So many people ask, “How is Darla doing?” I really thought I would have a better answer after I got back here and could see for myself, but the reality is, it is hard to say how Darla is doing. First of all, she is discerning enough to know when we are talking about her and she might even read this blog! (Hi, Darla!) So I don’t want to talk about her like as if she is not able to talk for herself.
I think the most telling thing about Darla is listening to her pray. In her prayers in our family prayer times, if you could sit in on them, you would hear Darla weep and ask the Lord to help her “be what I need to be to my precious children” and then you would hear her, still tearfully, ask the Lord to help her to serve Him and to be a blessing and a help to the people in their ministries. If you could be a mouse in my kitchen, (I haven’t seen any, so I think you would be the first), you would hear Darla expressing frustration at feeling incapable of managing things as she used to. “It’s so frustrating; I know I used to be able to perform better!” Yes, she has trouble executing several things at once. (But so do I!!!) The children’s quick movements and their chatter and banter can be disorienting to her. Any quick movement can leave her dizzy and even a little woozy. The doctors say they think this is an inner ear issue related to the neurological damage she suffered. As she gets more tired, she relies on the strong arm of her hubby or her big son to navigate stairs or uneven ground. You can see a weakness or lack of coordination sometimes. The doctors have told her to “Push through” some of her issues, even to the point of “aggravating” her dizziness by sitting up suddenly in bed, etc. This is truly a “push through it” event for her because such dizziness brings nausea with it.
In addition to these things, Darla sometimes loses focus before she can finish writing a paragraph, or loses focus in the middle of a process; because of this, doesn’t always trust her judgment, and turns to Rick or someone to help her make a call on things. They recently had a yard sale to sell off some extra’s they have accumulated, clothes the kids have outgrown, etc. Darla had a hard time making judgment calls on pricing things, and even on what was to be done with a thing. . .sell or keep. Decisions are hard for her. But she did get better at it the second day of the sale. (-:
Here’s what she can do: She can do some cooking, and laundry. Marshall, now 27 months old, loves to go to the retractable clothesline on the veranda and “help” mommy hang the clothes. That is another thing she can do. She can certainly love on and enjoy Marshall! She can sit with her children and help them with their school work. She and I “spell” each other on that. When I need a nap, they call on her. Otherwise, Grandpa and I have been overseeing a lot of their home-schooling, since Rick and Darla went to Australia for a month in October, and then we continued it after their return so they could work on some of their “projects” - including putting the finishing touches on the last two rooms of their house. (Whew! That was a pretty long sentence! Did you follow? Hope so, because I’m not doing a re-write.)
Darla can also still sit with the ladies in their ministries and listen to their needs and their stories. She can offer them the same sympathetic ear and give them loving counsel, or promise to pray for them. . .as before. While Rick and Darla were in Australia for the follow-up with the neurologists in October, my husband was filling in for Rick in his ministries. We were at Simpson Harbor Baptist Church, where Rick and Darla have served since 2005, and a young lady came up to me and said she was “returning” my book that Darla had recently lent to her. The book was, “I Kissed Dating Goodbye.” The young lady had had some boyfriend problems which she shared with Darla. Darla counseled her and gave her the book to read and suggested to her that she read it with a notebook and that she write down anything that particularly blessed her or that she wanted to remember. She told her to take notes on the book as if she were going to give a report on it, but for her own personal reference. The young woman told me in tears that she read the book twice and she did take notes as Sister Darla told her to and that it had changed her whole attitude about boyfriends! She said, “I am now ready to wait on the Lord to lead me to the man I should marry some day.” So, you see, even with her limitations which cause her some self doubt and probably give rise to a bit of depression out of frustration at times, God still uses Darla. This is what we try to assure her of and I keep telling her, “Darla, you are still improving. Be patient with yourself.” Ashley says, “Don’t beat yourself up, Mama! You are still here for us!”
The follow-up with the neurologists last month did not provide all the answers Rick and Darla hoped for. Rick said “Doctors, ask you a lot of questions and sit there and look at you and nod their heads, but they don’t give you many answers.” At least not in this case! They did have a few suggestions and held out hope for further improvements, but our real hope is in the Great Physician! He heals and He gives grace!
One great burden for Darla right now is the knowledge that $98,000 is needed to pay back the money lent for her medical evacuation a year ago. Her head bows at the mention of it. All the other medical bills are covered, Praise the Lord, but as the American dollar weakens against the Australian dollar, the money amount still owed grows. They and we have no means to pay this and the folks who lent it deserve to have it repaid. Please pray with us about this. If you can help or if you have a suggestion for fund-raising, please do as God leads you to do. Thank you again for your prayers and gifts.
Mother, Mother-in-Law, Grandma