose role was really important. She didn’t come to the hospital or provide a meal. But she provided me with laughter, silliness and distraction. I could call her and say let’s go and just laugh. Don’t ask me about Louis for the evening… or how I am… or anything deep. I just want to go and mentally get away from it all for a couple of hours. It was a little slice of heaven.

These are just some of the things we did to keep our eyes on Jesus. There were times we didn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. Other times the light we saw felt like a freight train. The roller coaster ride continues. We still depend on friends and family. We are grateful for every role that every person has played and continues to play… showing up, praying, providing financial support, practical needs, emotional ones and more.

It’s not over yet. Earlier this week – a small group of us fasted and prayed together – storming the gates of heaven.  A couple of days later – I was weepy, scared and felt that freight train barreling down. I find myself vacillating between… “Why? How much longer, Lord? We’re so done.”  and “Wow – we got this. This is just a blip on the radar of eternity.” and “If only Louis was healed, we could….”

I am grateful for the Lord’s loving kindness, his presence, mercy and grace. I am grateful for friends and family who just keep showing up – pointing me to Jesus, when I glance away from him. He’s got the whole world in His hands… including me… and Louis.

If you want to partner with Louis and me during this time, this is how you can do so… https://lifetransformationchurch.org/partner-with-us/. Thanks for considering!!!

Thanks for reading! I had no idea it would be this long when I got started! Whew! You are champs for hanging in there!

 

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This is Today…. Louis loves his dogs, Barton (black lab on the bed) and Moxie (chocolate lab sitting on the floor)

 

 



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