Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Christmas miracle

On Friday December 6, 2013, we got a call that froze our world.

Our Dad was taken to the ER. Chest pains, a 'pop', feeling faint.

Little did we know what God had planned for our family. We will tell you one thing:

He showed His miraculous healing power & beyond any shadow of any doubt that could ever cross your mind let us tell you...

Jesus saved our Dad's life because logically & medically speaking he should not have lived.

Dad had a dissected aortic aneurysm. In laymans terms: he busted the crap right out of the entire layer of his aorta. By the time he got to the hospital he had no pulse & no blood pressure but he was STILL CONCIOUS. He talked his way through his symptoms & less than 2 hours from the time he heard his aorta pop (yes...he heard it pop!) he was on a bypass machine being prepped for surgery.

Here is Renae's personal account of how this has changed her life.

My dad and I have had our trying times all of my life. Over the past twelve years there has been a very fragile relationship between my family (Kdog & our kids) & my dad.

 Let me throw this out there: divorce is tricky & hurtful. Watching your parents get divorced as an adult is heartbreaking.
But let me also say this: The Lord can work miracles to heal wounds that you thought could never be healed.

Kdog & I are very open with my dad. There was not a feeling unsaid regarding our relationship. Over the past four months my dad had reconnected consistently with my children. The Lord was preparing our household for what was about to happen. My children are very attached to my dad & I've never been able to say that before. And this was happening BEFORE his miraculous aortic repair.

When I got to the hospital & waited with his wife & my brother it felt like a bad dream. We didn't know if he would live through the surgery. 

We waited for five hours and during those five hours The Lord melted away resentment & uncomfortable feelings.  He replaced them with love & compassion.

As we waited for the surgeon my dad's wife said repeatedly 'I have a peace from The Lord that he is going to be ok.' 

And he is.

 The surgeon replaced his aortic valve & grafted a new aortic arch. His 'new parts' will probably outlast the rest of his body. 

One new 'part' is a pig valve. My oldest has named him 'Bacon'.

We waited 8 hours that day before my brother & I followed 'Mamaw' (as our kids call her) into the ICU. 

It was the best feeling in the world to kiss my dad's hand, pray over him, & realize The Lord had given him a second chance at life.

The next several days are hazy but mostly I remember seeing him sedated with tears rolling down his face. I knew my dad was in there. 

My sister came and we had lots of time together (which is unusual since she lives 3 hours away!!). We prayed over Dad, stroked his hair & held his hands. 

My most precious moment was praying over dad & my sister started to pray outloud. Dad was still sedated, breathing tube in & he became restless. He was responding to our prayers!!! 

Dad has made a miraculous recovery. He came home on December 23. He's weak but progressing everyday. He had a small stroke & some vision damage but they are both resolving with each & every day!

While mamaw is at work he comes & hangs at my house. It's never dull here. And we keep him moving. 

The love of children & laughter is the best medicine of all if you ask me!

This entire life changing experience has brought my entire family closer. Yes, even my mom & 'step' mom. We all have one thing in common: LOVE

Love for our Lord & Saviour. And do you know what He commands?

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34, 35 NIV)

Tomorrow is never guaranteed. 

Relationships are worth repairing.

Love always comes out ahead.

God is Healer, Sustainer, Giver of life.

Through all things God gives us strength to endure whatever life may bring.

I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13 NIV)

When something like this happens your perspective changes. You learn a lot about yourself & your family. The biggest thing I've learned is this...

Give. (Your time. Your support. With no strings attached)

The Lord empowers you to do whatever it takes to come together if you ask Him first. 

I'm thankful for this experience.

 Weird, maybe?!?

My dad is a miracle through whom The Lord can use to bring other people to His Kingdom.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Why We Elf

He's back.

Actually, THEY'RE back. There's a host of scout elves haunting houses all over Middle America and creepily spying on innocent young ones across the world. And it's all in the name of Santa...that jolly old bearded fellow who magically shimmies down chimneys everywhere to deliver lots of commercial stuff to our impressionable babes who have been induced with toy-madness since the end of August when they started playing Christmas music in Wal-Mart.

You be good. Really good. Your elf will tell Santa. You will get lots of presents.

Oh, mercy...it sounds just plain wrong. But I'd love to tell you why we do it anyway.

IT'S FUN (!)

More specifically, WE think it's fun. You don't have to like the elf. You don't have to have one of your own if you don't want one. And I won't love you any less if you don't. In fact, if your child is under the age of two and/or you still can't pee by yourself on a regular basis I might even suggest that you don't have time for the elf. That's ok and I also promise you will pee alone again one day. One fine, fine day.

Simply put, Christmas is about God sending his son, Jesus, to the earth in flesh as a baby. It has nothing to do with Santa or elves, we all know that was just a byproduct that happened much, much later. The common denominator here though is that the heart of this holiday is two things: JOY and LOVE.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
~Galatians 5:22-23

Check out the first two fruits of the spirit! LOVE and JOY!

We move that (insert your own adjective here) elf every night, and make it do silly, sometimes involved things, because we LOVE our children! We do it because it creates JOY in each of our hearts! The morning beasties are sweet and cooperating these days because they are so full of joy while trying to find where "Doc" is the morning! Not to mention the hours that my husband and I spend TOGETHER (what??) during the Christmas season planning, plotting, and crafting this little guy's next crazy scheme!

We also do it because we can make it into something teachable. The other day we read this article: http://voices.yahoo.com/5-elf-shelf-ideas-havent-thought-of-12409891.html. Meet Renae's elves, Hervy & Vivi, and the note Hervy left her kids last week:

Vivi & Hervy Bake                          Vivi Arrives 

This isn't just experiencing love, this is TRAINING UP LOVE! I have no doubt that her Fab Four will remember how they actively paid it forward with Hervy and Vivi's money far more clearly than when Mom simply told them with her words that they should always pay it forward.

It's also a way for moms who take care of others all day and limit their creative sides to show a little creativity of their own. We were creative once...before sleep deprivation killed two thirds of our brain cells.

Hervy's Marshmallow Bath
I look forward to Doc. I love how excited my kids are to find him each morning. I love the JOY that it brings them. Seeing them experiencing JOY brings me JOY in return!

Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.
~ Psalm 47:1
Nehemiah said, "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." 
~ Nehemiah 8:10
Doc Repents

You can also click through to Denyse's other blog, The Super Mom Chronicles, for Doc's 2012 adventures! http://momchronicles.blogspot.com/2012_12_01_archive.html

Doc has a few groupies after last year's antics. Feel free to follow his progress on instagram using the hashtag #doctheelf as well as #elfontheshelf for a few great ideas IF you need them. ;)