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Life is a puzzle. Putting it together.

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I have always loved the smell of the morning.I grew up in Alabama, where the summers are just hot. The sunlight would burst through the curtains momma made and wake me every morning. In the air was the sweet smell of honeysuckle which grew underneath my window. Sometimes, when we were favored with a night breeze, I would lie in bed with my eyes closed with that scent flowing into the darkened room. I imagined myself far away from the southern heat of summer. Especially far away from the morning chores.What child enjoys chores? That sweet smell has always been one of my favorite morning scents. As I sit this morning, sipping my cup of coffee, waiting for the sunrise….I can smell honeysuckle. I close my eyes, and thank God for this new day. I thank Him for the breath in my lungs…especially my left lung. Not too long ago breathing was no simple task. It wasn't from having a cold or a stuffy nose. It was from being suddenly knocked to my knees, unable to breath in or out without excruciting pain. Without any symptoms noticeable by me or the doctor I saw a couple days earlier for a blood pressure follow-up, I found myself battling pnuemonia. Doctor's said I had fluid building up in my left lung. Actually, it was 90% full with fluid. All I know is…I was in pain and I was struggling with every breath for air. Then came all the test…scans, blood work, needles here and there, bruised, sore arms and fingers from all the blood draws…and then the actual draining of the fluid. Trust me, you don't want to know how that was done, but it gave me some relief. Hours later, I felt tightness in my chest and I was once again having difficulty breathing. More Test….followed by more blood draws. I was so tired, literally exhausted. My strength was decreasing and I was a very sick woman. I was moved to pulminary intensive care. Doctors told us that the fluid had returned. The bacteria that caused all of this was an unusually difficult one. I needed surgery in order to clear out all the bacteria and drain the fluid and I needed surgery Now! Surgery! I have to tell you that in spite of all I had already endured, surgery scared me to death! I had been trying to be strong for my family so that they did'n't worry so much, but now I was in a full panic attack! Oh my God! I was riddled with fear. Fear of leaving my family which I loved and I knew loved me. Fear of never seeing the birth of my grand-twins who were due in a few months. Fear of leaving my beloved husband of 37 years to grieve my passing. Fear surrounded me and literally took my breath away.

Something pretty incredible happened.I know it may be hard to believe, because I didn't believe it myself…at first. In the mist of all that fear, I thought I heard a whisper in my head saying "I am not the giver of fear". With everything else that was going on, am I hearing voices too?Then I heard it again, only it wasn't a whisper. It boomed through my head and shook me…kind of like a parent might shake you to get your attention. I am definately paying attention now. I saw the nurses rushing around my bed, but I could only hear the voice in my head, "I am not the giver of fear!" I closed my eyes to balance and calm myself. With eyes closed, I saw a small piece of paper withwords on it. Slowly the words became clear. On the paper was, "Psalms 91". That's in the bible! I know that chapter. I have read it before. It is one of the most soothing, conforting and reassurring chapters in the Bible.I recited in my mind,…."He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty….He is my rufuge, my fortress….and I will lean and rely on Him….You shall not be afraid". I felt my body relax and there was no longer fear. All thoseyears sitting in Sunday school I must have heard the message.My Mom always said, "what the ears hear, the mind stores." I opened my eyes. I knew, God was in control. I knew, God had compiled a team of experts to care for me. I knew, God would guide the surgeons hands. I knew, it was not my battle to fight. I knew, God loved me and has always been with me.I knew, I was already alright!. I survived two weeks in the hospital and another 10 days of at home care before being able to sit on my patio this lovely morning…smelling the sweet aroma of honeysuckle. My life has proven indeedto be a puzzle. One with many, many pieces. Everyday, I remember how close I came to death's door and how God pulled me back, because He just wasn't through with me yet. I am grateful for every breath,because I am very aware that one day I will take my last. As I put the pieces to my puzzle together I find that I grow closer to God. I no longer worry and whenever fear arrives…Ilean on the Father.

The sun is now rising! I can feel the warmth on my face and all I can think of right now is how blessed I am. I am preparing to travel soon to Virginia to witness the birth of our grand-twins. When I hold those little boys in my arms and look into thier eyes, I will see the mercy and amazing grace of a God who gives and sustains life and I will humblely say, "Thank You".

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