A new heart…

I sat in the cardiovascular intensive care unit, not for the first time, not for the last.broken-heart_RegimensWithGrace.jpg

I watched the monitor above my husband’s head – blood pressure, oxygen saturation, pulse and most importantly, that strip of squiggles that showed every beat of his failing heart. Those beats had dominated our life for months. I knew more about what caused it to beat fast, what slowed it down, what caused it to skip a beat than any romance writer in history.

And that night we were trying it all. The picture above my head was ugly and growing worse. The two IVs that had been continually pumping anti-arrhythmia drugs into his system for the last couple of months were not enough. The lines grew more and more erratic as the night wore on toward morning, sporadic peaks turned into a roller coaster and I gripped his hand, knowing his defibrillator was about to painfully fire again, shocking his heart back into a stable rhythm.vfib_RegimensWithGrace.jpg “Please God, no.”

It hurt, worse than any horse kick, he said. The knowing dread of that kick was horrible for him. The nurse brought boluses, or large IV doses, of magnesium, potassium and needed medication. Eventually his heart was soothed. He slept.

Fotor071000113This was not a cure. This was a wait for a cure. The only thing that was going to keep this from happening again was a heart transplant. Without a new heart, one day medication and defibrillator shocks would not be enough.

This weekend, millions of dollars are being spent on the movie “Fifty Shades of Grey”. “Erotic romance.”

Without going into it too much (other writers have done so beautifully), the most damning thing I read came from readers who really liked the books.

“I found potential in their relationship and the idea that Grey was a haunted soul. What woman can resist the subliminal need to nurture a tortured soul?”

I probably lost you there. Needed heart transplant. Fifty Shades.

Here’s the thing.

Nothing would help my husband but a new physical heart. There is an unknown family out there who decided that their 20-year-old son would not die in vain. His death brought my husband new life.

There are millions, even billions, of tortured souls out there. A woman or man is not the answer to the salvation of that soul. A person giving up their life in a twisted relationship does not bring salvation to either soul. It brings death to both.

There is only one answer.

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26

A heart transplant.

Broken people need a healer. Jesus came to heal.

People are in bondage. Jesus came to bring freedom.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;”
Luke 4:18

I feel very privileged to have been a part of my husband’s road to transplant. But it was not, and is not, my job to heal his tortured soul.

Thank God that was accomplished by Jesus.

ShadeOfRed_RegimensWithGrace

If you are interested in the organ transplant process, please follow this link for more information and to register for organ donation: Donate Life America. Please consider giving the gift of life.

If you have not yet received the gift of eternal life, it is waiting for you. Please contact me. I would love to share the news of Christ’s work on the cross with you.

#OneShadeOfRed

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The balance of grace

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Grace has a hard balance for me to maintain.

Just when I feel I’m doing a good job with extending it in one direction, God taps me on the shoulder and reminds me of another area. I’ve totally accepted His loving grace to all but sometimes tend to withhold mine from others. Ugly, huh. (Did I just lose the small handful of readers who have kindly ventured forth?)

A friend just offered the question: Why do we want to extend grace to the imperfect and find it hard to offer it to the seemingly perfect? Sigh. She nailed it.

It seems there is always a balance to be thrown off kilter. We’re always taught to love the unlovable. Why is that easier than loving the ones everybody loves?

My daughter just graduated from a school where the vast majority of students come from very comfortable homes. Very. Several years ago, I had a real inward struggle with one of the moms. I don’t know why except that it was whispers from the enemy. She’d never done anything to me. Her kids had never done anything to our daughter. But a nasty little feeling of ill will had crept in and God convicted me big time.

“Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” (1 Peter 2:1-3)

Ouch! Let me tell you, in the Bible, malice is linked with some pretty yucky sins.

So I prayed about it. And about her.

And God freed my heart.BeFunky_love-nature-beach-sea-heart-sand-free-hd-165409.jpg

I began to see some things I hadn’t seen before. I noticed that her face seemed a bit stretched – and I don’t mean by plastic surgery, but with some inner pain – and I prayed some more. I began to notice areas in which she’d shown bravery and courage, ways she loved her children and how she showed generosity. And as God gave me grace toward her, He also gave me grace toward at least one particular “seemingly perfect” group of people.

I have “tasted that the Lord is gracious.”

You see, God’s grace isn’t just freeing when we accept it for ourselves. It brings freedom when we extend it toward others. No matter who they are.freegraceFotoFlexer_Photo

So much for my desire to not write a personal blog and to stick to a devotional one. But there it is. My reminder to myself to continue to pray:

Please Lord, today help me to be grace-full.

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