(By Rosemary Sheldon)
This is my story, this is my song!
I am Rosemary Sheldon and I am seventy-three years young! My husband and I are full-time workers in Dublin, Ireland. I have known the Lord since I was fifteen. My greatest joy in life is serving our God. We are all part of the family of God and joint-heirs with Jesus.
I was commended to the work of the Lord in 1972 by the West Toronto Gospel Hall. I met my husband Colin and we married in 1975. We had two sons: Stephen in 1977 and Peter in 1980. Our youngest son, who had learning difficulties and suffered with epilepsy all his life, passed away in 2007. Colin is an elder in our small assembly and he has been teaching Walk Through the Bible (the children's version) in primary schools to children ages ten to twelve years old for the past twenty-two years. I help with any of the women's work in the assembly. I have also been involved in ladies’ Bible studies both in the assembly and with a local group of women for the past seventeen years.
For a number of years I have suffered from chronic lung disease. It means I have to be very careful to make sure I do not get a cold, otherwise, I need an antibiotic, extra steroids, and a nebulizer, and, more than likely, a stay in the hospital for five days because my lungs are affected. Usually, then I am well enough to come home.
So, near the close of 2019, Colin and I were praising the Lord that I had not been in the hospital the whole year, but then on December 28, 2019, I was rushed by ambulance to the hospital with trouble breathing. After five days, I was sent home and it took me to the latter part of January before I began to feel better from that flu. In February, I was still slow, but getting better.
By early March, the pandemic virus was taking root here in Ireland, and with my health condition, I decided to self-isolate. I seemed to be managing okay until March 23rd. I didn’t feel well and antibiotics were prescribed by the doctor. Sadly, there was no improvement, and on the 26th, the doctor suggested I go to A & E (accident and emergency department) in the local hospital. A few tests were taken, but the doctor didn’t feel it was necessary to stay, so I was sent home. However, that night my condition deteriorated, and I began showing some of the COVID-19 symptoms. The next morning, the doctor sent me straight back to A & E. My swab test proved to be positive. I sent a message to Colin telling him not to worry, as I was in God’s hands. My diabetic consultant who was on duty that day came to see me l to tell me how serious my condition was. I remember telling him, “If I recover from COVID-19, it is all for God’s glory, and should God decide to call me home, I have a place ready and waiting for me to be with God.” Another young Christian doctor also on duty who knew us both came specifically to pray with me.
I thank God I was never in ICU or on a ventilator, but I was put in an isolation room. It was so small, you could hardly move. On Sunday, I watched a church service on TV, and the preacher spoke from Ezekiel 37 about dry bones coming back to life. He also referred to the raising of Lazarus in John 11, and how Jesus had said to the sisters that if they would only believe, they would see the salvation of God. As I thought through the message, it was as if God was saying to me, “I will bring you through this.”
The ward in which I was placed was my lung consultant’s ward. His registrar came to see me and told me, “We are going to get you well and out of here.” She told Colin I was going to be a miracle patient. However, by Tuesday the 31st, my condition was deteriorating, and I was put on a five-day drug program. The doctor phoned Colin to explain the seriousness of my situation. Colin immediately put a call to Echoes International in the UK, and MSC Canada for urgent prayer, and to his amazement, from right around the world, people were telephoning, emailing and texting, and putting messages on social media platforms. So many of you took up the challenge to pray.
The doctors, nurses, carers, cleaners, people bringing in food were like ministering angels. Even though they were covered from head-to-toe, they brought words of cheer.
On Tuesday April 7th, I was at a low ebb and said to the nurses and caregivers that enough was enough, and maybe it was time for me to go Home to the Lord. “He is there with a place waiting for me. It is not fair all this prodding with needles. It’s too much.” What I didn’t realize was the medication was working. That very night, I woke at 3 am with the realization that something had changed. I felt different. I sent a message to Colin immediately. Prayers were being answered, and God was at work.
Would you believe that the Lord gave me a Christian nurse? She returned from Australia two years ago to find out more about her Irish family. Taylor was God’s choice to encourage me through this dark period. When I left the COVID-19 ward, Taylor came with me and said “You will come back when you are discharged to thank us all.” We later discovered that Taylor is a distant relative of our neighbor, two doors up the street from us. You say to me, “It can only happen in Ireland.” Well it is God’s overruling, and to Him we give all the praise and glory!
In the new ward, I was still in a room on my own, but this time it was much bigger with four lovely, big windows through which the sun shone in during the afternoons. It made me so hot, I had to close the curtains.
Throughout this time, I was able to keep in regular contact with Colin, our son Stephen and his wife Melisa, and my sisters in Canada. Colin was not allowed to visit me, so What’s App was a great solace to us both. My church family came up trumps in providing Colin with hot meals each day, and so did Melisa when Stephen was better. In all of this, our son Stephen came down with the virus too. As he is younger and healthy he got through it by sleeping it off and by self-isolation. He is now back working from home. Colin kept well, and did not suffer from any of the symptoms. He was able to go out each day for walks, etc.
It was on Colin’s birthday that I finally came home from the hospital healed. He had arranged for a stairlift to be installed in our home, and he was able to get the supply of oxygen as prescribed by the hospital.
The amazing thing about all this is that Colin and I were spectators of what God did through people like you because you took up the challenge to pray. And here I am today, a healed lady. Yes, it will take time to be fully restored to normal health and strength, but I am liking what God is already doing in my life. However, we are conscious that for some people, the outcome has been different for them. Our prayers are with their families at this time, that they will know God’s strength and comfort.
In conclusion the words of Psalm 126:3 are a fitting tribute to what God has done in my life, “The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” It is my prayer that through reading my story, you will be blessed and encouraged. Our email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org