“Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him,
for he shields him all day long,
and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders” ~Deut.33:12

Today I am sick. I have a head cold, which brings on much pain and misery in my fibromyalgia afflicted body. I could easily succumb to self-pity in these circumstances. But, praise be to God that I have been given the gift of ‘attention deficient and my mind can not seem to stay focused on my misery long enough to bring me to despair!
 
Let me give you an example of what I mean. I was lying down, trying to adjust my pillows in a way so that I would not be in pain, but so I could breathe. It isn’t easy to find that perfect place…All of this reminded me of an old movie that I had seen about ‘John Merrick”, the “Elephant Man”. Seems Mr. Merrick had to sleep sitting up, for he would asphyxiate if he did not. I was feeling a kinship with the ‘elephant man’ this morning. (And if truth be told, I have in the past, been known to walk about the house shouting, “I AM NOT AN ANIMAL”….to my family as they make jest of my various autoimmune afflictions, such as massive hives that have invaded my lips, and swell so far that I resemble a duck!) Anyway, this morning as I thought of Mr. Merrick, the thought of a verse from the Bible came to my mind:“God sets the lonely in families” Ps.68:6 And I talked to God for a minute, and thanked him for keeping this promise and for placing Merrick in a “family”. I thanked Him for the life of Mr. Merrick; that the man was able to give pleasure and happiness to others, even in his afflicted state. And I thanked God  for the fact that Mr. Merrick too, even though so horribly challenged, was able to find joy, happiness and make a difference in the lives of others, while in his horrific state. I also thanked God for reminding me, in the midst of my own minor by comparison, affliction; that he loves and cares for all of us.
 
It was then that God chose to teach me a lesson.
 
It was then that God spoke clearly, and asked me, “If you believe that I could do that for “the elephant man”, why do you doubt that happiness and joy can come from your daughter’s affliction?”
 
As you have noticed, I have been quite silent where my drug addicted daughter is concerned. Some disappointments and heartaches can not be described in words, but must be endured a moment at a time.
 
My daughter disappeared on the fourth of July, this year. With no prior warning, she was gone. We searched and could not find her. Since this isn’t the first time we have been down this road, we assumed that she had relapsed, but were not quite sure, this time, because she left with only the clothes on her back. She left all her diabetic supplies and medicines at our home. Even with our past experiences with her, or perhaps because of them, horrible scenarios ran through our minds. Had she met with an accident somewhere? Was she crawling for help off the side of some wooded road? Perhaps she had waited on a nefarious character at the cafe where she worked, and she had fallen victim to his murderous ways? We visited her place of employment and contacted the friends we knew. We found that she had cashed large checks before she went missing, which made it seem more of a planned escape. So, we waited for some sort of news, which we knew would come.
 
About 3 weeks later, I got a package in the mail, with a note attached, that said it had been found on a bridge in Portland OR; it was my daughter’s wallet! Oh no! Previously, during her sober times, my daughter had described the drug culture in Portland to me. She explained that when one person died, for whatever reason, the rest of the addicts just rolled the body in the river, so no police would come looking at the rest of them. I was sure this is what had happened to my beautiful daughter….I didn’t know what to do, or where to turn for help.
 
But, that very day, she sent a text to her father; “Dad im sorry but i am ok just letting u know. Love you always”
 
She skipped out on her probation, her healthcare, rehab, her jobs and her bills. She left us with a mess of bills and a mess in her room. We had to answer her employers and spar with her bill collectors. This isn’t the first time. I actually have a template letter to send to her creditors telling them to leave us alone, that we aren’t responsible for her debts. 
 
Everyday brings a new heartache a new concern and a new problem. Soon she called for money, a place to stay and pleas from jail. But, now there is a new twist. She has a boyfriend. And she is pregnant.
 
So, the lesson God sent me this morning, telling me to put away my worries for her baby. God has a plan for this child, and can make a way when there is no way. Where I see only misery and abuse ahead for this little one, God tells me to trust Him. I do.
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It has been a hard three weeks. We drove the 500 miles thinking we were going to plan a funeral.
 

 They did not expect her to make it. She not only had the endocarditis, but the staph infection was in her very blood. And it was the antibiotic resistant form, MRSA. It was in her lungs, her heart, her blood, and we found out later—her eye. It did not respond to any antibiotics. She had to have a chest tube inserted to drain fluid from around her heart and lungs. She was unconscious for the first 6 days. She could not breathe as her lungs were filled with fungus and fluid. Her urine was black in the catheter.

 
 Nothing they did was working. She was steadily going down hill. They moved her to the ICU, with the idea that they were going to put her on a respirator—but they kept holding off putting her on it; giving her a “few more hours”. They told me that once they do that, it is hard for a person to recover from that…not impossible, but it is usually the last move before hope is gone. They tried everything. They did not hold anything back. She was surrounded by doctors, nurses and aides. It seemed as if the whole hospital had heard about how sick this beautiful 24 year old girl was, and they all wanted to be a part of helping her recover.  
 
We were also surrounded by family and friends. My sister and her husband stayed overnight at the hospital with my husband and I. Relatives came by at all hours of the day and night. Pastors, who did not know us, and some who did, came to support us, and together we all prayed over her.
  
We have felt the prayers of everyone, and want to thank everyone who prayed those prayers. I ask the Lord everyday to bless everyone who is praying for us; because we have been blessed by your prayers! We felt the strength to keep going, and always felt hope in the Lord. We were at peace, and were even able to find some joy in the middle of it all. We saw the Lord’s hand at work, in us, and in our daughter’s care.
  
It just so happened that the doctor on duty, for the first week, was a young doctor whose specialty is infectious disease. She has connections with the top doctors in the field around the nation, and tried the most current treatments. On one of her worst nights, a nurse came on duty, that doesn’t usually work here. The nurse just happened to be called in to work, because of staff illnesses. She is a nurse practitioner, who is an instructor at the college. The charge nurse, on duty most of the time,  use to work at a rehab center …things like that; all working together for our daughter’s good.
  
One young street pastor who came to pray with us and over our daughter, let us pray with him about finding employment. Praise God, the next day, he got a job!  The first day on the job he was able to witness to a woman who had fallen away from the Lord, and who wanted to rededicate her life to Jesus! God is so good….and in the midst of our need, God allowed us to be a part of helping someone else too.
  
The news for us is full of praise, for our daughter has made a miraculous recovery! She is alert and coherent. They were able to remove her chest tube, and the catheter. She was able to go off the oxygen.  The MRSA began to react to the new antibiotics. Her heart is back to normal. They discharged her from the hospital!
 
Praise the Lord!  
  
She still has some challenges. She has a port in her arm that goes into an artery for further blood draws and IV treatments. Her right eye is blind, her gorgeous blue eye will never see again–there is no sparkle in the eye. Her lungs are still full of abscesses, which leave scar tissue behind. Her legs are also full of small abscesses, which make it difficult and painful to walk. We do not know if she will have permanent damage. She suffers fevers and still must go to the hospital every 12 hours for IV antibiotics.
 
But, God is the God of resurrection, and I have seen it myself!
 

 

My oldest child, my first born, my child of promise, who I adored and loved; who made me laugh and whose intelligence never failed to surprise me; this child who I poured myself into; is a drug addict.  She is the girl in this song.  Why? I don’t really know.  I did everything “right”…I stayed home with my kids, I interacted with them, I took them to church, prayed with them and mentored them. Her father and I stayed married–and love each other. We both participated in our children’s lives. We loved her and told her so all the time. We were proud of her, and believed in her, and told her so. We encouraged her artistic talents in music, drama, and all the visual arts she enjoyed and to which she was so gifted. We were there for all her plays, her art shows, her band and symphony concerts. We were proud of her academic achievements, and told all who would listen of her talents. We trusted her. We supported her love of animals, and praised her for taking such excellent care of her reptiles, and dogs. She was dependable and responsible. We taught her to value work, and she started working for her own bicycle when she was 12 years old. She even took her first paycheck, and entirely on her own, she bought her grandmother a Bible. She got herself a job when she was 15, and was able to save enough money to buy herself a car.  She went to church, whenever the door was open, and even took her friends to church. She went on visitation, and to youth group. We had no doubts and no worries about her future. She was college bound, and well grounded.

What happened?  She has chosen to reject all we have given her. She has taken our gifts and literally tossed them into a trash heap in her yard. She has sold and pawned all she has ever valued, and worked for herself. She has sacrificed her artistic talents, her reputation, her virtue, her intelligence,  her health, her security, her faith, and given all she has and is, to her addictions. She serves her addictions. She lives for them. She has given them all she is.

Yet, she still loves us. She calls us, and sees us and talks to us. She lets us know when she has a basic need. And we often will buy her groceries, or clothes when she asks. She likes to talk to us. She enjoys discussing politics, and religion. And when she is in a very bad situation, we are the first she calls, for she knows we are there to help her.

But, the fact is, that my daughter can not live in my house. We can not trust her with our things. Although we love her and are ready to help her at any moment; her choice to continue to serve her addictions separates her from us. She isn’t as close to us as she could be. She will never receive any part of our inheritance, that we have saved up for her. Instead, she will receive what the faithfulness to her addiction provides: illness, misery, brutality, cruelty, hunger, poverty, and eventually, death. Our hearts are broken by her choices, and the misery she lives. We so want her to live out the promising life she was given. Yet, even though we are there, constantly ready to help her overcome her addiction–she chooses not to stop serving it.

The same is true for each of us. God has given us so much. He has done so much for us. But, we all have a sin that separates us from our Heavenly Father. Our Father who loves us and is heartbroken over the way we are living our lives, when we could have so much more. The Lord has all we need to overcome the sin, we just need to take it. God doesn’t just want to talk to us about what we believe and want; although he is happy to hear from us, in prayer and worship…and He will talk to us…but, what would really make him happy, is if we would choose to accept His help. If we would stop serving our sin, let go and live the glorious life, and spend the inheritance that He has saved up for us! He has a home for us, He has gifts for us and treasure for us, that we are missing because we chose our sin, everyday.

Maybe that sin, is that you don’t want to see, be around, befriend or witness to, someone like this girl in the video. Someone like my daughter. Someone who needs you. Maybe it is your comfort that you serve. Maybe it is your pleasure that you serve. Whatever it is, you will not have all God has planned for you, until you give it up.