My house has been cold for weeks. I have been unable to get the furnace to warm this place up to more than 59 degrees. So I've had both gas fireplaces running 24/7.
And we wear socks and hoodies all the time.
We've also found that having a hot bath or shower is a great way to heat up one's core temperature.
I've been preoccupied lately. Had a few things on my mind. And knew that eventually I'd investigate why my one year old $3800 furnace was only blowing cool air.
"Eventually" was tonight.
Because today was a big day.
Can I tell you about it?
Marj sent me this quote on Nov 6:
"When one day man sees how marvellously his prayer has been answered, then he will deeply, so deeply, regret that he prayed so little. Prayer changes all. Prayer recreates. Prayer is irresistable. So pray, literally without ceasing."
So I've been praying. And I've been asking anyone who will listen to pray with me. I've been specific and persistent. But I've not been able to rest. I haven't been at peace. I haven't been able to totally trust that He would answer. I've had a knot in my stomach the same size as the one at the top of my leg for 16 days. I haven't had a decent meal in 16 days. I haven't laughed in 16 days. I pray and pray and worry and worry. Because I just can't let it go. I just can't trust.
Raych's husband, Joel, is studying towards becoming a doctor. I met him briefly at their wedding, but know him not. Like, I wouldn't be able to pick him out of a police lineup. When Rachel mentioned to him what had happened that first weekend in November, his response was:
'Ho-lay shit, someone's being refined in the fire' ...
That someone is me. I'm being refined. God has allowed this all to happen for a reason. He has a purpose in this. There's something about me that needs refining. (Listen to me. I'm not the one with an exploded bowel. I'm not the one with a failing heart or dying brain cells. I'm not the only one who is without a home church... and yet here I am, making this all about me. The centre of the universe, I am.)
Regardless, I do feel like I'm in the fire. And I don't like it much.
Sandra called me yesterday and said that she misses me. Her prayer for me on Sunday was, "God, if Jane is to be learning something through all this, can You help her learn it quickly? I want my friend back."
Wasn't that sweet? It made me cry when she told me.
Heck, everything makes me cry these days.
Anyway, on Saturday, when I was in the basement at my parent's place, 3 hours into a 7 hour shift, Brenda called me to tell me she was praying for me. Then Carson got on the phone and said that he had just finished a conference call meeting and he wanted to let me know that the Board of Arrow had prayed for my family. (The 5? 6? members of Arrow's Board live in all 4 corners of North America. They are busy people. And they prayed for me and mine.) "Expect a God-sized miracle Jane," he said just as we were hanging up.
Two seconds later my cell phone rang again.
"Hi Jane? My name is Jared. My brother Mike suggested I call you. I'm interested in helping you out. I've worked at Zion Lutheran Manor as a personal care worker for seniors and I've got experience with Alzheimer's. I've got the next two months free for as many shifts as you've got, and then I'm going back to Trinity for my third year. I'm studying to become an RN."
I was crying so hard by the time he finished his introduction, I told him I'd have to call him back.
Wholey Moley when God answers a prayer, He answers a prayer.
Eventually I did get around to calling him back, and we made arrangements for an interview today.
You do the math. His phone call was on Saturday. We weren't going to meet til Monday. That's 48 hours. 2 days. TWO days for me to fret. Worry. Wonder. Question. Have a knarly stomach. Two days to keep pestering God.
And then on Sunday night, I read the devotional that Lene attached to an email:
"As his son lay teetering between life and death, the official called to Jesus and pled with him to come to his house and heal his son. His cry for help was gravely persistent, genuine, and expectant. But Jesus did not offer what the troubled father solicited. He only offered words: "You may go. Your son lives" (John 4:50).
This moment of decision becomes absolutely pivotal when you realize the official was given only a word of assurance from a man (Jesus) who spoke many words people were unsure about. Even Jesus's own disciples were confused a good amount of the time with the things that came from his mouth. This grieving father faced a defining decision about the words of Christ that day. The man believed. John reports, "The man took Jesus at his word and departed" (John 4:50).
So what's my problem?
Jesus spoke pretty clearly on Saturday when Jared called, don't you think?
Why couldn't I just believe?
I've been a Christian for like, forever, so what's the deal?
Why can't I take Jesus at His word and depart. Or sleep? Or relax? Or feel peace?
I can't find my Bible. It's somewhere, but me not being too organized right now, I just haven't found it. So this morning, still wondering if Jared was really going to work out, I went online to "Our Daily Bread" to see if it would be applicable.
Today's topic was "Don't Worry":
"It’s easy for us to panic when we face serious concerns—the loss of a job, a family member with cancer, a wayward child.
So we pray. And we get busy. We start doing everything we can think of to move forward in a positive way.
And we worry. We know it’s a waste of time. Yet a lot of us find ourselves in this dilemma—we know we should trust God, but we wonder just what He’s going to do.
That’s when we turn to His Word—to remind us that He is walking with us and inviting us to hand over to Him our worries and burdens. Scripture tells us, “[Cast] all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7), and “God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19).
When your mind turns to anxious thoughts about the future, remember that “your heavenly Father knows” (Matt. 6:32) and will give you what you need.
So there I was, sitting at my computer, getting a message from God. And then the phone rang.
"Hi Jane? My name is Jennifer, Andrea forwarded an email from you regarding some homecare you need? I've done respite care for 15 years and have some free time right now. I'd love to help you out."
After we made arrangements to meet, I said to God, "OK. I will trust You. I will believe. I will trust that You've got this looked after. I will trust that You love my dad and mom even more than I do and You've got a plan. I will trust that You know what's best. I will trust. I will trust. Help me to trust. Help me to leave this with You. Why do I keep worrying? Help me to trust. I will trust...."
On the drive over to my parent's place I sang "How Great Thou Art" very badly in my truck. My brain kept trying to tell my heart (and stomach) to let it go. Let God look after it. My insides never really got on board ... but my brain had made the decision to trust and it was the best I could do. It's not easy to get all body parts to work together sometimes.
So, Jared turned out to be awesome.
And, not surprisingly, so did Jen.
We hired them both.
I do not know how they will handle my dad. He's a tricky puppy to work with these days. Nothing typical or easy about him... "What're his hobbies?" his new caregivers want to know.
"Building 8000 square foot Victorian homes."
"What kind of things can we do with him?"
That's the kicker. None of us know what to do with him.
I will trust that God has a plan.
I will trust that these caregivers will figure something out.
I will trust that this isn't my problem.
I will trust that my Heavenly Father knows what my dad needs and will give it to him.
So after hiring them both, I took my mom to Burnaby for a doctor's appointment. We came back in rush hour traffic. After I dropped her off at their place, I went to the Mall to get her perscriptions filled. This would be my 5th time at that Mall in 16 days to get meds.
Do you know how I spent the hour it took for the perscription to get filled? I Mall-Walked. I did laps. From one end of Guildford to the other, both levels. No shopping, not even window shopping. I did an old-lady-workout.
What has my life become?
Anyway, that wasn't really important to my story, but I thought I'd throw that in, just so you get a clear picture of how full and rich my life is these days.
So... I left their place at 6:30 pm and drove home. Praying the whole way. Thanking God for Jared and Jen. Wondering how in the world dad was going to accept them into his life. Wondering what they were going to do with him. Wondering if mom was going to accept these "strangers" into her home. Ok, I really wasn't wondering. I was worrying. Because that lesson that God's trying to teach me? And that Sandra wishes I'd learn already? Is really hard for me.
"God? I'm sorry. It must hurt You that I can't trust You with this, eh? Everytime I obsess about this must make You sad. I'm so sorry. Help me to trust. I'm going to try harder. I really am."
And then I walked through my front door in a freezing cold but completely tidied house. Dishes done, family room put back together, no piles of stuff at the front door, windows that don't close (don't get me started on the windows in this house) covered with cardboard, fireplaces on ... it was like someone wanted me to feel loved.
His name is Clint.
And he was hell to live with a few years ago.
If you had told me in 2004 that he would, on his own, with no prompting or threats, clean up the house for me, I would have never believed you.
I have seen with my own eyes, how God has known EXACTLY what and who Clint needed in his life and how He supplied that. Clint is who he is today because he has a Heavenly Father who loves him desperately.
If I can trust His love for my kid, then I should be able to trust His love for my ol' man.
Wow. This is a long post. But it feels so good to have my sore arms resting on this desk top.
Why are they sore? Because I burnt them.
I finally got around to calling my brother and asking him to send out a furnace guy to take a look.
"Have you cleaned the filter?"
I'm a homeowner. And should've cleaned the filter.
It's clean now. Sparkling clean. And the furnace? Workin like a charm.
And that pipe thing, right underneath where the filter goes? Hotter n hell.
Thank you friends for standing beside me and my family on this journey.
We are just starting down this road of caregiving, dementia, angina, poop bags, nursing care, anxiety, depression, insomnia ... please continue to pray for us all. My mom, especially needs an extra dose of prayer these days.
Three things I'm thankful for:
1. Warm air coming through the furnace vents.
2. Caregivers from God.
3. The internet.