Tuesday, February 7, 2012

What I learned at church last Sunday

I'm thinking that I'd like to make this a regular feature on my blog. It really helps me go a little deeper into the message and think about ways it applies to my life. Maybe we could make it a little blog hop...something for me to think about. Let me know if you'd be interested.

This Sunday, our lead pastor was away at our new campus and our associate pastor filled in for him. I'll admit, that when the pastor is away, I sometimes feel myself "check out" a little during the message, but not this week. Pastor K's message was so good! It was an amazing service!

The main scripture for the message on Sunday was Matthew 13:16-17

"But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it."

Pastor K talked about how we, as believers, are blessed because of the things we have seen God do and things we have heard that God has done. Things like God healing the sick, God stepping into someone's life and turning it around, God blessing our finances when we choose to give, or God restoring a marriage that had been broken.

As I listened to the message, I thought about the ways I have been blessed by what I have seen God do. I thought of some times when we have had a financial need and God has met it in an unexpected way. I thought about jobs that have come our way because God has supplied them.
But the main thing that I thought about is how I have been blessed when I personally experienced God's peace in my life in situations that we anything but peaceful.

I've heard the Philippians 4:7 quoted many times,

"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus"
There have been several times in my life that I have felt the powerful peace of God-a good friend died in a car accident when I was 19, when we lost my dad, and when we decided to move here with no job and no home, not knowing what the future would hold-I have felt God's peace.

During the service, my mind kept going back to a time when I had felt that peace that I haven't really shared about before. It happened on the day that I was taken by helicopter to the heart hospital with "bilateral pulmonary embolism", or multiple blood clots in both lungs.

I had been to the ER the night before with a racing pulse and difficulty breathing. My blood pressure and blood sugar were also through the roof. The doctor at the ER said the my high blood sugar was causing the other symptoms and didn't look into it any further. He gave me an insulin shot and sent me on my way with orders to make an appointment with my doctor at home on Monday (this was a Saturday night).

Sunday morning, I continued to get worse so back we went to the ER. After a chest X-ray, blood work, and a CAT scan we were left to wait for an answer. The doctor had come in once and said that she felt I had pneumonia but was waiting for test results to confirm it.

Finally, after a long time, the doctor came in and asked a question I wasn't expecting.
She said, "How do you feel about helicopters?"

I don't remember a lot about the time between being told I was going to be "life flighted" to the heart hospital and when the crew came to pick me up. I know it was quite a while and that they were delayed from the original time we thought they were coming. I remember that the wind was blowing and hearing that there was only one crew flying that day. I remember that I got a new IV and the male nurse that was putting in my IV was arguing that I didn't really need it, which made me a little nervous. There's something a bit scary about an angry nurse starting an IV on you (although I must say that he was the most knowledgeable nurse taking care of me that day and I was blessed he was there to talk me through what was going to happen.).

When the crew arrived, they came in and started asking me a bunch of questions. They actually asked me the exact same set of questions twice. One guy was standing next to me asking me questions and writing things down. Another guy was hooking up equipment, talking with nurses, etc and would ask me the same question about 10 seconds later.

Once they got me all hooked up to their machines and loaded onto the gurney (that's a weird word, but that's what it was) for the helicopter, they wheeled me out of the room and into the hall to make our way out to the waiting helicopter. It was the weirdest thing-every few feet all the way out, there were security guards along the hall and once we were outside, there were several more lining the sidewalk to the helicopter. It was a strange feeling having all those people watching me being wheeled away.

The helicopter crew (are they paramedics or is there another name for them? I don't know.) got me loaded up and then climbed in. They put a helmet on me that had a speaker so they could talk to me and a microphone in case I needed to talk to them. The pilot started the motor and off we went.

If you've never ridden in a helicopter, the best way I can describe the feeling is that it's like being on a really tall ferris wheel. It kind of rocks side to side as you lift off the ground. I thought I might be scared, but it was actually a pretty cool experience (not that I want to do it again). The only thing I didn't really care for was that I was right in the very front of the helicopter, which was made of glass. The only option I had if I didn't want to see what was happening outside was to close my eyes, so I did.

I rode with my eyes closed for a while trying not to think about what was going on. I knew if I let myself think too much that I would lose it. But trying not to think about something is a sure way to make yourself do just that, so I started to get a little lot nervous.

Before we left the ER, I had been told there was a med they could give me if I got panicky. I hadn't felt I needed it then but still had the option if I needed it after we got in the air. After about 20 minutes in the air, I was starting to think I needed it. I was feeling overwhelmed and afraid. My husband was out of town and I was worried about  him driving back. I was worried about my kids being taken care of, and I was afraid of what was going to happen to me. The reality was setting in of just how sick I was to warrant a helicopter flight to another hospital. I opened my eyes, ready to ask for something to calm my nerves.

When I looked out, we were just approaching a river (I think it was the North Canadian). I wish I had words to describe the view. It was breathtakingly beautiful! The way the river and it's banks snaked through the trees and the sun reflected off the water was so pretty. On the other side of the river, the blue sky touched the tops of the trees. It was view of creation that I hadn't seen before. As I took it in, this song immediately came to my mind.

I could hear the music in my mind almost as clearly as if someone had turned on the radio and as I "listened" to the song, I felt a peace fill that helicopter that was so strong you could almost touch it. It was an amazing feeling!

That peace stayed with me through the rest of the ride, being transported by ambulance from the helicopter to the ER of the heart hospital (nearly a whole block-ha!), and being admitted to the ER alone because my family hadn't made it there yet.

I was truly blessed that day by what I saw and by the song that I had heard! Even today, when I hear that song I close my eyes, see that beautiful view in my memory, and feel that sense of peace fill my heart. God is so good!

How has God blessed you by what you've seen and what you've heard?


Lynnette Kraft said...

Wow Tiffany! What a testimony of the amazing power of God at work! That view... that song... and the peace God brought to you as a result - absolutely a gift!!

We are so blessed to have the Lord to protect us, give us peace in our storms and then give us a heart's desire to share His work in our lives.

Thank you for recapping a piece of your journey. It is a beautiful reminder of our Faithful Father who loves us so much.


Kathryn @ Expectant Hearts said...

Thank you for sharing (I popped over because Lynette shared on FB). That story is fantastic! I have had similar experiences.. but my favorite thing God has done for me is my quarter story.. Our youngest son Seth was born with Hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Had open heart surgery at 5 days old and spend the first 50 days of his life in PICU. I used to pump (breast milk) in a room of NICU and there was a vending machine I'd pass between NICU and PICU.. I remember one particular day, I wanted a Reeses Peanut butter cup SO bad.. I emptied out my wallet while I was pumping and I had the right amount but 10 cents was in pennies, which I was pretty sure the machine wouldnt take.

I decided to try anyway, dropped in a penny, heard it rattle all the way to the bottom. Stuck my finder in the coin return and there was a QUARTER!! Just waiting for ME. (I used this vending machine a LOT, that was the ONLY time I ever found change in it!).. I cried.. God even saw fit to give me 15 extra cents that day!

People who don't know the Lord call it a coincidence. I just know how badly I needed to FEEL God's love that day and I did!