14. Lost without you

June 7, 2014

After work, the day after my grandma passed away, I decided that I did not want to deal with all the huge changes in my life, but to party instead. And when we leave God and begin to knowingly sin, not having a care in the world, we come to find out that it is a vicious spiral down.

I left work the morning of June 7th and didn’t open up a devotional until June 13th.

My ex-boyfriend was working to bring us back together and I wanted no part of it, my grandma was gone and I was moving across the country for full time graduate school. All of the things I thought were going to happen, the things I planned were simply just gone. No wedding, no engagement, no Arizona CRNA school, and no Arizona house. God was taking me somewhere else. A glass of wine quickly turned in to a bottle, which turned into a party…

June 13, 2014: My journal entry

Lord,

“Wow. I cannot believe I let a week go by without spending time with you. As you know I have sinned greatly. Lord, I need you and only you. I desire to get to know you better and continue growing our relationship. What do you want for my life? Is Damien the one, my husband? Am I making a big mistake? Only you know and only your Word matters Lord. How I’ve missed you even though I know you’ve heard all my prayers and cries. Thank you for bringing my grandma peace. God you are so good. I trust you with my life. Lead me Lord, Keep me the course. I need your grace. In Jesus name, Amen.” 

June 14, 2014: 

I continued my studying of the word of God ready to get back into my daily patterns and to focus more on actually opening my Bible.

James 4: 13-14: “Now listen, you who say, “‘today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.'” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” Hmmm…The Lord speaks.

Ever feel like you are in a holding pattern? A time of waiting with undetermined outcomes and nebulous timelines…

I sure did but God reminded me that our true character is revealed when prayers seem unanswered and God seems far away. This testing of our faith stretches our endurance. My holding pattern and yours is part of a great story. He will always, always come through.

Trust His plan.

It is in our imperfections, our falls, our sin, our sadness, & our confusion when we come to realize that when there’s nowhere else to go, and no one to turn to, we have God. It is Him and only Him, that can turn all circumstances and mistakes for good. Are you willing to get back up?

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for your forgiveness and love. Thank you for your presence, your Word of truth and of life. Thank you for your continued protection, power and grace over our lives and for never leaving us as you found us. Help us to be patient, to be still and to wait for you. How blessed we are that the whole world is in your hands. May our faith continue to stand strong when washed in adverse waters and may our hope in you never fade when hit with stormy weather. Thank you for our lives and thank you for giving us a purpose on your earth. I love you Father. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

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13. Take me to the King

So now I am single, moving to Rhode Island for nurse anesthetist school and my good friend Kirstyn had been the answer to my prayers as she had found us an apartment. School was starting July 1st and I had much to do to prepare for the move from Arizona to the east coast.

My grandma, still suffering from Alzheimer disease, was being cared for by my parents and home hospice in Kentucky. For days now my grandma had been agitated, attempting to get out of bed, uncomfortable and screaming, “God what is taking you so long!?” She was ready to go home.

My mother at this point is emotionally exhausted, sleep-deprived, and at her wits end struggling with feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. I prayed daily for God’s peace to permeate my mother and my grandmother’s life.

I passed on Smokie Norful’s I understand song to my mom:

“He knows just how much you can bear
And in the time of trouble He promised
He would always be there
Oh, I am the Lord, I see you, and, yes, I understand

He says, I am the Lord and I changeth not
And I won’t forget nor have I forgot
And everything works according to My plan
I am God, trust Me, I got the whole world in My hands”

Because just when we think we can’t bear another day, God steps in, right on time, just as He promises….

June 6, 2014

90 degrees of heat warmed me immediately, as I stepped out of the cold hospital walls and into the 4:00 a.m. desert air. I felt my phone vibrating in my pocket and thought I must have forgotten something at work and went to turn back when I saw that it was my mom.

“Hello,” I said.

“Hey Amanda, it’s mom. Umm grandma seems really uncomfortable and I don’t know what to do for her.”

I asked my mom to explain to me what was going on. “Well,” my mom said, “she has been really quiet and sleeping since about yesterday (HUGE change). Her breathing is quick and she sounds a little gurgly. I’m worried she may be in pain…”

As my mom continued to describe her observations of my grandma I knew immediately that the time of her death was drawing near. I interrupted my mom and gently said, “Mom, it sounds to me like she is entering her final stage of life. From here it could be hours, maybe a day. Are you going to be ok?”

My mom quickly said, “Yes, I just want her to be comfortable.”

For the next couple hours I coached my mom on how to comfort her mother in her final hours including instilling medicine along her gum line, how to comfortably position my grandmother, how to provide oral care and wash her with a warm wash rag. I also told her to talk to my grandmother, as hearing is the final sense that departs our bodies. As soon as my mom felt my grandma was comfortable she climbed into the bed next to her, held her and sang her her favorite songs.

When I got off the phone with my mom at around 6:00 a.m. I knew that when I would wake up later that afternoon my grandmother would be gone. It was then I went to YouTube and put on Tasha Cobbs rendition of “Break every chain” and I fell to my knees singing the lyrics over and over again: “there is power in the name of Jesus.”

Immediately the presence of God filled the room and I felt such a powerful uplifting of His peace, strength, and love. I played the song over and over again, raised my hands to the sky and sang and prayed to God with no shame, no fear, just the raw emotion I felt in my soul. When I brought my hands down I knocked my Bible on the floor and it fell open to

Psalm 23:

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” NIV translation, The Daily Walk Bible.

I read the Psalm over and over again, still on my knees, singing and praising God until I eventually fell asleep. I woke up around 1:30 pm that afternoon and called my mom knowing what she would say. My beautiful grandma was gone, but she had died PEACEFULLY, in my mom’s arms, in her own home. GOD IS GOOD.

She was home now, in a place where she would no longer suffer, lying in plush green pastures, with a well of refreshing water at her feet, the sunlight on her face, beside the Father.

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for sending us Jesus, our chain breaker. Thank you for working miracles in our lives today. Remind us that if a door is closed, that we should humble ourselves and praise You in the hallway. When the storms rage, may we be renewed by Your strength and praise You through it. I know you will see us through our trials. Your timing is perfect, Your ways flawless, and Your love enduring. I trust you, Jesus, I love you, I receive you, and I thank you for the enormous impact you have made in my life and those around me. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.