Gifts in the Desert

If you remember, in my very first blog post about Jeff, I talked about the Israelites fearing for their lives, as Pharoah was pursuing them. You can read it here.

Continuing on with that story….

After crossing the Red Sea and watching Pharoah and his army sink into the waters, Moses and Miriam, not only sang songs of praise and admiration, but they also had timbrels and danced, praising and exalting the name of the Lord. The very God who was questioned just moments before is now being praised and exalted!!

“I will sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted. Both horse and driver he has hurled into the sea. The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name. Who among the gods is like you, Lord? Who is like you—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling. The Lord reigns for ever and ever.” (Exodus 15:1-3, 11, 13)

But, the exaltation and celebrations come quickly to a close….because in about 10 more verses Mose is going to be crying to God again, begging for His provision.

“Then Moses led the people of Israel away from the Red Sea, and they moved out into the desert of Shur. They traveled in this desert for three days without finding any water. When they came to the oasis of Marah, the water was too bitter to drink. So they called the place Marah (which means ‘bitter;’). Then the people complained and turned against Moses. ‘What are we going to drink?’ they demanded.” (Exodus 15:22-24)

In this moment I believe God was testing them. (Do I believe that God uses situations to purposefully make us trust Him? No). But, this situation the Israelites had to know that God was trustworthy. That He is who He says He is. And, that He can do what He says He can do. So, He was testing them. But, through Moses, He provided a way for nourishment.

“So Moses cried out to the Lord for help, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. Moses threw it into the water, and this made the water good to drink.” (verse 25).

And, the Lord continued to bring them: Gifts in the Dessert.

“After leaving Marah, the Israelites traveled on to the oasis of Elim, where they found twelve springs and seventy palm trees. They camped there beside the water.” (verse 27).

  • Were they still in the desert? Yes.
  • Is it a place where they wanted to be? Probably not.

But, the Lord continued to provide for them–an oasis of refreshment, the necessary strength to continue moving forward.

A question I get a lot (from those who know about Jeff) is: “How’s Jeff doing?”

Well….to answer that question I would say: He’s receiving Gifts in the Desert. Little bits of nourishment to offer him strength for the next day.

Gifts in the Desert:

  • A good shave
  • A good shower
  • Being able to “play” a game with his daughter
  • Being given the “OK” to use a straw
  • Standing up a little straighter during therapy

As an update from my last post, my parents were able to fly home (back to Texas). They got home on Saturday night, after leaving Hawaii on Friday night. It was a LONG trip, but they made it home without any problems.

This picture is from Sunday.

20151025_143852Jeff had not had a shave since he went into the hospital on October 11th, so this is him clean-shaven and all showered up!

On Monday, October 26th, he had an appt. with the surgeon (back at the hospital). They removed the staples from his head, and the surgeon said it is healing nicely. (I’ll spare you that picture)….

The skull is still detached (sitting in a freezer, waiting for the “go ahead” to be put back on). Marcy said it could be 3-4 months before they put it back on. The surgeon said the swelling could continue for up to another month, so that’s not really cause for concern, at least not right now.

On Tuesday Marcy and Kainani went to visit Jeff at the Rehab Center. He and Kainani “played” chess.

imagejpeg_0_4

Jeff cannot remember the rules to the game nor can he remember the names of the pieces, but he CAN move the pieces with his good hand, so at least that’s progress. This is something he and Kainani enjoyed doing before the stroke, so Marcy said they planned to try again soon.

***A “not so funny but still kind of funny” story from Wednesday. Jeff got mad at Marcy on Wednesday (about something) and cursed at her. That’s pretty unusual for Jeff because he usually doesn’t cuss, but nonetheless, he spoke! 🙂 So, Marcy had to count that as a positive sign (and she had to “record it” so the S.T. could know what words he is learning to say….again).

On Wednesday he had therapy (as he does almost everyday). This picture is off him standing up, lifting his “paralyzed” arm up, over his head. The P.T. is trying to get him to stand up straighter.

imagejpeg_0_5Marcy said she is small, but she is strong! (I think he looks so good here)!!

He was also cleared to use a STRAW on Wednesday. Apparently, that is is BIG DEAL in therapy. He can eat on his own, but still needs to be watched; he tends to eat too fast and has to learn to finish chewing what’s in his mouth, before putting more food in his mouth.

This next picture is of him is from this past week, I think, because he still has facial hair. (He got shaved on Sunday).

5631cc0f8b5cd37a381917afHe looks like himself. There’s a little bit of glimmer that seems to be lost in his eyes, but it’s there–we just have to draw it out!! It’ll come back; we just have to be patient. 🙂

Many times in our lives, no matter WHO we are, we feel like giving up because we are waiting on God to DO SOMETHING!! Just something, God. Anything to let us know that you are still with us. We feel along and forgotten. And we don’t like it.

We don’t like waiting. But, all the while God has a plan for us while we wait. In the book of Psalm, David tells us, “Wait patiently for the LordBe brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14)

Too many times our focus is on the wait, and God’s focus is on the work. (excerpt from One More Step by Rachel Wojo)

We must learn to listen to His direction by trusting that our Creator desires the best for us. Standing still, listening to His voice, and having our hearts open to His Word–these waiting activities provide and build strength. (One More Step)

As I mentioned before, when all else fails and the world closes in around us, the Lord is still on His throne.
Still providing a way for us. Despite our circumstances, He is still there, lighting our path to a better tomorrow.
And in Jeff’s situation, tomorrow is all we have. Small victories. Baby steps. Gifts in the Desert.

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