the struggle of facing fears

We are fast approaching the fourth anniversary of Mark’s accident in Kenya and the three year anniversary of my last blog post on the subject. Many times I have tried to find what is necessary to continue writing the story, but something always kept me from putting my fingers to the keyboard. The previous posts have been all about faith and not fear. . . faith not fear {Mark’s Africa trip}, faith in the middle of fear, traveling with faith, and healing faith, and yet I find writing in this space again quite frightening. Facing these fears means just doing it and leaving the rest in God’s hands. I ask for your grace as I fumble to find the words.

I knew it was time to face my fears, feel the emotions, and find my journals. Simple composition books filled with plans, quotes, thoughts, art, prayer – my heart. I got lost in them for hours I did not have. But hours well spent as I had forgotten so much of  that time. 2014 will forever be a year that other events and happenings are measured by. Early on in the year it was clear that this was a year to choose faith over fear. You can read most of it here. But the story is incomplete, so let’s pick up where we left off . . .

Saturday, February 22, 2014 – After two long days of travel, Mark arrived home from Africa his arm bandaged and sporting a large metal external fixator. True to his nature and despite his condition Mark was in good spirits and very thankful to be home.

Photo Feb 23, 12 42 46 PM
Happy to be home!
Photo Feb 24, 11 39 54 AM
After surgery in Kenya – pins, plates, external fixator

On Monday we met with a local hand surgeon to see what could be done. Two days later Mark underwent his fourth surgery. Mom and I waited and waited. Surgery took five hours, almost twice as long as the surgeon had anticipated. I could tell by the look on the surgeon’s face that he was disappointed with the results. He explained that it was a difficult surgery – bones were like cornflakes. The results were better than it was before surgery, but not as good as he hoped. We would just have to see how Mark healed. The next four weeks were spent learning a new normal.

my orchids

I remember being so grateful for the time of year it was – beautiful winter time in Florida and not the hot humid summer. We spent many hours on the porch – resting, recovering, talking, reading, praying. I also recall not wanting the daylight to fade, as nighttime was the hardest. Mark began an intense physical therapy program, working hard to regain use of his left hand. He returned to our business as soon as possible. Four weeks after surgery we met with the surgeon. He was not happy with the results. Mark’s body had been through too much trauma to undergo another surgery so we needed to wait at least six months. He felt at that time he would need a full wrist fusion.

For the next six months we just kept doing the next thing. Life continued to be challenging to say the least. Therapy, work, finances, life changes, frustration, uncertainty. And yet my journal is filled with notes of God’s grace and provision, of friends and family who encouraged us by giving of their time, helping with our expenses, feeding us, mowing our grass, being Mark’s driver, praying for and with us and so much more.

We researched and prayed about the next step and decided to go to Miami, stay with our daughter in Lake Worth and undergo a fourth surgery with a specialist there who gave us more hope. And indeed the results were good. Instead of a full fusion of the wrist, there was just a partial. And a lot less metal!

Mark's hand xray
Fourth surgery results
Photo Sep 11, 3 25 59 PM (1)
More therapy

And so here we are, three and a half years since the last surgery. Mark has worked hard and still goes to therapy on a regular basis. His tenacity and refusal to let his limitations slow him down are amazing. If it weren’t for the scars, some may not see any limitation. He lives with a degree of pain, discomfort and frustration, but rarely complains. He even drove the Tail of the Dragon road in our Mini Cooper eight months after surgery – not an easy drive even with a good wrist. I personally found many more grey hairs after that adventure!

Photo Apr 25, 1 18 44 PM (1)
2015 – Tail of the Dragon – North Carolina


I feel I have shared so little. Just the facts really. As you know there is so much more to the story. Things that we all experience in a crisis or a life change. Times when we choose trust in God’s plan and times when we don’t. Times when we rest and times when we fight. Times of joy, times of tears. Times of contentment and times of anger.  I hope to share more from the pages of my journals in the future. And maybe, just maybe I can get Mark to share in his words. Thanks for reading. I appreciate your grace.






6 thoughts on “the struggle of facing fears

  1. So glad to hear from you again and the update on Mark’s arm/wrist/hand. Having had 5 surgeries on my right knee (1st 12 yrs. ago) and still be limited and in pain, I have great empathy for Mark and can pray for him that God will allow him to do those things he needs to do w/his left hand w/o too much pain. Was so glad to receive your mom’s last letter. Have so enjoyed her and your book w/others…a great ministry to others. May God richly bless you and Mark in this new year…keep on keeping on as your dad would say. Love and prayers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Barb, I was hoping you were following this little blog! You have been such an encouragement to me here in this space. Especially as we said good-bye to Dad.


  2. I did not know the facts. So glad you caught me up on what you and Mark have been through. Now, what I really want to know is the “so much more.” The struggles, the emotions, the lessons God has taught you, the good He has worked through this, the journey to thankfulness and how He brought you to it. I so admire your courage.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sharing the “so much more” is the hard part. It will not come easy, but if God wants me to share, then He will give me the words and the courage to write them in this space. Love you!


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