The Journey

The Journey

Children Encouragement From the Authors

Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story ~Psalm 107:2

I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting. Mostly in my own head. I mean, I could share my ideas with those around me… but they’re all under the age of 10. They don’t get my jokes, let alone my contemplative thoughts.

Well, that’s probably selling them short. So maybe I should share more with them… but that’s a blog post for another day.

In my last post, I mentioned that our youngest had started having seizures. So life’s been a little wild and chaotic for a bit. A little scary. A week or two before his first seizure, I actually said to my husband, “We got it really good.” And he nodded, we were driving somewhere and he was distracted. “No, really,” I continued. “We got it reaaaaally good. I don’t like those sermons where people warn you that hard times come to us all. And I don’t want to predict that over us, but I feel like we aren’t appreciating the everyday mundane. We don’t know how good we really have it, because it’s been so good for so long.”

And then yeah, stuff happened, and we were just thankful that we were still a family of five. The first seizure was awful. I had the thought that I might lose a child right before my eyes and there was nothing I could do about it.

So check out this little guy:

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You know where I found him? Right here:

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This is the headwaters of the Mississippi River. That little guy had been just hanging out in Lake Itasca- all in all a pretty calm lake. Life must have been a little mundane, but good. Then he somehow got through those rocks there. You can see them in the picture. Not a big deal for my kids who were climbing over them and getting soaked, heedless of their mother’s entreaties to keep their clothes dry. But for a little guy who fits in the palm of a child’s hand, those rocks must have been shocking compared to his life in Lake Itasca. And then I thought about what was ahead of him. He was going to keep floating down this river, towards the Gulf of Mexico. The realist in me thought he’d never make it. And another part of me wondered if I shouldn’t try and take him back to the lake and find a safe place for him, where he wouldn’t end up in the river again.

But as I sat and stared at that little guy, I began to think we had a little bit in common. I’d recently survived some rapids. Things have calmed down again for me, but I really don’t know what my future holds. I can’t even begin to imagine all that will happen. Sure I have plans for the future, but God has shown me time and again that my plans are small potatoes compared to his.

And then I remembered, again, the one thing that always calms me down. God is the same as he was yesterday, and as he will be tomorrow. He is good. His plans are good. He is merciful. And He does not give us more than we can handle.

So I put that little guy back in the river. Well, more accurately, I made a little boy put him back in the river. We were at the point where I foresaw that little guy coming home in someone’s pocket. So I did the mom thing where you use their middle name, and then I watched that little snail-thing lazily float away. And instead of sharing all my inner musings with my children, who probably would have been astounded, I laughed quietly at myself and returned to the age old tradition of mothers everywhere- nagging. Because who wants to drive home with a wet bum?

But all this to say, the journey is not always smooth or easy. But we are held in hands far stronger and wiser than that little boy’s. Wherever you are in the journey, you can trust in that.

Lord thank you that you see me, and you know me. You know right where I am at, and you know where I am going. You do not forsake us, but come after us time and again. Thank you for being so much better than I could ever imagine. Thank you that you are still in charge, even when it doesn’t seem possible. And I praise you for your wonderful creation- that mighty river that starts out so small and peaceful, that little snail I held in my hand, those wonderful babies you have given me. Thank you for all of that, and so much more. Everyday, more and more, help me to look around and to see your hand at work. In Jesus name, Amen!

~Lindsay

*I see that there are run-on sentences in this blog post. Don’t worry, I see it. But writing how I talk is really hard grammatically. I’m a math major. With a lot to say. Writing is hard. The end.

 

Hope

Hope

Our Story

Our mouths were filled with laughter,

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Grandpa, Auntie, and daughter.

    our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them.”
~Psalm 126:2

My family likes to laugh. All the time. We have even been caught laughing at what others might deem ‘inappropriate’ moments. I’m not going to get into the details of the nitty gritty of our lives. But I will ask that you trust that we have gone though situations that have ranged from slightly inconvenient, to terrifying, to heartbreaking, and more. And still, we have found ways to laugh. Sometimes even in the middle of these situations.

I’m sure you’ve been in situations where laughter seemed like something you would never experience again in this life time. I have a memory of being in an intensive care room with my grandfather, knowing he would probably die soon. It was a very sad and somber time for my family. But in the middle of it, my grandpa requested that bagpipes be played at his funeral. There was a surprised silence while we all dealt with our own emotions at hearing him say the word ‘funeral.’ Then one of my uncles said, “But Dad, you always said bagpipes sounded like two cats fighting in a tree?” Another startled silence and then we all started laughing so hard we were crying- even my grandpa! The tears were probably partly from all our stored up emotions, but what I remember is a nurse peeking in at us. I think she was wondering if we had all lost our minds. Because who could laugh at such a moment?

“We can laugh because we still have hope.”

Recently, I heard a woman share this sentiment. I almost fell over. It was exactly the line I’d been looking for! Because people really do wonder about the sanity of our family. How we can laugh in those awful situations. And it is because we are not hopeless. We serve a God who is full of love and compassion for us; a God who has promised to wipe away our tears; a restoring God; an all-things-new God; a God who is never ending. He knows our heartache and He is with us. He is with us! We have hope!

I am not belittling anyone’s pain. I am not saying that if you are experiencing something awful, you should just laugh it off. I am saying that you don’t need to give up. You can cling to hope, you can cling to the God who created you. You can rest in His promises. And I hope and pray that you will find something to laugh about. Something that will remind you that you have hope. And the hope we had for my grandpa, knowing that he was dying, was the knowledge that one day we would meet again- in a place where there would be no more tears! (at least no sad tears)

And just one final note. At grandpa’s funeral, when we arrived at the cemetery, there was a lone bagpiper playing Amazing Grace. It was so beautiful and moving, but we couldn’t help it… we all started snickering, because we were all remembering that Grandpa always said bagpipes sounded like two cats fighting in a tree. And if he was watching from heaven, I’m sure he was snickering too (that man was an excellent snickerer).*

Thank you God for laughter! Thank you that you have given us hope after hope, and that we can trust in You. Bless us to be filled with your joy! To love and laugh all our lives though. In Jesus name, Amen!

~Lindsay

There is a time for everything,

At my sister's wedding.
One more of cute baby girl, because- cuteness!!

    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
     a time to be born and a time to die,

    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
     a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
     a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
~Ecclesiastes 3:1-4

*so if you happened to be at a cemetery and saw a family snickering over a grave as a bagpiper played amazing grace… seriously, what would you think? We really do look like lunatics!

All for Jesus

All for Jesus

Encouragement Inspiration

“Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him. ~Luke 8:39

We recently moved. Moving is not always easy, but often surprising.

One thing we have found difficult, is finding a new church to call home. In this case, it is because of a wonderful problem. The city we landed in seems to be overflowing with great church families! We just need to find our place in the midst of so many options. Isn’t that a wonderful “problem”? So many good churches to choose from? I wish I had more problems like this*.

But the reason I bring this up, is because of one associate pastor. I don’t know him, and I’ve only heard him speak twice. But when he speaks, it’s like his whole life is saying all for Jesus.

Well, let me back up. Start at the beginning. The first time we visited this church, the associate pastor got up front and shared with the congregation that he had his colonoscopy, and the doctors had found cancer. I felt hearts in the congregation breaking around me. It was a very sad moment for that church body. As my husband and I talked after the service, we were amazed how the associate pastor had shared the news. He asked for prayer, especially for his family. He was honest and upfront about the situation. But he had hope. Not false hope, but genuine hope that comes from knowing Christ. He said, “Even in the worse case scenario, I still win. I still go home to be with Jesus.”

On Easter Sunday, we visited this church again. They had a small drama, where kids (teenagers) were asking this same pastor tough questions about faith and science. One of the kids mentioned that Easter probably wasn’t the best time to question faith. But this associate pastor lovingly said, that questions are good. They are ok, and you should feel free to ask them at any time. Then he used his heart and brain to argue his case for Christ. And he even brought his stage 4 cancer into the debate. And my heart hurt to know that diagnosis, even as it soared. Because I heard it again- all for Jesus.

Given some of the worst news ever, he still pointed to God’s trustworthiness and goodness. I loved that he was addressing the hard questions to teenagers. I loved that he was in front of everyone giving God glory in the midst of something so personal, painful, sad…

But he wasn’t any of those things. Instead he was secure in his knowledge that Jesus has already won. And he was using his testimony to glorify God.

They triumphed over him
    by the blood of the Lamb
    and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
    as to shrink from death.
~Revelation 12:11

Grandma Mabel
Grandma Mabel

I’m not belittling the pain that anyone has ever faced. I know how awful cancer in the family can be. Trust me, I know. This story is not about pretending like everything is okay, when it most clearly is not. This story is about trusting God in all circumstances. And I don’t know this man, but I am sure he has had plenty of emotions to contend with. When my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer we went through the gauntlet of anger, fear, sadness, brief periods of hope, crushing moments of heartbreak….

But her last words, always give me hope: “Beautiful, beautiful…”

Hope is a beautiful thing.**

Lord, thank you for the testimonies of others that draw us nearer to you. Thank you that you are so holy, that you can use even the worst circumstances for good. Thank you that wherever we are and whatever is happening in our lives, there is always hope because of what your son did on the cross. Thank you that the tomb was empty, and that we now have hope in Christ. Lord, please increase our hope. Please help us to tell our own testimonies when needed. May we glorify You. In Jesus name, Amen.

~Lindsay

*Other problems I would like to have: too much cheesecake in the house, too many coffee shops in town, and a roll of toilet paper that never ran out. (I suppose that last one is not really a problem at all… but as long as I am dreaming.)

**But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are His house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory. ~Hebrews 3:6