Wednesday, 18 April 2012

God In The Darkness

My husband and I were married in May of 2007. We hadn't planned for a child for two years. In 2009, I conceived and had a miscarriage in the 9th week. Following this, my dad who was a prostrate cancer patient fell seriously ill and needed intense home care and assistance. So the stork's visit had to be postponed for some more time yet. My dad passed away in August 2011, and it was in the same year, that I discovered that I was pregnant again.

It was a healthy pregnancy. I was working as a writer in an MNC. I had to travel to work everyday. And we even moved house during that time. Everything was going on smoothly.

However it was in the 7th month of pregnancy that I felt myself slowing down. I was incessantly tired. My face lost its glow. I even found it tiring to comb my hair in the morning. I also lost my appetite. I did not feel hungry anymore. I felt like drinking juices and liquids instead.

These were all signs that something was not right. Usually from the 7th month onwards in pregnancy a woman eats ravenously. The doctor I was seeing as well passed over all these symptoms carelessly, telling me that it was due to my fatigue from working long hours and not getting enough rest, that some women's food preferences changed in the later stages of pregnancy; not that she could have known what was wrong at the time, of course. No one could have known.

I remember one day, just before the start of my 8th month, while still in office, noticing my urine and thinking that it looked yellower than usual. And I thought, 'Do I have jaundice, or something?' But then I dismissed this as well, since my family always kept telling me I searched out the really big diseases to pin on myself. 'No it must because of the medicines I'm taking, I told myself.' I had recently recovered from food poisoning, and had been taking pills for the same.

It was a week before my check up in the 8th month of pregnancy , when I went to the clinic, that they did the usual blood and urine test. 'The baby was fine' they said. At this time, I had taken maternity leave and was at home. 

The next day the lab technician informed me that I had jaundice and I had to come to the clinic immediately. They did the test twice. My bilirubin had been 1.6. It went upto to 4.2 in 2 days. My relatives suggested country medicine, and knowing others who had been cured by it, I agreed, and made the necessary trips to the country doctor's home. My gynac as well encouraged me to go in for this. She prescribed Liv 52, and a vitamin tablet, and said to drink plenty of liquids as there was no other medicine for jaundice. The country medicine was mixed with the juice of 8 limes, and you had to drink it straight. I followed this for 2 days, after which I had violent fits of vomiting and could not keep any food or liquid down. We redid the blood test and found that my bilirubin had gone upto 9. The next day, I noticed my urine flow was very slight. I also noticed my legs had begun swelling up to the calf. My family took me to PSG hospital where they ran a battery of tests. An ultrasound showed that the baby was fine. But my sugar was down to 40. They said it was by sheer willpower that I had survived without fainting until then. I was hospitalized.

The condition I was diagnosed with was called Acute Fatty Liver of Pregnancy. This affects one in 15,000 pregnant women in the third trimester. I was that one. It causes liver and renal failure, and even slows down blood circulation to the brain. My liver and kidneys had by the time stopped functioning which explained the ceaseless vomiting and stoppage of urine, and the speedy spike in my bilirubin level. This led to blood poisoning or sepsis which usually shuts down the internal organs, ultimately leading to death.


The doctors said that they had to induce labour. They could not treat me until after the baby was delivered. They also said that because of my liver failure, my blood clotting factor had gone haywire, which meant that by no means could they operate on me, or I would bleed to death in the OT. I had to deliver the baby normally. If I could not deliver normally, I would die along with the baby. This was the ultimatum. The bottom line.

I can just imagine my husband, my mother, the rest of my family struggling with this news. I was unaware obviously. All I remember was being laid out on the delivery table. They began inducing labour. I was then left alone except for a maid who came in from time to time and asked if I wanted to pass urine. The pains began but were slow. I recall my mom and husband coming in to see me. My mother-in-law came in later as well. The contractions built up slowly, and I remember only up to a certain point. I don’t know if I passed out later on or whether I’ve blocked out the memory of that final push. But it was God who helped me deliver the child that day. I had no strength of my own.

The baby that I had hoped, and longed, and ached for was a beautiful boy. He didn’t even seem premature. He was tall and fair, and had my husband’s nose, my lips, and my grandma’s blue eyes. He died at birth. We had already picked out a name for him: Jeffrey – which means ‘God’s Peace.’ I never got to see him, only his photograph. He looked like a little angel sleeping peacefully, not like an infant with the shadow of death on his face.

My family was informed about the death and then the nightmare began. I was unconscious and on oxygen. The doctors said there wasn’t even any guarantee I would survive till they took me to the ICU which was on the 3rd floor. They rushed me there, and then began the endless pushing of forms for my husband to sign; forms excluding the hospital from blame if anything should happen to me during any of the procedures. I was put on a ventilator as I had trouble breathing, and was catheterized, and IVd. Later they stuck food tubes in my nose. My family tells me, in my sedated state I had yanked off my catheter and nose tubes twice.

Over the next couple of days my body had swollen up to double its size because of the kidney failure, bloated with edema. My skin had turned dark yellow, and my husband told me even my tears were yellow at the time. I kept writhing on the bed in pain and discomfort. But thank God, I was sedated most of the time. The doctors were considering dialysis because I wasn’t passing out urine. But then they decided to wait another day. With medication the next day, they saw a little urine, and dialysis was cancelled.

There was one particular day when I was in real despair. This was when I dreamed I was writing a letter to God and confessing all my sins. Then I asked God to take me as it seemed better to be with him than suffering alone on earth. And I could see my dad again and be with him. At this time I saw, as it were, a sheer curtain, almost as thin as gauze in front of me. It appeared as if the entire curtain were made not of some tangible material but of a glowing light. And somehow I knew that on the other side of that curtain was my Saviour and all my loved ones who had one on before, waiting for me.

I saw many dreams in the ICU, some of them meaningless hallucinations. But many of them were meaningful, about people trying to pull down my husband’s ministry, trying to deride him, make him feel small because of the work he did which was without profit or gain, trying to make him feel that God wasn’t on his side. But in all those dreams I was rooting for him, supporting him all the way.

In one dream I saw many prominent Christian singers and preachers ridicule my husband's ministry. They were saying that he would never achieve prosperity in the world because he was preaching a gospel not suited to our times. The discouragement was pouring out like fiery waves. Each of them laughed and verbally beat down on him with all the arsenal the enemy could provide. 'What did he have to show for it? Where was the Lord when he called on Him? Why didn't He answer? How many people attended his fellowship? What was his wife's condition like, lying in hospital, unable to move?' The derision hurt me, even stabbed me as I lay in bed in my semi-conscious state. Yet through it all I recalled the words of the chief priests when they sneeringly reviled the Lord, saying, 

"He trusted in God; let Him deliver him now, if He will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God." (Matt: 27:42,43)

It was the same spirit at work now trying to deride the work of the Lord, to make it seem as if it were nothing at all, trying to make us doubt whether the work we were doing was actually all in vain. And when disparaging words fall on an already half-broken back, the burden is too much to bear for the body and the mind. I could see in those dreams, my husband, weighed down with worry and doubt. But beneath all these unpleasant pictures was an underlying hope in the Lord that would not die no matter what. And I found myself trying to encourage him, tell him not to give up, no matter what the ridicule or hardship or shame.

In another dream, I saw one of my husband's relatives who is a minister. I was in their house. I saw he and his wife drunk and lying down in oblivion. The house was very rich looking, and there was an air of headiness around. I was lying helpless in a recliner in their home, and they were unaware even that I was there. When I finally managed to wake the man, we began a dialogue. He was cursing and deriding my husband and the ministry, as well as all those labouring in Jesus' name, and I was trying to reason with him.

'I know you and my husband have your differences. But if you can't respect him for the doctrine he stands by, at least try to respect him for the fact that he is a servant of God, serving the people, and not a charleton trying to swindle people's money.', I found myself saying. 

He replied, 

'He is not fit for anything, much less for the ministry. By preaching in this Jesus' name doctrine, he is propogating Anti-Christ. He is responsible for the death of his grandma, his grandma's sister, his father-in-law, and now look at you. Look at the state you're in. You will die too. Nothing else can come of preaching in Jesus' name. Why else are you people always at the low end, always suffering? The Lord has promised to take care of his children. Look at me. I have all I want.' 

And the verbal battle went on. He trying to convince me that Christ has promised prosperity, and me softly reminding him of all the ministers who preached in Jesus' Name before, who had suffered and died for His Name without complaint, but were still counted worthy as great ministers of our time. It was a direct affront of the devil on our faith.

In another dream I saw a known relative of my husband who was a widow. She was decked in gold and fine clothing, and had on a tinge of turmeric yellow on her arms and face as is the custom of most South Indian women. They apply turmeric on their faces and bodies before any auspicious functions, or before their visit to the temple. This woman was handing out invitations, and I heard her tell another woman she was getting married again. Beside her was another relative who was not particularly liked. On noticing me they both fell silent and looked at me with pity. 

'This is Shadrach's wife, oh my, look at the state she's in, and he preaching the gospel and all, how tragic!' they said, bending towards me to get a better look at my suffering. And then I could see into their minds, and I saw their thoughts; they were actually saying, 'He deserves it, for all the rebukes he gave us, all this talk of God and ministry, none of it will save you in the end. Now look at the state they're in. Now he'll know, how can he face us again?' 

And I found my head hanging low, very low, in shame. And my heart cried out, 'How long will though forget me O Lord? Forever? How long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?' I felt the tears slide down my eyes as I cried 'Lord, why do you bring such suffering upon us? Where is the time of refreshing? When will you lift us up?' And then, I felt a hand reach out from behind me and lift my bent head, and raise it up. And I knew it was the Lord. He would lift us up in His own time. He is "my glory, and the lifter up of my head." (Psalms 3:3)

Another dream I had just before I came to consciousness was this: I was in a wheelchair, and there were nurses and hospital volunteers all around me. Suddenly the room goes dark, and outside, the sky has an amber aura about it. Then I see people behind me pointing to the clouds and saying, 

"Look, it is as if this is the second coming of Christ. Is it?" 

Many people exclaim, 

"This is some supernatural phenomenon". 

I see many sincere folks dropping to their knees and worshiping. Others run this way and that. Still others lay still on the ground shielding their eyes to block out the wonderful light. Then I see a lot of fat men running away, and I hear a girl say, 

"Look at these fat pastors run. They have grown fat on the people, and now they cannot answer the Lord at His coming." 

In the middle of all this commotion, my mother calls, and someone hands me the phone. She says, 

"Benu, daddy's come home. Can you believe this? He's here with me. Know what? If you can believe this, you can be healed. Daddy's here." 

And I found myself crying tears of happiness as I believed, 'yes, I believe it's possible. Daddy's home.' 

"And the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord." (I Thessalonians 4: 16,17)

I did not know it but at this time many pastors, friends, and people all over the world were praying for me. My husband got a call from a pastor from the US named Siva Tiwari, who said, 

“Deep down in my heart, I know that God will raise your wife back again.” 

And the next day, I opened my eyes, and saw my husband’s face for the first time in so many days. This was the first time I regained total consciousness, although I kept drifting in and out of sleep due to the sedatives.

When I awoke one day I was hit with sudden pains where the gynac had put down the stitches. The pain was too much to bear and I remember crying out for help. It seemed like forever till the nurses came and I heard them discussing the room availability, and other matters. Finally they wheeled me off, and the experience I then had was the most horrible one in my life. Because of my liver condition, the doctors could not anesthetize me much. They gave me a minor painkiller dose, and I yelled all the while they were suturing me. When it was finally done, and the pain was gone, I was so tired out, I couldn’t even speak. The pain was due to a hematoma. It seemed like there were clots in my uterus that were weighing down on the stitches because of which they had broken, and had to be redone. As a result of this I had a huge wound that swelled up the size of a baseball.

It was back to the ICU. Back to endless days of waking up and finding myself in the same place, wondering where I was, why my family hadn’t come to see me. For a long time, my scrambled brain had the thought that I was suffering from Hepatitis B and my family had abandoned me in some community organization which looked after people freely. Seems weird, but that’s how a sedated mind thinks. I kept having hallucinations as well because of the drugs I was on. I saw animals roaming around, and the nurses and orderlies looked like dwarfs to me. Sometimes I thought the volunteers and assistant doctors were trying to kill me or molest me. And then I’d fall asleep again and dream strange dreams. My thoughts were dis-coordinated – reality and fantasy merging into one. I had no idea that I could not walk, nor what had happened to me, nor where I was. I spent day after day lying in the same position staring up at the ceiling or at the other patients, sleeping most of the time, and waking suddenly in fits of fever or delirium.

I was totally dependent on the nurses and volunteers, who were kind and gentle with me. There are so many of them who do service so wholeheartedly and with such dedication, I could only marvel at their sense of service. I even made a couple of good friends there who still keep in touch with me.

I lost count of the number of injections they gave me, the number of times I was poked and prodded for blood tests and spot sugar tests. The day began with the BP check, then a sugar test (a small poke they called it.) Next our waste was cleaned and diapers changed, then our beds tidied while we were pulled this way and that, then our pillows fluffed, and it was off to dreamland again for those of us on sedation. I don’t know how often they bathed us and combed our hair. But I do remember the hot and cold washes and someone yanking my flaky hair this way and that.

I was totally dependent on the nurses and volunteers, who were kind and gentle with me. There are so many of them who do service so wholeheartedly and with such dedication, I could only marvel at their sense of service. I even made a couple of good friends there who still keep in touch with me.

I kept hearing the doctor’s say they were going to shift me to a ward. But they kept stalling, for day after day I woke up in the ICU, sometimes in the day time, sometimes in the night. As now I wasn’t that heavily sedated, I saw my mom and husband from time to time. I was off the ventilator of course, but I couldn’t speak clearly, although I could understand what they were saying. But I was desperate to get out of the ICU. And I kept crying about it day in and day out, all in my sleepy stupor to the doctors, the staff, anyone who would listen.

Finally, the day dawned! They transferred me to the special ward where I could be with my family. It was goodbye to the isolation and loneliness of the ICU, where I had spent 12 days. It had almost seemed an eternity. My mom, husband, and sister-in-law were with me. I was immensely happy. Although now began a new set of trials.

The doctors told me I had progressed. My kidneys were functioning well, and my liver functions were improving as well. At first it was a problem for my family to care for me. My legs and hands were still bloated, my body heavy. The fluid had to drain out gradually. My husband must have lost at least 4 kilos lifting me up every day! And my mom was awake 24 hours a day.

My feeding tubes were gone, and I was now put on a 5 gm salt diet. The food was tasteless at first. But I got to drink plenty of juices and milk drinks. And I had the run of the place with whatever fruits I desired to eat. It was such a joy to have real food in my mouth again, to taste it no matter how bad the hospital canteen cooking was. It was a joy to feel my husband’s arms around me, to hug my mother, to laugh with my sister-in-law who’s more like a real sister to me.

The nights were still fearsome. I couldn’t sleep, and most nights I made a racket with my muddled thoughts and kept my family awake talking gibberish. All my subconscious fears kept surfacing and swam over me like waves. The doctors even took a brain scan thinking that I may have a clot in my brain. But it was the trauma that was the real cause.

All this time I was unaware that my baby had died. The doctor’s felt it best that the news should be broken slowly, so no one had told me about it. I had asked the docs if I could feed the baby, how the baby was many times, and had been told that I couldn’t feed it because the jaundice had not yet left me completely, and the baby was in the ICU for infants.

My hands and legs were wrapped tightly with grip bandages to bring down the swelling. This came down gradually. As the fluids drained out of my body, my skin grew dryer and shriveled up. If I scratched just a little white flakes like salt just fell off. So my mom bathed me in oil and moisturizer. They combed my hair which was a great pleasure after the matted nest I had carried for so long. I felt a bit more dignified. I had back pain from lying on my back for so many days without movement. I hadn’t known that I couldn’t walk or stand or sit up on my own. My body felt as heavy as lead. I was being pumped with antibiotics and other meds for days.

The physiotherapy sessions were fulfilling. I felt the sleeping strength in my legs awake. With a lot of effort, I slowly managed to stand, then walk around with a walker in the room. I felt like an old woman seriously. After another couple of days I began walking with hand support. Then I could sit down on my own, but found that I could not stand or get up independently. My husband or mother had to practically lift me up. And above all was the overwhelming tiredness that even a little effort brought.

I can never forget the first time I looked in the mirror. I was horrified to say the least. I looked like a Somalian refugee - bloated in all the wrong places. I had some kind of rash on my neck and face due to the medication. My lips had shriveled up, my hands and feet looked like something out of a horror movie, my face had a faraway disoriented look about it. "For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away." (I Peter 1:24)

When I had gained some amount of self-confidence and mobility, my family had decided to break the news of the death of my child to me. But they obviously were confused when to do so. So, one day when I and my husband were alone, I kept insisting I wanted to see the baby. And then he finally told me what had happened. Well, how do you take the death of your baby? I felt like crying but the tears didn’t come. It was like my body had gone numb. Then my defense mechanism kicked in and I consoled myself, and accepted it. A couple of days later I asked to see his photo. It was then that the tears came. He was an angel. He looked so beautiful, so beautiful, but he was buried in the ground somewhere…my angel. There aren’t any words to explain the sadness. How many times I’d felt him kick and move inside me expecting, waiting, loving him even before I could see him. I’d bought a new baby wardrobe. My mom and aunt had got hundreds of clothes for him, little socks and shoes for his tiny baby feet. There were so many toys waiting for his chubby hands to play with. Now all that had to be forgotten stacked and stored away, put out of sight so that I could forget….forget everything.

The doctors came on their rounds and looked me up and down, prodded, checked, and agreed that I was progressing and could soon be discharged. Tests were done, scans taken, and finally, it was decided to take me off the catheter. This turned out to be a huge problem. Once they’d taken off the catheter I could not pass urine on my own. They said it was psychological, and maybe it was. After 20 days with a tube passing urine for you, you kind of get used to having your work cut out for you. I tried hot and cold water shakes, massages, even sitting it out, but to no avail. Those 2 days were torture. Urine would fill my bladder and it would hurt so bad. I’d scream for the nurses to come and manually catheterize me. That was a mentally frustrating and physically straining time. Finally I overheard my mom talking to my cousin in Mumbai. She suggested letting the tap run water into a bucket. The sound sometimes worked to take off the mental block. But mom didn’t even have to turn on the tap, I could feel my bowels work. So many people had been praying for me. It seems really strange to discuss this publicly, but that was the happiest moment I had in the hospital. Previously hearing about my condition, a urologist came by and said they’d need to do a scan and, if any damage was found, they would have to either put me on more drugs or I would have to use a manual catheter at home every time. I had been really scared on hearing that. But now, I felt so free.

In another 3 days the doctors declared me fit to leave. I literally hugged them goodbye. I left the hospital on a wheelchair and rode with much difficulty in a taxi. When I was home, I collapsed on my bed…my bed! After the discomfort of the hospital bed this was heaven. I just rolled to all extents possible on it!

Then began my home routine. Things which before had seemed so easy, were now so hard. At first turning from one side to another hurt very badly. Sitting without a cushion was impossible because of my stitches and the wound I had. I was dependent on my husband and mom for even getting up to do my daily duties. I couldn’t even brush my teeth myself. At first I couldn’t hold a spoon in my hand for long. I used to eat while in a sleeping position, and had to be fed. I only sat up for breakfast. I had to use a commode chair. 

Small things like kneeling on the bed, changing my sitting position, moving backwards, lifting up my feet from the floor, sitting on the couch, walking the 5 steps to the bathroom, everything was so tiring, such an effort. But slowly things improved.

I began trusting the Lord more for even the little things. My experience had taught me so. So for every obstacle that came by in the form of an ache of pain, or maybe something that couldn't be done, I cried out to the Lord, and the next day, that obstacle disappeared. One day, my back pain left me, and I was able to turn with ease on the bed, another day I could walk more freely, another day, I had strength enough to get up by myself. It was as if the Lord was with me touching each part of my body, healing me inside and out, and most of all whispering sweet lessons of experience in my ear, that I cannot forget.

I walked falteringly at first, shakily, losing my balance now and then and being held by my husband almost all the time, then I used my dad’s cane for a while, and then began walking without support, although I used to get tired real quick, and was still a bit shaky. I still couldn’t change positions quickly, although I could sit for longer than before. First I could only sit on a high chair, then slowly I moved to the couch. Getting up by myself was no longer a problem. But I still couldn't lean back on chairs and this had given me a crick in my neck. At first I couldn’t sleep at night, the images of the ICU kept coming back, and I had recurring, disturbing dreams that I began staying awake to avoid. But as time wore on I got my full night’s rest.

Getting stronger, feeling my muscles build up again, seeing the face in the mirror fill up, the rash go away, regaining my independence, it boosted me up. I still had a long way to go though. My voice remained croaky for a long time; I still can’t remember stuff the way I used to before, but I feel like a war veteran who escaped death with worthy scars. Maybe someday I can smile as I say this. 

Although nothing can make up for the loss of my baby boy, I thank the Lord that He spared my life. Having looked into the jaws of death, I find, I’m no longer afraid of death for I know where I’m going when I die. During that time in the ICU when I was battling death, God’s presence was very tangible, like I could reach out and touch it. You might say this was delirium too, but I would strongly disagree. It was during my lucid moments, when my brain could actually think straight, that I felt him with me, always with me. I found God there in the darkness. And it was God who helped me get through it, so I owe my life to Him twice over.

I thank my mom, husband, sister-in-law, and mother-in-law who stood by me, who kept themselves strong for me, who prayed me to recovery, who put up with my tantrums and outbursts, and who provided me the comfort I required at the time.

I thank the gastro team and the ICU staff at PSG hospital for their efficiency, dedicated efforts, and support. 

I also thank all of you who prayed for me, who came to the hospital to comfort my family and ask after me, who called in from around the world to show you cared, who helped financially, as well as through your physical presence. It’s when you’re in the valley, that you learn who your real friends are. And I was surprised to know how many of you really cared. 

Sometimes, we go through ordeals in life which we can't understand. Our expectations and plans may be crushed. The dreams we dream may be beaten down into the dust. And then we look up and cry out, 'Why Lord? Oh Why?' But through the years what I've learned is, we can spare ourselves a whole lot of heartache by not asking 'Why', trusting where we cannot understand. A poem comes to mind:

When the frosts are in the valley,
And the mountain tops are grey,
And the choicest buds are blighted,
And the blossoms die away,
A loving Father whispers,
'This cometh from my hand'
Blessed are ye if ye trust
Where ye cannot understand.

And I thank the Lord, even for this experience, because it taught me that death is nothing because of the security we have under the blood of Christ.

In the words of King David having lost his infant son, 

“He shall not return to me, but I shall go to him.”

AUG 2014

It has been 2 years and counting since this ordeal and I am strong in the Lord hoping for a miracle baby one of these days and waiting on the Father's will.

After my father's death, my faith had been hanging in the balance for quite a while. It took something as earth shattering as this to bring me back to a place where I could say, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him." (Job 13:15)

It was not only the loss of my son and the overturning of my little world which broke me. It was the whole curing process. 

For a long time I was in quarantine, shut up in my room at my mom's place with no visitors allowed. Even a sneeze in my direction could cause an infection for which I might have had to be hospitalized and on drips once again owing to the fact that my immunity was still frighteningly low and my WBC count abnormal.

In spite of such precautionary measures, I developed a chest infection, then later an intestinal infection for which I had to undergo antibiotic courses and spend day after day lying around with nothing to do.

My voice was raspy for almost a month because of the tube and ventilator abrasions and this irritated me no end as I was always fond of singing and found it hard to converse with my friends over the phone.

Reading was my joy, but I found I couldn't even a hold a book straight for more than 10 minutes, and many times in fits of rage would fling my books across the room. Even the Bible which had been my solace had to be read to me, as my eyes began to swim whenever I attempted to read and it took a lot of time for my brain to catch up with the words on the page.

Some memories just flew away. I found I could not remember the names of certain people I had known, or places I'd been to, or things that had happened to me; sometimes I couldn't  even remember if I'd eaten or not.

The nights were spent battling my demons of fear and depression, the days filled with the agony accompanying every movement of my body, until finally when I was healed up to a certain point, I began losing my hair in clumps and clusters. It was almost like waking up during chemotherapy seeing whole bunches come off when I combed my hair each morning. This was a result of the enormity of my physical breakdown and also because of the powerful drugs they had pumped into me.

The doctors said it would take anywhere around 8 to 12 months to regain my strength, but by the grace of God and with the tender loving care of my family and mom's amazing cooking, I recovered within a 6 month span.

I have realized that the grace and mercy of the Lord are not be taken lightly, that the scripture, "Redeeming the time for the days are evil" (Ephesians 3:16) is to be seriously contemplated in our days, that we need to make the best of the time we have on earth witnessing for the Lord, that we should never be ashamed to testify of the grace of God even if we may be a laughing stock in the eyes of the world, and that we should be content with what we have rather than yearn for what we have lost or desire something we know we may never get.

Above all I live in the daily awareness of my Saviour walking beside me and watching to see how I overcome the battles of life each day and live for the glory of His name.

This whole experience although having wearied and broken me physically, has renewed me spiritually, and made me tougher, stronger, and much more patient.

I thank the Lord for his abundant mercy in my life and pray that He may comfort all those of you who have lost someone dear to you or shared a similar experience as mine. Our God is God in the day as well as in the night.