My sister’s name is Lucy Thomas Falconer, and she can’t breathe.
Lucy grew up on our farm in KY, met an Englishman in graduate school and married him. Eventually they bought a home north of London, had two children and she pursued a career in business and non-profit work. Sometime in her 30’s, she began to have trouble breathing. Yesterday, her husband Terry told me she probably has only a few weeks to live, because her lungs are almost gone. In between has been a long and painful road, with a miracle of the Lord’s grace almost at the end. Here is a bit of her story.
Our dad always took us to church. As children we went to Sunday school & Bible schools in the summer. We had all we needed, good neighbors and friends & were a good church family… until we weren’t. The turmoil began in earnest when Lucy’s younger brother began rebelling in various ways, yet the seeds of our issues had been growing for awhile. In sum, we were “Christian”, but actually knowing the Lord Jesus and living by His power was not what we did. We were “good” sinners. In the midst of this, Lucy began attending a different church with a friend and something strange happened. She said she was “saved”! I was only vaguely aware of this or what it meant, as I was away at a military academy. As the turmoil increased, Lucy talked about her new-found faith with her brothers. I remember thinking it was a little creepy.
Lucy went to college near Chicago, at an institution that was thoroughly secular and where feminist and progressive norms were on the rise. She made friends who had no use for God. Gradually, doubts began to crowd out her belief and she steered away from a life of faith. She married a man who firmly rejected his Catholic upbringing, and whatever faith she had became only an ember. At the same time, through her former influence, her mom and all of her brothers (including me) met the Lord. There were hard times, mistakes and winding side roads, yet we all agree that except for her father (who had always believed) Lucy was our family evangelist. Yet she now rejected what we embraced; we were heart-broken.
Lucy’s breathing issues increased in her 30’s and her doctors were mystified. At first, asthma was suspected. She didn’t smoke and had no lifestyle negatives. What was wrong? Finally, they discovered she had developed a rare autoimmune lung disease which only a few thousand women had. It was fatal; those suffering from it inevitably lost their lungs and their health because they could not breathe on their own. By her early 40’s Lucy was living with a death sentence. In the years following, her whole family prayed earnestly that she would turn back to the Lord she had once embraced … before turning back would no longer be possible. During this time her only son, who had been born handicapped, died of a brain infection. Her only daughter, who had developed severe anorexia, fell into depression and hung herself, only to be rescued with seconds to spare by her father, leaving her paralyzed and on life support. Lucy’s suffering, in a word, was often intense.
A few years ago, after three decades of prayer and reaching out, the Lord began to reveal that He was working in Lucy’s heart. She got a Bible and read it again; she became more open to prayer requests and responded when we asked how to pray for her. She finally admitted, to us and to her husband, that she was a sinner who needed help. In a word, and in a miracle, she came back to faith in Christ. We were overjoyed!
Today Lucy is on a hospital ward, unable to breathe without machines, and her immediate future is unknown. Terry says that doctors have predicted her imminent death eight times in the last year or so, yet there she is. It is hard for her to think and she is easily confused; her brain is being damaged by lack of oxygen. The hospital consultants want her bed for other patients; we all want her home in her own bed, and at peace. Whatever happens we know that, by faith, we will see Lucy again. The air of this world may be denied her, but the breath of eternal life will remain. Soon, though we don’t know when, Lucy will breathe fully & joyfully once again.
Thanks for praying.