Monday, June 28, 2010

Day 155 - That's Just Our God, Showing Off - Part 3

I called the prayer line in hopes that I could leave a message for Mike, First Baptist Powell's executive pastor. I was terrified my poor grandmother Jones would find out and panic. When I called someone answered the line! It was probably six o'clock by this time and everyone was gone out of the office. I told the woman who I was and she knew me. It was Deanie Dickinson. I explain what was going on and she promised to call Mike so he could let my mom and dad know.

Next, I remembered our youth director's phone number. Dr. John's son was Martin close friend growing up and for some reason I just remember Martin chanting his number. I was able to talk to one of their sons who promised to call his parents and let them know. Next, I called my close friend Jayme. Jayme is an "old friend" of Martin's that was at Word of Life the same time Martin and I were. She introduced us to one another and Martin was in her wedding and she was in ours. I had recently started working at her church as their bookkeeper. I called their home and it rang and rang and rang. But then Dave, her husband answered. I broke down at that point. I had not talked to anyone I was close to and poor Dave got the waterworks! He told me that Jayme was outside in the car and she was taking him to work and he would let her know.

Eventually they took Martin to the I.C.U. Silly, naive me figured this was a step-up from the E.R.! We took over the tiny I.C.U. waiting room. Family, friends and church people filled the room. I still had not talked to my mom and dad. Martin and I had been married almost three years by this time but not having any of my family there was so hard. I missed my family, my friends, my church family. I was thankful for Jayme when she walked in. She was my oldest friend in the room. When my dad called I once again broke down. I can't imagine how my parents felt. They were in Idaho with no way to get to me.

The I.C.U. nurse, Angel (I'm sure she gets the comments all the time) called Martin's parents, brother and I in his room for us to see him. I didn't realize they figured it would be the last time we would see him alive. We prayed over him and I held his hand. When we had to leave I told Martin that I had to go but that I would be in the next room. He squeezed my hand. I didn't think anything of it. I told his family that it seemed like he squeezed my hand. I repeated that I wasn't leaving I would just be in the next room. He again squeezed my hand but this time much harder. I told the nurse who gave me a sympathetic smile. She didn't believe me. I understand, I wouldn't have believed me either. He had brain damaged, they thought. I tried to pull my hand away and I couldn't. He was holding on too strong! I showed Angel and she went and got one of the doctors.

I went back to the waiting room and was grateful for the gift I felt God had given me. The night was filled with visitors and little sleep. As I was laying down on the couch around 3 AM, my mother-in-law was cleaning the room. I told her that my soul was at peace. Almost like God had sent his angels down to sing to my heart, music that only my soul could hear.

The next few days were hard. They got Martin's body temperature down so low he got hypothermia. They had to find a way to regulate his body temperature. No one was sure what happened to him. They eventually ruled out spinal meningitis. They attempted a spinal tap but he was too full of fluid to do it. He has yet to forgive me for allowing it! They did dialysis on him every other day. Eventually his heart (it was doing crazy, wacky things the day after his accident because it had virtually stopped the day before), his lungs, his liver, all started working again. He was responding well even in his coma. The neurologist was optimistic about his brain activity with his responses.

They told me he would be in the hospital for well over a month and a few months in rehab, learning to walk again (most of his muscles had melted). Then he would be on dialysis for his kidneys for as long as it took for them to come back, if at all. He was home in two weeks and although he had to do physical therapy three times a week and dialysis three times a week, he was home.

Honestly, being home was the hardest part for me. He was still weak and I had to help him with so much. He was home and not working and I had to deal with those emotions. He couldn't drive and I couldn't sleep in the bed with him. He was propped up here and there with blood clots throughout his body and he had a port for dialysis coming out of his neck. I know I didn't handle those times like I should. But God was gracious and patient with me. He taught me so much during those times and is still teaching me about those times. I try to be sensitive to those wives who have husbands at home after accidents or health issues. There is something in a man that God puts in them to provide and be the leader in the home and when the woman has to step up and do it for whatever reason, there is a humiliation there that can be taken out on that wife. It's hard but God teaches us through it.

As I look back on all that happened June 27, 2005, it really blows my mind. First of all, I have no idea why it happened. I can't sit here and tell anyone that God allowed Martin's temperature to get that high because there was a doctor at Shore Memorial that was doubting His existence and God chose to use Martin. People were telling me over and over, don't worry, God will let you know why He allowed this one day. But my dad (who eventually got to come up), in such wisdom, told me not to cling to that. Not to cling to a hope that one day God will let me know why He allowed that. Because honestly, God owes me nothing. He can do whatever He wants. But this I know: He does ALL for His glory. That's it. That's all I need to know and care about. And I count it a privilege that He used us.

I want to list the things that were nothing but God showing off. Things that are almost humorous when they are put side by side. Things that no one, not even the doctors could explain.

1. Little Shore Memorial Hospital had dealt with heat strokes before. They are near the Coast Guard training center and have had some men come in with heat strokes, and all that have come in with Martin's temp and some below have died (not because of the hospital, but because of the circumstances). But they are confident in this area.

2. That Monday night, the last Monday of the month was the department head meeting. This means that all doctors from all the areas of the hospital were in a meeting there when Martin came in. As I understand it, the E.R. doctor interrupted the meeting and gave them the stats of Martin. They all talked it out and Dr. Schreyer (Martin's kidney doctor) suggested he put a line in Martin and do dialysis to cool the blood. They all agreed and off they went. I guess it's not normal to have doctor after doctor, specialist and specialist come in to the death room and ask questions on a Monday night at a tiny hospital.

3. Everyone I called was there. Like I said, I didn't have my cell phone and sadly, I just know a few numbers by heart. But the three God brought to mind, someone answered everyone. Even Dave who ran back in the house to pick-up his forgotten dinner.

4. We never paid a dime for anything. Well, I take that back. They did make us pay $35 for the t.v. in the I.C.U. I have no idea why the t.v. was on while Martin was in a coma but I did walk in a few times and it was on and when I was there with him while they took his breathing tubes out. I was thankful Regis and Kelly were on so I could watch them and not my poor husband as they were taking them all out. I gladly paid the $35. Everything was covered by workman's comp.

It's been five years since all of this. I'm happy and thankful to say that I love Martin so much more today! But more than that - I am so awed by my God, so humbled by Him and oh so thankful for Him. I am truly learning more from His Word than ever before. I am learning more about the ways He wants me to be and am amazed at His pursuit and change, through the Holy Spirit in my life.

In five years we have left our old church family for a new one. It was hard but it was in God's plan. We now own a home in a perfect location. Martin went back to college and completed his Masters of Business Administration at Rowan University last year. He went back to his old job after he was asked by me and his doctor to not go back to the Sheriff's department. We are thankful his job took him back. He is now at a new job and has the flexibility that most people don't have. We've been on two overseas mission trips together.

Mighty is our God.

Part 1

Part 2

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Day 151 - That's Just Our God, Showing Off - Part 2

Once at the hospital, my mother-in-law dropped me off at the E.R. entrance. The front desk clerk took me behind the desk and started rubbing my back while she called to let them know I was here. I thought that was odd but naively I thought maybe that's the special treatment I should expect from now on as a police officer's wife. She took me back and there in the corner "room" of the E.R., I saw bare legs with wash cloths over them and packs of ice on top. The curtain was drawn just enough that I wasn't sure it was Martin. A nurse, Maureen came towards us and asked who I was. The front desk clerk told her I was Officer Fern's wife. She took my arm and said to the lady that I shouldn't be back here. "Is that my husband?" I asked as she turned me around and walked me to a side room.

They took me to a room that I call the death room - it's a tiny room that they probably have in all E.R.s. I call it that because it is a small, windowless room with a couple couches, and a telephone that you can call anywhere in the U.S. and they take you there to either tell you someone has died or is going to die. Maureen sat me down and told me that Martin had collapsed at the academy and when they brought him in his body temperature registered 109.7. Honestly that number didn't mean much to me. She went on and said his kidneys, liver, lungs, and heart had all shut down or were shutting down and they had no idea about his brain. He was on life support and she said the doctors were going to be coming in asking me questions about his health.

I was asked if I wanted to see Martin. I went over to him. He was shaking and his eyes were open. It was not the typical "my husband's in a coma" scene you see in Hollywood. He had bags of ice all over him. There was an odd machine beside his bed that was attached to him with blood coming in or out of his body, I wasn't sure. There were about four people working on him giving me sympathetic looks. "Why is he shaking?" I asked them. "He's probably having multiple seizures." They said. "Maybe he's just cold," I thought. "Why are his eyes open like that?" They quickly tried to shut them. They told me to talk to him. It was weird trying to talk to someone who is having multiple seizures, with ice bags all over him and wires and tubes coming out of him in way too many places. I stood at the top of him, stroked his freshly shaved head, and told him I loved him.

As I was standing there the oddest feeling came over me. I had to pee. I know that sounds crazy but the feeling was so strong I could hardly hold it. I asked Maureen if I could go to the bathroom. She took me in and told me she would be waiting outside and that if I took too long she would come in. What I didn't know was that Maureen was scared I would go into shock. What she didn't know is I was terrified she'd walk in on me going to the bathroom! I went quickly then stared in the mirror at myself. Pinching my arm over and over I asked God to wake me from this dream. Looking back I think God gave me that feeling so I wouldn't go into shock. She knocked on the door and I came out quickly. She wouldn't stop looking at my eyes. It was annoying at the time, now I know she was looking for signs.

When I got back to the death room I was left alone. "God, please save him. Please make all of this go away. Please heal him." I squeezed my eyes shut and pressed my hands together pleading with God. Then I knew I needed to say something. I needed to say it out loud. Even if I didn't agree with it or want it, I had to say it. "But Father, not my will but yours be done." I said it out loud and quick. And as soon as I said it I added, "But please, please let our wills be the same!"

The next couple of hours were a blur. Doctors were coming in and out asking me questions about Martin's health. His mom came back at some point. The doctors all asked the same questions. Does he drink? Does he smoke? Is he on steroids? Has he taken drugs recently any drugs at all - prescription or non? Has he been sick? Has he been around anyone who has been sick? How was he feeling this morning the last time you saw him? Doctor after doctor. Specialist after specialist.

The E.R. doctor came in at some point and I think he saw that I wasn't getting it. Yes, I knew Martin was sick. I knew all his organs were shut down or were shutting down, but he saw that I didn't realize he was going to die. So he said it, "If he doesn't die then he will have brain damage. We have no idea how much." "What? IF he doesn't die he could be a vegetable?" I didn't say it but I thought it.

My mother-in-law went out front to get cell phone reception and I was left alone in the death room. I didn't have my cell phone with me so I could only remember a few phone numbers. My parents were in Idaho where my dad was teaching at a pastor's conference. I didn't know any of my siblings cell numbers but I remembered my dad's church's prayer line. I called that hoping to leave a message for someone to call me back.

More tomorrow.

Click here for
Part 1

Click here for
Part 3

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Day 150 - That's Just Our God, Showing Off - Part 1

I was going to wait until Sunday, June 27, to write about this but Sunday's are so busy with church and naps.

I first named this post "The Day He Almost Died" but that's not the case at all. Martin did come close to death in human terms but it's not like God was surprised by all of this. So I appropriately changed the title.

Five years. Five years since Martin collapsed during physical training in the Police Department. Five years since he was rushed to the hospital with a 109.7 body temperature. I only want to give the background not to dwell on the despair or hopelessness we all felt that night or the dream that was lost that day but the way God preordained it before time began and how it all played out just to His liking. The way He showed off. Our God, oh how He loves to show off!

It was hot. Humidity was so high that it was hard to breathe outside. The temperature was in the high 80's. There was a mist of rain most of the day but not a cool, soothing rain, more like a hot shower mist. I spent all day praying for Martin. He had been sworn in as a Sheriff's officer a few weeks before and had been working at the Sheriff's Department leading up to that day but this was his first day at the Academy. He was very nervous but so excited. A dream he had since he was a little boy was coming true!

We had given up a lot for him to become a police officer. He had turned down a promotion that exceeds how much he is making at his current job today. He was 26 years old, we had no mortgage, no children and it seemed like the perfect time to follow his dream. It was a huge leap of faith. We both sought God about it. There wasn't a right or wrong choice. Nothing sinful about either one. It finally came down to: Which choice would we depend on God more? We both agreed that leaving his current job, turning down his promotion offer and taking the Sheriff's officer position was in fact how we could step out on faith and trust God to provide and it was Martin's heart's desire.

I got the call around 4:30. The Sergeant at the academy was letting me know that Martin had passed out and was taken to the hospital. He said they had to close their gates and his car would be locked away for the night so someone needed to pick him up. Shore Memorial Hospital is where they took him. Not knowing where on earth that was (other than obviously close to the shore) I asked if I should leave now or wait a bit. He told me he wasn't sure and that he would call me back. I called Martin's mom to let her know. I wasn't alarmed, I was more annoyed. "I bet he didn't drink enough water and passed out! He probably had to get an I.V. and will be sitting up drinking a diet coke when we go in!" Those were pretty much my exact words.

My mother-in-law said she would like to drive me so I waited for the Sergeant to call me back before we left. He called back about 45 minutes later and said we could leave now, he would probably be ready and that some of the other cadets had taken his wallet, keys and ID down to meet me. So off we went, not having any idea what we would find when we got there. Knowing now that God was protecting my heart and comforting me through the work of the Holy Spirit without my knowledge.

More tomorrow. This post is way too long.

Click here for
Part 2

Click here for
Part 3

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day 149 - Just a Plug

Really quick, David Platt's book Radical can be downloaded here for $2.49 for the next day or so. He is the narrator so that makes it cooler if you ask me! I highly recommend the book. It's not magic, just well, radical. Something everyone needs to hear and react to.

Pray for me, I didn't go workout last night and today, I have a huge headache (could have something to do with this 95 degree heat). I really don't want to go tonight but I need to. My biggest obstacle comes when I get home and get distracted (sometimes on purpose, sometimes not). Martin is out mountain biking this afternoon so he will not be going with me. I CAN DO THIS, by God's grace!

Buy the book or the download it.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Day 147 - Father's Day

Well Clint, Becky, and the boys are safely on there way home. They planned on leaving around 8 but it was around 11 before they got one the road this morning. We had such a good time and hearing Becky say it was the best vacation she's ever been on was worth it! Martin and I tried to watch to my dad's sermon this morning but it wouldn't load for some reason. So, I'm catching up on his sermon series "The Extreme Teachings of Jesus." It's amazing.

I'm reading a book called "Radical" by David Platt. He's a pastor in Alabama about my age and the book is nothing new, just looking at Jesus and his real teachings. Not taking his extreme teachings and molding them into our white, middle class America. I highly recommend it. We've got to stop thinking that it's okay to continue living like we are. Something I have been wondering more and more is that what if God allowed America to be prosperous so that we can take the Gospel to ALL. But in our selfishness, we have built ourselves a heaven on earth (our homes, our pleasures, our churches) and all we do is feed ourselves to be fat, lazy, disgusting people. I don't want that. I'm done with that. Jesus tells the rich young ruler to sell everything he has and follow him. Because He knows that He treasures his things more than God. I think God is allowing us to see that things are things and we can not be satisfied unless we are satisfied in God - so I'm listening.

It's Father's Day, and I need to say I have the best dad's in the world! My dad still continues to teach me through his sermons and then how his life reflects the Word of God. He is not perfect but he's available and God continues to change him. And my father-in-law has raised an amazing son that will one day, Lord willing be an amazing dad too. And he is our biggest advocate on adoption. I love seeing God change all of us!

I posted this on our adoption blog (yes, I started one) but I'll put it here too. My dad's church did a video on adoption. It's great - click here to watch.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Day 142 - Being Victorious

Lots going on in my pea brain this morning. Why I responded so poorly to trial yesterday. After having a morning in the Word and a lovely time with God why was my immediate response in trial to run around to everyone but God? I eventually readjusted my thinking and responses and took it to God. I often wonder what victorious living is like. What it actually looks like. When will I be there here on earth? Will I know when I am there? I'm not talking about a perfect Christian walk (a.k.a. heaven), but a moment by moment walk in sweet communion with God.

Then last night at Wal-Mart I was walking in or out of the store, I don't remember, and I looked up and saw the sky::: Blue and pink with white brushes of clouds and my heart automatically went to worship, not because God made it for me but for the simple yet complex idea that He made it! "That's it!" I thought. That is victorious living. Falling down (what seems like constantly) and allowing God to pick you up off the ground brush you off, and you worshiping Him, thinking of Him, talking with Him, being amazed by Him, growing in Him through His Word. That's it!

My brother Clint, his wife Becky, and their boys Billy and Spencer are coming to visit for a few days. We're headed to NYC, Ocean City and who knows where else. I'll try to have some pictures. I am terrible at remembering to take them (sorry mom).

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Day 137 - Death Is Not Dying

First off, it's my sister's 27th birthday today. Happy Birthday Laura! I love you so much.

So my brother Aaron sent me a link to a video. It's 55 minutes long. Wait, wait, wait, hear me out. It's of a 37 year old woman who is dying of cancer. She went to speak to a women's group and it ended up being about 600 women.

He warned me I would cry. I did. It's worth a watch. She has four points: Know God, Know you, Know Jesus, Know your purpose. She's very engaging and just the fact that she slept all day and took tons of meds to stand up in front of all those women for an hour to speak deserves a watch. I will warn you again, you will cry but it's not a sad, woe is me cry, it's a wow, this is amazing what God is doing cry.

Click here for the link.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Day 130 - Christian Insanity

Who was it that said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results? Not sure but it's a great definition.

I am an insane Christian. I have this disconnect with knowing and doing and I know yet I do nothing over and over again and expect to grow in Christ.

I might look good on the outside. I am busy with things of God. I disciple, I am in ministry, I try to serve Christ through loving my husband, I am constantly learning through the teaching of others. But there is a disconnect.

James talks about it. "Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does" James 1:21-25.

Paul also talks about it in Romans. "For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me" Romans 7:19-20.

I was in the car this morning singing and crying having a wonderful time of worship while driving yet as soon as a girl cut me off, I got mean. Seriously? You were just singing that the same God who raised Jesus from the dead lives inside of you? Seriously? Yes. And so goes the pattern of my life. The best way to put it is a disconnect between knowing and doing. It's easy to love God on my terms but in the day to day walk, I fail constantly.

It's easy to see it other people too. I see it in my husband. I see it in my friends. But God continues to bring it back to me. It's about me and Him. And I have to choose moment by moment whom I will serve.

One way God has convicted me is my evenings. Whether we go to the gym or not, I come home, fix dinner, eat, clean-up, then veg. There is no reason that I should be vegging for more than a few hours a week. And when I say I veg, I mean I sit in front of the t.v. and flip and watch nothing of eternal worth. I'm not saying I need to be out with people every night or have people in my home every night. That's not healthy for marriage. I mean I can be finishing my trim painting in the living room, or reading one of the hundreds of books on my shelf. This is one of my biggest disconnects. Taking that precious time (nights at home with no plans are truly precious) and using it for something other than filling my mind with worthless trash.

The good thing is that I know I am a child of God. And it's not just because of what I know. I see the evidence in my life. I see LOTS of discipline from the Father. I have conviction of sin from the Holy Spirit. I am nothing without Christ and His work on the cross. These are why I am a child of God not because of what I do. That's the scariest disconnect of them all. When those who think they are children of the most high God are depending on what they do. And God has allowed me to show those around me Himself. That's what it is about. Just making my God look good. That's why we were created.