Wednesday, March 26, 2014

**Please Pray for my Brother, Jim!**

Was out of the social networking loop yesterday; what follows is a compilation of Facebook status updates on Jim; most were posted by his wife Sandi, with the exception of the very last one.
Synopsis: Jim experienced a rather serious situation with fluid building up in his chest & around his heart on Wed. 3/25.  As I type--3:15 p.m., Thursday, 3/26--he's better, but still in the hospital back home in NW FL.  (They were down for his daughter's Spring Break)
PLEASE pray for Jim & for his medical team, as well as for Sandi.
The following are the status in chronological order, fyi.  First one was Wednesday.

1.  Please pray for Jim! We are in ER in FWB FL--he has fever over 100, difficulty breathing and extremely fatigued. Pray for the medical staff here to determine quickly what is going on and for his breathing and pain to get better. Please no phone calls--I will update later as I can. Humbly thanking in advance for your sweet submissions to God on his behalf. Love and blessings!

2.  Jim being admitted to hospital. They are running lots of tests and doing a CT on him. Signs of some sort of infection...thx again for all your prayers.

3.  Jim has fluid around his heart. They have moved him to cardiac lab and are doing periocardiocentesis on him right now, he will be under conscious sedation. Please pray for steady hands, accurate placement of needle and drain, and a general prayer cover over him and the surgical team. Blessings!

4.  Just saw cardiologist. He got almost a liter of fluid out of his chest. Jim will be in ICU tonite and had a drain in his chest. He should be able to breathe easier now. I haven't seen him yet, so will let y'all know when I set eyes on him myself! Excellent doctor and surgical/nursing staff! Keep praying for swift and full recovery! Blessings!

5.  Jim was moved to ICU. I saw him and talked with him. Some pain at the drainage site but breathing is better. Pray that all the fluid is drained and his vital signs stabilize. So appreciate your love and prayers!

6.  Jim stable and resting when his mom and I left him tonite in the ICU. He will probably get some red blood to help with his anemia. His fever still there and white blood cell (WBC) too high, so some sort of infection is present. The nurse said lots of rest will help him feel better. He didn't eat too much dinner and was just glad they could finally give him pain meds. Prayers definitely appreciated and I will let locals know when he is ready for sweet visits from y'all! Your love means so much to all of us!
(This next one was the first from today.)
7.  Update on Jim: he slept fairly well last nite, ate a small breakfast, had another echo test and still has drain and foley cath in. Still running slight fever and has elevated WBC. His heart rate & BP are returning to normal. He still has difficulty breathing and a slight cough. The lining around his heart has a bacterial infection which is being addressed thru antibiotics. Fluid around heart is greatly reduced. Pray for the infection to be eliminated, for his breathing to totally improve, and for overall continued healing. God is over all and He is good! Thanks again for your love and prayers!

8.  Update again on Jim:
Pray for his fever to come down! It is 102.2 & specific infection needs to be found. Blessings!

(This one was posted by Jim just a bit ago.)
9.  hi all... Too sick to post & converse, but it sure is great to read all your love & prayers. Thanks especially for being there for Sandi.
In His grip... Jim

(end; back to Mike now)
Again, on Jim & Sandi's behalf, we welcome & deeply appreciate your prayers, my friends.  Thanks so much for all you folks do to serve my family!

Monday, March 03, 2014

For Those Facing the Loss of a Loved One

For some folks I know who are grieving the imminent home-going of a friend & family member.  For other folks I know who have already faced a loved one's home-going, especially those who did so through the devastating, overpowering road that is cancer.

This song absolutely wrecked me many years ago when I saw Wayne Watson perform it live (long before my own cancer journey began.)  Especially when he introduced it by talking about its inspiration: a family friend who died of cancer, leaving behind a husband & young children.  I love the brutal honesty of the words: "I'm trying hard not to think You unkind, but Heavenly Father, if You know my heart, surely you can read my mind..."

After hearing this song, and singing along with it several hundred times in my car & home, I adopted the phrase "The Ultimate Healing" into my regular language.  To be very clear, my clear P.E.T. scans are amazing & unlikely & unwarranted gifts from God.  I am SO thankful for them & so humbled by them & so prayerful for them to continue!  But with that said, my friends Jason & Margaret (among others I know) are utterly, totally, and ultimately healed, whereas I am not.  My existence still requires faith; their faith, on the other hand, is now sight.  They, not I, have received the ultimate healing!  (Very easy to say; VERY hard to process & internalize & live through!)

Note: No song--including this one!--has the power to take away your pain.  I wouldn't presume that at all.  But maybe, just maybe, it will help a few days down the road.

(Video of Wayne's song; no need to watch, just listen. 4:31)  "Home Free" by Wayne Watson

(Lyrics follow)

I'm trying hard not to think You unkind,
But Heavenly Father,
If You know my heart,
Surely You can read my mind.
Good people underneath the sea of grief;
Some get up and walk away,
Some will find ultimate relief.
Home free, eventually.
At the ultimate healing,
We will be home free.
Home free! Oh I've got a feeling.
At the ultimate healing,
We will be home free
Out in the corridors, we pray for life;
A mother for her baby,
A husband for his wife
Sometimes the good die young,
It's sad but true.
And while we pray for one more heartbeat,
The real comfort is with You.
You know pain has little mercy,
And suffering's no respecter of age,
Of race, or position.
 I know every prayer gets answered,
But the hardest one to pray is slow to come:
'Oh Lord, not mine, but Your will be done.'
Let it be.
Home free, eventually.
At the ultimate healing,
We will be home free.
Home free! Oh I've got a feeling.
At the ultimate healing,
We will be home free.
Home free, eventually.
At the ultimate healing,
Gonna be home free
Home free, oh its more than a feeling.
At the ultimate healing,
Gonna be home free

Published by
Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
Come, Lord Jesus.  Come near-term, to those facing the death of a loved one.  Come ultimately, to all of us, as you usher in the new world where cancer & death will barely be a memory. 
I.  Can't.  Wait!
The years of our life are seventy,
or even by reason of strength eighty;
yet their span is but toil and trouble;
they are soon gone, and we fly away...
So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.
Return, O Lord! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
Psalm 90:10, 12, 13
Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways,
and how small a whisper do we hear of him!
But the thunder of his power who can understand?”Job 26:14