MATTERS OF MY HEART!

30 06 2011

Who gets shortness of breath by leading a hymn sing at church? But after singing the third verse of my favorite hymn, “Wonderful Grace of Jesus,” I knew that something wasn’t right inside of my body. I felt like I had just climbed the Philadelphia Art Museum stairs! And it wasn’t until later last Saturday night that a little after 10 p.m. when I was on my way to Cape Regional Medical Center, that I was actually both sobered and scared by the throbbing pain that I was feeling in the right side of my chest and the fact that my right arm was going numb with the sensation of pins and needles. I began wondering aloud to God, “What is going on Lord?”

I spent the entire night in the Emergency Room. By early morning I was admitted. Now I will be the first to tell you that I don’t really take good care of myself physically. I don’t exercise regularly. I eat at all the wrong times. I avoid having to go to the doctors and when I finally do- I embarrassingly have to confess that I rarely do what I am prescribed to do- and it caught up to me and I was rendered guilty and I am in no way proud of my careless behavior! I have a long history of high blood pressure and lousy cholesterol levels and migraine headaches and in recent years have battled anxiety, anemia and depression. And now I was sitting in a hospital bed wondering if I was heading down the same road as my own Dad who had a heart attack and triple bypass surgery when he was in his 50’s.

By Sunday afternoon I was in ICU. By Tuesday afternoon I had been transferred to Atlantic City Mainland for a heart catheterization “procedure” that evening. Although I know that many of my readers have been through something like this, I still don’t wish that experience on any other human being. I felt humbled and helpless and even a bit terrified. I also felt the presence of God and the support of loved ones and family and friends and the over the top care of some of the best medical professionals that I have ever had the privilege to run into. This was true of both Cape Regional and the Atlantic Care line up. I have always had great admiration and deep respect for those in the medical field but I am ready to kiss the very ground they all walk upon. Thrust into very difficult situations and having to deal with so many constant and life-challenging circumstances- all I can say is I was in the best of hands the entire time. By 9 p.m. Tuesday evening, I was informed by the wonderful doctor attending to me that my heart was in good shape and by the wee small hours of the morning of early Wednesday- I was back in my own bed feeling like I had been given a great gift and more days to live to live to the fullest.

What can I say everybody? These last few days have been a whirlwind adventure to say the least. If I learned anything- it is that I must take my health more seriously than I do. We human beings are not always good stewards of the precious presents that we have been so graciously given. I need to listen to my Doctors and start obeying their orders and not being so careless about my high blood pressure issues. I promised my last nurse Deborah, who was so wonderfully passionate about what she does and sincerely not wanting me to ever experience a stroke, that I would be responsible with my attitude towards my well-being.

I also really discovered that while I do look forward to going to Heaven someday- I do want to live and be here on earth for many more years to come. I want to grow old by my wife’s side- and see my kids and grandchildren grow- and walk my daughters down the aisle-and continue to pastor my awesome church family- and be on the radio and coach baseball and unwrap each and every day as the truly awesome gift that it is! Can anybody know why we take so many wonderful pieces of life for granted? Why do we get so caught up in the mundane that we miss the real miracles that God has strategically inserted smack dab all around us? Wake up Rudy and know that life is happening right before your very eyes- today!

I also got confirmed to me that my favorite thing in life is being around people. I got really lonely sitting there in the hospital by myself. I don’t like to be alone and I began to treasure every visit by every individual who took the time to pop in and be with me. I was only there a few days. I can’t imagine the many people who have to sit hours every day never having anyone come alongside of them. I was also blessed by the many kind words and prayers from my friends on facebook. People may make fun of the social network but it gave me the company that I was thirsting for when I couldn’t be with anybody in person.

And I am eternally grateful to God for the nurses that He gave me along this journey. I was humbled by the wonderful- beyond the call of duty efforts that those who got stuck with a nervous, never shut up, talker like me bestowed upon me anyway in spite of my jumpiness. All star care givers like Gina and Kayla and Judy and Apple and Dawn. I love you all and I mean that. And I am so ecstatic how God placed Christy in a strategic place just when I needed a personal touch and good friend. “Christy, I want to thank you so much for taking such good care of me when I was actually terrified by that cardiac catheterization. If ever I wanted to cry like a baby it was when I was on that table Tuesday night- but big boys don’t cry- yeah right!”

So last night the Doctor told me something that I already knew in the spiritual sense but now it was being confirmed by the physical evidence. His professional medical opinion was that I do have a strong heart! Love has a way of doing those things, doesn’t it? Love is the strength behind it all and I thank God that it was He who put this love in my heart! Where would I be without the Lord? Thank God I will never have to answer that question. So I write this offering of Speaking In The Light with a grateful heart and a fresh anticipation of the day that is before me- days that we must not ever waste nor ignorantly just exist our way through. These are the moments and now is the time to live and I would love if you would join me in the celebration.


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5 responses

30 06 2011
sharon moser

Thankful, thankful, was with you on Saturday night, sitting next to Denise, praising the Lord for His wonderful gift of song throughout Scripture……needing some oxygen as well :^) The Lord becomes our very breath, as we wait upon Him, realizing His heart soars without missing a beat, drawing our own, from the movement of Him. I know those long nights and days, spent them in hospitals, and in Bryn Mawr Rehab struggling through physical therapy, yet moments for witness have sprung up, that I never could have imagined. Praying with nurses and doctors, before procedures, allowing the Resource of my life, my Hope, to truly reign sovereign in me, for I had no strength of my own to offer. It truly does make us appreciate the life we have, waiting upon the Author and Finisher of our salvation. My hope, my peace, my joy, is in You Lord. Knowing you are with me here, knowing you are with me for all eternity, is the joy of my salvation.
Our home is here in Jersey and in Pennsylvania. Last year, I learned very quickly that just being in Jersey, away from the hectic pace up north, does not separate me from life’s pain. My 50 year old brother, in Pa, died suddenly of a heart attack in the end of July, while I was browsing in the lovely stores of Cape May. He heard you Pastor Rudy, you were a part of his faith journey, we got to share what the Holy Spirit has witnessed through your spirit to him, and as he listened to other Believers, he was baptized a year before he died. As we cast all our cares upon Him, even watching the clock so slowing tick by the minutes in our hospital bed in the wee hours of the morning, His faithful love is our Companion, in us, and wrapped around us by the loving words and touch of those He called to place by our bedside.
Thankful, thankful, that on this day, you have the gift of sharing this joy with so many others. Your testimony to the hymns we sang that evening, Amazing Grace, How Great is Thy Faithfulness, I Love To Tell the Story…is wrapped in flesh as Christ dwells in your heart to bring His blessing to your every heartbeat, as it moves in Him.
Your sister in Christ, whose second church home is The Lighthouse,
Sharon Moser

2 07 2011
Hawkeye

God really answered our prayers for your heart! SO glad you are home and resting.

18 07 2011
Kelly Schuknecht

Oh, Rudy! I am just reading this now. How horrible and scary. I didn’t realize this was going on. I will keep you and your family in my prayers!

19 07 2011
Dee Simkins

Dear Pastor Rudy, Last Sunday our family visited your 9Am Service and just wanted to thank you for the great message. It really got me thinking about how humble am I in my life what have I done for Jesus lately? Thank you my family granddaughter and friend loved the music. We are weekenders in CMCH we have a palce at Shellbay Campground and Dave and Sandy first told us about your church and so glad they did.
When I was reading the bullentin I noticed a prayer request for a couple that have twins at CHOP. We are about 40 minutes from CHOP in NJ right off of Route 55 I recently opened a B&B and was wondering if this couple had a need to stay closer to the hospital I would be willing to have them stay with us (no charge) if this would help them at all with all the stress I am sure they are going through right now we would love to have them. My website for the B&B is themaltmanhouse.com we live in Franklinville about 1 hour from Court House my email is deesimkins49@hotmail.com.
May our Lord continue to bless your ministry at Lighthouse.

In his love, Dee Simkins

31 07 2011
Carolyn M

Rudy… it’s Carolyn from California! I know how scared I was for you when you wrote to me in inbox and told me that you were in the hospital and what was going on. I’m so glad that you will be taking care of your heart and health. Just walking 30 mins. a day is great for your heart. Maybe when it’s not so miserable outside you and your wife can take some great walks together! So glad you are fine and please keep care of yourself and I know God will too! :o)

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