Our Story, Chapter 3

Miniature Iris captured by Barry, Haiku by Bettie, springtime 2021

Of Miracles and Mysteries

On the day, just a few weeks ago, when we thought my husband might be released from the hospital, I awoke with a start from two very strange dreams. Both dreams were about blood. And I thought of several dear friends who had prayed with me recently. The prayers were about the blood of Jesus, and how He covers us.

“What did you mean by these dreams, God?” I heard myself praying later that morning.

And it was then that I wrote the poem “Bloodred” (read it here in my last post,) in response to a Poetry Prompt. But I had no way of knowing how the day was going to unfold. We thought the valve replacement surgery had gone so well, and we thought he had been recovering rapidly.

But a fever had begun to creep into those blood pathways. He called me later that morning to say they weren’t sure what was happening, so they continued to watch him. I prayed for the blood of Jesus to cover my husband throughout the day, even as the fever rose higher.

By late that evening, the fever was full-blown, and his tissues had begun to swell. I sent out quick messages to dear friends asking for prayer. I barely knew what to ask, as the Doctors were giving no cause.

Several hours later, they thought that perhaps my husband was reacting to preventive antibiotics that had been coursing through his IV’s following his surgery. They decided to treat him in the same way that I had been treated so often and gave him medication for a possible allergic reaction. It took most of the night, but his fever began to go down, and his swelling began to decrease.

But what was going to be just a 2-day-stay turned into a 4-day-stay, for a relatively simple Trans-catheter Aortic Valve Replacement surgery. In the process of observing him closely, they also discovered severe Tachycardia in his heart because of the damage already done by the Amyloidosis disease. When they did release him, they sent him home connected to a heart monitor, with the instructions to pay close attention to how he was feeling.

Fast forward to a week later, and we all rejoiced over the comfort of being together again. Our son and family had driven him home with groceries, our daughter had prepared more food for us, and our other son had covered us with prayers and Scriptures. Now it was just time for recovery and strengthening.

Until the phone rang one evening. The Doctor on-call had received a message from the heart monitoring service: “Are you ok, sir? It appears that you just had a severe Tachycardia episode, and we are concerned that you may be in danger of a heart attack.” …. He had felt nothing unusual. He was only tired, trying to rest and enjoy his time at home.

“The life of the creature is in the blood.”

Leviticus 17:11 NLT

The verse had once again settled into my thoughts, as the gravity of the situation hit me. We are simply not aware of how closely the veil lies between this life and the next one. But our Lord Jesus has the final say, and He holds our life within His hands.

As I placed the next chapter in Our Story here to share with you this week, I realized that it ends with “a miracle and a mystery.” We are still living out our days as a “miracle and a mystery,” all these years later.

How often do we pause and recognize the miracle of the presence of God protecting our lives, guiding our steps?

We have just come through Holy Week, when we remember the death and resurrection of our Savior. He came to ransom our lives from the death that sin brought. He died the death we deserved, so that we can live forever with Him. And HIS blood now courses through our veins, a living testimony to the miracle and mystery of this life in Him.

As my husband and I rest and recover together, we appreciate your prayers so much! His next appointments are later this month for surgery follow-up and ongoing care with his heart failure specialists.

I would love to pray with you today:

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for spilling Your life’s blood for us. We were the ones who deserved death. We were the ones who have tasted the fruit of sin and pride. And yet, You have made the way open for us to be washed clean of every bit of the stain of sin. How can we ever thank You enough? Would You bless my dear friends with the gift of Your holy presence among them today? Let them see the precious miracle and mystery that You are even now working in their lives. And bring us all before Your throne, protected and covered by the blood You shed for us.

In Your precious name we pray,

Amen.

Chapter 3. ~~1983 – 1986~~

If you have missed any of the previous chapters, click here to catch up.

Our Story, Chapter 3, read by Barry and Bettie

“I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,”

Jeremiah 31:33-34 NIV

The children sat with their faces glued to the puppet stage as we all laughed and pointed out the ways that silly Gertie-Duck puppet had the Scripture words all mixed up. It was a familiar site for us, in our first “official” ministry position of Children’s Pastors at our church in St. Paul. We loved the way that our God shared such creative gifts with His children, and we loved sharing those gifts with HIS children each week. But we longed and ached for those middle-schoolers who were filled with questions when it was time to leave the children’s church and graduate into the youth group. We watched as many of those pre-teens were thrust into an environment with older teens for which they were simply not ready.

So we began searching and asking leadership if we could start a new study group for these middle-schoolers. It was met with not a little resistance—after all, why mess with a program that seemed secure? My heart began to feel its first quaking at the church-rules I had so lovingly stoked all my life. What if the church was actually pushing away young hearts just when they were ready to go deeper? What if, simply for the sake of keeping the programs running, the church was quenching the very questions that needed to be brought into the open?

During this same time I began exhibiting uncomfortable physical symptoms that today we would call anxiety attacks. Doctors in Minnesota did not use that term back in the early ’80s. Instead, after running tests and finding nothing, my Doctor said that perhaps I was too involved in my husband’s job as Children’s Pastor. He suggested that I try to find some quiet time with my young preschool son and enjoy the moments of our days.  So I made efforts to slow down and loved the extra time I spent with my son, especially since I had been able to quit working once my husband had become the Children’s Pastor.

However, that extra resting did little for the ever-growing burden on my heart. So our Senior Pastor referred me to the church’s Inner Healing Counselor, who actually identified something basic in me that the others had missed. She asked me if perhaps God had been calling me to pray for those burdens that I was carrying. She sent me home with a journal and told me to list the names of those young people that I was worried about, and to pray daily over that list. It was a start.

And after months of that praying, the church agreed to let us begin “Young People’s Church.”  Together with a few other couples, we began a rotating schedule of Sunday mornings with those in-betweeners, and my heart was amazed at the depth of God’s Spirit that I saw in that group of 10 to 12 year olds. We began sharing prayer requests that were personal and heart-stirring. And we began seeing answers to those requests. I still have my journal from that time, and I am amazed at the burdens that were lifted in my own life then, prayers that the Lord allowed me to share with those precious young in-betweeners so that we could go to the Lord together.

From the gathering of those precious meetings, a new curriculum was developed. It sprang from the depths of our hearts as we longed for each one to know the Lord:

“I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,”

Jeremiah 31:33-34

Our Savior would take those lessons about rest, and prayer, and intercession deeper in later years. But these early years brought such a sweetness of the Lord’s fellowship as our hearts were joined together in Him. We have lost touch with most of those young ones who had been involved with our teaching and sharing. But many years after we had left that church, one of those young girls, now a wife and mother herself, approached us when we went back for a visit: “Your times of teaching in that group have stuck with me and have been more important than you will ever know.”

Into the midst of our time developing that middle-school curriculum, and after several years of wanting a larger family, our second son was born. One afternoon, as I was resting with our infant son, and our almost 6-year-old son, I began to count the months of my surrender. From the time I surrendered my desires and went back to work, until the time my husband graduated and I was able to finally quit work, it had been 2 years and 4 months. From the time I began to stay at home again with my son, until the day that our new younger son was born, it had been exactly the same: 2 years and 4 months. God had indeed restored a hundred-fold what I had given over to Him. He had worked a miracle and a mystery in the Scriptures He had given to me years before.

Is there a mystery before you now? One in which God called you to follow, but it seems like a dead-end now?

Perhaps He is calling you to pull out a journal and make a list of those mysteries, those burdens on your heart.

Perhaps those mysteries are the very prayers that He is asking you to lift up to Him.

I am linking with #RememberMeMonday

27 thoughts on “Our Story, Chapter 3

  1. Praising Jesus for going with your husband every step of the way. He doesn’t always make things run smoothly but this is so remind us to keep our faith strong and our trust in him. He is an amazing God. Love and prayers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Mandy, Thank you so much for all of your prayers! Our God is so amazing and near to us. I am so grateful that He truly does help us keep walking. Love and prayers and blessings!

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    1. Thank you for all of your prayers, Dear Lisa! Yes, amen, we truly do still need that blood of Jesus over us. I pray that you are having a sweet springtime with your lovely family. Blessings and love to you!

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    1. Thank you for all of your prayers and encouragement dear Jennifer! I am clinging to our Saviour “in this moment” also. Praise Him for such grace. Blessings and love to you sweet friend.

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  2. ‘We are simply not aware of how closely the veil lies between this life and the next one. But our Lord Jesus has the final say, and He holds our life within His hands.’ Amen. What a blessing to see how God was orchestrating all when you were a young mom!

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    1. Dear Lynn, Sometimes in the midst of our storms, we don’t have the strength to look up. But truly, He is “orchestrating all” behind the scenes. Thank you for your words of comfort! Blessings to you.

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  3. Oh my, Bettie. Your email post has been sitting in my inbox. As I read this, both about you and your husband in the present and in the past, it kept going through my heart, “Yes, God moves in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform!” And I love your suggestion of making a list of the burdens of our hearts and lifting each one up to Him. Love and blessings of strength for each moment, peace for each day, and healing in every way to you and your husband!

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    1. Dear Trudy, thank you so much for your precious prayers for us! And oh, how I love that hymn “God moves in a mysterious way.” Thank you for reminding me of that. In the midst of these long days, it’s so good to keep looking up to Him. Blessings, love, and hugs to you Dear friend. Xo

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  4. The blood of the lamb is so very powerful, Bettie! Praise God for its saving powers! How unsettling a TAVR recovery that was! I know I was unsettled until they put my husband on something to regulate a bp that suddenly went high. Praying for healing, for steadiness of the heart in continued recovery. My husband finally went off one of his meds that put him on during recovery to help settle down his blood pressure after his TAVR. It does take time for the body to adjust – my husband calls it getting used to an open high way! Thank you so much for sharing more of your story in ministry – last week was challenging and right now was the right time for me to hear your words, to let your message steep to wait, to trust. He works all things out! Blessings to you dear friend! ~ Maryleigh

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    1. Dear Maryleigh, oh I am so thankful that the Lord brought you encouragement here. I’m so sorry for your challenging time last week. But you are so right, that waiting and trusting in Jesus is the best place for us to be. Thank you for your precious prayers, and for encouraging me to stay under the blood of our true Passover Lamb, Yeshua. Blessings and love to you this week!

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  5. Just got a chance to listen to this. It’s so special to hear you and Barry reading it! Thank you both for sharing this part of your story. It’s so encouraging to see how God works in our lives and in ways we don’t really understand at the time. But His way is always best. Much love to you, dear Bettie, with lots of hugs! xoxo

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    1. Dear Gayl, thank you for being part of God’s encouragement for me during this season now! He is so gracious to us during the moments we don’t see His ways, isn’t He? He always stays so near. Much love and hugs to you Dear sister! Xo

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  6. Oh yes–miracles and mysteries often go together. A little over two years ago my husband underwent a liver transplant–the only solution for his liver cancer. His recovery was quite miraculous–out of the hospital in five days instead of the usual 7-10. Then three months later he suffered a subdural hematoma which caused seizures and a one week hospital stay. Then a week later he was transported back, following another seizure–though minor by comparison. That required another three-day stay. The transplant and neurology teams worked together to find meds (and the proper dosage) that would stop the seizures without impacting his liver. It IS a mystery why his miraculous healing from the transplant would be followed up by such a setback. BUT! Through it all we felt God’s peace that surpasses understanding, just as you and Barry did. What a comfort to know that peace will ALWAYS surround us!

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    1. Oh thank you dear Nancy for sharing your and your husband’s story of miracles and mysteries! What an amazing journey the Lord led you through. Yes, we don’t always understand or see His purposes, but you are so right: HIS peace is right there surrounding us. Blessings and love to you this week!

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  7. Dear friend! I so hope you will forgive my long delay in getting here. I save these posts for the moment I can really give them my complete attention, and I did NOT realize you had posted about this awful scare concerning your husband’s health. Oh, how I trust things are going better for you and him now. I am continuing to pray for you both and sending much love to you today.

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    1. Oh Dear Cheryl, please don’t every feel like you need to rush over here to read or to respond. Just knowing that you are praying and thinking of us is such a blessing! I am sorry that I didn’t get an email update sent to you along the way here! Yes, thank the Lord for the ways that He has helped my husband so much. He is still dealing with the cardiac amyloidosis, but his heart function is so much better after recovering from the surgeries. God is truly being our strength. May you be so blessed with His strength today too.

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