Friday, March 14, 2008

Can I Get a Whoo Hoo?!

"Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name. Bring an offering and come before him; worship him in the splendor of his holiness."

I Chronicles 16:29

One year ago, Brad and I received the phone call in the middle of the night that everyone dreads. My brother, Mark, not-so-calmly explained that Dad was at the ER in Dallas and the doctors thought he suffered a brain aneurysm.

At first, we thought Mark was being overly dramatic/concerned, then over the course of a wakeful night realized this was actually very serious. Like get-a-plane-ticket-and-come-now serious.

Being in Colorado left me feeling helpless and far away when I wanted only to be near. I kept telling myself that everything was fine, but it's hard to convince oneself of that in the same sentence with the word "brain aneurysm."

One truth continued to race through my thoughts, standing firm and strong despite the swirling emotions: "The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?" (Psalm 27:1) To this day, I thank God for embedding that precious gift in my soul when I needed it most.

Arriving alone at the airport early in the morning, having left behind a tired husband and confused preschoolers was tough. Wandering through the airport blinking away tears and trying to remain calm was near impossible.

Only hours after initially hearing the news, I arrived at my parent's house in Dallas. The gravity of the situation fell on me. Opening the front door, all of the lights and TV were on. Dinner from the night before sat on the cook top. My parents had run over to the gym for a quick workout, only to go straight to the ER via ambulance.

As I stood there, taking in this unsettling scene, praying and pleading for peace beyond understanding, the phone rang. Because old habits die hard, I walked to the office and answered.

While I'll never remember who actually called that morning, I'll never forget that my chest tightened and my breathing stopped while I stared at the wall directly above the phone.

There hung Dad's photo gallery of some of his favorite running moments, highlighting his many accomplishments, and more importantly, his family members who he'd enticed/dragged to run with him.

While my mind knew he was unconscious in the ICU, I couldn't reconcile that with the photo of us standing together after our marathon, holding a shiny gold medals and unashamedly smiling with pride.

How could someone so fit, so strong, so healthy be fighting for his life?

And again God's tender words whispered to my soul, "Do not be afraid. I am your stronghold. I am your light. You are in the palm of my hand."

To spare you two weeks worth of drama and things you've already heard ad nauseum if you know me, I'll just tell you that for reasons we'll never know, God graciously chose to restore full physical and mental (insert punchline) health to my dad.

So why do I write this? Because when I opened up my Bible this morning on the one year anniversary of Dad's miraculous healing, the first verse I read was I Chronicles 16:29.

The Lord has been good in ways both big and small and I don't want to miss an opportunity to give Him credit and attribute all great things to His unchanging hands.

I am obviously thankful for Dad's complete healing that baffles the most intelligent brain surgeons in the country. I'm also humbled and blessed by the Holy Spirit who spoke truth and injected peace into my heart during a time when my thoughts and emotions were running wild.

I just love these words from "In Christ Alone":

"In every victory,
let it be said of me,
my source of strength,
my source of hope,
is Christ alone."

I am looking forward to seeing my dad next week when I will resume kicking his tail on the Wii.


Jessica said...

ironically, just this week i have been reflecting on some of my prayer requests over the past year and wondered about your dad--what a miracle!

Jessica said...

ironically, just this week i have been reflecting on many answered prayers of the past year and was wondering about your dad. what a miracle!

Amy said...

Oh Nicole. So very beautifully written. And while I'm not quick enough to write it word for word, I know that the Bible tells us that we are allowed to experience some things because of the magnitude of help we will be able to bring someone else in a similar situation down the road. Bring on July 9th in the Shackelford home. I remember March 15th when I learned what happened to Chris... and I remember the verse God whispered to me in the day's after Dad's stroke. "For those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31.
Praise God for healthy Dads! -Shack

Meg said...

great to hear that story -- it's so encouraging to remember the power of God in such a real way.

Anonymous said...

Wii comment: in your dreams