The days all seemed to blend together at this point – filled with taking care of John and trying to keep up with work.  I was exhausted and some days were a blur. But, the Lord knew what was needed in my life, as well as John’s, in the upcoming days. Isaiah 40:28-31; “Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.  Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

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As if John’s illness wasn’t enough, I was forced to quit my part-time job. I was so disappointed because it was a joy working with great people. My heart was broken but I knew the Lord’s will was better than my own. Jeremiah 29:11; “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”  God knew what was coming but I did not. That was my comfort and encouragement. This was my testimony to others who would ask me why I wasn’t frightened.  Notice the verse says that God’s thoughts for me are NOT evil, but thoughts of peace!! I can only have that peace if I rest in His care and His plan for not only my life, but John’s as well!

Right before Christmas, John was given the go ahead to have the surgery to remove his large intestine in early January. God said that He had an expected end for us but what was that end to be?  Now that we had a date, it seemed to make the procedure definite. Countless trips to UVA had to happen prior to surgery. Whatever circumstances we would have to face, we had to leave all those worries and trepidations in the Lord’s capable hands and rest in His care.

The sounds of Christmas made this difficult time much more bearable for me.  I love everything about Christmas: the cold weather, the songs, the festive spirit! All these helped me to focus on the Lord and what He went through so that we could be saved! God Almighty left His glory and throne in order to come to earth as a baby. He knew what the earthly physical life had in store for Him, yet He did this anyway; just so we could be saved! Oh how He loves you and me!

O Holy Night is my favorite Christmas song.  To me, it is the “Amazing Grace” of Christmas music. I especially love the second stanza and chorus. 

Truly He taught us to love one another;

His law is Love and His gospel is Peace;

Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother

And in his name all oppression shall cease,

Sweet hymns of joy in grateful Chorus raise we;

Let all within us praise His Holy name!


Christ is the Lord, then ever! ever praise we!

His pow’r and glory, evermore proclaim!

His pow’r and glory, evermore proclaim!

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The family gathered together and tried to go through the motions, despite John’s illness. There was absolutely no way to make the holiday joyous due to the pain and suffering he was experiencing. All of us were trying to care for him and help him to feel “normal” but we weren’t very successful. John was with us but he “was not really with us”! When you love someone with the deepest of love, you would rather go through their trial than to have your loved one suffer!

I so looked forward to the surgery date of January 4th.  A new year – a change in John’s body with hopes of Crohn’s disease being gone! But on the other hand, I was anxious because John is not the usual patient. What else could possibly happen after surgery?  Would there be any postoperative complications that would emerge?

January 4th, 2019, came and we anxiously went to UVA – we had to be there by 7:30 a.m.  My dear friend came to sit with me and I was so happy to have her near for moral support. We were directed to the surgical waiting room in order to sign in and then wait until they would take John back. They gave us a buzzer (similar to those you get in a restaurant) that would vibrate once it was his turn. About an hour later, the buzzer went off and I went to the desk to turn it in.  As I turned around, I took one look at John’s face and exclaimed, “John, your face is drooping!” The lady at the desk heard me and called the stroke team.  Within two minutes they showed up but his symptoms had totally disappeared! Needless to say, the surgery was postponed and we spent that entire day and night in the emergency room.  Tests were ordered and it was concluded that John had experienced a mini stroke, known as a TIA. No new clots were found in his brain or anywhere else in his body. It was determined that it was caused by low potassium levels and a low hemoglobin count. But to be on the safe side, they put a 30-day portable heart monitor over John’s heart so that it would record any AFIB episodes, should this be the reason for the TIA.

It wasn’t until midnight when we were finally released. It was a long drive back (almost 2 hours) and we were both exhausted. Surgery had been postponed indefinitely.  My heart sank! John was exhausted and slept all the way home. All sorts of thoughts went through my mind. Was this surgery ever going to happen? When, Lord, would my beloved finally see some relief?

Click here for Day 13.

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