Thursday, November 11, 2010

Guest blog from my oldest daughter

This is the third and final guest blog from my family. Tiffany is my oldest daughter. When I asked, "What did you learn from our experience?", this is her response ...

So I’m the one who gets to follow up behind Mom and Britt’s blog. I hope your expectations aren’t too high. 

Going into the surgery, I didn’t even begin to consider that Dad may not make it out of it. It’s like it wasn’t even an option. Even after the arteriogram scare, I just couldn’t even let the possibility of Dad not making it through the major surgery even cross my mind. I think that’s part of my personality. I am definitely a “don’t worry about it till you have to” kind of person. So walking into Vanderbilt the morning of the surgery, my plan was this. “I’m not going to expect anything but a good outcome, and if anything happens, I’ll deal with it then.” My job was to be strong for my family. I could deal with my emotions later.

After Dad’s surgery, they took him back to the ICU. Once he was settled, they allowed family to go back and see him. As I walked in the room, all of a sudden this wave of emotion welled up inside me, and I could no longer hold it in. I stood by his bed and lost it. He didn’t look like my Dad at all. He was pale, on a ventilator, and his head was wrapped up in a blanket to allow his body to warm back up from induced hypothermia. My Dad, my strong, invincible father was helpless. Logically, I knew he was ok then. He had made it through surgery. The worst part was over. But for me, it was just now all sinking in. My Dad, who I depend on so much, now had to depend on a machine to breathe. His life that day, under the ultimate authority of the Lord, was dependent on surgeons, nurses, and technology. I will never forget that moment. And I will never forget what the Lord whispered to me: “I will be with you.” (Is. 43:2) As much as I don’t like to admit sometimes, I depend on my Dad so much. I depend on him for wisdom, strength, and affirmation. As silly as it may seem to say this hit me AFTER his surgery, in that moment I realized that my dependence should only come from the Lord. All things on this earth, including parents and family, are temporary. It was a reminder to me that He is the only one worth placing my trust in. That is a lesson I’m continuing to learn!

I also learned so much about God’s character displayed through others. I could go on and on forever about how many people came around us and supported us through this whole process. First of all, I realized just how blessed I am to have the family I have. So much of my extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.) are full of solid believers. We had family come in from everywhere to support us the day of the surgery. Their love and presence was such a blessing.

I learned SO much from my Granny. This Godly woman truly displayed His love, kindness, and patience as she poured her care over my Dad during his recovery time. Spending time with her for two months I truly saw what a woman of God she truly is. Seeing the fruit of the spirit so clearly evidenced in her challenges me so much. Granny, I pray I can be half the woman you are in my lifetime. I will consider that a true accomplishment.

I also learned so much from my church family. I saw grace in an entirely new way. Your prayers, gifts, and meals mean more than you can imagine. Every encouraging word spoken via social medial, text, or in church Sunday morning showed me the true picture of a faith family. You truly became the church as your wrapped your arms around us. Your kindness is true evidence of the Holy Spirit, and we are all so thankful for you.

I continue to learn so much from my Dad through all of this. Seeing him grow in his walk with the Lord is the neatest thing of all for me to see. Even today as I was sitting with him watching TV, I heard his heart thump from his mechanical valve. I asked him if it bothered him, and his response was, “I have nothing to complain about.” I continue to glean so much from his wisdom coming out of this. And I am so grateful that because of this my family is now closer than we have ever been. God is good.

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