By Marilyn Schouten and Charles Fond
Dear VGF, I would like to thank so many of you for praying for my cousin Charles Ford and many thanks to those of you that have sent him letters of encouragement. This past weekend Charles and I have started to converse and "catch up" on e-mail. He is an encouragement to myself and many others as we chat about the Lord, our heritage and this direct physical intrusion into his life this past year in the hospital. Though I have sent updates from his Caring Bridge sight on several occasions, I thought that you might like to read my first e-mail from him... as you read this letter, typed with one finger...please find encouragement, thankfulness and HOPE! (For those of you that are new to e-mail, my cousin Charles Ford Sr. drove himself to a Georgia hospital...not feeling very good and suffering from a terrible cough. He had a terrible pneumonia and slipped into a coma, was told he would not make it....that was over 316 days ago!) In each of our lives we face a "terrible ugly" and at times, it seems that all is lost or hope is short, but this Monday please take a minute to reflect on the chorus of one of Sarah Groves songs...."hope has way of turning its face to you just when you least expect it, you walk into a room and look out a window and something there leaves you breathless; you say to yourself, it's been awhile since I felt this but it feels like it might be hope."
Oswald Chambers says: "Paul welcomed heartbreaks, disillusionments and tribulation, for one reason only, because these things kept him in unmoved devotion to the Gospel of God."
Today and this week, find HOPE at every turn in the eyes of Christ! Tribulations keep us in unmoved devotion to the Savior....In Christ Alone, Marilyn Schouten.
Thank u for sharing, a more so for you and your church family. What a blessing and encouragement everyone has been. I only type with one finger, and many mistakes. So bear with me. And maybe u can share some or all of this with ur church. We don't put everything on CB. (Caring Bridge) So I'll give u a behind the scenes look, ha!
We are close in age, I was 56 in Dec. Deuteronomy 29-29, talks about how and why God keeps secrets from us. Thank goodness,.,would not have been able to handle it just as u mention. BUT, with God ALL things are possible. And that's where I'll start.
Growing up with a dad preacher and a mom who CMA, I got the word feed to me morning noon and night. We were in church every time the doors were open. And knowing your family,, u know what I mean! I accepted Jesus when I was 12. I didn't see stars, lightning didn't strike , I just knew He was now my Savior and as we had heard co much from Grammy and Grandad, heaven would now be my home. Marilyn, we have such a strong Christian heritage , a legacy not many families can boast of. Thank God for Great Grama Mac who prayed and prayed for all of the generations to come. And now I believe are among those cloud of saints with ur dad and mine.
Being in a coma 3 months and another 3 weeks of coming out of it, God allowed me to experience and walk through the shadow of the valley of death. I didn't see bodies burning or people screaming, just a really bad place, so many people just hurting. It was horrible. Then He allowed me to experience His green pastures while is restoring my soul. It was such a beautiful place. I saw my dad, Great smile, hair was beautiful , no pain, with his hands up, like telling me to go back. No voices, I never saw Angels are Jesus, but I know it was heaven. Waking up, I could hear a voice saying as to Lazarus, dead? No sleeping, get up and come out. I'm not sure what is real or just dreams. What I do know is growing in the family we did, hearing the word daily, praying everyday and night even when I didn't want to, and hearing stories of how good God is and his miracles to perform throgh out our family of preachers and missionaries, is now my turn to not only tell my story, but live one for my kids to have a legacy to draw on like we did.
Today I am a living miracle. From being told, unplug him, take him to Hospis and let him die comfortably, being told to pick out casket and make arrangements, my family trusted their faith. Mom told Drs if God wants him he will stop his heart, until then we keep praying, u keep trying. U know the McIlraths, they can be very direct. Lol.
Thanks to a God who still answers pray, nothing inside my body was damaged. My lungs are perfect, even though I fad ARDS, which only 1 in 4 survive. My heart is great and I've lost 120 lbs, which I need to lose 50 more. I can walk by myself, my arms work, I talk, nand take hardly any med, mostly vitamins. Drs say hands will never work, but thank goodness my God has a sense of humor. Who knows what He has in store. Remember Deuteronomy 29-29. We are now looking for a long term facility that I can continue to rehab in.
Please share this as u wish. Please thank everyone for their prayers and cards!