July 25, 2011
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of
death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they
I am sorry that the devotional has not gone out since the
4th of July. My life, which was all carefully and neatly and orderly
planned out, changed in an instant. On the night of July 7th my
husband and I enjoyed the last few moments of the day by telling one another
that we love each other deeply and that God loves us and asking God to bless
and keep us. It was a picture perfect moment. I rolled over and closed my eyes
blissfully and dozed off to sleep. One hour later, I heard my husband make a
weird sound and thought he had a bad dream. I put my hand on his shoulder and
told him to roll over. When I touched him he was cold and clammy so I thought
perhaps he was sick, and I nudged him again, this time speaking louder. No
response. I did this a few more times before I actually sat up in bed and
screamed as loud as I could and shook his body. No response. I turned on our
bedroom light and Gary was lying there dead.
I picked up the phone and dialed 911, then I screamed
out, “Help me God.” There I was with my husband in the valley of the shadow of
death, only I did not want this to be his end. Gary and I are not even married
2 years and the short time we had together was not long enough. I wanted a lifetime
with him. I screamed those words to God and God said back to me, “Start CPR.” I
pulled Gary off the bed and began chest compressions. I could not give him any
oxygen because his lungs were full of his vomit so I just did hands only CPR.
This, by the way, is what the American Heart Association is teaching. As I did
the chest compressions I stopped for one second to go unlock the front door and
ran back up. I am not sure how long it took for the paramedics to arrive but it
felt like hours. Once they got into our room they had to intubate Gary and use
the AED system to restart his heart.
Once the paramedics got a pulse they took Gary to Good
Sam Hospital’s Level One Emergency Room, and I learned what happened to my
husband. Gary had a very small and insignificant artery block and it caused a
minor heart attack. Since this happened at night when Gary’s pulse is at the
lowest because he is an athlete, it caused the electrical rhythm of his heart
to shut off. Gary had what is called Sudden Cardiac Arrest Death, or Heart
Failure. They put my husband on a respirator and a heart balloon pumping
machine. Then they wrapped him in a freezing blanket and caused him to go into
a coma as they also caused hypothermia. This they do to try and salvage the
This is the valley of the shadow of death.
Instantly God sent family and friends to my side to hold
me and let me cry on their shoulders. People I don’t even know were praying for
Gary and me, and the longest night of my life continued to the longest day of
my life, Friday, as I stood by my husband’s side begging God to let me keep
him. Friday night as I left the ICU unit I drove home crying. I got undressed,
took a shower, and got into bed crying. I laid there for a few minutes and I
got out. Then I fell to my knees and I really poured out my heart to God. When
I got back into bed, God covered me with His love and mercy and I fell asleep.
Around 3 am I woke up, turned over in bed and reached out my hand to touch
Gary. He was not there and that is when I realized the nightmare was real. I
climbed out of bed and got dressed to go back to the ICU unit. God was using
His rod and reel to continually comfort me and guide me on the path I had to
go. God was there when I called out to him to help me save Gary. God was there
when I made the calls to my children to tell them the news. As much as they
love their own father, they have all come to really love their step-dad and
their hearts broke. My children rushed to my side; they are the most wonderful
blessings I have on earth. My heart broke even more when I saw the pain this
caused them. God used his rod to comfort all of us, and we laid hands on Gary
and prayed for God’s healing to begin. I love having godly children and I love
how God worked through us and honored that prayer.
God did use his rod in the first 24 hours to bring me
comfort and to guide me. God woke me up, got me out of bed and had me do CPR on
Gary. God brought my children to me and we joined as Gary’s family praying over
him and laying our hands on him, asking the Holy Spirit to perform a miracle
and save Gary. I felt God, I felt how He led me and comforted me while I walked
through the valley of the shadow of death with my husband.
God’s rod is certainly used to comfort His children. Next
week I will show you how God’s rod was used to help me win battles. A rod for
comfort or a rod for punishment, it just depends on where you stand with God.
Thank you for patiently waiting for my devotionals, and
again I am so sorry I did not write sooner.
In His love,