In a green house behind an old fort-style fence on a busy street in the "hood" is where seven souls now dwell. Six of them are of the female persuasion. Two of those are canines. The other four consist of a wounded five-year old, a stoic sixteen year old, a mending forty-two year old and a very tired sixty-three year old. The other soul is a lone male, he is forty-seven, hairy and tattooed. He dwells quietly among all those females and has found food and the LORD to be his great comforts. This isn't new, really. I had noticed that he'd lost some weight around the middle these last couple of months. But, after two weeks of sitting in his recliner a lot he is getting to be that old Irish saying: fatagin. I have to smile. I think he's cute fatagin.
Yes, thanks for praying...I made it through my surgeries with such blessings! All those fears I posted about, our Great and Glorious God reduced to nothing. Zero. The IV was not painful. I knocked out before they even rolled me out of pre-op. The prettiest nurse looked into my eyes as I cried out and reached a last minute panicky hand to my departing husband and teenager. "Don't cry now, Jennifer, in just a few minutes you will be waking up and this will all be over." As she said that she pointed over her head to the right, towards my IV, where another nurse stood by. That was the last thing I remember.
I was honestly hoping for one of those amazing dreams people tell you about. "I saw the LORD, He came right over to me and held my hand and gave me a big hug. He let me peek inside the Pearled Gates and WOW-WEE heaven is just amazing to behold. I can hardly describe the colors...". No. That didn't happen.
I woke up in a room full of all kinds of people. I heard a nurse telling Mr. Jones to sit up. I think he wasn't being all that compliant because she got a little louder and said it a couple more times. My nurse started peeling things off of me and smiled sweetly in my face and said, "We're gonna take a little trip down the hall here, okay?" I was really hoping she wasn't going to ask me to get up, because I couldn't even move at that moment.
The hospital stay ended the next day, Wednesday, at 12:30 pm. All in all it was a good experience. I got to pray with my doctor before she did my surgery. She came to see me bright and early the next morning. When my nurse heard my concern about some random male caretaker coming in, she promptly posted a handwritten sign on my door that said FEMALE CARETAKERS ONLY! And it was heeded. I didn't get addicted to the morphine dripping through my uncomfortable but not painful IV. I didn't get sick from the perCOset they sent me home with. (How do drug addicts ever go to the bathroom is what I want to know. The constipation following the pain killers was the MOST DIFFICULT part of this process so far. Is that too much info? Sorry. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. I can't make myself stop marveling at that.)
My bit with the painkillers ended on Saturday. That was day four from surgery. But Friday was the hardest day I experienced. It wasn't a physically painful day. It was the series of horrific phone calls. The first one was at four o'clock in the afternoon. My mom (the very tired sixty-three year old I mentioned) called to ask me to get Rod to come out to Black Mountain right away because she was certain that Gracie (my five year old) had just broken her arm at the park.
My best friend Liz and I have a mantra when we are at any playground with our kids: UP THE STAIRS, DOWN THE SLIDE! They are two, four and five. Do you think they listen to us? We wish they would. But, they don't. What kids listen to their parents? Gracie was taken by her dear Grammy to the park after school. Grammy had her back turned to the play structure six or seven feet behind her, looking peacefully out on Lake Tomahawk as Gracie made her way UP the SLIDE and promptly fell over the side snapping her dainty right arm in two jagged pieces just above her elbow. Mom said, "It was just dangling there like a broken doll arm. I knew something was wrong instantly." Gracie just grimaced and held her arm tightly against her chest. No crying. No screaming. "None of the other moms even stopped their conversation," Mom said.
Rod raced Gracie to the ER. My white-headed husband and my mom were mistaken for Gracie's grandparents. The nurse kept telling her she had such a nice Mamaw and Papaw. (I have to tee-hee, as my husband gets this ALL the time. He always has. When Rachel was eight or nine he had taken her to the Mall and one of the vendors mistook him for her Grandaddy.)
A nurse came in, an IV had to be started. He noticed her missing teeth and asked her if the footh fairy had come to see her. Uh-oh. One seemingly innocent question was all it took for The Little Evangelist to get started, broken arm or not. "There's no such thing as the tooth fairy. It's mommy and daddy who gives you the money for your teeth. And Santa Claus is a fake, too." This grown man was sort of taken aback and then asked her, "What school do you go to?" She said, "Asheville Christian Academy. I'm a Christian." Her vein kept rolling and he couldn't get the needle to sink in. She winced and drew in her breath but NEVER pulled back her arm. He was amazed. He told her how brave she was and how he had never seen an adult not withdraw their arm, even as a reflex.
The doctor came in. Dr. Hedrick. Rod said his fingers were as big as Polish sausages. He said that Gracie would have to have surgery to place two pins in her tiny arm to hold the bone back together while it healed. He would be doing the surgery but "not to worry, the LORD is sovereign in the operating room".
The second troubling phone call I received was Rod telling me my girl was going to have to have surgery. I began blubbering immediately. I didn't know then that my girl had told the nurse about Jesus and that the doctor that God brought to my girl was His own son. My dear sister Fran came running over from next door. She sat with me in my bedroom as I cried like a baby because I couldn't leave my bed and go down to the hospital to wait for my tiny Gracie to have an operation.
Fran hugged me and told me about the prophecy conference she and Pastor Billy had just come back from. Instead of allowing me to wallow in worry on my bed, He took my mind to scripture after scripture that Fran shared with me about the absolute sovereignty of our Mighty and Glorious God. He is full of mercy and lovingkindness. His plan is Divine and nothing man can do will stop it. I know my girl's end is the same as mine. I took great, GREAT comfort in my dear friend expounding on the wonders of the LORD. Her excitement became mine and I was ready for whatever the LORD had in mind.
Rod called again. This phone call was easier to take. They were bringing her home. She did fine. They'd be home in an hour. "Really? Tonight?" I couldn't believe it. And so they did. Everyone was weary after a harrowing day and a long, long week. After understanding that my mom was Gracie's grandma and why I wasn't there, Dr. Hedrick even told Rod that he and mom had had a "character building week". It was true.
I forgot to tell about the first ugly hardship of the week. That was Monday.
My mom, Patricia, is a tireless servant of the LORD JESUS CHRIST. She lived a long fifty-six years abused and abusing, working and prideful, fiercely intelligent and angry and filled with a self-loathing that led to a long bout with pill-popping and alcohol. She lived most of her life in all the wealth and finery the WORLD has to offer a burdened soul.
She was horrified with my conversion and in the late Winter of 2002 she marched into Calvary Chapel of Asheville determined to pluck me out of "the cult". But she left that little brick church a different woman than the one who came in. She fled to the bookstore and purchased an NIV Study Bible. She read it in four months...many of those days and nights she spent propped up in bed clutching her Jack Daniels reading God's Word.
Finally she finished The Book. She went to the grocery store and sat in the parking lot and spoke out loud in her car, "Okay, Jesus. I believe You are Who You say You are, but I don't love You. If You want me to love You, You're gonna have to make me." And then He did.
Her husband left her time and again. He demanded that she give up this "Jesus nonsense". She refused. How could she ever comply? Her husband told her he couldn't compete with Him. He divorced her. She got two dogs. She poured herself into caring for these dogs. She walked them day and night, snow and rain. She brushed their fur and their teeth everyday. Really. She spent thousands of dollars of my inheritance on the upkeep and medical needs of these dogs. She called them her "babies". I grew jealous and decided I did not like her "babies", my "siblings" she said.
Six months ago Harry was diagnosed with congestive heart-failure. He had only a few months to live. My mom was heartbroken about her "little boy". She did everything she could. More vet visits, more meds, called her boss and said, "take me off the schedule, Harry needs me". He nearly died several times over the past months, but wouldn't you know that the day before my surgery was the day the dog finally found his peace. My mom was beside herself with grief. I really understood. I pushed the jealousy over a dog aside and cried along with my poor mom. She lost one of her very best friends. Her baby.
And by Friday, she had taken my kid to the park to get her out of the house and her mind off of me in the bed and she breaks her arm and my poor mom has to endure the death of her dog, her daughter's and her granddaughter's surgeries. And then she moved in with us to care for us. And care for us she has.
She's cooking and cleaning and wiping and washing. She still walking her other dog, Tillie, and brushing her teeth, too...every day. She even gave my junkyard dog, Rosie, a bath..."but I draw the line at brushing her teeth". God is here with us and He was kind enough to bring along some ministering angels to care for each of us.
We're on the mend...all of us. And in Good Hands, too.
Thanks again for praying. Would ya keep it up?