Fromnz: I Have Been So Blessed

Discussion in 'Spirituality/Worship' started by PoimaeHopkins, May 19, 2007.

  1. PoimaeHopkins

    PoimaeHopkins New Member

    Dear Friend,

    I shall try to answer your questions, though it may not be in the order you asked them.
    Into a Christian family I had the privilege of being born. Both my parents came from broken families and spent their growin' up years in an orphanage (my Osage Moma) and a Children's Home (my Irish,English Dad). When they married they vowed to each other to always stay together - and they did. (I buried my Father in 2000 and held the service - but I digress) Sorry.
    The Lord saved me at the age of nine, called me into His ministry at the age of sixteen. I have been shepherding ever since. It was only after I received the Call in His ministry, that my Mom said, "Son, before you were ever born, I asked the Lord for a man-child. And if He gave me my desire, I would give my son back to Him for His service." You might say that it was a 20th century version of Hannah and her son, Samuel. Anyway, the Lord granted her prayer, and she followed through on her vow. Again, she never mentioned it until 'after' the Lord had made His will clear to me.
    So Fromnz, it is not a 'job' to me, but a "Calling." That may sound old-fashioned these days, but that is the way it is. There is no way I can 'retire' from a "Calling." I'll serve my Jesus until He graduates me one day! Honestly, the only thing that keeps me here is His Calling of my life.
    I was married when I was twenty to a wonderful girl. On the day our first child was born, I sailed off into the Vietnam War - that was 1972. When I came back on a Navy Hospital ship, my daughter was one year old. I was embarrassed when they gave me my Combact Action Ribbon and a bunch of other medals - all I was doing was trying to do my job the best I could. I was no different than any other fightin' man in the Combat Zone.
    Within the next five years, we had two more beautiful children: another daughter and one son. [Today, both of my grown daughters are married and they each have two handsome sons. My oldest Son just earned his Master's Degree at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, and is serving the Lord as well.]So grateful.
    I didn't realize I had brought something back from Nam that would bite me later. I thought that all I had experienced in the War was a broken back and catchin' some shrapnel during some 'fire fights.' But I was full of Agent Orange and didn't know it. The government didn't tell combat personnel we would have problems. Nobody knew. It wasn't until Admiral Zoomwalt's son died of cancer with Agent Orange that the VA began paying attention to it. Most people think that AO only causes cancer - not so. In the 200,000+ men that got it, paralysis is how it mainly shows up.
    In the work I did while in the Navy, I was trained to compartmentalize my emotions, feelings and thoughts. I was trained to ignore pain and discomfort in order to get the job done. If you didn't, your dead! The VA would later tell me that the deeper a man put "the experience of War" down deep into his psyche, the longer it will take before it surfaces in his conscious. My stuff began coming through the cracks pretty heavy in 1983-1985. I would have nine day periods of flashbacks, sweats, nightmares and insomnia. On Christmas morning, 1986, I woke up paralyzed from the waist down - no pain yet. I was so embarrassed by it, that I managed to get myself into a chair and there I sat most of that day. We had all our kinfolk in and I didn't want to draw any attention to myself. By late afternoon, the paralysis had started to climb up my arms, my speech began to get slurry. My perceptive Dad came over to me and said, "I've been watching you, Son, and I know something is wrong. Tell me what is going on?"
    I told him, "I don't know what is happening, Dad, but here is how it is," then I told him what was happening. He immediately got my brother and my brother-in-law, and between the three of them, got me into a car and into ER in Plano, Texas. Within the next three weeks, I became totally paralyzed and blind. Was in a coma for about ten days, the doctors gave me up three separate times. Each time, I could hear them say to my wife, "Better bring your family together, we don't think he will make it through the night." I was screaming as loud as I could, "I'm here, I'm not goin' to die. Don't give up on me! But I couldn't blink an eyelid, move a muscle or say a word. It was a tough moment.
    In the 2nd month (yes, I lived :)), something began to happen inside my wife. Pain had begun to invade my paralyzed body, and the alarms on the monitors that were in me would go off at all hours of the night. She began seeing me less and less - it was too much for her to handle. I felt real guilty about that. My Mom and Dad were the only ones that kept coming - every day to see me.
    In the 3rd month the paralysis began to ebb a bit, my sight came back to me slowly, my speech was non-intelligible - slurred too much. Over the next three months, the paralysis settled around my waist, and I began to learn, again, everything a baby learns in the first year of its life. In PT they would tie a velcro strap around my hand, place chocolate pudding in front of me on a tray, and I would work hard at getting the spoon they would fit into the velcro to go into the pudding and into my mouth. It took me almost two weeks to finally hit my mouth. I cried like a baby - it was such a major victory.
    Over the six months I was in the two hospitals, I lost 59lbs. One day, my Mom brought me a new sweatshirt- a size medium- to try on. On me it looked like on oversize tent. I had been an X-Large. I looked like a POW reject! :) The doctors told me much later, if I had not had so much muscle mass, the paralysis would have stopped my heart. Believe me, it sure tried. In those last three months, my wife had only come to see me three times.
    When I was finally released, a paraplegic on wheels, the first week was pretty tough. On Saturday morning I woke to find an envelope by my pillow. I opened it up and it simply read,
    "I have had enough. I can't take anymore. I just can't be married to a killer and an invalid. I'll contact you later about the kids." Yes, she left both me and our three children. It was very tough. The first thing my little boy said was, "Why would Momma leave me, what did I do?" It's hard to explain such things to a ten year old boy.
    She disappeared for 47 days. No one knew. Her family disowned her, that was no good. Finally, my Dad was able to track her down in Los Angles, Ca. To this day, I have no idea how she got there. She divorced me a year later; it took her that long, because I would not divorce her. My uncle, a Federal Judge (and also a Nam Combat Veteran) got upset with me because I wouldn't file divorce papers on her for desertion of family. I just didn't want a divorce.
    Much later, into my life, came "Sunshine" - my adorable wife of almost eighteen years. God has blessed us with eight wonderful children: two daughters and six sons. My older children call Sunshine "Mom." Every day I thank my Lord for being merciful to me. My heart still breaks over my first wife, I feel so responsible for what happened. I know it wasn't easy.
    Anyway, I apologize for the length of this post. I have never written it out before til now. This Board, and my new friends give the sense I can share such matters without being judged too harshly. I sure hope so.

    Your Friend,


  2. fromnz

    fromnz Guest

    Thank you!!

    It was terrific reading your story & to see God's hand on your life all these years, it is obvious His divine intervention has been in everything that has happened to you, & to see you get through to this side of it all is an inspiration. I know every day must be a struggle for you & I am so glad God gave you such a wonderful companion to share it with.

    I'm sorry your first wife was unable to cope, I can understand how difficult it must have been on you both. In my nursing career I have seen so many marriages collapse under the strain of illness etc. It is not always easy to stay beside someone you love & see them suffer & the feeling of helplessness can become too overwhelming to cope with, & the only way to carry on is to walk out. It is not for anyone to judge as each person has their own struggles to deal with. I am sure you have questioned God many times "WHY"?

    In church this morning our sermon was on Joshua & Caleb's trip into the promised land, the difference between the ten negative spies & the two positive ones. The Pastor asked us what our situation was, were we seeing the negative things of the giants & mountains etc or the positive side of things where with God's help the land could be entered & the giants overpowered etc.

    It is very easy to get negative when your life has been dealt such hard blows & I am slowly learning to become a Caleb & hang on to God's promises, note not a Joshua who was to lead, but a Caleb who got the land full of mountains when Joshua was giving out portions (Joshua 14v7-13), the land he had seen when a spy, he knew the obstacles there & what the people were like, but he didn't ask for good flat easy grazing land etc, but the land full of mountains!

    We were asked what Mountains we had in our lives, my immediate thought went to my illness & how difficult it is to live with etc, & I have left the church with the thoughts of not letting that mountain get the better of me, it isn't impassable, with God's help I can overcome!

    Thank you so much for sharing your life with us, mine is nothing in comparison but all the same I am a daughter of the King, & as such have a reputation to uphold! My testimony is not worthy of print, but I do know God still has some use for me somehow.

    God Bless you.
  3. PoimaeHopkins

    PoimaeHopkins New Member


    I just wanted you to know how the Lord works in me as I read a person's post. I am in the Spirit of prayer and as I read, the Lord will bring to my mind specific things which germinate in my spirit until it blossoms into a poem. Such it was when I read one of your posts to me in which you said:

    "I have been through two Bible training colleges here in New Zealand, 18 months in total, but never put it into the Lord's work, instead I have concentrated on my nursing qualifications, & have recently finished a Bachelor degree in Nursing, which took me several years of one paper each year!"

    It was the phrase "...but never put it into the Lord's work..." that struck me. I wrote down on my handy writing pad, "What Is The Lord's Work?" I had no idea that in the NightWatch that night, the Lord would enable me to write the poem by the same name. I started in prayer that night at 10:30pm - it was in the NightWatch He gave it to me - one line at a time. I finished it at 6:30am!

    I just wanted you to know how Christ used your post to work in me to ultimately produce that poem.

    God bless you, dear Sister.

    Soli Deo Gloria!