“The tested genuineness of your faith” (I Peter 1:7)

It was 6:00 a.m. on a warm Wednesday morning in June.  June 22nd to be exact.  I walked through the hospital doors for what was supposed to be a somewhat routine reverse shoulder replacement.  The surgery went well.  A day or two in the hospital, and then home to recover.  However, two days after surgery, when the nurses helped me out of bed to get ready for discharge, my legs became very weak, and my right knee collapsed.  Down I went.  And guess what I fell on?  You got it – my new prosthesis!  Xray machines were brought to my room.  Part of the surgical team came to examine me.  Even the surgeon himself.  It was determined that no damage had been done to my new limb.  That was a blessing.  It was also determined, as I suspected, that I was not going home.  I later learned that most likely the anesthetic had weakened my legs.  So, arrangements began to be made for me to go to a rehab facility.

That was my morning.  My afternoon wasn’t any better.  I received a phone call from a friend of my brother.  My brother lives by himself in an apartment in Lakewood.  The friend had been trying to reach my brother for three days but could not.  I also tried.  No answer.  So, I called the Lakewood police department and requested a welfare check on my brother.  About three hours later a deputy came to the hospital to inform me that they had to break into my brother’s apartment, where they found him deceased on his kitchen floor.  No foul play.  He died of natural causes.  We were aware he had several health issues.

With me in the hospital, every detail of Lonnie’s estate fell on Reid’s shoulders.  And what a great job he did.  He got my brother’s apartment cleaned out, took care of arrangements with a funeral home, as well as the county coroner.  Meanwhile, as Reid was busy taking care of those arrangements, I was transferred to a rehab center.

I cannot tell you how or at what point things went downhill at the rehab center, but I began feeling very lethargic.  I could not eat.  I knew something was wrong and getting worse, but I felt too weak and frail to try to make any sense of it.  Reid and several of our friends also knew something was wrong, so they made the decision to come get me and take me to the hospital.  To make a long story short, God interceded ahead of them by sending the visiting nurse from the Clinic to see me before my protectors could arrive.  The minute she examined me she called an ambulance.

By the time I reached the ER I was diagnosed with a severe UTI, my kidneys were shutting down, and my blood thinners were bleeding out.  The nurse in the ER told Reid there were no words that could describe how dehydrated I was.  Putting an IV in me was out of the question, so they took me into a lab and put two Picc Lines in me.  In one of them they began pumping antibiotics.  In the other they began the first of three blood transfusions.  It took a few days, but my body started to respond, and I felt renewed strength.  I cannot express to you the appreciation I have for nurses, doctors, and caregivers in the hospitals.  I’m sure they are not paid what they are worth.

Another week, and I was sent to the hospital’s rehab center to work on gaining strength in my legs, plus I was due to begin therapy on my new arm.  While I was in there, Reid came down with Covid.  Thankfully his symptoms were mild.  Hardest part was that he had to be quarantined and could not come to see me for a week.  Another week in rehab and I was finally discharged to come home.  I am now doing in home therapy for both my arm and legs. 

I cannot express to you my gratitude for your prayers, well wishes, get well cards, phone calls, and deep concern for my well-being.  I will never be able to show my gratitude to Reid (although he has mentioned that a French Silk Chocolate pie would help).  Nor will I be able to thank my family and supportive friends (family), who have shared this journey with us. 

But I give my very deepest gratitude to my Lord, Jesus Christ.  He is the One who has guided me through this treacherous passage.  His goodness and grace have been the lifter up of both my body, as well as my soul.  But he also had a very important and valuable lesson for me to learn through these past seven weeks.  You see, I thought I was a woman of strong faith.  Not that it was invincible mind you, but hardy.  Being a bible teacher, speaking at women’s conferences, all the studying of God’s word I have done over a multitude of years; I thought my faith was in a very secure place.  But this is what God has shown me these past couple of months.  I have placed more faith in my faith than I have in my God.  I have relied much too heavily on my hardy faith to get me through anything.  My hardy faith is not as hardy as I thought it was.  Faith is the premier value in the Christian life, but it must be anchored in the object of our faith, and that object is Jesus Christ.  Not in any aspect of our flesh.  Am I ashamed of this?  Yes.  But I am also grateful that God has loved me enough to reveal this to me.  I share this with you to remind you that it can become a snare in our spiritual journey to think we’re rolling along strong and secure in some sort of sacred momentum.  Then suddenly on a warm Wednesday morning in June you walk through the doors of a hospital – and your spiritual journey goes down a whole new path!