Jehovah was not in the wind. And after the wind, an earthquake: Jehovah was not in the earthquake.
And after the earthquake, a fire: Jehovah was not in the fire. And after the fire, a soft gentle voice. (1Kings 19:11-12)

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Rest in God's Faithfulness {One Thing Our Marriages Desperately Need Today ~~ A Husband's Heartfelt Words as His Wife's Heart was Weak #HeartMonth.}

{To read Part 1, the beginning of the series:
click here first.}

"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."

I scrawled these words on scrap paper, underlined them, emphasized them by pointing to them with the tip of my pencil over and over when I woke up with a breathing tube down my throat and waited for the doctors to decide what the next best medical procedure would be for me.

You can't talk with a breathing tube stuck in your throat, but when you are awake with a tube that goes in through your mouth and down into your trachea helping you breath you still need to communicate, so the nurses handed me a clipboard and told me to write down my concerns, questions, needs. My doctors interpreted these scribblings and reported as though I was suicidal.

I was at the point that I had no fight left in me. I was more than ready to die.

I cried out in my heart for God to take me to be with Him. I was at the lowest I had ever been and the dark waters threatened to swallow me.

I truly wanted to be with Christ.

Jon would remind me that God still had work for me to do here.

I could identify with these words Paul penned from a prison in the first century to believers in Christ in Philippi:
"I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again."
Sometimes the burden we are carrying, the suffering we are enduring is so great, we are desperate to escape it and be with Jesus. God is faithful to strengthen us and sustain us in His power that we might carry on and learn in whatever situation we are in to be content and to endure it and rejoice in our sufferings and bring comfort to others that God's name would be glorified.

It was decided the only medical option was to perform a tracheostomy (an opening surgically created through the neck into the trachea to allow direct access to the breathing tube.) But, there were risks involved with this and it would make a long road of recovery even longer.

The elders of our church came to pray. They stood around my bed and I motioned to them that I desired to depart and to be with my Lord. 
They put drops of oil on my forehead and prayed for God's will to be done in my life, my heart, and body.

The next day, a whole new team of doctors that Dr. David selected for my complicated medical needs, skillfully inserted a tube right into my trachea. 

At the same time, a Christian doctor chatted with Jon and recommended that I be taken off all anxiety and sleeping medications. I had never been on these medications before and he believed that they were not aiding in my recovery, but rather, in some ways were hindering it and suggested we completely surrender this to God. After three weeks of battling with these medications, they were all removed—cold turkey.

A whole new battle was about to begin.

But, God is faithful and His goodness and mercy follows us all the days of our lives. 

Even in your darkest days, in your deepest suffering, never believe that you are all alone.

At the end of a long day, on September 20th, Jon shared his concerns and confidence in the God who is ever faithful:

"It's day to day."  
"We'll see how you continue to do."
"We're watching your numbers."
"We want to get you home."
This is how [the medical staff] answer when Rebekah writes on her clipboard: 
"How much longer?"
Sometimes, focussing on that word "longer" can cause discouragement or create a sense that we are not getting anywhere fast. But isn't that what we want from God usually?—Something fast!

Earlier this week I held her hand as they injected the milky sleeping medication into the lines. All I had time to say to her was—God is still in control. She was relaxed and sleeping within seconds.

Now that is fast. But, that is medicine and technology.

Rebekah had the breathing tube put back in and she was heavily sedated for a couple of days while X-rays, echoes, ultrasounds, scopes, and monitoring happened.

During that time, I took the opportunity to get out of town and go be with my kids and spend some quality time with them and just encourage them and hug them. They have been well provided for over these weeks. Such a blessing!

Coming back to Toronto, I heard that all the tests were encouraging and coming back clear. This is wonderful yet baffling at times. Shouldn't this mean that recovery be happening FASTER? 
Chatting again with Dr. David a couple days ago, he is encouraged with Rebekah's overall progress but remains certain that this journey will not be quick. It will take time—patience—and rest. But we WILL get there.

Another test yesterday to ween her off the ventilator machine slowly and watch her lung compensate looked encouraging, but not enough quite yet to fully maintain on its own. 
Her lung, which was already compromised pre-op, has struggled post-op and this is where BiPAP and now the ventilator have been used to help as her lung slowly gains strength and opens more so she can get deeper breaths again. This is the big prayer focus right now: that her lung will fully expand and that she will be able to breathe well enough to keep her CO2 from rising on its own to unsafe levels.  
To assist with this, Rebekah had another procedure today. She was put back to sleep again and received a tracheostomy in her throat. This gives the doctors more flexibility in treating Rebekah with on and off assistance with the ventilator and the ability for her to move around and do some more exercises.
All of this could very well add another month to our overall stay here but I come back to this knowledge that God is not just about—FAST. He is all about faithfulness, about sustaining us through the long days and weeks and going the distance with us. 
I retreat to sleep for another night with this promise on my thoughts: 
"Be strong and of good courage, fear not, nor be afraid,
for the LORD, your God, HE it is, that goes with you,

He will not fail you nor forsake you!

 (Deut. 31:6) 
What a place to rest!

This is part 11 of the series:
One Thing Our Marriages Desperately Need Today ~~ A Husband's Heartfelt Words as His Wife's Heart was Weak
{for #HeartMonth.}

You can read Part 1, the beginning of the series here.

Read Part 12 here.

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1 comment:

  1. This makes me recall just a couple of days that I was on a ventilator after a major surgery 15 years ago. It surely had to be one of my worst experiences ever,fighting off the gagging reflex with the hose in my throat. You are a vivid writer Rebekah, and I am learning from your totally unique testimony, and am encouraged to get my story written up (oh, I think I'm dragging my feet, some just plain laziness,,,).


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