Posts Tagged ‘Fran’

It Is Through Suffering That We Discover How To Really Live

November 19, 2014

I’ve always believed I had a strong faith in the Lord. He has proven himself to me countless times in my life and I knew His promises in His word are true. Funny how what you believe about yourself can change when tested in the storms of life.

I have had the opportunity of leading a group of young moms every Tuesday as part of a larger group of over a hundred women in our weekly women’s ministry at church. My co-leader was a friend of mine, Fran. Fran has a servant’s heart, loves everyone she meets with encouraging words, acts of service but also would speak the truth when we needed to hear it. I’ve learned so much from having her by my side mentoring these young women. This semester she had not been able to be there as much as she had been battling stage 4 cancer for several months and was in treatment. Our prayers have been for her full healing and her trust was in the Lord that He would do what was best. Even through her sickness she never focuses on herself. I admire her strong faith even in life’s toughest storms.

As I was on the way to take my mom to the doctor for some involuntary jerking in her legs, the leader of the women ministry had called me to ask me to share with the entire ministry what God had been teaching me. I gladly told her I would and would pray about what God wanted me to share. Little did I know what would be happening that day and in the coming weeks that would set in motion events that taught me the value of three things that will define our life not only as we live it but also when it comes to an end on this earth.

My mom, who has not been able to care for herself for years now has been under my care as her legal guardian. She has lived in an Assisted Living Facility for sometime but able to do her own personal care, and have pretty clear conversations with a few forgetful moments. She started to decline a few months ago. This shaking was only a piece of the puzzle that something was wrong. Our visit to the doctor landed us in the Emergency Room as her symptoms quickly got worse in a matter of hours. Once there she had a Grand Mal (Massive) seizure and was admitted.

The next week proved challenging as no one could give diagnosis, doctors were refusing to follow through or even take her case and ultimately medicine was to blame for the Myoclonus (shaking) and seizure but no clear diagnosis for the confusion that had gotten worse rapidly. She no longer recognized her family, couldn’t talk clearly or even eat without choking. In addition, Fran had been hospitalized and was also unable to talk, her health was failing. Five days passed with no answers and I began to become increasingly anxious and losing faith.

As I was driving to the hospital the morning of the sixth day the Lord made me realize that I was in essence holding my breath waiting for a doctor, diagnosis, medicine or my own efforts to rescue my mother instead of trusting in the ONLY ONE who can rescue her. He spoke to my heart and said “ I AM YHWH, your very breath is ordained and controlled by me. Take a deep breath and let it all go, trust Me” I did and immediately felt His peace. When I got to the hospital my mom was sitting up in her bed, bright-eyed, alert and happy to see me, as she ate her breakfast without any problems. I was shocked, elated and asked the nurses what they did, “nothing”, was their reply, no doctor, no new medicine, no diagnosis had changed her. ONLY GOD. I learned that GOD IS GOOD and that by needing Him and trusting in Him I discovered the value of FAITH. Faith that is not tested is not really faith.

My mom continued to improve daily so Thursday was to be her discharge. Before I got to the hospital that day, Fran’s daughter, who was expecting a baby girl in 5 weeks, contacted me to tell me Hospice had been called in and it would not be long. I cried, questioned and prayed. “God, we had asked you to heal her, I asked you to at least let her see her grand-daughter be born” God met me there in my ranting and sobs and said “Why do you see death as a punishment and my answer as failure”. “She is my daughter and I am calling her home, it is a reward. I AM your HOPE. This life is not the end, it is only the beginning.” My tears turned to tears of joy and praise because we do have Hope and Fran would be obtaining all she had labored for, lived for and longed for, eternity with God in Heaven. GOD IS GOOD, and I through this grief I understood the value of HOPE.

My mom’s next week after discharge was not good. I had to move her back into a Rehabilitation Hospital after days at the Assisted Living Facility proved unable to care for her safely. The day I took her to rehab she was still confused but could understand me and converse with me so I was encouraged she could get better. The next day I heard the news, my friend, Fran had gone to be with the Lord. A few days later we would be celebrating her life at her memorial. I went to see my mom the day of the memorial and she was the worst I had seen her so far. She did not know me, could not speak and had an emptiness behind her eyes that scared me. I knew at that moment that I was losing my mom and I was heart-broken with grief. On the way to the memorial I struggled with the frailty of life. But Fran, even though she had laid down her earthly body was still being used by God to speak truth to me. I had been clearing off space on my phone by deleting text messages when I came to Fran’s. I just could not delete her words, so I began to read them starting with this:

May 21
Hi Luisel,
Just left the doctor’s office and I have stage 4 pancreatic cancer. I will have to start chemo next week. The doctor says my survival rate is 30%. But the LORD KNOWS.

August 16
Hi Luisel,
I am praying for your family as you take care of your mom….It know its hard being a caregiver for a parent. But it’s a commandment with a promise. Love you and think of you often. I will not be there this week as I have chemo. I know this study is going to be awesome, I read the introduction and God answered a lot of questions about being strong through my chemo. Please send me the prayer needs so I can be praying for everyone. All blessings you way

September 15
Hey Luisel,
So glad I saw you last week. Glad we have some new girls. Please send me prayer requests so I can pray for them. ( then she mentioned those who she was praying for and wanting updates)
Hope to see you next week. God willing

October 9
Good morning, the report on my pancreas came back that it has grown…At first I was discouraged but realized it could be the enemy making me lose faith. God does have the last word. I am so thankful to have known all of you in my life. All blessings your way.

October 29 _ Last Text
Moffat Cancer center said what my doctor was doing was the next step, after that only studies left. God knows whats best for us. I love you too.

In all of that struggle she trusted the Lord, she encouraged others and her love for Him and everyone was evident. At her memorial her children, grand children, friends, husband all said the same thing. She lived her faith each day and lived to love, serve and encourage others. She was only 57 yet impacted everyone’s life for eternity. Her grand children, all under 12 years old, spoke of the way she made them feel loved, special and yet taught them truth and faith. As I was sitting there I realized I never knew what Fran did for a career, what kind of house she lived in or car she drove. All those worldly successes did not matter at the end, just the impact you make on those God placed in your life. Her Faith, Hope and Love were evident. Life is but a vapor, but a breath, like the grass that withers in the sun. We, like Fran, need to live each day with intention, loving God and people while we can. Giving hope and encouragement and appreciating the moments we are given.

I took my mom to the doctor today, she received the “diagnosis” we were waiting to hear. She has moderate Alzheimer’s, she will be slipping away slowly. But today I am grateful because when I saw her she knew who I was. I said “ I love you mom” She replied “I know you do, you take such good care of me, I love you too” To me that was a gift I will cherish because it could be the last time I hear those words. Life is precious, love is a gift and the legacy I leave is the only thing that will last.

Last year this time, Fran would have never guessed she would be with the Lord today, but none of us know when our time and work here on earth will end. “What legacy am I leaving?” is what keeps coming to my mind since. My desire is to live out what God has taught me these last few weeks. To have Faith in Him, Never forget the Hope we have if we have placed our faith in Jesus, who died for our sins and rose again to conquer sin and death, so that one day we too shall live for eternity with Him. And to Love God and people every moment we are given. The bible says that only these three remain, Faith, Hope and Love but the greatest of these is LOVE.

I do not think I would understand the value of these gifts without having gone through the pain and then realized my need for them. There is a quote by Ugo Bassi that says “Measure your life by loss instead of gain…loves strength stands strongest in love’s sacrifice” He is right it is in our need that we gain the greatest gifts of Faith, Hope and Love. As the Psalmist said “ Taste and see that the Lord is good”. We would not taste if we were full, it is only in our wanting that we discover that GOD IS GOOD and that Faith, Hope and Love are a gift.