Saturday, September 12, 2009

White Water

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of hearing Brady Boyd preach. The sermon was about the prodigal son and our adoption by God. I don't remember every detail of his message, but I know that I was touched, moved, inspired--glad that I went to church that day. Somewhere near the end of the service, Pastor Boyd said something that made this thought flash through my brain like cloud to cloud lightening.

"I'd rather ride the rapids with God than sit on the bank, watching, without Him."
Little did I know...

My youngest daughter, only a few days away from celebrating her 22nd birthday, squirmed and twisted in her seat beside me. She was in pain.

Rebecca had been having neck pain and a headache, off and on, for a few days. She told me she needed to buy a new pillow because hers was hurting her neck. I didn't think much about it. (Life's river had been gently flowing & I never suspected...)

Two days later my baby came stumbling to my door. Her legs were numb, she could hardly walk, half her face drooped as if she had suffered a stroke, she was rapidly loosing the ability to speak, and she couldn't control her saliva. By the time I got her to the hospital she could hardly lift her arms and legs, she couldn't talk, she was not fully comprehending what people said to her, and she was having trouble breathing. (Suddenly, unexpectedly, the river was rough and dangerous.)

As the evening progressed so did Rebecca's symptoms. One minute she was almost unconscious, the next thrashing about. She was in the bed and out, unable to talk then screaming that she wanted to go home. One moment in tears and the next throwing up. Suddenly she would fall asleep and just as suddenly four adults could not hold her down in the bed. Completely out of her mind and unaware yet with terror in her precious brown eyes she looked to me for help.  But she could not understand the words I spoke to comfort and calm her. She could only respond with guttural sounds, moans and groans. (In a matter of minutes my gentle river of life turned to white water rapids, rocks and deadly falls.)

Sedation drugs did nothing. CT scan was normal. Finally the doctor was able to give her a drug to knock her out and he pulled some spinal fluid. My little girl was only unconscious for a few minutes then the wild ride started all over again and lasted for hours. Blood pressure 155/115--blood oxygen levels low--body temperature over 102. Finally the day ended in ICU with Rebecca tied to the bed and fighting seemed like she was fighting for everything. And the test came back positive--an infection in the spinal fluid and probably the brain.

The ICU waiting room became my home away from home. As I struggled to get a little sleep the lightening bolt zapped through my mind again. "I'd rather ride the rapids with God than sit on the bank, and watch, without Him."

This time the words hurt. Put to the test, would I pass or fail? Did I mean it? Was I really willing to accept life's trials with God to see me through or did I want ease and comfort more?

I felt as if Satan was sitting beside me, smirking, waiting for me to choose a safe seat on the bank over the dangerous white water ride with God. I had to make a choice, right then and there. In the waiting room of the hospital I had to decide if I would hold tight to God through faith, and praise and glorify Him no matter what happened to my little girl, or I would abandon my faith, (jump out of the raft) and trade it all for a healthy daughter and an easy way.

I closed my eyes and saw the dark red blood of Jesus wrapped around me as a life jacket. I saw God the Father at the front of the raft, guiding it down the rocky rapid river. I made my choice, grabbed a hand-hold, and as the raft crashed over the falls, cried "God I trust You! Be glorified in this circumstance and in my life!"

The next day the river ride got exciting. The doctor came by and told me that we were playing a waiting game. He had no idea how long it would be before Rebecca would "wake up" or be aware of what was going on around her. (Or IF she would.) It could be a few days or longer. There was no way of knowing if there would be any permanent damage. He didn't know what caused the infection so he didn't know the best way to treat it. Her vitals were stable and that is all he could tell me.

Then, some precious intercessors, men and women of God, showed up to pray. People across the country had gotten the word by then, so brothers and sisters I don't even know were praying. Satan was being bound and God's hand began to move. As I returned to the waiting room from praying with my sis and her husband in the hospital's chapel I said, "If we could just have a little glimmer of hope..."

The ringing of my phone interrupted. It was the ICU nurse. "Your daughter is asking for you."

There were more rapids and the ride has not been easy. After five days in the hospital and what seemed to be a relapse ten days later, my daughter is home and seems to be doing well. She still gets tired easily. She has had  some moments of mood swings. Her sense of taste still seems to be a little off sometimes. I still am not sleeping all night. I still wake myself up praying for all of my children. I still have moments of fear so gripping I cannot eat or concentrate. I may never be "normal" again. The ride down the river is not over. Rebecca has no medical insurance and only a part-time job. Her dad has not had work since the end of May. Every time we get a new bill in the mail I feel another huge rock in the middle of the river.

But, I know God is in control and I know the blood of Jesus saves us all from drowning in the river. May God be glorified in the white water rapids of life! Hang on tight with all the faith you've got--its going to be a wild ride!


Cindy said...

Lavonda, I am so glad that Rebecca is doing better. You were right. God is big enough to carry both of us thru the storms. I know that He will continue to carry you, Rick and Rebecca thru the rest of the storm. Love you Sister in Christ.

Ida said...

As I read this post the thought flashed through my head "Well, you asked us to pray for a storm." I am sure this isn't what you had in mind. I am praising God that Rebecca is doing better. I also praise God that you chose to hang on and ride the rapids. God will take care of those bills. I will continue to pray for you all.

Karen said...

What an inspirational testimony! My heart was pounding when I read..
" I closed my eyes and saw the dark red blood of Jesus wrapped around me as a life jacket. I saw God the Father at the front of the raft, guiding it down the rocky rapid river. I made my choice, grabbed a hand-hold, and as the raft crashed over the falls, cried "God I trust You! Be glorified in this circumstance and in my life!"

Praise the Lord that you made that choice and your daughter is doing better! We will keep praying to Jehovah Jireh that needs will be supplied and complete healing will come....

Thank you for sharing this powerful message!!

GMac said...

I think people missed the point of Lavonda's blog on prayer. It was not how she should pray. She already felt convicted about how she should go before God. The article was about why it was socially unnacceptable for her to pray for a storm.

Sometimes thoughts are better off kept to ourselves. I am taken aback by Ida's comment. After being part of the original discussion on "Socially Unacceptable Prayers" I had the understanding that Ida and others felt that Lavonda SHOULD NOT pray for a storm and now it seems that either Ida decided to pray for a storm or she feels like God is disciplining Lavonda for praying for one. (yes, I know it is the latter)

I have yet to see any of the commentators give any scriptural support for their feelings that it is sinful to pray for a storm. (Check out Elijah to see what happened when he prayed for a drought.) If you think Lavonda is sinning, quit hinting and give some scripture to justify that claim, name the sin for her, so she can get about the work of examining her heart.

If you can't back up your veiled accusations then I would suggest you keep your thoughts to yourself rather than in a public forum.

I think that you, Ida, took on a role that Satan loves, to accuse the saints. I am sad for you because I am sure that when the trials of life comes your way (like a child getting terribly sick) you must feel as if God's wrath is upon you or maybe you choose denial.

On the other hand, when Lavonda faced a gut-wrenching trial, she was able to pass through it to become a stronger Christian. She sat herself in the place (at the feet of Jesus) to witness first hand the mighty hand of God powerfully at work and to testify of His powerful and loving intervention.

In the end, your comment actually goes to prove that, you too, believe that God can work through storms. Physical and Spiritual.

I am unconvinced that THIS was the storm Lavonda has been praying for. Ultimately, I believe God is not going to reveal his working in Lavonda's life to any of us unless he first reveals it to her (and then only if she rebels against his work). I believe that Lavonda is a righteous servant who will take to heart any lessons God has for her.

Lavonda, thanks for sharing the power of God witnessed first hand. Cling to that experience (a stone of remembrance-Joshua 4)and put up your shield of faith to quench Satan's fiery darts. God rewards the faithful and answers the prayers of the righteous.

Tammy said...

Praise God that in your dark moment you held on and didn't swim to shore.

I'm glad that your daughter is doing better.

In His Grace,
Stopped over from Karen's blog. It's nice to meet you.

Anna Leathers said...

Hey there Aunt Vonda! I hope you all made it back from the graduation safely! Love you

Jynx said...

Although I am certainly happy your daughter is doing better, I must ask what brought you to the conclusion that a god had anything to do with it?

From the comments:

"God will take care of those bills."

How? Will god pay them for her? Will god give her a loan? Just like above, I am curious as to what led you to the conclusion that "god will take care" of them?

Edie said...

Oh Lavonda you have been threw quite a ride here. I hope Rebecca has made a full recovery. I just *happened* (by God's providence) to think of you and decided to stop by and see how you were doing. I will pray for you and your family now.

Jynx - God promises to supply all of our needs according to His riches in glory. God always keeps His promises. It is written in the Bible, the Living Word of God.