Thursday, February 26, 2009

grace moments

Quick status report: Brian has been having his morning vomiting issues again since Tuesday. Then he eats a small lunch and microscopic dinner. He has lost 20 pounds since the 1st week of January. He is having continued weakness and some morning dizziness. Other than that, things are about the same as they were last time I wrote.

I thought I would take this time today to remember some grace moments that have occurred in the last couple weeks as Brian has continued to slowly decline.

A couple of weeks ago, our boys were off school for Lincoln's birthday. Not PRESIDENT'S DAY which would have allowed for a nice three-day weekend, but LINCOLN'S BIRTHDAY which falls on February 12- a THURSDAY. At the time, I was a tad annoyed by this, but we do live in Illinois, so I understood the emphasis on Lincoln. ANYWHO!!! As a result of the Thursday holiday, Brian and I had a lazy morning with the kids watching cartoons and hanging out in our PJ's. We had pancakes for breakfast for which we usually do not have enough time. Then, we went out to lunch just the FOUR of us for the first time in well over a month. We attended a movie - Coraline which I would rename - AWFUL-INE unless you are tripping acid while you watch. But, the kids said they liked it, so I guess that it all that matters, assuming they were not tripping acid at the time, naturally. We shared our popcorn and our sodas and I even splurged on a box of overpriced movie theater candy which I NEVER do. We had a great day. Had the kids been off Monday instead for President's Day, based on what happened on Sunday, we would not have been able to have this family day. It may have been our last true family day where we were able to leave the house together and make a day of it. I cherish the day - Coraline and all.

Secondly, the Friday before Brian had his drastic change, we went to a local bar in town to hear a friend of ours play in her band. Their playlist was all the type of songs that Brian and I love. They dedicated every Grateful Dead tune to Brian. While at the club, we came across several friends from our neighborhood that were out that evening as well to hear Jane's Cellar. Brian and I had hoped to sit in a booth, but at the time, we were placed at a table and made due. The table situation worked perfectly because all of our friends were able to pull up chairs all around at surrounding tables and join us. It was a great night and one that I will forever cherish watching Brian rock out to some Doors, Dead, Beatles, Alanis Morissette and many in between considering the next night we had to leave our dinner early due to Brian's condition.

Also, the weekend that Brian had all his problems was a weekend originally planned for a visit from an aunt and uncle. They chose to come the weekend prior for no particular reason which allowed my sister and parents to be here instead. Thank God for my sister who was quick on her feet getting Brian out the door and into the van when I was a blubbering mess. She also had the insight to suggest calling hospice when Brian began to decline at home. Additionally, she was logical enough to have me reschedule the delivery of the hospital bed from 3 am to the next available time the next day when the house was awake. Duh!! Lastly, with little sleep under her belt, she still rallied all the boys and took them to church in the morning to get them out of the confusing house. AND, because my parents and sister were here in lieu of my aunts and uncles, my mom simply stayed with us the entire week to ensure things ran smoothly. She beautifully and gracefully filled every gap that existed last week. I was so unaware of that until her absence this week reminded me. Having my family here during that time was a blessing I didn't grasp until just these past few days.

When we went to Alexander's for dinner the night Brian "freaked out" on us, we had specifically requested a reservation on the main level. The main level of this very old downtown warehouse-ish steakhouse is actually UP one level from parking, but is accessible via a ramp. You have to go in and out here via the main entrance. The manager immediately pulled us aside and explained that they had us at a table on the lower level. This was really not a problem because Brian was able to make it into the building just fine, so he could descend the flight of stairs to the lower level tables. The manager also assured us that when we were ready to leave, he would temporarily shut down the emergency exit alarm on a door nearby that lead to the main parking lot if need be. This turned out to be the largest blessing of the night. Brian was unable to leave the restaurant walking. My Dad drove to Alexander's with the wheelchair (which I forgot to mention for him to bring, THANKS MOM) and we were able to get Brian out the side door without parading him back through the main entrance. It was a quick and easy escape.

Kris, Adam, Brian, me and Mindi just before we left Alexander's Feb 14, 2009


I truly believe that finding grace moments in the midst of this horrific struggle is what allows me to remember that God is in control. He is working things according to His purpose even when it doesn't appear so.




I listened to a sermon once about Job. One of the things that stuck with me beyond anything else I have ever heard in my life was that even in the midst of a horrific struggle, there are spiritual developings happening parallel to us that we do not see and cannot possibly comprehend. I remind myself of that constantly. Remembering that God is God in the good and bad times is the truest test of faith. Satan wants nothing more than for me to think that God has abandoned me in the low times or that the I am responsible for my own high times because he knows that separate from God I am powerless. He will use whatever he can to get me to rely on myself. God knew what Job was going through and even allowed for it to happen to Job because He knew and wanted Satan to know that we as humans worship and trust in God because He is God - not because we have possessions or fame or success or health or prosperity.





I don't have God's perspective on what is going on in my life. I don't want it either as I am NOT capable of comprehending it. I can only honor Him by trusting Him despite my circumstances.





KEEP BELIEVING

42 comments:

  1. Angie, these moments of Grace that you described are real enough to touch...for your readers! I'm so glad you are treasuring them. The picture above of you, Brian and your friends is a happy one. Prayers continue your way.

    Thanks for sharing these special times with us!

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  2. We're finding and celebrating our own grace moments with my mom. Hugs and prayers during the Lenten journey.

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  3. What a beautiful post of God's faithfulness to you. Even in the midst of difficulty He is there, watching over you and caring for you. The picture was lovely, thanks for sharing. Still praying here for you all.

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  4. Beautiful Angie. Just beautiful. And thank you for the perspective tonight. I actually needed to hear that.

    Praying for you....

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  5. Angie,

    Thanks for the update. I really appreciate it more than you know. Please give Brian a hug from me....

    Love

    HUDSON

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  6. I am amazed by your faith and grace everytime I read your blog. You are an inspiration. You and your family are in my prayers.

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  7. Thank you for a beautiful reminder Angie. Praying for your entire family...

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  8. Thank you for sharing these grace moments with us.

    "...the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. - 2 Corinthians 4:15-18

    Praying for many more grace moments for you and Brian and the boys.

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  9. What a great post! Thank You and we pray His continuous blessings as you continue to bless! WOW!
    Harper family from Ironton

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  10. You are truly blessed and I pray for you, Grant and Gavin to treasure every moment with Brian. You have shown grace and love beyond my wildest dreams. Know that all of us are with you spiritually every minute of the day and night. Your sister in Christ, Karen

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  11. What an amazing testimony to how the Love of God works, and how WE should love him back. You really are a woman of the Lord, and are sharing his beauty through Brian's story. Thank you!

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  12. God bless you and your family and hoping for many more grace moments that you will be able to cherish forever.

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  13. Those last 2 paragraphs are so beautiful!

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  14. Hi Angie,

    I love seeing these moments of grace through your eyes. Thank you for sharing them.

    I think about the time that Christ was on the cross and he called out that God had forsaken him. I think that actually God was there for him more than ever at that moment, but for all of Christ's pain he couldn't feel God's presence. I think that is why we sometimes feel confused and abandoned by God when we are at our lowest point. We ask, how could God let that happen? But God isn't a giant puppeteer, making good and bad things happen. He gave us a plan for good, a rule book, an outline. It is up to us to follow it. And whether we do, and even when we and others do not, God is there.

    Still believing.

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  15. Angie, Everytime I read your posts which is everytime you post something new. I am encouraged and inspired to live my life deeper in God's presence. Your openness with the struggles and your authenticity walking it out all the while knowing God has a bigger picture that is to impossible to see or know about. You are an inpiration to so many people as you walk out this tragic time. I just love you more as I read. Continuing to pray for you and your family everyday.
    Echo

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  16. Your strength and grace amazes me.

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  17. Angie,

    Thanks for sharing these Grace moments with us. It is amazing that you kind find them and recognize them today.

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  18. It cannot be said enough--your ability to find Grace in everything uplifts us all.

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  19. You have taught me SO MUCH in my own spiritual journey and I thank you - and praise God for you. My prayers continue to be with you - may he continue to bless you with the awareness of his Grace.
    Hugs to Brian and the children - and you.

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  20. Your grace is inspiring and I hope you know that.

    Love, peace, prayers - your way.

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  21. You are an amzing testimony to our God's love and grace! I've been lurking here or a couple of weeks, checking to see how you and your family have been doing, but I realized I had to speak up and tell you that I feel humbled by your complete realization that it is always God who has us in His hand and nothing can pluck us out! I pray He will continue to give you the peace that passes all understanding!

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  22. Angie,
    Brian is changing lives he doesn't even know about. Because of Brian, Adam is getting baptized! Cool, huh?

    Kara

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  23. the last paragraph completely hits home for me at times... I am so thankful for these moments that you are seeing Grace, such evidence that God is working even when you don't think you can anymore.

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  24. Angie, you are gaining spiritual insight like few are privileged to have. I have prayed that the Lord would be very real to you during these hard, hard days. You are showing such grace under such pressure. You will continue to have my prayers and love. Shawn from TN

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  25. Thank you Angie for all your posts. You are a great encouragement to me. Just this morning my husband, who has differing health issues, fell and smacked his head on the bedpost. His right side was completly numb. I found myself agonizing over how long this has been going on and how dangerous it has been for him to go up and down our stairs! I am finding it a hard line between trying to protect him and still letting him have space to deal with these kinds of issues without affecting his dignity or pride. I know God is in control, but I am still scared of what our future holds. It helps a lot to know that you too are arranging and rearranging your life and home. It helps a lot to know I'm not the only one. God bless you all! May you have sweet,sweet times this week.

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  26. YOU ROCK!! that's why i love you so much!!!!!

    Shawn

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  27. Angie, how raw and honest. You have no idea how deeply moving it is to read.

    Love you much.

    Janell

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  28. Your love, your trust, your faith . . . inspiring.

    "God is in control" . . . AMEN.

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  29. The Lord's tender mercies showered upon us are often taken for granted and sometimes even overlooked. This post touched my heart in a profound way. Thank you for your beautiful reminder that the Lord is always aware of us individually and blesses us according to our individual needs.

    May the Lord continue to shower down his blessings in the midst of affliction.

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  30. What an AMAZING testimony of faith...you are truly inspiring so many with your outlook on your circumstances....who knows the people who will come to Christ through knowing your story...and watching you live it. Your boys have such an AWESOME example to look up to in you. I LOVE knowing that I get to call you my friend!!!

    HUGS to you ALL,
    Kris

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  31. I am in awe by your amazing support and strength. At the same time my heart hurts for you. You are an amazing person. Always in my prayers.

    love you
    angela

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  32. that's polishing your monuments,..a very good thing to do in times of trouble. Keep on, you will make it. Praying.

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  33. I follow your blog very closely, checking at least every day for updates. We love you up here in Alberta and have not forgotten you. Thank you for sharing what our loving God is doing in you and for you.

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  34. God is so good. Your faith, I am sure, is ministering to countless - believers and unbelievers - during your trial. Praise God that you are grounded in what's most sustaining in this lifetime. God's blessings and strength and mercy and tender loving care on your family right now. xo

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  35. Chris Tomlin's rendition of "Amazing Grace" - started to play in my mind as I read your post. I'm sure you know which song I'm talking about -but just in case:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXV6HJxUebg

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  36. With tears, with prayers, with faith -
    You are loved.

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  37. Your faith is unyielding and therefore, amazing.

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  38. I've been checking in for an update, and continuing to pray that the last week has brought you some good moments.

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  39. thinking of you and your family.. xoxo you continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.

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  40. This is where I have started back to reading your blog and I am not looking forward to more except to know at this moment when you were writing you reflected on God and his amazingness. I am going to keep reading.

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