Family & Friends

It's late and I should be in bed but I wanted to write one more post before my surgery tomorrow.  Actually, I'm not that tired and my mind is thinking of many things.  Daughters calling,  one coming from out of town and another one making dinner.  A son who is hovering at home when he could be elsewhere.  The wagons are circling.  Hugs from mothers and a sister's concern.  More calls from a brother, dependable, along with his wife, my other sister.  And then there are the friends; glorious treasures of God's grace who wait, hoping to serve because that's what they do when the wagons circle.  I am extremely grateful this night to think of the army of saints that holds us up with their prayers.  Others have come alongside because you have asked them to.  They also have become partakers in this golden cord of prayer.

And then there is my favorite, my husband, who is always watching and caring.  He is a wagon master himself in how he plans and directs the rest of us.  This man that I love is strong, yet tender when it comes to the heart and his Savior.  I know that I am blessed beyond many for I experience his graces daily.

So my last thought tonight is one of overwhelming gratitude.  I know that all good gifts come from the Father above and He is generous in His blessings.  As I lay my head down tonight it will be with praise to the God who is my helper, the upholder of my life (Psalm 54:4) and who gives peace (Psalm 4:8).

I understand that tomorrow will be hard but I don't count it any harder than what many of you experience in your own lives.  It is one more day to face and by God's grace He will supply what is needed.

I am thankful ~


Held Together

Today was an information laden day. Dan took me to yet another doctor's appointment and much has happened and going to happen. In all honesty it can be quite overwhelming and if I didn't remember that God is over all I am most certain that I could/would crumble. There is great comfort in scripture for all scripture is God breathed, and profitable for making one wise. I am comforted by Colossians 1:17 which says, "And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together." We are part of the "all things" that are being held together by the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. No out of control or running amuck when the Lord is our God.

So here is the news that we knew was coming (just didn't think it was coming so fast). Tomorrow Dan will take me in the morning to have another procedure done. The surgeon wants to do an endoscopy to look around some more. Then, on Thursday, I have been scheduled for surgery. This seems to be a fast tract for sure but I am at the whim of a surgeon's schedule and there was an opening. But maybe the reality is this: God goes before us making a way because He holds all things together.

God is all sufficient for the road ahead. I want to remember this at each moment when the feelings go haywire. Let me end this post by quoting from "The Valley of Vision":

"The world is before me this day, and I am weak and fearful, 
but I look to thee for strength;
If I venture forth alone I stumble and fall,
but on the Beloved's arms I am firm as the eternal hills;
If left to the treachery of my heart I shall shame thy Name,
but if enlightened, guided, upheld by thy Spirit I shall bring thee glory.
Be thou my arm to support, my strength to stand, my light to see, my feet to run,
my shield to protect, my sword to repel, my sun to warm."

Thank you, dear friends, for reading and praying.


Must Keep Moving Forward

I read in a blog this last week of a letter a young man sent home to his parents in WWI.  In this letter he described how in the battle one would be shot if they retreated.  This young soldier paralleled that with the Christian walk.  Our Lord has called us to the battle.  It's not always the same for everyone but we all battle in one way or another.   Here is a great reality ~ we never battle alone.  The Prince of heaven, who calls us to the battle, not only leads us but also comes behind us all the while being in the midst of the conflict we face.  We have been given tools for this trade, weapons for this warfare.  So it matters not that we understand or comprehend the call to fight.  It only matters that the Captain of our souls is in charge and that we can depend on Him to lead.  For there are dragons in the land and many times we don't even recognize them.  Charles Spurgeon says this, "The duty of every soldier in the army of the Lord is daily, with all his heart, soul and strength to fight against the dragon."  And, "Let us sharpen our swords tonight and pray the Holy Spirit to nerve our arms for the conflict."  You must also know that you will get wounds, get knocked down and maybe even trampled on.  The truth remains, though, and it is quoted in Psalm 18:28-30:  "For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness.  For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall.  This God -- his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him."  Christ goes before us and has given us the weapons that we need (read in Ephesians 6).

This would be enough  to do what we have been called to do.  But in the kindness and mercy of God he has also given us the church, particular members, to hold each other up and remind us of who we follow and fight for.  This is a tangible evidence of grace.  I have seen it and experienced it.  For this I am beyond grateful. All of you who have come alongside of us being ministering spirits are evidences of God's love and grace.  For so many prayers and encouragements cannot be bought or sold.  It is an incredible gift that has been given by God's saints.  These are many of the things that I remember when the battle is fierce.  I hear the song "Onward Christian Soldier" as I pick up the weapons and enter the fray again.

We are not alone but are many.  Not only are we many but we follow the ultimate Warrior who will not fail.  The battle truly is the Lord's and He is and will be victorious.

*Health update:  Dan took me to my doctor's appointment yesterday.  To make a long story short this doctor is sending me to another doctor.  So I have an appointment this coming Monday to discuss, most likely, surgery.  We want to get this nasty stuff out of me and put me back together again.  I most sincerely want so many of you to know that I sense the power of your prayers on our behalf.  Definitely a precious gift!


Joy through Pain

Dan and I will often go into our little town of Woodland to get a cup of coffee at the Starbucks located inside the Safeway store.  We go to this Starbucks because there is a young woman that works there that we have gotten to know and she is quite delightful.  A couple of weeks ago we stopped by and she asks the question, "Pastor Dan, what is Lent?".  You would think that I would have a good grasp on what Lent is growing up in the Lutheran church.  But, sad to say, I don't think that I was a particularly smart child as I don't have any recollections and have had to figure this out later in life.  So as we are in the season of Lent and because I have been thinking about it I thought that I would share some thoughts with you.  Lent, according to the church calendar, is the forty days before Easter not including the Sundays.  This is where you will hear someone say that they are giving up this or that for Lent (jokingly, I have told Dan that I will give up squid for Lent).  But seriously, as I think about the time of preparation for Easter, which is where we celebrate the resurrection of Christ, I am reminded this is where Jesus served the disciples at the Last Supper.  He washed their feet telling Peter that this was necessary to be a part of Him.  As I reflect upon my own black heart and actions there is the realization that I was/am doomed if Jesus has not come to me, served me in His sacrifice.  As each day in the season of Lent goes by there is ample opportunities for me to recognize my emptiness, dependence and need for a Savior, THE Savior.  So with each sacrifice (giving up) or suffering that comes I really want to be able to turn and offer it to the Lord so that His will is done in me.  This is easier said than done but hardships and heartaches have a purpose in the kingdom of God.  Lent is the emptying of myself so that Christ can come and dwell and shine His light into the darkness of my heart.  I definitely need Him, am desperate for Him.  Because without Him there will only be this void of darkness and me having to dwell with me.  Easter is coming and with it the joy of remembering what was accomplished.  Jesus has saved me from me.


An Update

I had read a quick post from my cousin that she wrote on Facebook this morning.  And as Dan and I were coming out of the doctor's office I recited what she had posted.  Her post said that as she had awakened this morning what went through her mind was, "Our great God, our great God".  God, indeed, is great and no matter what we face each day that statement won't change.

But we did hear some good news today.  The results of the CT scan showed nothing abnormal.  The cancer didn't even show up on it.  Now we do still know that because of the pathology report that there is cancer present.   The next step is to see a  oncological specialist in the Vancouver area.  So the referral has been sent and I will wait to hear when the appointment will be scheduled.

Again, so many thanks to all of you.  We feel so incredibly loved.  More news will be coming when we know more.