• sarah@healingeyes.org

Tag Archives: care

Snapshots of a journey

Healing Eyes

Widows in need feel the same as me.

Tears fall from my heart today and I am overwhelmed by grief and loss. Our society teaches us to hide the pain and as a result those in need hide and are helpless for attention. When we expose ourselves to being vulnerable we are at our lowest yet highest point of help. While in the village I met with widows…we put out a word of mouth call for all widows to come hear from a Mazungoo (white foreigner). I expected 15 ladies but instead 70 came and 2 men. As I sat in the wooden chair in the grassy field near a mud hut I thought, ‘Seriously?’

I talked for 2.5 hours straight! With 2 translators by my side I slowly spoke words foreign to me, words I still have no idea how I came up with. God knew what to say that day and he knew how to pull those embarrassing tears right out of me for all to see. Somehow I tied those tears into the speech about not being ashamed and that tears release the pain of loss. At some points they all clapped after I said something that touched their hearts, so amazing to see words in action after waiting so long for God to use me like I thought he would. It felt so like a sermon in the woods that day and living out the abundant life promised to us. If only it was possible to be abundant without fear and doubt threatening the foundation of it all.

I shall remember that day forever.

Can we make a change with faith?

Healing Eyes

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Healing Eyes

The lie of the ‘phase’ argument

I have often wondered if this time of my life is a ‘phase’ or a ‘season’. Often strangers and friends have said to me that perhaps it’s just a phase I have to go through and then things will go back to how they were. It’s all fine and dandy to have such a spiritual high in life and then return to what is normal. I’m re-reading the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis and have run across a passage in it that illustrates such a quandary I find myself in repeatedly.

“A direct attack on his faith..persuading him that ‘his religious phase ‘ is just going to die away like all his previous phases? The mere word ‘phase’ will likely do the trick. You keep him well fed on hazy ideas of Progress and Development and the Historical Point of View, I trust, and give him lots of modern biographies to read? The people in them are always emerging from Phases, aren’t they?”

There was one distinct time I remember while in Africa and after I just found the school near the border of Kenya and Uganda. I had just spend about 4 weeks in Kenya and not all of it was a blessing like most think will happen when serving God. Often we never see the blessings that come from our labor but we have faith some good will come out of our strife. My health was poor and my spirits were low but I was hopeful God would still follow through on his promise to show me the widows and orphans he kept speaking of to me. It was an amazing story of how I found the school and if you care to read it again you can follow this link, Coincidences lead to truth.

But it was that very night after being blessed by God that the devil or evil one, however you want to label that unnerving feeling, decided to slither on it and put doubts in my head. He used some other foreigners visiting the area to put the word ‘phase’ into my heart. One lady said to me, ‘maybe it’s all a phase in your life and you can go back to graphic design, but it’s great your doing what your doing’. Just like that the familiar doubt creeped back in and I went to bed crying and with a tight chest full of doubt and fear.

Maybe I am crazy!

Maybe I did go too far in all this hope and faith crap and now I am stuck in the middle of Africa with no one to bail me out. Literally alone in a jungle sleeping in a tent with the realization of how stupid all of this was. Since something like this happened before I tried to repeat words in my head, ‘No it isn’t a phase and that I experienced too many coincidences to not see them as miracles and guidance from God’. I like proof and God did give me proof that day and so I pushed back the evil thoughts of doubt and phases to eventually fall asleep in the pitch-black darkness of the night.

You see it’s right when we learn something new or get closer to affirmation that God exists and that our purpose in life is simple. The evil will creep in and stomp on those hopes the instant we find answers to that small voice in our hearts. In Africa it is a full frontal attack on people because they don’t have all the comforts of modern civilization to lull them into a ‘normal’ life of ease. I never want to return to thinking that ‘religion is all very well up to a point’. Neither do I want to fall into the habit of thinking my religion is better than other religions when life comes down to Love and Compassion! Not taking what is given to us at face value in the bible and questioning it all and reading it and willingly asking God to explain it to me with any method he chooses. If it’s by throwing me in a third world country with only faith than I’ll do it because that is living…that is truly seeing faith in action…and it is about bring ‘flavor’ to the world we live in and not mediocrity. Likewise God can use people in modern life to make a difference in those around them even if its by living vicariously through those God says, ‘Go’, to.

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Healing Eyes

Take a chance on the impossible

If life is a series of events than who can say each moment is supposed to be happy and free? If hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life then should we always HOPE for more? Can we hope for more than we feel worthy of and why does every step forward feel more impossible than the previous?

You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid…

Is the bible a nice ‘story’ or a test of our faith?  For too long I have played it safe on this blog and have censored my constant questions in my head. It may seem I have it all figured out and my faith is strong but I am reminded daily how I forget easily what faith is. Right now I am censoring my own thoughts so I don’t jinx somehow the results of success. If i begin to doubt myself than others will and then the whole thing falls apart. Power of Attraction!

Are the most successful people always confident in themselves and only ATTRACT success?

Do photos of sad kids ATTRACT hope or despair? I have a longing that Healing Eyes won’t crumble and that it will grow stronger. Longing to help the neglected and forgotten. Longing to see hope return to these little EYES.

…longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

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Healing Eyes

Transparency thru honesty

There was a friend in my life that was very kind to Andy and I. She gave us meals during chemo treatments and offered encouragement to us during our journey thru cancer. I didn’t know her prior to Andy’s diagnosis and treatments. There were many people that offered support to us during those months of hell.

Why is it that during the most trying moments in our lives we can make some of the worse choices in our lives that will stay with us forever.

I just finished this booked called ‘the healing power of Forgiveness’ by George Foster and it really struck home.  There has been hurt caused to a friend that only showed kindness to me.. I have carried this guilt with me for many months.

As this blog has been a tool in being transparent and honest with followers around the world of Andy’s and mine journey through life it seems hypocritical to leave out a part of the journey that affected so many people and molded the grief that lingers still after Andy’s death. The grief of dishonesty. It seems that this world really is a fallen word and than sin is so easy to fall victim to.

Andy and I went so many years facing life’s challenges together and dealing with pain as a couple. We relied on no one else but ourselves, God was not a source of strength we tapped into. Perhaps that makes it all more fitting to realize now that the third loss in our lives, cancer, was what did us in and revealed how impossible it is to endure life’s trials without his help. We really can’t make it thru challenges with out God’s voice to guide us to do what’s right. It might seem like it for years since we do make daily success stories of surviving the odds but eventually it catches up to you.

Those last 2 months of Andy’s life and our marriage were the most difficult and destructive months. The disease of cancer was doing its best to destroy us both. One thing I didn’t realize was that it was killing me too, it was killing our marriage and the very core of its foundation we prized so much. Honesty was what held us together. Complete transparency. Thru infertility we were honest about the pain and expectations of the outcomes. Adoption opened up the door for exploring what our marriage was to the outside world. The disease was now to inflict its final blow on us by causing us to turn on one another. Andy hid his pain from me in order to spare me more pain. Spare me the worry of not taking care of him enough. The feeling of never doing enough to fix his pain was developing. Andy loved me so much and wanted everything for me and it killed him to watch me suffer at his side.

I began hiding things from Andy in order to seek an escape from the pain. Watching him die each day was taking its toll on my body. I was becoming sick to my stomach and the anxiety attacks were increasing. I kept telling myself I was in control but honestly I wasn’t. The search for why God was doing this was starting.. the search for believing in something took hold in my heart. I feared rediscovering that side of me would push Andy away and so I hid that from him. The dishonesty took its first steps in our marriage.

Cancer changed Andy and me. For me the ‘honest’ Sarah slowly died and looked for ways to escape the pain. To find answers. Sometimes I felt the need to sneak around to rediscover who I was. I missed my relationship with God and with Andy. I mourned it long before Andy died. The disease robbed me of the one thing Andy and I held dearly. And that was honesty. Honest about our feelings, pain, hopes for a future together, happiness were all accessible before cancer. But slowly it ate away at that core value of our love. I was not patient towards the end and didn’t wait on God, as a result I got too close to another person and relied on him too much for support I should have been seeking from God. As a result I now carry a burden of guilt towards a friend hurt in the aftermath of Cancer’s poison. I am so sorry to this person and I regret my actions and I ask for forgiveness even though I do not deserve it. She was nothing but kind to us.

To anyone starting or reaching the end of Cancer’s hold on your life I pray that you will seek out support and direction from God. Even if you may not believe or think its all bologna.. I once thought it was and I even ran from his embrace. He so wanted to help me but I was stubborn. So much pain and suffering in this world that can never be taken away, this world is screwed up and sadly Cancer is most invasive disease since it affects both patient and caregiver.

I have reached out to one of Andy’s past doctors and we have become friends. She talks me down when I am in the grips of despair with words of encouragement. Caregivers take on so much guilt of what they could have done. I never realized the effect cancer had on me. I did but I didn’t. It really does damage loved ones..it’s no excuse for our actions, but it does expose our weaknesses. When we are weak we fall…it doesn’t care who you are or how you used to live…Cancer sucks!

I flipped open my bible in search of a verse about Weakness.. instead I found a story about vulnerability. Which makes sense, we are most vulnerable when we are not in God’s hands. Genesis 20:2.  I won’t recite it but I will write the footnotes, which may have more impact. “Abraham had used this same trick before to protect himself. Although Abraham is one of our heroes of faith, he did not learn his lesson well enough the first time. In fact, by giving in to the temptation again, he risked turning a sinful act into a sinful pattern of lying whenever he suspected his life in danger. No matter how much we love God, certain temptations are especially difficult to resist. These are the vulnerable spots in our spiritual armor. As we struggle with these weaknesses, we can be encouraged to know that God is watching out for us just as he did for Abraham”.

I am not perfect. Andy was not perfect. No one is perfect. But maybe accepting that is the first step towards healing from a past we can never forget.

Healing Eyes

I woke up in a sweat last night from a terrible nightmare. Andy was in the hospital and I went to find him but I couldn’t, no one knew where he was. So i insisted he was in ICU and that was where I left him. Finally he magically appeared. Sadly he looked awful…his head was tilted up and he had a oxygen mask on. His eyes were wet from tears and his face was contorted oddly. He had wires hooked up all over him and was was groaning in pain. The smell of the hospital was all over me, suffocating me in my sleep, a smell of hospital gowns and chlorine. The lights were bright and he was in a room with several other patients.. it felt so humiliating seeing Andy stripped down to nothing as if he was just a number in a line of sick hospital beds.

I held his hand tightly and cried, “I love you! I love you!”. Andy replied saying he loved me too, over and over we said these words. I told him please don’t go.. please don’t leave me..please stay.. over and over I begged him. He was laying on his side and crying with me crying over his shoulder. The nurse came in and prepared some pain drugs, it was a very large cocktail and I asked lots of questions about why so much and what they were. One of the drugs was a hippopotamus tranquilizer (why I don’t know).

Slowly the nurse pushed the drugs into his IV and Andy convulsed and slowly calmed down. Slowly he drifted off and his eyes died all over again. Over and over I see his eyes die in my dreams. At one point he crawled out of his bed and had no arms or legs. The nurse quickly scooped him up as if he was a baby and slammed him back in the bed. She yelled at me saying you have to keep him in that bed otherwise his IV lines will come out. I stared at Andy and cried, screamed for him to stay, Don’t leave me!!!

Then I woke up!

Back to reality of where I was. In a room in someone else’s bed wondering why am I here. Why the hell am I here? I am miles away from the familiar and alone in my bed. Andy is not there to comfort me after a nightmare…he can’t hold me or stroke my hair. Nevermore will he be and nevermore will I hear his voice. You can’t just erase 13 years of companionship, it stays with you like a ghost in the room. Quietly sleeping in my shadow until something stirs it and it suffocates me with its misery.

Sleep Andy.. and haunt my dreams no more. Speak softly to me with encouragement but please take those hospital memories away! Your agony and feeling of desperation of doing nothing to save you. I was helpless to save you. I failed you as a caretaker…that feeling of guilt will never go. I know it’s normal to feel this way but others out there must know they aren’t alone! There has to be a way to have peace about watching someone die and being helpless to stop it.

 

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