A Glimpse


“It’s so good to be home…It’s so good to be home…”, my husband spoke softly as he rocked in his old green rocking chair. It’s been almost 15 years since he uttered those words.

I had just started my evening prayer through the tabernacle and was meditating on being thankful for the “gates of the tabernacle” when that scene from so long ago came to mind. I had been thinking of how those Jews that could only make it to the temple once a year must have felt as they approached it, how they must have wanted to drink in the sight of it. I could imagine how they laughed and shouted as it came into sight. Fathers lifted children onto their shoulders and excitedly pointed out the temple in the distance. Then I thought of those Jews that had spent years in captivity and how only the fortunate few made it back. I thought of how they must have wept at the sight of even the remnant of the temple. It was as I was thinking of those captives, that I thought of my husband sitting in his old rocking chair, so very glad to be home. In my mind’s eye, I saw our children sitting a little away from him, hopeful but wary; and myself on the couch, wanting to be happy, yet serious and cautious.

This is a very long and difficult story that I am only going to tell you a little of. I will allow you a glimpse, but no more into those dark days. It’s not something I willingly talk about, but God has made it very clear to me I am to write a little bit of it.

I had just brought my husband, (I will not give his name) home from the hospital where he had been very close to death. You would think that was why it felt so good to him to be home, but it was much more than that. He had been gone from our home for many months; but, gone from our family for many years. It was his first time “home” since he had left us. The divorce was finishing up and the children and I had finally started to find a new normal. Some weeks prior to this, I had been to a ladies retreat. It was during the last altar call of the last session of the retreat that God spoke to me. He said, “If {he named my husband} asks if he can come home, will you let him?” I said, “No Lord. There’s been too much water under the bridge. It’s been too hard.” A little later God spoke to me again, “If {your husband} asks you if he can come home, will you let him?” I said, “No Lord. I don’t want to.” Then one last time, God asked me, “If {your husband} asks you if he can come home, will you let him?” This time I answered, “I tell you what Lord, how about if we just do this your way. You’ve never left me hanging and I don’t suppose you’ll start now.” The retreat finished, I went home and didn’t think another thing of God’s words. That was Saturday. Monday afternoon, my husband stopped by the house. He said he had something to talk to me about. I reluctantly let him in. He said he had made a mistake and wanted to come home. Long story short, I forgot completely about my conversation with God and said no. He spent some time trying to convince me but I had no intention of going down that road again. He finally asked if he could take the kids and myself out for pizza. The kids had come home from school by then and were all in favor of us all going for pizza. I did not want to go with but he and the kids put a great deal of pressure on me until I agreed. We got back a little later that evening and my husband asked if he could catch a nap on the couch in the lower level before he went to work that night. I was very unhappy about it. I absolutely did not want him in the house any longer, but where he was living was an hour away, so I reluctantly agreed. I went to bed and hadn’t been asleep long when I heard him on the phone in the dining room, calling in sick to work. I was very angry. I was even more angry when I got up the next morning to find him on the couch in the living room, claiming to be sick. I didn’t care if he was sick. I wanted him out of my house and let him know in no uncertain terms that he had better be gone when I got home from work. The kids called me later at work and told me their dad was very sick. I came home after work to find him still on the couch and truly sick. He was burning up with a fever which I could not ignore. I spent a long night trying to get his fever down, so come morning, I insisted he be seen. When the attending physician diagnosed his illness as sinus infection, I knew in my gut they were wrong but there was nothing to do but get the antibiotics and hope they worked. I have to say I was very anxious to get him off of my hands.  I had company coming for Easter, I had a great deal to do and I knew his presence would be unwelcome to say the least. That was Wednesday, but when Thursday came and went with  no improvement, I insisted on taking him to the emergency room across town. It wasn’t long before the nightmare began. They roomed him immediately which should have been my first clue he was seriously sick. At some point I was taken back to a private area and questioned by the infection control group. Could he have contacted this, that or the other, they asked me? I finally had to own up to the fact that I really didn’t know much about him anymore and hadn’t had contact with him for a very long time. They said he had said as much but they were grasping straws. He was admitted and the battery of tests began. The next afternoon, I brought the children in to see him and was disturbed to notice his breathing had become labored. They took him for a late afternoon CT Scan which showed multiple pulmonary embolism. My Easter company came, took the kids home with them and my vigil began. He rapidly went into a decline and was emergently moved to intensive care. The physicians broke it to me that he was going into total organ shutdown and they still didn’t know what was wrong with him. Very quickly he turned yellow-orange and became very swollen. He was delirious and kept asking me to take his boots off, though he had nothing on his feet. He said they were, “so heavy”. Soon after, he became totally unable to speak but was easily startled and very frightened. I prayed almost every minute I was with him. At some point I knew I was to pray over his entire body. I knew I needed to pray and sing to him, touching him as I did. I didn’t care who came and went, I continued. I remember a young doctor walking in and observing me. He said to “keep it up”, that it had been proven to help. I only left when I knew someone else would be with him. He reached crisis mode and they still didn’t know what was wrong. They finally told me that it might be a good idea to let the children come and tell him goodbye, so I called the school and the principle brought them to the hospital. I don’t remember much of that time except for the exhaustion. Then, the main physician came to me with a smile. They finally had a diagnosis and could aggressively treat him. He had been visiting family in Tennessee two weeks prior to the start of his illness and had been bitten by a tick carrying a disease called Ehrlichiosis, called by locals, “the bone breaker” because of the pain associated with it. The average yearly incidence of it is 0.7 cases per MILLION population and none of that happens in MN. Once the physicians knew what they were dealing with, they were able to successfully treat him. They were finally able to move him out of critical care to a step down unit though he still couldn’t talk and was confused. They had a serious talk with me about taking him home. They said I would have to make sure not to allow him to use the stove or let him wander. They could not guarantee he ever would improve enough to be left alone. I vividly remember saying to God, “Well, this ought to be interesting.” They were finally going to release him, but since he was very immunosuppressed, I went home and cleaned and washed walls. When I came back to his hospital room and walked up to his bed, he reached up to me and put his arm around my shoulders, kissed me and said the first words I had heard from him since he became so ill. He said, “What are you doing here babe? Aren’t you supposed to be at work?” It was the first time he had kissed me since his heart had turned from me so very, very long ago…the first time he had spoken an endearment to me since his heart was stolen from me.

I took him home from the hospital and the first thing he did was to go to his favorite old chair, the green rocking chair. He rocked silently for a while with his eyes closed, than said with a catch in his voice, “It’s so good to be home… It’s so good to be home”.

I fell in love with him all over again…head over heals in love with him… passionately in love with him… and we almost made it. We almost beat that spirit that had gotten a hold of him, but he wouldn’t let the pastor or the men of the church get close enough to him to be accountable… to be safe.  He was finally able to go back to work, but it wasn’t long before he was dabbling once again with that sin that had taken him from me in the first place. Soon he was back where he had been before he had gotten sick…only more so. I fought that spirit that had a grip on him! I fasted and prayed and wept until I tore the cartilage in my ribs. The rest of the story reads like a textbook. That spirit isn’t very imaginative. It pulls the same stuff wherever it strikes. There was the usual ugliness of divorce, then the car broke down, the well had to be re-dug, my furnace burned up, my fridge went out, my stove quit working, the roof started leaking, the pressure pump went out and had to be dug up and replaced. The divorce had been discontinued when he got sick, so it had to be completely restarted…with a new retainer fee… in other words, I made a lot of money, but I had none.You say, where was God in all of this? Oh, where do I begin to tell you of His faithfulness. One day as I wept, God said to me, “But, didn’t I give you peace in your home?” Yes, God gave me and my children peace in our home.  He also gave me closure, since I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I had done everything I could possibly do to win my husband back to me and to God.

You wonder if God left me “hanging”? No, no He didn’t. He has given me a new, peaceful life. I’m working on being a soul winner and the best is yet to come. I’m not sure why God has laid it so heavy on my heart to write this or why He has placed such an urgency on me to write it. I guess, if there is one take-away I can give you, it is this: Remember, Satan doesn’t come to inconvenience you or to mess up your day…

“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy:” John 10:10

Nancy

“It will no longer be said to you, “Forsaken,” Nor to your land will it any longer be said, “Desolate”; But you will be called, “My delight is in her,” And your land, “Married”; For the LORD delights in you, And to Him your land will be married. For as a young man marries a virgin, So your sons will marry you; And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, So your God will rejoice over you.…” Isaiah 62:4,5

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