Something is Broken

The first house my husband or I owned is the one we live in now. It’s a very old house, although we did buy new appliances when he bought it (a couple months before we were engaged). Some of you know that it was originally a church. It is a unique place, and when Matt started remodeling the basement, he discovered that nothing was square. I am not a builder, but I can see where the walls and floor not being at right angles would make it challenging to add trim and many of the other parts of remodeling.

We soon learned the rule of old homes: everything breaks. And good luck figuring out how to fix it. I am very glad that I married a man who is smart and talented at fixing things. He is good at finding helpful videos on YouTube, too. I’m sure he has saved us thousands of dollars with the appliances he has fixed and repairs to our cars and house. It certainly feels like we just move from one broken thing to the next. When Matt came home from the hospital this summer, our dryer broke within a week or two. After that, my car has been struggling with one issue or another. Now our washer is broken, but we are focusing on the car for the moment. I don’t even want to guess what will be next. I don’t borrow trouble from tomorrow; today has enough trouble of it’s own. 😉

Broken things are stressful. I feel the same way about broken relationships. There is tension with a friend or family member. Someone at work gives the cold shoulder. I need to talk to my husband and I keep putting it off. If something isn’t right in a relationship, I feel it all day long. I can’t relax. I’m on the verge of tears. It is always in the back of my mind and often, it’s right in the front.

My conflict style is none. No conflict. Ever. That would be great. It’s not a healthy style, unfortunately, so I have had to work on honest communication even when it is uncomfortable. The thing that gets me is these two verses here:

“Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:26-27‬ ‭ESV‬‬

We hear the first verse regularly, but the second one struck me. “Give no opportunity to the devil.” I’m guessing most of you reading this don’t want the devil to have a way into your relationships. When I avoid conflict, I give space for my mind to roam, and it absolutely lets the devil get in and tempt me with worst case scenarios and worries about what might happen in the meantime. My choice to honestly face conflict is one way I can smack the devil in the face, giving him no room in my relationship to taunt and tempt me or the other person.

I am still working on this, but it motivates me to be more honest in my relationships when I think of it as a chance to push the devil out of the way. Let’s be a pain in the devil’s neck today!

Boxes of Hope

I walked into our storage unit a few weeks ago. The kids needed winter clothes, and I had packed them all away in the hope that we would be listing our house for sale and hopefully bringing those boxes back to a new home when the colder weather rolled around.

I opened the door, and right there was our Christmas tree bag. The feelings from 6 months ago flooded over me. Hope. Excitement. Anticipation. Joy. We had rented this storage unit on the advice of a realtor who said we needed to get the house cleared out so we could list it. I had started on this task months ago. The me from 6 months ago was excited about the possibility of finally moving into town and passing on our project house to someone who wants a project. (Our project is three kids for the foreseeable future.)

I took some winter clothes boxes and put them in the back of my car. As I drove away from the unit, sadness overcame me. I remembered the hope I had when I put these boxes into storage. I had hope that the months to come would hold some big steps for us: preparing the house, selling it, buying another one, and moving from the only house we have lived in for our entire marriage. A verse popped into my mind.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭13:12‬ ‭ESV‬‬
https://bible.com/bible/59/pro.13.12.ESV

This hope has been deferred for years. I thought we were finally there, finally ready to make this happen. I certainly had no concept of what we would go through this summer with Matt’s sickness, hospitalization, and complications. I never saw it coming. Who would?

The God who knows our days from beginning to end knew. He also knows what the coming days and months and years will hold for us, and I can trust Him. I have already learned and grown so much from this season. I know it isn’t wasted time. It is not in vain that we walk this road and defer the hope of moving out of our house for yet another year.

So I will hang on to Him. I love the imagery of this Psalm, in the shadow of His wings. I have no doubt He can keep me safe just as He always has.

“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by. I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭57:1-2‬ ‭ESV‬‬
https://bible.com/bible/59/psa.57.1-2.ESV

Four Tips to Avoid the Winter Blues

Wrestling a toddler into a car seat is not fun. Doing it when the icy wind is whipping around me, freezing my extremities in seconds, is a level of torture I never dreamed of as a pregnant mother. When I combine this reality with living in the country, the snow drifts across our driveway blocking me in, and nowhere we had to go when the kids were little, I spent a lot of their winters as little kids at home. It might sound nice and cozy to be in the warm house, it was easy to get depressed stuck in the same four walls with no view of anything (our old frosted windows kept me from seeing anything outside during the cold months).

I began to dread winter long before it came to pass in those years. With the first sight of a leaf changing color or the chill in the air, great fear hit my heart as I anticipated months stuck inside the house with little kids. I loved fall for years, but it quickly turned to a season that just signaled the beginning of winter to me. And winter was as dead for my heart as it was for the lilacs in my front yard.

I worked at home for a couple of years when Isabella was little. Then when Jack was born, I knew I could not do that job with two little ones, so we worked to pay off our vehicle loan and be able to live on one income. It would be a few years before Isabella started preschool, so we didn’t have a lot of activity filling our lives. I tend to be a homebody anyway, so the idea of staying home in the winter and not dragging the kids out of the house definitely appealed to me. I failed to recognize the toll it was taking on my mental health, unfortunately.

I did not learn this lesson as early as I wish I did, but I hope I can help some moms to keep this in mind when the kids are little. These are my four tips to help moms avoid the winter blues.

1. Leave the house! I know it’s hard, but even putting the kids in car seats for a nap or a movie while I drive around and drink a coffee gives you a little break from the norm, some sunshine (hopefully), and the opportunity to look at something other than the same four walls.

2. Have a play date. It doesn’t sound fun to bundle up the kids just to listen to them whine at someone else’s house. I get it. But the chance to get together with another mom friend is worth the effort. You can even read a chapter of the Bible or a book together and talk about it. We have a gym that opens to parents and kids with some fun activities and just space to run around, and we met there a few times as well.

3. Serve someone else. Sometimes you can’t take on one more thing without losing your mind, but other times you might be wondering what a mom with little kids can do when she’s stuck at home. Make a meal for someone who is sick or in a tough stage of life. Write cards. Help the kids draw pictures and write cards to mail. Visit an older person who doesn’t get out much.

4. Take a break! This is much easier said than done. However, any time I make the effort to arrange child care so I could do something that feeds my soul, I have never regretted it once. It can be a couple hours or a couple nights, but taking the time to get away in the winter months is a great reminder that life is short, the season will not last forever, and you will be refreshed and ready to keep going.

The older my kids get, the less daunting the winter season feels to me. They can put on their own coats and boots, buckle their seat belts, and play in the snow without my help to bundle up. It is hard to believe in the little years, but they do grow up. It gets easier and harder all at the same time.

Joyful in Hope, Patient in Affliction, Faithful in Prayer

This sign hangs in my hallway. Romans 12:12 challenges me all the time, and this current season is no exception.

The past few months have been full of highs and lows for our family. I remember sitting in the hospital with Matt and asking the physical therapist about what he would need to do once he was released to go home. She said he would have no physical therapy required, and I was amazed. A few friends in the medical field and another who personally experienced sepsis herself had warned me that physical therapy could last for a while. I thought he was so lucky to get through this ordeal with none required.

That wasn’t the end of the struggle, though. The follow-up appointments with a variety of doctors were the new norm, and every time it seemed something new arose. We learned within a week or two of his release that he had developed blood clots in his chest and leg. That was an unexpected complication. A week or two after hearing those words, I sat at a lunch where someone had just attended the funeral of a young man who died from a blood clot in his chest. Matt was eventually seen at Mayo, where he visited three or four weeks in a row, once for two and a half days of appointments, tests, scans, consults. It was hard to stay home, but with three kids in school and no one working to pay the bills, I didn’t have much of a choice. I learned about each appointment afterwards, but Matt did a great job keeping track of the details, the medications, and the schedule.

Almost two weeks ago, he was at Mayo for another day of appointments, and he texted from there saying that he was being checked into the hospital for observation for two nights. He was not expecting an overnight stay, his phone battery was almost dead so I couldn’t call him, and all I knew was that they were worried about his heart. It is not exactly the thing you want to read as you pull up for school pickup! I shot a quick text to my Bible study group, and my dear friend Steph hopped out of her van in the pickup line and ran over to pray with me. I sure needed that hug and prayer in that moment.

As I got ready to drive up to Mayo to be with Matt on Saturday morning, he texted that they were releasing him to drive home a day early. He finally got a phone charger and called me on the drive home. They believed the inflammation in his heart was due to the septic shock, and it would return to normal.

Unfortunately, one of our kids had been exposed to COVID that week as well, and we learned on Monday that he was positive. He had almost no symptoms. Somehow the rest of us all tested negative, which was a great blessing considering we did not want Matt to contract COVID with the current lung and heart issues he is facing.

Patient in affliction. I would hesitate to ever describe myself as patient, but it has been a good reminder in this season that I must trust God as I patiently wait for the resolution to Matt’s health issues. I have some experience with this patience in affliction through other seasons of life, but I can see the Lord continuing to work in my heart the deep and abiding peace that comes from patiently waiting on Him.

Joyful in hope. I know it seems counterintuitive, but God has chosen to also send many blessings our way in this season of suffering. The people who have blessed us with phone calls, prayers, meals, money, yard work, child care, lunches for the kids…sometimes I just sit and cry when I think of all the generous people who have lavished love upon us. These blessings have given us much joy, and they have also served to remind us of the hope we have in Christ. If He thinks so much of us to send a group of hard-working men to take care of the yard work we are unable to do right now, how could I not also trust that He is working out His plans for our future, our family, our ministry even when I cannot see it?

Faithful in prayer. Praying for others is a passion of mine. In this season, I have relied greatly on the prayers of others. I know that on the darkest days, those prayers have held me up and kept me from falling into despair. I have felt like our family is the man on the stretcher whose friends carry him to Jesus. He can’t get there without help, and his friends gladly do whatever it takes to get him an audience with Jesus. I believe God has used this season of relying on the prayers of others to further kindle my desire to be the stretcher-carrying friend as often as possible.

I know we are not the only ones in a hard season. If you are facing struggles and looking around for your stretcher-carrying friends, please look here. I would love to pray with you, to help you find support wherever you are, and to see you find the ways God wants to bless you even through this unexpected struggle.

I have never been left alone to navigate this season, not by God or by my family, friends or church family. He is faithful.

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭10:23‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Know Him

Thursday mornings are my favorite. I joined a small group Bible study a few years ago, and I have grown to deeply love Thursday mornings with my friends. Some of us talk a lot more than others, but we learn a lot about God as we study His Word and a lot about each other as we cultivate an authenticity that knits our hearts together.

We shared this week as part of our icebreaker question about something that made us nervous recently. As I drove away afterwards, I was struck by how many of us are facing heavy things. We are so different in our situations, our experiences, and our personalities. Yet we are so alike in our humanity, our pain, our need for community, for each other.

I am a helper (Enneagram 2 if that means something to you), so when I hear someone else express a struggle or pain, my mind starts whirring and searching for resources I can offer to help their situation. I have learned this year very clearly that, more than answers to my questions or problems, I need God. I need to be close to Him. I need to know Him. I need to praise Him. I need to ask for His wisdom and help.

My drama ministry team in college had a theme verse. I still remember it well, and I find it applies to my life as wife, mother, minister, friend, all of it.

“For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭2:2‬ ‭NIV‬‬
https://1corinthians.bible/1-corinthians-2-2

We didn’t want to minister at a church or youth event and have people look at us for what we could do or how well we could do it. We wanted them to see Him, to see Jesus as the only thing we had to offer, the only thing they needed.

I was reminded once again yesterday that each friend in my Sisterhood group needs to know God. We need to see Him, to learn more about who He is through His Word. I may not find the answers to my specific situation when I read my Bible, but an answer is not truly what I need. I need Him, and I need to be reminded that in knowing Him, I have everything I need. In Him, all wisdom and knowledge are found. He can lead me in the right direction, point me to the right path, whisper words of wisdom to my heart. I need Him.

I know you need Him, too. If we seek Him, He will be found.

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:13‬ ‭NIV‬‬
https://jeremiah.bible/jeremiah-29-13

Give Me a Break!

My mom came to help for a week when my kids were born. I remember when my oldest was born, she told us we should go get dinner for our anniversary coming up, and she would stay with Isabella. I will never forget driving back home from that dinner and sobbing to Matt. I cried, “I wish we could drive away and never go back!” Of course, we know postpartum hormones are some crazy things, but the reality of the all-consuming responsibility of being a mother was all around me, and it was much more demanding than I expected.

I don’t know if it’s just the introverts among us who need the alone time to recharge, but I learned from very early on that breaks from motherhood would be necessary for maintaining my sanity. There have been seasons where breaks were very hard or impossible to arrange, and I paid the price (as did my family) with depression and all manner of unkindness when I did not find the space to recharge.

I really want to encourage you moms who have little ones at home all day. I honestly stay up pretty late into the night because that time of quiet and alone (or with my husband around) is helpful for daily recharging. I have heard moms say they fall asleep with their kids, and I cannot fathom that lifestyle. I would feel imprisoned if I didn’t get to enjoy a couple of non-kid hours most evenings.

In addition to daily time, I am blessed to work a part time job where I can take a day off each week to spend time with friends and talk about the Bible my ladies group at church, run errands, and do what I want to do for a few hours. I feel a little guilty saying that it’s probably my favorite day of the week.

Matt and I have always loved to travel together, and we have typically done our best to take a couple of weekend trips without the kids each year. However, the mess of 2020 and 2021 has thrown off our rhythm. I have also taken trips alone and with my mom or other friends that have been amazing opportunities to recharge and refresh.

Maybe you think this is unachievable. “Who am I going to get to watch my kids?” Listen, when we went from two to three children, we drastically decreased the number of people willing and length of time they were willing to watch our children. So now I work on splitting them up at different places or, for a longer trip, have someone for a couple days and someone else for the last few days. It is a lot of work to arrange it all, but the benefits are worth it for me.

If you can’t afford to take a trip but you know you need the break, can you stay home and get someone to keep the kids for a few days? Or maybe visit a family member or friend for a cheaper way to get out of town? Sometimes when I take the kids for a couple days to visit my parents, my mom will tell me to go do something and she will hang out with the kids.

I wanted to write about this today because it’s one of the things that keeps me sane in the little years and even now in the elementary school years of motherhood. I was not sure if I wanted to be a stay at home mom before I had kids. I loved my ministry, and my pastor always told me he would have a job for me even when I had children. But things don’t always work out as we expect, and I ended up being a stay at home mom for about ten years. I loved things about it, but I desperately missed the adult interaction, the sense of accomplishment that comes from knowing what to do and checking off a to-do list, and the feedback from others on a job well done.

I hope you take time for the things that recharge your mind, body, and soul. If you need some help figuring it out, send me a message! I would love to help you with it.

Built on the Rock of Ages

““Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.””
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7:24-27‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The wise man did not wait until the storm came to build his house. He did the work before the storm so he would be prepared when it arrived. The problem with that is that we never know when the storms of life will come our way. One phone call changes everything. One day brings change we never dreamed was coming. The one who devotes time to hearing and understanding and following the words of God is building a solid spiritual house. He or she is the one that Jesus describes as wise.

My husband, Matt, spent a week in the hospital with sepsis, kidney failure, and severe dehydration. He has been home for almost 8 weeks, and he is still in the process of recovering. He developed blood clots in the hospital, so those are being treated as well as some other issues that have not yet resolved themselves. He is still weaker than usual and low on energy. The raging storm that started when we went to the doctor has died down, but it is still raining heavily as we face different physical, financial, and emotional circumstances. God has provided for us in beautiful ways. I should write a full post about the ways in which living in community has blessed our lives and our family.

Almost a week ago, my dad was admitted to the hospital with COVID pneumonia. My mom was sick at home with COVID. I have been stuck two hours away, substituting phone calls and FaceTime for the personal touch and hugs I want to be giving them. Dad has had a couple of good days, and we are praying he keeps improving. Mom is feeling better today, and we trust that God is healing their bodies. It has been another tough storm. I have noticed that, when that storm begins and when it is raging so loudly, rattling the windows and knocking down tree limbs, it’s too late to put down a foundation. It’s even too late to put on siding or paint or install the door. The work needs to be done. All you can do is stand. The foundation you have built will hold you in place. Words may fail you, you may not know what to pray in that moment, but the foundation is still there, rock solid and not going anywhere.

I am not new to stormy weather, but I can say my foundation has never been quite as strong as it was this time. All the glory for that goes to God. I can read and pray and give and serve, but it is God who gives the growth.

Do you want to build a strong foundation that can withstand the greatest of storms? Do you want to be built on the Rock who holds eternity in His hands? Read the Bible. Pray, pray for yourself and pray for others. Give, give up things that are weighing you down. Give of yourself. Serve others and serve the church. Serve and give your time, sacrificing things you would otherwise do to invest in the eternity of someone else.

If you are in a storm and you need something to hold on to right now, please message me. I would love to pray with you. Maybe you are reading this and keeping the storm inside. Please find others to hold you up in prayer.

It may be bright and sunny in your corner of the world. If so, keep building on your foundation. Find someone who needs a helping hand, and serve in their time of need. I can tell you that it means so much to them. A lot of love comes in a homemade lasagna or a pot of chili given to a sick or hurting family.

This is my favorite quote. I have shared it before, but it fits so I am happy to share it again.

Knotted Hair and a God Who Cares

I spent thirty minutes unknotting my daughter’s hair this evening. I have never seen a mess like it, and I have very thick hair myself. This was unreal. She had just come upstairs from her shower, and she had already wrapped a neon scrunchie in her soaking wet hair. I could see some tangles in the ponytail, so I took it out and was just astounded at the mess after she had just washed it. I asked her how it got this bad, and she just said that she keeps it in a scrunchie so no one can see it.

I had no idea that over half her hair was a giant tangled mess. I sent her to bed after the process was complete, and my first thought was, “I am a horrible mom.” How could I not know that her hair was such a mess? How could I be so oblivious? This tangled bird’s nest on her head symbolized for me the many messes I have had to manage or clean up with her, and this was just another one that I never saw coming. My next thought was that someone else, almost anyone else, would be a better mom to this child than I am.

Yeah. I thought it. Then I decided to confront that thought with some truth. The truth is that being a mother to this child has exposed so much of my own sin nature, failures, ways I fall short, and inadequacies. As I have been forced to face those issues I would rather ignore, I have been thrust into the loving arms of the God who knows every single thing about me and loves me with an everlasting love. I have learned so much about God through my experience as a mother. I didn’t know how much I needed His grace. I really didn’t have a clue. I loved to follow the rules and make everyone happy and check all the boxes, but I did not have a clear picture of how desperately I needed His grace until I was confronted with my failure. And I fail a lot as I try to figure out parenting the child that God gave me. It is not as straightforward as the many books I have read explain it to be.

I have found this scripture from Romans to be a comfort in various seasons of life where the messes are many and the answers are few.

“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?” For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭11:33-36‬ ‭NIV‬‬
https://bible.com/bible/111/rom.11.34-35.NIV

God doesn’t have to explain to me why He chose me to be her mom. I don’t have His view. My sight is obstructed compared to His. He is all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful. I defer to Him when I don’t understand. I may not have all the answers, but I have Him. He is faithful. He has never failed me. I rest in Him tonight, and I pray that you will, too.

I’ve been listening to this a lot lately. I can’t resist sharing the soundtrack of my days whenever possible.

When the Storm Rolls In Part 2

This is a continuation of my post from last week.

I took the kids home on Saturday night, got them into bed with plans to drop them off with Grandma Cyndi the next morning in time for Matt’s dad Vern and I to get to the ICU at 11:00 AM. I talked to my mom for a bit, and settled in for a restless night of sleep.

On Sunday morning, I called the ICU to get an update on Matt’s condition. The nurse said he was stable, which was good news but it didn’t sound like he had improved much. We were pretty nervous heading to the hospital. I don’t remember a lot about walking into his room that day, just that he was pretty drowsy and out of it.

It was a really hard day. Matt’s condition did not improve, but it didn’t get worse, either. It was really hard to watch him stuck in a bed, too weak to even adjust his position. They brought liquids, but he didn’t take anything. By mid-afternoon, he was going to try to take a nap and told us that we could leave. So we got ready go, and as soon as Matt put his CPAP on, he projectile vomited everywhere. It was horrible. I couldn’t leave after that, so we waited as the nurses cleaned it all up. They had the best attitudes, they teased him as they wiped every inch of the ICU room.

Finally, we had to leave for the night. I picked up the kids and took them home. Once I finally got them into bed, I had a chance to cry. This was such a hard day, but two things happened to encourage me before I went to bed. I called our pastor and his wife and they prayed for me and Matt. Then I was messaging my good friend, and one of her friends texted me asking about Matt. Her husband is a doctor, and they helped me understand a few things as well as have a few questions to ask the next day. I felt much better after those two interactions.

On Monday morning, I dropped the kids off with my friend Steph. They love her and her house is so much fun, I knew they would have the best time. She hugged me and prayed for us, and I headed to the ICU again. I was a bit nervous to have another day like Sunday, so I blasted some worship songs that declared strength and victory, and I was ready to go.

Pastors Jonathan and Dan met me there, and we walked up together. Only two visitors were allowed in the room at a time, so I headed back to see if his parents were still in there. As I stepped into the room, I was shocked to see Matt’s face. The change from Sunday night was remarkable. His color was better, he looked more alert and was sitting up a bit instead of laying down. My heart leapt in my chest as I grabbed his hand. “You look so much better!” I said. I told him the pastors were coming in, and I stepped back out to eat my lunch.

After Pastors Dan and Jonathan left, Matt’s mom and I stayed the afternoon with him. I had to pick up the kids around dinner time, but it was much easier to leave on Monday than it had been just 24 hours before. I believe God healed Matt’s infection, and I was ecstatic.

My friend Steph gave us a meal as well as another friend from church, plus another wonderful friend gave us a gift card to help out. I was overflowing with gratefulness for all the blessings and care we received.

I will finish the hospital portion of the story in one more post, hopefully tomorrow.

When the Storm Rolls In

Joshua told the Israelites to set up stones of remembrance to remind themselves and future generations of the miracle God had done for them. It builds my faith greatly to be reminded of God’s faithfulness. I will always tell the story of how God saved my husband Matt’s life, and I am writing it here so it will stand for anyone who reads it as a reminder that He never leaves us or forsakes us. Our God is faithful, and His miracle-working power is the same today as it was in the days of Joshua and the Israelites.

Matt was sick for most of the week before we went to the hospital. For a few days, it was a typical head cold. He has seasonal and environmental allergies, so he tends to get a lot of stuffy noses, cough, itchy eyes, etc. We do our part to keep Kleenex in business. Later in the week, he had new symptoms, and he ended up sleeping in the living room, telling me later that he had been up much of the night vomiting. This isn’t terribly uncommon for him, either, so I just figured it was a typical illness for him. By Friday, he had been home from work for 3 days. I picked up our older two kids from camp, and it was a busy day with their return.

On Saturday morning, Matt said he might need to go to the doctor. He said he felt dehydrated. I worked on getting ready and finding someone to watch the kids. He finally said we should go, so I got everyone ready. He asked me to help him get dressed. He was too weak to put on his clothes, which kind of surprised me. But I figured if he was dehydrated, that would be a good reason for the weakness. We dropped off the kids at Matt’s parents house, and we headed to urgent care.

I walked in to the office, and we were the only ones there so we didn’t even sit in the waiting room. The nurse who watched Matt walk in grabbed a wheelchair immediately. They pushed him back to a room, and we answered all the questions as they checked his vitals. It was probably 10-15 minutes before the doctor walked in and solemnly told us that they could not help him at urgent care and he needed to go to an emergency room. They wanted to call an ambulance, but our local ER is about 10-12 blocks away, so I signed him out and said I would take him straight there.

As soon as the nurses had helped him into the passenger seat and closed the car door, I started crying. “I’m so sorry,” I said. “I didn’t know. I didn’t know you were so sick.” He said, “It’s okay, I didn’t know, either.” I just knew from their reaction that he was sicker than we imagined.

I pulled up to the ER and ran in to ask for a help and a wheelchair. Someone came out to help him and wheel him in while I parked the car. Once I got inside, we sat in a small ER waiting room for what felt like an eternity. I was just listening to his breathing, watching people walk by and joke in the hall while I was screaming inside, “We need help! Don’t leave us here!”

Being treated in the Waverly emergency room

Eventually, he asked me to find the bathroom. I checked with someone, and they said that they would be able to take him back to a room now. They wheeled him down the hall and helped him onto a bed. I sat in the only chair as we went through the same questions we had answered at urgent care. It had been a very hot day, and they seemed to think he was overheated. I explained that he had done absolutely nothing that day and had not been outside at all. It took a little while, but finally they realized the situation was more dire than they had assumed. They tested him for COVID right away as some of his symptoms fit, but it came back negative.

One thing that stands out to me is the doctor repeating quite a few times, “You are very sick. You’re very, very sick.” They looked at his tongue and said it was very white, apparently a sign of dehydration. They asked him when was the last time he had urinated. He thought about it and answered, “Maybe 2-3 days?” I could not believe it. He had never told me, I definitely would have known that was a really bad thing. I think he was just so sick that it must not have sunk in that it would be cause for concern.

My poor husband had to have a catheter inserted, and even then they could not get any urine out. She was asking someone else to come in and push on his bladder to help. I was just sitting there, watching all of this transpire as he remained conscious, talking and regularly responding that he was in no pain. It seemed incongruous to me. How could he be as sick as they said and be conscious, talking and even joking, and in no pain? I still don’t understand it, except that maybe it was a gift from God to keep us calm and not freaking out under the circumstances.

They had a lot of trouble getting his blood pressure. I wasn’t really comprehending that as a big problem myself, but eventually I heard 70 which I know is very low. The doctor told me he had sepsis. I have watched more than enough episodes of “ER” and “Grey’s Anatomy” to know that they only mention sepsis when someone is gravely ill. I was texting his parents and mine with updates, and when I sent that, his parents answered, “What is sepsis?” I didn’t know how to define it, so I asked what to tell them, and she said it’s an infection in the blood.

They told me they were going to admit him and run a bunch of tests. That changed rather quickly, and the main nurse explained to me that his blood pressure was dangerously low. He needed a medication to raise it, but this medication is very serious and needs to be administered by an ICU nurse who would constantly be monitoring him to keep it at the right level. So it was determined he would be sent to the ICU at MercyOne in Waterloo. I know how it is with paperwork, but when people are telling you that your husband is “very, very sick,” you just expect things to move more quickly. But we still had to do some paperwork, insurance stuff, and eventually I realized it was about 6:45. The visiting hours at the ICU ended at 7 pm, and therefore I would be unable to go with Matt that evening.

It was hard to walk away as they wheeled him to the ambulance. Once I got to the car, I was in such shock that somehow I managed to get to his parent’s house, eat with them for dinner, and get the kids home and only cry once when I stepped out of the car and saw his dad standing there.

I’m going to split this up into a couple of posts so it is a little easier to read. But I promise it is worth finishing. We don’t get to see the end when we are trapped in a dark place with no light to be found. He is there, always, and this is just one of the many times in my life He has proven Himself faithful.