Sunday, November 21, 2004

Hospice: a Valley of Vision

After what I consider to be my conversion to Christ 11 years ago, I was discipled by Rod, a PCA pastor. When we met, his family had recently moved to San Antonio to start a church plant and were homeschooling their 4 children. He poured himself into this new Christian. And as I witnessed his enthusiasm and love for his wife, I yearned to be a husband like him some day. His wife, Jan, taught Kristin how to be a keeper at home and how a mother lives the Gospel in front of her children. After a few years the military moved us away, but our love and debt to this family remains.

Their children are now mostly in their teens and Rod is currently pastoring in Atlanta. Jan has been fighting terminal cancer for a couple of years and for several months has been close to death. Yet God has granted both Jan and Rod a mighty faith. Here's a part of a note we received from Rod today:

Here in this strange place (hospice) he’s giving Jan and me a renewed vision for the kingdom, and for kingdom work. Hospice can be a place of vision. Isn’t that a strange note. Since Jan has been in this facility every patient in it has passed away except her.

Early this morning part of Jan’s and my conversation included expressions of how blessed we are, what a sweet life we have, how deeply we sense the Lord’s peace and satisfaction, and how encouraged we are in spite of all the odds and circumstances. We spoke of the reasons for the sweetness of our lives…things like how much in love we are with each other, how our love has grown through the 28 years that we’ve been married, how blessed we are with our children, how we adore them and they us, how blessed we are with good friends who love us and care for us, and how much we sense the Lord’s love and delight in us, and his nearness.

We’re learning that God wants us to believe him. He wants us to believe him for a great many things…things way beyond what we have believed him for in the past…not just physical healing (that’s just a little part of it), but other kingdom things,… taking risks for the kingdom that we’d never have considered before. All this to say…our lives are rich. No regrets. No laments. Full of vision.

Praise the Lord! Jan’s condition has so much improved that she is going home from the hospice on Monday. She is eating well, talking, eyes open, using her left hand some (a few days ago the left hand was completely dysfunctional), getting out of bed for necessary things (with a little help from me), worshiping, singing, going for strolls in the garden in her wheelchair, and watching Andy Griffith. All of this just doesn’t add up to being in a hospice. She wants to go home and so she will. I’m equipping the house to care for her and we’ll be moving home on Monday morning.

If there’s ever a place to get kicked out of it's a hospice facility.

Eleven years later and I still want to be a believer like Pastor Rod some day. And Jan, more than ever, is showing how a mother lives the Gospel in front of her children.

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