Time with my father

I had the most amazing, invaluable time with my father in the ICU the other night.

Two weeks ago, my father experienced complications from routine surgery and almost died. After a second surgery to fix complications of the first surgery, his blood pressure was dangerously low to undetectable, and no amount of fluid, blood, or pressors (medicine to keep the blood pressure up) was enough to fix it. My family and faithful members of my beloved church stood around his bed, warring and praying for about 5 hours. Many times I didn’t think my father would live, but we kept speaking life over him. Declaring his destiny and the fact that God still had much to do through him.

Turns out that he was bleeding out after the second surgery and had to go for a third surgery about six hours later to stop the bleed. After 5 hours of intense prayer, my faith wavered. I just knew the doctors would come back to the room with those dreaded words, “I’m sorry, but your father didn’t make it.” Instead, they came back smiling and telling us the surgery went well and he would return to the room shortly. I’ve never cried so hard in my life. It was a miracle that he lived through all of that and I’ll be ever grateful to God for it.

He returned, 10 units of blood and liters of fluid later, swollen to what seemed to be twice his normal size. Even the white of his eyes were swollen. He stayed on the ventilator for 9 days, most of the time completely sedated. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever gone 9 days without talking to my father before. Even during college. Every day I became more and more anxious for him to wake up. I wanted to see the love in his eyes when he looked at me. I wanted to hear his voice. For him to crack a silly joke or give me some of his invaluable wisdom.

He woke up confused. To the point where I wondered if permanent brain damage occurred during that 5 hour period of low blood pressure. The nurses assured us it was just from being sleep for so long on powerful sedative drugs and that he would come back to his full mental capacity. He was also very weak. My dad used to walk 7-8 miles a day, but could barely lift his legs. Putting his hand to his face completely tired him out. Sitting up on the side of the bed with full assistance wiped him out after 10 seconds.

But God is daily restoring his strength and his mind. The other day, my dad called my mom and each of his three daughters to his bedside for a talk. He addressed his concerns for what was going on in our lives and pledged to pray. He pledged to be a better husband to my mom and to rise as the spiritual head of his household and to war in prayer over each of our lives. He committed to fully giving His life to God and doing whatever God desires for him to do. In spite of the severity of his illness, he said he’d be willing to go through it again to become the husband, father, and man of God he’s now going to be.

He blew me away when he began talking about my trip to Africa. He looked into my eyes and said that if the rest of his money was spent on ministry, it would be okay with him. He said that whatever I needed for life and ministry, he would always be there to support me in spreading the gospel. I could hardly speak. I always talk about how my dad pushed me to go into medicine and caused me to pursue a career I didn’t want and not live my dreams. Now he was not only pushing me to go after purpose and destiny, but pledging to support me with whatever I needed.
We spent the rest of the evening talking about life, love, relationships, family, ministry and all sorts of other stuff. He kept asking me if there was anything else I wanted to talk to him about. He was sleepy and weak, but wanted me to know that he was fully available. For every heart issue I brought up, he was full of love and wisdom.

Then I sat there and held his hand while he fell asleep. Every so often he would squeeze my hand. His hand was so warm and full of life. I could feel his pulse beating away, reminding me of the miracles God has done this last two weeks. I sat for a long time watching him sleep. Watching his chest rise and fall, thanking God for every single breath. Thanking God for life and love and the new man my father is becoming.

Thanking God for more time with my father.

The All Night “List Party

I had my first “List Party” with a book club yesterday evening. It was literally like a scene from The List. A group of 10 sistahgirls gathered in a living room ready to talk about life, love, and the latest drama. What started as a regular book club meeting at 7:30 pm turned into an all nighter. I started up my car to leave at 4:11 am!!!!!!

When I first walked in the door, I knew it was going to be a good evening. The mocha chocolate walls and earthy, art deco décor instantly welcomed me. The lavish gourmet spread and laughter bouncing off the walls let me know these sistahs knew how to have a good time together. As I entered the room, I received wonderfully warm hugs from everyone. I couldn’t tell if it was the “sister in Christ” factor or the “I’ve read your book so I feel like we’re the best of friends” factor, but after the hugs, I immediately felt like I was a part of their sistah circle and took my shoes off and found myself a nice comfortable chair.

After eating, we sorta started discussing the book, but sorta not. It wasn’t the usual book club meeting where we go around the circle and discuss the Reader’s Group Guide questions in the back of the book. I can’t even remember how it all started. It was evident the depth of friendship and sisterhood these women shared as they all discussed their relationship experiences and issues, bouncing back and forth between real life and scenes from The List. Their transparency, honesty, and overwhelming love for one another immediately drew me in and it wasn’t long before I went from guest author to new sistahfriend.

One of the highlights of the evening was the ladies’ list game. Each had carefully prepared their own personal list of what they wanted in a mate. They went the extra distance to list what they thought they had to offer a mate. I think this step kept their lists from getting out of control like a “man fantasy” can. The catch? They didn’t put their names on their lists. As I read each one, they were able to guess which of their friends had composed the list because they knew each other so well.

Then things got real deep as each one of us shared our relationship experiences, failures, fears, hopes, dreams, and current status. We asked each other questions to examine our hearts, identify the underlying fears and obstacles, and make sure we were keeping it real. The first time I actually looked at the time, feeling like it might be late and time to go home, was 2:48am! At the time there was no way I could leave though. We were only halfway around the circle.

I must say, this first “List Party” exceeded my expectations. When I wrote the book, I hoped it would create the same scene in living rooms all over the country. It was great fun to experience that dream come true. I hope the book continues to create dialogue among women about relationships, marriage, and love. I also hope I’m able to continue making new friends like I did last night. I can’t be hanging out until 4 in the morning though!

I wish I could share with you the name of the book club, but they don’t have one! I think by the end of the evening, they decided they were simply Friends Who Read Books. I wish I had some pictures to share but I think we were having so much fun we forgot.

Book Clubs, Single’s ministries, Women’s Ministries or just more “friends who read books” – to schedule your “List Party”, hit me up at sherri@sherrilewis.com

APOOO Reviews The List

Statistics says that single, professional African American women have a very slim chance of finding a mate. Could the reason be that they do not know what they want? Or, is it that they set their standards so high, their ideal man does not exist? In Sherri Lewis’ third novel, The List, Michelle, Angela and Lisa are tired of waiting on their Mr. Right to find them, so they decide to give God a little help.

Michelle, divorced for five years, is ready to start dating and get married so she can have that family she has been longing for. Lisa, celibate for nine years is waiting on her ideal Mr. Right to find her. Angela, a 41year-old virgin has been patiently waiting on the Lord to send her the right man. Their lack of prospective dates could stem from them limiting their search for eligible men from church or work. To increase their odds, the women try internet dating. But, before signing up, they first need to compile a list of characteristics the potential husband must possess. Their venture into Internet dating sets the stage for hilarious experiences.

The List is Christian fiction and dating the Christian way is the main focus. Throughout the novel, Dr. Lewis offers the single reader many things to ponder about why God has not answered the ladies’ prayers. Could it be they just are not ready? What are they doing while waiting? What are their finances like? Does she keep her home clean? Does she cook? And does she really know what she wants? Hence the reason for a list. How can God bless you with the man you desire and you do not know the kind of man you want? I found the novel to be thought-provoking and it offered good advice to those in the dating game. I think fans of Christian fiction will enjoy this inspiring, yet funny novel.

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