Sunday afternoon we went to the lake to sit by the water, stroll the walkway, and just relax. At five we headed over to the Central Gardens to watch an outdoor concert. Such a fun afternoon. We went to bed that night relaxed and thinking "all is well" with no clue there was a "suddenly" coming.
At 7 am my phone rang, waking me to the news that my sister Janelle had had a heart attack, was at the hospital and having tests. Soon we were told she would need emergency open heart surgery. After many hours of surgery she was in ICU after having 6 bypasses. At age 62. Yesterday we drove up to see her for a short visit. She is surrounded by her four girls, and good health care. It is still hard to digest, the suddenly of open heart surgery when the day before she had been out walking and running around her favorite lake.
Suddenly. Too often we have to deal with the suddenlys of life. All is good until it is not. Then what. Well, for my family today's suddenly put everyone "on their knees" in prayer. We are a praying family and for that I am so thankful. We reach out to pray for each other and pick up our phones to text prayer groups like The Knee Team to ask for prayers when needed. There is both power and peace found in prayer. Jesus our Healer!
All day long Monday I kept hearing a hymn in my head, and found myself humming and singing...."Great is they faithfulness....." "great is thy faithfulness.......morning by morning new mercies I see...." It reminded me of the verses that God has been highlighting for me out of Isaiah 61, joy for mourning, beauty for ashes and a garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness. The beauty for ashes came first from Joel, then again as I was meditating......later it was on a TV teaching and then a song. Beauty for ashes. New mercy!
While I was meditating Sunday morning God showed me sweeping with a broom a bunch of dirt and grim off the floor. I questioned what it was, and heard...."symptoms". I picked them up in a dustpan and was going to put them in the garbage and I heard, "put them on the fire". I looked to my right and saw a fire smoldering, so I dumped them there and then heard....."beauty for ashes". Beauty for ashes.
As promised we do receive from God, beauty for ashes and I am declaring that for my sister as she goes through months of recovery and changes after this "suddenly" in her life. Long story, short, it is a miracle that she is still here and we are on our knees with humble thanksgiving. Janelle is a strong woman and will walk through this journey carried by love, prayer, and her own determination. But I am also praying and giving thanks for all the beauty that will come from this. Overwhelmed with gratitude that God is giving her beauty for ashes.