Tag Archive | Faith

Do You Know This Player?

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My name is Pride, I am a cheater.

I cheat you of your God-given destiny…

because you demand your own way.

I cheat you of contentment…

because you “deserve better than this.”

I cheat you of knowledge…because you already know it all.

I cheat you of healing…because you’re too full of me to forgive.

I cheat you of holiness…

because you refuse to admit when you’re wrong.

I cheat you of vision…

because you’d rather look in the mirror than out a window.

I cheat you of genuine friendship…

because nobody’s going to know the real you.

I cheat you of love…

because real romance demands sacrifice.

I cheat you of greatness in heaven…

because you refuse to wash another’s feet on earth.

I cheat you of God’s glory…

because I convince you to seek your own.

My name is Pride.  I am a cheater.

You like me because you think I’m always looking out for you.  Untrue.

I’m looking to make a fool of you.

God has so much for you, I admit, but don’t worry…

If you stick with me,

You’ll never know.

ALL HEADS BOWED AND NO LOOKING AROUND

Are you a Christian?  Simplest question ever asked, regardless of any complications one allows to stifle the answer.

 

If so, the time has arrived when there can be no question as to whether or not you will respond to the duty you are being called to act upon.

 

You must cast your vote for the President of your United States.

 

I challenge every breathing person to look around and name the force in control of the world.  And for any complicators, that force is biblically stated.

 

Until recently, I, like many others, saw the selection of one candidate over the other as a choice between the lesser of two evils.

 

Then it was called to my attention that there is one difference that gives a bottom line answer.

 

To any of us who believe we are more than the evolution of a primate, the choice is clear.

 

We choose life, in every sense of the word.  And all the troubles of the world become bearable.  And in that choice there is no senseless killing of unborn babies.

 

Only one candidate makes this same choice.

 

Your failure to vote on November 8 is your vote for the biblically named enemy.

 

May a shudder travel up your spine.

 

 

My United Hometown

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I reflected earlier this summer – on our 4th of July holiday to be exact – on how the celebration termed as our ‘Independence’ Day seems to be lost at times to those of us that live in this great country we call home.  Lost in the sense that we may take for granted that freedom is not an entitlement.

As the news stories played out across our televisions this past Sunday, many of us recalled where we were on that fateful morning fifteen years ago.  Where we were, what we were doing when shock took over as we watched and felt the horror take residence in the heart of every American, young and old.

As I watched on Sunday, I thought again of our men and women stationed in countries across oceans, far away from loved ones, who are there for the sole reason of defending this county we move freely in.  Where we, at any time of the day or night, can choose to live our lives with the comfort of not having to worry of such things as missile strikes, combat zones or constant bombings.  Those soldiers are working and laying down their lives to ensure that freedom that all of us cocooned in safety can so easily relay into a ‘right’.

On Monday, in my mind and heart, those soldiers overseas became joint partners with soldiers of a different uniform.  Those wearing the badges of city and county police officers.

As the hours ticked by throughout the day, I kept watch for emails updating the condition of a police officer from my hometown who was shot while serving a warrant over the weekend.  Late Monday afternoon, we learned he had succumbed to the injuries.

And my hometown is united like it hasn’t been since 9/11.

Office Brackeen’s patrol car is standing guard at the police station, covered in flowers.  Our picturesque courtsquare is adorned in blue ribbons.  Restaurants are selling blue lapel pins to raise money for the family.  Students at schools throughout the county will be wearing blue in honor on Friday.  Off duty officers in full uniform are seen standing talking in groups all over town.  Facebook is filled with beautiful tributes.  Just to give you a visual.  Our hearts are broken for his wife and four year old daughter.  For all his friends and fellow officers.

We’ve all heard the news reports of officers killed in the line of duty.  And I am ashamed to admit it to be so, but until this tragedy hit ‘home’,  I had mainly been only aware of officers as my foot got heavy on the gas pedal and feared being caught.  Personally speaking, that is. Also, I remember telling my granddaughter that they are there for us to call if we’re in danger and need their help.

My, how things have changed.

In the volatile currents that are wrecking our society, these officers are truly soldiers on the battlefields of home.  Just as the soldiers overseas are defending our nation as a whole, these brave men and women step out each day into situations that can take their lives just as easily as those in the war zones of our world.  They are officers because of a heart’s desire to serve and protect – an oath they make to each of us.

I urge everyone reading this to examine your thoughts.  Have you, like myself, failed to give due respect to those who have sworn this oath?  I can say without a doubt that if I had to tally them into a column, the column would be headed as “Protection I’m Entitled To”.  The last forty-eight or so hours have opened my eyes.

This morning I actually saluted an officer driving in the lane beside me on the way to work. I realize as a civilian a salute may not be proper, but as each of us here struggle to come to terms with this happening in our own backyards, a salute summed it up for me in the space of moments I had in his eyesight.  I have awakened to a  great respect and appreciation for the protection they fight daily to blanket us with.  My heart goes out to them in a way like never before.  And now, with my granddaughter having been a part of the prayer vigil on the courtsquare Monday evening, I have a feeling she may be giving me a lesson on the freedoms they protect and not just there if we need them.

Please join me in searching out ways to let these protectors in our midst know that we stand with them, that we appreciate more than words can express the many ways they cloak our days in protection.  Chances are very high that we know very little of the actual dangers they have experienced in any given day.   I will seek ways to express this appreciation, but in the meantime, I will continue to salute.

My prayers and gratitude are with each of our soldiers.  Everywhere…

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At Every Bridge Bringing Officer Brackeen Home

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Saluted All Along the 45 Mile Ride

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To Protect And Serve

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United at Every Mile

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Standing Guard

 

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Look Out Kids, I’m Gonna Embarrass You Now!

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Me with Dr. Sandra Schultz

I told the truth when I said I hadn’t been anxious about hearing the results of my mammogram.   And it remained the truth until about twenty minutes before my appointment time.

As I walked in the door, that anxiety disappeared as I was greeted by the smiling Dr. Schultz herself.  She was sitting at the front desk, a highly unusual sight, and she laughed at my astonishment and told me not to get used to it that she’d be moving in just a second.  I stopped her before she could get away and asked for a picture.  She said “Certainly, come on in and we’ll get it in front of the tree.”

Before my cancer was discovered, I had known of a woman who had been diagnosed with a very rare, fast and almost always fatal form of this vicious disease.  Her doctor went to work determined to save her life.  She contacted colleagues all over the country with her immediate research.  Armed with all the knowledge available, she used her innate ability to read cancer and started an agressive attack.  I’ll not go into the details because those aren’t mine to share, but years later this woman is still cancer-free.  I believe that if God had not deemed it so, that would not be the case.  But I also believe that He placed her care in the earthly hands of Dr. Sandra Schultz, just as He did mine.

This is a story that could be repeated all day long.  There’s visual evidence of these stories all over the office in the form of quilts hanging on the walls, pink wreaths adorning the doors and artwork all up and down the hallways – all given in gratitude by patients and their families.  Not only is the care given by Dr. Schultz that of which gives hope, but the atmosphere of her office conveys an instant feeling of warmth, making her patients feel like family from the first visit forward.

As you walk up to the window to sign in, you are immediately swathed in that warmth by her receptionist, Brenda McCombs.  Of my many, many visits, never has this sweet lady failed to greet me with the most genuine smile and positive attitude.  The other members of the office – Stephanie, Lindsay, Ruby and Leanna – make the picture complete and they all bounce their warm spirits back and forth amongst themselves, drawing you into their amazing circle of healing.

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Brenda MCombs

My granddaughter doesn’t know it yet, but on June 3, she and I will be joining Dr. Schultz and her team, The Blazing Pink Flamingos, at the Relay for Life Walk in Kings Mountain.  Brenda said she would surprise my granddaughter with her own pink flamingo:

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Have you noticed the artwork and wreaths I mentioned?

As Dr. Schultz and I chatted in the examining room today, she asked how the trip plans were coming along.  I looked at her, astonished that she had remembered my telling her last year of our upcoming trip.  She grinned at me and said she’d made a note on my file so she wouldn’t forget.

In addition to being the tremendous doctor and surgeon that she is, Dr. Schultz is also a very large supporter of non-profit groups in Gaston County.  There were several raffle baskets in the office today, with proceeds going to various organizations.

From the standpoint of being a patient, it is very rare to come across this type of environment.  The dedication of Dr. Schultz, and her staff, is evident to any who find themselves in the midst of their care.  Not only was I blessed that my cancer was found so early, but my blessings were greatly enhanced by being under the care of this wonderful woman.  Her expertise is undeniable, her depth of caring is unquestionable.

Now, to my daughter, my son-in-law and my granddaughter, I say:  Look out paradise, here I come!  No holding back, no fears.  My feet will be as if they’re not touching the ground and I’ll be dancing to music, even if I’m the only one who can hear it.  I’m Maui bound, and I’m cancer-free!

 

 

 

I Learned A Lesson

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I sat down with the intention of breaking down the 28 Reasons (see previous post) one by one.  I re-read the entire article again but this time I felt nothing but filthy for even reading it – a type of filth that felt ‘porn-ish’ in nature – an abomination.

I’m sure the author feels very strongly about each of the reasons she listed.  And my first reading of the article terrified and troubled me, as I said earlier, that Christians could be labeled in such a way.  And I still feel strongly that a response from me is required, if only to myself and to those of you who are reading along with me.  But the response has turned out to be quite different than my initial reaction.  That in itself is a nugget of truth that I need to remind myself of often – to think things through before I react.  And to listen to that still, small voice that, yes, speaks to me.  All that hear that voice know it and do not need to fear being in the group labeled ‘Christian’.  Those who hear the voice know Who stands with us.

That being said, my ultimate response to the author of the 28 Reasons is this:

1 Corinthians 13: 12-13

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.  But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

I have taken the author to my prayer room, that she will know that these comments are not done in love, in the spirit of Christ.  That her mind and heart will be awakened to the knowledge that this type of propaganda does nothing but fuel the hatred, to allow the talons of evil to dig even deeper into those the evil is seeking to devour.  Which is everyone who gives evil the crack to enter through.

So, my dear readers, I owe you all an apology.  My intention to not allow a ‘haunt’ to come upon you was, in fact, the very thing I did.  In my confusion, I was a means of spreading something other than love.  I sincerely apologize.

I have learned a valuable lesson through this.  To guard closely the words I send into the world.  If the words are not good and true and kind, I’ll not allow them at all – even if it’s to make a point as I was attempting to do.

Because if the words are not good, they are not of God.  And there’s only one other alternative to where those kinds of words come from.  I picture that heinous one gleefully rubbing his hands together and saying “gotcha”.

No more.

Again, I apologize.

May God bless each and every one of you.

Don’t Piss Heaven Off

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It’s been a crazy busy week…I had everything moved out of my bedroom last weekend and now the only drawer I can get to without moving a piece of furniture is that for my underwear.  My clothes are hanging on shower rods and doorframes and my dog is thoroughly confused.  All week I’ve worked on getting Kilz on the dark paint on large baseboards, window and door frames and crown moldings.  Now I have the large room and sitting area to paint to get the room ready for new carpeting.  Then there’s been soccer practice and games with my granddaughter that I never miss, her dance program at the Merry Go Round Festival at the city park and shopping at Old Navy yesterday to take advantage of their 40% off sale for card members and using my rewards before they expired.  The three girls checked out with over $330 worth of summer clothes for only $23!  My kind of shopping!

But something has been niggling at the back of my mind throughout this past hectic week that I know I have to address.  If for no other reason than because it’s the nature of what someone who writes does – we put it down in words.  As I tossed it around this week, my little pink diary with the tiny little key that I had when I was a young girl came to mind.  The one no one was even to touch but me.  And then onto the journals I’ve kept throughout the years – again for my eyes only.  I still do keep a handwritten journal but now for only one purpose:  to record eventful days and trips for my granddaughter for her to have years from now.

Now I have graduated to a much larger ‘diary’ – one that is open for the world to read and is no longer for my eyes only.  One that I share freely and still remain true to myself.  Nothing fluffed up, nothing fabricated – just the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  But one that I still go to when something wonderful has happened, or something is deeply bothering me.  Which is where I find myself to be now.

I stumbled upon an article last Sunday that has haunted me ever since.  I’m going to share it with you below.  Not to cause a haunt to come upon my cohorts, but to let you see where I’m coming from when I can finally get my thoughts around each of the 28 points contained in the article and post them here in my ‘diary’.  As long as I can remember, the biggest tick that’s ever gotten the best of me is being accused, doubted, even considered to have done something that I haven’t done.  This article lumps everyone who is a Christian into this tick of mine.  And what’s worse, it’s from someone from the South – one who lives and breathes the same Southern air as I do.

What does all this have to do with Steven Tyler, you may be wondering?

I will be vacationing in Maui in June.  I’ve learned since planning the trip that Steven Tyler – among a large host of others if I would name you would all recognize –  has a home there and roams the island just like anyone else.  I asked myself how I would react if I turned the corner at Food Land while on the island and he’s there picking up a gallon of milk.  And what instantly came to mind is a song he wrote years ago entitled “Full Circle” – it’s not one you would know unless you are an Aerosmith fan – and music of most every genre has always been a very important part of my life.  To give you the gist of it, here’s a few of the lyrics:

If I could change the world like a fairy tale

I would drink the love from your Holy Grail.

I would start with love and tell ol’ Beelezub to get

outta town cause you just lost your job.

How did we get so affected

Cause love is love reflected…..

Don’t piss Heaven off — we’ve got hell to pay.

Ultimately, we do not stand judgement with anyone other than the One God who created this world and everything that all that man has created stands upon.  In turn, we are not to attempt to BE a judge of anyone who breathes – justice system withstanding. The hatred that is becoming a horror story of its own in our own United States is what the article I previously mentioned opened my eyes to.  Not that I don’t see it everyday – but just as a Christian I felt personally attacked for the first time and find it time to become consciously aware day to day how that can be reversed.  Ultimately, I know that is impossible – it’s all part of what’s to come and has been predicted through the ages by God Himself through John the Revelator. But I do not want to be a part of the hatred written about.  I am a child of Christ – and that, my friends, is love.  Not passive and complacent to all that’s going on, but to show love – regardless of one’s skin color, religious affiliation or sexual orientation.  Love does not mean condone – love means love reflected.  And if we fail to show love, we’ve got hell to pay.  The United States is coughing up that payment now.      Here:

https://lifeofafemalebiblewarrior.wordpress.com/2016/04/12/28-reasons-im-done/

“They’re So Wide…”

DSCF3267My Mom and Dad were both blue collar workers – hard workers.  Daddy worked hard to give our family what he thought they needed – a nice home, vacations, all the newest technology, which back then was a microwave, VCR and cordless telephones. We gathered at six each evening for dinner together at the table.  He grilled steaks most Saturday evenings on the brick charcoal grill he’d built in the backyard while first Lawrence Welk and then Love Boat played on in the background.

But for much of this seemingly idyllic childhood we lived with an ever-present fear, one that haunted our every moment.  We continued on as if all was as it should be, but each of us spoke each word, thought each thought with the image of ‘it’ coming back smothering our certainties.

My brother was almost four years younger than I.  When he was seven months old, I was told he had what the doctors called a ‘boil’ in his stomach and life was touch and go as they did surgery to remove it.  When he was seven years old he slid down the basement stair rails to carry dirty clothes to the laundry and fell, hitting his head on the cement floor below.  Seven months later he started having seizures as he slept and after long waits through test after test, it was found that he had a brain tumor between the two sides of his brain. The doctors said the basement fall would have had nothing to do with the tumor, but we pointlessly never stopped wondering.  Surgery was done at Duke Hospital but they were unable to remove all of it due to its location.  For three months, Mama spent days in the hospital with him as treatments were done and either Mama would drive them home for the weekends or my Dad and I would drive up – abour a four hour drive.

At the end of those three months, we were told the tumor was not visible on any of the tests they performed.  Medical advancements were not then what they are now – this was over forty years ago – most of the tests themselves made him very sick.  But, he was able to come home to resume his life with regular visits to Duke to periodically confirm all was still well.

I was eleven when he hit the basement stairs.  The seven months between the fall and the tumor was the last we were all to see of our normal family with normal joys and normal problems.  I remember one Monday morning when I was in the fourth grade when Mama and Roy (my brother) were dropping me off at school as they headed back to Duke.  I was almost to the door, and Mama’s car was almost to the road when I realized I’d left my can of Koby’s potato sticks in the car.  I literally ran trying to catch her car only see her make the turn and disappear.  A kind teacher took sobbing me under her wing that day and become a second mom to me as I dealt with my real mom not being home.

Daddy tried to do his best but he became unreachable.  He would either lie on the catch until he’d go to sleep watching TV each evening, or he’d sit at his desk writing letters to Roy and Mama.  I did my best to do housework and laundry, we’d eat whatever was there.  Basically, as my Daddy drew tighter and tighter inside himself with worry, I worked harder and harder to ease his burden.

Then, Roy came home.  We all were happy to re-adjust, again, and he to try to catch up with the schoolwork he’d gotten so far behind on.  The coming years found him joining the band, finding his love of fishing and for the rock band ‘Kiss’.  But just as our haunt predicted, seven years later the tumor returned, this time inoperable.

He went back to Duke for what treatments were felt could alleviate the pressure of the tumor, and sent home with the knowledge that the treatments ‘may’ have worked to let him live a long life, or they hadn’t.  The picture above is him with his new puppy shortly after these treatments.  I see it in his eyes here – the way he’d look at us with love mixed in with what wasn’t fear, but a knowing.  He played the trombone and one day asked me to come downstairs – he had a surprise for me.  He knew my love of the song ‘Edelweiss’ from ‘The Sound of Music’ -so he had taught it to himself to play for me.  It didn’t sound quite the same on a trombone but I loved him for it.

In just a few short months he began having stability problems, his eyes would suddenly roll up into his head and his head would loll.  When the breathing problems started, his Duke doctors said there was no need to bring him back to Duke, they had done all they could do.  One night as he lay in the hospital bed here in our hometown, Mama sang “Jesus loves me, He who died, Heaven’s gates to open wide” and he stopped her and said something she couldn’t understand.  As she put her head close to his mouth, he said “They’re so wide.”  Mama choked back tears and kept on singing.  Two days later she had to tell him to quit fighting and let go.  He died on the eighth day of the seventh month at 7:07 in the morning.

I made reference to his time of death for one reason.  So many marveled and took comfort in the sequence of sevens in his life – as they saw this number as God’s completion number.  Coincidence or not, I’ve listed them in this little story as I’ve gone along. There are seven of them.

I’ve had this post on my mind for awhile and now that I’ve sat down to write it I’ve found that there are many posts out there right now involving ‘brothers’.  Maybe it’s a thought God’s given us all for some reason….But my writing on Roy has been to let go of some of it.  Yes, it’s been a great many years but just as all those years before he died carried the thought of whether the cancer would come back or not in our every action, the thought habits that those years created in me have been something I’ve tackled for a great part of my life.  I’ve always been the one to try to find a solution to every problem, to excel at whatever I do, to hide my feelings.  I think all of these character traits were formed in those years I was on the other side of Roy’s illness.  My parents were not there for many of my school functions throughout the years because of something or other that would come up with Roy.  The night I graduated high school we left immediately to take him back to Duke.  So much of my life, even though I never resented it, was put on the back burner to do what had to be done.  That carried over into my mistakes in marriage very soundly.  I bent over backwards and expected to be appreciated.  The lengths I went to, I realize now, were not only unhealthy but were part of my allowing myself to be the victim of an abusive marriage all in the name of ‘helping him – he doesn’t mean it’.  I shudder now.  Not only in my marriage, but in ever facet of my life I see traces of “why” I react in certain ways, where my own natural inclination to excel is driven from.

There is also the pain and the questioning of why.  I don’t question why I feel sad when families everywhere are having big get togethers.  Or when holidays roll around and my family is basically only my Mom and myself.  But I do so miss what could have been to the point that it is a literal pain.  But – the pain leaves me truly thankful for the blessings I have in my daughter and her family.  Truly thankful that Roy saw the gates and will be there to meet me at them some day. Truly thankful that God has turned the lessons I learned from those many years ago into the joy of enjoying each day with my daughter and granddaughter and so much more.

If you’re still reading, I thank you for hearing me out.  This is something I’ve never really talked to anyone about but something I also know had great bearing on my life.  I will never forget my brother – I miss him greatly now.  I get very melancholy when I think of what it might be like if he had lived, had his own family.  Life is so very different now from what it would have been.  My Daddy’s death was even a part of Roy’s story, but that’s all for another time as this post is going long.

Again, thank you.  And to each of my blogger friends – may God bless your every moment.

Tammi

First Impressions of a Blogger

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I’ve only starting blogging a few weeks ago and in this short time I must say that blogging is an adventure in and off itself.  I started out with the intention of getting myself ‘out there’ but it has turned into what is becoming a wonderful and powerful new part of my life.

I have found the most inspiring bloggers.  Ones who meld words in such a way that I find myself consumed, carried away to emotions that inspire, empathize, invoke, conjure – you name it – it’s here in the world of blogging.  I’ve found magnificent photographers who need no words to appeal to those same emotions.  I’ve vicariously traveled to wondrous lands where I could only dream of visiting.

But I’ve also found pain.  There are many who have and are fighting hard battles.  Who are utterly courageous in sharing those battles with the world.  Their courage to expose themselves a testament itself to the inspiration they share with others.

I’ve found ones who are questioning and searching for answers about and from God.  Those have left me no alternatives but to ask myself the same questions.  Then there’s the ones who flat out refuse to believe or have explained away the very existence of God.

One of the detriments to blogging that I’m encountering is the lack of laundry getting done, the dust balls curling up around the baseboards and the dog bones left on the floor that I step on getting out of bed in the morning.  I am being drawn to the blog world now and am consumed with each new wonderful post I find.  But, it is a pleasure that I am savoring.

Each word of inspiration and encouragement lifts my soul and confirms to me that I’m on the right track, to never give up on my dreams.  Be they big or small, a daily goal or one I hope to have accomplished a year or even ten years from now.  I’ve also realized that the experiences I’ve had in my life can enable me to be sources of inspiration to others, just as so many are inspiring me.

The wistfullness I feel when I think of some beautiful place like Greece, Australia, Thailand or any of the other hundreds of lands I’d love to visit has become somewhat diminished as I get to read and visit in beautiful pictures these and other wonderful places.  To have a first hand account and be able to speak with people living in these lands or on an adventure there themselves is a joy for me.

Above all, I know from whence cometh my help and God is speaking clearly and lovingly through most all posts.  Even those that are not directly speaking of God, I still hear His voice.  In searching to answer those hard questions from skeptics, my faith has grown greatly and I am blessed to have encountered even those experiences.

I thank you all for welcoming me so warmly to the world of blogging and greatly look forward to continuing this journey with each of you.  Till we talk again, may God bless your each and every moment!

Love, Tammi

Septic Scare

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My Best Friend and Daughter

 I’ve been thinking lately on what it means to be thankful.  My husband died in 2004.  He was 48.  I was ravaged with grief, fear and uncertainty of the future, regret, anger – a myriad of emotions.  Less than a month after his passing, I received a call that ultimately sent me reeling on the precipice I was already barely clinging to.

My daughter had traveled to Nevada to visit family and as she waited to board her flight home, she called to tell me she wasn’t feeling well.  When she arrived at Charlotte, it was evident she was feverish so I got her home and put her to bed with Tylenol for the fever.  Four hours later, when I found the fever had skyrocketed to 105, she was so weak I could barely get my 22 year old baby to the car.  I’m sure there aren’t many who aren’t personally familiar with the long wait time in an emergency room.  When we got there her blood pressure and temp were taken and I should have known right then something was seriously wrong.  Instead, I think it was then that the Lord caught me in his arms.

She was immediately put in a room in emergency where tubes and monitors were hooked to her and even a catheter inserted.  None of the nurses or doctors could offer any words other than “we’re trying to find the problem, please stand back”.  Her blood pressure registered – I have to hold my breath right now to type it – 40 over 17.  It was about that time two nurses laid a defibrillator over my daughter’s legs and unhooked the machines.  They then literally sprinted out, pushing my daughter’s gurney as they ran down a hallway that said ‘no admittance’.  I finally realized there was a nurse standing beside me with her hand on my arm, talking.  Through the haze, I was able to make out that my daughter was being taken to the ICU and that someone there would be able to tell me more.

Long story short – they determined that she had a urinary tract infection that had entered her bloodstream and created sepsis, a potentially fatal infection of the whole body.  As I sat down outside the ICU it finally hit me at how close she was to death.  I was in such a state of shock that no tears came, I just stared.  I mumbled “I can’t make it if she isn’t here” and a friend put herself into my stare zone.  She said “God knows that”, then she smiled and kissed my cheek.  At that very moment, I felt peace and knew she was going to alright.  Not because I knew God wouldn’t take her from me, because I knew He could.  But because He let me know in that very peaceful moment that all would be well.  My soul heard the Spirit speak.

The sepsis had been caught at practically the very moment before it became fatal.  She was in ICU for five days and in a room for another three as they continued monitoring the infections that had tormented her body.  Each day as she got stronger, so did I.  I had been wallowing around in a grief that I know now would have carried my life in an entirely different direction than where it is now.  The lesson I learned from my daughter’s sepsis was to let go of the grief and confusion for things that were gone and be thankful instead for the many blessings I still had with me.

My thinkings lately have led me to know that it was during this time that my subsconsious really registered what ‘thankful’ means.   We come across questions where we’re asked what we’re thankful for – whether it’s in a devotional, a Sunday School lesson.   Or when confronted with problems of others, we offer thanks to God for the many blessings in our own lives.  But how do we thank God for dying on a cross? I’m afraid it’s taken for granted as a ‘story’ to the point that we forget what He actually did. I visualize a friend doing the same for me and it becomes horrific – I would be weeping and gnashing my teeth as I gazed at my friend’s tortured, bloodied body. Never would I be the same.

Through my daughter’s recovery, I was made wonderfully and joyfully thankful for her return to health.  How so very much more thankful I am to think of the Spirit’s guiding presence in every day and the confidence of a future where death will no longer separate me from my loved ones. How so very blessed and thankful I am for the many blessings my daughter, and now my granddaughter bring into my life. All as I bow my head at the base of a blood stained cross.