Life for us is moving along as usual. Dale's face is healing from all the scrapes he sustained last week. I'm glad---he doesn't even seem to be forming any scars. If that had happened to me, I'd bear the marks forever! Chad's job keeps him busy; unfortunately, it requires him to travel in circles, literally. He works in the gravel pit or delivers rock to various company pits or goes round and round from point A to point B to point C. When he gets off work each day, he is happy to come home and just sit for a while. The girls were nearly thrown into fits of depression when I pointed out that there is only a month left before school starts. Today's date is July 26th; school resumes on August 28th. This last month before school starts is going to be filled with events, some of which are annual and planned in advance like VBS and some of which are hastily put together because "summer is almost over!" like get-togethers with friends and such. I have the feeling that we will be running madly to cram as much fun into the last month of summer vacation as possible before the slave drivers (otherwise known as teachers) take over. Please pray for my sanity! :0
Frequently, while Dale and I are out walking (PT), friendly neighbors will comment on his progress and cheer him on. We exchange waves and small talk whenever possible. One man is often seen sitting on the porch steps next door, talking on his cell phone or just enjoying the nice weather we've had lately. Yesterday, he was outside when I took the older girls to teen soul winning; when I got back, he made a point to stop me and talk. He said he was excited to see how well Dale has been doing lately, especially because he's seen Dale on his bad days when he can only take three steps at a time. He then went on to relate events of last summer that, frankly, I had heard about but had not been able to do anything about since we were so wrapped up with Dale in the hospital. He said that his good friend's (our next-door neighbor's) son had died the same day that Dale drowned. The young man had not been feeling well and had gone to lie down and simply never woke up. This obviously hit the family hard, and the man I spoke to felt the impact as well all the way in New York where he lived at the time. His own son and our neighbor's son had been born a day apart and had grown up together, basically as brothers. I remember someone (my father or my mother-in-law or somebody) telling me that they had seen a lot of cars outside the house next door and had stopped someone to ask what happened. Upon hearing the explanation, they shared what was going on with Dale at that time. Imagine---two families side-by-side experiencing similar tragedies at the same time. This man I spoke with yesterday said my husband had gone over at the time and spoken with our neighbor, expressing our condolences and sympathy. Knowing Chad, he probably also asked if there was anything we could do for them and also probably looked for a way to ask if they knew if the young man was in Heaven. We've seen various family members and friends over there more recently than the past several months, so I'm hoping they will have the support they need to face the next couple of weeks leading up to the one-year mark of their son's death. Please pray for this still-grieving family.
We've already begun our own process of "this time last year......" remarks. I'm thankful that August 5th of this year is on a Sunday so that we will get to celebrate God's goodness with those who started this prayer journey. The teenagers on the beach that day were the "first responders"; they were the ones to get God's attention and start the miracle in progress that we see today, and they were the ones who affected the paramedics' decision to not give up, to keep trying to restore life to Dale's body. We're trying to plan a trip down to Doernbecher to visit the people who were so helpful to our whole family for the two-and-a-half weeks that Dale was there; I don't know if we will be able to see any or all of them.........the physical therapist who first helped Dale walk, the SP doctor who began the process to help Dale relearn to swallow, the PICU docs and nurses who kept Dale alive and exhibited such patience with us for continuing to hope in the face of certain death, the social worker who was so kind and helpful to our younger daughters and who also pulled together information for our youth pastor to help the youth group heal from this trauma, even the cafeteria workers who always asked how our son was doing. God put so many people in place to ease us through the difficulties of those first days and weeks; we can never say thank you enough to them or to our Heavenly Father. God is good.
Isn't it amazing? What we consider miraculous is simply God being.........God. He is all-powerful, almighty. We pray sometimes hesitantly, as if what we ask is too much for Him to handle. There is an old song written by Dr. John R. Rice which says, "Is there anything too hard for God to do; is there aught beyond His power?" We sing these words, but do we understand them? We hear preaching on the mighty hand of God, but do we really believe He can do anything? We read of the miracles in the Bible but assume that those kinds of things couldn't possibly happen nowadays. Why do we limit God? Why do we not pray for what we need and/or want? Why do we not take advantage of this most powerful tool? I speak not just of prayer but of God's unlimited power to answer. Why is prayer just a formality with most Christians? "Our Father, blah, blah, blah." And then we go about our lives, wishing for things we can't have, wondering why things are so hard, and never realizing that WE HAVE A BIG GOD!!! He can do ANYTHING, and He will if only we ask. Please, pray today. Sincerely pray; talk to your Heavenly Father without any of the formalities or pious phrases that we so often think have to be a part of any speech made heavenward. You know what I mean: "Our most gracious Heavenly Father...." or "we come before You today....." or stuff like that. Do we talk to our earthly fathers like that? "My most gracious Dad, I wish if it be your will to have a matter settled concerning money." Really? We just call up our dad and say, "Hey, Dad, I've got this (fill-in-the-blank) that I want to get, but I'm a little short. Could you loan me a few bucks?" Why don't we realize that God is our Father, too, and talk to Him like a real person? I bet He gets tired of hearing all the correct phrases and wishes someone would talk to Him with real words and questions.........real conversation.
All right, I'll climb down off my soap box now! ;-) As my pastor says, "I thank God that the Bible says that His mercies are renewed every morning. I use them up each day!" God loves us so much, and, from a human point of view, I have no idea why. I, certainly, am not worthy of His love, much less His attention. Yet the Bible says that not one hair falls from our heads without His knowing it. God really does love us no matter what. Thank You, Lord, for loving the unlovely. I love You, Father.
I John 4: 10 - 11 "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another."