Friday, July 21, 2006

Staying Power

The days Jan spent in critical care were perhaps the easiest for her, because she was unconscious. The doggedness in that stage was from family and friends who decided in their hearts that they would not leave Jan alone. They prayed, and Jan lived.

The days that followed in intensive care and then in rehabilitation became a joint race in which Jan started to add her determination to that of friends and family. She felt the love, she knew she had to fight to get well to have another chance to reciprocate the love received. Everyone's efforts produced wonders and Jan started to show the stuff of which she is made. Soft heart, bright mind, tough will, open character. That was Jan with no frills, and this time with few words.

The day when Jan left the rehab hospital was when the marathon to get her lessened functions back really started. This is where everyone's real staying power is required. Just to illustrate: in the two weeks after Jan's aneurysm she received no less than a hundred and fifty emails and calls of support. Last week, Jan received a half a dozen calls and 2 visits. But she does not complain. She doesn't even mention this at all, however, there is a lingering sadness that is setting deep in her heart. Prolongued silence and isolation has its effects.

She misses the phone conversations with her friends. She misses the visits received and given to many friends. She misses the action. She doesn't know what to do with herself. She was an action person with strong opinions. Now, she still ahs her opinions, but not enough words to express them. She is painfully aware that she is "very ill" (that is how she describes herself) and that ironically, her strength: communication, has been taken from her for now. She knows deeply that there is a purpose but her patience dissipates on the everyday life and faith is often obscured by a sense of loss. Without words her face screams: I need my friends! I need some action! I need to feel valuable and lovable as before! In moments like this, her staying power looks very weak, at a breaking point. Her wide world has become very narrow and she is struggling.

Would you pray for Jan's staying power?
  • Jan will continue therapy until mid September, after that, we will have to find other alternatives to help her progress. Pray for guidance
  • Jan does not have a long term disability plan, and the therapies are expensive (in the thousands). Pray for financial resources.
  • Jan needs to keep her spirit up to make progress. Pray for peace and strength.
  • Jan needs to incorporate more people into her life. Pray for the renewal of friensdhips and that she will be open to make new friends.
  • Jan needs to overcome the moderate to severe expressive aphasia and the mild apraxia she suffers. Pray for the restoration of her language mechanisms.
  • Jan experiences continuous discomfort and pain in her right side. Pray for relief and faith.
  • Jan will stop taking medication to prevent seizures, it produces many nasty side effects. If Jan does not have a seizure, she will be free from teh medication, but if she has even one, she will have to take it for life. Pray that Jan is kept from any seizures.

You prayed before and she lived. Keep praying so she can complete her marathon of restoration.

-Fede

5 comments:

Linda Ruth said...

Dear Jan and Fede,

Here are some thoughts from Glenn Penner, Communications Director for Voice of the Martyrs, the voice of the persecuted church. I found them confirming and inspiring.

"Thoughts from the Ash Heap

"The past four years since I was diagnosed with CLL (chronic lymphocytic leukemia) have reinforced my long-held conviction that most western Christians do not know how to handle suffering from a biblical perspective. When fellow believers have learned that I have what is essentially an incurable disease, they have tended to respond in one or more of the following ways:

"1. Hyper-faith: 'Healing is always God's will. So don't accept what you have and claim God's promises.'

"2. Faithlessness: 'How tragic! How can a good God allow such a thing! You must be angry with God, eh?'

"3. Quick Fix: 'I had a friend who went on this special diet and the cancer went away. You should try it!'

"4. Denial: 'Don't worry. Be happy! After all, the Bible says to rejoice in all things!'

"5. Avoidance: 'Let's not talk about this. I don't know what to say.'

"6. Fear: 'Well, I suppose your life and usefulness is winding down. Better start planning your legacy.'

"Now, I recognize that there are elements of truth in all of these responses. And I try hard not to get annoyed by the 'friends of Job' that invariably arrive whenever one is going through trials. But lately, I am finding that I would rather sit on the ash heap (cf. Job 2:8) by myself. At least part of me does. Part of me would still like some company, but it is hard to find those who will sit and pray and accept that suffering often involves mystery that requires faith, not sight; trust, not explanations and solutions.

"I am satisfied with the knowledge that God allows nothing to come into my life that does not first pass through his sovereign Hands. I trust that He is accomplishing His purposes in and through my life in a way today that He could not do if I were perfectly healthy. Living with a keener sense of mortality is not altogether a bad thing. It tends to bring an edge to your life than is often missing otherwise. You know that you have one shot at life in which to accomplish God's purposes and so you'd better make the best of it. Could this be why many Christians who live under the shadow of persecution are making a greater impact on the world today than those of us who live in relative freedom? We live with diminished sense of urgency.

"Anyway, my biggest struggle right now is not retreating to the ash heap, seeking to escape the well-intentioned. I hope that someday they will join me, though, trying to listen to the voice in the whirlwind (Job 38:1)."

I am profoundly grateful to be part of your community of friends (friends of Jan, rather than friends of Job!) who will "sit and pray and accept that suffering often involves mystery that requires faith, not sight; trust, not explanations and solutions."

I am grateful for Jan's deep faith that "God allows nothing to come into [her] life that does not first pass through his sovereign Hands", and her trust that "He is accomplishing His purposes in and through [her] life in a way today that He could not do if [she] were perfectly healthy." Our God works through brokenness, weakness and vulnerability in ways that make no sense to the world — but His light pours through our cracks and takes our breath away.

Much love and many blessings,
Linda Ruth

FC said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
FC said...

WOW! How to handle suffering as a Christian is a major item... thanks for the insight. As an observer of Jan's suffering I feel like a coward who would rather skip the test. Somedays I think I am spiritually bankrupt for losing faith and trust in the creator of Jan's brain. You hit the nail in the head... this week I was learning to be aware of God's presence and interest in every moment of my life. I ended several times with this overwhelming sense of eternity, best expressed by the song: "we are a moment, you are eternal..." and with an inexplicable feeling of gratitude and peace right in the eye of the storm. Thanks Linda Ruth, you are blessed among women, and we are blessed to be counted among your friends. In relation to the prayer requests, I stand like the widow in front of the Judge, insistently interceding for Jan, maybe the Father will hear my prayer and answer it. But I also stand corrected and I would add: Please pray that His will be done, and that Jan and I learn to accept it with gratitude and faith, after all, "we are the broken, [He is]the healer.."

We feel embraced by your love and blessings already.

Linda Ruth said...

Dearest Fede,

The last thing you are is a coward. Your courage is remarkable, as is your utter willingness to step out of the boat into complete ever-changing fluidity, awash with possibilities.

You have not lost faith and trust in God when you question Him. Scripture is full of the questions of God's people! Even our Lord Jesus asked if the cup could pass from His lips.

The part of Glenn Penner's article that I found most compelling and that prompted me to post it was this:

"God allows nothing to come into my life that does not first pass through his sovereign Hands. I trust that He is accomplishing His purposes in and through my life in a way today that He could not do if I were perfectly healthy."

It takes my breath away. What peace and reassurance shines through those thoughts! And I see this confidence in God reflected in you and Jan, alongside the inevitable frustrations and struggles. As you wrote:

"this week I was learning to be aware of God's presence and interest in every moment of my life ... with an inexplicable feeling of gratitude and peace right in the eye of the storm." Yes! You inspire me, my dear brother.

You write: "In relation to the prayer requests, I stand like the widow in front of the Judge, insistently interceding for Jan, maybe the Father will hear my prayer and answer it."

Since God has put those prayers on your heart, Fede, then you ARE praying His will with those wonderful intercessory prayers for Jan. Jesus told us that story not to compare the Father to a harsh judge whom we must importune, but to encourage us to keep praying - if even an unjust judge will be worn down by persistent petition, how much more our loving Father wants to hear and answer our prayers!

Looking forward to seeing you both tomorrow,

Love and blessings,
Linda Ruth

Ret said...

I just left a prayer request with joymeyer.org. Actually I just copied and pasted a direct link to the 'blog for the prayer team to see. It's exciting to see God answer prayers, but sometimes it's hard to be patient when they seem to take so long to be answered.

I am enjoying my volunteer placement at Kerry's Place but sense a bit of my own impatience of being stuck between "the now and the not yet" as I am anxious to get started in real paid employment for the first time in over three years but face my share of apprehensions.

We all have our lots in life and everyone's is different. I've always liked JOyce Meyer's expression "I may not be where I need to be, but Thank GOd I'm not where I used to be."

Next time I have another day off I hope I can come and visit again.

To everything there is a season. Lately I find I've been feeling nostalgic for the days when I used to host parties in my own apartment and craving more space where Dave and I live. I guess God is just testing me to be content with what I have.

It's hard to understand what God wants from us at times like this. I guess for you it's been like having to start all over again. At least we are both blessed because GOd has brought us patient and understanding partners into our lives, although there are times my Dave must sometimes wonder what he's gotten himself into with me, LOL!

God knew us before he formed us and has exciting plans for our lives. Despite all this talk about courage, I'm not surprised if there have been days you've felt frustrated, but it is good to know that GOd's strenght is made perfect in our weakness.

*hugs*
'Ret