Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
We know that our Lord has everything in His hands, under control.
To someone who doesn't know what it really is to be a follower of Christ it must be confusing to see our fervent and single-minded devotion to the Way.
I sense that in non-believers. They just don't get it.
They must think we under some massive delusion, some crazy notion that denies their unspiritual existence.
Well, when you've experienced Christ, you are never the same.
I had the joy of knowing Christ as a very young child. I can hardly fathom what it is like to live without Him, facing the struggles and troubles of life.
Ed's cancer has been hard. I wish it on no one else, but the sad reality is that it IS in people's lives. Many people. But how do they face it without the hope our Savior gives?
How do they walk that horrid path without the strength from the Holy Spirit, the abiding joy that all of us believers know?
So today, in this week of Thanksgiving, I am grateful. I'm thankful.
I'm thankful to God that He is so good, so loving, so merciful to save wretched and rebellious human beings from eternal fire. I'm thankful that He saved me.
Thank you, LORD!
Monday, November 24, 2014
How to Know You're a Genuine Believer
Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard). 2 Peter 2:7-8 NIV
Here is one "hidden" mark of a genuine believer. It cannot be known for sure in others, but you can be sure of it in yourself. But be careful not to make false judgments about others. Peter writes about those who "deny the...Lord" (2:2), but he denied him three times.
If you were to say, "He's a counterfeit!" you'd be wrong. There will be many surprises in heaven - who's there and who's not. Lot chose to live in the city of Sodom, and he experienced a great deal of unhappiness there. Some decisions in life have lasting consequences - where you live, what career you choose, who you marry. A bad decision may bring you sorrow, but it cannot stop God's grace in your life. The mark of a righteous man living in an unrighteous world, Peter says, is that he is "distressed" and "tormented" day after day. He is distressed over sin in the world around him. And he is distressed over sin in his own soul. The distinguishing mark is not that Lot was without sin.
The evidence that Lot was a righteousness man was that he grieved over sin wherever he saw it.
Your distress over the sin around you is a clear mark of God's grace in your life. A true Christian grieves over sin wherever he sees it. That includes the sin in your own soul. A counterfeit Christian takes it very lightly. It doesn't bother him. Are you distressed by your own sins? Or have you learned to live with them?
Friday, November 21, 2014
No, we're not done with treatment. That continues for three more years, but should health be good and treatment go as planned we will not have to stay in the hospital again.
Only if Ed gets sick. Fevers aren't our friends.
So we'll pray he stays well, his counts stay good, and we all will be happy.
The arctic cold is slipping away for the weekend, too, and that makes us very happy.
On the way home from the hospital the conversation in the car went something like this:
"Ed, I'm sorry if I'm stealing your joy about......."
"No, mom, you aren't stealing my joy, you are stealing my happy, and that isn't as important."
I love this kid. He's had a happy countenance all through this horrid disease, and that has blessed every single person who walked in the door of his room.
He told one nurse that being difficult didn't help anything. One might as well be pleasant as one could be. So through nausea, pain, sores, weariness, and CANCER he has been delightful.
And now we can hope that hospital visits are a thing of the past.
The next stage of chemotherapy is due to begin the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.
Time to get ready for the feast!
Thank you for your prayers. The LORD, Elohim, is glorified by your prayers answered in Ed. Thank you.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Monday, November 17, 2014
Alas, if he gets a fever or any other dire illness symptoms he will be hospitalized.
But let's hope.
So, I am ready for the week, though somewhat flutter-brained. Our weekend included the big performance of our fall concert for the Northern Lights Chorale. Girl's Night Out happened, with my friend and her daughter, and my two girls: we saw the play "Pride and Prejudice" at the local Christian school. My husband's parents were here for the weekend, and we tried to stay quiet and low-key despite the events.
I still feel rattled tonight. Maybe it's because Margaret had a minor car accident over the weekend. Maybe it's because I'm feeling the need for some introvert time. Maybe it's the freezing cold and early snow pack outside. Maybe I see our parents and ourselves aging, gracefully, surely, but still the path slopes downward.
Maybe all the bells and whistles of dealing with meds and clinics and being very ill are at an irritating high pitch.
Perhaps it's all these things combined. I guess I'm ready for the week at the hospital, but inside I'm wishing I could be doing normal stuff.
Normal for me, at least.
Thanksgiving is coming. Plans are forming for the day's celebration. I started buying ingredients for the goodies. Last year I'd have been doing...
No need to bemoan any loss here. The Lord has placed us right where we need to be.
I skimmed an article this past weekend. It was about God not letting us suffer beyond what we can bear. It pointed out that that wasn't what Scripture said. It says we won't be tempted overly. Really there are no guarantees that we won't suffer extremely. Maybe even beyond what we can handle.
But we do know that the Holy Spirit ALWAYS stands with us, always helps us, always keeps us. I truly believe that He never lets us go.
Suffering will come. Pain, death, torment are facts of life. My mother-in-law knows some people who have never suffered much. I don't know anyone like that. I think everyone I know has been through hard times of some sort---illness or loss. Now I don't know anyone personally who has suffered torture. That is a whole realm about to be unpacked in our world. Evidence of horrible acts are turning up on my internet feed daily.
And we shouldn't look away.
We watch and steel our own hearts in the promises of God.
We meet the demands of our days with hope in our hearts, put there by the Holy Spirit.
Please continue to pray for Ed. These next days will be boring and difficult. The chemotherapy puts him in a compromised state health-wise. The next stage of chemo will be similar to what we experienced right after the diagnoses.
And yes, I'll have to administer chemo at home again.
Not sure if that starts the week of Thanksgiving or if it will wait until after that holiday. Certainly we'll be in the midst of it through Christmas.
Thank you for your kindness in keeping up with us, reading these posts, praying, checking in. We value, we treasure your concern, your friendship. We don't want to depress our friends. We want to show that these hard times can truly be navigated with God's presence.
Knowing Him makes all the difference.
I can't tell you how many moments of doubt I've had that have been cleared by His thoughts answering, clearing up questions. They happen in the sleepless nights, the reveries of afternoon.
Each moment of doubt confirms my need for God. The same God of Abraham touches my heart. He stoops to comfort me.
And faith becomes stronger with each confrontation of doubt. Amazing.
Looking up. It's going to get better!
Saturday, November 15, 2014
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Did you look at some of the headlines today?
The story about Obama's letter to the Iranian leader is still fresh. So is the one about the "Affordable Health Care Act" architect and his deliberate deception.
I am no longer a fan of G.W. Bush, but probably for different reasons than most progressives. I believe he belongs to the controlling few, and plays at conservative politics. As time goes on I get more and more jaded about American politics.
But this is a good thing. My eyes focus not on the weaklings in Washington, but on God, the Author and Ruler of all. Ultimately, the God of the Bible will bring things to a close here on earth, and despair about current politics just doesn't fit in my schedule anymore.
I'm done with that.
(Oh, yes, I vote.)
---And I do stay informed about things---after all, I consider myself one of the watchmen. I am looking for bigger things to be happening, and I look for clues and signs of Christ's return ALL THE TIME.
It's getting closer, friends. He's coming soon.
Repent, and get ready.
There are those who will say "Lord, Lord!"
And He'll say "I never knew you."
Better work that out with fear and trembling. If you have sin in your life right now, and you haven't turned away from it, watch out!
The LORD is quick to forgive. He loves you, and He wants to be your Savior. Just don't believe that your life is "safe" because you went to church growing up. You need to have a personal relationship with God, and if you are struggling in sin, no spiritual fruit, you'd better examine your life.
Don't wait. The Bridegroom comes for the Bride, the church of Jesus Christ.
If you aren't sure, get out your Bible and turn to the Gospel of John. Spend some time reading it tonight. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal His truth to you through His thoughts and Words. Go to Him with a humble heart, ready to repent.
One thing that happens to a believer when He becomes a child of God is that there is this lack of a desire to sin. There is a conviction of sin in your life. All of a sudden you KNOW you are sinning.....in some clear way.
You repent. You move away from your sexual sin, your profane mouth, your pornography. Your laziness, sloth, and greed. You no longer have Satanic condemnation speaking lies into your head about how ugly you are, what a failure, what a misfit...You desire the Word of God. You know His voice, because it fills you with a solid understanding of His forgiveness and His love. Maybe you will have a warmth that envelopes you. You will know.
And the Truth will set you free.
I don't care what religion you are, or were. You can come to Christ right now, asking Him to forgive you, repenting of your sin, believing that He is GOD, He is your savior.
It's personal. It's powerful. It's life itself.
Maranatha, Lord Jesus.
It's not about this world anymore. It's about the next.
Monday, November 10, 2014
Please take a second to watch this youtube clip.
Steve Saint is quite a guy. My late sister-in-law, Susan Heche Bergman, wrote a book entitled "Martyrs" about 20 years ago. The chapter that Steve Saint contributed about the death of his dad and other missionaries in South America is one of the most moving and powerful chapters.
I, too, suffered a broken back, when I was 17 years old. I was thrown from our frisky horse, Sheik. Many times I've wondered how life would be if I'd ended up like Christopher Reeve. Steve Saint's injury did much more damage than mine did.
I love how he said "injury," not "accident."
After reading the book "Miracles" by Eric Metaxas this weekend I've thought of all the miracles in my own life.
Too many to list. I began blogging to record the common occurrence of them for me.
I'm not looking for any, but I see them daily. I love to read about them and experience them.
As you can see from all the posts today, this blizzard is good for writing. It's also good for cooking. I'm about to make quick breads and apple pie.
Ed is suffering a bad headache today. I've called the clinic for advice, but with the weather they discouraged our traveling to the clinic. We're laying low and watching for any change in symptoms.
Let's pray we don't have to go to the clinic in this. Pray his headache abates. Thank you!
We're all talking about it.
This was one of those years that stuff didn't happen because lots of stuff happened.
Raking. Oh well.
When I think back to last year, fall, when we were preparing for a beautiful wedding, traveling on the "Empire Builder" out to Washington, facing a winter of profound change, the mundane things seem completely irrelevant.
But they are relevant!
Age brings change. Illness does. Life events all conspire to baptize us in new reality.
So, how has it been? And the big question, what lies ahead?
Don't you wish we could know, prepare, navigate better?
Paul E Miller wrote the book "A Praying Life." Every single thing that happens to us is part of the story that God is writing in our lives. We have a choice each day to see the circumstances in a positive light ("He is working this out...") or a negative one ("LORD! Why me! WAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!) This is prayer.
So I sort of feel my life has been novel this past year. I'm seeing lots of interesting twists and turns that provide great plot material. I'm trusting that God is really writing a happy ending to all of this, but my expectations (harmful as they can be, inevitable) are that there is more upheaval to come.
Winter's onset does this to me.
So, the new snow-blower fired up this morning. The snow tires are on. The ground is blanketed with several inches of pure white snow already this morning. The leaf sweeper did not arrive in time to be used, but it will sit in the garage for spring yard clean up. The fish are in the fishbowl in the house, out of the pond. The woodpile is under a tarp, the outdoor furniture is stashed away, as are the bikes and bees. My husband put the bees to bed for the winter on Saturday, wrapping their hives in tar paper.
Will they survive the winter?
In this somber mood I am singing this song softly, "Good Night Dear Heart."
Enjoy its quiet beauty in the next post.
Saturday, November 8, 2014
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Got to the hospital this morning to find Ed racked out, nauseated, worn out, and generally blah.
Nurse says that high doses of chemotherapy like this can not necessarily be predictable.
Good thing I was listening to "The Master's Chorale" on the way here..."I will never be afraid! God is my Rock. I will not fear, God is my refuge."
It puts things in perspective and fuels comfort.
Prayers are appreciated.
Monday, November 3, 2014
Ed has a spinal tap tomorrow morning, followed by his 3rd week of chemotherapy in the hospital. My husband is going to be with him tomorrow, as I am an election judge.
He took off work so I could do my civic duty.
I don't have the best attitude about it, but I can be there.
So, today was grocery shopping, finding foods that we can eat cheaply in the hospital. Hospital food isn't too expensive, but it does add up. Sometimes a juice and protein bar from home are totally sufficient.
My husband had a whirlwind trip to Washington this past weekend. Our oldest son and his wife left for their new life near Seattle two weeks ago (already!). After they left my husband fixed up the car they'd left here for selling...and now it works so great they decided they really could use it!
So at 6 o'clock on Friday evening my husband left Minneapolis, driving that old car, steadily heading westward on the interstate. He reached Washington on Saturday, around 9:30pm.
That is quite a drive! All across Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, and the small arm of Idaho! And all of Washington...! He stayed the night at both Bismark and Mt. Moses, reaching our kids in time to attend church with them Sunday.
All went well, but he returned via air this morning somewhat worn out and feeling sick.
Cheri is also on the end of a cough. We're hoping for no viruses as the week progresses! At the hospital masks must be worn when there is cough, sore throat, or flu symptoms. The winter policy is that no children under age 5 may visit patients.
If you are older than five we welcome your visit.
Ed is doing well. We had a quiet weekend here at home. It was time to recharge for this upcoming busy week.
In a few minutes the home health nurse will be here to "access" Ed for the IV fluids administered here at home in preparation for the chemotherapy tomorrow. A needle will be inserted into his port near his neck. He'll wear a backpack with a small pump and a bag of "lactated ringers" to his Trail Life event tonight.
Monday nights he has his club meeting. This is the 3rd time he's had to do this, and the other boys seem to be okay with that. It makes only a small little breathing noise.
Let's hope and pray all goes as it should this week. Thank you for your prayers!
Oh, and the image above? My friend gave me the lovely roses. Tomorrow my husband and I celebrate 25 years of marriage. It's the "silver" anniversary, and my gracious aunt gave me my Grandmother's silver service. I'm displaying it in honor of our wedding anniversary. Twenty-five years ago I married my own genius. Still going strong!
My son and his wife in their new rainy home of Washington:
Sunday, November 2, 2014
Saturday, November 1, 2014
Though someone who claims to be non-denominational, I do have a gratefulness to Martin Luther. The Reformation gave rise to Biblical literacy, and though that suffers today in these end times, the Bible is still our plumb line for life and the Word of God.
Today I'm glad Hallowe'en is over. As I age I feel more and more uncomfortable with this pagan display. I grieve over the evil costumes and gory images.
There's enough gore in the world---especially this year---with ISIS beheadings, burnings, and crucifixions.
We certainly don't need to degenerate into a celebration of evil.
I feel like I've been laying low for weeks now, just avoiding the cultural ish.
We also have Kiwi, our wonderful black cat, whom I do not let outdoors for weeks leading up to Oct. 31. I do not fear pagans, but I do know there is a danger for innocent dumb animals regarding pagan sacrifice.
There is a danger for humans as well. They are like dumb sheep regarding evil.
The Bible teaches that God is good, love, a person, the creator.
There is also the devil, the force of evil. The devil has many followers, and the earth is his kingdom for now.
Anything not of God is evil. The "neutral" ground is pretty scarce.
Even the animal kingdom is affected by evil.
As the days get shorter, both literally and figuratively, we would be better serving ourselves to cleansing and purifying our lives.
Let the evil practices go.
Follow Christ, and eschew evil, be they pagan, satanic, or humanistic.
It's a good path.