Friday, January 16, 2009

When The Going Gets Tough!

Today is one of my brother-in-laws 40th birthday. We are unable to be with him to celebrate in person. He and his wife live in Florida. We, of course, are in Texas. I write about him as a way to celebrate his birth and life's moments! To share a bit of his story with each of you.

I would like nothing more than for this day to be filled with laughter and a grand time for him! However, I know that may not be quite the case as it was in previous years. For while today is his birthday - on January 29th, he will be marking an anniversary that has changed his life and those who are connected to him. I share this from the viewpoint as a sister-in-law, friend, but more importantly sister-in-Christ.

It was a foggy Saturday morning as I was traveling to another town for a retreat in which I was being a guest speaker. On the way there - as I drove through the fog on the long stretch of a highway.... I knew I was going to be receiving word about something while speaking/teaching. I knew as clearly as I sit here writing this now. I arrived and shortly after eating breakfast - the group gathered and I began...


My hubby started texting me. We have a rule - no texting in such situations unless an emergency. I knew it was bad news and yet was still good news too. As I read the text aloud to the group - I was sharing news that this brother-in-law had been in a bomb blast in Iraq. It was his 4th tour there. We were uncertain of his condition - just knew that he had been directly hit.

I shared with the women that knowingly him as I do - he would not want me to stop what I had come there for. I prayed one of the most dangerous prayers I've prayed to date and continued on. To say that the Spirit was moving and everso present would be a gross understatement! I was teaching/speaking on "Overcoming Depression: Time for the church to be the church and to stop sweeping it under the rug!" It is a subject we know all too well due to my mother and some of what brought us to G-town in 2005. It remains one of the most intense teaching/speaking/listening times to date!

My brother-in-law was greatly injured in the bomb blast. He and his wife were stationed in Japan at the time and have just recently moved back to the states. He is looking at having another surgery on his arm soon. He lost part of the bone in it. They are going to try replacing what was lost with a cadaver bone. There is no guarantee that it will work. He knows this and yet it is not stopping him from living life's moments although they are different than he ever dreamed they would be now.

He also lost hearing in one of his ears as a result of one of his eardrums brusting. He is looking at another surgery for that as well that may or may not help him to get the hearing back in that ear. And yet, it is not stopping him from living life's moments although they are different than he ever dreamed they would be now at the ripe old age of 40.

So, today... as I sit here in Texas thinking about that brother-in-law of mine in Florida - I remain thankful that he is still alive and for how God is working in his life. I am thankful for a man whom is willing to lay down his life for what he believes in. And to continue on with his life as well. The same thing is said and felt for his wife too.

I ask that if you're praying person... if you would please add him and his wife to yours? They have such a long road to go in more ways than one.

When the going gets tough - what do you do? Whom do you turn to? Trust in?

What about when times are smooth as silk pie?

And as always, dear reader, you've been prayed for!

(Yes, there is far more to this story... stay tuned)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Beyond Rich!

Her name is Marie. Today I had the opportunity to spend 15 minutes or so with her as she poured out her pain. As I wrapped my arms around her, hugged her tight, and prayed with her - I could feel the heavy burdens, regret, shame, and unforgiveness she was holding inside release if only for a few moments.

Marie lost her grown daughter and dad all within a 3 month time period 3 years ago. She explained that she was so busy working for a living that she wasn't living life's moments as she could have been. When her daughter needed her - she was too busy working. Since her daughter has been gone - she is finding it hard to work more than a part-time job. The pain from her dad passing is almost getting the best of her. To say she is carrying a load in her heart and on her shoulders would be an understatement.

Marie asked me how I was so soft & tender. I didn't understand her question at first. Then as I looked her in the eyes - I saw the tears starting to flow down - I knew exactly what she needed to hear from me. So I shared about knowing the depths of sorrow, heartache, loss, and pain. Her eyes stayed locked on mine as I continue to rub my hands on her arms.

As I told her about having been paralyzed, her eyes grew wide. When I shared about as far as the doctors are concerned I should be in Heaven already or at least paralyzed from the neck down and hooked up to an oxygen machine - she started to smile a bit. As I shared about being healed completely physically, her smile could have lit up a whole room. She said over and over, "You do know!" And yet….

It was when I shared about having been my dad's primary caregiver until he went to Heaven that she said, "You know Camey - that's it right there! That's why you're so soft & tender! I won't forget you! I will never forget you! May God bless you beyond whatever you could ever imagine?" Then, with another hug - Marie was gone.

We are both beyond rich because of our encounter today.

And with that, I'm off for Thursday night date night with my three sons!