Our family while John was in Rehab - Me, JoJo, Marriah,
Sarah, Hannah, Noah and John
Part 5 – God Works in Mysterious Ways
It’s been almost two years since John’s accident and as I look back I still don’t see exactly why it all happened. I think it’s human nature to ask “Why?” But as a Christian, I am called to also relinquish the need to understand God’s ways. At the same time, we Christians often feel it’s our duty to list the exact lessons we’ve learned through trials in order to figure out why God allows circumstances. That can be beautiful, but it also can be a subtle way to try to control.
So I look back and I can’t make a list of the many lessons God taught us, simply because He is still using that time to teach.
However, one mighty miracle began during that time. The miracle of healing a family’s bond.
JoJo, my mother-in-law, came to be with John a week after the accident. Seeing her was such a joy to me and Noah. She brought strength and practical wisdom. Having her sit at John’s bedside was comfort. John said his first understandable word to JoJo. On one of her calls on day 4, I held the phone up to John’s ear and he listened and said the word “Hi.” A mother’s voice is a powerful tool.
So it was a joy to see her. A partner in helping her son and my husband to heal.
And then, John’s three daughters called and said that they were coming on Monday, day 8. John and his daughters have had a rocky relationship for years. Up and down and sideways. Good moments and bad moments.
When I heard they were coming, my first reaction was fear. I’m not proud of that, but it’s true. I was scared that as they visited John, awkwardness would interrupt John’s healing. I was SO wrong. Hannah, Sarah and Marriah came with hearts full of love and forgiveness. They just wanted to love on their dad.
While they were here, I had time to watch them and appreciate the goodness and individualism in each of them. The way they looked at their dad was so touching. And while they were here, he began to make huge strides in healing. JoJo came on Sunday and the girls came on Monday. On Tuesday, John was moved to a rehab hospital. A nurse pulled me aside before we left the ICU.
“Robbie, I just want you to know that it is incredibly rare for someone to go from ICU to rehab. Usually there are weeks of recovery in a regular room and then rehab. This is amazing.”
God is the one that heals. Did He use John's mom and daughters? I say yes.
While John was in rehab, the girls’ presence brought delight to my husband. The awkwardness of years of a rocky relationship did not vanquish, but seeds of healing were planted in everyone.
Before they came, their mother Annie, John’s ex-wife wrote me a long email full of love and prayers for John and Noah and me. I didn’t know what to do with it, because as is the case in many current and ex-wives’ relationships, we were not friends.
My sister-in-law advised me to write her back and be civil. I did, but I was terse and distant.
Fast forward a bit. After John recovered, we made a plan to bring JoJo, her sister Nanny and the girls to Denver in October for JoJo’s 70th birthday. We had a great time. More healing. More joy.
At the time, it was mentioned that Annie and her current husband might come. She was of course, close to JoJo. I said unequivocally NO. A decision out of fear.
A few months ago I was in a hotel room having a WAAWG – Weekend Almost Alone With God. I was walking around praying and God brought up my lovely stepdaughters. I asked Him, “How do I love them, God?” As clear as a bell, I heard the Lord in my heart say, “By loving their mother.”
I emailed Annie and thanked her for the long email of love I’d received a year and a half prior. I asked for forgiveness for being so curt and distant in my reply. I apologized for not inviting Annie and her husband to JoJo’s 70th birthday party. Her response was full of grace and wisdom. I cried at what God was doing in our family. I emailed back and mentioned wouldn’t it be wonderful if someday we all got together as a family. She responded with “Yes!”
I asked her to be my facebook friend and slowly we’ve forged a relationship. John likes this, but thinks it’s a little weird. :0)
AND THEN, Sarah, my middle stepdaughter told us she is pregnant. I will be a Grandma next summer! Woo Hoo! That means that of course, we will be visiting them in California more than once in the coming months. Sarah and her betrothed Erik, will visit us in January.
On Thanksgiving, we called and John and I both talked to each of the girls and we ended the call with me having a long conversation with Annie.
THIS is a miracle! This is healing! It’s far from perfect. No family is, but God used a horrible motorcycle accident to start the process of restoration and healing. I am moved even to tears as I write this, because of my sincere awe at the goodness of God.
There is an overused cliché. I’m a writer so I’m not supposed to use this. But I will now because it fits perfectly:
GOD WORKS IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS.
(Come back Monday for Part 6 – "The Family of God during a Trial")