Monday, May 21, 2018
I joke, but frankly this is different. It's open vascular surgery which automatically makes it intense. On top of that though, we've had a pretty serious role reversal. Phill doesn't seem to know it, but he's a natural caretaker and nurturer when someone he loves is suffering. I've been through several surgeries as a kid, at least one in college, two since we've been married, and I'm a general klutz so I run into things a lot. He's good at nurturing; I'm good at suffering. It's the perfect relationship. Things are different now. Now I am figuring out what it means to care for my normally very independent husband.
People have been asking me how I'm doing with all this. If you asked me this and I ignored your question, it's because I haven't had an answer. Truthfully, I'm still trying to put into words how I am doing. Hence why I'm writing this blog post. Waiting the many hours between when they took him to the operating room and when they let me see him in recovery was heart wrenching. When I learned I could see him, I thought it would be a huge sigh of relief. Though he was asleep when I got in, it was comforting seeing his chest rising and falling as well as seeing his solid numbers they were monitoring (pulse, blood pressure, oxygen, etc). What wasn't comforting was everything else. My lively husband had gray lips. His skin was white. He was hooked up to a million things. When he woke up he was in pain, though he fell asleep promptly so it didn't last long. His color returned the very next day and he's made incredible progress, but that image hung with me. How could someone so lively look so... dead?
Since then I've been trying to discover my role in all this: how do I take care of him? How do I take care of me? I've discovered some ways to do this since Thursday: going on walks by myself, sleeping when I can, holding his hand as they pull long tubes out of his chest, providing emotional support for him, and learning how I will assist him when it's time to come home. I don't think I realized how emotionally and physically draining it is taking care of another person - especially a person I love so dearly.
So how am I doing? Most of the time I'm drained. I'm ready to have him home and ready to watch his progress. But I'm also grateful. I'm grateful that we've received so much love and support from our closest loved ones. I'm grateful that we are at one of the best heart hospitals in the country. I'm grateful that Phill refuses to let anything stop him from pushing forward and recovering. Sure, I'm tired and worn, but I'm also secure. I'm secure in our incredible support system and most importantly in the hands of God. My prayer time is mostly me sitting in quiet saying, "Father, I'm so tired. I need help." Right now that's enough.
Sunday, January 22, 2017
Thursday, March 24, 2016
It is indeed beautiful in Dallas. The city is one of the prettiest and cleanest cities I have ever seen. The sky seems bigger here and there's always something to do as long as you know where to look. We've ventured out of Dallas before and also seen a lot of beautiful things. We've seen waterfalls and hills in Oklahoma, lakes filled with fish, and a sky that seemed to stretch out forever over the flat terrain. It has certainly been an adjustment moving from the southeast filled with humidity and mountains to near the desert where it is dry and flat. But it always pays to look for beauty especially in the midst of change.
I also love seeing the beauty in the people I encounter. Since everyone I see on a day-to-day basis are still relatively new faces, I am having the opportunity to get to know them and learn who they are. I am so enjoying seeing the hand of God working in the lives of my fellow believers and seeing His image in every person I meet and get to know.
With the onset of spring, everything seems to have turned green! (My chiweenie doesn't see the beauty in it, however. She just makes sure to taste it all making walking her a chore.) In between sneezes I am enjoying seeing all the new flowers on trees and how lush it has become. There are many parks near where we live, but we have found one that has become completely green besides the path we walk on. The trees make it feel like you've escaped into some oasis. It is beautiful and refreshing.
God has been teaching me to rely on Him through all this change and through the challenges we have faced the past few months. I have learned that though this is hard to learn, it can be beautiful too because the process of learning to rely on God makes me more of the person I should be. When I try to rely on my own will, things are ugly, challenging, and not rewarding. Relying on God, however, things are beautiful, still challenging, but very rewarding simply because of the presence of God in the things I am doing. I hope that whatever you are doing or going through, you will rely on Him and let Him show you the beauty He has in store.
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
First and foremost, God is good. He truly is the provider, counselor, and father.
Second, change is hard. I don't mean it's uncomfortable and no fun. It's just really difficult. Moving, starting a new career, getting married, renting our first apartment, taking care of two nervous dogs... it's a lot. Like I said before, that does not mean it's no fun. It's easy to get bogged down by the change and let it be no fun. But it's amazing how beautiful and fun life can be when we choose to pursue God and look for the joy. It's there somewhere. Always. We've just got to be willing to look for it.
This brings me to my third point: marriage. It's wonderful. Challenging and difficult, but, again, that does not mean it's bad. The best things in life take work. And apart from God, my marriage is the best thing in my life. Phill and I have been through a lot in our years of dating and now our first few months of marriage. I am so thankful that God brought him into my life. He is a blessing and a joy to be married to.
Fourth, seminary is fun. I love it. I get to hang out with fellow theology nerds all day! It also has a dangerous side, though. It's so easy to get too focused on the "nerding out" that suddenly the head overtakes the heart and it turns into cold academia. If you are considering going to seminary, pick one that has a defense against that built in to their program. It's ultimately up to you, but chapel and bible studies of some sort are signs that the seminary is fighting against it. I would strongly urge you that if the seminary you are interested in does not at least recognize this as a problem, proceed with great caution if you proceed at all for your own sake. I have also learned the benefit of church away from you seminary friends with regular people who may or may not be able to give you an outlined breakdown and analysis of the book of Philemon or be able to parse Greek words. To reiterate, I love seminary and I am so happy I am here and learning more about my Savior. I just understand the risks. Again, God is good and will help us through as long as we keep our eyes on him.
Fifth, Phill and I will always be grateful for the support of friends and family who have given us what we need to keep going. Whether a card in the mail, a text, or a phone call, it has all been a blessing as we establish our life so far away.
On a lighter sixth note, yes, Texas does believe it is its own country! I have learned that their state bird is the Mockingbird, but that Mockingbird Ln in Highland Park is always crowded. I've also learned that Dallas attracts many types of people from all over the world. Due to its strong economy, it is a hub for individuals and families wanting to start new lives in America. It makes for a rich and diverse population. Texans are also some of the friendliest people. It's been easy interacting with those I encounter day to day. Oh, and there's tacos everywhere. It's amazing.
Seventh and finally, God is good. He is always there. He was with us before our marriage, on the wedding day, and every day since and forward. I have learned to trust God through rocky circumstances. I have never felt a stronger dependence on God and I am thankful for that. He is good. He provides. He loves and cares for his children. Sometimes we don't understand why he does things or allows things to happen, but what child always understands their parents actions? He always comes through which has only served to deepen our trust and faith in Him.
Monday, March 2, 2015
Monday, February 23, 2015
Monday, November 10, 2014
The past few weeks I have been working on a hashtag project on Facebook which I am calling #leahsthankful37 where I post something I am thankful for each weekday. This is going to become one of those posts. Often I choose my topic based on something I am struggling or busy with. Writing the post reminds me why I am doing said thing and that though it may feel burdensome or unpleasant now, it is actually a blessing.
Today is one of those types of posts.
A little over four months ago I lost my Aunt Natalie. Today would have been her birthday. Today it would be easy to be filled with sadness, but I refuse. Do I miss her? Of course. Nearly every day. But today I choose to remember the good.
We all make mistakes. We are a fallen people. At the end of your life, would you rather be remembered for the bad you did or the good? The good, of course.
So, this is how I choose to remember Natalie. She was a fun aunt. Visits with her were full of silly cat videos, stand up comedy, and always UNO. That was a must. These times were filled with silliness and laughter. I cherish these memories.
Today I am thankful for all those times and for my aunt. I am also thankful that Phill got to experience her and these times even though it was only once. I thank God that He orchestrated that visit especially.
I love you, Natalie.