Jots and Tittles

When I woke yesterday morning, I felt like I was dying. I realize that sounds melodramatic, but if you've ever been dehydrated, malnourished, nauseated and hurting all over at the same, you understand. My stomach had been very upset with me for days, especially after drinking this gosh-awful stuff.

My nutrition supplement a.k.a The Drink of Torture

It was difficult even swallowing water. The smallest sip would make my stomach roll and burn, and without really thinking about it, I just stopped drinking. It wasn't intentional, but it happened. And Thursday morning, I reaped the consequences. 

I dragged myself out of bed for a moment, only to get right back in. And there I stayed, wondering how long I would feel like I was on death's door. I sipped on a water bottle, but it was painful and slow. As I fought the urge to throw up the little water I had taken, my husband and mother decided I needed IV fluids. My doctor was called, and later that morning, I arrived at the Quick Care Clinic in Ruston. 

Under normal circumstances, I would have been shaking in my boots at the prospect of an IV needle, but I was so miserable, I didn't care . . . much. I may have stopped breathing once or twice. I knew they were going to have a hard time sticking me because my veins tend to run and hide when a needle comes out. Add dehydration to the mix, and you have yourself a problem. I went back to the verse that had been my lifeline the last time I had visited an ER.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds through Christ Jesus." --Philippians 4:6-7

I prayed through the verse, willing myself to obey through a haze of fear and pain. And you know what? God is faithful. I was flooded with peace, even though I had two nurses worried about getting the needle in my "dry" arm. Once it was in, it had to be wiggled around--something that should have sent me off the cliff of sanity. Instead, I was fine. I was able to tell both nurses helping me about my verse, which was fun. I hope it will help them sometime in the future, too.

I was given two liters of saline, and afterward felt much better. I was allowed to go home under strict instructions to drink with prescriptions for nausea to help. 

I drank and rested for most of the afternoon until it was time to move to the living room to receive visitors. Our small group leaders from church were coming to the house with two of our elders. They came bearing gifts--three meals cooked by three sweet ladies in our church. You ladies who have been ill or recovering from surgery know how reassuring it is to know that your family is being taken care of when you cannot take care of them. A huge burden was lifted as the meals were tucked away in our fridge. 

Our visitors cheered us up significantly after a hard day. They talked with us, encouraged us, and most importantly, prayed for us. Brandon later told me that as the elders prayed for him, he could physically feel his anxieties and burdens lift from his body. 

We had never done this before, but we asked for the elders to come to our home because of the verse found in James 5:14, which states, "Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord." In addition to being prayed for, I was also anointed with oil, and while I was a bit afraid it would be an awkward experience, it was instead a precious, encouraging time for my family and for those who came. I encourage you to consider doing this if the situation ever applies, especially in light of the triumphs of today.

Last night, Sara slept in her own bed and went without drinking a bottle for the second night in a row. She woke once both nights, but was easily rocked back to sleep by my mom. If it had only happened once, I would have thought it was a fluke, but it happened TWICE! After she began taking a bottle on Wednesday, her colic DISAPPEARED! If you are my friend on Facebook, you know what a HUGE deal this is. Because I've been sick, she hasn't been given any Prevacid for her acid reflux, but she has not spit up. Like, at all. We are astounded and thrilled! I cannot begin to tell you what a relief and an answer to prayer these changes have been. 

In addition to Sara's progress, I have had a couple of successes of my own. My pain has receded without medication. It's still there, but only as a shadow of what I woke to eight days ago. I can manage that. And I am so happy to report that I have eaten one and a half servings of Cream of Rice today. It may be baby food. It may not be much. But it's food. I had minimal discomfort as I ate--just a little burning and pain--and the nausea has been controlled today by Phenergan, Zantac and Protonix. Tomorrow, I will try peeled and boiled zucchini if I continue to improve. I know you're jealous.

Today, has been a day of small but significant victories. They are gifts from the Lord, and I am so thankful. If I continue to gain strength, we may even make it to Sara's baby dedication on Sunday, which I in no way expected to be a possibility. 

I want to close with a few thank you's and an excerpt sent to me by my dear friend, mentor and spiritual mom.

First, thank you to my mom, Melanie Chapman, and mother-in-law, Debbie Keaster who have tirelessly taken care of my husband, my children and myself this week. They have cleaned, cooked, nursed, encouraged, prayed, and fed, bathed and played with children day and night. And thanks to the men who have lent them out. Thanks also to my Nona, Sue Saunders, and our Honey, Sue Binford, who have taken me and my kids where we have needed to go, and have allowed me to get some rest this week.Without these ladies, things would have fallen apart here at the Keaster household. Most of all, thanks to my Superman. Brandon Keaster, you have been the perfect husband, friend, helper, rock and spiritual leader this week. I am the luckiest woman alive to have you for my husband.

And now for the timely and poignant passage sent to me by my Mrs. Dixie, who has been praying tirelessly for me--

"The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised!" Job 1:21

O my Father, let me feel, even amid the troublous changes of life, that what I am apt to call painful vicissitudes--are the sovereign decrees and allotments of Your infinite wisdom!

Let me rejoice that every bitter drop in the 'cup of life'--is appointed by my Heavenly Father! May I submissively drink it, saying, "May Your will be done!"

What I cannot now comprehend--be it mine to wait the disclosures of that blessed morning when, standing at the luminous portals of Heaven, I shall joyfully acknowledge that, "You have done all things well!"

I look forward to that time when all Your inscrutable dealings will be unfolded, when inner meanings and purposes now undiscerned by the eye of sense--will be brought to light, and all discovered to be full of infinite love! Other refuges may fail--but I am as secure in You, as everlasting love and wisdom and power can make me!

Blessed Jesus! I would seek to cleave closer and closer to Your cross! May I follow You, O Lamb of God--wherever You see fit to lead me. May I never feel as if I would wish one jot or tittle regarding me to be altered--when the reins of universal empire are in Your hands!

--John MacDuff, "Evening Incense," 1859

Yes, Lord. "May I never feel as if I would wish one jot or tittle regarding me to be altered," for You truly do all things well even when I just cannot understand.