Sunday, September 14, 2014

Missy’s Testimony: Beyond the Raging Storm

Introduction: Missy wrote this story back in February, and shared it on a few blogs. Recently, I remembered it again, and thought this would be a good time to share her testimony. When she originally shared it, she said that it would be great if others wanted to share her story as well, and good old “copy and past” is fine with her. So if you find this encouraging—as I do—then feel free to pass it on. –Esther


A Testimony of God’s Incredible Faithfulness Through Intensely Painful Situations
by Missy

Leah Nicolette made a button to go along with this story—if you decide to share the story, you are welcome to use this as well.

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A bit of the past:
A few of you know that the past few years have been extremely difficult and harsh for my family.
     For more than three years, my dad, Corrie and I took care of my mom and grandpa – both of whom were suffering through different mental illnesses.  During that time, we kept what we were going through a secret and even now, for my mom and grandpa’s sake, I will be very vague about the details of the horrifying things that we went through.  As the only one through that period of time who did not have a job, I turned into the main caretaker for my mom and grandpa.  Thankfully either my dad or Corrie were able to be home at least a little almost every day to give me a break.  At times, when things were at their worst, they would both have to take off work in order for us all to provide 24/7 care for my mom.  We could not afford to place my grandpa in a home and we could not get medical attention for my mom – not unless she were to try to take her own life.   Looking back now, I can say that it was only by the grace of God that we ever made it through.  It was a physically and mentally crushing and spiritually trying time in all of our lives and even now we still have much recovering to do.
     After taking care of my mom and grandpa for almost three years, my mom (due to her mental illness) was completely done with me and kicked me out of the house on the night before Thanksgiving. (2012)  At that point, I was so crushed and overloaded that I was unable to handle anymore.  Thankfully, at that time, both my dad and sister were home and I was able to spend that night, Thanksgiving, and the next night living out of my dad’s sleeper on his semi-truck.  The day after Thanksgiving, I called an older couple (D&D) who I had known for a few years and asked if it would be alright for me to stay with them for a few nights.  They were more than happy to help.
     The days after that event were horrible.  I felt as though I had deserted my family when they still badly needed me – but at the same time, I knew I had given my all and that I was not able to take anymore;  Not without hurting someone or myself.  I sobbed and prayed and sobbed more.  Then D&D shared something with me that astounded me.  D&D had not heard from me in months and they had no idea what was going on in my life - but while praying, they felt strongly like I was going to need a place to stay for a while.  Acting on faith, they began to remodel their basement.  The remodel took a couple of months – All this time, they did not hear from me at all.  Two HOURS after they finished remodeling the bedroom (the last part of the basement that needed remodeled)  - I called them asking for a place to stay.  I had no idea that I would be needing a place to stay – but God knew and D&D acted by faith with much prayer.  That was the first major confirmation that I was supposed to leave my family – even though it felt completely wrong at that time.
The second confirmation came shortly after.
     D&D let me stay with them – not just for a few days but I was welcome for as long as I needed a place to live.  I began immediately searching for a job.  I searched everyday – online and in person.  I filled out stacks of applications but jobs are scarce – especially full time.  During that time, I prayed much about a job, and I had peace.  I knew that if the Lord wanted me to have a job, he would guide me in the right direction.   I was calm about finding a job and trusting, but I was still emotionally wrenching from the harsh circumstances that I had just left and the thought that I had deserted my family.  D&D were very supportive and prayed very much for us even though it was not until two or three months later that I was able to open up and share with them what had been happening.

My Job:
     The phone call was completely unexpected.  Yes, I was hoping for phone calls – hoping that someone would contact me regarding a job, but this phone number I already had as a contact in my phone and I had not spoken with them in two or three years.
     Tristan from Stickit Signs called me – asking if I would be interested in a job working for him as the Chewelah Office Manager.  The best part is – he had NO IDEA THAT I WAS LOOKING FOR A JOB!  When Corrie worked in Chewelah, her office was right next to Stickit Signs and that is how I had originally met Tris three years previously.  I had done a little bit of photography work for him in exchange for some vehicle magnets.  We had not been in touch since then.
     After I interviewed with Tris and started work, I found out that he and his wife had been in deep prayer about who they should hire as an office manager.  It was going to be a big job.  Until that point in time, Tris had run the business alone.  He did everything out of his head and so there were no set systems or price sheets and he had no need for them running it solo.  However, his business needed to grow and he was looking for the right person to build systems and price sheets and help him build the business up.  He had to find the right person, and he knew that God had the solution.  For weeks, he and his wife had been thinking of me as a possibility but they did not call me until that day.  If they had called me two weeks earlier – I would have turned the job down because I was still caring for my mom and grandpa.
     Again, God’s timing was so perfect and he had laid out a complete plan before me.

The beautiful view out the side window of my office at Stickit Signs in Chewelah

Two months later:
     After a long paperwork battle, my dad was finally able to get enough financial support to have my grandpa moved into an assisted living home.  I had regularly changed my grandpa every day when I was taking care of him, but after I left, he became much much worse to the point that even if I had been there, I would have no longer been able to take care of him anymore.  Dad was the only one that could handle him and it was very rough.  As soon as my grandpa was relocated, I began to clean out his cabin and work on remodeling it.  My intention was to move into the cabin (right across the creek from my parent’s house) so that I could help again with my mom without actually living in the same house with her.  Even moving into the cabin would have been horribly difficult for me with the state she was in, but Corrie had been offered a new job and was planning her move to Spokane and I couldn’t just leave my dad with the way things were.   I continued to live with D&D but I worked on the cabin whenever I could.  Sadly, it had been badly damaged by my grandpa and was going to take a lot of time, repair and money to fix.

My Miracle Car:
     It was a huge blessing being able to live with D&D, however the drive to my new job was 40 minutes one way IF the roads were good…. And they were not good.
     Every day, as I drove to work, I could feel the worn out car I was driving shake and moan and I felt as though it was not going to last too terribly much longer.  It was extremely high in miles and not worth fixing at all – but it was what I had and once it died I was going to be stuck.
     Thankfully the Lord had a plan for that as well!
     Every day, I thanked the Lord for the car and how far it had been able to go.  Then I would also thank Him for my next car.  I told Him,  “I have no idea where it is coming from – But God, THANK YOU for my next car!  I know it is going to have to be another miracle!”    - And it was.
     The day finally came.  While I was just about to pull out of a parking lot, the old green car suddenly began to shake horribly, I lost power steering and most of the brakes.  THANKFULLY there were just enough brakes left for me to slam on them with all of my might to keep myself from ending up right in the middle of oncoming traffic.  I was somehow able to get the car into reverse and it had just enough noisy, shaky strength to back up into a parking space where it died for good.  I sat there for just a minute and thanked God one last time for the car that had taken me so very far – and then I thanked him once again for the next car that I had no idea how I would get!
     I happened to have my bike in the back so I called my dad, pulled out my bike and rode around for an hour until he was able to come and get me.
     I stayed the next few nights at the house with my family sleeping on my sister’s bedroom floor.  At the time she still worked in Chewelah and so she was able to take me to work when she went, then either her or my dad would pick me up later.  Corrie worked part time and I worked full time so it was difficult for a few days but we did it!
     That weekend, I called my grandma in Montana to chit chat.  While we were talking I mentioned what had happened to the car.  There was silence on the other end of the line and then she asked, “Do you need a car?”  She owned a car and a pickup and she wanted to get rid of her car.  She fully intended to give it away to a family member but she was uncertain who to give it to because none of her family really “needed” a car.  It had been heavily on her mind and she had been praying hard about it for months.  She kept feeling like she should give the car to us, but she didn’t want to cause friction with other family members since at that time, none of us really “needed” it.  Now I was desperately in need of a car and it was an answer to her prayers and a huge delight to her to be able to bless me with it.
     Corrie and I drove to Montana right away and I drove back my new car!  It is a humble little car, it had belonged to my Great- Grandma, then my Grandma, and now me.  That makes the car sound old – but it was very low in miles and well taken care of.   The Lord is the best planner and provider imaginable.

Traumatic Event:
     I had now been living with D&D for over 5 months and was working hard on the cabin so that I could help keep an eye on mom again.  Grandpa was in assisted living care and Corrie had just moved to Spokane.  Dad had to work on and off but that left mom alone a lot even during the times when she still needed 24/7 care.  We were all so burnt out from the past years there very little we could do any longer.  I stopped as often as I could to check on her and bring groceries.  On Friday, April the 19th, I stopped at the house after work to do more repairs on the cabin and to check on my mom. Both the driveway to the cabin and the driveway to the house were completely covered in broken glass and random other broken items that were everywhere.  When I went inside of the house it was much worse.  Mom was in a very bad state and I could not leave her alone.  I stayed there and dad arrived later that night.  It was a horrible weekend.  On Monday, April 22nd, I had to go to work while dad stayed there.  The house was quiet when I left and it seemed like my mom must have been sleeping – or so I thought.
     I received the call at about 12:15 pm.  It was my dad… he was sobbing… My mom had tried to commit suicide.   At times she would not sleep for days at a time and so when she finally did sleep – she slept hard and long.  Dad had thought she was sleeping and so he did not want to disturb her.  The room had been quiet and he didn’t want to wake her and so he didn’t check on her until that time.  However, instead of sleeping, she had been quietly torturing herself to death.
     I rushed home and arrived shortly after the police and ambulance.  I was able to say goodbye to her before they took her away – I really didn’t know if I would see her again.   Then I climbed in the car and drove to the hospital with my broken dad next to me.
     Mom went through surgery that night.  They had to remove air from around one of her lungs, remove a large section of her intestines, and stitch up several other holes.
     I packed my things from D&D’s and moved back into my parent’s house to take care of the animals and to be there for my dad.   Corrie had moved into town only two weeks before and she lived only a couple of miles away from the hospital.  This was yet more proof of God’s perfect timing!  Dad was able to stay with Corrie at her new apartment to be close to my mom.  If she didn’t have the apartment, he would have had to drive an hour one-way every day to be there.

     My mom ended up being in a few different hospitals over the next seven months.  I worked hard to be able to drive the hour and a half one-way drive every weekend out to see her and dad and Corrie went as often as they were able to as well. 

     During those months, my physical body went through a series of different stages of shock.  There were times that my health was so bad that I wanted to die.  Thankfully I had some very close friends that helped me through. 

     Shortly before Thankgiving 2013, my mom was relocated to a better place where she has more freedom and she is close so I can be there for her.  Since she is now stabilized on medication, she is like a completely different person and thankfully, there are a lot of things from the past years that she does not seem to remember at all.  I feel like I am gaining back some of the mom that I never thought I would see ever again.  I am so incredibly thankful.
     My dad has been such a huge inspiration to me.  He has proven himself to be so faithful and patent even though he has suffered so much.  He still is suffering and is very broken from the things we have been through.  He is in need of friends and prayers.  I feel as though I can do so little for him – but I am thankful that I can make the house into a home for him and be here when he is home.

The Present:  February 2014
     Corrie is still and will always be the best sister ever to me!  She is still living at the same apartment in Spokane and is enjoying her new job as office manager, accordion repair tec, and piano and accordion teacher for Able To Play Music.  She is also still heavily involved with the Portatos Accordion Band and anything else to do with accordion and music!  Last year, Corrie took first place in one of the performance sections of the Leavenworth Accordion Competition.  Not only was it her first time to win first place  - the best part is that she did it with her own composition!
      Corrie has continued to grow steadily with the Lord and He has taken her through even more hard trials.  She is such a huge inspiration to me and to others who know her.

Corrie and I in November 2012 at the end of the
World Accordion Competition when it came to Spokane

     Grandpa is still in an assisted living home and it is a much better place for him.  He has old friends and family members who visit him often and even though he can’t remember who they are – He enjoys the company.

     I am still living with my dad and we have been working hard to repair all the damage inside and outside of the cabin and the house that was caused by my mom and grandpa’s illnesses.  Paint, repair, and new decorations are beginning to make the house into a home and it is helping to slowly wipe away all of the bad memories.   The house is really beginning to look like a different place now and it has been healing for both dad and I.  To our best knowledge, my mom will never be coming back here again. 

My dad's fire place remodel project - didn't he do an amazing job!?!

Clean up and repair




After #2

     I am still working at Stickit Signs and am so thankful for my job.  After hard work of building price sheets and systems, we opened a second store and have hired two new employees that we have been training.  This has been a very humbling process, because as I train others – I realize just how much I have yet to learn myself!  I am just about to move out of the customer service angle of the business and will work as our main artwork designer, book-keeper, and do a little bit of everything else that I possibly can! 

     My health has still be quite bad, but it is much better than it was over the summer!  I am really focusing hard on natural healing and am doing a lot of physical exercise as well.

     Things are changing and getting better.  We have much to heal from but even more to be thankful for. It is well with my soul.   

      GOD IS GOOD – I hope you are encouraged and inspired to trust Him though all of life’s storms.

Thank you for reading.
~ Missy

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