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Archive for the ‘Faith’ Category

After 44 nights…

17
Apr

So I won’t bore you with all of the details of our life over the last 4 months, but I will give you a quick overview.

In late January, my husband, Dustin, was diagnosed with cancer.  They initially told him that it was rectal cancer, however, on February 13th they changed the diagnosis to Burkitt’s Lymphoma.  Since February 13th he has spent 44 nights in the hospital over 6 hospital stays.  He has had three cycles of chemo, one surgery, several different scans, and lots of nasty hospital food (well at least brought to his room).  He has had some good days, and a lot of bad days.

BUT NOW…THERE IS LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL.

He came home from the hospital today.  The doctor is hopeful that he is finished with treatments.  He will have a PET scan in a couple of weeks to make sure that there are no cancers cells left.  I am extremely grateful to have him home, but I am still nervous, and pray that the next two weeks go by quickly.  I want the results of the PET scan so that we have a definite answer.

This experience has not been one that anyone would ever ask for, but God has used it to teach us many things.

We have learned to fully rely on Him.  He is our source of strength and comfort. “O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.” Psalm 30:2

He has taught us how to better serve those in need in the future.  We have been so blessed by the people that have watched our kids, brought us food, helped us financially, sent cards and letters, and come to visit.  Thank you all.

He has also taught us to cherish each other as a couple, and as a family even more.  You never realize how much need each other until something like this happens.  My eyes have been opened to the reality of how much I depend on my husband, and this experience has made me even more thankful for him than I already was.  Our family has become even closer through all of this.  My kids could not wait for their Daddy to come home and were so excited when we went to pick him up.  After we got home this evening the youngest (2 1/2 months) was crying in the swing, the middle bits (16 and 17 months) were whining because they were ready for dinner, and the big girls (5 and 6) were chattering away as usual.  Dustin was resting on the couch.  I was trying to keep everyone quiet, but not having much success.  But after all the kids were in bed, Dustin pulls me over to him and says that was the best sound he has heard in the last 4 months.  It was the sound of family at home.

We know that the war is not quite over, but we are getting closer.  We continue to be reminded that God is good.  We are now in a period of wait and see (until the scan), and regaining strength.  Thank you all for your prayers and support.  We are blessed.

Not What We Expected

03
Feb

We have made a practice of praying together in the truck before we go into the doctor’s office each time.  Yesterday we prayed for good news.  We have heard so much bad news in the past week, that we needed some hope.  We needed a ray of light, and that is exactly what we got!!!

“Well, you still have cancer, but it’s not rectal cancer like we thought. You have lymphoma.”

Let the hallelujah dancing, as a friend calls it, begin!!!  Yes, D still has cancer.  Yes, it’s still going to be a long, hard road. Yes, we are still going to need help, and yes, we definitely still need your prayers.  BUT….this means no surgery, no colostomy, and no genetic risk for the girls.  This also means survival rate is much higher!!!

So, D will be going in tomorrow to have a bone marrow biopsy just to make sure it has not spread to the bone marrow.  If that comes back clear then the tumor has not metastasized anywhere else in his body.  He will also be getting a medi port put in which requires a minor outpatient surgery.  Then we will go back to the doctor next Wednesday, and he will start chemo next Friday.

God is so good!!!  The power of prayer has been shown.  Thank you all for your prayers and help.  We still need it, but there is hope at the end of the road.

 

 

 

God’s Hand in Everything

05
Jul

I get migraines.  We’re not talking about headaches that last for half a day, or even a whole day.  I get migraines that last for weeks.  Over the years I have learned ways to cope with my migraines better, and there are often times that people do not even realize that I have one.  But I get really bad migraines, and I get them all the time.

Having migraines gets in the way of having the life that I would like to have.  There are a lot of things that I don’t get to do that I wish I could because of my migraines.  I often end up in bed early when I would rather be spending the time with my husband.  There are lots of times that housework has to be left undone (and ultimately left for my husband) because I just can’t do it during the day.  There are days where my kids get jipped because I need to rest.

Over the years, I have struggled with being angry with God about this.  I have often questioned why me, or why anybody for that matter.  I have felt sorry for myself, my husband, and my family.  I have had overwhelming guilt brought on because of my headaches.

BUT….what is all of that saying about the God who created me?  I am fearfully and wonderfully made!!! (Psalm 139:14)  If I believe this, and I do, then why do I question so much?  Why do I get angry with God?  Shouldn’t I be finding the good in the situation.

We have all heard, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”  But there is so much more to it than that.  When life’s circumstances are hard, use them to grow in your relationship with your creator.  Instead of asking, “Why is this happening?” I should be asking, “How can I use this? What can I learn from this? and What can I teach others because of this?”

I like the way J.C. Ryle talks about this…..

“If God has given His Son to die for us, let us beware of doubting His kindness and love in any painful providence of our daily life. Let us never suppose that He can give us anything that is not really for our good. Let us remember the words of Paul, ‘He who spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all—how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things.’ (Rom. 8:32.) Let us see in every sorrow and trouble of our earthly pilgrimage, the hand of Him who gave Christ to die for our sins. That hand can never smite us except in love. He who gave us His only begotten Son, will never withhold anything from us that is really for our good. Let us lean back on this thought and be content. Let us say to ourselves in the darkest hour of trial, ‘This also is ordered by Him who gave Christ to die for my sins. It cannot be wrong. It is done in love. It must be well.’”
~ J.C. Ryle

So this is the challenge for myself.  When I am frustrated that my head is hurting for the umpteenth day in a row, I will tell myself, “This also is ordered by Him who gave Christ to die for my sins. It cannot be wrong. It is done in love. It must be well.”  I will look for the positives, have confidence that they are there, and rejoice and be thankful for the opportunity to grow through this trial.

“Therefore, hear me, you men of understanding:
far be it from God that he should do wickedness,
and from the Almighty that he should do wrong.”

Job 34:10

Hospitality – Why? How?

30
Jun

 

Dictionary.com defines hospitality as 1. the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers  2. the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers  in a warm, friendly, generous way.

 

In the last several months we have been convicted more about inviting people into our home for a time of fellowshipping around the table and building relationships.  When we talked to others about getting together I used to actually pray they would offer to do it at their house.  Hosting at my own house has been somewhat hard for me for several reasons.  For one thing, our house is a constant construction project.  At times I have felt our house was not good enough, or wondered what people would think of our ongoing work.  Also, I am admittedly not a very good cook (unless it’s baby food).  I like to cook, but I am not very good at it and never want people to eat something they don’t enjoy.  In addition, we have small children.  I know they are good kids most of the time, but sometimes I am nervous about how they will act when others are in our home.   Well all of these were just excuses!  We did not have any good reasons for not inviting people into our home and sharing what we have.  We may not have the fanciest house;  we may not serve the fanciest food, and it might be loud in our house sometimes, but we always have a good time building relationships.

 

Why be hospitable?

Sometimes we think hospitality is optional, but the Bible specifically commands it.

1 Peter 4:9-10 – “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace. “

Romans 12:13 – “Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.”

These are just two of the many, many verses in the Bible pertaining to showing hospitality.  God’s Word make it very clear that as believers we are to share what we have without grumbling or in my case, making excuses.

How to be hospitable?

Like I wrote earlier, I am not a gourmet chef, and I don’t have the most exquisite house.  But I love to fellowship with people.  I want them to feel comfortable in my home.  I know for me, I actually feel less comfortable in someone’s home that is immaculate.  I am afraid I am going to mess something up, or get it out of place, or that one of my children will break something.  I want people to enjoy the food they eat at my house, not feel like they have to worry about which fork to use.

So here are a few things that work for us.  Again we are not experts by any means.  We simply like to fellowship and build relationships.

  1. Pray before, during, and after.  Pray before that God would ordain the conversation to move in the direction he would desire.  Pray during, not just for your food.  What a better way to let people know you are praying for them than by doing it while they are in your home.  Pray after that God will use the time you spent together for his glory, and for future opportunities.
  2. Be flexible.  Understand that those you are inviting may not have the same schedule you do and they may not have the same taste buds you do.
  3. Be yourself.  If the goal is to build relationships, and serve others, they need to see the real you.  One of my favorite things that my husband tries to do every time we have guest over for dinner is inviting them to join us for family worship.  They get to see the real us.
  4. Make your home comfortable, but don’t stress about making it spotless.  I have learned over the last several months that I enjoy my time much more if I don’t start off all stressed because of my house.  I want there to be a place for everyone to sit in the living room and at the table, and I want the kitchen cleaned so we can serve whatever food we are having, but I don’t mind if there are some toys out, or a pile of papers/mail that needs to be filed.  I do however TRY to make sure it doesn’t smell like dirty diapers.
  5. Find out about the tastes and allergies of your company.  You never want to be serving something that your guests don’t like or can’t eat.  We went to a church fellowship with young families not too long ago, and I forgot to ask about any food allergies.  I was asked to make dessert.  I got excited because dessert is one thing I do pretty well.  I made an array of cookies, peanut butter, sugar, and chocolate chip, and put them all on the same tray.  Unfortunately, when we got there I found out that one of the children was deathly allergic to peanuts, and could not enjoy any of the cookies because they were all on the same plate.  So now I make it a point to ask not only about likes and dislikes, but also allergies.
  6. Most of all, remember, being hospitable is not about the hostess.  It’s about your guests!!!

The next time you have people over, throw out your expectations.  Let God be in charge of things.  Relax and enjoy!!!

Hebrews 13:2

“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

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