I remember the day we both said those words, "for better or worse, in sickness and in health, until death do we part." While Mike has always been there, he, by his own admission, doesn't always have the answers and, like most men, that is when he is most frustrated. Sometimes it's easy to think oh, if only God would instill in the male species the understanding that they don't need to understand it, just be there to comfort. But spouses are not meant to change each other, but to complement each other.
Yet, it was in this frustration of not understanding or being understood that we seemed to grow so far apart that we viewed one another as strangers living under the same roof. Financial constraints mounted. We were stuck, with no way out!
I spent that summer very ill from chronic pneumonia that saw me hospitalized in July. By the time I was released, the doctor summoned Mike and I into his office, where he told us both that I had no more than six months to live! Oh, if I had thought the "dark night" had been dark before, it was suffocating now.
We chose not to speak about it. The days went on, my health did not improve, and everything that could go wrong, did. It seemed that way, but in reality it was at that very moment that Our Lord rescued us.
At one point I remember very clearly saying to God that if He was going to take me home, that was okay with me, but I wanted to spend whatever time remained doing only His Will, and living with joy and peace. I threw out all the medications I was on. I just flushed them down the toilet. I did that, not because I was strong, but because God was stronger than my illness, my depression, my dark night of the soul.
From that point on Mike and I never looked back. We lived for God then, and have done so since that time. All that seemed wrong, God took over and turned it to right.
Anxious now to get out of Los Angeles and the smog, especially in the San Fernando Valley, we placed our need at the Foot of the Cross and asked for guidance. This guidance came on an October morning--a Friday--when a large earthquake hit. As soon as the gound stopped shaking, I rushed to get the boys out of the preschool and back into my embrace. Mike came home, shaken. The entire ceiling of the home where we lived had a large crack running right down the center, and on the roop above sat a 5,000 pound air-conditioning unit. That Saturday, I gathered the boys together with us in the living room. I knew, somehow, that there was going to be another quake, an aftershock, that would take its final toll on the home. It happened about 1:30 am. The rent in the ceiling grew larger.
Right then and there Mike and I got into the car, drove back to San Diego, and came to my parents home. There, in that secure environment, we left our sons for a few days, while Mike and I went back. Mike gave his notice at work, while I began packing up everything. Money was more than scarce, so we literally moved ourselves. We found a relatively cheap home to rent in Vista, and it was to this home that we moved on October 31, 1987.
This was the time of conversion for us, the time when God so touched our lives that we look back and marvel at His work, even to this day.
It was then that I began having prophetic dreams. I didn't know they were prophetic then. To me the dream, which I had every night from June to the end of October made no sense. In fact, it was a sad dream, and I fully explained it to myself as having ill health, and was just emerging from the depression of the previous year. Oh, yes, I was rebounding. My health had never been better, the depression was gone, and we were finally getting out of LA--which is another planet. We truly felt we had been delivered out of exile after wandering aimlessly in the desert for low a year and a half of pure hell.
We put our lives in God's hands, and our financial woes managed to work themselves out, though not as we would have liked. Nonetheless, we came back to San Diego, the Vista area, feeling as if the weight of the world had been taken from our shoulders. Work was scarce, bills were high, but we were learning to TRUST in GOD fully, and to live within the means we had. No more keeping up with the rest of society, which clamored for more all the time. We were more than content to have each other, and to be the parents of our two wonderful sons.
Were it not for God, this period could well have marked the end of our marriage, for Mike did not know how to address all that I was going through, and I was equally unable to express what was going on within me.
At the time when we were faced with being stripped down to square one and starting over, only through God's grace did we find ourselves totally surrendering our lives to Him. "Speak, Lord, Thy servants listen!" was our motto.
It was, for me, the beginning of the gift of prophecy, first expressed through dreams, and then, some months later, the beginning of the gift of locutions. We didn't know these words back then. Mike was more than a bit leary of the prophetic nature of my dreams, but when events occurred which fulfilled the dream, he became even more leary. What was going on with me.
On November 24, 1987, my brother was killed instantly in a car crash as he headed home from his nightly meditation by the beach. He was less than a mile from home when he died! His death marked the unfolding of the first of three parts of the prophetic dream I'd been given. It was then that I knew that the remaining two parts of the dream would affect us profoundly.
A month after my brother died, as I was preparing for bed that night, I looked for my rosary. It was the rosary I'd been given at my First Communion, and it had always been under my pillow, on the left side, since that day. This night it wasn't there. It was nowhere to be found. I even dragged Mike away from a football game (kicking and screaming) to help me find it. Believe me, we were thorough. My purse, the bedclothes, the closet, everything was searched, but to no avail. Finally, I accepted the loss of my rosary for the time being, and as I lay down I distinctly remember saying to Our Blessed Mother: "I'm not sure if it's okay to ask, but if I am allowed, may I ask that you help me find my Rosary as a sign that my brother is safe in Heaven."
I went to sleep and awoke the next morning to bright sunshine, Mike beside me, and my left hand curled into a gentle fist, as if I was holding something. I slowly opened my hand and there, on the palm, was my rosary, and the links were now gold! I woke Mike up and asked him where he'd found it, when had he put it in my hand. By the look on his face I knew at once that he hadn't found it, and his shock was as great as mine. Oh, I had asked and God had answered, and there was PEACE in my entire being.
At that moment I accepted that God was working in my life, and I wanted Him to do that. I wanted to belong to Him at all times, in all things, and I never, ever wanted to be separated from Him, as I felt I had during the time after Kellin's birth.
NEXT WEEK: Lesson Twenty-Two: The Glue of God's Love!
For previous Lessons in this Series, see At One With God