Sunday, November 23, 2008

Having a Thankful Heart
Laurie, at Women Taking a Stand, is hosting this week's At the Well.
The topic is Having a Thankful Heart.

#1- How do you give thanks during difficult times?

"Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name." ~ Hebrews 13:15 (NIV, Emphasis, mine)

The word for confess here is homologeĊ, which is actually a compound of the Greek words homou, and logos. HomologeĊ means:

1) to say the same thing as another, i.e. to agree with, assent
2) to concede
a) not to refuse, to promise
b) not to deny
1) to confess
2) declare
3) to confess, i.e. to admit or declare one's self guilty of what one is accused of
3) to profess
a) to declare openly, speak out freely
b) to profess one's self the worshipper of one
4) to praise, celebrate

By giving thanks in this way, I have learned that it's as easy to praise God during the hard times as well as the easy times.
Does this mean I am happy about the crisis I am going through? No, but it helps me realize that I can choose to honor God with praise regardless of the circumstance. In doing so, I have so much more peace during a crisis than I would without praising and thanking Him for being my God.
#2 - Share with your readers a testimony of how God brought you thru a difficult time.
God has brought me through many trials and sufferings in 38 years of living. Each one has been a growing experience for me, and each has brought me one step closer to Him. In March of 2004, after a year of undiagnosed blood in his urine, I convinced my father to go to the hospital one night when he had passed a lot of blood and was in pain. I told him that we would not leave the hospital until we had a diagnosis and they helped him. Daddy conceded. Mother went with us. Although they are divorced, they are still friends and share a 35 year history of love and family. My sister was in the mountains at the time, where she had gone to be a bridesmaid for her best friend at her wedding.
Daddy underwent a test where the diagnosis came back worse than something I could have ever imagined. The diagnosis was kidney cancer. It was contained in his eureter; however, it was so close to his kidney and bladder that in order to be sure they removed all the cancer, they removed one kidney, 1/3 - 1/4 of his bladder, and all the trappings on that side.
I prayed throughout the surgery, thanking God that I had fulfilled my promise to Daddy, that Momma was there, and praising God for Jennifer, the baby of the family, not being there at the time, although I did pray she would return home soon. We let her know he made it through the surgery and she planned to return the next day.
The surgeon came out and said the surgery was a complete success. Daddy would not have to go through chemotherapy or radiation, and it was contained, so he should go on to live a healthy life.
What the doctor did not know was that Daddy would have some kind of freaky reaction to the anesthesia. My father became a madman that I did not know. He bucked and moved around on that bed very unlike a man who had just underwent a major operation. We got a sitter to stay with him so we could go home and rest. We had been at the hospital for three days. They sedated him and, at my request, put him in soft restraints so he would stop yanking out tubes that he needed.
Throughout the evening and night it got worse. The sitter apparently either left or just zoned out. He got out of the restraints and was naked the next morning. I refused to leave him and was literally worn out that afternoon from praying, crying and trying to contain Daddy to his bed. The doctor on call just stared at him for a while, trying to figure out what in the world the problem was. I continued to pray that God would allow him to recover and that they would figure out what was wrong. And I changed my prayer. I did not want Jennifer to see him like this, so I prayed she would be delayed. She was! Her then fiance (now husband) missed an exit and they were postponed by 2 hours in arriving. Only God! By then the doctor diagnosed him with double pneumonia and put him in CCU, where he could be given one-on-one attention and we could get some rest in the waiting room.
I prayed some more, and soon Jennifer arrived. Mother and I talked with her and she stayed with me that night in the CCU, along with our oldest sister. My oldest sister, for whatever reason, chose to stay apart from me the whole time, and I had no one to rely on but God and my Momma. And Steve, of course. But Steve didn't know what to do but hold me while I cried. I sent Steve, who was sick, home. After Mother left, if it hadn't been for Jenn, I would have been alone. I praise God that He let Jenn arrive at just the right time.
After only spending one night and one day in CCU, Daddy made a complete turnaround. He was alert the next morning and improved dramatically enough to go back to a room late that afternoon. He has since recovered and retired from work, mainly, I think, because he could no longer carry a gun on the hip he was so used to carrying it.
By prayer and family togetherness, God brought me through that time. My father remembers nothing of his Wildman Stunt, as we fondly refer to it now, and God protected Jennifer from seeing him that way. Through all his moving around, he apparently worked out any soreness he would have had, and was up and walking the next day.
I remain thankful to this day. Daddy is semi-retired, working two days a week, no longer carrying a gun, but his trusty walkie-talkie. The cancer has not returned, praise God!
#3 - What is the most memorable Thanksgiving you have experienced?
Admittedly, all my Thanksgiving's are special. I treasure the time with family.
Last year's, hands down, was the most memorable, though. I learned to submit to my husband last year. I deferred to his decision to spend the day at his parents house and it went like I thought it would.
At 4:15 p.m. Steve decided it was time to go, that we were heading to my grandmother's. It was WONDERFUL! Everyone was there. My uncle's boys turned 7 that day and skated around on wheelies or heelies or whatever those shoes with skates are called. Momma and Jennifer and Nathan were there. Kristyn and Corey had come with us, along with our grandson Nolan, who was all smiles for his first Thanksgiving. My aunt and her fiancee' were there. Her oldest, Lee, was there with his wife Paige, their daughter Gracie, and their newborn son Jackson. My other cousin, Lee's sister Brooke was there. My grandmother was there in body but not much mind. She thought it was Christmas. She has Alzheimer's, but that's okay, we knew for her what day it was. We made our Christmas Lists and acted like we were all greedy, wishing for gifts like World Peace, a million dollars, and then got real and put things like books, blankets, iPods, chocolate, movies, etc., on our lists, hah hah, and drew names for Christmas for the first time, taking a huge financial burden off everyone. It was just awesome!
This year we are going there for the whole day. Although Kristyn and Corey will be spending time at his Mom's, and not as many of my family will be there, we are looking forward to spending the day with Momma, my grandmother, my aunt, probably one of my little cousins, and my aunt, uncle and their twins, and whoever else drops by. Steve is excited because he can take his targets and do some target shooting toward the woods since my grandmother's house is in the country. I'm excited because God has given us another Thanksgiving with my grandmother. I treasure these times because I know the day will come when she will no longer be with us. Mentally, Alzheimer's has pretty much already taken her. She thinks we are friends and asks us over and over and over who we are, but that's okay. We know who she is, and we know the love that lives there in her house. (She actually lives in an assisted living facility in a nearby city, but my uncle has kept her house and we get together there for holidays and other family gatherings.)
Join us At the Well, by visiting our host, Laurie, at Women Taking a Stand. Tell us how thankful your heart is!


Melanie said...

Hi, Laurie Ann. My most memorable Thanksgivings are also with family! I have been so blessed with some of the greatest family members... it is truly humbling!

Have a great week!

Denise said...

I love your heart so very much, bless you dear.

Naomi said...

Thank you for the sweet comment!

Thank you for sharing your sweet heart with us!

Many Blessings!

LAURIE said...

Laurie Ann,
Thank you for joining me on this great subject of being thankful. What a wonderful testimony that you shared. Thank you for blessing us with your experiences of Gods intervention. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! -Blessings, Laurie

Betsy Markman said...

Thanks for this glimpse into your family!

LauraLee Shaw said...

You have been through so much, yet your writings reflect a constant theme of gratitude. I love your heart. Thanks for sharing.

Melinda said...

My husband had a similar reaction to the anesthesia when he hda his heart catheter proceedure just prior to his open heart surgery. It was as though he was drunk. Scary.

It is vital that we praise God in the hard times. It's so easy to feel abandoned when things go wrong or it seem our prayers aren't being andwered, or even heard, but it is in those times that it is the most imporatant that we look at the positives, our blessings and praise God with all our hearts.

Patty Wysong said...

What a testimony of answered prayer! Beautiful! Thank yo!