April 10, 2011

The "A" Word and the Unexpected

Rounding that circular slab of concrete on the exit ramp as I headed back to work last Tuesday, I said to myself, "My plate sure is full."  Without hesitation the Lord whispered back, "What is it filled with?"  I immediately saw the grace,  the love, peace, patience, kindness and all of the other fruit that my plate was loaded down with.  I was humbled because these gifts were not my original thought. I was heading back to work after having been at the doctor with Mom and Dad; the tears were wet on my cheeks, and Jesus slipped in close beside.  Not only was my plate full, but my car was full of his presence.  It reminded me of another time I was driving in my car about 12 years ago after I had gotten word that Dad had cancer.  The dreaded "C" word.  I remember driving foolishly as my eyes were so clouded over by the sadness in my eyes.  I cried out to God and said, "Please don't take my father. I'm not ready to lose him yet."  I found out later that my mother was praying that same prayer that same day. 

We didn't lose Dad that year.  He will be 84 next week.  But, we have been losing him in a sense for the past few years, and the doctor confirmed that for us on Tuesday when we heard the "A" word.  Dad has Alzheimer's.  It wasn't that unexpected.  The signs are classic.  We had educated ourselves enough to know what we were up against.  We knew that he had already probably progressed to a moderate level of Alzheimer's since the last visit to the neurologist,  but having the doctor confirm it, set in motion a new reality of how we would be living our lives over the course of the time he has left.  My father also has cancer for the second time.  I don't know which disease will win or if God will take him home on different terms yet to be revealed, but I am prepared to battle through with him. 

As we deal with the "A" word, we are also trying to wrap our minds around the unexpected news that came during the same doctor visit.  The news that my mother has Parkinson's.  A double whammy in one morning.  My plate of responsibilities is indeed full, but my plate of blessings is even fuller.


811.  Lots of loving time spent with my parents.  I am thankful for it now, but I know when they are gone I will treasure these present moments all the more.

812.  Inner strength even in the midst of tears

813.  Choosing joy.  Thanks Donna!

814.  Hearing dad sing hymns the day after the diagnosis

815.  New medication for Mom that already seems to be helping

816.  A personal God who is always near and nearer still in the midst of difficulty

817.  A father whose high IQ lent him many years as a doctor, missionary, Bible scholar and teacher

818.  This beautiful opportunity to serve my parents

819.  Learning how to love better

820.  Finding service in my own home through the drudgery of daily tasks

821.  Being present when my father took his oral memory exam, giving encouragement and love and honor while he could not answer a single question.

822.  The love of wife, daughter and God that flooded the examining room

823.  A kind lady on the elevator at the hospital who recognized my father and remembered him as the "greatest doctor she had ever known" hugging my father, and loving  him for taking care of her for many years.  He didn't know who she was, but he wanted to write down her name so he wouldn't forget her : )

824.  Finding old books that my grandfather had given my father 50-60 years ago.  Re-giving them to my father and watching him read the inscriptions written in his father's handwriting.

825.  My mother's blue eyes.  They used to be green, but now they are very blue.

826.  Quiet time alone in my car at lunch.  No noise. No responsibilities.  Just time to think and pray for 30 minutes.

827.  A cool breeze on my face

828.  Lying in bed.  Windows open.  Breeze blowing.  Window sheers flying.  Thunder rolling.

829.  A heart for the hurting

830.  A God who listens

831.  A God who speaks

832.  A God who sustains

833.  A God who encourages

834.  A God who convicts

835.  A God who never abandons

Your prayers for my parents are appreciated.  I would also humbly ask for you to speak to God about me as well.  I need strength and wisdom.  I also need a willing spirit to do all I need to do for his glory. I love you guys!

HE IS RISEN!

19 comments:

  1. Stephani -

    I knew what you meant when I read the title of this one. I'm so very sorry. I have no words to comfort through this experience...I wish I did. Your faith and faithfulness are a testimony to God's lovingkindness. And it's an honor to pray for you and your parents. I will. And so glad you asked. And I'm very glad you logged back on - that photo of your parents is priceless!
    Did you read her post at A Holy Experience, "How Emptiness Can Sing"? And did you listen to that song? It's timely for me...and after reading this of yours, I pray it's timely for you as well as you ask for the willing spirit to do all that needs to be done for His glory.
    "Glory to God, Glory to God!
    In fullness of wisdom,
    He writes my story into his song,
    My life for the glory of God."

    Love to you,
    Tami

    HE IS RISEN, INDEED!

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  2. Lord we just lift up this entire family to you and every need that they will have need of in Jesus name. We thank you for pouring out your grace and mercy Lord. We thank you for wisdom and direction that all are lead by you in Jesus name. We thank you for sending those that would be up lifting and encouraging to Stephani Lord. We thank you for the perfect laborers to come along side her and help undergird her and support her Lord. We thank you Lord that you have a plan and all things will work out for your good and your glory in Jesus name Amen
    (((HUGS)))
    Blessing

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  3. You have my words on your photo blog.. Your on my heart and all of you remain in my Prayers. You are loved and an inspiration. Your Strength will muliply ten fold and will be blessed beyond measure.


    I will have a truck this week. I have driven once since March.
    No worries. I will be careful
    Much Love my dear friend

    Lisa xoxo
    xoxox

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  4. I will be lifting our parents up in prayer, as well as you. I know that God will give you the strength to persevere through all of this. Your list made me cry today. So beautiful.

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  5. Dear Stephanie, I think we have more in common than I thought. I promise to keep you and your parents in my prayers. I can feel your love for them and for the Lord coming through your words...what a beautiful gratitude list. What a gift to be able to see the gifts in the midst of the other stuff! Love to you my friend.
    Mary

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  6. love you stephani! your list is awesome...your parents have a wonderful daughter. praying for you xo

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  7. Stephani,
    I'm crying for you, with you. Yes, a double whammy. :-( But I'm praying these diagnoses, though difficult to hear, are helpful. Glad your mom is on proper medication. And you can just love on your dad with no expectations from him.

    That doesn't make it easy though. I know that. But you will make it because you have the strength of Jesus in you, even those times when you fall flat on your face in tears. Just keep loving your parents like you've been doing...

    Love you, friend,
    Lisa

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  8. When I read over your list, Stephani, I'm so in awe of God's goodness. How truly blessed you are, and I'm praying for you and for your parents. May God give you strength and endurance beyond what you ever thought possible. May He give you a quiet heart that glorifies Him, and may you love Him more and more as He brings you through this trial. Love and hugs to you, my sister!

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  9. Mixed emotions when I read your post, Stephani. So much love and rich times with your beloved parents, so much loss ahead as your dad advances in A's disease. I had a dream about how there will be uninterrupted unending joy when we are rejoined with our loved in heaven -- all of us whole.

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  10. Stephani:

    Even in the distress of learning about your parent's illness, you show such gratitude. I pray for strength for you, for your parents during this present season of their lives, and for your entire family.

    Blessings,
    Joan

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  11. You are a very good daughter! I will keep your parents in my prayers and will pray for your strength and endurance during this time.

    I think it was while reading "Jesus Calling" that I realized how much energy I wasted on anxiety. I am still learning to hand my anxiety over to God whose strength is so amazing and whose grace is so healing.

    Thank you for sharing your list of blessings this week.

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  12. Oh, how I felt your heart as I read this post. I do not know exactly where you are, but I have an idea. I helped to care for my MIL as she struggled with Alzheimer's and it was a tough, tough time. Then my Mom had Parkinson's. Life can deal such tough blows sometimes and if it were not for our loving Lord carrying us through, we would never make it. May you feel His strength and peace as you travel this difficult journey with your parents.

    You are such an inspiration and I am praying for you! Hugs!

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  13. Stephani, your words tumbled out with truth, candor and the understandable sadness accompanying all you discovered about your parents last week - which makes your gratitude list precious and filled with love.

    Praying for your parents; praying for you.

    With love,
    Donna

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  14. Oh dear friend...your post touched my tender heart today as yesterday was 12 years since we lost my daddy. It's hard. I am so sorry but so very blessed with your sweet outlook and your testimony of God's grace and mercy in your life. I loved that someone encouraged your dad as you were at the hospital.
    You are in my thoughts and prayers.
    blessings and hugs
    ~a

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  15. Thanks so much to everyone for their encouraging words. I have the best blog friends. I'm not suprised to see any of your faces in my comment box. I am truly blessed through this blog. Love ya!

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  16. Oh Stephani, I am not a writer and words would not be enough today anyway to tell you how sorry I am to read this. I will keep you on my prayer list today and in the days ahead. I have a little ritual...several times a week I go through the 15-20 blogs in my favorites list and jot down prayer needs. And even though your need is great, your gratitude pours out...you are a blessing. Take care, my friend.

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  17. Love the sweet picture of your mom and dad. And yes your plate is full....yet your parents are in good hands, they are so blessed to have such a sweet, caring and Godly daughter taking care of them. Love how that lady gave your dad a hug in the elevator, that speak volumes of the man he is!!
    Praying for you sweet friend!!
    ~Sandy

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  18. Tears are flowing down my face as I type this. I am so sorry. Looking at old pictures of when couples were young, I wonder, "Do we ever really think that aging and diseases like Alzheimers, Parkinson's or cancer will hit us or the one we're holding?

    To see your dad's bright, scholarly , scientific man, a man who has obviously had to hold countless details in his brain as a successful doctor and missionary...then to see him not get one question right on an exam..how painful. I pray that you feel God's love ministering to him and to your parents . Thanks for the reminder to treasure time with your parents. I don't do it enough.

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  19. *your dad's scholarly MIND, not man==oopsie daisy!

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