My cousin Jean and her husband and daughter visited us this week, which involved some fun excursions (Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo - we all loved the colt race - more on that later). But what I really need to write about now is what I saw when Mom had us all over for dinner. Notice I say Mom, not Mom and Dad. My father was there, but he barely said two sentences the entire time.
Exactly one week before dinner with my folks and Jean's family, B. and I went out to dinner with Mom and Dad for a belated anniversary celebration, and Dad was getting along pretty good. But in one week's time, he suddenly aged 10 years. He has lost more weight and is very frail looking. He can barely walk and talks very slowly now too, if he talks at all. Mom had to take him to the doctor again because he has fallen twice now and has had some hallucinations. The doctor keeps adjusting his medication for the Parkinsons' tremors, and we think that is what is causing the hallucinations and unsteadiness, maybe the slow speech too. But what about his complete lack of appetite? He is wasting away before our eyes.
This year I have blogged a lot about various things I've challenged myself to work on: a Bible read-through, memorizing verses, losing weight, discipleship. These are all very noble goals, but I'm running out of time with my father, and my mother is frantic with worry about him. I need to spend more time with them, helping them, praying for them. Sharing my faith with them. This has got to become top priority.
Back in April I had a wonderful dream about my parents: may this dream come true. Just this morning I was reminded it of it again, as I was doing my daily reading - right now in Jeremiah. I was reading my favorite chapter in Jeremiah, 31. It's been my favorite in the past because of Jer 31:3 "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you in lovingkindness." But this morning I discovered another wonderful verse in this chapter:
Jer 31:25-26 The Lord Almightys says... "I have given rest to the weary and joy to the sorrowing." At this I woke up and looked around. My sleep had been very sweet.
The Lord had been speaking to Jeremiah while he slept, telling him about Israel's future. Promising him that He will bring the Israelites back to the promised land after their exile. Also promising Jeremiah that even though his people have been faithless, that there will come a time when "Israel will embrace her God."
I felt like like God was reminding me about my own dream, back in April, that promise that He would save my parents - that there would come a day, someday, when they would embrace God. I really need to share this with them. I am hoping with all my heart that God has sent this severe illness to my father (and my mother, who is suffering with him) because He is using it to draw them to Himself. He will not let my father go until he turns to Him. Please Lord use me to share Your Word with them! Please Lord give me the courage. Please Lord, save them.