Saturday, February 26, 2011

God is Faithful

Update:  When walking with a cane on grass, I tend to hold on to someone's arm for dear life to keep balanced and upright.  Last week, at a Sunday School party, I was able to walk on the grass successfully with the walker.  Pretty exciting!

On the morning of my doctor’s appointment in May, 2001, when I found out the results that revealed that I had MS, I remember having 3 specific prayer requests.

1  No matter what we found out, I wanted to be on God's side.  I knew I would need him now more than ever.

2  I still wanted God to use me to help make a difference for His Kingdom.

3  I also asked Him to please allow the way I acted and reacted, after the diagnosis and in the years to follow, to show our sons that what we had taught them about God's love, faithfulness, and provision is what I truly believed.

Chad's recent trip to Senegal, Africa was another reminder of God's continued faithfulness and answer to prayer on this journey.

Chad recently returned from a mission trip to Senegal, with his church.  This was the 17th trip they have made to this village in Africa.  The participants send daily reports home and the pastor forwards them to family, friends, and church members.  On this particular day,  the Bible story was about Mary and Martha after Lazarus died.

Excerpt from Chad's report:
                "Another major theme that was addressed was that God’s plans are much better than our own even when we do not see it at first.  There are many other things that we talked about.  Then one man spoke up and said “We know all these things now, how can we put them into action?”  We were able to talk about ways for a little bit but it was still staying abstract so I told them about how my mom has MS and that it is not what my plan would be.  I told them that my mom was great at serving other people and showing them love by doing things for them, but now she has had to learn to let people do things for her.  Through this, people have seen my dad care for my mom and have been encouraged by their marriage.  They have also seen her faith in God in a difficult time and their faith has been strengthened.  Though this is not what we would have wanted, we see how God has used it for His Glory and my family is encouraged by that.  I also shared that there was a new treatment that has helped her get a little better and we have been able to thank God for providing that.  The group there was able to see through this example what it means to have faith in a difficult time like Martha did.

I Corinthians 1:9
God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Stones of Remembrance

The Old Testament speaks of God’s people setting up “Stones of Remembrance” to remind them of His faithfulness during their pilgrimage.  When their children asked about the stones, the people were to remind them of God’s deliverance, love, provision, and faithfulness.  The stories were to be passed down from generation to generation.
Even though they are not actual rocks, we have “Stones of Remembrance” for our family.  Some stories are retold more than others, but each is important none the less.  This year marks the 10 year anniversary of several significant events in our family:  the deaths of my dad, Scott’s fiancée, and Larry’s mother.  They were all very treasured people to us.  2001 was also the year that I was diagnosed with MS.  While some of our family stones are reminiscent of joyful events, they all serve as reminders of God’s continual care, faithfulness, love, and provision for us.  What blessings He has continued to bestow during this past decade.
My prayer is that the “Stones of Remembrance” of my life and our family’s lives will be told from generation to generation as a testimony of God’s incredible faithfulness.  Especially this week, it has been good to remember.
        Joshua 4:20-24
20 And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. 21 He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22 tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ 23 For the LORD your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The LORD your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. 24 He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God.”

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Camping Inside

Health update:  Even though there are no major changes right now, we are still noticing little improvements along the way.  On Thursday, at the end of the hour workout, Leah had me do a leg lift exercise.  I was able to do 3 sets of 10 and my left leg performed as well as the right one.  We both realized that four months ago that would not have been possible.

On Wednesday afternoon, with the temperature in the low 20's and dipping into the teens, we lost electricity for 5.5 hours.  When Larry arrived home, it was almost completely dark and more than a little nippy temperature wise.  With the trusty flashlight in hand, I told him that this was going to be just like an indoor camping trip.  Mind you, that is the best kind as far as I am concerned.  I was already wearing a windbreaker, coat, and gloves.  Larry started a fire in the fireplace and we pulled up logs (chairs) to enjoy the warmth of the fire.  Larry brought me an extra blanket and he continued to wear his coat and hat.  We snacked on cashews and fruit.  After lighting more candles than I knew we had, we enjoyed campfire stories.  I remembered one night when Brad and Chad were around 3 or 4 and we were having our family prayer time.  For some reason, they both decided to pray with one eye open and thank God for as many things as they could.  I specifically remember them thanking Him for the windows, ceiling, ceiling fan, and closet.  Talk about being convicted.  I am grateful for all of those things, but when was the last time I thought about expressing it.  It was fun to take and have the time for stories and enjoy being together.

As the evening wore on, even though there were things that could have been done, it was more important to stay close to the fire.   With a little candle light and no electricity, I couldn’t do the normal things that occupy my time.  It brought new meaning to Psalm 46:10

   He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
   I will be exalted among the nations,
   I will be exalted in the earth.”

There were blessings in having and taking the time to be still.  Hopefully, we won't have to lose electricity again to reflect on that lesson. 

Around 8:30, the electricity came back on.  There was great rejoicing and much thanksgiving for our home, electricity, a heater, and God's provision of workers who knew how to repair a blown transformer.  Larry had prepared a delicious soup on Tuesday night.  The leftovers were just the meal we needed to complete our camping inside adventure. 

What a great reminder that just as it was good to stay close to the fire for warmth, how much more important it is to stay close to the source of life for guidance and direction.  And it’s good to have companions along life's journey, especially when camping – whether it’s inside or outside. 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Hur the Handholder

Exodus 17:10-13 
"So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill.  As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning.  When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset.  So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.    Moses built an altar and called it The LORD is my Banner.  He said, “Because hands were lifted up to the throne of the LORD."

I remember hearing about "Hur the Handholder" in a children's musical.  What an important part he played as God used him to lift Moses' hands to the Lord so that the Israelites would win the battle. 

It has been amazing to see how God has used so many of you to be my handholder, especially during this past year.  When it is difficult to manage the exercises, a little help with the weights or stretching produces the desired result.  Your prayers, encouraging words, opening a door, or patiently waiting as I walk continue to be such a blessing.  Each day, I pray that God would help me make a difference for His Kingdom, too.

Even though it seemed Hur might have had a "little" job, God blessed his obedience.  As Paul Harvey would say, "And now the rest of the story."  Look at how God used Hur's grandson to construct the sanctuary...

Exodus 35:30-35; 36:1
"Then Moses said to the Israelites, “See, the LORD has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic crafts. And he has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others.  He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them skilled workers and designers."

"So Bezalel, Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the LORD has given skill and ability to know how to carry out all the work of constructing the sanctuary are to do the work just as the LORD has commanded.”