Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wednesday Wonder - Brave Mama

Mama - You are Brave.

It's a little unsettling when the one who takes care of everyone becomes the one who needs to be cared for. For the past two decades, my mother-in-love has helped us move homes, clean out garages, paint rooms, and play-play-PLAY with our kiddos. She has prepared more meals that I'd care to count, cuddled and hugged grandchildren, emailed notes full of Scripture and encouragement, and remained a bright spot in our lives - one who draws all of us in with her selflessness and interest in us. Though she is a do-er, a hard worker, and task-oriented, she consistently relinquishes those tasks to prioritize people above work.

And she has done all of this - and more - with the "gift" (as she calls it) of a familial tremor passed on from her daddy. At age 38, Jamie was diagnosed with the tremor as it manifested in her hands, head and voice. Even as her tremor has increased over the years, it's hardly noticeable to those of us who are are at the receiving end of her service. Somehow, even with shaking hands and a shaky voice, Mama has served us wholeheartedly - and without complaining.

When this Deep Brain Stimulation surgery option surfaced last April, Mama described it to us one day and I remember sitting in the back of the car thinking one word - insane. As in, no way. Crazy to think of healthy Mama having her head shaved, skull cut open, wires placed into her brain and run behind her ears, all attached to a couple of pace-maker-type units in her chest, later to be "turned on" and controlled by a neurologist.

All of this in exchange for steady hands?!

The fact that she even considered this brain procedure revealed to me how deeply her tremor bothers Mama, even though I have honestly hardly ever heard her complain. To spend time with her you'd hardly know it, but her fine motor skills have nearly dissipated. Years ago Mama quietly began letting go of everyday tasks such as handwriting, putting on mascara, fastening buttons, cutting and chopping, and pretty much anything requiring a steady hand. Even eating and drinking are a challenge - you'll never see her without a straw. But through all of these sacrifices that most of us take for granted, her spirit has remained trusting and optimistic. 

But last spring, over weeks of research and prayer, Mama said yes.
And early this morning, physicians began the process of prepping her for surgery, and at 8:00 am the procedure started. As I write, Mama is in the care of her surgeons, surrounded like Elisha by hosts of  chariots and horses. She said earlier this week that her surgeon is going to have to elbow angels out of his way today, there will be so many in the room.

Mama, as I said above, You are brave. 
I admire:

- Your willingness to do something bigger than yourself. As you typically eat and medicate naturally and with a bent towards homeopathy, to have foreign objects inside of you is a stretch as it is. Never mind today's task of undergoing this surgery, then the months ahead of healing, and looking ahead at management in the years to come (replacing batteries in those chest units every few years?!)

- Watching you walk this journey, absolutely carried by peace. Now that is God's generous gift.

- Involving your community. You sent several emails to friends and family and loved ones asking for specific prayer, claiming specific promises. While you are not one for craving attention, you value the importance and comfort of community, and I admire your humility in the asking.

- Your pages of Scripture. It's all you've talked about in the past months as we've discussed today's surgery. You have several pages of Scriptures typed out - specific verses for shaving your head (2 Cor 5:17 - the old has gone, the new has come - asking that God creates in you a new person through this experience... that He will build into you character and compassion through having no hair), and then verses while you're awake during surgery, and then for healing.

- Papa's support. The intimacy of your 40+ year marriage surfaces in all of this. And Papa, for the record, you, too, are brave.

Esther anointing Mama with oil (isn't it supposed to be an Elder?!)
- It's interesting to see how your grandchildren are responding to this. Branson was horrified at the thought of what you would have to endure ("Nothing is wrong with Mama! She's perfect the way she is!"), while Hudson saw the surgery as an awesome opportunity. As we gathered around you last Monday evening, Esther anointing your head with oil (!), and Cappy and Daboo joining us to thank God in advance for His work, I was touched by the children's sensitivity to your feelings, your anxiety, losing your hair, having scars on your body, and asking God to heal not only your hands and head, but also your voice.

Mama - You are brave. 

We are proud of you, inspired by you, touched by your life and your example of trust. We don't know how your experience now will serve us later as we face challenges of our own, but we trust it will.
And - you will look absolutely darling with that new wig - or without.

Scarves for granddaughters - so they can all match Mama in the weeks following surgery
Last week after Hud's game - lotsa cheering from these two!
Their faces match
In August with Cameron and Corbin
One of my fav pics of Daboo and Mama
In her most common pose ~ surrounded by those who adore her
I love writing these "Wednesday Wonder" posts, because when I see amazing people doing extraordinary things, I want to shout it from the rooftops. Or at least from my little blog!  The people I highlight here are "Wonders" in my eyes because I see God's work in and through them - His work transforming the ordinary to extraordinary. But it typically takes a willing heart, some risk, and an offering of "yes" for Him to transform.