Month: July 2016

Oh The Dreaded Waiting

I hate waiting. Exactly zero people in my life would say I am a patient waiter. We are five long weeks into the waiting (for my sister to WAKE UP) and at the same time the waiting has just begun.

Kate has been moved to a coma emergence program as of Wednesday and now the waiting has officially started. Medically she is no longer in the diagnostic stage. They’ve treated her for some things that could have contributed to her initial symptoms and now we wait. We wait for her brain to heal. We wait for Kate to be restored to our family. We wait for Gods timing. We wait.

I’ve been asked a lot (I guess because I’ve taken a somewhat public stage to ramble, meaning this blog) about how I could stay so hopeful and positive. My immediate reaction is “I’m not always”. But then I think about all of the things that have gone right the last five weeks. I’d like to share a few because honestly it would be SO easy to have tunnel vision on Kate’s health status and just give up. But we don’t live in a vacuum and there are lots of other things and people at play in this situation.

  • People have shown up all over the country and world to donate to Kate’s husband and kiddos. It’s shocking and so encouraging.
  • People send me things. I’ll be a puddle on floor and just be sobbing for God to show me He’s there and He still cares. I literally stand up to get the mail that I heard being delivered and walk outside to a journal and Starbucks gift card from one of my besties. Or a gift from someone I went to high school with that I haven’t talked to much in the last ten years. Or I open my email and have gift certificates. It’s just nuts.
  • Some family members helped D and I buy a van. They paid the down payment. We did not have money to buy a van because we had two perfectly good cars that were both payed off. But when you have a conversation with your sister a year ago and she says “if something ever happens to me don’t send my kids to daycare” you go out and you buy the van. And people who love her so much help.
  • We have had people helping to watch my niece and nephew during the summer as we have been/are in crisis mode. One of those people recently lost one of her babies a few short weeks before he was supposed to be born. She has offered a day a week to watch Kate’s babies, to fill her horrendously empty crib with our feisty almost two year old and call it healing for her. What? 
  • I have friends from college who were in my major (Family Studies and Community Development) who went on to be Child Life Specialists. One of them works at the hospital Kate is at. She’s going to help us figure out how to make this journey easier for the little ones in Kate’s life. Ive been shocked by the connections I have at the hospital and the strings they are pulling for Kate to get extra exceptional care. 
  • The food (and gift cards!). People (especially my freaking awesome neighbors) just keep bringing us food. Like almost daily. We have been on this street for not even one year and they just love us so well. 
  • The most humbling of these is people have committed to being with and praying over Kate. I’m not talking about praying from their homes (which we also really appreciate and need). I’m talking about hauling their rears in traffic downtown and paying $8+ every time and holding my sisters hand and begging God on her behalf. And I’m talking several times a week. They could not ever know what this does for our family. They could not know the depth of gratitude that we feel as they tell us “we are with you for the long hall. As long as Kate’s here we are coming to pray”. Excuse me, what? This is nothing short of evidence that God is with us because these people are His and they are not leaving when it is really easy to leave. It’s easy to stop talking about it with us. It’s easy to be awkward around us. It is hard to support people in the midst of their grief but it is nothing short of miraculous to voluntarily enter into it. 

I would say this is why I’m hopeful. Our family has not been deserted. We have been supported beyond our dreams and it has blown us away. “But God! We still want Kate back”, we chant! So we wait. Even if we are terrible at it. We just wait.

<<In other news, Kate had been encouraging me to buy some plants. I knew which ones she had at her house so I just bought them (typical little sister!). So here it is, Kate’s corner. >> 

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The {Forgotten} Theme for 2016

If you haven’t read the blog lately, my sister is in a coma. We’re four weeks into this chaos. For any of this to make sense, you need to know that.

Ok, so I shared back in December how I felt like I was being led to focus on a bible verse for a year. I also shared how my word for 2016 was going to be relentless. I wanted to be more relentless in prayer and frankly that’s laughable at this point. Anyway, the bible verse I chose back then was Psalm 89:14 “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you.”

Ahem

So I think about the verse once in a while. I would not say it has been an enormous part of my every day life. I’ll get back to that later.

As you can imagine, I’ve been having lots of conversations with my people recently about faithfulness, Gods plans, God promises, provision, etc. We’re frankly walking through hell and I’m trying to decide what I can hold tight to and what is Christian jargon and crap people say that is simply not true. 

The one thing that has been very clear is that this is not just about Kate. Our family is a mess of hypochondriacs, worriers, controllers, and we are not in control (I include myself at the top of this list!). We literally have no control, we are spending days and nights in an ICU staring at Kate while she’s sleeping in a bed hooked up to lots of machines. I say it again, we have zero control and I believe one hundred percent that God wants to heal some of that.

I’m watching my niece and nephew more consistently and talk about a person wanting some justice! It is a privilege to be with them and frankly I’m rageful that it’s me instead of Kate kissing booboos and tickling them. 

But here we are. My family is looking at a really long road ahead. It’s become so clear in the last couple days and even weeks that either we trust God or we don’t. The rubber has met the road. Either He is trustworthy or not. Either He loves Katie and all of us or he doesn’t. Either God is faithful to us, He is Just and righteous, OR HE IS NOT. 

Folks, He is. When money just shows up to pay for expenses. When He gives us glimmers of hope that Kate hears us. When people show up with food and gifts and shoulders and ears. When friends spend hours, days, parking money, at that hospital sobbing and begging in the room with my sister. He has shown up. 

Let me be clear, there is no book of Katie in the bible. We do not know how this story ends. But I know this, God is righteous, just, loving, and faithful. At the same time, I (we) can do nothing except pray to hasten this recovery. Our fears have been realized, every single one. Bizarre illness, Kate’s separation from her husband and kids, the unknown, and total lack of control. A nightmare. But God is so good in the midst of it. And for the days that I forget, I have hundreds of people reminding me until I remember again. 

Friends, please continue to pray! If you can donate to help with costs, please do!

Photo Cred: Arpasi Photography

Lazarus. 

Since my sister became ill, I’ve been saying to people “God raised Lazarus from the dead, surely He can raise Katie from her deep sleep”. I just tell myself this over and over when it seems impossible that she’ll be walking around carrying her babies one day. Some days she so still. Then some days, like last night, she opens her eyes when you tell her to, she gets teary when you pray over her, she looks at you, her hand gets more snug around yours. Yesterday was the first time I watched her swallow in almost three weeks and I celebrated like she’d climbed Everest.

I was at the hospital with a friend last night. A non-scary, non-weird pastor friend. Can I just say I’ve never been so thankful to know our pastors. Like to know when they’re praying for Katie or praying over Katie they have a relationship with her and they are not strangers. They’re holding her hands but its not the first time they’ve ever touched. Or prayed together.  They know her family and spend time with their kids and they’re fighting with us in the midst of the biggest battle in our lives, not from a distance but right next to us, where we need them.

Anyway…he prayed over her for a while then started reading her the bible. She perked up. A friend told me yesterday that someone she knows was in a coma and wanted to be read to but couldn’t say that obviously. So he started reading, all over the place really and then landed on Lazarus. Have you read it lately?

John 11New International Version (NIV)
The Death of Lazarus

11 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”

4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, 7 and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”

He later goes back and raises him back to life but I think there a few really important parts before that even happens.

  1. “Lord the one you love is sick”. We prayed that last night. “Lord the one you love is sick”. Clearly God knows this. More than anything, probably, it reminded me that God loves my sister. Can I just be honest that sometimes it feels like God fell asleep on the job when this whole thing started. He didn’t. We’ll find out why one day but in the meantime, “the one you love is sick.”
  2. This may be for Gods glory. We pray daily for every person who comes in contact with Kate while she’s in the hospital. That God would guide every single movement, every person reading scans, every person administering meds, all of them. When Katie wakes up we want people all over that hospital (and beyond!) talking about the miracle and remember us all in her room begging God on her behalf.
  3. This is the hardest one. Jesus and I don’t share the same urgency. He is secure in his ability to heal and so he finished what he needed to first; he waited two days before starting on his journey to Lazarus.  I want Katie healed and I want her healed yesterday. Three weeks ago. I have literally asked God to push the clocks back to family vacation and write another ending. Jesus waited a few days before the trek to heal Lazarus. He has his own timing. I’ve gotta trust that. He still wept over Lazarus, he still wasn’t happy that people were mourning, but it became worth it when Lazarus woke up. I know Katie is worth the wait.

I hope this encourages someone today. Something my husband has been praying about for a while worked out, a different person within a few degrees of separation was instantaneously healed to doctors’ complete shock. Things have worked out in the midst of Katie being in a coma. It has been a weird feeling for me. God somehow working something else out for good while I was desperate to see Katie awake. He’s good like that though, He’s working out crazy details surrounding Katie and her sweet family while we wait for her to heal. He’s the King of multi-tasking while he’s still the King of Kings.

If you haven’t, please consider donating to help with costs as Kate is sleeping.

Here’s one of my favorite childhood pictures. Kate and I about the ages of our kids currently.


 

Walking on Fire with You as my Cane

My sister is in a coma. It took me a long time to understand that, literally almost a week. But she is. She’s in a coma. And we’re waiting. We stare at her. We pray over her. We cry over her and we beg. Then we wait more.

As we wait you have been so kind. Neighbors,  friends, family…you’ve been so generous with your love and support. You’ve been so generous with your hard-earned money and it blows us away.

With every meal you make, grocery you drop off, flower you bring, hour you spend with my sister’s precious babies, we just thank you. We take that as God himself showing up to us in our darkest hours and covering our needs.

Every minute you have spent before the throne of God, petitioning on our behalf, on Katie’s behalf we thank you. Every hour spent at that neuro-ICU as you hold her hand and play her songs and talk to her, it overwhelms us. It is somehow too much to even comprehend and yet with all of that we yearn for more. We yearn for Katie. We want her awake so desperately. 

Thank you for standing with us. For praying with us. For sitting with Katie. We could never re-pay you. 

My prayer for my sweet sister just keeps coming over me in waves. That like in Daniel, she comes out of this fire with no hair singed, with no smell of smoke on her.

Lord, we expect nothing short of a miracle. We beg you for it.

(Photo Cred Arpasi photography)