(Yep, this here’s a third installment in my jubilantly harrowing saga of completing a half-century…and counting)
From my Journal:
My Healer and My Health,
I praise You this day that I’m alive! I could have been dead a few months ago, but You—rich in mercy—have increased my years and blessed me on every side…I am alive! I am alive in You! Thank You for Christ who is my Redeemer and the Lifter of my head. You are my Beloved and I am Yours. You have captured me and spoiled me with grace…
Hallelujah from a thousand tongues! How I long to sing Your praise and let everyone know You are my Healer and my Health! JUBILEE! It is a jubilee year for me and I am grateful to receive all You have…Thank You for letting me live to see this Day!
It is my desire to abide in You and not be cut off. I hail You as the One who is able to keep me from falling and that it is Your will and desire that I remain in Your grace. Remind me of how naked, blind and poor I would be if I ever sought my own way and how rich and favored I am as I remain in You.
It is my desire to honor You, to be like You (actually, to yield so that it is Your life—not the imitation of it—that is a permanent reality) and to bring glory to Your Name.
I seek Your favor, to eat of the good of the land, to walk and not faint, to enter Your Rest, to forget Egypt and fully come out of her and fix my eyes on Jesus and my heart on the “better country.”
May I always and only be a pilgrim here. Give me more grace, Lord (I confess I need it) to be less and less for this world and to be transfixed on the “heavenly one.”
Baptize me finally, O God of holiness, that I would be Your ‘doulos’ bond-slave with pierced ear to show my loyal love and grateful heart.
All of…the old…and not the new…I hate that it is with me. Or do I hate? Or because it is still with me, do I love it?
Give me grace to hate it will ALL I am so that people will marvel at how Your love compels me and affects every relationship I have.
Kill the selfish man in me!
Bring me peace from the enemies of my soul so I may walk in complete victory.
I long for Jubilee from all that keeps me enslaved. JUBILEE ME, LORD! To say “the chains are gone”—and to know that they are—and no longer be limited and disabled by them.
Jubilee me, Lord!
May You reign over me, in me, through me, and grant me Power that is of another realm, that my confession is supported by signs and wonders for Your everlasting glory.
On this my 50th birthday, I await with renewed anticipation for what lies ahead as I live in the reality of Jubilee.
Praise You always.
In Jesus’ Strong Name. Amen
Rather than recount every stitch and tittle of my hospitalization from where we last picked up (haven’t I bored you enough already???), I wanted to include this passage from my journal that effloresces with the mercy drops and wide open corsage fields that decorated my journey—a walkabout that has taken me through green pastures, beside still waters and down into shadowy valleys of death.
I also want to leave you with one of the most powerfully endearing experiences of that time—a supernatural encounter that reminded me that the shadows I cast against the cold canyon walls were only so because Light overshadowed me.
But first to set it up…
…I remember vividly my mother, while on her death bed, recounting an experience she had just a few weeks before succumbing to cancer. Her mother was miles away, in her 90s, and not able to travel to be with her dying daughter. She wanted more than anything for her “baby” to know “Mother” was praying for her and suffering in that bed alongside her.
“If there’s any way You can let my daughter know I’m praying tonight, Lord, please make it possible…”
In that moment, a scene opened up before Mom’s eyes in the hospital room where she lay. In the vision, she saw Grandma praying in her bed for her daughter. As the curtain drew back revealing the ocular marvel, sound filtered in and Mom could actually hear the words from Grandma’s lips:
“Lord, please be with Earline tonight. Let her know how much I miss her. Let her know how much I love her. Please let her know that I am praying for her and let my baby be comforted tonight and not be afraid…”
Mom told us that as she watched the vision “playing” on an invisible screen, words began flowing from within her spirit, words she was not cognitively choosing, and knew the Spirit who reigned within was praying through her.
Only a few nights later, the family was surrounding her bed and saying our see-you-laters as Mom’s eyes were again viewing a preternatural screening— just before shutting on this side and reopening immediately in the homeland of her longing.
I know it happened. I know it wasn’t the medicine making her delusional. I know all this because I experienced something gloriously similar in my hospital room.
I was sick. I was tired. I was sick and tired. Offended with all the poking and prodding, all the five a.m. blood-drawings, the incessant CT scans that showed something yet nothing, along with the MRIs and ultrasounds, the dry heaves, skyrocketing fevers and jaw-chattering chills, the explosively painful chest tubes, central lines and pick lines…day after day…minute by minute…month after trying month…dying yet not…reviving then conceding…the doctor on morning rounds with no news to tell, just open-palmed resignation that he was at a loss…nurses crying with Sandy at elevator doors while whisked off to yet another test…the bloating and swelling in my abdomen and extremities as the infection went systemic…hands and wrists purpled by infiltrated IVs…shamelessly crying in front of my nurses and doctors, beaten down, frustrated, scared and…well…just plain tired.
One night it just took its toll. I was not-so-bravely facing another test the next day and was “NPO” (nothing by mouth) after midnight. It was my second time in three days and the test wouldn’t take place until the following afternoon, so thirst had such a hold over me that I actually licked at a vomit stain on the sleeve of my right shoulder, the leftover mix of bile and a spill of diet Mountain Dew I sneaked earlier that day.
I knew when I thumbed the button that would turn out my overhead light, it would be the longest night of my life. Or pert near it.
And it started out that way.
Sleep? Forget it. Thirst was way past a basic want, I was obsessively related to it. Compounding my misery was an already-soaked-through-with-night-sweats gown and since they had taken my ice pitcher away, I could not rub the cold cubes over my head, face and chest as I was accustomed to doing. Thirstwise, the only relief I got was to suck on a sponge stick that was flavored with the vilest lemony taste you could imagine.
Then the demonic images started. So furious was the attack I almost literally had to swat them away like swarming locusts. Death thoughts weaved in and out of my psyche and suffocated me as though a pillow were pressed and held down over my face. I was losing it but had just enough lucidity to cry out to God to either take me or hold me.
A vision opened up in my room. It was a forest scene and the woods were very dark, yet a robed figure was arranging a table with wines and meats and fruits galore and while all around was darkness, the scene in focus was washed in Light. The figure invited me to come, sit and partake.
I remember walking toward the table but every time I picked up my feet to do so, I heard terrifying howls coming from the surrounding woods. I would shrink back, but the robed figure still drew me with a waved hand and a welcoming smile. It was as if He wasn’t one whit disturbed by the howls and snarls, and I knew whatever was causing such a stir beyond the circle, could never, ever come near Him.
Another tentative step.
And then, just then, a most melodic sound graced the curtain of night. The robed Man was actually singing! It was beautiful beyond words and as He sang, my feet were fairly carried on wind to the place beside Him. The baying and howling, snarls and growls ceased as I drifted to the table where a feast for me had been prepared.
The vision turned to mist and I was again in my room but minus the locust swarms and devilish activity. The room was still and quiet, the thirst was gone and my eyelids fluttered. And I slept. All night. In Him.
The Lord Sabaoth, the God of the angel-armies, is my Healer and Health. He is my Jubilee. I wish you could see the smile on my face right now. I wish you could look inside my spirit and watch all the dancing and pirouetting going on to beat the band. I am alive! And He is not finished making me ready for eternity, praise be. It wasn’t the doctors’ prowess that got me through, out and home, though God used them and I love them all; He heard my pitiful cries way back when and did something about it. Because He’s God.
He’s just that way.
I’m gonna keep telling the news. I don’t care who knows it.