Friday, August 31, 2018

Bellyaches, Headaches and Heartaches. (Those Faint Whispers - Part 2)

We probably all have times when we have disregarded wisdom calling out to us.

Jonah heard God asking him to go to Nineveh and he didn't want to go. He ended up in the belly of a whale. I wonder if he gave that whale a bellyache?


I had a lot of bellyaches when I was growing up. Looking back, I must have internalized the stress our family experienced.

As I've reflected on this next season in my Mother's life, after the death of her son, Nathan, I am reminded that there is a cost when we don't follow our inner sense of direction. It can lead to a lot of bellyaches, headaches and heartaches.

She had started driving a school bus for extra income but she mentioned (in her own words) that when she started sensing that she was to give up driving the bus, she didn't want to and ignored the warning. Strangely, she got meningitis from a child on her bus not long after that warning.


When she got the meningitis, they had to put a shunt in her head due to scar tissue build-up in her brain. My Mother struggled through many seasons of illness, caused by the malfunction of the shunt. We all struggled with her.

One time she was so sick we had a hospital bed brought in and placed in the living room of our farm house so she didn't have to climb steps. We could care for her more easily on the ground level. I'd wash the linens—sometimes several times a day because she would lose control of her bladder. Even worse, at times, she would seem to lose her mind.

One day she had hallucinations of my brother, Adriel, being dead and in heaven. This was scary, since it was her only living son that she was hallucinating about and not the two sons who really were dead.

There was one thing that always seemed constant through her illnesses; she craved a good old steak. Daddy would make her a steak no matter what time of day or night it was. We ran a beef farm so at least we had plenty of steaks on hand.

Once the Doctors discovered that the shunt in my Mother's head was clogged and needed replaced (or unclogged), she would recover rather quickly. However, the frequent episodes took a toll on her. Sometimes it seemed they would unclog the shunt and she'd still struggle, so then they would replace it. They had to shave her head every time they worked on the shunt. The head trauma also left her feeling depressed.

My Mother and her favorite dog, Angie. She often wore a handkerchief like this after they worked on her shunt.


We had a foster child living with us at the time and because of her illness, he was immediately removed from our home and she was never able to locate him after that. She was heart broken. Even in the last years of her life, she'd mention him and wonder what happened to him.

Green, Yellow or Red?

I had a teacher in Oklahoma who used to always say, "Feel for the green, yellow or red light when it comes to making decisions." If you are trying to get a sense of which way you should go, ask yourself if you feel a "green" light—a sense of yes, move ahead. Or do you sense a "yellow" light of caution—slow down and wait. There are times we will sense a strong "red" light—which means, STOP!

I remember a time when I ignored a whisper of warning. I was interested in a guy (long before I knew Tom) but I clearly felt the Spirit telling me to stay away—to STOP!

I didn't listen. I wish I would have.

It clouded how I viewed myself for years.

Grace, Forgiveness and Healing

Thank God for grace, forgiveness and healing, not just in that situation but in the life of our family too. We'll never know what we might have been spared if my Mother would have paid attention to the whispers of the Spirit. But it doesn't do any good to ponder the "what ifs" in life, at least, the ones we can't go back and change.

Years ago, after my first few trips to Nashville, I started asking God to move us to Nashville. I asked this for years and finally one morning, out of the blue, I heard Him say, "not yet." From then on, I had peace and I stopped asking. Then we entered the final phase of my Mother's life and I was so thankful that I was living close to her to help her as she prepared to finish up her time here on earth. I began to sense that part of the reason for "not yet" was so that I could be present with my Mother through those final years.

Those faint whispers are worth paying attention to!

No mother is perfect. No person is perfect.  I appreciate that my Mother was willing to share this part of her story with us. It's priceless. It lets me know that she was human. It reminds me to pay attention to those faint whispers. They come to us for a reason.