Tuesday, April 27, 2010

the refiner's fire

two posts in a row. i guess i feel responsible for making up for the lack of posting i did last week. and there is just a sort of urgency in my heart for this one. and today God wouldn't let me get over the urge. so i write.

about a year ago my family started on the most difficult journey it would face. never did we expect to be tried and tested in the ways that we were. but today we stand with more strength, more faith, and more love than ever before. however, it isn't an easy road to walk.

in january of last year my mom noticed that my dad's ability to remember things was deteriorating slowly. she expressed concern to my siblings and i, but we told her it was nothing... he's never been one for details. however, come march, things were still not right. he sought the help of a neurologist and went through weeks of testing, MRIs, doctor appointments while we waited for an answer. one by one things were ruled out. tumor, no. alzheimer's, no. dementia, not that either. one monday night my parents received a phone call from one of the doctors explaining that he knew what it was and to come in the following morning. he said things didn't look great. after a night of no sleep and lots of tears, i went to work, just like i had for weeks.

on july 17th, 2009, a neurologist diagnosed my 56 year old father with early onset alzheimer's. he said despite the lack of genetic evidence he was sure my father was losing his memory for good. he also warned that because my dad is so young the disease would be more aggressive in its degeneration and we must begin making arrangements.

there are no words to describe the pain, the fear, the panic that sets in with a diagnosis like this. i immediately drove home to spend time with my family. my brothers played in the pool with my dad like always. my mom spent hours on the phone letting all of the relatives know the results had come back and we faced a battle with one of the most mysterious diseases known to modern medicine.

why God? i just had to ask. i spent months asking. God, why? why us? why my dad? why my family? why do this to my mom? why to jeremiah, he is so young? why now? why not later in his life? why, God, why?

while i still wish this all away. while i wish it wasn't us. while i wish it was later in my dad's life. while i wish it wasn't my dad, my mom, my family. i understand that we are being tested by fire just like God talks about in 1 Corinthians 3:
"This work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames." -1 Corinthians 3:13-15
we don't know what's going to come of all this. we don't know if his brain will be perfect. we don't know if he will remember us five years from now. but we do know that God is doing His work among us. and i know that i don't want to just barely escape through the flames. i want to be thrown into the fire only to burn brighter than the flames. i want to be blinding, like the blue flames that compose the hottest part of the blaze.

i want to know that God placed me in the hottest of heats, in the toughest of times, and i made it with His strength there to keep me cool. thankfully, my family, the people that mean the world to me, get to join me in this journey.

my dad is doing better. he has improved tremendously with the help of an amazing psychiatrist and with the family rallied closely around him. however, the flames, though smoldering, still burn, reminding us that we are not yet free. that His refiner's fire is continuing to work on us making us more like Him.

it's not easy. it's not fun. but the bible never promised easy or fun. it promised to glorify Him.
"God gives, God takes. God's name be ever blessed." - Job 1:21


chris said... Best Blogger Tips

boom baby! you are so right and today was one of those more challenging days. cling to what we know...God has a glorious plan for each of us and for our family as a unit...i couldn't be more blessed to have each of my children to help travel this unknown path. ams i love you...you're my favorite girl (always). i wish i could express the journey so well.

Scooter said... Best Blogger Tips

Well it's official, i have finally cried while reading one of your blogs. For some odd reason this week has been so tough and i can't stop thinking about dad and all thats going on. Thank you for the little boost i so often need.I love and miss you,Bubs

chris said... Best Blogger Tips

Posted by Peter J. Minegar April,27 2010I have many thoughts over the last months. Chris showed me what Faith is, every thing is based on our faith. Now I pray morning and night, to show me the way Lord, to share what I can. I will follow Jesus Christ and rejoice in his heavens when all is done.Until this completes, I will be the best disicple I can do. Thank you Amber, I owe you a fancy dinner, (Rubio's Dinner, right next to Amber's home).

John Ruhlman said... Best Blogger Tips

amber, i don't know you. but I know this: God is faithful & has molded you into a beautiful young woman.He's molding me too.