When we came into this situation, I was terrified and filled with anxiety. Tim had a heart attack and my whole world stopped. We had only been married 2 1/2 years. He could not leave me with so many unfulfilled hopes and dreams. As they wheeled him into the Cath Lab he spoke words that I will never forget. “This is not the end of our story.”

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

While he was recovering in the hospital I took many trips to the waiting room. When I made the call to Tim’s mom about his heart attack with tears streaming down my face, I looked up and saw two faithful members of my church family waiting to give love and support. I didn’t know these women well, but I knew their hearts.  Their gesture meant the world to us.

Ecclesiastes 4:12
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Over the next few days in the waiting room I witnessed a family having to make the excruciating decision to say goodbye to their loved one. I watched as they clung to each other through their sobs and heartbreak. It was painful to witness their journey.

“The love of family is life’s greatest blessing.”- Eva Burrows

With renewed commitment, we made changes to our lifestyle. We had been given a second chance that Tim’ father never received. We wanted to ensure that Tim would fulfill his promise to me on our wedding day, to be around “long enough to annoy me like my dad annoys my mom.” Even Adam thought that part of our wedding ceremony was funny!

1st Cor 13:4-8
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

At the time of the heart attack, doctors recommended bypass surgery to help prevent problems in the future. As that surgery day neared, my anxiety grew and Tim’s faith increased. I reached out to loved ones for support and advice, which was a great comfort and help to me, to us. There was no doubt that we were being covered in prayer from family, friends, and strangers we had never even met. We could sense it with each passing day.

Psalm 91: 1-5
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from deadly disease.
He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor the arrow that flies in the day.

On the morning of the bypass I kept thinking, what if this is the last kiss he will give me? The last time I hear him say, “I love you?” The last time I can hold his hand? His faith never faltered. As they wheeled him into the operating room he said those same comforting words, “This is not the end of our story.”

Psalm 62:5
Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
for my hope is in him.

A calm enveloped me surrounded by loved ones as I waited for the calls from the operating room. The final call came that they were closing up the surgery and I knew all would be well.

Mark 4:39
When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm.

Over the next few days I was back in that same ICU waiting room while loved ones visited with Tim. All of the stories in this waiting room were vastly different. Mine was a story of joy, healing and second chances. One I witnessed was especially difficult.  A story of anguish, was a family was trying to reunite a father with his son before that young man passed… they were having difficulty getting the father across the border.  Another, was more incomprehensible. The story of a wife’s grief as she made the decision to remove her husband from life support.

Each one of our stories was different, yet one thing remained the same. None of us was alone. Each soul that in that waiting room that represented a patient in ICU was surrounded by unending love, support, family, and friendships. And in most cases, the Holy Spirit as well.

Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind, always.”
Ian MacLaren

Photo Credit: Todd Stricker