Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Blogger Small Group

I've complained non-stop since we moved to IN about not being in a small group. Finding (& affording) a babysitter can be difficult. You can imagine my excitment when I found an online blogger small group.

This week we are reading James chapter 1. They have a format to follow, but I'm just going to type my thoughts. Here goes:

James 1:2 - Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

This is a constant battle for me. I get angry when the paycheck isn't the right amount. I get angry when I can't lose those few pounds. I get really ticked when I can't seem to make friends w/ my neighbors and even more so when I put up walls and don't allow friends in. These are all small trials, but energy taking none the less.

But, I do remember one time when I was in the biggest trial of my life. My Mom died & I was the one to find her and try to revive her. I was driving down (8 miles) to check on her and had a vision. A vision of finding her dead & of her with tubes in her nose at a hospital. I disregarded it, telling myself to "knock it off. Stop thinking the worst." (Side note - Stacie Orrico's Strong Enoug was playing) I walked into her house and found the most grotesque scene that I had ever seen. I'm sure mostly because it was my mother, not some fiction movie or an episode of ER. The whole time that I'm tending to her I can feel her staring down at me. How could that be? She's laying here, under me as I'm trying my darndest to do mouth to mouth. But, I could feel her hovering over me.

The paramedics took her to the hospital where I met my Dad and we were told that she was still alive, but suffered from a brain aneurysm that was inoperable. So here I was in a small room w/ a doctor that I didn't know and my Dad who was losing his love of 40+ years. I prayed silently. I prayed & prayed & prayed & prayed until I had to start making decisions. My Dad was incoherent. He sat by her side and rubbed her hair for 8 hours. I had to decide which tests to perform. Who to let in, who to send out. What organs, if any, we wanted to donate. Any choices that needed to be made, the nurses came to me.

My pastor came to pray w/ me. His prayer was "Give Mandy the strength she needs today to support her family. Help her understand that in these trials...she will find You." He was right. The one time in my life I felt closest to God was that day, and the few days following. I prayed constantly. I asked for things that were selfless, yet ended up blessing me the most. I listened to Him & was able to bless my family. Because I humbled myself and became my Mom's advoate, my family didn't have to deal with the details that day at the hospital or at the house. I'm thankful for that. No one should have those memories. Instead they got to enjoy their last hours with my Mom. Saying goodbye. Saying I love you. Saying sorry. I have to believe that she heard all they had to say.

And I got to make my Mom proud. She was a take charge, boss people around, tell you how it is kinda gal. I got to be that for her, for just a few hours at the hospital. Even more important than making my Mom proud, I hope I made my Heavenly Father proud. I actually listened and obeyed, which is somewhat of a rarity for me.

Even though this whole situation was pretty sad, I try my best to find joy in it (still). The fact that Jesus showed me things during that week that (had I not been paying attention) I would have otherwise missed. I felt enveloped in love during that time. I kept thinking "How can He love me so much. Look at the horrible things I've done to myself and against Him. Look how I've treated my Mom and yet during her death, He purposely takes action to show me His love."

Seriously, I have to stop now. My keyboard is wet, my mascara is running, and my shoulders are shaking.

As you can see, I really only made it to James 1:12. I read the rest (promise), but the first 1/2 really hit me. Can't wait to see what everyone else posts.


Jeff M. Miller said...

Mandy, thanks for not following the format. I feel honored to have read your story. Thanks for writing it for us.

It is these moments, the ones where faith becomes real and not just theology on a page, that will have a greater impact on our lives as we study together.

Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Wow, not how I envisioned the Blogger Small Group at all. However, this was a touching story, and a true testiment to God's truth in James 1. I'm glad that God wiped away my envionsment and pushed his own ontop of mine.

Thanks for sharing...honestly.

I fully believe this small group is going to do amazing things for a lot of people. I BELIEVE that.


Jen Cook said...


I have read the book of James in a study group before, and it is byfar the best bible study I have ever completed.

I'll never ever forget your phone call on the way to the hospital, "Jen, where's marty? I'm following the ambulance to the hospital, moms in it and she's not responding...." Thats what I could make out of your hysteria. I really believe God took the wheel that day, and drove you to the hospital. I am not sure how else you would have done it on your own.

I know how hard that must have been on you. In different ways, it was hard for Marty too. And I know it was hard as spouses for Ross & I to watch the two of you go through that.

I can only imgine that it would really make you grow up in life & in Christ.

You both did an amazing job. You took the reigns when your dad couldn't. My being able to observe it all first hand, I saw in his eyes, and felt your mom in spirit how incredibly proud they were (as Ross & I) of you & Marty.

I pray this bible study and small group is a true healing for you. I will pray for you through it.

I pray I never have to find my parents (or anyone else) in the situation you did. You handled it with amazing grace and dignity making us all proud, but most of all, your heavenly father.


Michael said...

Thanks for sharing and for allowing us a glimpse into your life at that moment. As I read through the other messages, I think that we will each pull something from each other that will help us in our walk, in our journey. Take care

MCC said...

Thanks for your comments. I didn't start out wanting a sob story, but that's really how the scripture touched me.

Thanks Jen - I can't imagine how it felt for you & Ross to be the support system during that time. I truly feel like my life would have taken a downward spiral w/ out Christ. BTW - I cried all through your comment. Thanks, I gotta go fix my mascara....again.

Jen Cook said...

what are sister in lawa for? At least you're not wearing waterproof, which we all know is not easy to "re-do"

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing not only your thoughts, but also your heart. That's what a small group is about.


Anonymous said...

Where have you been all day??