Sister/friend, Army/Navy, trials/blessings

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My friend Kim and I hanging out in the hospital lobby.
I have pink highlights and though
Kim does not have olive green highlights in her hair, 

she’s still a really good person
as you will soon discover. 

Last year Kim went in the hospital for routine surgery. As part of our Bible Study, she lifted the situation up as a prayer concern and we promised to pray for her. No big deal, I thought to myself. I’ve had a hysterectomy. Not pleasant but she’ll be fine. I’ll make her a meal, be a nice friend and we’ll see her back in our group in no time at all.

But that’s not what happened. The routine surgery became life-threatening as deadly pockets of infection raged in her abdomen. Soon she was too sick to return text messages and too weak to speak. Her husband took over communication and his emails were long as he detailed the troubles and asked for more prayers. Three additional surgeries later, Kim still was in the hospital gravely ill. Another woman in our Bible Study, a pharmacist, told us later that Kim was near death. A vital, young wife and mother of four daughters never expected these complications. Our group was jarred and we cried out to the Lord to save our dear friend and sister in Christ. More meals, more cards, visits to the hospital, we all wondered why this was happening. Kim spent 11 days in the hospital and it took months for her to remain her strength. As she lay in the hospital bed, baseball cap on her head because she was too weak to even wash her hair, Kim had time to talk to God about the purpose for her suffering. She promised to use her illness to minister to others and to not waste this trial…

13 months later – it was past one in the morning when the Hubs and I finally returned home from the hospital. My mom was in the throws of withdrawal from pain meds and at times it was like seeing a demon coming out of her body. Nothing could console her and we were at our wits’ end as we left the hospital and to get some sleep.

While in the shower, in the wee hours of the mourning, I felt the Lord speak to me and remind me about Kim. “Ask her to come to the hospital,” that’s what God said to me…while in the shower…Later that day I called and without hesitation Kim heartily agreed.  On Saturday, a little over a year after her own ordeal, my friend walked back into the same hospital, this time not as a patient but as a woman victorious. 

The devotional Kim gave to my mom.

She brought my mom a beautiful devotional and recounted her days at the hospital. After Mom’s visit, as I escorted Kim back to the hospital entrance, she remembered being wheeled down that  hospital corridor. She recalled the blossoms on the trees that she rolled by for another CT scan…reflections of how in the midst of despair, she yearned for another day of life, unsure of when and if she would ever leave the hospital or see another spring. 

Kim and I just before the Army/Navy football game 
as we sparred just before Bible Study

Though she is a Navy wife and I’m an Army mom, and many of us are familiar with the friendly banter shared between these two military branches, moreover we are friends and sisters in Christ. We brush past the fact that her hubs is a Navy grad and my oldest OS will soon graduate from West Point 😉 Moreover, Kim has honored her promise to the Lord and actively searches opportunities to tell her story. God uses His people when we let Him. Some of the most shameful parts of my life, things Satan would say you can never discuss because people will judge you or hate you or call you names, the Lord told me to open my mouth and no longer let those chains shackle me. He has allowed me to share parts of my former life with thousands of people because those things point to His redemption, goodness and love. Kim has done the same although her content is different. She doesn’t say no to sharing be it a large audience or the hurting grandma in Room 370 (my mom). 

Encouragement

When I prayed for my friend to get better, it didn’t occur to me that I needed her, not just as my Bible Study buddy but as an encourager to someone I love. She is teaching me things because the Lord is her teacher. So how about you? Don’t discount how YOU can be a blessing. Consider the ways your own story and suffering are touchstones intended to draw you and others closer to the God of All Comfort. Being Kim’s friend has made me more sensitive to helping others and moving beyond myself. I pray the same for you, dear friends…more soon

Sew not happening

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Ok, I’m sitting here watching the Army/Navy game. I am so not an athletic person but this is one game where I attempt to pay attention in the warm comfort of my home. I find myself crying at nearly every military commercial the television station runs.


And I’m making aprons. From about 5 in the morning, my little sewing machine is stitching away.

I pride myself on raising three godly OS who love Jesus and remember to put the toilet seat down after using it. My OS can cook, do laundry and iron. Not joyfully, mind you but nonetheless, they are developing into capable, competent men.

But apparently they have limits and they aren’t going to budge.

Don’t ask me why but I was cutting fabric to make some snake aprons (a future blog post to be sure) and I blithely ask my middle OS and my orange-haired, freckle faced OS a question which will live in infamy…

“Do you think that you guys would ever be interested in learning how to sew?” I inquire.

Aaron squirms and suddenly announces an urgent need to use the bathroom.

And without forethought or hesitation, with nary a consideration about how his precious mother might feel, my 13 year old Ike states, “I’d rather be castrated!”


Allrighty then, I guess that closes that subject! I didn’t think either one of them would be interested but it’s been confirmed, it ain’t happening.

My oldest OS is applying for some exciting overseas opportunities with West Point. They would take him far, far from home and be ridiculously exciting.

But then I had an idea…I told him that I was pretty sure there was going to be an exciting opportunity aka AIAD here in our neck of the woods. And you know what he said,

“Yeah but I heard it involves aprons so I’m not interested!”


How do you like that? Hmphf!

Boys will be boys. I will sew solo, get it?

I’ll Be Home For Christmas

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Kudos to you bloggers out there that are able to consistently post during the holidays. I’ve been swamped with projects and family stuff. My mom was in the hospital for four days and that was a bummer. Thankfully she’s home but since my last blog, I’ve been sewing and creating, cleaning, cooking, working, complaining, planning and everything in between.

We also went to the Army/Navy game. Thanks to nine layers of clothing and two blankets, I was able to enjoy the event despite our big loss to Navy. 


Hopefully by this evening, my oldest OS will be home. I was watching Good Morning America yesterday morning and they were discussing the weather. “A winter storm is blanketing the Midwest and the Northeast today with snow up to 10 inches in some areas…” It’s interesting how weather events become personal. I looked at the map and knew someone I loved was trapped. My heart sunk. 

Our OS was leaving West Point, catching a flight from Stewart Airport to Detroit and despite the cheery voices on GMA, I knew my boy wasn’t coming home on Friday night. He was going from a place of snow (West Point) to another place of even more snow (Detroit). How ironic because at the same time in our neck of the woods, we had the windows open and our other OS were in shorts! While driving, I even had to put on the AC! How crazy is that?!

I had warned Nate that he would soon experience snow in proportions the likes of which he had never known. I was hoping it would have waited until January but that was not to be. After four years at West Point, I’m sure Nate will have wracked up many winter stories which he can embellish for his own kids one day beginning with his travels back home for the holidays as a lowly plebe. As soon as the bus arrived at Stewart Airport and learned flights had been cancelled, our plebe was back on the bus returning to West Point for the night. 

I told him to make sure he wore his uniform and to be nice and polite. He says that uniform is the most uncomfortable thing he’s ever worn in his life but I chided him to remember manners on a handsome young man in a uniform can go a long way.

This morning he texted me and said it was so freezing at West Point that there was ice on his jacket! I think he’s going to appreciate the warmth of our home more than ever. 

Although I am disappointed that my OS is not home yet, I am looking forward to seeing him tonight. He might be tired and grouchy but he’ll be here and our five piece puzzle will be together again.