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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
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His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
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[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
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Monday, August 28, 2006
Oma.
In September of 2004, nearly two years ago, my father's mother, my "oma" (a Dutch grandma) had a stroke. It was not her first, but this stroke put her into a coma. She has a DNR (do no resuscitate) order, so after a few days the family was called into the hospital to make a decision about how much effort should be spent keeping her alive. She was 83 years old at the time. As they were discussing this in the room, my oma sat up and said, and I am almost quoting, "I feel great - like I had a very good nap." She was hungry, and the family was at once relieved.

It seems however that this was a turning point in my Grandma's life.

As a lad, Oma was not as down to earth as my other Grandma. My mother's mom was a "farm grandma" - and that meant she was working all the time, weathered, and thin. She couldn't care less if you had your elbows on the table while you ate - but heaven help you if you should show disrespect in any way - she was a little woman - but a just woman. She had had twelve children, my mother was her youngest - and she managed a large household in a very tiny house.

My Dad's mom was a "city grandma" - plump and proper. We didn't see her as much as we saw my other Grandma - but we liked going to her house for Christmas the best - because she always gave us presents. Even into my twenties I always got a $50 bill each Christmas from Oma.

Of my two grandmothers, I have to admit, I liked my mom's mom the best. She was so real and approachable, where my father's mom, my Oma, was more of an Ivory tower sort of person.

The worst day I ever had with Oma was when I went to sleep over at her house for a weekend. My whole family, for as long as I could remember, used to go almost every weekend out to the farm to see my other Grandma. But when I was about five or so, I asked if I could spend a weekend with Oma. My parents agreed, and I was sent over to Oma's while they all went to the farm.

On the farm, there were plenty of kids to play with. I had over 30 first cousins who also came out on the weekends - and it was family, family, family. The house was only a two room house - maybe 400 square feet - with a dug out basement, and there would be, routinely 20 or more kids and perhaps three or four couples sleeping in that house each night. It was crowded and cozy because of it.

At Oma's there were more bedrooms than people, and the bathroom was so fancy, I was afraid to use it. If I recall anything from Oma's it was that even though everything was new and tidy - it was also meant to stay that way - there was very little a five year old boy could do there. My Oma was a seamstress, and was quite skilled with embroidery, knitting, crocheting, etc. I remember her asking if I wanted to make something with some of her fancy embroidery string. I did.

We were on the bed in one of the extra bedrooms - the one I would be sleeping in - and she brought in these fancy strings - they were all the colors of the rainbow - and I had never seen anything so cool in all my young life. I wanted them immediately - and one in particular was a brilliant red. She left the room for a moment and I snatched it up and put it in my pocket! I wasn't a very good thief, since my Oma noticed its absence as soon as she returned - and immediately she guessed what I had done - she called me a thief, and greedy, and took all the stuff away, and left me to be alone in that bedroom for a while because of my crime. (I had to return the string too!)

It's funny, but that is one of the saddest memories I have as a child. I was so ashamed of myself for doing that.

After her coma almost two years ago, she had another stroke - one that put her in the hospital for the rest of her life. Something had changed after that stroke, and without hanging my family's dirty laundry out - it is enough to say that her change polarized her three siblings to either support my Opa (Grandpa), or my Oma who separated from Opa shortly after.

There was a possibility that her bizarre, and even hysterical behavior was a result of some of the medication she was receiving - certainly my father and grandfather were hoping this was the case, and that a change in medication might restore Oma to us - but this hope didn't last.

For the past ten or fifteen years my father had been looking after my grandparents in this way - they couldn't drive anymore so my dad would take them out to do groceries once a week. Likewise, they would go out for a meal my parents and my Oma and Opa once a week. But in the last two years my father's arthritis became so severe he couldn't make himself get out of bed three days in seven. If you know my father, you will no that he is no "drama queen" - I don't think he took a sick day all the time I was growing up - the man would drag himself to work no matter how he was - this same person was the one who literally couldn't drag himself out of bed. He had knee braces made for both his legs for those times when he was strong enough to walk without his wheel chair - but his days of taking my grandparents to get groceries were through.

It was around the time that my father's arthritis worsened that Oma started to change - and for that reason my father wasn't consistently available to help - and that put a lot of responsibility on his older brother. Somewhere in all this a rift formed between my father's older brother and the pair of my father and Opa. I really can't speculate too much on what went on - but I am sure it had to do with my uncle having to take on more responsibility than he was willing to take - and my father and grandfathers inability to ease that responsibility - this coupled with my Oma's radical personality change drove a wedge inbetween my uncle and my Opa and dad.

The end result was that for the last couple of years we have not been allowed to visit Oma in the hospital. We were told that she didn't want to see us. I marvel at that because my relationship with Oma as an adult was touching. She told me on more than one occasion that I was her favorite grandchild (in spite of my early life!) - she loved me, she loved my children, and the past couple of years have been harder that way.

I remember, after coming to the Lord, visiting her once and listening to her talk about some of her concerns and worries. I asked her if she didn't have a bible, and she almost spit her disdain for God at me. She didn't believe in all that stuff, and was so angry that many people were. Over the years I have only rarely had the opportunity to broach the subject of the gospel - and always with trepidation. A few years back she had a heart attack, and I visited her in the hospital. I gave her a small new testament to read because I knew that she would be bed ridden for a while and I know that boredom can provide excellent opportunities. I prayed for her, and explained a bit about Jesus, and her heart, while softer than it had been that day she railed against God, yet later when we spoke of it, she said that the print had been to small and she didn't read it.

My grandmother passed away on Saturday, and I can honestly say I don't know if she knew the Lord - I suspect that she didn't. The rift her recent and radical personality change has caused in my father's family has been a source of stress and sorrow in the past, but now it has made her passing more difficult.

I knew her well enough to miss her during her self imposed cloister in the hospital and home, but now I begin to understand that I will never hear her voice again in this lifetime, and never get to share the gospel with her as fully as I wish I had in the past.

The sorrow of her passing is magnified by my own self loathing over having not made the gospel more plain to her when I had so many opportunities. Many times I had been sorely convicted that I ought to make a special gospel trip - and many times my old self won the debate. See now how my old self who refused to sow is reaping the consequences - I miss my Oma, and I have no peace over her soul.
posted by Daniel @ 9:31 AM  
2 Comments:
  • At 10:41 PM, August 28, 2006, Blogger petunia said…

    Hi Daniel - I know you feel like you didn't do all you could to witness to your Oma, but you know, it sounds like you did what you could. i mean, you said after coming to the Lord you visited her and listened to her talk..."I asked her if she didn't have a bible, and she almost spit her disdain for God at me." You know probably any of the times before that time you would have gotten the same kind of reaction. i use to really beat myself up after witnessing to someone - i would go over the thing again and again, thinking i had done, a lousy job - but you know what Daniel, i did what i could and even in mistakes, things i said, God was in control. If that person is His elect, they will hear His voice, they will come. If we think it is because of what we did or didn't do, man, are we some big-headed person or what! i think you did what you could do - beating yourself up only tends to hold you back from going at it again (witnessing!) I love you my dear brother, and i appreciate your concern for God's truth and lost souls, but quit beating yourself up. Thank God we are in a country (for now!) where you can witness - talk to people, hand out tracts, etc. Thank You Lord for the opportunities You send our way - Your Elect - Your Chosen will come and not because of us or what we have done or said, but because God chose them before the foundation of the world! "So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth." Onward, my brother, Onward!

     
  • At 10:53 AM, September 02, 2006, Blogger candyinsierras said…

    Daniel. I faced my mother's death on Aug. 24, her 81st birthday. She also was very anti-God. God showed me a couple of things that gave me hope for her salvation before she died and I also had a chance to share some scriptures at her memorial. My whole family is not saved, and I asked God for help not to shrink back from anything He wanted me to share.

    I believe that there are probably many deathbed conversions. I hope and pray your grandmother and my mother were two of them.

     
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