Thursday, November 6, 2008

God Stop Friday

It's God Stop Friday and I'm jumping in this week. Patty at God is ABLE! (LOVE the new name) is our gracious hostess. Thanks Patty for encouraging us to document what God is doing.

I have a couple of things to share and they may or not come together and that is okay. :)

Last Sunday morning when we left Jacksonville to head home, we drove in a little rain. Once we got out of the city, on that LONG stretch of nothing..the rain stopped and I noticed a rainbow. I grabbed the camera and took a picture. A rainbow never ceases to amaze me, and for me they always come at just the right time. (Thank you Lord for your promises.)

I'm doing the "Living Beyond Yourself" study right now. HELLO what a word. God is already speaking some major things to me. He has used several of you to reinforce some of the scripture and themes that are really standing out to me. THAT is Him speaking to me and it always gives me holy chills. (I can hardly wait to get my hands on Esther! I wish I had put that on my Christmas list!)

Here is my biggie for the week.

You may, or may not, know that my husband has Crohn's disease. (It's a tummy thing.) Chad was diagnosed in January only 8 months after we were married.

In that first 8 months he went from a healthy 155 pounds to about 117 pounds. Yes, you read that last number correctly. He weighed just 7 pounds more than I did. He was very sick during the early years of our marriage and at one point 117 pounds looked his sickest he was around 110. Not only was he very thin, he was pale. He was constantly loosing blood. It was not good.

As bad as it was and as sick he looked, I don't remember dwelling on that during that time. God gave us what we needed each day. I can say that with confidence. He was the air we breathed.

I did go through days where I fought fear big time. There are two nights that to this day, stand out in my mind. They are so VIVD. I can give you specific details of our apartment at that time, down to which sheets were on the bed. I'm so weird!

Like I said, I was fighting fear. Chad was very sick and had spent the better part of 3 days in bed. He had had nothing solid to eat in days. I tried Ensure, soup, milkshakes, jello..nothing stayed in. At this point, none of his clothes fit and I was scared. He had been to the doctor, meds had been adjusted and he was to come home and just rest.

We went to bed each of those nights and I read, trying my best to keep everything the same. I did NOT want him to see that I was afraid. I would pray "God please" and then I would just say the name of Jesus over and over. I was exhausted. Chad would sleep and I would force myself to stay awake to watch him breath. I honestly thought that if I went to sleep, I would wake up a widow.

Through several divine, and I mean that literally, divine interventions, Chad's employer changed insurance carriers. NONE of the Doctors he had been seeing were now part of the "the plan". We were a little aggravated, but honestly at that point Chad was 110 pounds and was passing out frequently.

I will never blame his health on the Doctor that diagnosed him, but Chad did not receive the care he should have received during that first year. We were not "old enough to know better" and just took this man's word that he did not need to come in and that calling in another prescription would do the trick. Obviously it didn't and God stepped in. (Probably why Chad tells people that your Doctor works for you. If you are not getting your questions answered or you feel like a number..find a new Doctor.)

Like I said, he had to find ALL new Doctors. God sent him to just the right combo and let me tell you...he went in for a physical and his new family Dr. put him in a wheelchair and had her nurse push him across the street to Erlanger hospital.

I will never forget that phone call. I was in the office when the nurse called to tell me that he was very sick and they were admitting him. I went numb and remember her saying something about staying put until she could call me with a room number.

Here we were. ONE YEAR TO THE DAY from his diagnosis and his first 10 stay in the hospital. The new group of doctors kept him in for another 10 days. (Once again in January.) They ran all the fun scopes, gave him an unbelievable amount of blood pumped him full of fluids and within the first two days, my husband began to get some color back and he actually started to look like Chad.

It was 2 years before he would have the surgery and IV treatment that would be the turning point on his journey with this disease. That came when Chloe was about 5 months old yes, in January. (We start holding our breath after Christmas!!! January has a history with us!)

At times, Chad's Crohn's has felt like a marathon. A marathon that will not end. Today, he is healthy and has spent the last year trying to eat healthier and actually DROP a few pounds! He has been working so hard and this weekend, it's going to pay off.

On Saturday morning, he will run his first 1/2 marathon. 13.1 miles this man will willingly run. (my body hurts just thinking about it)

I have been emotional about it all week. Thinking about how much he has seen and been through in his life. To see him finish this race will be incredible. If you had told me 14 years ago that I would get up at 4:30 in the morning to go and watch Chadwick run....I would not have believed you because honestly, 14 years ago I wasn't sure my husband would still be here.

Today, I'm thankful.

Chad is healthier than he's been his whole life. God continues to give him opportunities to minister to and encourage others going through Crohn's or other tummy problems. Yes he has bad days, but the good days far out number the bad ones.

I'm thankful for the way God has provided a year's worth of medicine. (The most expensive of his meds at that!)

I'm thankful that Chad has the desire to run and more importantly the physical ability to do so.

Chad I am so proud of you. This race is nothing but a picture of God's mercy, His grace His faithfulness and His power to heal. I love you...

That rainbow we saw last week was a visual reminder of the faithfullness of our God...Saturday morning I'll watch another reminder of God's promises as he crosses a finish line. I can hardly wait to share some photos with you.

Happy Weekend!


Fran said...

Stephanie...I have huge tears and a heart that truly feels like its going to explode. Its a beautiful feeling. :) I sit here and just say "Thank you Jesus." What a beautiful work He is continually doing in all of us. Its just so wonderful to sit back and see the pieces come together....over 14 yrs! WOW!

I praise Him with you. Thank you for sharing. You'll never know how this has ministered to me.
I'm in the middle of a wrestling match with God and I know our blessing will come. I just know it. He promised!

Big hugs,

jodi said...

Wow! That is so awesome. I understand the unpredictibility and frustrations of Crohn's through my sisters struggles. It's encouraging to hear Chad's story and know that we have a God that heals and hears our prayers.

Patty said...

Oh Steph,
I hung on every word and I have chills as I type this out! God, Chad's healer! God is able and there isn't anything too hard for Him. I am so happy that Chad is able to run a marathon. God is revealing His splendor through your hubby.
I know what you mean about rainbows. I agree, I always see them when I need to. He is Faithful.

Thank you for sharing. I am blessed to have you as my friend!!

Holly said...

Thank you for sharing Chad's story Stephanie. I was so blessed reading it and am so proud of him running the race!!

Praise God!

Teri~Facedown said...

Hey Steph!
I was remembering our shopping trip in San Antonio when you told me this story. It is so powerful and such a wonderful encouragement. I love that you have documented this blessed work of God and testimony for many to read!

God bless Chad this weekend in his marathon! May the light and healing of the Lord be evident in the race and may this testimony of God's faithfulness reach each person that God intends.


Jess said...

Coming from one who Chad has ministered to about 'tummy troubles'... GO CHADWICK! That is awesome!!
And, Go God! :)

You know, you mentioned the rainbow meaning alot to you. (I love them, too.) But, Tuesday, my pastor's wife was an anxious wreck waiting for the results to come in that night and had spent MUCH time in prayer... her son called her and told her he just saw an amazing rainbow in the sky. Which could be encouraging anyway... but the thing about it was... it was a perfectly blue, not a cloud in the sky day. With this magnificent rainbow across the sky. (Another church member saw it, too.) And she just knew that was God's way of reminding her that either way it went, we are covered under His covenant. He's with us!

Darlene R. said...

What a story. I am so thankful for a God who is known as The Great Physician.

I hope Chad enjoys the race. I have never done more than 4 miles, and it's been awhile since I have done that! I am looking forward to the pics!

Love ya,

"Just Me - NC Beth" said...

I sit and read quickly to know the outcome! And having chills as you tell us how sick your hubby was and only through the grace of God where you both are today!

Thank you for sharing this! God is so good! Even through the bad times...He is always with us.



BethAnne said...

I read this last night, but didnt have time to comment.
It is so sweet to see how much you love your guy and how much both of you love and trust the Lord. What a story God has written for you two. And what a wonderful legacy you are leaving for your girls. You are an inspiration to me!

Heather C said...

God me sitting here bawling like a baby over God's faithfulness. I love seeing Him work in my friends, and being encouraged over His hand in all of our lives. What a beautiful thing the Lord has done in Chad and for you all... and this weekend must seem like a crowning moment. God is so good! I'm praising him with you... now pass the tissues! :)

Heather said...

Praise Jesus for His miracles! Thanks for sharing this, Steph. I love reading your words. I love how you love Jesus- and your husband and your girls.
There is nothing like watching someone you love cross a finish line at a race. I get choked up sometimes just watching strangers. The accomplishment and the analogy with life's race is just too poignant. Enjoy tomorrow...and please post pics! I will pray specifically for Chad in the morning...I am a runner (well, at least, used to be) and so I know some good specifics to pray for him!
Thankful for you, friend!

Bev Brandon said...

The rainbow was your beautiful that lives in you and pours out of you - Psalm 50:2 - winking at you Steph! Oh Steph, what beautiful words on a path of immense suffering. I just kept thinking how you guys were so young---thinking about my own 24, 25, 26 year olds trying to do this and what faith God built in your soul and how He rose up in you to do the unbelievable taking care of the healthy man you just married. I just wrote about a disappointment that looms large in my mind today in my God Stop on my blog. But you have lived out how to live with disappointment and find your beautiful God for He so pours out of you as you walked through the path of suffering and still do.

Leah said...

Wow!! You guys have been through a lot but God has been sooo faithful. Praise His name!! Have a blessed Lord's Day.


Cindy said...

Stephanie, thank you for sharing part of your life with us. I am praising the Lord that He is faithful and for the fact that Chad can run a marathon! God is good.