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Connecting the Dots

posted Apr 6, 2010, 9:37 PM by Elisa Lui
January 2009

It came as a shock for my family when my mother suffered a paralyzing stroke in 1993. Of course, it was not a surprise for God. HE knew it all along and even made preparations for it. My family just did not know at the time. Now almost sixteen years later, I am beginning to see in retrospect the sequence of events God plotted leading up to this climax.

Two years prior to my mother’s stroke, I was looking for something to do for my first summer in the United States. When a volunteering program from a local hospital came up in the school’s announcement, I convinced my friend to apply for it with me. There were positions available throughout the different medical departments, but my friend and I were assigned to the Adult Day Care Center. Little did I know then, this divine assignment was God’s preparation for me of what would be coming two years later.

The Adult Day Care Center was a place where stroke patients spend their day time while their family members were unavailable to take care of them. In addition of lunch, the patients received physical, occupational and speech therapy in the center. The center also hosted a series of activities for the patients such as group exercising class, art and cooking classes. Since the Adult Day Care Center was located in a Russian immigrant’s neighborhood and most patients spoke Russian only, many of the staffs at the center also spoke Russian. However, there was one patient, Mr. Chan, who spoke Chinese only and was not able to communicate with any of the staff. Naturally, I was assigned to be Mr. Chan’s personal translator during the two summers I volunteered at the center.

Working with Mr. Chan required a lot of patience because his speech was impaired by the stroke and it often took a long time and a lot of guesses for me to figure out what Mr. Chan was trying to say. However, this training of patience became invaluable when I have to interpret for my mother after her stroke. Another priceless lesson I learned from my volunteering experience was how to take care a stroke patient. From observing the staffs at the center and working directly with patients with various disabilities, I not only acquired the skilled to assist stroke patients with their daily needs, such as going to the bathroom, eating and brushing teeth, I also became familiar with the range of physical therapy exercises for the different parts of the body.

All these skills and knowledge allowed me snapped into action instantaneously when my mother returned home from the hospital two months after her stroke. I knew exactly how to help her to sit up on her bed, how to hold her as she took shower and what exercises to do with her. In many ways, my volunteering experiences also helped prepare me emotionally -- alleviating the distress I would have had if I had never encounter stroke patients before.

Yet, God did more than just training me as a caregiver for my mother, God knew my mother’s medical expense would put an impossible financial burden on my family. Although none of us knew at the time, God already put in place a plan three months prior that would cover all her medical expenses until the day she meets the LORD face to face. Three months before my mother’s stroke, my father obtained a part-time job in a hospital. As a staff, my father and his spouse had full medical expense coverage, including all medications, diagnostic tests, procedures and hospitalization. Moreover, this particular hospital offered its staffs and their spouse substantial medical coverage after their retirement if they worked for more than fifteen years. My father finished his fifteen years of service just before he was diagnosed with cancer. I cannot tell you what a blessing this job has been for my family. Since my mother is on medication for the rest of her life and needs to undergo medical exams on a monthly basis, the financial implication would have sent our family to bankruptcy. Nonetheless, God told us HE would never forsake us and will always provide a way out for us in all our challenges.

Although God engineered what seemed to be a tragedy for my family, HE did not just abandon us; instead, HE made careful provision for us ahead of time enabling us to experience HIS grace. One might accuse God for making amusement for Himself out of our suffering. Certainly not! From my mother’s stroke, my volunteering position at the Adult Day Care Center to my father’s job in the hospital and all the little episodes in between, God planned them all for a purpose – to purify us so that we can be closer to the image of Christ. If we began to exam carefully the events in our lives, we would see how nothing happened out of coincidence and begin to draw connections between them. It gives me great excitement to see how the current anecdotes of my life will relate to the events of the past. I encourage you to start drawing the connection between the dots in your life. I guarantee you will be as amazed as I am.