Whiplash

I watched the news, like all of you, as Harvey and Irma pounded the shores of Texas and Florida. Millions evacuated, powerless to nature’s destruction. I have friends in both states that posted pictures and status updates to their situations. Homes and cars destroyed. Hundreds of billions of dollars in damage. Lives lost. And in the wake of what I witnessed with 2005’s Hurricane Katrina through my family, things will never be the same.

I think what most captures my attention is the surprise from the devastation. We’ve seen hurricanes before. Our meteorologists are better at predicting the storm’s path and its likely havoc than ever before. We know where it will hit, what it will destroy, and what it will cost to taxpayers, insurance companies, and individuals before the hurricane ever makes landfall. And yet the surprise, the disbelief, at what has just happened when it actually does should be bewildering, and yet it is. It’s as if no one saw it coming.

Preparing for a storm and living through one are very different. Witnessing a storm through the testimony of friends and actually experiencing it are not the same.

Tiffanni’s mom, Glenda, was two years from her death when I met her. Huntington’s had taken so much and she lived in a full-time nursing home. I saw the end and I know where the trail leads. But it hasn’t prepared me at all for what has happened over the last nine months. Watching a storm and experiencing a storm are like being in the NBA versus playing a pick-up game in the church gym. And I just can’t keep up with all of the changes. I’ve used this forum to process, to update, and to give me a reflective space to find God in the small things. But I can’t keep up.

The last several months have been jarring- whiplash. Trying to adjust to one change, only for it to last a few weeks and then on to a completely different one is hard. For six years we had slow changes. Enough time to adjust to a new normal before something else would interject a revision of our routine. But this year has been a hurricane. Not one that I watched, one that I’ve experienced.

I get asked every day, “How are you doing?” The truth is that I’m not sure right now. My support system is stellar. My children are resilient. Tiffanni is manageable. But there is an undercurrent of grief just below the surface that I’ve been able to keep at arm’s length. It’s there, bubbling, rumbling, but contained. The changes have been too fast to be able to reflect. Not enough time to adjust before the next evolution. With each change is this adrenaline rush of resolve and before it wears off is another change. So, thank you so much for asking. Your kindness and concern at times is overwhelming. But, unfortunately, I don’t know how I’m doing. I just know that my neck is sore.

25 Comments for “Whiplash”

says:

I have been missing your blogs, but I understand that your situation is overwhelming. The changes are like the waves of the ocean, crashing in with a vengeance. I pray that she will reach a plateau, for her as well you and the children.
I know the prognosis that Dr’s give, but I petition the Great Physician on Tiffani’s behalf. HE is still, a miracle working God.
Many prayers

Susan Bethea

says:

I am just so sorry and that is all I can say. You have been so strong for so long. But, you are just a human man, and we can only do so much. I along with many others will continue to pray.

Carol Cooper

says:

God has blessed you through this hurricane of life. He has seen that you have a great support system, resilient children, and strong shoulders to carry on through this storm. Prayers for you all!

Doug Green

says:

To quote a friend of mine…”I got nothing”. We have not been through this. So for what we can see from our side, there is no way to truly understand. But I promise love, and I promise prayers.
And thank you Jeremy for the crack in the window. In this case, that’s how your light gets out to us. And it is a beautiful light. I wish you and your family as much peace as possible.
Love always

Dianne Montgomery

says:

I’m at a loss for words Jeremy. All I can say is I am so sorry. We love you and will continue to pray and weep for ya’ll, stand with and hold on to the promise of a better tomorrow.

Cheri Bladholm

says:

I thought of you today, as I was driving and listening to Joni speak of the miracle of a “normal” day, and I realized how I don’t pray for this for suffering loved ones. Because I don’t revere what normal might mean. And I am praying for “normals” for your family tonight.

Mandy FrrFrey t

says:

I just love each and every one of you Simsesssss. My heart breaks for everyone of you! Mark and I COVER you in prayer everyday. We are always here if you need us.❤❤❤💔💔💔💔

Diane Gifford

says:

Although we don’t personally know each other I have the highest respect for Pastor Ron & Susanne & your family. With everybody post I see I pray for you, Tiffani & your children. May Jesus bring His peace to you & know others are interceding for you.

David and Joy Newton

says:

Echoing all the words that have already been lovingly expressed here. One of the most powerful prayers that I’ve ever heard was prayed in Chapel during our college days at SEU. It consisted of two amazing words spoken without much fanfare or emotion, but simply: “Lord, Help”. It’s our prayer for you and Tiffanni as you experience this as only you two can. And it’s our personal prayer for ourselves to somehow understand how God might use us to be of some comfort to you and your family.

Michelle Mckinley

says:

We love you Pastor Jeremy. There are no words to express the depth of sadness that we feel for you and Tiff. I will continue to believe and pray for Tiffani’s healing.

Billy Hurst

says:

I enjoy your articles, Jeremy, but I am so sorry for what you are going through. Thanks for being understanding to everyone that feel at a loss for words for you. Praying for you, Tiffanni and the kids. We love you.

Mary

says:

I can say God is faithful…I’ve heard people say I can’t do this but I’ve learned that we don’t have the full amount of strength until it’s needed. I’ve had struggles I didn’t think I could manage but my Heavenly Father has seen me through and it’s fine on the other side of the situation. God Bless Tiffani , you, and your beautiful children and I pray every time I think of you!

Kathryn Petras

says:

I hope this isn’t annoying to read:

As a person who has suffered under the long drawn illness of a loved one, I remember being so emotionally divided when people would ask me how I was. One part of me was grateful for even a surface concern…another part wanted to shake the daylights out of whoever it was and scream “I don’t know?! How would you be?!”
I am in no way comparing my situation with yours…but there are parts I understand.
Certainly I know the feeling of having your legs knocked out from under before you have even had the chance to stand up again.

While reading this, beyond being moved with deep compassion for you and your family…I was reminded of a song that John Sweeney used to sing in church when I was a child, called “The anchor holds”. I loved to hear him sing it, and I thought of the lyrics a lot during my own struggles.

“I have journeyed
Through the long, dark night
Out on the open sea

By faith alone
Sight unknown
And yet His eyes were watching me

The anchor holds
Though the ship is battered
The anchor holds
Though the sails are torn

I have fallen on my knees
As I faced the raging seas
The anchor holds
In spite of the storm

I’ve had visions
I’ve had dreams
I’ve even held them in my hand

But I never knew
They would slip right through
Like they were only grains of sand

The anchor holds
Though the ship is battered
The anchor holds
Though the sails are torn

I have fallen on my knees
As I faced the raging seas
The anchor holds
In spite of the storm

I have been young
But I am older now
And there has been beauty
That these eyes have seen

But it was in the night
Through the storms of my life
Oh, that’s where God proved
His love to me

The anchor holds
Though the ship is battered
The anchor holds
Though the sails are torn

I have fallen on my knees
As I faced the raging seas
The anchor holds
In spite of the storm”

The anchor always holds. Even if your ship is smashed into splinters. It holds.
Your family weighs on my heart and is in my prayers.

* apologies for this laboriously long comment 🙂

Jason & Wendy Bedsole

says:

One of the most comforting passages I have ever read is Hebrews 2:13-18 (the portion of scripture where we see clearly Christ being mindful of our infirmaties). In an exposition on these 6 scriptures, the author of the commentary wrote this:

“He [The Christ] is affected with our infirmities, He feels them, He is touched with the feeling of them. He has a sense thereof which touches His soul, and makes some impression on it; as one who not only has suffered what others feel, but suffers with them in what they feel. As when one member is under some grievance, not only the other members suffer with it, but the soul is affected with grief arising out of love, attended with desire to give or get relief, and anger and indignation against that which brought the grievance, or continues it, and hinders relier. In like manner is Christ affected with the infirmities of His people.]

You, Tiffanni, and your children are His people. The church is standing and lifting you all up in prayer.

Kat Mills

says:

Hey Jerm,
You got my heart on this one. I’m at a total loss for words. We love y’all so much son. We’re here for you always!!!

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