Story - Erin M. - as told to Marianne Thompson.
Most adults know that at some point they will need to care for their parents, but it shouldn't be anytime soon. But what do you do when your parents need you like they have never needed you before and instead of the child, you've now become the parent much sooner and quicker than you expected? Erin experienced that first hand just a few months ago.
In June of this year, Erin’s mother was scheduled for a routine angioplasty on her leg that should have been a simple one-day surgery. The doctors let Erin and her mother know that while they were in surgery, they would check her heart to make sure everything was normal. However, the doctors could not repair her mother’s leg because of pre-existing issues. While in surgery, due to overwhelming complications, the doctors put a stint in her heart - which then collapsed. After several attempts to repair the stint with no success, the doctors decided that Erin’s mother would need open heart surgery. At first, Erin had immediate fear and worry. She was the only family member in town with her mother beside her father. She didn’t know how she was going to handle this or even what she should do. But as soon as that fear tried to creep into Erin’s heart, she began to pray, asking God to remind her that she does not have a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind. Erin began to ask God for His strength and wisdom for what she knew would probably be a long road.
After surgery, Erin’s mom began the slow process of recovery - a process that was frustrating and hard on both Erin and her mother, but Erin always made sure to keep her spirit up. Erin knew that there was no way her strength came from anyone but God. As Erin began to be the parent for her mother, she found the strength and rest that she needed in her Heavenly Father. God began to show Erin and her mother how much He loved both of them and that He was right there with them through everything. In addition, The Harbor family became a part of Erin’s family through this whole process. She had visitors constantly and was always taken care of. Erin was impressed and so moved that the Church was there when she really needed them without any questions. They came running to help Erin in anyway they could.
During her mother’s healing process, Erin gave her a devotional that she began to read every day. Erin’s mother shared that as she read the devotional, God would speak to her through every word. It was just what her mother needed during this time. Erin grew up in a religious home, but they didn't have an intimate relationship with God. Erin came to The Harbor a few years ago begrudgingly thanks to a nagging friend, but she had no idea that her life would be completely changed. Every time she would step into The Harbor, she would weep because of the Father’s love she felt. It was this love that became a foundation for this time in her life. God had already been preparing Erin with the strength for this moment, before she even knew it.
Erin’s mom came home for a week after being in the hospital for a month. Everyone was so excited to see her mom on the road to recovery. They knew it would be a long process but that healing was happening. Not long after her mother went back into the hospital for more rehabilitation though, Erin had to take her father to the hospital for an infection. The infection was so bad that he ended up having to stay there much longer than expected. During that stay Erin’s father saw the strength of his wife and his daughter. He began to see that this strength came from the Lord.
With all of this happening at once, the one thing Erin and her parents did was run to God. They could have been frustrated or mad and lost all joy or hope but instead, they looked to God for strength and peace. Even now, as recovery is still taking place with both of Erin’s parents, anytime she feels overwhelmed or fearful, she hits her knees and prays that God will give her the strength she needs. He always does.
During all this time that Erin was visiting the hospital, she made a commitment to pray for the doctors, nurses, and anyone she came across. Erin decided not to just be her mother’s visitor while she was there, but to be an encouragement to the people that work so hard to take care of everyone around them. Everyone that Erin and her mother came in contact with was so impressed that they would be interested in their lives. After Erin made this commitment, she watched her mother take a drastic turn for the better. The pain she was experiencing was almost gone and her vitals were amazing. Erin felt like that was God telling her thank you for praying for and encouraging His children.
One of the things that Erin’s mom will tell you about everything that has happened to her and her family during this time is that God has not done just a physical healing but a spiritual healing as well.