Denise and her husband Keith have spent years fighting for the health of her brother and her mom, who live with them. She shared this story this week on Facebook after the message at Grace Orlando on December 9th and gave us permission to share it here.

I sat in church this morning and listened to Pastor Mike talk about a very dark time in his life — a time where he was told to prepare to lose his wife. But God brought a glimpse of joy when he didn’t expect it, and his wife awoke from an induced coma and was healed.

I must confess, I could only think that maybe God doesn’t always give that glimpse of joy. Sometimes, the darkness seems to overwhelm. I struggled hard with that message. I couldn’t see anything but the overwhelming issues that threatened to drown me.

This week has been hard. I have spent every day this week at the hospital and rehab centers.

My brother Danny was born with the most severe form of spina bifida. My parents were told at birth that they didn’t have to feed him. My dad did not accept that so they put Danny in a clothes basket in the back seat of their car. They drove to Crippled Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia to meet a missionary doctor home on furlough. This surgeon had just done experimental surgery on his own daughter. He closed Danny’s spine. Danny underwent hospital stays almost every year of his life. He is one of the very few people born with this disease to walk.

Danny has lived with us for all 22 years of our marriage. He fell in the shower last week after one of the almost yearly surgeries he has had on his kidney. We got him placed into rehab on Monday. He is fighting through pain and muscle spasms.

Then, my 86-year-old mom, who also lives with us, went for surgery on Thursday. When they went into her kidney, they discovered not one or two stones as suspected — they found 100! The doctor said it was like gravel. No wonder she has been unable to walk or stand for very long!

But the worst part has been dealing with the hospital these last few days. They were over-medicating my mom on some things and not giving her enough for others.

In the midst of it all, I was told to send her to a nursing home. I fought against that with everything, and I begged the rehab center where Daniel was located to also  take mom. They told me to have a back up plan, because she didn’t fit the criteria. But after I pushed back with everything, the caseworker agreed to submit the request. She admonished me again to have a back up plan. I just didn’t have one.

So I sat in church, listening to the pastor, and my heart was tearing into two pieces. I had been up since 6:00am arguing with charge nurses and leaving messages for caseworkers. I struggled to even focus on the message. My heart was breaking that mom would end up in a nursing home. I knew she wouldn’t get the care and push to help her get better. I have never felt so defeated.

At 2:00pm I walked into the rehab center thinking I would go and beg the caseworker again, when my phone rang. The caseworker was calling to tell me they had accepted my mom!

She was surprised that we had been accepted but but they were willing to give her a shot. This rehab requires three hours a day of therapy. They are going to push her, but she has been going downhill five or six months. Doctors have been telling us it was her back. She’s old. Her spinal stenosis is getting worse. She hadn’t been able to stand for long. She moves from bed to chair to bathroom. Now that stones are gone, we are praying for new lease on life for her. This center is her chance at getting better. A nursing home would have let her lie down and give up.

So I just said good night to my mom in her rehab room across the hall from Danny’s room! She is in great pain, but I’m so grateful that they have accepted her. They will help regulate her meds and get her back on her feet in no time. There is hope that wasn’t there before.

Tonight, I can sleep knowing they are both safe. This center is amazing. The therapy is hard but so rewarding. I know they are tired and in pain but I also know, they are being taken care of correctly. I know, too, that they will be home soon better than ever. In addition, I was given the blessing of mom’s nurse tonight being an old friend from when our girls were in preschool together. Annette is kind and patient and was loving on my mom when I left.

In the middle of the rainiest and darkest day of this month — in the midst of one of the toughest days of my life, God opened my eyes to a glimpse of joy. And I am grateful — so grateful.


Help us keep stewarding stories and pointing them toward Jesus by giving to this year’s Christmas Offering.