During our training in Colorado we did an analyst of the stress in our life. We give God all the glory that those living under His protecting, guiding hand, walking daily with The King, don’t have to succumb to the emotional and physical problems that are normally associated with a stressful life. BUT, they wanted us to take a stress evaluation of our lives. We answered a bunch of questions and then we were ranked on the stress level in our life. Some of the questions: Have you moved in the last year? Have you had a job change in the last 6 months? Has a close loved one been diagnosed with a severe illness? Each question was assigned a certain level of stress and then you added up your points. Just an example: 5-15 pts = low stress. 15-25 pts = medium….etc to red-line stress levels.
Well, the last month would have put us off the chart. In late July, I was able to spend some time in Santarém working on airplanes (previous blog). This was great for me, but leaving my wife alone with 4 children in a foreign country for a week would have spiked most people’s stress level. While I was there, my dad had trouble breathing, my mom and sister’s convinced him to go to the doctor and they found one artery was 99% blocked and another 40%. After putting in a stint, he is doing well.
Soon after I returned from Santarém, my mom started having dizzy spells and didn’t feel like eating. This is exactly what happened last year when they found the tumor next to her ear. About three weeks ago, after an MRI, they told us the tumors were back with a vengeance. After much prayer, they decided not to pursue any “invasive treatment” chemo, etc. You have to realize, my mom’s greatest desire was to be with Jesus, her Savior. Earlier this month, the doctor gave her 3-4 weeks to live.
After much prayer, I returned about a week ago to spend some time with her while she could still communicate. Again, I left my wife alone with 4 children in a foreign country– but this time for only 5 days :). While I was gone, Janelle was coming out of our bedroom, accidentally kicked the leg of the bed….and broke her toe. I told her: “Breaking your toe in the states is kind of a big deal. Not huge, but it does hurt alot, messes up your ability to do normal tasks and really lowers your mobility level. Breaking your toe in a foreign country is a bigger deal as we walk alot more here and it is therefore even more inconvenient. However, breaking your toe, in a foreign country, with 4 kids, while your husband is gone really stinks!” She is awesome.
I spent this week studying language and getting daily updates of my mom’s condition. Early this morning, with my dad holding her hand and my sisters gathered around her, she took her last breath of earthly air. Who knows what happened next, we can only imagine….or not. As the bible tells us that heaven is BEYOND the capacity of our imagination. Our incredible God fashioned us (out of dirt) in such a manner that our bodies and minds do not have the ability, not only to not experience heaven, but our minds would explode before we could even begin to imagine it! Therefore, the Bible tells us, that God had to create new bodies that have the ability to survive and function in heaven. We will receive these in the new world that He created for all that are willing to bend their knee and acknowledge Him as Lord, Savior and Redeemer.
Tomorrow Janelle and I are leaving for the funeral celebration. Thanks to God and to our fellow missionary friends who are willing to keep our kids while we are gone. What an incredible blessing they are.
As a close friend said: this is a sad time; how awesome it is to know that she is dancing with the King– may this spur us on to do what we can, to share this message of forgiveness and love to those who have never heard, so that they too have an opportunity to receive these new bodies, specifically designed with the capacity to worship Him for eternity.
“Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!'” Rev. 5:13
My mom has taken her place.