Sunday, June 23, 2013

...My Help Comes From the Lord, Maker of Heaven and Earth

There are some pretty frightening roads that we have to travel on our journey through life.  I can remember praying to God about it one day while I was driving alone on a very dark road in the country.  I remember telling the Lord how this world is so big, and scary and there seemed to be so much darkness in it and that "if I didn't have you to travel it with, I would really be scared".  The Lord has been showing me just how true that really is.

Twelve or so years ago, I was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease at age 43, and I spent the next twelve or so years doing everything I could do to alleviate the symptoms and perhaps slow the progression of the disease.

In the past year, my progression has been swift and devastating, and the Lord began to open my eyes to what my future might look like.  I was once again taken back to that dark, lonely road of so long ago, and how frightening the road ahead looked without Jesus by my side.

Three weeks ago, I underwent Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery.  This is a surgery in which the doctor puts an electrode in your brain and a battery pack in your chest which works to stimulate the brain and alleviate and or lessen your symptoms.  I was scared stiff; having never had any kind of surgery and my only hospital stays having all been related to having my children.  However, the surgeon gave me a list of people who had had the surgery and encouraged me to call them.  I spoke to about five out of a list of about 15 and fully all five of them said it had made living with PD so much easier and that they would do it again and wished that they had done it sooner.  Only one of the candidates was a woman, and she was the only one who mentioned "depression".

When I first began exploring the possibility of having the surgery performed, I prayed (day and night) that God would lead me in the right direction and that if I were not to have the surgery performed, that He would close the door solidly and without question.  I stepped carefully on because of how frightful the surgery was to me.  I passed all the preliminary tests which are administered to see if you qualify for the surgery.  I received good news about my insurance covering it, and found no reason why I could not do the surgery.  I prayed still that God would close the door and one day in studying the book of James, I came to this verse of scripture:

James 1:17  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

I felt that if all that were said about the surgery were true, then this was surely a gift from God to those who were able to have it done.

My surgery was scheduled; the time flew by and lo and behold, I found myself on the Sunday before the surgery preparing for myself for what would come.  All the arrangements were made:  my son would spend the day with one of my very best friends, another of my best friends would come from her home to stay with me for two weeks to help take care of my family, and my other best friend became my partner in prayer and chief cheerleader.  My husband and I got a hotel room fairly close to the hospital and spent the night before there so we would not have to fight the rush-hour traffic in the morning.  I was not allowed to take any medication after midnight and no food or water from that time.

Because of what happens to the body when no medication is taken,  the day is pretty much a jumble but some things have perfect clarity.  Like the moment I woke up in the OR while the surgery was being performed and talking to the Lord about staying with me and I remember reciting the 23rd Psalm over and over.  I felt the Lord with me.  It was a very long day.  The surgery ended up beginning around 3:00 p.m. and lasted about five hours, and every time I was conscious, I was aware of quoting scriptures that I could remember and talking to the Lord.

The Psalmist says:

A Song of Ascents.

121 I lift up my eyes to the hills.
    From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved;
    he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
    the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
    nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all evil;
    he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
    your going out and your coming in
    from this time forth and forevermore.

I have been shown that in a very special, wonderful way.  I hope to share in the coming days how He has been with me since the surgery.

 Thank you, Lord, for the precious gift of life.  Help me never to squander it.  Lord, I pray that today I can glorify your name, and bring honor to you.  Lead me, I pray, by your spirit to whom you will and do not let me pass by without doing what you want with me.  I am yours and you are mine.  What greater gift could there be for mankind?  Bless those who reach out with your hands to those in need and give comfort, love and peace.  In Christ's name I pray.  Amen.