Friday, March 30, 2007

Going home

Jeff died on Friday.

It's so weird to type that. And sad. Even though we weren't close friends, I will miss him. I will miss him at home group. He knew and believed the word of God, and was eager to share a scripture that spoke life into a situation. He did that for me many times, as I shared about things I was struggling with. He often led our group in prayer, and he approached the throne of grace with confidence that God would come through in any and every situation. I will miss hearing him talk about his sons...he was so proud of them, and was dedicated to speaking the truth to them and planting the Word in their hearts.

I will miss seeing him in church - always with a huge smile on his face! Dancing with his baby in his arms during worship, boldly sharing a word that he felt the Lord had put on his heart to share with the body of believers. The way he always looked at Lori. He attended to her like she was a precious jewel and it gave me hope that I would have that someday.

I found out about his death on Friday night, and even though it wasn't a surprise it is still shocking. It is just so unbelievable that someone so young and vibrant and alive could be gone - in an instant. I went to see Lori the next afternoon and she was amazingly strong. She invited me into their room and we sat on her bed and of she and Jeff and the boys all around. I of course started crying, and just as she had done in the hospital, she was comforting me! That's the grace of God right there. She assured me that her faith is still strong. Even though she was believing God to heal Jeff and He didn't, she still believes. And next time she needs to believe in healing for someone, she will.

I pray for faith like that.

Nick came along to the visitation and funeral. I left it up to him, and he wanted to be there. I"m so proud of him, he's so grown up! It was rather shocking for him and he's processing through alot of thoughts and emotions right now...wondering who Lori and her boys will sit by in church, and wondering if something will happen to his own dad now.

He was a little freaked out viewing the body, although he didn't show it at the time. We talked about it the night before and I tried to prepare him for what to expect. Afterwards, he talked alot about how it didn't look like Jeff. I explained that the part of us that is alive is our spirit, not our body. Our body is just skin and bones and blood, it is not alive but it is a house for our spirit. Kind of like a shell is the house for a snail. When we die, our spirit leaves our body just like a snail leaves it's shell. Jesus tenderly comes and brings our spirit to Heaven. It doesn't hurt and it's not scary because Jesus is there caring for us. And when we get to Heaven and see God face to face, it's not wonder that we don't want to come back!

We are home.

2 Corinthians 5:1-8

Our Heavenly Dwelling

Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Doggie diarrhea and other hi-lights of my week

This morning after I got out of the shower I went in the boys' room (barefoot, of course) to wake up Kyle for school, and I stepped in "something". I immediately stopped in my track.

Oh, this could not be good.

I turned on the light and found a trail of "plops" from the boys' bunk beds all the way across the room to their bedroom door. Kirby, our yellow lab, must have been sick because he never, ever makes messes in the house.

I had no idea that much crap could come out of one dog.

Then the stench hit me. It was probably the grossest experience of my entire life, and trust me - being the mom of boys, I know gross. But this far topped them all. So after some initial damage control, I was off to HyVee to rent a rug doctor and shampoo my carpets! It needed to be done anyway, I just wasn't expecting to take the morning off work to do it. But it's all good now.

Yesterday afternoon was amazing. I went to Rochester with my friend Lori to spend some time with her husband Jeff, who is still hanging on to life. I was really looking forward to going there together and spending some time with Lori alone so that we could talk. She has been on my heart so much since this happened, and I want to bless her and support her in any way that I can. But I also was a little apprehensive about what to talk about during the hour long drive each way. Should I be cheerful? Is that being insensitive given the gravity of the situation, or is that what she needs right now and not another somber face? Is she going to want to talk about Jeff, about the prognosis, about her feelings? Would there be awkward silences, not knowing what to say? I mean we are friends, but not close friends to where I can read her and know what to say. Then I realized that since God had set this up, He would show up. I just needed to relax and rely on Him.

So that's what I did, and it couldn't have gone better! We talked the whole way there and back about her and Jeff and their relationship, about his accident, and our families. We talked about health and losing weight - Lori is in great shape and very into nutrition so she has motivated me! We talked a lot about our faith, and I have to say that she utterly amazes me. She has been unwavering in her faith. She does not believe that the accident was an "accident" but that God allowed it in order to reveal Himself to us and strengthen our faith. And has He ever done that! Even with the grim prognosis that Mayo has given Jeff - they have maintained all along that there is no chance of recovery. Yet in the face of this she maintains her faith that God is in control and if He wants to heal Jeff He can and He will.

I have to admit that I have at times thought that it is foolish of her to believe that. That she is just in denial, and needs to let go, as the doctors continue to encourage and even pressure her to do. They want her to consent to withholding treatment, and essentially pulling the plug. But she said something that astonished me. She said "If Jeff had died in the accident, I would have been able to go on with my life. But he didn't die. And I can't tell the doctors to end his life just so that I can go on with mine."


She has maintained from the beginning that God is able to heal Jeff. If He was able to raise Lazarus from the dead after being dead for four days. I'm sure Lazarus' body had deteriorated quite a bit by the time Jesus arrived. And yet he was healed, and completely restored to life. The same God who did that is able to heal the damage that's been done to Jeff's body. I know He can...and I pray that He will. Who am I to say that God won't do a miracle?

Saturday, March 10, 2007

I am amazed

Can I just tell you how amazing my son is???

Before I get into that, I will let you, who don't already, know what is going on...

Last Monday afternoon a member of our church was in a serious car accident. He was life-flighted to Mayo and is in a coma and on life support. There is minimal brain function at this point. To add to the trauma of this, my friend Lori (his wife) was following him and witnessed the whole thing and was obviously the first person on the scene. They have two sons who are 17 years old and 18 months old. My heart is just broken for them. Broken.

We got to know eachother through our Friday night home group/bible study that we have gone to for almost two years. We have all gotten so close through sharing our lives, growing in our faith, encouraging eachother through trials, and just sharing the intimacy that believers do by praying with and for eachother. So this is impacting all of us on a very personal level.

We went up to the hospital as a group on Tuesday evening, and I wasn't sure what to expect. They let all of us go in with Jeff, no restrictions, which I was a bit surprised at. I didn't expect to be allowed in to see him, we were going up there to support Lori and the boys, but we were able to see him and pray with him. Some were softly singing or reading scripture. I knew it would be emotional, and it was. But above all, there was such an incredible sense of God's presence there. It was overwhelmingly peaceful. That I did not expect. A combination of sorrow and hope and peace covered that room like a blanket. I can't say that I am surprised, because God IS that good. It is just awe inspiring to encounter the presence of God like that in the midst of such a tragic situation. It takes your breath away.

Lori was incredibly calm. I told her that we came to encourage her, and yet she was the one encouraging us! She said "that is how God wants it to be - that everyone who comes here be encouraged and blessed and leave with a measure more of faith than they came with."

There are no words.

So, as if that isn't amazing enough, I have to tell you what my son said. He got to know Jeff & Lori's older son Jeremiah from going on the men & boys retreat last year with them, and Nick really identified with him. He's a "cool" kid, plays guitar, so of course Nick looks up to him! So the other day Nick asked me who I thought this was harder on, Lori or Jeremiah. I said "Honey, it is hard on both of them. What do you think?" And that precious boy said this, "I think it is harder on Jeremiah. You can't replace his dad. If Jeff dies, Lori will be sad but she will be able to go on with her life. She will have memories but she will be able to have a new husband someday. Jeremiah only gets one dad."

Tear. I am utterly amazed at the sensitivity and insight he has...and he's nine.

We went up again last night, and sadly there is no change in Jeff's condition. But God is still there and we are praying for a miracle.