Category Archives: Faith

Life’s a corkscrew that can’t be straightened, A minus that won’t add up….

These are the words of Solomon in Ecclesiastes 1:15 – even in his great wisdom he can’t make sense of life.

Lots of things this past year haven’t made sense to me either. Life’s a corkscrew that can’t be straightened, yes I have found this to be true. The evil appear to prosper while the innocent die.

I shake my head in disbelief.

That’s what I found myself doing on Saturday, April 4th, shaking my head in disbelief. I was in a private hospital room with my family, watching my loved one’s hearts break as we knew our Eisley Hope would soon be leaving this earth. I stood there shaking my head and saying, “No, this can’t be happening, no, no, no.”

Just 24 hours earlier this precious granddaughter had been doing so incredibly well that even her very conservative doctor was optimistic.

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A minus that won’t add up….

My past couple years have had lots of equations that didn’t calculate the way I thought they would. Losing Eisley Hope Klein Hutchinson was by far the hardest in a long list of hard.

It certainly didn’t add up.

Somehow in my mind this sweet precious baby girl was going to be the plus in my life that would somehow cancel out all the hard…and our family could start with a clean slate. Instead I watched as my daughter Sarah’s heart was crushed along with her husband’s and her sibling’s, my husband’s and mine.

Days later, I sat beside my dear husband at our granddaughter’s funeral and witnessed him weep like I had never seen. It was surreal. Our pastor said something really helpful to us as he opened the service. He told us that we don’t have to have our doctrine all correct to wade through this. I appreciated this as I was really confused and nothing made sense.

Family united by Eisley

I believe in the God of the universe- so great and mighty and sovereign, yet a mystery… of a God who reaches down to mankind, on an intimate, personal level to be reunited with us. A God who in the scripture is described as a loving father, a devoted and faithful husband, a shepherd who watches over us. Not only do I believe, but I have experienced Him, time and time again.

I also believe in a world broken by sin and man’s free will. I cannot and will not blame God for the consequences of a world broken by sin. I know He could have intervened and changed Eisley’s course. Yet He chose not to. He chose to take Eisley Hope home with him.

That leaves empty hearts and empty arms ….and a lot of questions. Some of those questions can scare us.

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I attended church alone the day after Eisley died. I asked our Pastor to pray for me. I told him, I am not here because I am strong. I am here because my faith is fragile and I need to hear the truth of the resurrection. I then discovered a peace that came from God holding me regardless of whether I was able in my weakness to hold onto Him.

Over the past few years I’ve discovered that there are two types of people. Some question me as they try to gain understanding. Then there are the others who question simply because they want to stand in judgement of me. They have no desire to understand. They don’t know the whole story and they don’t see the whole picture.

I realized this is true for me with my God. I need to come honestly before Him with my questions, but humbly acknowledging I don’t know the whole story and I don’t see the whole picture. I accept many of the mysteries of God; The Holy Trinity, The deity of Jesus, How election and free will are both true….the list goes on.

So I rest in what I do know- His faithfulness to me for many years, His comfort like none other, His still small voice, the blessed hope of heaven. I choose to accept, like Solomon, that this will never add up in my mind, I will never be able to understand the “why”.

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So I will accept another mystery by faith. The mystery of baby Eisley being given twelve days of life. The mystery of our hearts being crushed. I will hold onto the hope that Jesus is a God who brings beauty out of ashes. I’ll search for that beauty with all of my strength, knowing that when my strength fails that He is always willing to carry me and show me in His own time.

One Week Left….but a lifetime of discoveries!

Tea Party Addy   Tea Party Mercy

In Romania I have discovered who I really am. I am a nurturer and an organizer. I am a woman who loves to create and to do things well, but I am not a perfectionist and I am not a driver. I always thought I was supposed to be these things (a perfectionist and a driver). Consequently I have often felt defeated and have been unhappy with myself.

I think this is because I was striving to match those perfectionists and drivers around me instead of embracing who I am. So thank you 220 volt blow dryer cord for being used of God to speak to me in Romania. I am happily not winding the cord perfectly and realizing this doesn’t mean I am lazy. I take joy in doing little things.

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I am also handicapped. I finally have accepted this in Romania. I am completely deaf in my right ear. People do not realize how much of a handicap this really is. I cannot tell the direction sound is coming from. I could get hit by a car because I don’t hear it coming, so in public when I am alone, I am often hyper vigilant. Recently I strained over the banister in the apt. thinking I was answering Marie downstairs, when in reality she was talking to me while located right behind me. Sounds funny? Most people laugh, but it makes me feel dumb.

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I read lips as I only hear about every 3rd word, so if someone talks to me with their back turned to me, I am in a state of confusion and anxiety. I am trying to piece things together and figure out what they are saying. In the meantime I am hoping and praying they don’t ask me a question about whatever it is they are talking about. Often people are upset with me because they know they communicated something to me, but I never heard.

Marie's pretty stacking set    Marie's pretty

I’ve tried everything to hear in that deaf ear and be normal. As a teen I had surgery for the removal of my stapes bone and microscopically implanting a device that replaced the vibrating bone. I had my hearing on the post-op table, but within a couple days the healing process moved the device out of sync. I had a second surgery and poor instruction of 1970’s post-operative care led to the rare complication of nerve damage to my ear.

As a young lady I even sought prayer at special church services that prayed for healing…..and I did that more than once. I’ve spent more than our monthly mortgage payment on a Trans-ear device – a special hearing aid that picked up sound and transferred it along the bone in the skull to my healthy ear. It didn’t really work.. The current specialists say there is nothing that can be done to restore my hearing.

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In Romania, I realized I have been pretending my whole life. and I never realized it. I have pretended to understand what someone was telling me, even if I didn’t hear all of it. I think this was because at a young age I received no accommodations for my hearing loss. If I didn’t hear someone they looked at me as if I was stupid. I also felt stupid when I didn’t understand, because I didn’t know I had a handicap. Not being capable of being what someone expected equaled rejection to me and I suspect pretending was a type of survival.

I also pretended for years to fit in with a church community, unable to be my true self. Who I knew God to be did not match the strict doctrine that the church taught. Worshiping there and being in community there required me to walk on eggshells and pretend to be someone else. Leaving there and coming to Auburn Grace Community Church was the start of me truly walking in truth, being my true self.

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Two days ago I took Mercy to the mall on my own. She is so cute and the gal at the register was chatting away to me about her and I smiled silently and walked away. And then it hit me, I was pretending that I understood her. Just like with the deafness, I was in the nasty habit of pretending.

Pretending breeds insecurity in me, because it leaves me confused and conflicted and it’s wrong. Being a lover of truth it shocks me that all these years I have been pretending….because pretending to HEAR or BE or UNDERSTAND something that you don’t is clearly a form of deception. Deception is the exact opposite of truth. No wonder I’ve felt confused and conflicted.

And that shocking Romanian revelation brings me back to my God, my Jesus, the Holy Spirit dwelling in me – how incredibly kind and loving and patient God is with me and all His children. He’s always gently working in me for my good, peeling the layers off and conforming me into His image. He is the TRUTH. This might be why I have always loved prayer. There is no pretending with Him!

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I feel so much FREER as I am packing for home. I’m leaving my pretending and the insecurity it breeds in Bucharest. It’s not coming back with me to the states.  I’m going to toss it in one of the piles I walk by on a daily basis.

Yesterday when I was shopping, the man at the cash register spoke to me in Romanian.

My reply? “Pardon, I only speak English.”

It felt good.

Update in Romania #2

“When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks.

Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively.

That is the way your God, who conceived you in love,

working behind the scenes, helps you out……”

 The words of Jesus in Matthew 6:3-4 msg

Yesterday in the afternoon I waded through a mess of emotions, having a hard time. I really missed my mother and was grieving. I was sad over the brokenness of the relationship with my sister. Even though I had this lovely room and family here in Romania, I felt a little scared and lonely. I wanted my bed in Weimar, California, United States of America. My daughter, Marie, allowed me to verbalize my feelings and listened. She lovingly parented the parent.

Marie and me compressed

You see I was the child who grew up playing alone in my room and I was content to do so. It was very safe and everything was the same schedule. It was comfortable.

I watch my little granddaughters and marvel at how uniquely they are created. BTW, if anyone reading this compares their children to others, please recognize this is harmful. Relish their uniqueness in how their Creator made them. I wish I had known this truth when I was raising our children, rather than thinking there was one standard to strive for instead of embracing their differences.

Mercy and Addy are night and day; it is so fun to watch. Their personalities remind me so much of raising Aaron and Marie, yet they are their own little unique persons. Much of our time here will be ministering to them…Reminding them of their extended family across the ocean…Loving them.

Girls at mall

And that doesn’t seem very “big”. Will they even remember we came? I read this verse yesterday which helped me wade through my emotions and come out victoriously rested in Christ –

“When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out……”

The amazing part to me is realizing how my God has been doing this for Danny and me – working behind the scenes, quietly and unobtrusively helping us along the way. Special family situations, my mother’s passing into eternity, the accident…He has been there holding us quietly the whole time. And now we are in Romania and He calls us to do the same.

Romania sky

So you probably won’t be reading about the amazing things we are doing over here. It looks like we won’t get to help the Orphanage workers take the kids to the ocean. I’m hopeful to visit the baby hospital weekly, and I don’t know when that will start. I’m actually glad it hasn’t started, I still hurt from the accident. So I hang laundry on my balcony and pray over the city.

I’ve realized the things we will be doing won’t seem so amazing, however they are changing me. I’m not in my safe Weimar bedroom with my little schedule anymore. I’m across the world learning how to rest in His grace and the amazing work He is doing.

Jesus says this in the last verse in Matthew 6 – “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”

Pray with us that we can give our entire attention to what God is doing right now here in Romania, and not get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow.

Tree compressed

I want to be like this amazing Romanian tree – firmly rooted, but always growing…

Update in Romania #1

Several months ago we felt called to travel to Romania for an extended time with the purpose of serving. You are allowed in the country for up to 3 months without a VISA. Since it was our first time coming we thought we’d start with 2 months. We were so confident of the Lord’s direction that we did not get travel insurance as we have before. So on August 8th when we were in a major vehicle and travel trailer accident, just a little over 2 weeks before our departure, we were a bit confused! Our main home (which we listed as a vacation rental on http://www.vrbo.com/557596 so we could afford to come) had rented for the exact time we were going to be gone and our plane tickets were non-refundable. Considering these circumstances we decided to proceed forward in faith.

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The trip was uneventful and everything went smoothly. We drove ourselves and returned our rental vehicle at San Francisco Airport. Watson traveled like a champ, waiting to take a pit stop in Munich, Germany. We arrived on time in Bucharest after midnight and the Lord had just recently provided Anchor of Hope a ministry van so we had comfortable transportation to the Burtt’s apartment. That meant no crowded wild taxi ride without seat belts after the trauma of being in the prior accident! August is a holiday month here, so arriving late in the month allowed us time to deal with the jetlag and celebrate our 39th wedding anniversary on Friday, August 29th.

So on that Friday we were sent away to a mall for a couple hours and came back to the apartment transformed into a restaurant! We were seated on a outdoor patio table on the 20th floor balcony. (Yes we are in an apartment that has bedrooms and baths on the 19th floor and kitchen, living room and laundry on the 20th floor!) We had a candlelit dinner with printed menu offering authentic Romanian options for us to choose from. Mercy and Addy were our servers and Marie and Christian were the chefs! It was delicious and we felt so loved. They played a song from our wedding and had us dance.

Danny & Bonnie 39 yrs

The first Sunday in September celebrates for us three years since the Lord moved us to Auburn Grace Community Church. This move was the beginning of a new work that the Lord has been doing in our lives. A large part of this is a result of how our church, through the 301 seminar series, encouraged us to understand our spiritual gifting. This gave us an opportunity to look at how we might be able to serve the Lord together as a couple in this later season of our lives. We discovered as different as we are in personality that we have three common spiritual gifts: helps, faith and wisdom.

It was such a blessing to see and hug Marie and Christian and hear them talk about the joy of having Pastor Lorin recently visit them and what an encouragement he was to them. Part of why we are in Romania is to continue encouraging them and help them as missionaries. We will be doing little things like walking the children to and from school; babysitting while Marie & Christian attend their church’s weekly small group in the evenings and possibly another weekly evening having a date night! These are all little things that can lighten their load and help them.

Pops and Addy

We are hopeful to serve Anchor of Hope in some of the following ways –

1. Helping at the main home of the ministry- Danny and Christian doing outside work and maintenance of the home (2-3 weeks of work); Bonnie and Marie hemming several sets of long draperies in the home and then sorting through and organizing recent donations (1-2 weeks of work).

2. Helping with this year’s day trip to the ocean with the children from the orphanage.

kids at the ocean

3. Helping in the baby orphanage weekly – feeding, cuddling, changing, etc.

baby hospital

In the meantime in the evenings (since we are ten hours ahead) we will be delegating some time working on our business- answering our emails and making necessary calls. We feel privileged to be able to be here and can see that the relaxed pace of life will be good for us as we try to mend from the accident.

Please pray that we would be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s direction instead of holding to our own agendas and that our accident injuries would heal quickly. Pray our vacation rental cottage (http://www.vrbo.com/472934) would also rent while we are gone.

For those of you on Facebook here is the ministry page:

https://www.facebook.com/anchorofhoperomania

 

How Small a Whisper…

By His Spirit He adorned the heavens; His hand pierced the fleeing serpent. Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways, And how small a whisper we hear of Him! But the thunder of His power who can understand?  Job 26:13-14

All creation speaks of a Creator.

Just look around you at the complexity of nature and ask yourself, do you really believe this was by chance or is it indicative of a designer?

In the Bible it declares creation speaking of a Creator to be true in Romans 1:20-

For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky.

Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—

His eternal power and divine nature…

So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

moon and stars

Our little miniature schnauzer, Watson, is a delightful pint-sized dog. More than once, his Creator has used him as an object lesson to speak to me.  While I was in Moldova, Watson stayed next to Danny as much as possible….to the point of Danny tripping on him! I think Watson feared that Danny might also disappear.

I’ve had to “lay down the law” with my puppy since I have been home. I am training Watson to be a hearing service dog for me. He still wants to stay extra close to Danny. It makes sense since I left them for three weeks.  I am sure that during that time being near Danny made Watson feel safe.

dog park

This past Monday will be four months since my dear husband was laid off of his job, a direct result of the government sequestration that was implemented on March 1, 2013. What an adventure we have had! Our Heavenly Father has been faithful to provide for us in many ways….one of those has been our fun little “Country Cottage” we are advertising on Vacation Rentals by Owner.

So on our four month “adventure anniversary”, we worked together most of the day preparing for our next guest coming in that evening.  Our work includes laundering towels / bedding, cleaning to Danny’s high standard (he’s worse than my mother!) and mowing the yard.

During our lunch break, I realized that the animals hadn’t been fed yet. I filled everyone’s dishes and called Watson from where I stood by our garage. He was near Danny at the cottage patio table. Watson then proceeded to do something he had never done.

He refused to trust me.

He had it in his head that I was going to require him to do something he did not want to do.

Since he is in serious training, I purposed he needed to obey me. I did everything the trainers had instructed me to do, I moved closer to him, calling “Come”. I made sure my tone was inviting.

Nothing would move him.

Being near Danny made Watson feel safe; I had left him for three weeks, so could I still be trusted?

I still moved closer to him, calling “Come”. I still made sure my tone was inviting.

Still nothing would move him.

By the time I was a few feet away from him, I was quite frustrated. I had Danny scoop him up and place him on a time-out in the crate in the garage until I was in the right frame of mind to deal with him. He stayed there for quite some time.

Today I realized something. My Heavenly Father has been calling Danny and me to “come” to something new. It doesn’t necessarily feel safe. It’s taken us four months of prayer and confirmations to be able to start to trust Him and move in these new ways. It’s a whisper we are hearing.

One thing we do know is He is worthy of our trust.

He is the epitome of trustworthy. He has always been faithful.

On this day, forty-two years ago, Jesus called to me “Come”.

In the mystery of salvation, I was able to respond to that invitation and move toward Him.

Many in their own limited wisdom, much like Watson, think that their Creator has something intended for them that will make them miserable.

Nothing is farther from the truth. Let me tell you that He has only good intended for you if you will simply trust Him.

Let me remind myself that my Creator has only had good intended for Danny and me if we will simply continue to trust Him.

“Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways, And how small a whisper we hear of Him!”

Romania sky

Who taught the sun where to stand in the morning?
And who told the ocean you can only come this far?
And who showed the moon where to hide till evening?
Whose words alone can catch a falling star?

Well I know my Redeemer lives, I know my Redeemer lives
All of creation testifies, This life within me cries, I know my Redeemer lives

The very same God that spins things in orbit
Runs to the weary, the worn and the weak
And the same gentle hands that hold me when I’m broken
They conquered death to bring me victory

Well I know my Redeemer lives, I know my Redeemer lives
All of creation testifies, This life within me cries, I know my Redeemer lives

He lives to take away my shame and He lives forever I’ll proclaim
That the payment for my sins was the precious life He gave
And now He’s alive and there’s an empty grave!

Well I know my Redeemer lives, I know my Redeemer lives
All of creation testifies, This life within me cries, I know my Redeemer lives

Lyrics to “My Redeemer Lives”; listen to it here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mj-pZQ_XjyU

Check out our cottage if you haven’t already:

http://www.vrbo.com/472934

cottage

My Friend Jean

This last Sunday, my husband and I had the privilege of visiting with a long-time friend, Jean and her husband Chuck. She is nine years older than me. We met years ago when we were attending the same church. Years later she came to work for my husband and kept the men on the straight and narrow. They lovingly called her “Mean-Jean”.

She was a woman I always looked up to…I still do.

Jean and Chuck

We knew that recently she’d been through some rough times physically, but when we heard she’d entered hospice at home we were clueless and shocked. So we finally “got together” like we always kept saying we would do. It was a sweet time of reminiscing.

Even though she is weak, her faith is strong. She calmly acknowledged that she knows her days are numbered by her God.

“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:16

She stated she has no fear.

I actually have hoped and prayed that I might respond in a similar manner when my time comes.

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3

That’s what I saw…a beautiful trust in her loving Heavenly Father…and that peace that speaks louder than any street preacher on a corner.

We prayed together…for strength for Jean and Chuck. She is weak and coming to the end of those numbered days. Soon she will be in the presence of her Savior. She is wise enough to not accuse Him of wrongdoing.

Mean Jean…I actually never remember a minute that she was ever mean!

Factual yes, honest, yes…but never mean.

‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes.

There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain,

for the old order of things has passed away.”

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”

Revelation 21:4-5a

Please join me in praying for our beloved Jean!

 

I Think I might be Getting Drunk, as I’m losing Control…

I think if we were honest, deep down we like rules because ultimately we desire to be in control. When we have rules we can choose to break them, bend them, or obey them…we decide and we feel so in charge. We even feel holy if we feel like we are doing so well compared to others. It’s always easy to find someone who’s struggling a bit more than yourself and then compare and feel self-righteous.

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The Pharisee’s in the days of Jesus were called out by him as hypocrites. They added more and more rules to the basic ones that the Lord had given to His people. They misconstrued the law, which was given to protect and instead they placed heavy burdens on the people. The law was given to point them towards God. However with the many additional rules it produced legalistic, blind people who were constantly looking at themselves with eyes that could not see spiritually…they missed who Jesus was! Their Messiah.

I am sad to admit that I think the modern church has often erred in the same way. Many churches have a lack of freedom in how their members apply the scripture to their lives. There is a warped sense of application that is implied that if you truly understood the original text, you would realize that you should be doing such and such.

There is much fear and covering up…because the church might not be a safe place to be real. The Holy Scripture becomes a rigid set of rules that only an educated pastor can properly interpret. This results in insecure people that are totally dependent on the pastor’s “authority” to confirm if they are headed in the right direction. This is spiritual abuse.

The Bible teaches plainly that Jesus came to set people free and when they enter into a personal relationship with him, they are indwelled with his Holy Spirit. It is an intimate relationship like a marriage. The Holy Spirit is called “the counselor” and he does counsel us.

But we have to get our eyes off of man. We have to get our eyes off of ourselves and off of the pastor and everyone else we keep comparing ourselves to. We need to get our eyes onto Jesus. We need to trust him that he gave us the Holy Spirit for a purpose.

Church is a place when we should be encouraged to look to Jesus. We should be encouraged in that intimate walk and closeness with the Holy Spirit. And if we are worshipping in a place where we are feeling insecure and not encouraged, it is our responsibility to leave and find a healthier place.

We have to tear down the rules and relinquish control. We need to be controlled by the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 5:18 says, “Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit”.

http://bible.us/116/eph.5.18.nlt

drunk

This was always my “don’t get drunk” scripture.  Do you hear the rule it became? I realized this scripture is saying much more. When someone is intoxicated, they have let go of control, they have given themselves over to the alcohol.  They will say and do things that they would never say or do if they were stone cold sober.

I think this verse is saying we need to be intoxicated with the Holy Spirit! Give up the control. Let those plans change when He brings that needy person to your day. Let’s give ourselves over to the Holy Spirit. We will say and do things that we would never do if we are stone cold in control/sober.

Jesus told His followers in Matthew 10:19-20 “When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”

http://bible.us/116/mat.10.19-20.nlt

I am grateful to be in a grace filled church that constantly points me to my own intimate personal relationship with Jesus. They encourage me to listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. I am slowly but surely healing. My spirit is detoxing. I’m starting to see the poison in the man-made “unwritten” rules that I’ve thought made Jesus pleased with me.

Instead now I am realizing I am His beloved and Jesus is pleased with me simply because He loves me….UNCONDITIONALLY. And that is something of which I have no control over and for that I am thankful.

Jesus

 

 

For a split second I wished I could step back in time…

As I lay in my bed alone, trying to sleep with a cast on my foot, I glanced at my wall beside my bed and something happened that has never happened before….I felt very old.

And for a split second I wished I could step back in time and be the mama to these little ones again. What would I do different?

children

I would recognize they were unique little creatures designed by God and embrace them as they were. I would not compare them to others which resulted in me worrying too much and trying to fix everything and anything that I thought might hinder them in their future adult life.

Son

I would work to connect with their hearts and understand them as individual people. I would challenge them to figure out what God designed them for rather than mold them into what I thought they should be or what I wanted them to be. Spanking would be a last resort, not the first option.

ReeHee

I would have savored each moment, realizing they actually do grow up, they do quit wetting the bed, stop sucking their thumbs and all those things I spent so much time trying to change and fix.

I was well intended. I loved my little ones. I feared for their safety and desired to protect them. I wanted to be a good mama and to the best of my ability and knowledge at that point I was a devoted mama. My children sanctified me. They changed me and I am grateful for that.

Drewgie

Well, really it was the Holy Spirit using my children to sanctify me. http://bible.us/114/rom.15.16.nkjv

I know now that they are uniquely designed and created by God for His good plan and purpose and it is wrong to compare them to others. http://bible.us/116/2co.10.12-13.nlt

Doodlebug

I know now that children don’t have to be “fixed” to fit a mold, they just need to learn to be able to function in this world of ours and they do learn…each one in his or her own way.

Timmers

I also realize that even though I am called to protect them, it needed to be done in faith in their Heavenly Father as the ultimate protector, not in fear. http://bible.us/114/heb.11.6.nkjv http://bible.us/100/luk.12.4-5.nasb

Dorable

I would have told them more about who Jesus is and how awesome He is, rather then how I thought Jesus wanted them to be and act.

Perhaps I am a little melancholy because there have been so many life changes…Andrew & his darling buying their first house, Timmers living in Seattle, Dora – the baby of the family growing up and moving out, my mom having a stroke, Marie & family living part time with us during their furlough, Sarah marrying her beloved Tanner, Addysen and Mercy moving back across the globe, Aaron & Cacey celebrating a dozen years of marriage…and now I am left with a very quiet house and pictures on the walls.

When I look at these pictures, my heart wells up with love…I guess I just wish I could hold their little soft bodies once more and take that extra time to cuddle them. To kiss the top of their head without scolding them, “How did you get so dirty?” But I can’t.

Thank God there is the joy of being a grammie… tonight my little grandson sleeps in the room next to me. He’s been with me most of the day. I have listened to him. I have been able to say yes to him many times and only a couple nos. His eyes lit up and his socks got muddy and jeans dirty as I let him water the plants today. I have read with him, and had him read to me. I have kissed the top of his head. Oh how he reminds me of his daddy.

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And tomorrow evening he will be back with his mama because I really am old. My days for being the mama have passed but I can be a grace-filled Grammie….for this is my season now and I must embrace it and choose to live with no regrets.

 

 

Depression, Mental Illness and the Christian

If you have ever had a headache (pain in your brain) and taken a Tylenol or Advil for relief; then I appeal to you to humbly consider reading this entire post.

Having suffered from chronic fibromyalgia pain for almost 20 years, it is a challenge living in this broken world and yet living a victorious, grateful Christian life.

Over the years there have been subtle accusations of being a hypochondriac, lazy and the idea that fibromyalgia is a pretend auto-immune disease. Just because we don’t understand the “why” doesn’t make something less real. Chronic pain has been a major tool the Lord has used in my life to humble me, make me compassionate and also to teach me how to pray. I am now thankful for this “thorn in my flesh.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10) http://bible.us/59/2co.12.7-10.esv

I have been fortunate to have a humble doctor to treat me. He knows that the human body is fearfully and incredibly formed. (Psalm 139) http://bible.us/59/psa.139.13-16.esv

Consequently, he knows that even though he is a very knowledgeable doctor that there is much unknown to him, so he is willing to think out of the box. He is compassionate.

There has been a division within the Christian church with whether “mental Illness” does truly exist. I’ve been thinking about this a lot since Rick and Kay Warren suffered the tragic loss of their youngest son, Matthew to suicide. Rick said Matthew had struggled with mental illness for most of his life.

Matthew Warren

What do we know about the mind? Can it become ill? Can it be born with deficits? Do you believe there are Migraines and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?

  • The mind is what separates us from other living animals, as we have been created in God’s image with the ability to feel, love, choose, etc. (Daniel 4:16) http://bible.us/59/dan.4.16.esv
  • We know the mind / brain is an organ that is our body’s central control system and we see that eventually it can fail and become diseased like the rest of the body.
  • When we receive salvation something supernatural happens that affects our minds. (Ezekiel 36:26-27) http://bible.us/59/ezk.36.26-27.esv
  • We know the mind is closely tied to other parts of our body. (Prov.15:13) http://bible.us/59/pro.15.13.esv

The Bible talks about a “double-minded man”, “being out of your mind”, “puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind” and also “people who are depraved in mind”.

It also talks about demonic attacks on the mind. In Luke 8:35 – Then people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid.

Just as I am commanded to give thanks in all things http://bible.us/59/1th.5.18.esv including chronic physical /emotional pain…we are also commanded throughout the scripture to set our minds on the Lord.

But he (Jesus) turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me.         For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”                 Matthew 16:23

I have days that I do this well (setting my mind on the things of God) and days that I don’t do so well. All Christians have this challenge. I suspect Matthew Warren did too.

Thirty years ago before blood bank testing, a close male friend named Richard had a blood transfusion because of surgery complications. He never was well afterward. He contracted two types of Hepatitis along with the new strange HIV virus. How did the church respond? Poorly, like a child might respond.

They didn’t want to believe that God in His sovereignty would allow such heartache to one of His own, even in this broken world. So they concluded the only thing that made sense to them…Richard had to have been a hidden homosexual, probably never was a real Christian. They slandered my friend. I believe it was rooted in fear and self-protection, but it was still very wrong.

Do I believe in the power of Jesus to set people free from illness? Absolutely. Do I believe in the power of Jesus to heal me from fibromyalgia? Absolutely.  However in this broken world, often healing doesn’t come and most of the time sickness makes no sense.

On Richard’s deathbed he quoted Job 13:15 to my husband, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” http://bible.us/59/job.13.15.esv    It made no sense to him, but he knew his Lord.

Let’s not be so arrogant that we think we understand it all. Right now we see in a mirror dimly (we don’t have the whole picture), but one day when the perfect one (Jesus) returns, we shall see face to face! Let’s give up our childish ways….let’s love.

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away;

as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.

For we know in part and we prophesy in part,

but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.

When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.

Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

http://bible.us/59/1co.13.8-13.esv

Also See:Shedding Light on Depression and Thoughts of Suicide by Randy Alcorn http://www.epm.org/connect/quarterly/2013/Feb/7/eternal-perspectives-spring-2013/

 

 

See You in September….

Ecclesiastes 3:5 says – “A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing…”

Jan 2012 Marie & mom compressed

It looks like my time has come. Tomorrow my missionary kids head to SoCal for the final week of their furlough from Moldova. Because of my foot surgery yesterday, I will be unable to go with them and join Danny in giving them goodbye kisses at the airport. My “refraining from embracing” will start a bit early.

Jan 2012 goodbye compressed

However I have much to be grateful for…not only have we been blessed by Christian and Marie and their precious girls the entire visit; Marie encouraged me to see if I could reschedule my surgery early so she could help care for me. It was such an comfort to have her with me. Even on her last days of furlough she is serving and I am blessed.

When they left last January Danny & I had bought tickets to visit in May. It really helps to have a ticket for your next visit because you can look forward to “a time to embrace”. And so my dear husband encouraged me to buy a ticket for September, even though he cannot go with me. Perhaps this is where Marie learned her sacrificial love.

I thought I’d post this fun song for Christian and Marie. I’ve had to slightly change the lyrics (in bold italic) to accommodate Moldova!

Song: See You in September

See You in September!

I’ll be alone each and every night
While you’re away, don’t forget to write

Bye-bye, so long, farewell
Bye-bye, so long

See you in September!!!!!!
See you when the summer’s through
Here we are (bye, baby, goodbye)
Saying goodbye in the morning  (bye, baby, goodbye)
Summer ministry (bye, baby bye, baby)
Is taking you away (bye, baby, goodbye)

Have a good time but remember
There is danger in Moldovan wheat
Will I see you in September
Or lose you to Moldova’s humid heat
(counting the days ’til I’ll be with you)
(counting the hours and the minutes, too!!!!)

Bye, baby, goodbye
Bye, baby, goodbye
Bye, baby, goodbye (bye-bye, so long, farewell)
Bye, baby, goodbye (bye-bye, so long)

Have a good time but remember
There is danger in Moldovan wheat 
Will I see you in September
Or lose you to Moldova’s humid heat
(I’ll be alone each and every night)
(While you’re away, don’t forget to write)

See you (bye-bye, so long, farewell)
In September (bye-bye, so long, farewell)
I’m hopin’ I’ll See you (bye-bye, so long, farewell)

In September (bye-bye, so long, farewell)

Lord-willing  I’ll See you (bye-bye, so long, farewell)
In September (bye-bye, so long, farewell)