No matter how old I get, I will always want my parents. In the past I have joked about how I knew that I was a real adult and ready to be on my own. - - It was when I realized that I could handle being sick without needing my mother!
A couple of months ago, some childhood friends lost their dad to heart problems, so when my own parents were scheduled to come out to Michigan in July, my sister and I (who live about 3 hours from each other) figured out a way for each of us to get more time with them. We had both been feeling that loss so poignantly that we just wanted as much time as we could get. Usually Mom and Dad spend a few days at each of our houses, but this time she brought her kids up here for several days so that we could all be together for part of that time.
I am glad that we did.
|My Excellent Parents|
Over the course of the next two days, bits and pieces of the miraculous story whirled around in my head. My mom had just spent a week at my sister's house, helping her recover with a newborn baby - the stroke did not happen while she was gone. He had returned from work later than usual that day - at the exact same moment my mom arrived from her volunteer work at a nearby children's camp. If he had come home earlier, he might have fallen asleep since he was not feeling well, and my mom would not have had the opportunity to observe the symptoms. Dozens of little tiny details that all led up to a happy outcome rather than a sad one.
I've had an especially busy week bussing the kids around and, though I keep the kitchen radio tuned to the local Christian radio station, let's face it - I'm not standing in the kitchen really listening to it all day. On Wednesday, the time in the car afforded me the unique privilege of actually listening. As I drove my son to work, a man was talking about how every person has a purpose EVERY. SINGLE. DAY of our lives. He said that people in their 60s, 70s and 80s come to him thinking that their time is past. That they are too old for God to use them. He mentioned how the scriptures say that when David had fulfilled all of God's purposes for him, he died.
A verse immediately popped into my head - probably written by David, himself:
I knew that was a message to me about my Dad. God still has purposes to fulfill in his life.
My husband (who works in the medical profession) keeps reminding me that my dad is not simply "back to normal" and that life will not go on for him business as usual. "This is a life changing event," he says.
It will likely affect his ability to continue doing his job. But it has the potential of being life-changing in other ways, as well:
God may be freeing up his time to fulfill his purposes.
On Thursday, I went grocery shopping in the evening and caught In The Market with Janet Parshall. She had Babbie Mason on the program talking about how her life had been spared from a car accident when someone ran a red light while she and her husband were crossing the intersection. They had not felt the impact of the car, but had felt the impact of the "what if," and that had inspired her to write her new devotional (complete with music) This I Know For Sure. One song especially stood out to me.
Click here to watch the first Bible study and listen to the song (beginning at minute 18:30).
One more thought danced around the corners of my mind.
What if instead of death or a near-full recovery, God had chosen to allow my father's body to be permanently disabled, or brain damage had occurred, as often happens to victims of stroke? I could not escape the thought of this realistic possibility, and choked back tears as my mind's eye created pictures of that outcome.
Joni Earekson Tada answered that for me on her 5 minute radio program when she read these words from a listener:
“From Joni and friends devotional this morning, ‘Satan schemed that a seventeen-year-old girl named Joni would break her neck, hoping to ruin her life; God sent the broken neck in answer to her prayer for a closer walk with Him.’” And then Katherine wrote “Now here is my version: ‘Satan schemed that a 26-year-old girl named Katherine would have a massive, near-fatal stroke and subsequently become severely handicapped, hoping to ruin her life and steal her joy, but God sent the brain-stem stroke and the handicapped body in answer to her prayer for a closer walk with Him.’”
(To read or listen to the entire program, click here.)
Even if that had been the outcome, my Dad's life would STILL have a purpose for each and every day.
What about you?
Have you wrapped your mind around this concept?
God has a purpose for YOU!
"The Lord will fulfill His purpose for ME;
Your love, O Lord, endures forever."
Photo Credit: B Inspired Photography