By My Side

by Barb DeCello
Our Lord has risen!
What beautiful words, what an exceptional God, and what an overwhelming love!
During this Lenten season, I look back over the previous two years. Did I lean on the Lord for everything? Did I? Was there a time that I forgot? I don’t think so, yet when life gets rolling through the months, it is very possible. Did I remember to Praise our Lord? That I trust I did; I am a secret car singer at times to my own type of praise and prayer, an off-tune, ear-piercing worship. Ahh…but did I leave God when my brother was diagnosed with Renal Cancer or when my husband was diagnosed with LBD? God clearly states in Deuternonomy 31:16, “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Wow, I could have turned my back in frustration, yet He still walks with me.
Trials come in many sizes, not one more important to God than another. Always listening and watching is a God that has led me through many rough years, the cancer that took my brother Doug in 2017 and my husband’s declining health. I can say, “okay, enough is enough, God,” but is it? Christ died on the cross for me—for you. Could we really get mad and pull away from that kind of love? Don’t pull away, because it states in Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Faithful He is, gently guiding me through the rough patches and hitting me square in the heart with His blessings.
Frank’s illness, Dementia with Parkinson’s, created a syndrome, Capgras, a rather cruel syndrome where Frank begins to look at me as an imposter in his life; he feels that I am someone who at times is trying to deceive him into thinking I am his wife. Still, Frank recognizes everyone else in his life. That is the cruelty and reality of Capgras. However, God uses all to His good. On New Year’s Eve Frank went to the ER with pneumonia and an UTI. On January 2 we went to the Brethren Home at Cross Keys Rehab. Frank spent 21 days and I spent every day for six hours alongside Frank, leaving at the end of the day.
As many of you may have experienced in these situations, it was difficult, especially when God revealed to me His great gift and lesson for me. Frank recognized me the entire time during his stay at the rehab and yet here at home, how long will this last? Obviously, I wish forever more, but honestly it does not matter. Our Gracious Father reminded me that my husband still loves me, and his heart recognizes me. God says in Joshua 1:19, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.”
I think there is a lesson in that which we can all learn. For me, it is that God will forever be by my side guiding me, loving me and setting me straight when I walk in anger and frustration. God also taught me the biggest lesson at this time in my life. I am loved by Frank, my husband of 29 indescribable years; he knows me in his heart even when disease tries to push me out.
I pray for all of us that during and after this Glorious time of year where Our Saviour, our King, our God is risen, our hearts will rise as well to the possibilities that God has so much more planned for us. Life may get tough­­— that’s a given— but if I had turned away I would never have tied the gift of recognition back to God. And that would be a shame. Praise God in all ways.

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