In the four days since my last post on Mary’s status there have been a number of positive developments.
First, the bleeding from a secondary wound created during Mary’s open heart surgery on November 1 has now almost totally ended. That’s a huge relief. Second, she has been taken off Coumadin, the anticoagulant that she was put on because of some early-on bouts with afib (her heart reverted to sinus rhythm over ten days ago). Third, because she is no longer taking Coumadin there is no reason for her INR to be checked, so the visiting nurse service has now also been discontinued. And finally, she has been trying a new sleeping arrangement which seems to be significantly reducing her discomfort from back pain during the night.
These are all welcome steps in the right direction as we approach the three-week mark since her surgery this coming Thursday. So much for which we’ll be thankful to God on that special day.
A determinative five-week checkup with the surgeon himself is now scheduled for December 5 in Bangor. After six weeks, many aortic valve replacement patients can drive again and return to a more normal routine. And after six weeks Vin Upham, the retired minister from NY who has volunteered his time to be our caregiver, will be heading home. So we’re now just two days short of being halfway to that big milestone.
We know that many of you have been praying for us, for Vin (and his wife Charlene in NY) and, more specifically and recently, for Mary’s wounds to heal. We very much appreciate that. Prayer requires discipline and work and selflessness. But while we appreciate your prayers, we are giving all the glory to God, not you, for these positive developments. At the same time we are also fully aware that, in His great providential plan for this world, not everyone (including us) is always going to be delivered from adversity even though many people may be praying fervently for such deliverance. Mary and I know that our own circumstances may change tomorrow, and that we must somehow try to be resolved to give God glory even in times of adversity. Job once said, “Should we accept only good from God and not adversity?” (Job 2:10 HCSB) That was a rhetorical question. The implied answer was clearly, “No way. We can ask. He will determine. We must accept.”
One day during Mary’s hospitalization I met a man in the cafeteria whose wife was not doing well at all. In fact, he said that her heart was only functioning at 5% capacity and that, frankly, her life was in the balance. I prayed with him that God would intervene if that might be within the framework of His greater will. That very evening I happened to see this man again. He was full of joy. He said that her condition had suddenly dramatically reversed and that they were now even talking about the possibility of her going home within a few days. With much enthusiasm he exclaimed, “There’s real power in prayer.” I said, “No. I need to correct you. There’s real power with God. Our prayers might often serve to release His power. But we need to credit God, not our prayers, for the change in your wife’s condition today. I know what you mean, but words matter, and God is not willing to share his glory with any other person, being, effort, or thing (Isaiah 42:8) — not even with human prayer power. So, no — prayer doesn’t change things. Our prayers may play a supportive role, but it’s God who changes things. All glory to Him.”
The poor fellow hadn’t been expecting a sermon at that point, but he was so happy that things had turned around for his wife that he just nodded agreement with all that I had said, and he was smiling widely the last time I saw him.
Meanwhile, back on Homer Hill in Monson, Maine, we’re bracing for what forecasters are warning may be the coldest Thanksgiving on record in this region. Temps are to top out in the low single numbers. But Vin will have a warm fire burning in the wood stove. And he says that he is planning a meal of turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. Already today (Tuesday) he’s working on a cherry pie (my favorite) which he has warned will be totally off limits until Thanksgiving Day. What he doesn’t know is that I’m seriously considering setting my alarm for 12:01 AM on Thursday morning.
Thanks for reading along once again.
Daryl E. Witmer
Praise God for this wonderful news about Mary! Rejoicing that her bleeding has stopped and that she’s converted back into normal sinus rhythm and no longer needs to be on Coumadin. What a relief this must be to you both. God places you both on my heart so often to pray. He’s amazing like that. I know there have been and are still times in my life and life of my family where I know God is giving others the nudge to pray. He definitely desires for us to pray to see His power. Even if His answers aren’t as we would like, we can still benefit from prayer and the assurance and peace He gives in many different situations. I think of this verse. Ephesians 3:20-21 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen”
So interesting your conversation with the man about his wife and the power of prayer- how it’s God’s power and not the power of our prayers. It really can get confusing because there are many books out about the power of prayer…Stormie Omartian has written many. I think she understands though that it’s God’s power and not just because she prays, but maybe I’m wrong. I hope I’ve never led anyone astray making it seem like it’s us or our prayers. I fully give God the glory whenever I’ve seen answer to prayer in my life or those around me who I’ve prayed for. I think what’s exciting to see is how God hears our humble prayers…many times through tears or frustration, not always full of faith but often times with some doubt, and yet we know without a doubt, he heard our prayer. How could we not give him the glory. I know I’ve said before, “I prayed! I specifically prayed for that” and never would I want the glory for praying or the thanks to go towards my prayer. I guess I just get so excited and can’t contain it because I see how God heard my heartfelt prayer for maybe something even so little, yet so important to the person I prayed for or even for something I’m going through. I want to shout it from the roof tops that God cares about every detail and he wants his people to pray. I think this man was so excited for how God answered the prayer you prayed together. There was power- God’s power working through you because the Holy Spirit is in you. I think it’s great how you were quick to let him know that it was God’s power and not the power of your prayer. Then there are many prayers that are unanswered and we pray with the same fervency…and yet still not answered how we would like. Goes back to what you shared about Job.
I wish I could be there helping you and Mary. I would love discussing these kinds of topics together. Can you tell? Haha. Wish we lived closer. 🙁
Thankful for how God has been working all of the details out and how He has brought this retired minister to assist you. Our God is the God of detail and right down to the fact that you both love to discuss apologetics. Sorry for responding with a blog post myself. 🙂 Praying that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Sounds like a delicious meal is being prepared. Much love from VA to you and Mary.
So glad things are improving. One day at a time! I know that Mary will continue to experience weakness in her arms, as she continues to heal. I know that some days may be a bit more discouraging. But I also know that the healing process, so wonderfully designed by God, makes things better each and every day! Have a happy Thanksgiving. Oh, by the way, when I was little, we had 13 cherry trees in our yard in Nebraska. Besides climbing those trees and eating cherries – green or red – my favorite pie is also cherry!!! Save me a piece!! I don’t get cherry pie very often!!
So very thankful that Mary is doing so well. Our prayers will continue to be with you both.
We have a Great God!
Bud and Jan
Love that Vin is making a cherry pie! He may have a few more chores added to his “to do” list when he gets home!
I continue to pray for you all & thankful Mary is making progress daily!!!
My love & prayers,
Oh what great news and God is the first one to thank for all of Mary’s progress. We’ll still keep praying that she will soon be good as new and the Dr. appt. on 12/5 goes well also. Love to You both.