Dena Johnson MartinDena Johnson is a former single mom to three amazing kids: Blake, Cole, and Cassie and wife to her high school friend, Roy. She strives to follow Christ each day and to lead her children to do the same. She delights in taking the every day experiences of life and turning them into biblical lessons for her children. Dena's daily prayer is simple: Lord, my life is yours. Live through me. Love through me. Parent through me. Let me decrease that you might increase. Dena is the founder of Dena Johnson Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people find beauty through the brokenness of this life. Her heart's desire is to use her own pain to point others to the power of God who redeems every hurt, every pain. You can contact Dena at Dena@denajohnson.com. You can also find her blog at Dena Johnson Ministries.
- 2016 Jul 20
~~I’m crying UNCLE on 2016!
Can I just say I’m over it? It seems I enter every year with great expectations, waiting for God to totally blow my mind with good things.
So far, I’m still waiting…
Let’s review the last six months. My oldest had surgery in December. A very painful surgery. My kids lost their dad unexpectedly in April. I was sick the entire month of May.
Last week, my kids watched as they rolled me away into surgery. I can’t imagine the fear they faced knowing they had just lost their dad. Yes, it was a routine surgery, but I am certain there was a huge amount of anxiety rushing through their minds.
(On the bright side, my surgery was just three days before Blake’s birthday. The first thing I said post-op was, “I need someone to get Blake a birthday cake Friday.” The boy had FOUR birthday cakes: ice cream cake, white cake, cookie cake, and cheesecake! He hit the jackpot!)
Friday morning, as I was still moving very slowly from surgery, Blake calls me to his sister’s room. I was in no hurry…wouldn’t really matter if I was since I can barely walk.
“Mom,” he said, “you need to hurry. I think she’s having a seizure or something.”
I got to my daughter’s room to find Cassie lying in bed, grunting and drooling everywhere. She was unresponsive to my voice and to my attempts to awaken her. She just kept grunting. Drooling. Rolling around in bed. Pupils fully dilated.
I sent my son after my parents. My phone was somewhere in the house, but not where I needed it. My mom and I knelt by her bed, praying and attempting to calm her while my dad called 911.
My background is that of neuro nurse. I’ve taken care of seizing patients before, but nothing compares to watching your own child in a full blown tonic-clonic seizure. Can I just say there is no fear like that of seeing your child ill, helpless? Wondering what is going to happen. Wondering if she will pull out of it. Wondering how your other children are going to handle yet another loss, another traumatic event. Wondering how you will pay yet ANOTHER $5000 deductible.
So many fears. So many worries. And yet the only thing that matters in the moment is that precious life in the bed before you, that precious life you brought into the world.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Cassie began to come around. With slurred speech, she began to ask about my sister-in-law. She asked why she was making that noise. With everyone gathered around her, she asked who was hurt, what was going on.
By the time the paramedics arrived, she was responding. She knew the date, where she was, everyone gathered around her. She was still struggling with her speech, but she was improving every moment.
We loaded her on the ambulance, and I rode beside her. Holding her hand. Comforting her. Explaining all the monitors. Helping her understand exactly what was happening. I sent out text messages to those I could think of, begging for prayers. Neighbors saw the ambulance and stopped to check on us.
After several hours in the emergency room, blood and urine tests, CT scan of the head, we found…nothing. She was back to normal.
But I’m not sure I will ever be back to normal.
It’s possible it could be a once in a lifetime seizure. Perhaps brought on by stress (we’ve had our share this year). Perhaps brought on by lack of sleep (she’s been playing hard this summer).
But how do you go to sleep at night after an event such as this one? What if it happens again? What if she’s in her room on one end of the house and I don’t hear her? What if she goes unresponsive again and can’t call for help? What if?
The questions and fears are unending. The visions, forever imprinted on our minds, haunt us. We struggle—once again—to return to a sense of normalcy, whatever that may look like.
You will keep in perfect peace
all who trust in you,
all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
It seems every event in my life brings me right back to this truth: Keep my thoughts focused on Him.
The waves crash around me. The storm rages. The winds howl.
“Stay focused on me,” He calls.
My eyes wander to the pain and the loss, to the hurt and rejection. I wonder how I can ever lead my kids back to a place of healing, of wholeness. I worry about them, their future.
“Stop worrying. Seek my face. Focus on all of the blessings I’ve poured out on you,” He gently reminds me.
I worry about mounting medical bills. I struggle with the reality that every time I think I might get ahead, something happens and knocks me back down. With three teenagers and college only a few years away, I’m facing the most expensive years of raising kids and I bear the entire load of providing financially.
“I am your Jehovah Jireh. Remember how I carefully provided for your every need, every step of this journey?”
The burden is heavy, the future so uncertain. I wonder how I will stand up under the weight.
“Cast your cares on me because I care for you.”
Yes, this year (and a great number of recent years) has been tough! I’m finished…ready for a break. I find myself wondering how, when I will see the blessings of the Lord poured out, the answers to my prayers.
And yet, when I change my perspective, I realize how many incredible blessings are in my life. I see the hand of my Savior, guiding and protecting. I recognize His sovereignty that protected my precious daughter in her time of need. I know He somehow arranged every detail—my daughter was home instead of at a friend’s house as planned, my son was up early and heard her, and so many other details—to keep her safe and pull her out of it.
I know He has provided for me in the past, and I know He won’t stop now. He is trustworthy. He is faithful.
And when I remember His goodness and His grace and His character, when I focus on Him instead of the storm raging around me, He keeps me in perfect peace.