(To read part one, scroll down.)
Continued – Yet, with all of my thoughts of planning and preparation for the New Year, it was God who had done the planning. He had prepared my heart weeks before.
A day after the accident, I was standing in the hospital room and a memory flooded my mind. I was back in my bedroom, a few weeks before our trip, putting away clothes and God spoke to my heart. I remember the deep emotion that came with such a personal and humbling word that God spoke to me.
In room 205 at St. Anthony Summit Medical Center, after the first surgery of four, I stood looking at my husband lying in the hospital bed. The memory of the words from God pierced my thoughts. Silently I responded to God, “So this is why You spoke those words to me a few weeks ago. This is it.”
In an instant, I understood why God had spoken that particular message to me. At the time, I thought I would simply try to do better than I had lately. Yes, I would add it to the growing list of my New Year’s resolutions.
Now, blinking back tears and swallowing hard, I promised God, “I will do it. I will do what you told me only I can do.” What He spoke to me as I was in my bedroom weeks earlier is so personal that I hesitate to share it.
I remember exactly where I was standing when God directed my thoughts toward the losses my husband has endured.
When he was sixteen, his father died after suffering from leukemia, believed to be a result of Agent Orange while serving in Vietnam.
A few years ago, his oldest sister passed away from the cancer that had ravaged her body for months. My husband and his oldest sister had a bond that comes from sharing the same faith in God. Although my husband has three more siblings, unfortunately they don’t see one another often.
In the spring of 2008, his mother passed away. She, too, had been in and out of the hospital several times before she passed from this life.
Although my parents have their health challenges, especially my precious mother, they are still on this earth and I can call them anytime for a quick chat or a long conversation. I never doubt their love and they tell me frequently they are proud of me. It was my parents who drove hours to our home to stay with our children when I returned to the hospital in CO.
When God pointed out the losses my husband has dealt with, He also pointed something else out.
He started with a question. “If you don’t love him with everything you have, who will? No one else on this earth can love him like you can. LOVE HIM LIKE NO ONE ELSE.”
And that was it. But with that, I thought about the times my actions were right but my heart was not. I thought about instances where I did not honor my husband like I should have. I thought about times I had turned away from him instead of to him.
Of course I know there is no perfect marriage because there are no perfect people. And even healthy relationships have their peaks and valleys. Ours certainly has. But there was not just a do~ing better that was needed here. Yet not the extreme requirement of a heart transplant. Just something of a heart make-over. Soften the lines, smooth out the creases, bring the color back, plump it up…A heart~lift.
Someone asked me recently why I think this happened. This is my response to that question. “Accidents happen. I don’t believe God caused it and I don’t believe it was an attack of the enemy. Accidents happen because we live in this world. But God knew it was going to take place. And in His kindness, He prepared me in advance to care for my husband through the healing process. Through the good times in life and through the bad, we have the opportunity to grow and to learn. If we are teachable, we will learn. God will redeem the right and the best from anything we experience. Will the enemy try to take advantage of the situation? He will most certainly use every trick he can. But we are always the victors through Christ.”
These past few days One Fine Man has been in a lot of pain. The pain at the wound site wakes him up. Last night he suffered terribly and we watched the clock for when he could take another pain pill. I moved closer to him, warming him and resting my hand on his chest. I began to pray for God to intervene. I hated to see him suffer and hated my helplessness. I asked if there was any thing I could do for him. He said, “Just stay beside me.” In the dark, tears sprang to my eyes and I shifted closer. I thought again about God’s words to me. LOVE HIM LIKE NO ONE ELSE.
I do. I will.
Sometimes God prepares our hearts in ways we cannot fathom for events we would not choose. What is God preparing your heart for?