Ebenezer

The Saturday before Chris died I made the decision to make him DNR. I had been thinking it over since getting to the ICU a few days earlier. When I unexpectedly ended up spending the night away from him on Friday, I had woken up in the night and realized that if something happened while I was not with him, he would be by default a full code status, and I could return to find him on a ventilator (from which he would never get off until another decision was made). Experiencing that sense of mid-night panic made the DNR decision very clear to me.

I asked Chris’s parents to come over Saturday night so I could tell them what I had decided that day and also to discuss how they had been experiencing him when they sat with him in his room. I needed to know that what I felt about his health and his life wasn’t felt only by me. By God’s great kindness, we were all having the same thoughts, reaching the same conclusions, letting go, in unison, of our beloved.

I wasn’t very emotional in the conversation. I was straightforward, fairly direct. We had real ground to cover. At one point I said, “I just want you to know that I’ve spent the first half of today crying about all of this.” My sister, who was also with us, said, “Right now, you’re the woman who lifts a car off of her baby. She has the strength to do it because of love.”

I’ve realized in these days, this week, since making the decision to let go of my husband’s life, since watching him die, since burying his body, that I’ve been lifting the car off of the baby for four months. I lie here in bed now, so tired, and I have no idea how I’ve lived these months. I have no idea how I drove back and forth each day from my house to the hospital, saying goodbye each way to the person or people who matter most to me in this world. I have no idea how I lived in a hospital for two months and watched as everything physically familiar about Chris changed. I have no idea how I could handle waking up any given night to his body bleeding and oozing from unnatural places. I have no idea how I watched him endure excruciating pain. Then I would go home, across town. I have no idea how I would pull up to our house and be as enthusiastic to see the kids as they were to see me. I don’t know how I would jump on the trampoline with them and do puzzles and read books. Of course–I had help. So much practical help. But how did my heart do it??

This is not a rhetorical question. I have been sincerely asking myself this. And I can reach only one conclusion: I was carried. I was carried through each day. I was brought through the valley of the shadow of death, nearly unbeknownst to me. I could never have imagined it rightly; in my broken imagination, I would’ve been crushed and alone. Because left to my own strength, I would have been crushed and alone.

I can only say: Thanks be to God. Thanks be to our Heavenly Father. Thanks be to our Good Shepherd. He didn’t only carry me; he carried each of us, even Chris. Even in Chris’s darkest days, he was brought through, I know it.

Now we are beginning a new part of the journey. I’m scared, and I’m sad. My mind zooms ahead to survey the landscape, and I don’t like it. Where is Chris? Why am I alone to raise our kids? It’s too much to bear.

But I have an Ebenezer stone. I have got to stop and set up this stone so that I can always look back and remember: We were carried. We were carried through the unimaginable. Remember. Remember. Each day he will carry us. That is what he does. Remember.

38 thoughts on “Ebenezer

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  8. George C

    This leaves me speechless. I am so glad that you have erected this pillar for yourself in the sight of so many people who can worship God with you.

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  9. Anonymous

    God Bless You & Your Children & the rest of the Family. Let the Holy Trinity carry you through these next ‘times’ until you and your children can walk hand in hand together . . . for how long? As long as you need to be carried.
    Prayers will continue to go out to you & yours.

    Mary Kuligowski (friend of Chris’ mother)

    Reply
  10. Anonymous

    Sarah, I’ll throw one out there to see if it sticks.

    Only talking to you a couple of times, I sensed peace and acceptance. Watching Evi’s interaction with Jesse and the others. Thank you

    It truly is better to give than to receive. The scherfs have given so much, there must be a special place where you are.

    Here for now and supporting you every step of the way . An humble admirer. Best wishes to the Scherfs

    Reply
  11. Sara Baugh

    Sarah, Your God-given gift of writing has inspired me every day of your journey. Our lives are in His hands, and He promises to always be with us. I continually pray for you, Sarah, and your family. God bless you.

    Reply
  12. Cheryl Joynt

    Oh sweet Sarah, my heart is so broken for you! But I am so thankful for the way God has carried you and will continue to carry you through the tough stuff ahead. You are amazing and a shining light in a dark world! Continuing to pray! Love you!

    Reply
  13. Courtney Groover

    Oh my heart! You’re beautiful words that hold on tension the hard and the beautiful. It is good and true to remember His faithfulness ESPECIALLY when things are so truly bleak. I love you so much. Praying for your heart as you begin to process the whirlwind of the last few months. We are here. Always.

    Reply
  14. Betsy Kopecky

    Sarah, as someone wrote, my words seem weak and ‘small’. I do know that this Stone…this Ebeneezer….will be a remembering stone that will faithfully give strength to you and to generations to come ❤.

    Reply
  15. Anonymous

    Dearest Friend, your beautiful writings continue to inspire me. I stand in awe of your strength and willing surrender. I continue to pray and love you.

    Reply
  16. Bill Binkelman

    You are a very brave and very strong lady. You have made decisions that no one should ever have to make. You have survived trouble that no one should ever have to face. You have been true to your faith throughout, and with that faith and with that strength, you will continue to survive.
    You are loved.

    Reply
  17. Annette Matt

    Dearest Sarah,
    Though we have only met once, through your posts and the beautiful things Cindy has told me over the years, I and my whole family, have fallen in love with you and your precious family! You are a gifted writer and a Blessed disciple of Christ! If our true purpose on earth is to bring others to Christ, mission accomplished! So often it takes trauma and tragedy to open our eyes to the One who sits beside us or carries us through our suffering. You and Chris have shown the world how to persevere and to be courageous through trials, totally depending on His grace and mercy! Thank you for your beautiful example to all of us and the rest of the world! We will all continue to hold you and your family up in prayer! May God continue to bless each of you🙏🛐

    Reply
  18. Betsy Rogers

    Sara,
    I lost my husband when he was 46 to cardiac rest. I was alone with him in our home. Your words and thoughts are so familiar to me even though it has been almost 23 years. Decisions I made at the time still come back to me. I know God was guiding me just as he has you.
    This is what I also know God will get you to the other side of this but there will be many dark days and for me it was a slow long process.
    There were times I could not pray but felt so strongly others praying for me and my sons. Please know I am committed to praying for you and your sweet children continually throughout each day. God bless you Sara. Praying now for you.

    Reply
  19. Beth Rosser

    I don’t know you, Sarah, but I want you to know, I am praying for you and your family. And will continue. You are carried. Remeber, remember!

    Reply
  20. Allison Boman

    Sarah, you are so right. You were carried. We all watched in amazement – not of your strength but of the Lord with you. I saw a video of you jumping on the trampoline with the kids and I watched you bury your husband. You were not consumed. You were struck down but not destroyed. You all pointed us to the Lord. When I imagine myself experiencing the same, I am easily filled with despair, but only because there is NO grace in my imaginations. HE is not in my imaginations. But, the One we celebrate this Christmas is the One who IS there by the bedside of the dying, by the grieving wife, by the family at the grave. And, He will continue to walk with you each and every day. Your story has renewed my hope in the Savior who came and who is God with us. I love you and am holding you close.

    Reply
  21. Powers Laurie Rogers

    Sarah, this remembrance, this reminder of YOUR Ebenezer Stone is OUR Stone as well. We ALL need to remember. Often.
    So once again, thank you for sharing your journey. Each step of it has been precious to me personally.

    Reply
  22. Duski

    Thank you so much for the gift of these beautiful words, for the vulnerability of not only being open and aware of your own experiences and feelings…but also sharing them with us. It’s so important and life-giving. I’m so mad and confused that all of this has been your reality, that this is now your reality. But I’m together with you in awe of how you’ve been carried so lovingly by Him. You are pushing back the darkness evil is trying so hard to bring. I see Jesus in you! I love you! Praying….

    Reply
  23. Becky Smith

    Thank you, Sarah for sharing. My sister passed away yesterday. Your beautiful and articulate words are a comfort to me and will help my brother-in-law and all the family, I know they will. Thank you.

    Reply
  24. Wendy Williams

    Dear Sarah,

    That you can write these words at this time, on Christmas Eve, on the heels of the death of your beloved Chris, is such glorifying evidence of the one who carries you still. May the Lord continue to shelter you and your dear children under the shadow of his wings. May his unfailing love wrap around you as a blanket of comfort and security in the midst of your grief and heartache and times when you just ache. In the dark of night when everyone else is sleeping and in the crazy chaos of the day when you wish Chris was there to make a decision so you didn’t have to, and in the moments of joy where you feel the grief that he isn’t here to laugh with you may the presence of the Lord be heavily felt. You are indeed carried! The Man of Sorrows intercedes for you and God has even some who don’t know you well awake in the early morning hours this morning praying for you and yours. Blessings to you on this Christmas Eve as we celebrate the God who is with us.

    Reply

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