Thank you to all of our faithful supporters and encouragers through the years. We
appreciate you so much & are excited to discover what direction Mountain
Haven will be heading as we seek answers, rest, and direction for the years to come.
We continue to prayerfully consider what our future looks like and how ministry will evolve and
take a different shape and direction for us. This season is turning out to be longer than we
expected but we are going to be patient and stop putting expectations on it, and ourselves.
Thanks for being patient with us, supporting us through years, praying for us and always being kind to us.
MINISTRY AT A GLANCE
Financials: Monthly Revenue Required: $2,700.00 and Monthly Revenue Received: $1,260.00 .Remaining Need: $1,440.00
Something Interesting or Unexpected that Happened: 1.) Chris took an FMLA leave to come we me down to the Mayo Clinic this week. 2.) Lilly and Kaisha are getting straight A’s in school and Kaisha just completed driver’s Ed.
Top Prayer Requests: Pray that Kevin can get relief from the pain he is enduring with the wound he has had since the Colon surgery in April. It appeared that it is was getting slightly larger and we are on week 22 of wound care appointments, so Kevin made contact with his Mayo Clinic Doc. Kevin had a Pelvic MRI Yesterday and they found an open tract that went way up into the pelvis along the spine that has caused alot of his pain, and is why the wound has not healed for 9 months.
We met with the Surgical team today and they will have 3 different surgical departments, Colorectal, Urology, and plastic surgeons in on the surgery which will take place in later March. They will have to clean everything out of his pelvis and insure that no infection has gone into the spine or any other bones. It will be 4-7 hours long, with a 4-7 day stay at the Mayo. We feel like there are finally answers to all of our questions!
Mountain Haven Newsletter – January 2020
IN SICKNESS and IN HEALTH
Does anybody remember saying those words on your wedding day? Does anybody remember thinking twice about those words? Well I had the privilege, the joy and the honor of saying those words in my vows to Kevin two times over. And both of us would’ve had no idea what they really meant. There isn’t a memory in our new marriage of the last 20 years- not a vacation or a special event that doesn’t revolve around Crohn’s disease, complications of Crohn’s, or surgery, the hospital, multiple doctor visits, or visits with specialists.
In the last 20 months we have had to come to terms with this part of our vow, in profound and life-changing ways. It has torn at the very fabric and fiber of how we view each other. It has made us unhappy, it has made us extremely sad, it has tempted to break us, it has robbed us financially, spiritually and physically. I have been ashamed of how our circumstances makes me feel, and simultaneously terrified at how much pain my husband has had to endure. I have cried with him and he has cried with me. I have lamented the nature of that vow and our inadequacy to uphold it. I have turned into a home nurse and Kevin a vulnerable, pain riddled patient.
I recently had a long talk with our passionate and intelligent son Brandon about the use of self congratulatory language in many Christian circles. Language like “speak the truth”, “ declare this word or that word”. “Show the strength of God by how you live”. Not bad advice at all, however modern Christian language has seemed to manage to alienate us from our raw brokenness and the brokenness of others in a mysterious way. Especially when the brokenness presents as super messy, unpredictable and unrelenting. What is a good Christian to say?
What I mean is I have held back my true fear and vulnerability; to most others, to myself and sometimes to Kevin. Even though the truth may be horribly ugly; and I know Kevin might feel it too, but it’s too painful to confront, purulent and bleak that it doesn’t fit my social circles or my language paradigm. I don’t want others to feel responsible to have the right words or to feel uncomfortable about how I might be changing because of my circumstances. But the other day I called my son: and I screamed, I cried, I said terribly hopeless things, I almost ripped my hair out in despair and he just screamed and cried with me; weeping openly and unabashedly proclaiming his helplessness with words like “ oh mama” and “I know”.
In that moment I was seen; and through that I could see how close to the edge I really was and either confront myself, or fall off. When someone is wailing and weeping with you, trust me you don’t feel much like jumping and leaving them behind. You feel the gift of that person’s love tethering you to the universe again. You are liberated and free. It’s strangely healing and mildly empowering.
I thought about our early years with this horrific disease and all the surgeries and trials and how all I would do is talk positive, believe the best and even at times suppress the fear, and the turmoil and burden that this sickness has been for Kevin, for us, and for our precious family. And in doing that I believe I have not taken the vow to love “ in sickness and in health” as seriously as I once thought I had. My love was glossy and had a veneer of strength only partially true, I think partially because the fear of facing a reality I lived in was the fear of confronting how it changed my emotional template. Bigger still, was the fear that more would be expected from my behavior in this marriage.
Because the nuanced truth is; that vow; and holding true to it, is excruciatingly painful emotionally, for both of us. The facade of proper etiquette or conversation, or being able to hold steady in light of stark fear and debilitating pain, has been unmasked for both of us, in light of the dehumanizing surgeries and fixes that Kevin has undergone. The anger, the expectations, the losses, the pain, the responsibilities, the resentment, the fatigue, the untold hurts- it’s all fair game when your stripped down to nothing. Your pretenses, your words, your faith, your hope, your intent, your fear, your attitudes and actions: it is all unmasked when you are robbed of your health, your dignity, and what you thought was free will.
What you believe about commitment is revealed. The fears that are easy to mask when in a good season, the resentments forgotten when it’s smooth sailing, the intimacy you want to remember instead of the begging for the pain to relent, the isolation of your lifestyle, the commitment to hundreds of doctors appointments and crazy procedures all dedicated to bring healing. Commitment feels like a dirty word, because you should technically be committed: the thought of trying to hold it together for everyone feels like being the best actor on broadway; and doing that for life.
Like I said earlier: to “see” another in true existential crisis is to liberate them into a metaphysical freedom and safety of self. When chaos blows through our lives, it takes mettle and strength to slowly look for something beautiful from it. Kevin has to see me in all my frenetic, angry, anxious ways; I have to see him in his fearful, rageful and impatient way. But then we simultaneously get to hold vulnerability, truth, and depth like we have never been able to before. It’s like something so seismic has occurred inside but the outside looks the same, however the internal connection and emotional aspect of our relationship is being remade completely. These are the mysterious gifts sickness and health give us.
So when we say “ in sickness and in health” I would challenge all of us to ask ourselves to be honest that these are words we all hope will never be put to the test. But, if they do, that we won’t be afraid to walk into the darkness of the unknown and surrender our control, and hold the hand of our partner wherever it takes us. Even if it’s to the edge of oblivion. We just need to be willing to echo the cry, be in the moment, hear the lament, and put aside our judgements about their words, attitudes or actions even- to let each other come to terms with our true selves. Whether the body ever heals, the soul and spirit will find complete health in that environment.