Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Miracle of Easter

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.

Chocolate bunnies
Dyeing Easter eggs
Easter dress shopping
Special family time
Easter lilies and
Jesus is risen!
Up until a few years ago, Easter was about traditions that I followed as a child and have carried forward with my children. As a believer, I read scripture and prayed. I tried to focus on the journey of Jesus in the last week of his life. Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and then the joy of Easter Sunday. I heard the words transformation and resurrection and tried to understand what they meant. I thought I understood.
Three years ago, my mom received the much anticipated call that a kidney was available for a transplant. She had been on dialysis for two years. 18 years before that, I had donated a kidney to her. The expected life of a live donor kidney is 10-12 years. We felt incredibly blessed that my kidney, in her body, worked well for 18 years. Now she was having her second transplant. Everything went well and on Super Bowl Sunday night, 2009, she was sitting up in bed, eating jello after a successful transplant surgery. But within a few hours, everything went wrong. By Monday morning, she was in ICU on a respirator and all her body systems were shutting down. The doctors did not know what was happening or why. The cultures they took to determine the cause of infection had to incubate for several days. When I walked into that ICU room and saw a machine breathing for my mother and four IV trees with 40 bags of medicine each hooked up to her frail body I could barely stand up. The next few days were touch and go until they determined that the infection came from the very kidney meant to give her life. E coli was raging.  Not only was the new kidney not working, her very life was hanging in the balance. After isolating the infection, each day we would see some improvement, and then we would have a setback. Mom was gone from us during this time, and her coloring was ashen, her tiny body just a shell. As I struggled to make sense of what was happening and also be a support to my dad, I remember praying, “God, please heal her. And after all the fighting she has done, please save this kidney.” Her improvement continued and after 42 days in ICU, she was moved to a regular room where she continued to improve and grow stronger. Her kidney was working well and she began the work of physical therapy which would allow her to go home. With the attentive care from my dad, she made steady progress toward wholeness and healing.
Three years later she is strong and feisty – a walking testimonial of healing. Each time I am with her I marvel at the goodness of a God who loves us and restores us. He did not just save my mom or spare her life, he restored her to full health. I feel a bit like Mary and Martha who witnessed their brother’s death and also his resurrection. I have witnessed God’s resurrection power through my mother’s healing. For me, Easter has a profound new meaning, full of gratitude and hope.

Mark 16:6  “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. “

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