If you don’t know how much God loves you, read this!

 

The Renegade Bride

Homeless Angel by BanskyThis is not about that argument–beer. No, this is not an argument at all. I’m talking about God’s love.

I’m in pain, soul pain. I lift my head and see that we are finally letting loose the battle scars of self-sufficiency we have all had a turn holding. Now, we are bleeding as the infected stitches and the puss from our infections of debt, too much T.V., sex and sexy things and hurt kids that don’t look like kids at all has finally unraveled. Only, there is not a sterile hospital waiting for our arrival. No, we can’t afford a hospital.

I am—we are–outside in the wilderness, living with a leather strap as a tourniquet to keep our hearts from metaphorically bleeding to death; a place where creative survival is not enough. And why isn’t it enough? Because few of us know we are loved.

Like balm on a festered…

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Stumbling Upon a Fairy Tale

If you are just now joining us, please click here to start with Part 1, She has the Plague AND we’re Crossing the “Jordan River!?”

Friday morning, August 24, 2012, Sean dropped me off at the new house.  On our way to Aspen Springs a still small voice whispered, “”Your family needs you.”  I shook it off and said to myself, “Yeah, they need me to finish getting our house ready!”  I knew I was arguing with God and I wish I had listened…

I worked all day prepping the bathroom for painting the next morning.  That weekend we planned on putting in the laminate tile ourselves and the carpet was coming the following Wednesday.

I  huddled down for the night in our little camper Sean’s folks had given to us to use.  We had run out of money that month and the cell phone bill was one of the bills we skipped paying.  Sean had no way of contacting me.  I was just settling in to watch a movie when there came a knock on my camper door.  A sheriff announced his presence and informed me through the door that one of my daughters had been rushed to the ER and he was to transport me to the hospital.

When I arrived at the hospital, I entered the emergency room and found Sierra bright red, unconscious and covered in ice bags.  The nurse’s first words to me were, “She has a rectal temperature of 107 degrees.”  Oh God, her little brain, is all I could think as lectures from an undergraduate neuropsychology class slowly passed before my eyes.  I refocused and like a switch deep within me, I activated my faith and mixed it all up with a huge pile of denial.

It’s funny the things we tell ourselves in the middle of trauma.

I couldn’t believe this was anything but the flu until the doctor walked into the room with my husband.  Sean had witnessed the unthinkable.  He wept as he recounted the last few hours with Sierra and how he thought she was dead in his arms after having a seizure.  I had given Sierra a heating pad and wondered to myself if that wasn’t the cause of her high temperature.  Aren’t we good at blaming ourselves when one of our children becomes ill?  I hugged my two older daughters who sat in the waiting room watching TV.  I returned to an unresponsive Sierra.  More than anything, I just wanted to hear her little voice.  They had sedated her since she had a seizure.

Dr. Lewis was the ER doctor that night and as they worked to stabilize Sierra’s temperature, he worked to find us a hospital that could help.  One after another, we were refused.  Either the hospital didn’t have room, thought they didn’t have the facility or staff to support Sierra or thought our little hospital could handle it.  Sierra’s illness sounded like a simple fiberal seizure (a fever seizure) but her age along with the extraordinarily high fever became confounding variables and no one knew what to make of itone open door and closed doors

Dr. Lewis and his staff are the first moments of God’s hands moving– they are our first heroes on sight because he knew there was something very serious going on with Sierra.  It would be easy to get defensive or angry at those hospitals, but I don’t see it that way; I see a corridor of doors God shut with only one opened at the end.  God had a very specific group of people He knew Sierra needed. Saint Lukes, Rocky Mountain Children’s Hospital not only said yes, but they flew their flight for life team into our little airport in Pagosa Springs.  According to the ER staff, that is rare and most patients must drive to Durango, an hour away!  Every minute counted and God knew that.

A Modern Day Fairy Tale

Sierra and I arrived at the hospital under the cloak of night.  We were tucked away on the pediatric floor where a beautiful African woman named Elizabeth, greeted us.  She had the most beautiful accent and I felt a kindred spirit with this woman.  I curled up on the couch and Sierra and I slept for a few hours in the early morning light under Elizabeth’s watchful eye.

The day stretched and yawned and forced us awake as nurses and specialists began the daunting but necessary process of poking and prodding my daughter.  Dr. White entered the room, an intelligent beauty, and began with a series of tests and blood work and finished up with a spinal tap to rule out spinal meningitis.  That is one procedure I don’t mind never seeing done again!

Meanwhile, Sean, along with his parents and Sierra’s sisters were en route to Denver.  Since we were broke, my cell phone was off and we had no way to communicate, Sean had the foresight to bring our landline phone.  We turned our other cell phone into a landline and have a Verizon tower box that uses the cell phone towers.  This is so hillbilly and one of the many reasons why I love that man: he plugged that thing into the truck, brought the house phone and was able to call  every hour on his six-hour journey to Denver.  Miraculously, he had phone service the entire way.

Each time Sean or the girls called, Sierra would cry, “Where are you?  Why aren’t you here?  I need you.”   We all needed each other like never before.

After some more tests they introduced an antibiotic and Sierra crashed.  I had been helping her back and forth to the potty all day and this last time she crumpled up on the floor and her skin became bright red.  At the same moment, Sean and the girls arrived only to find Sierra in an even more critical state that before.  “What happened!?  Sean questioned, I thought she was getting better.”

Dr. White stood over Sierra, confounded at her reaction to the antibiotic.  I stood too.  That’s all I could do.  I didn’t pray, I didn’t cry, I didn’t know what else to do but stand in the knowledge that God was with us.

Stand firm, and you will win life.  Luke 21:19

The sun began to set and night began to play on the walls like Peter Pan shadows.  Then in walked the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) doctor.  The two doctors stood over Sierra, Dr. White and Dr. Snow.  Incredulously I exclaimed, “Dr. Snow, really?”  Snow- White!?”  They looked surprised, never before putting together the Snow White symbology of their names.  The Snow White metaphor would mark a significant introduction to a series of love notes sent to us by God.  RachelWeiszSnowWhite1338

After that, Dr. Snow took over Sierra’s care and the reality that her life was hanging in the balance set in.  And I stood up. From the deep places of my chamber heart arose those familiar words once again.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9

Sierra drifted between consciousness and unconsciousness as Sean and I held her little hands.  Doctors were introducing masks and gloves and robes into the environment as a precaution.  I silently refused to put on any gloves; I needed to feel her hand in mine.  Maybe I thought I deserved to get sick too, because I hadn’t been there.  The things we think….  I placed my lips close to her ear and sang our favorite song to her.  Her eyes faintly smiled and then she slipped into unconsciousness.

Angels dressed like nurses and ER technicians filled the room and began their work.  With nothing left for us to do, we returned to the pediatric floor.  By this time I had two hours of sleep in a 40 hour period.  My Dad, who lives near Denver, picked up Brianna and Tiarra while Sean’s parents found a room at the Ronald McDonald House.

Once everyone was gone, we held each other taking turns weeping in the room where Sierra and I had first arrived.

Our angel, Elizabeth, guarded our room as we found unsettled rest on a fold-out-couch.  At 3am Dr. Snow entered our room and explained that Sierra had severe septic shock.  She deduced that based upon Sierra’s symptoms and our account of earlier events that week that she might have contracted bubonic plague.

This time, we couldn’t get up and later that morning I initiated a call to arms and asked anyone I knew for prayer.

Without trying to sound cliché, this was our introduction to a  fairy tale with a real life threatening villain and a multitude of warriors fighting to save a princess– and who is the prince of this story you ask?Snow white and prince

Why it is He: the Famous One, the Glorious One– Jesus!

There is so much more to come… Next up, click HERE for Part 5:  Who Will Be My Brother?

She has the Plague AND We’re Crossing the “Jordan River?”

This will end up being a series of blogs because so much has happened since I last blogged.  So, I’m just going to start as though we are in a conversation…

Yes, I am the mother of the little girl, Sierra Jane, who had the plague in 2012.  Sean laughingly calls me “the plague mom.”  Please DON”T call me that though!  We were on T.V. and the Dr. Oz Show (click on the link to see the actual show) and she received world coverage.

On the set with Dr. Oz after recording the show.

On the set with Dr. Oz after recording the show.

We talked about everything from my two older daughters’ 911 call to the pink sweatshirt fallen on the ground that became the carriage for the little creatures who carried the deadly disease, the bubonic plague.

What you never heard; however, were the millions of miracles God orchestrated for our benefit… and yours!  I just want you to know how much He loves you.

He wants you to know that He has not forgotten you.  He has heard every prayer.  Every one.  Even the little ones that seem like a simple little thought.  Even the ones you haven’t uttered because you think you don’t deserve it or it won’t happen.  He has Hope for you right here, right now.  And since we survived the plague I feel that I am qualified to tell you why and how I know that!

There is much to tell and this story doesn’t begin with the plague; that’s where it ends.  Allow me to take you back to the summer of 20oo…

In the spring of 2012, the Holy Spirit had me return to an old abandoned township called Pagosa Junction.  The land is on the tip of the Ute reservation and as I understand it, there has been some fighting over the territory between the Utes and the town of Pagosa Springs.  The first time I ever went out there, however, was 12 years earlier in the summer of 2000.

The Catholic church over looking Pagosa Junction

The Catholic church overlooking Pagosa Junction

Back then, my husband and I had time to explore new territories.  We drove back into the wilderness and discovered an old train station, tracks, and old homes.  On that first trip I remember thinking that it looked like everyone had just up and left!  We found old clothing, jars, antique furniture and so many cool things.  Since we love collecting pictures of old doors, I started taking pictures of the doors.  One I will never forget was of a lone “locked” door standing like a rebel surrounded by its fallen house.  I can’t help but think of this scripture when I remember that door.

These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.  I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you.  Rev 3:7-9

The more  we explored, though, the more uneasy we became.  We felt an unspoken warning to touch nothing!  I could hear what sounded like voices on the breeze threatening and screaming at us to leave.  Sensing the evil presence, we decided  to leave.  A few weeks later when I got the pictures back, I was so uncomfortable that I had to throw every single one away.

If you need more evidence that that place was cursed, a friend of mine went out there five years later and brought back an old mason jar for a souvenir.  A few weeks later she and her kids started having terrible nightmares and even seeing manifestations of spirits in their home.  We prayed.  She repented, threw away the jar and as soon as the jar was in the trash the nightmares stopped.

So, when God asked me to return there in the spring of 2012, I was a little leery… and excited.  Along the way I discovered a little happy flock of sheep. Mixture 011One of them came over to the fence and actually looked like he wanted to encourage me.

When I got to Pagosa Junction this time, I didn’t sense anything like before. In fact, I wandered around the old church on the hill and hiked around the valley near the train tracks and experienced peace.  Then I began to pray.

Have you ever noticed that when it’s God praying through you it’s difficult to remember what you prayed?  All I know is, as I prayed, a theme of God returning the land prevailed.  I recall saying out loud, “Be returned to the land.”  There was a sense of restoring as I prayed and prophesied to the land.

Early spring at Pagosa Junction 2012.

Early spring at Pagosa Junction 2012.

For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were before,’ says the Lord.  The Prophet Jeremiah 33:11

You, Lord, showed favor to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob.  Psalm 85:1

I returned home feeling peaceful and with much anticipation.

Then we lost our house.

I know!  It wasn’t the miracle I had been hoping for either!  I fought so hard to keep that little home of ours.  Like a lot of Americans, we bought our home at the peak of the market and shouldn’t have.  We ended up receiving a Deed in Leu which morphed into a Deed in Leese.  That means we were renting the house we once owned.  We were slipping farther and farther into debt, depression and discouragement.

As summer approached I continued to pray.  We looked at rentals and even considered moving out-of-town and closer to a city.   Then one day our friend, Steve, suggested we take a look at his old property. The property was on the other side of town on 1.5 acres.  For the last three years it had been used as a homeless shelter.  Since there was only one man left of the group (he moved into a single cabin), Steve thought a family might be able to restore the house.

No one knew the years I had wept, or the days I had fasted and prayed for God to answer us.  No one knew how creative I really was with so little; how I understood the woman with her jar of oil and bit of flour, how I longed for something new for my daughters and joy for my husband.  God knew…

“In the time of my favor I will answer you,
and in the day of salvation I will help you;
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people,
to restore the land
and to reassign its desolate inheritances,
to say to the captives, ‘Come out,’
and to those in darkness, ‘Be free!’  The Prophet Isaiah 49:8-9

We inherited Steve’s house and began our summer with renovations.  Little did we know that we were about to embark on an adventure together that we would never forget.

To read part 2, My Buddy, Joshua, click HERE.