Monday, December 27, 2010

God's Grace & Mercy

Hope has dawned clear & bright today along with the sun that is streaming gloriously golden through our windows.  The whole house is awash in sparkling sunshine, & I feel a stirring of happiness & hope in my breast for the first time in several days.  Jake must feel it, too.  Since my last post, he has slipped into a sort of melancholy, which he's shown by not chasing squirrels, laying around pretty much constantly, & not chewing his beloved bones.  If you knew him, you'd know that's like Winnie the Pooh turning up his nose at honey.  But this morning, he ran out into the yard & promptly sprawled out in the grass to sun himself, & just this evening he finally indulged in a rawhide chew fest.  We're all going to be just fine.

I've wanted to share with y'all how God has been gracious & merciful to us in the midst of this trial.  Today, I finally feel as if I can.

Going back to the beginning, the first thing that comes to mind is finding our vet.  He's an absolute Godsend!  Our initial advice had been to take Ginger to Auburn, but their treatment was going to set us back several thousand dollars, a large chunk of which was due up front.  I was beside myself because our inability to afford this would mean no treatment & certain death for her in a matter of weeks.  Michael remembered reading an editorial about Dr. H, so we called him & he immediately set up a treatment protocol.  He consulted with oncology specialists the entire way & kept down his prices as much as possible so we could treat her.  Without treatment, Ginger would have died in 6 weeks.  The average life-span with treatment is 1 year.  She lived one day shy of 2 years from diagnosis.  How gracious God has been to give me so much more time with my darling!  Her passing has cut me to the heart, but I rejoice over how long God allowed me to keep her.  Especially without suffering.  Michael's previous experience with lymphoma sarcoma in his beloved dog, Vicky, was traumatic because of her intense suffering.  I begged God not to let Ginger suffer, & He didn't.  Until the last hour - where she struggled to live, something I have not the heart to recount - she did not suffer.  The grief is still too near for me to describe my last hours with Ginger; I don't know if I'll ever be able to put that in writing.  However, He answered another prayer of mine - as He did all along the way - an almost constant prayer that I not have to put her down.  I would have given anything for something to ease her pain at the end, but I did not want her to die by my hand on a cold table in a clinical setting.  I wanted her at home in my arms, with me whispering my love in her ear.  God graciously, mercifully, granted me this.  Even though it was almost unbearably difficult, I saw her through to the end, & I hope that she felt comfort from my presence & knew that I love her.  I believe she did.

For me personally, God has surrounded me with love.  Michael is . . . words fail me.  He's loving, godly, comforting, amazing, supportive, phenomenal.  He's staying right by my side, grieving with me & being my strong shoulder to cry on.  He's a rock of love, solace, & comfort.  He speaks of God & His sovereignty, love, & mercy.  He gives me ice cream (hehehe!).  My family (both LA & AL), my church family, my friends, even Jake - all are gifts from God to me.  They've given me love, comfort, & pointed me toward God.  If any of y'all are reading this, know that I am so very thankful for you & I love you beyond measure.

Finally - or, rather, firstly in reality - God has given me Himself.  I've said before that I can't fathom how people endure this life without God.  Without Him, it's all pointless.  Losing Ginger would be pointless.  There'd be no reason behind it, & I would easily allow my grief to become anger & bitterness.  But, because I know Him - & I know that He is good - I know that He has allowed this suffering for a reason.  I don't know what that reason is, but I don't have to.  I know that He loves me, & I trust Him.  I know that He doesn't orchestrate events in order to harm me, for I know that "God works all things together for good for those who love Him & are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).  I may not know His purpose behind this, but I can say that one thing that has been accomplished is that I long even more ardently for Home.  Michael read to me a chapter regarding pets in Randy Alcorn's book Heaven that was extremely comforting.  I believe that I will one day see Ginger again - whole, healthy, & happy.  I look forward to that day.  I look forward to the day when there will be no more sorrow, no more weeping, no more sin.  But even more so, I look forward to the day when I will see Jesus face to face, when I will never have to be parted from Him.  That will be a most glorious day!  So, my heart cries out, "Come quickly, Lord Jesus!"

Until that day, I will praise Him & worship Him, even in the midst of my pain & suffering.  For He is worthy.

Thank You, Lord God, for the gift that Ginger has been in my life.  Thank You for allowing me to be her mommy.  Thank You for Your grace & mercy throughout this trial, & especially now in my grief.  I know that You see my pain, that You grieve with me, that You keep all of my tears in a bottle, & that one day, all of my pain will find its end in unceasing joy.  Thank You for my loved ones' comfort, support, & love.  They are a blessing to me.  And thank You for You, for being my God, my Father, my Savior.  I love You; help me love You more.  In Christ's holy name I pray, Amen.