As we continue our Anchored Souls series, I am glad to be welcoming my friend Christy Mobley back to the blog. Christy’s heart for hospitality and encouragement have blessed me more times than I can count, and her loving spirit shines through in her writing. What I love about her style is her ability to cut through any pretense and fluff and get straight to the heart of the matter. I hope you’ll give her a warm welcome as she shares a very personal story with us today.
The Worst Christmas Ever
Christmas 2002 promised to be the best Christmas ever.
Two months prior we had moved into to a new home and on December 3rd, I was busily planning my husband’s office party to be held there while waiting for him to come out of his colonoscopy. Believing my husband was strong and healthy I wasn’t a bit worried about the procedure (which is actually unusual for me), instead I turned my attention to the upcoming event. Today, the last thing on my mind was cancer. But It’s amazing how our focus can do a 180 in a heartbeat.
And just like that, with a few hard words the party was over and our world took a drastic turn.
David was a young 44 when diagnosed with colon cancer. We were told he was lucky he had the colonoscopy when he did, another couple of weeks and the tumor would have perforated his colon. Surgery was scheduled for December 13th, and if all went well, he would be home for Christmas with me and our two boys. Our church, family and friends bathed us in prayer and David and I held a strong faith that God would see us through this.
After surgery, he was in the hospital for eight grueling days during which time biopsy results came back and the choice to do chemo was decided.
David made it home on the 22nd and I thought surely the worst was behind us but my once strong man was now markedly weak, frail, and frightened. Like coming home for the first time with a newborn and not knowing quite how to handle things, his condition disarmed me.
Feeling out of control we gave our control to Jesus.
I knelt beside the bed and held David’s hand and both of us knowing where our hope was hidden, we surrendered this awful thing, this cancer, the healing, to the Lord.
In the middle of the night David woke up with a searing pain in his back, gripping him with every breath. By the next afternoon he was back in the hospital with not one but two pulmonary embolisms. Blood clots meant a mandatory three day hospital stay (which included Christmas) with heavy doses of blood thinners.
Most people don’t make it through one PE but two is most definitely lethal. I made several attempts to get a hold of the on-call doctor that night but he never returned the page. Perhaps if he did we might of given the doctor credit but David’s survival was clearly nothing short of miraculous.
But we weren’t done.
Christmas morning came and around six or so the phone rang. When I picked it up I heard David’s voice.
“I’m in so much pain. I don’t know what’s wrong and I can’t get the nurse.”
By the time I got to the hospital the nurse was in the room. She told me, “Honey you need to call some family for support. You don’t need to be alone.”
I’d never seen him like this. David and I both feared he was hemorrhaging. I called my in-laws and our closest friends to pray.
After a CAT scan his surgeons decided to open him up again.
Before the doctors took him into surgery he whispered to me, “Heaven will be a better place.”
He thought he was dying.
I did too.
Now completely exhausted, my eyes depleted of tears I thought about my sister. Would I be a widow too?
In a silent prayer I surrendered, “Thy will be done.”
As I was escorted through the double doors separating all things antiseptic with the outside world I felt the anxiety lift off me and replaced with a peace. And God said, I’ve got this. I will take care of you.
It’s been 14 years and God has done just that. You see our story together was far from over.
Yes, David missed Christmas with us but if he had been at home perhaps we wouldn’t have been able to get him to the hospital in time to drain the fluid that had gathered in his abdomen threatening infection. In a strange way the pulmonary embolisms were a blessing.
Looking in the rear view mirror here’s what I gleaned from the worst Christmas ever.
God has a purpose and plan for our lives.
God wants us to trust Him completely with it.
God is in control and sovereign over all creation.
Jarring realities hit hard sometimes putting the value of each precious day into proper perspective.
And with the proper perspective in hindsight, maybe 2002 was indeed the best Christmas ever after all.
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day that Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6
Christy is a wife, mother, mother-in-law, mentor, writer and speaker. She’s also a girly girl who chases teens balls for recreation and at the end of the day she does her best thinking in the tub.
Her greatest passion lies in encouraging women to move forward, and press on while seeking God’s presence in every bump and twist in the road.
You can find Christy at her blog, Joying in the Journey, on Twitter, and on Facebook.