The pink clouds on the horizon wake me this morning. Another day has started. Another day to praise God for mercies that are new and fresh for this day. Another day to cry out for wisdom in how to battle LeRoy’s pain.
I don’t like to start the day this late. I need the early morning hours before daybreak to get my heart settled and prepared. Shortly after the sun rises, it’s time to get breakfast going, meds laid out, and the washing machine running. The day is off and running and there’s usually no time for pause until I lay my head back on the pillow for the night.
LeRoy’s pain continues to increase, and although the neurology team knows that the protective sheathe around his spinal cord is being destroyed, they still haven’t diagnosed which disease is causing it, so they haven’t been able to begin treatment, yet. He’s on a LOT of meds, but that’s just to reduce the inflammation on his spinal cord and manage the nerve pain and muscle spasms. We return to Dallas in November for another MRI of his spinal cord and additional testing.
The waiting is hard. The waiting requires clinging to the “sure and steadfast anchor of the soul,” the hope that does not disappoint.
Ringing in my heart as I woke this morning are the words, “He will hold me fast, He will hold me fast . . . ”
This past weekend was a spiritual marker for me. Last spring, I was invited to speak at a women’s conference in DC, and on the same day, I received an invitation to speak at a small women’s retreat in my home state. LeRoy and I always pray through my speaking invitations and the one in DC was an exciting opportunity, but the women from Redeemer Community Church kept being impressed on my heart, and during our season of prayer, God confirmed that theirs was the invitation I was to accept.
When LeRoy was put in the hospital, in August, I let him know I was cancelling that commitment with Redeemer, but he wouldn’t let me. He kept telling me that God knew exactly where we’d be, what would be happening on that weekend, and that He had a reason for me to serve these particular women at this moment in our lives.
LeRoy assured me that God wanted us there and would provide grace for the assignment.
LeRoy went with me, so I could be close at hand to care for him. It was almost a three hour drive from our home, too far to be away from him. If LeRoy had not insisted that we go, I would never have kept this speaking commitment. The retreat leaders were gracious in their willingness to go forward with me as their speaker, knowing that I might need to cancel at the last minute.
The theme for the weekend was: “Living in the Stability of Hope.” The foundation passage for the four messages on hope was from Hebrews 6:13-20. These are messages that God has been inscribing deep within me and giving me grace to walk in this year. But it was a new step of faith to serve at this event.
I knew this would be totally impossible without the covering of God’s grace.
Packing and loading the car by myself, and making sure I had all the medical paraphernalia we use on a daily basis now, required much more time than I would’ve thought. Also, an added time management challenge was cooking meals for LeRoy beforehand that I could take with us.
In September, I began a new way of cooking (I really hope to blog more on this at some point.). We eat dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, non-processed, but highly nutritious meals now (that I hope will help LeRoy in the healing process). That means, if we’re traveling, I’m cooking ahead of time for that trip! So, I prepared and froze meals to take with us last weekend. It was definitely a work of God’s grace to juggle care-giving during the retreat: making sure he got his meds on time, warming up his meals, and taking care of him between teaching sessions. (Thankfully the retreat was held in a large, beautiful Lodge where I had freedom to use one of their three kitchens!).
My main concern was for LeRoy’s pain level, but also, I feared that our situation might be a distraction for the women attending. I called on prayer warrior women who were interceding for those specifics (and we’re so grateful for your prayers!).
God is always faithful to provide the grace needed to complete His assignments.
Although LeRoy had a rough couple of nights, he was continually using his time in the room (in bed most of the time, wearing the TENS unit) to pray for me and the women. It was hard to see him in such pain, sacrificing himself, but determined for me to be there for these women. Listening to his prayers for me and his specific, thoughtful, Spirit-led intercession for the women, brought me to tears but also fueled my passion to serve these women for God’s glory.
This was the most difficult event I’ve ever been involved in (because of the need to do double duty as a caregiver and speaker), but it may bear the most lasting fruit of anywhere I’ve ever spoken. And it bears the sweetness of LeRoy’s prayers, lifted during suffering.
God’s purposes are always good.
Throughout the weekend, I had several young women come to me privately to tell me that “I’m the reason you’re here, this is exactly what I needed to hear right now” and open up to share their painful story. So grateful for God’s grace, He was covering us all! He was answering those savory prayers.
In the final session entitled: “Hope for times when God doesn’t show up,” I took the women through John 11 and interwove our story of waiting on God right now, for LeRoy’s healing or for whatever God has for us. The Holy Spirit moved in that room in a tangible way as we walked through that chapter; God took His Word and applied it to our hearts. Old and young women were broken and weeping.
At the end of that message, I invited women who God had convicted of something specific to go to a woman in the room who is a spiritual leader, or one who is known as a wise spiritual woman, and ask those women to pray with them and hold them accountable. Women immediately were moving, all across the meeting room. Many women told me God did a significant work in their lives, and for that, He alone deserves all praise! We asked Him for grace and He showered us with it, and carried us through the weekend. And He showed up to transform lives for His glory!
This was a spiritual marker for me, to step out in faith during this mysterious season and obey an assignment that looked impossible.
It meant “getting in the gap with God,” but in that gap between our abilities and His assignment is a sweet intimacy and fellowship with Him as we depend on Him as never before!
Thank you for continuing to walk with us on this journey and especially for interceding. God is faithful. He is carrying us in the daily grind of new meal plans and meds, of painful episodes, and sleepless nights. He is the faithful God.