The last few weeks have been quite a challenge as we’ve watched a slow decline in daddy’s health. His ability to speak and communicate has dwindled over the last few weeks, and now after he suffered a seizure Tuesday, his ability to communicate is none existent. As our hearts break watching him in this state, we praise the LORD his mind is sharp and he has been able to relay to us that he is at perfect peace. He is unable to read the scriptures or write, but what comfort I find in knowing, “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom.10:17) Through hearing God’s word as we read it to him, the word which is alive and powerful, daddy’s faith can continue to be strengthened in our LORD. We have enjoyed precious family time as my married siblings are constantly in and out helping in every way they can. My married brothers have been such a blessing as they take leadership and encourage us all with the word while daddy cannot. My heart has never ached as much, as I see my strong daddy now weak, and how I miss hearing his sweet voice and the truth from God’s word that before was always ready on his lips. For a few weeks, when his speech became more laborious and his words became few, by the LORD’s grace he was able to sing without skipping a beat, or stumbling over his words. I saw this mercy from the LORD to be a great, precious gift to our family. While he could sing, he reminded our family often that regardless of what happened in this trial or how bad things may soon become, we knew God’s will was clear, we were to “in everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1Thes.5:18) He would say, “We are going to give thanks and sing praises to our God.” It hurts my heart that he is now unable to sing praises verbally to his God, but I am confident his heart has been faithful to praise Him just the same. We gather up often as a family, read the scriptures, and sing. We love to sing songs that are verses put to a simple tune, asking the LORD to use these tunes to bring truth to his mind more often. It is often difficult to choke back the tears and sing especially as his voice, the one that was before always the loudest and strongest, is silent, but I never fail to smile and give thanks to the LORD when I see him sway his head slowly from side to side, affirming his heart is singing with us.
Daddy has lost some coordination and though slow and a little off balance, we praise the LORD he is still able to walk. The right side of his body is having trouble due to a tumor on that side of his brain, he has lost most of the use in his right arm, and has trouble eating with the right side of his mouth. I now have the privilege of caring for him in ways I never have before and enjoy sitting with him as I feed him his meals bite for bite, quoting scripture or singing to him as we sit together. And though he cannot respond verbally, he often nods as an “amen” to scripture we share with him.
My precious mother is doing exceptional under the circumstances…the LORD’s grace is so evident in her as He gives her broken heart joy and peace. Needless to say, it is harder on her then any of us as she watches and cares for her precious husband in this season, but as I see the ache of her heart and hold her when she cries, I watch amazed when she is tending to my daddy and when her strength is needed for him, how she radiates the grace of our LORD. He is truly “a very present help in trouble.” His grace, promised to be sufficient, has been proven to be such moment by moment. It does not take away the pain, but it enables us to bare it.
As things worsened over the last several months and we received nothing but bad reports from scans, etc, we were encouraged to do a number of medical procedures, but we believed the LORD’s will for us was to “be still, and see the salvation of the LORD which He will show to you today…He shall fight for you and you shall hold your peace” as He commanded the children of Israel. (Ex.14:13-14) We felt like we have been at the Red Sea since February…the sea was before and the Egyptians were over the horizon as we could hear the thunder of their horses hooves coming our direction. Now, we feel as if our feet our wet and our enemy is in arms length, but we still trust our Heavenly Father to be our deliver, and rest assured that He will be in whatever way He deems best…He has promised to fight for us and we trust He will.
I know that I can safely say on behalf of my entire family, that this is the most painful trial we have yet to endure, but as the LORD draws near to our broken hearts, it is one of the most precious at the same time. And though our flesh and our heart fail, God is the strength of our lives and our portion forever. (Ps.73:25) The LORD has been such a present help in trouble, has been our stronghold, rock, and haven of rest in this storm, His grace is sufficient, His peace is sweet, and His joy is full.
We are each humbled by the constant out pour of love, prayers, encouragement, and help by so many.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! We are thankful beyond words for Christ’s abounding love shown to us through His body.
Please continue to pray with us that the LORD will be glorified and make His mighty power to be known! Pray He strengthens our heart and does not allow our faith in this trial to fail and grants grace to walk by the promises of God He has proven to be true all our lives, and not the circumstances that can often cause us to doubt Him.
We are confident that “The angel of the LORD encamps round about them that fear Him, and DELIVERETH them.” (Ps. 34:9)
Because He abides faithful that promised, Joy Phillips