Tag Archives: faith

Til Death Do Us Part

DAVID AND LAUREN WEDDING PIC DAVID, LAUREN & GABBIE PIC

“To have and to hold from this day forward,

for better, for worse,

for richer, for poorer,

in sickness and health,

until death do us part.”

On June 12, 2010, those words were solemnly promised to each other by David and Lauren Chase. And in the years that followed, they were devotedly lived out. David and Lauren’s story can be summed up in two words: love and faith. From that June day six years ago, David and Lauren began their new life together, filled with the dreams all newlyweds share. On December 24, 2015, their sweet life together was turned upside down in an instant, boldly challenging them to learn the true meaning of those words so happily uttered in that Mississippi church.

David and Lauren Chase entered my life peripherally, as dear friends of my son and daughter-in-law. David and Mike worked together at a trading firm in Chicago and became fast friends. Lauren and Laura met soon after, and bonded instantly. As a parent, I was thrilled that Mike and Laura had befriended such a wonderful couple. Their friendship strengthened them through difficulties and, together, the two couples excitedly planned their futures. When Mike and Laura talked of moving to the suburbs, Lauren fell in love with the idea of owning a house with a backyard for their beloved dogs, Annie and Gabbie. David needed a little prodding to move out of the city, but Lauren and Laura were ready to plot their strategy. The foursome regularly dined out, attended Chicago Blackhawk Championship rallies, St. Patrick’s Day parades and Christmas Parades. In October 2015, just a few weeks before the anticipated Christmas Parade along Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, Lauren traveled to Houston, to undergo surgery to donate a kidney to her twin sister, Leslie, who had suffered a rapid and inexplicable kidney failure. That might have been the first life Lauren saved. But not the last, in my opinion. Her swift recovery left everyone amazed. Almost two months to the day from her trip to Houston, Lauren stepped into an airplane en route to Florida, eager to spend Christmas with family and see her husband, who was to meet them there. That reunion never happened because the plane was forced to make an emergency crash landing minutes after take-off. Lauren was air-lifted to a hospital and suffered critical injuries. She was in a deep coma and underwent more surgeries than I could count. In time, her state of consciousness improved and with each baby step forward (for which we were absolutely thrilled), Lauren’s health would take an agonizing three steps back. She was in and out of hospitals and rehabilitation facilities in Memphis, Atlanta and Houston.

And here is where my line about Leslie’s life not being the last Lauren saved comes into play. Lauren’s progress was beautifully updated online regularly by David’s sister, Tara. I found myself checking my email several times a day for a new update and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one. The updates were shared on social media thousands of times and in doing so, Lauren’s story became global. I wrote a blog a few months ago in an effort to reach more people, as well. These updates were filled, not only with Lauren’s latest medical miracle or setback, but were also woven with the beautiful love and devotion of her faith-filled husband as witnessed by family and friends. David is a very humble man who does not think he deserves praise for simply being the kind of husband God wants him to be. By sharing David’s strong faith and trust in God’s plan for them, his unending dedication to his ailing wife, his never leaving her bedside in over seven months, and his heartbreaking affectionate kisses with which he showered Lauren (as attested to by Mike and Laura when they visited Lauren), I know that people around the world were changed for the better. I believe with all my heart that sweet Lauren, who loved her husband more with each breath she took, who doted on her canine loves, Annie and Gabbie and who secretly sneaked fried foods when David wasn’t looking unknowingly played a profound role in God’s plan to bring more souls to heaven with her story.

On August 7, 2016, Lauren left this world. We are immensely saddened with this loss but rejoice in the knowledge that she is finally free. Goodbye sweet, beautiful Lauren. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

June 12, 2016 marked David and Lauren’s 6th wedding anniversary. On that day, David posted to Facebook this beautiful sentiment:

“Happy Anniversary, Lauren. Thank you for being so strong while God heals you. I love you more every day!

‘Then the Lord God said, ‘It’s not good that the human is alone. I will make him a helper that is perfect for him.’ – Genesis 2:19 CEB”

“Well done, God. She is perfect!”

https://www.youcaring.com/lauren-chase-493783

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3723602/Taking-love-Wife-s-text-husband-plane-fell-sky-leaving-paralyzed-locked-body.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3731315/We-wanted-free-Woman-32-dies-eight-months-plane-piloted-father-law-fell-sky-leaving-vegetative-state.html

https://boxwinebudget.com/2016/03/03/in-sickness-and-in-health/

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In Sickness And In Health

 

 

With Christmas come and gone, I wonder how many of us can remember what we were doing the morning of December 24th. I imagine most of you, like myself, were in the throes of Christmas plans. Lauren Chase was, too. She was excited for a trip to Florida to celebrate the holidays with family. She was excited to shed the coat, gloves, scarf, boots and gray skies of a Chicago winter and swap them for shorts, flip-flops and sunshine. And she was excited to see her husband, David, who was en-route to the Sunshine State to meet them. What no one planned for was an emergency crash landing of the small aircraft carrying Lauren, her mother-in-law, father-in-law and sister-in-law. What no one planned for was Lauren’s devastating injuries, needing to be air-lifted to a hospital in Memphis, undergoing surgery to relieve swelling in her brain and the coma that she has been trapped in since that fateful morning. Lauren and David are very close friends of my son, Mike and his wife, Laura. This is Lauren’s story.

The last ten weeks have been filled with multiple surgeries and tests, MRIs, tubes and ventilators and a terrifying night when Lauren suffered a cardiac arrest and needed to be revived. The last ten weeks have also been filled with prayers. Thousands and thousands of prayers. From the start, doctors had regularly reported grim news to David, only to be proven wrong time and time again, as Lauren refused to give up her fight. Her medical team of specialists have been at a loss to explain Lauren’s progress. With Lauren’s refusal to give up, David has also refused to accept their prognoses and has been at her side day and night, talking to her and gently caressing her. And kissing her. Mike and Laura recently took a road trip to Memphis to visit Lauren and reported back that David absolutely smothered her in kisses the entire time they were there. His devotion to her is visceral. Though she still has not awakened from her “nap” as it has been sweetly referred to by family, she is slowly transitioning into lighter stages and is able to blink her eyes and give a “Thumbs Up” on command. We are quite sure the affection with which her husband showers Lauren is giving her the strength to keep fighting, which in turn, fuels David to remain her super-hero advocate. Mike and Laura certainly witnessed his super-human strength during their visit.

People talk about love so casually. Love is easy when times are good. The real test comes when times aren’t so easy. But, real, true love – the kind that’s not so pretty – is an awesome thing to witness, as Mike and Laura can attest. Almost two months to the day prior to the accident, Lauren selflessly donated a kidney to her twin sister. And now she is fighting for her life.

I have included a link to Lauren’s most recent update. Please check it out and keep them in your prayers. Despite the original formidable reports, or maybe in spite of them, she continues to grow stronger and will be entering a rehab facility in Atlanta soon. While monetary contributions to offset their staggering medical bills is appreciated, what the family is asking for more than anything are your prayers. And that doesn’t cost anything.  David and Lauren are inspiring people of faith and know that nothing is impossible with God.

UPDATE: A lot has happened since this post was written three months ago. Lauren was able to be moved to Sheperd Rehabilitation in Atlanta and made amazing progress pretty much right away. She had reached a wakeful state and even began communicating – not verbally, but with YES/NO buttons, to which she answered all questions correctly – even about events that happened in her presence while she was still in a comatose state!! This news filled us all with wonderful hope. However, almost as quickly as she seemed to be improving, her health took a rapid decline and Lauren and was placed in ICU at a different hospital. She is still fighting hard but has suffered setbacks, delaying any rehab therapy. The goal right now is to simply stabilize her. David is hoping to get Lauren accepted into the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, the absolute best rehab facility in the world. Mike and Laura are hopeful to have their friends back in Chicago. And Lauren will be so happy, when she awakens, to learn that she managed to miss a Chicago winter, the only thing about Chicago this Southern girl was not fond of! So, again, I ask for your prayers for Lauren, David, her team of doctors and that RIC will accept Lauren.

UPDATE II: Well, Lauren will not be returning to Chicago, much to the (admittedly selfish) disappointment of Mike and Laura. While they desperately miss their friends, they nevertheless are thankful that Lauren has been accepted into TIRR Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation Facility in Houston. And though Houston seems far from Chicago, God’s hand in this is impossible to ignore as Houston is home to Lauren’s twin sister. Yes, the same sister to whom Lauren lovingly donated a kidney only weeks before she found herself fighting for her own life. 

So, we are grateful that God has lead Lauren to where she needs to be and continue to pray for the team who will work to strengthen her body, for David, that he remains strong and faithful and most importantly, for Lauren’s full recovery. And that we always keep in mind that God works in Kairos – God’s time, not ours. 

 www.youcaring.com/lauren-chase-493783/update/485188 

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Like A Thief In The Night…

Grandpa pic

“Death comes like a thief in the night.”

Those words have been etched in my brain for twenty-six and a half years, when my mother quietly uttered them following the unexpected death of my dad. And now, the thief has returned. My father-in-law, whom I have written about several times in this blog, passed away during the night. With his recently rapid decline in health, we knew Death would take him any day. No, it did not sneak in through a back door. Rather, it came as a welcome reprieve for a man who suffered much toward the end of his time on this earth.  And, no, it is not a tragedy. He lived a long and full life. He grew up without knowing his father, having lost him to the thief at the tender age of two. He was not fatherless, however. He had uncles who lovingly served as father figures. He attended Marmion Military Academy, beginning what would become a seventy year dedication to the Monks of Marmion Abbey. At the terribly young age of nineteen, he experienced, simultaneously, both the brutality and merciful heroics of his fellow man when he suffered a life-threatening and, certainly, life-changing wound during the battle at Iwo Jima. Upon his return home, he attended college, eventually earning his Master’s degree from the University of Chicago. But, without question, among all his achievements, the title he most cherished was simply “Dad.”

He was a humble and faith-filled man who never considered himself a hero for his military service, uncomfortable with the label.  He never thought himself above anyone. Ever.  He was a man who witnessed good and evil in the world. He was a man who loved his family. And he was a man who loved God and took his faith very seriously.  He lived his life in such a way that he never needed to worry about when the thief would come. So, while he will be missed by we who are left behind, his passing is not a tragedy. It is simply his final journey home.

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The Power Of Faith…Do You Believe In Miracles?

I came across something a while back as I was paging through a great book called “Saintly Advice” (who couldn’t use some of that?) and it occurred to me that there are probably a lot of people out there now who might find some comfort in these words.  So, I decided to share it with you, along with my thoughts.  It is an intercessory prayer to the Infant Jesus of Prague. 

The story that accompanies this particular intercession is this:  A statue of the Infant Jesus wearing a long gown and holding a bird in his hand was carved some time in the fourteenth century  It found its way to Prague where, in 1628, a young priest found the statue in the ruins after the Saxons and Swedes invaded.  He cleaned the sculpture and noticed that the Divine Infant’s hand needed repair, but he had neither  the money nor the skill to do it.  He asked the Blessed Mother to help provide funds.  A man then passed by the church and fixed the statue’s hand, and great miracles were reported after the repair.  Because of its history, the Infant Jesus of Prague can be called upon when emergency funds are needed.  The prayer is as follows:

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