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Friday, May 23, 2008

Interrupted death

In June of 2002 my Grandmother Lelia got very sick. We took her to the hospital on Saturday afternoon, she was admitted, the doctor removed 3lbs of fluid from her lungs and all was well, so we thought. My mom, her brother and I spent the night with her that night. Her pulse was low and her breathing sporadic. Suddenly she had taken a turn for the worst, and by the next day all of her doctors agreed that she had 3 to 24 hours to live. Everyone gathered around her bedside to say their goodbyes.

Didn't matter what the doctors predicted, God wasn't finished with her yet as He so boldly proved that He is the only One who knows how many days we are given on this earth. On Monday, we brought her home so if she was to die she'd be surrounded by familiarity instead of cold hospital walls. She was on hospice for about a day when the family decided to put her on regular home health care with us doing most of the care. My Mom took off two months of work to care for her and spent her nights and days helping her almost 80 year old Dad take care of her dying Mom. We began to have weekly family dinners with Grandma watching us as she lay in her rented hospital bed set up in the middle of the living room and she savored every minute of it. Everyone did their part and Grandma was daily surrounded with much love and laughter. Grandma's diet was changed, she began a regular exercise routine and soon the doctor's notes said, "She is a miracle." We actually have a copy of his notes and her story of God's healing was so amazing that the local newspaper and TV station did a story on her calling her "Miracle on Sewell Street".

My Grandma would be known for her love for her family or the game of Bingo before being known that she loved Jesus Christ, but when she was sick, whoever gathered around her she made sure to tell them that they had to know Jesus. She was insistent that we have Him in our life. Her grand kids and my Grandpa heard her often say, "you just have to believe" as she shared how He had saved her. There was a different kind sweetness I had never seen in her before.

She wanted to hear "Amazing Grace" all of the time. All the grandkids chipped in and we gave her a beautiful wooden music box that plays Amazing Grace and has some of the words etched in the top of the heart shaped lid. She would listen to it constantly and always had it displayed on the table next to her chair. Her TV stayed off and when she wasn't sleeping she was either listening to or engaging in conversation with loved ones. She suddenly wanted to attend church with our family and cried when the worship band just happened to sing her song the first Sunday she went.

Six short years later, times have changed.

The only family dinners we have are on Thanksgiving and Christmas. She has gained back much of the weight she lost. She stopped exercising and now uses a walker to get around the house. We stopped asking her to go to church because her excuses outweigh her need to go. Her music box is covered with newspapers and she is back to watching hours of soap operas and reading cheap paperback romance books to fill her time.

Jesus being the center of her grand kids lives is not a voiced concern anymore.

Isn't it just weird that we can forget what God has done for us?

Like the doctors marked my Grandma dead within 24 hours, we all have a death sentence on our life unless we have accepted Christ into our life. When we do, we become God's miracle as He gives us new life. New breath. A new beginning. I know from experience those times I've strayed from God, that the few weeks after my reunion with Him are some of the sweetest. I want to tell everyone about Him just like my Grandma did. I want to worship Him, sing about Him and talk about Him.

Then at some point I invite complacency to settle in my life, and soon He's not the topic of my conversations. I'm not so picky about what movies I rent. The candle of excitement I had lit inside my heart for corporate worship on Sunday is suddenly blown out. One on one time with God isn't a desired adventure anymore, it's a rushed burden into my busy schedule until eventually my Bible needs to dusted.

Jesus being the center of my life is not a concern anymore.

How do we prevent this from happening in our walk with God?

When Gene takes Alivia somewhere he tells her to hold his hand. He wants to keep her safe from getting hit by a car as we walk in a parking lot or separated from us if we're in a crowd. For the most part she obeys, but there are times when he has had to be stern with her little independent self and demand that she holds his hand. When she is hand in hand with him he knows right where she is and he is able to protect her. She is by his side or even a little behind him, but when she's close he is aware of her presence as she is aware of his. She goes where he goes.When Alivia is listening to her father's instruction and holding Gene's hand, nothing can separate her from her Daddy.

Let's avoid becoming a forgetful, complacent Christian and keep hold of our Savior's hand. For when we're close to Him we are aware of His presence and are under His protection. Be in His Word daily and listen to His instruction so that nothing can separate us from our Heavenly Father.

Let's go where He goes.

~Live today for Christ~

15 comments:

Laura said...

I love the picture of your little girl holding her papa's hand! I am like your grandmother in so many ways. I frequently need reminded of His faithfulness. I think that's part of being human. When I think of the story of Gomer, I know that there is nothing He wouldn't do to keep me at His side. Sweet story, Lelia.
luv,laura

Tracy said...

Lelia,
Thank you for sharing this post about your Grandma. It IS amazing just how quickly we can forget all that God has done for us. It starts with just a few small compromises in our faith walk and pretty soon, we find our hearts distanced from His voice and calloused to His workings.

Like you, I want keep close to our Saviour...I want to go where He goes.

Thank you for sharing your heart.

Love & Blessings,
Tracy

P.S. Thank you for that very sweet word of encouragement on my blog.

MrsJoeB said...

I feel this pain with my teenage girls. when they were younger they were ecited about church and Godand now, well...life has changed. I pray I will never become like this. My heart mirrors yours dear friend.

In His Graces~Pamela

Yolanda said...

I so desire for my heart to always BURN with a hunger for Jesus Christ and His ways. I've seen myself prior to giving Him my life, draw close and pull away. He and I have been on a first name basis for the past 8 1/2 years. I love Him so.

Yet...I have seen this first hand with my Dad. He grew hungry and closer when my Mom died, and it only took one full month before he was living in the ditch.

Pray for him if you think of it, please. And I'll pray for your Grandma.

Love,
Yolanda

jesuslegaleagle said...

Thanks for your wonderful reminder. I've heard it said that in a marriage we are like two canoes. If we do nothing we so naturally drift apart. If we want to stay close, we have to row like mad.

I find it so much in my walk with Christ as you so beautifully described with your grandmother. We have a true 'God Moment' that we can never imagine forgetting...then we do. We are such silly stubborn sheep. Thanks for your encouraging words on my blog

God bless your day!

Barb

kmom3 said...

I think of my now three year old who so often fights me on holding my hand. She is so into the "me do myself." I am so often like that with the Lord. "I can handle this." But we can do nothing apart from Him.
Thanks for the sweet reminder to keep living for Him...to keep holding His hand.

And thanks so much for your sweet comments. You are such an encourager! Hope you have a terrific weekend!
Love,
Kimberly

Luanne said...

Lelia,
I'm sorry to hear your Grandma has lost her zest for Jesus. I know how hard it is when a role model slips. For me it was my older sister that I had always looked up to in spiritual matters. Even when I was far from God she was a beacon of His light for me.

When I finally got back on track, the tables were reversed. She lost her desire keep hold of His hand and I had to become that beacon for her. I am happy to say that today He is holding both of our hands as we travelthe road together.

Keep your Grandma close so she can see Gods reflection in you as you become a witness to your granddaughter. I'll be praying for you both.

Luanne

Paula (SweetPea) said...

Once again, you had me on the edge of my seat waiting to see how your story was going to end. I guess my mind wonders too much because I first I thought you were going to report she passed, then I thought it was leading to a miraculous healing, then I thought it was going to lead to a fabulous life continually testifying to God's glory. My heart is saddened at the loss of closeness and desire you see in your grandma toward Jesus. I've been in a spot were my zeal was less than it should. I've never stopped attending church and thus felt I was okay...all along I was slipping and now it's caused part of the heartache and trial I'm in now. However, just today as I literally cried out to God to change certain things in my life (one particular relationship), I stopped to thank Him for all that He has done in the last year. Toward the end I felt my heart chuckle and say "but can't I have both: can't I have the marvelous changes You've made in me and a miraculous reconciliation?" Today as been a VERY rough day for me...filled with my heart ache of just pondering on my trial and the desires of my heart. Thank you for this reminder that no matter how deep my pain and much longing for my heart's desire, I must always keep my eyes on Christ. It is so hard when our heart is broken to say I have Jesus and that's all I need.

Love,
Paula

Kristen said...

I love how you tied the story of your grandma into this. Thanks for this reminder regarding complacency...I too, often times, get "caught up" in the day-to-day.
Praise God that he always calls us back to him.
Hope you have a great weekend!

HisPrincess said...

Complacency is dangerous isn't it. It sneaks up on you.

valerie said...

Great story, Lelia.
I am trying to be more mindful of God's presence every day in my life. To purposely look for His beauty and not take anything or any day for granted.
I'll keep your grandmother in my prayers too.

I hope you and your hubby get Cowboys tickets for your upcoming anniversary. We love the Cowboys too. Several years ago my husband's brother (who lives in Dallas) had season tickets and we got to go to a play-off game against Green Bay. It was lots of fun.
I'll e-mail you the website of the place we fished.
God bless you this weekend.
Love,
Valerie

Kelley said...

Oh Lelia,
You write such amazing words! I never leave your blog without some new and meaningful insight. I am really sorry your Grandma has gone back to her old ways. Satan does his best to distract and lure us. I was just discussing that with my daughter Lilly today. Summer is an especially dangerous time because we tend to get lazy and complacent. Thanks for the reminder to keep the embers burning no matter where we are or what season we are in!! You are a blessing my friend!

Love,
Kelley

nothingcanseparateme said...

Lelia,
I find that the christian walk is such and "up and down" closeness with my Lord. It is so sweet when the worship comes easily and my every thought is on Him and His goodness to me and my family. But...more often than I care to admit my committment to God takes a lot of effort. To set my emotions and feelings aside and get back to the TRUTH--That my God, the creator of everything loves ME and he holds me in his hand and wants me to be in his arms and feel his love ALWAYS!!

I said a prayer for your grandmother that she will not find herself again at deaths door without finding that sweetness with our Lord again! I loved your analogy of Gene and Alivia--again I love that "papa love" comparison with the Father above as it warms my heart!

You blessed me again today Lelia!

Joyful said...

Hi Lelia,
I couldn't let a Tuesday go by without stopping over to say 'hi'.

This post is wonderful. Thank you for sharing. How you have encouraged my heart to live for Christ today.
Blessings,
Joy

tiggerdaisy said...

Wow, girl. You blow me away! Good stuff!

I don't want to become complacent; I don't want to forget what Jesus has done for me; I don't want to be separated from my Jesus.

Thank you for the reminder to be diligent about staying close to my Daddy at all times, for He will protect me and guide me. Hmmmm...I feel His warm embrace now. Sigh...

Love you girl!
Prayers and Blessings!
Rebecca