Best and Worst

-Written by Katy (and edited by Anna) –

Where to begin? “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” I would have to agree with Dickens when he states this paradox that life is rarely all good or all bad. This side of heaven the two seem to go together, at least this has been my experience. But while life can bring you deep pain and loss, I am so thankful that God never offers quick fixes or clichéd answers to our pain. In fact He has a lot to say about suffering and loss and allows us the freedom to express our own thoughts and feelings as well. Just read the book of Lamentations or any of the Psalms. Yet even in our suffering we know the promise “that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”(Romans 8:28)

Easter is a blessed reminder that even in the worst of times, like the crucifixion, resurrection follows!

While I will never be able to call the bad things that happened to me, good, these experiences of loss and pain have not been void of comforts and even joys.

Allow me the privilege of sharing with you some of these comforts/joys.

  • When I found my heart grieving the loss of missing Christmas with my family while in the Neuro ICU; my joy was great as I sat in my living room on Easter watching children and grandchildren hunting for Easter baskets and celebrating together the empty tomb!
  • When I would feel abandoned by God or would question how a good God could allow such hard realities to filter through His hands, He would show up through the gentle hands and kind hearts of nurses, aides, therapists, friends and family.
  • While I certainly don’t enjoy not being able to walk I have never enjoyed more hugging my husband and daughter as they lift me to and from my wheelchair.
  • While my children live far from me (MI, IL and Germany). All of them have been able to come be with me off and on during this time. My oldest, Anna, who lives in Germany, came home for the first surgery on December 14, and is still with us, providing daily care for the last four months.
  • When I couldn’t provide meals for my family, others did!
  • While I grieve the loss of no longer being able to type with both hands, and the labor that is now involved in things that used to come easily like reading or writing (this blog for example); I am very grateful that my speech and memory have remained intact. And for dear friends who have provided such tools as an iPad to help make things a bit easier!
  • While pain is still a part of my journey, I am so grateful to report that the nausea is completely gone!
  • While this journey at times feels endless and is far from over, I am so thankful to be home and for the therapists who come weekly and help me continue to make progress one small step at a time.

While suffering is a very lonely experience, I was never alone as I felt the presence and love of so many of you through visits, flowers, cards, meals, texts, calls, gifts, etc.

Yes, we have been amply blessed by family,friends, neighbors and church family who have come alongside us during these months.  Including members of our little country church,Mt. Zion, whose pastors’ wife called the chaplain of the hospital to pray over the room where my surgery occurred. A pastor from our previous church in Albany, NY, flew down on our darkest day to be with Stan and family in the Neuro ICU waiting room. Another friend and his wife and two of their children drove from Chicago bringing their keyboard to hold church for us in rehab one Sunday morning. These are only a few of the stories we have to tell!

We have felt supported and strengthened by people God used to lift our heads and hearts during these ‘worst of times’ and for that I just want to say thank you! Please don’t stop praying for me as I continue the long road to recovery.

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43 thoughts on “Best and Worst

  1. Dear Katy,
    “Bless the Lord Oh my soul and all that is within me, Bless His Holy name.”
    I loved reading your words today. It brings joy and tears to my heart. Praying for you today. All my love to you.
    Anne Marie

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  2. Katy, have not missed a day praying for you. Cannot wait to see that contagious smile of yours, and it had better be a big one. Love you gal

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  3. Katy, As I began to read, I marveled as I realized that YOU were probably “one fingering” it!  Thank you for the effort!  You do, indeed, have a remarkable family and collection of precious friends.  You do not know me, but I’ve been praying for you and your family since the beginning of this experience. That is a beautifully comforting blessing in itself . . . the family of God reaches out to brothers and sisters around the globe knowing that although we may not know each other, God knows each of us by name! Bonnie

    From: Journey with Katy To: lashbrook2@yahoo.com Sent: Monday, April 11, 2016 2:58 PM Subject: [New post] Best and Worst #yiv1551451156 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv1551451156 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv1551451156 a.yiv1551451156primaryactionlink:link, #yiv1551451156 a.yiv1551451156primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv1551451156 a.yiv1551451156primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv1551451156 a.yiv1551451156primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv1551451156 WordPress.com | lizlind posted: “-Written by Katy (and edited by Anna) -Where to begin? “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” I would have to agree with Dickens when he states this paradox that life is rarely all good or all bad. This side of heaven the two seem to go ” | |

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  4. Sooooo much love — even the very agape of God which was poured out in our hearts to overflowing — coming your way, and continued prayers. Thankful that the Lord has made His presence and His comfort palpable for you, and for your family. Standing before the Lord WITH you, asking Him for healing and restoration for you. Thankful that you have been, are and will continue to be a witness of Him as your journey continues.

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  5. Dear Katy, I am so grateful to be able to read your heart thoughts today. God has a book inside you to share with others! And what a truly wonderful family you have – I feel blessed by my husband & daughters as well. We pray for you daily (our grandson Ransom never forgets Miss Katy) and hope that our lives will connect again soon. Peace, dear friend.

    Bobbi Spicer-Graves

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  6. Dear Katy,
    May I just say that I think you are the bravest woman I ever have met! We have only met in person a couple of times! Reading all the posts from Stan and your girls , I am overwhelmed by the loving support you have been given! It is such a testimony of your love for your family and their love and adoration of you!
    I am still recovering from my open heart surgery 6 months ago and it is so interesting as to what we take for granted in our lives until we don’t have it anymore! Health is truly a gift from God and I know I took mine for granted!
    I also wish that I still had my precious husband , Ronnie, to be here with me..with his love ,encouragement and support.. But the Lord obviously wanted him more in Heaven… So that has been a huge and heartbreaking struggle as well!
    But I read your emails and feel as though I need to be so much more upbeat and positive about my life… So thank you for being “God’s Ray of sunshine” to me as you struggle to keep pushing through!
    We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us!!
    God Bless you, Katy!
    Love in Christ,
    Rena Doran

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    1. Rena,
      Thank you so much for tracking with us on this journey! Touched my heart to see your name!i know we don’t know each other well but you and your very dear husband became dear to us because of your goodness and kindness toward us. Thank journey! And we love our mutual friends, the Tucker’s.
      Rena, I did not know you had open heart surgery! I can’t imagine the pain of that experience,especially without the tangible support of Ronnie!oh how you must miss him. Such a good good man. Just wanted to thank you for being an encouragement to us through the years just by being who you are!
      Much love and thank you for your prayers.
      Katy

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  7. Dear Katy, You wrote this update! I feel like dancing! So thankful am I that you are doing so well. Makes me want to come to TN. Everyone I know knows what happened to you- and so many hold you daily in their prayers. You said so beautifully the truth about the hidden treasures in ‘dark places’ of pain and loss. What precious fellowship we have with the Savior and our family/friends in suffering. I am taking a brief break here in TX – my 4th grandchild, Nina Rose was born just an hour past Easter evening. All is well with mom, baby, and vivi, Ella, Henry, and dad! Busy busy household. I return to Albany and back to work in another week. Enjoying this little respite! I hear another grandchild is coming to you also.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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  8. I have been so blessed to read each and every blog and pass some of the highlights (and lowlights) along to my praying friends here in Indiana and other places. I am thinking as I type this, and my iPad is making up crazy words, that perhaps I should try typing one-handed to see if it works better. At any rate I am so thankful your right hand is working so well – and that your Anna is there to be such a good support to you and Stan. And all the other family and friends who are helping in ways I never would have thought of. Joyfully, Mary Lou

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  9. Dearest Katy,
    You have won the faith, patience, and endurance award this year in
    God’s family. I am so very proud of you, as is your family. As we know the fatigue suffering brings, my prayer is for continual renewal for your family, an inner springtime and restl May
    all that the evil one planned to steal be restored and more. May your witness go wide and far, may nothing you have wrenched from the enemy’s grasp be lost on this world.
    You are loved and prayed for, and celebrated daily.

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    1. Virelle,thank you for following our journey here. It was a joy to hear from you through this blog. You have had your own share of sufferings, so your words mean much. Thank you for being an inspiration to me and to Stan, and many others, through your own life and writings! Grateful God can use it all for His glory.
      Much love to you and to your family from the Keys of KY now.
      Katy

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  10. Katy, you are a gentle soul and beloved of our great Heavenly Father. I have loved you since we were little and there is a quiet inner strength that is evidence of Him, your light shines bright, especially in the hard times. Jerry and I love you and are thanking Him for each step. When I’m forced to slow down my eyes become more opened and focused on the miracles that are all around. I don’t want to miss a moment. Thanking God today for the miracle of You!

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  11. Katy, as an acquaintance from high school who had lost track of most of my classmates for many years, I am grateful and blessed to have reconnected with you prior to your current pilgrimage. Your struggles and joys have never been far from our thoughts and prayers. As always, your quiet faith has served as an inspiration and encouragement, often moving me to tears. My wife Liz, who has never had the privilege of meeting you or Stan, has been equally grieved, moved, and excited by your strong witness as you make this difficult journey. We know your faith has been tested and tried, but in every way made stronger by your ordeal.

    Indeed, we share this ministry together, and your ministry continues, and may even be made stronger, by your current circumstances. Please know of Liz’s and my continued prayers for you, Stan, and your families. May you continue to be surrounded by love and support, strong shoulders and tender hearts, and may God be ever near.

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  12. Sweet Katy, from your own lips. I thank God with you for the Haves, and we pray for the have-nots. Nothing is wasted in His economy and the blessings of knowing you, Stan and the girls and sharing in this journey bring joy and humility to many hearts. Micah 7:7.

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  13. Katy,
    It is so good to hear from you! You certainly have come a long way and are inspiration to all of us

    I will continental to keep all of your in my daily prayers!

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  14. Katy, It is so wonderful to hear how you are doing in your own words! God is good! I always knew that you are a strong woman, but what you have been through and how you are dealing with your new reality is truly amazing. You are truly blessed to have Stan and the girls by your side lifting you up in many ways. I wish I could be there for you my friend, but I am with you in my prayers. Love you!!

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  15. Katy, you are loved and remembered and prayed for. Surely I do not understand at all. Not a whit. But the honesty of you and your family going through this and the “in spite of faith” and gratitude bless us all, even as you allow us to know that does not negate the struggle..I can’t really imagine the profoundness of these changes in your body but I also am thankful that your mind and reasoning are intact…and thanks again for all your mentoring of our precious daughter, Rachel and her family…much love, Ruth Van Reken

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  16. Katy it is so very good to hear directly from you! Your journey has and continues to be an inspiration to me! Thoughts and prayers from me to you will surely continue! (Thessalonians 5:17)
    —Gail Lafferty

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  17. Katy,
    What a blessing to read your words and to know that you are on the road to recovery! I was thinking that maybe you should consider writing it all down in the form of a book during this time….there is so much to be learned from another’s experience. I have learned that the Lord wants to use everything that happens to us…that’s been the theme of all my speaking through the years.
    It has been a wonderful thing to witness your family’s support….especially Anna. She is a remarkable young woman and I have enjoyed reading her entries…far beyond her years in insight!
    I realize you have a ways to go but know that you remain in the hearts and prayers of many who love you….including me! We think of and pray for you everyday……jean (Proverbs 3:5,6)

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  18. We love you, Katy, and praise the Lord for His faithfulness and His steadfastness through these times. We continue to pray. Daniel & Renita Koehn

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  19. Katy, we haven’t met, but know Stan from being here at Avon Park Holiness Camp and last summer
    we were with him at Beulah Camp in Alabama. Now, you are in my daily prayers as you continue on
    this incredible journey with God’s help. We live in your parents winter home. David and Beverly Cowles, Oaks Village, Avon Park, FL.

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  20. What a blessing to hear your “voice” this morning, Katy. I pray for you every day. May God’s strength be sufficient for you and your heart each day. We are watching to see if Jesus really is there still walking with you in this long journey- and every post, even with all the pain and struggle, shows us that He is. Thank you for holding on to Him so that we can see Him there with you. Much love, Sue

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  21. I have a friend named Carol, she had a stroke about two weeks ago from high blood pressure. She is in rehab. She is very angry, scares me how angry she is. She needs to love Jesus. Please pray for her. We continue to pray for you and your family. Keep going friend.

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  22. Katy, even with all I’ve been through, I can not imagine what you have been through and continue to go through daily. You continue to be in my prayers. You are my role model for handling life with Grace and class! I can’t wait to come out and visit with you. May God continue to hold you up!😘

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  23. Katy,
    It is wonderful to read your words and thoughts fromantic your own hand. My mother and I have both been following your journey and praying for you these past few months. God has so blessed you with a great and loving family and supportive friends. Your courage and faith have inspired and touched me deeply. Although we never had the opportunity to become personal friends, I feel connected to you and your family on so many levels. I attended Asbury during the years you and Stan were there. I roomed with Stan’s sister our freshman year. Later when I worked with OMS and was in Ecuador, I spent time with Stan’s parents. My mom attended Asbury with the Keys in the late 40’s and although they weren’t friends, she named my sister “Ruthanne” because she thought it was a beautiful name. Vangie and Stan even stopped by to visit me and my mom briefly many years ago when they were traveling to Indiana.
    All of that though does not compare to the connection I feel that comes from your current experience. My mom had a series of small strokes in 2014. She is 92 and doing well now but many of the things you have experienced have touched us as well. Mom frequently asks about you and reads the blog too.
    I have so admired your daughters, especially Anna. Her blog entries have encouraged me and blessed me.
    I am continuing to pray, especially at night, during those dark and lonely hours. Please know that you have so many praying for you, whether they know you personally or not. We are all connected through our faith and our love for Christ. Blessings to you as you continue this long journey. We are praying! We will continue to pray!

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  24. we want to encourage you but you are encouraging us with these blogs! Our son’s mother in law, younger than us, just had a major stroke and can’t use her one side or speak. She does not know the Lord- how do you cope then?
    We are in Greece at the CMDE meeting now and thinking fondly of your time with us.
    We continue to pray for your recovery and all the family.

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  25. PLEASE PUT ME ON YOUR LIST. KAREN OSWALT KINDLY FORWARDS THESE TO US BUT I WOULD LIKE TO GET THEM DIRECTLY FROM THE “HORSE’S MOUTH”.
    JOHN AND I HAVE BEEN PRAYING FOR YOU AND STAN AND ALL THE FAMILY FOR MONTHS AND WILL CONTINUE TO DO SO. THANK YOU KATY FOR PRAYING WITH ME AT ERC AND THANK YOU STAN FOR THE EXCELLENT BIBLE STUDIES YOU SERVED UP FOR ALL OF US AT CAMP. VERY GOOD FOOD FROM GOD’S WORD. MY EMAIL IS : jeb66@provide.net.
    LOVE AND BLESSINGS
    JUDY (AND JOHN BLOSS)

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  26. Hi Katy,

    I’m so glad to read your blog today. I’m so sorry for all that you have been through, but thankful for God’s grace and mercies. They are new every morning!!!! Continuing to pray for healing and wholeness. Stay strong!!!
    Love,
    Crystal

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  27. Katie, it’s nice to hear from you and your own reflections of the past few months’ experiences. I’ve enjoyed/appreciated your family’s posts as well. You’re all such an inspiration, and I’ve learned a lot from all of you. I find myself examining my spiritual experience and asking myself how I’d handle what you’ve been through. You are a true definition of “grace under pressure!” I continue to keep you and your family in my prayers.

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  28. Katy, nothing makes me happier than to know you penned these words! Your ordeal since December has brought all of LCC to its knees in prayer daily, sometimes hourly. so thankful the Lord sustained you and that you were able to be to enjoy Easter with your family! I love you Katy! Continuing to pray for your total healing and freedom from pain. Thankful God healed the nausea!

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  29. YOU are such an encouragement. Thank you for reminding me of His faithfulness in the midst of trial. Someday, if Jesus tarries, I want to see you again at Hollow Rock!

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  30. How special it is to read the words you wrote. The struggle to do it must have been great but you did it! Thanks. Believing God for His perfect will to be accomplished through all of this. Praying daily for you and your healing. To God Be The Glory for what He has done and will do. Much Love, Mary

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  31. Thank you so much for encouraging all of us with you testimony of God’s faithfulness in the hard times!! Thank you too for sharing your difficulties too so we know how to pray for you!! It is so powerful to hear your witness of God’s presence with you and your family! With our love and daily prayers, Darlene and Mark

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  32. What a blessing to read your thoughts and see the victory that you have experienced in incredible hardships and trials. We’re thankful that the nausea is gone (a wonderful answer to prayer), and we continue to uphold you for pain relief and steps of recovery. May God grant you extraordinary courage and perseverance.

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  33. Katy, As I think about you this morning I am reminded of the battle Joshua led against Amalek. Joshua fought the battle but needed Moses to raise his hands for victory. I continue to raise my hands with others in prayer for your victory in this battle. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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