Week 3 — Halfway

Halfway…boy it seems like we have a lot further to go than that some days, but today is halfway through this first run of chemo and radiation for Kerry. He has just finished 14 of 28 radiation treatments and week 3 of 6 on his chemo pump.

He is definitely starting to feel the effects of radiation this week. He’s wears out much more easily and takes a lot of naps. We are thankful he is still able to work5-6 hours a day before he goes to radiation. He’s had what was billed as “GI discomfort” in the list of side effects. I’ll let you fill in the blank about what all that entails, but it is certainly unpleasant. The chemo makes him nauseous and ruins his appetite.

So, I feed him what he will eat and ask him every day if anything sounds good for supper. He has been able to stomach pizza and ice cream lately so I’ve let Papa John cook more than I usually would and I keep the freezer stocked. I’ve said before this chemo is like morning sickness. All the yuck feelings and cravings for absolute junk. On the weekends when the chemo effects wane a bit, I try to shove in as many fruits and veggies as I can.

For now…we are thankful he’s made it halfway. Specific ways you can pray this week:

  • Continue to pray for limited side effects. Right now he is controlling them with over the counter meds. We are hopeful it won’t get much worse.
  • Moments of rest. He is able to nap and sleep well at night. We are thankful for that.
  • Kerry’s white blood cell count was a little low this last week. While the chemo he takes isn’t supposed to wipe out his immune system, it can lower his ability to fight infection. With 8 kids our home is a germ factory. So pray that he stays well.
  • Pray too for some friends of ours in Pueblo. They lost their sweet baby, August, through miscarriage earlier this month. We know the hurt and sadness they are feeling. Pray for her as she recovers physically and pray for their hearts as they grieve. They have been heavy on my mind.

I want to share a song that has been on my playlist this week. It’s a powerful reminder that God has a purpose for it all.

Awareness

I never thought I’d be advocating for “Awareness” for a disease. But here were are. It’s March. It’s colorectal cancer awareness month.

Kerry doesn’t fit the demographic for someone with colorectal cancer. We’ve been told more than once “You’re not the kind of guy we usually see coming in for treatment like this.” He has no family history of cancer…of any kind…at all. He doesn’t smoke, doesn’t drink, is relatively active and overall healthy. So what gives? Honestly, we don’t spend a lot of time wondering why . We know that all things work out according to God’s perfect will so we take this as an opportunity. One that isn’t granted to everyone and one we pray we are faithful in.

Kerry never would have been diagnosed had he ignored the vague GI symptoms. He would have never been diagnosed if I wasn’t the naggy nurse I am. He would have never been diagnosed if his physician hadn’t listened to him. Huge shout out to Dr. Holdeman here. I can’t tell you how thankful I am that his doc didn’t just pass it off as something else without fully investigating. More than 65% of the people diagnosed under the age of 50 have to see more than one doctor before they’re taken seriously and screened. He never would have been diagnosed if fear or embarrassment of bowel prep and having a colonoscopy would have kept him from being screened.

I’ve learned a lot over the last couple of months about colorectal cancer. It’s the third most diagnosed cancer in the US and the second most deadly cancer in men and women combined. Survival rates are good when caught and treated early. 10% of the new onset cases are going to be in patients under the age of 50. That’s about 9,500 people each year.

So here I am jumping on the awareness band wagon. Don’t be ignore your symptoms, don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor and be screened. Don’t assume you’re too young. And if you’re part of the over 50 crowd where screening is recommended…please do it. I can promise the bowel prep is way easier than treatment.

Week 2

Kerry just finished week 2 of chemo and radiation. Overall, it was a good week. The chemo really seems to affect his appetite and taste of food. Our biggest battle this week was finding something that sounded good to eat and getting him to eat it before it started sounding not so good. It’s tough to fight off nausea and keep food in your stomach when you don’t really want to eat anything at all.

We did find a couple of winners in the food category. Pizza always seems to sound good. Banana peppers…we also learned our boys also enjoy these. We’ve gone through more than a couple jars this week already! I made a vegan cauliflower/broccoli soup this last week that he was able to eat for more than one meal.

When Kerry was initially diagnosed we went to a mostly plant based diet without processed carbs or sugars. With his lack of appetite, there have been some days he’s just eaten whatever he could tolerate…plant based or not.

Radiation has gone well. Fatigue has been the biggest side effect there. The radiation oncologist said week 3 tends to be the week that things catch up with you. So we’re going into next week with a little trepidation, but also with the prayer that Kerry will continue to be minimally effected by the treatment and that he will continue to be able to work.

So prayer requests for this week:

  • That Kerry’s appetite would return.
  • Rest when he needs it and the wisdom to know when it’s time to take a break. Sometimes he pushes himself and then just drops at the end of the day.
  • Minimal side effects as we go through week 3 radiation.
  • Strength and stamina for the weeks ahead.

Better than I deserve

“And when you ask me how I’m doing, I’m going to tell you that I’m better than I deserve. Because it’s true. I was a sinner destined for hell and God saw fit to save me. So anything and everything He gives me, including this, is already better than I deserve.”

Those were the words my husband used two weeks ago when he told our church family that he had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

The previous Thursday he’d had a colonoscopy because of some vague GI symptoms. We didn’t expect to find anything really, but rather checking off a box on the way to another diagnosis…but instead his doctor found a tumor. The biopsy showed the tumor was cancerous and that it hadn’t been completely removed.

The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of appointments, body scans, more appointments and more scans. And lots and lots of prayer.

We meet with an oncologist this week to help determine next steps. The tumor location and growth pattern makes just removing part of his bowel a little tricky. Surgery is tentatively scheduled for Monday February 18 depending what the oncologist recommends. We are hoping that radiation or chemo won’t be necessary, but we are aware that’s a possibility.

While there has been a roller coaster of emotions, thoughts and “what if” scenarios. We rest in God’s sovereignty and that He knows the future and will see us through. There are times that we have been scared about what lies ahead and what a cancer diagnosis means for our family and life as we know it. However, we are at peace knowing that God, in His infinite wisdom has allowed our family to walk through this trial together. We trust that this is being used to refine us and shape us to be more Christlike.

We know that God is good regardless of the outcome and we have been given better than we deserve.

Asking Questions

When I was studying for my Master’s degree, we spent whole courses exploring how people learn and why we teach the way we do. We took quizzes about kinesthetic, auditory, and visual learners. We talked about how we often teach the way we best learn. So when it came time to teach my own children at home I started thinking about the ways they would best grasp concepts within difficult subjects. And while I’ve employed some of these strategies and theories to learning…the best tool I’ve found to teach my children is to ASK QUESTIONS. Lots of them.
I started thinking about what I want my end result to be. Do I want them to just be able to regurgitate information for a test or a room full of people like a trick pony? And the answer is no. I don’t want them to be vats of useless knowledge…full to the brim of facts and statistics, theories and formulas with no ability to apply them. I want my children to think for themselves…to know where to go to find information, how to put that information together and draw a conclusion that is right and real for them.
When I teach my nursing students, it is so tempting to just want to open their brains and dump information in. I do lecture a fair amount, but I try to ask questions, to get them to take the next step to a conclusion on their own. I can’t tell you how many times potential employers would say “Just give me someone who can critically think…I can teach them to do any skill.” I think the same goes for my children.
I ask questions to teach them…to let them think things through. I want them to process the information, consider the options, weigh the results and determine why, when and how. It’s not enough for them to spit it back at me, I want them to be able to tell me why they picked what they did.
It doesn’t just go for school, but more importantly for their faith. I want my children to own their faith…not mine. I want them to follow Christ, to seek after Him and to do His will. I want them to know the Bible is true and that is sufficient for EVERYTHING. But I don’t want them to know it because I said so…I want them to know it because God said so and He called them to follow Him. I want them to find the path God has for them, not the one I want. I want them to wrestle with the tough questions, the challenges they face and I want them to ask questions and find the answer God has. More importantly, I want their faith to be tangible to them, not some paper thin replication of mine, but the kind of faith that is sturdy, the kind they’ve built with God themselves and I want them to be able to defend it to a world that will tell them they’re wrong.
I ask my children questions to teach them, to guide them, so that they can ask the questions and find the answers for themselves. By asking questions, I hope to allow my children to make what they are learning their own. I hope they will be able to know what they believe and be able to defend and articulate it. Because that’s the important part…not just the “correct” answer, but why.
 

What next?

This past Sunday we made the difficult announcement to our congregation that we would be leaving. Our hearts broke, but it has become apparent that we would be more beneficial to the Kingdom if we serve in a different place than our current church. Our church has been such an easy congregation to love. They have loved us too and we’ve cared so deeply for them. Our hearts are heavy at the thought of leaving. I can’t tell you how many tears we’ve shed over this decision. How many sleepless nights and how many prayers cried out to God. While it isn’t what we’d hoped for when we came here, He has clearly given His answer. And we are to go.
The question is now “What next?” And the truth is we don’t know. We don’t know where we’re going or what God has in store for us. But we know that it’s time for us to leave. I’m reminded as we’re in this time of transition of Psalm 119:105 that says “Your word is a lamp to my feet, And a light to my path.”
Several years ago we were camping with a group of friends from church. The ladies decided to make a trip to the bathroom in the dark, using the lantern to light our way. As we were walking along the single file path to the bathroom, we commented about how with the lantern we can only see the next step in front of us. We can’t see the whole path laid out before us, but only the one step ahead. We took one step at a time, trusting the path would carry us closer to the bathrooms.

It’s like that with God some times (much of the time really). He rarely, shows us the whole big picture. He may place a call on our lives, give us an idea of where we’re going to end, but He doesn’t often show us the whole process of getting there (lest we think we know a better way and try to go our way instead of His and jack up the whole process). Instead, God tells us “this is where I’ve called you…take one step.” He shows us one step at a time and we are to walk in faith and know that His word will light the way.
As much as I’d like to see the whole path, heck right now I’d like to see the end point (or at least the general direction), God has only shown us the next step. His word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. If we continually turn to Him and His word, He will light the way, giving us direction and guiding us to the place He has for us. God’s word is true, it is relevant and it is sufficient always and for everything. Even when we don’t know what comes next.

I am saddened to be leaving here. I don’t always understand and to be truthful I’m not always happy about it. But I TRUST that when we are faithful to Him…He is faithful to us. When we hold to the standard He’s called us, when we honor Him and when we are obedient to Him, He will direct our path.
So for now, we continue to serve Him, love His church and trust Him knowing that He has a perfect plan for our lives. We covet prayers for our family, the church and the leadership here. We are thankful for the time we’ve spent here. We have loved and cared for His flock here. We are sad that we have to leave, but we know God is faithful. And so we take the next step…

Proverbs 3:5-6

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him
And He will make your paths straight.

 

How's your serve?

This past Sunday we heard a message on Volunteering within the church. Serving each other.
Sure, we always need more volunteers, more hands to help “do church” and more people willing to step up. But there are lots of reasons (see excuses) that we don’t step up to serve within the church.
The thing is this…we are all called to serve. Every last one of us, whether we really want to or not.
Joshua 22:5

5 Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, to love the LORD your God and walk in all His ways and keep His commandments and hold fast to Him and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
We are called to serve God. He sent His son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins. Jesus paid the penalty (death) that we all deserve as a result of our sin. We deserve death and life away from God. God can not bear to be in the presence of sin. He hates it. And nothing we can do will “earn” our way back into His presence. There is no way we can ever be good enough. But God loves us, so He sent Jesus to pay the penalty of our sin. Once we believe in Him and trust Him as our savior we are assured eternal life in Heaven with our God. Because of this wonderful sacrifice we should want to serve Him and those around us. Serving God means we are obedient to Him and what He has called us to do. It means we honor one another, we seek to do God’s will and seek to bring Him glory in all we do.
The Bible lists lots of spiritual gifts, but the one thing we are all called to do is to serve. It’s not optional. This can be a tough pill to swallow sometimes. We all may have a different gift, but sometimes those gifts are big labels we hide behind. We don’t want to serve in a certain ministry or with a specific group of people because we don’t think it’s our “gift”. Are some people better teachers than others…probably, but does that mean we shouldn’t try or be willing to step up and try to learn or even help? Definitely not.
I’ve been pondering lately why people are hesitant to serve within the church or community. I think one of the reasons is that we don’t know how or where to serve. There’s this thing in church…it’s the untrue belief that those who are coming to church have it all figured out, life is all roses and we don’t need help with anything. Let me tell you nothing is further from the truth. Every person sitting in church has problems, most of us have a colorful or at least semi-colorful past and none of us have life figured out. But it’s this belief that we’re supposed to have it down that keeps us from telling others when we need something. The truth is though, when we’re unwilling to ask for help, when we’re unwilling to be real with those around us…we are robbing others of the opportunity to serve us and we’re missing a blessing. We’re too busy being proud. So we need to be willing to ask for help and we also need to be willing to look around for ways to serve those around us. Keeping our heads up, our ears open and our mouths shut helps us find ways to serve others. We hear someone say that they’re going on vacation for a week…can we serve them by mowing their lawn while they’re gone? Look around…there are lots of places to serve.

Another reason we’re hesitant to serve is we’re afraid. We’re afraid of what someone else might think of us. When we’re serving God, what man thinks should mean very little to us but let’s be honest…we’re all a little afraid of what everyone around us thinks. When I first started playing drums in worship band I was paralyzed by this fear. Could I play drums? Yes. Was I the best? No, but I could do it. Did I like playing? Yep. But why then, did I not want to play on Sunday morning, why did I nearly faint from panic for the first several months I played? Because I was afraid…I was afraid that I would mess up that I wouldn’t hold the beat and that people would talk. I was afraid of what the worship leader was going to think of me and what the congregation was going to think of me. It wasn’t until several months in to it and I’d messed up a couple times (which I totally agonized over for the rest of the week) that I realized what they thought didn’t really matter. I was going to do my best, but I wasn’t there for them. I was there because I had a talent that God had given me, our church had a need and I was called to serve. And better yet, even though I’d messed up, my church still loved me. They didn’t even bat an eye really…we might have gotten a little off beat but we made it through and no one disowned me.

And I’ll tell you, those fears are from satan. He wants nothing more than to keep you from serving your church, your community and those around you. It’s sinful to succumb to that fear and to let it keep you from being obedient to Christ.
Perhaps the most touchy reason we don’t want to serve is because we are too caught up in our own self to be of much service to anyone else. We are selfish, we like to think of how others should be serving us, how uncomfortable serving others might make us and to be honest we are too proud to really do it.
Sometime we think a job is beneath us. I don’t know very many people who enjoy scrubbing toilets, changing diapers or even mowing the lawn. But all of these things can be ways we serve each other. Is there a spiritual gift named in the Bible for changing diapers? No. But I will tell you, to the mother who is able to sit in worship because someone else is willing to care for her children for an hour, it is a gift. A few weeks ago, someone served me in the most unglorious way I can think of. Titus got sick and barfed at the end of the buffet line during a fellowship meal. I was holding Zeb and chatting with someone and had no idea what happened. By the time Gabe came to get me and let me know, one of the fathers in church had cleaned up after Titus and scrubbed the carpet. I was humbled (and embarrassed). The dad was most gracious and willing to serve our family in that way. And I’ll tell you it wasn’t the first time someone willingly, and believe it or not, cheerfully cleaned up after one of our children got sick in church.
Sometimes we just don’t want to serve others (insert two year old whiny voice here). Tough. I went to church with a lady who didn’t particularly enjoy leading children’s worship. She enjoys kids but she doesn’t really dig serving in this way, but she does it anyway and the children are none the wiser. She does it because she has the ability and she is being obedient to God’s call to serve. She puts on a smile and teaches every couple of months. And her smile isn’t fake, it is real because she is cheerfully serving God and not man.
When I used to sing on worship team there were some weeks that I didn’t care for a song or two we were singing. It wasn’t that I couldn’t sing it but rather I didn’t care for it, it wasn’t my style. But I also knew there was a lady in our congregation that really enjoyed the song. It was one of her favorites. So we sang it. We were able, we were called and we were obedient. Had we decided to avoid singing it because we didn’t care for it we would have been selfish and would have denied her ability to be blessed by worship that morning. Sometimes we have to bite the bullet and choose to serve how God calls us to serve and not how we would rather do it. We should joyfully serve Him and look for ways to bless others…even if it’s on our “less than desirable” list.
Serving isn’t just about doing stuff, it’s about ministering to one another. It requires us to be humble. We have to be willing to swallow our pride, serve where, when and how we are able. Serving isn’t about getting glory and recognition for ourselves, it’s about bringing glory to God. I think you can glorify God by cleaning toilets as easily as you can by feeding the poor.
Service to others is a part of loving one another within and outside of the church. It’s part of building relationships with others. We are much more likely to have a genuine relationship with someone when we are willing to serve them and look for ways to do so.
Learning how to serve takes time. We can’t just have one lesson on it during a sermon, or Sunday school or even during Life group and expect it to take hold. It’s something we have to cultivate every day and every moment we’re together. Teaching your children how to serve can be as simple as helping them learn to hold doors open for those around them. It teaches them to be aware of the needs of others and meet those needs. We do it when we don’t want to, when we’re grumpy and when we’re already frustrated. But…we are called to do it. We do it because God asks us to. And as we serve others, we find that we’re blessed as well.

So I would challenge you…how can you serve those around you? Are you listening to what people are saying about where their needs are? Do you have the ability to do something to serve others, even if it’s something you’re not thrilled about doing? The question really is…How’s your serve these days?

 

To touch His garment.

Mark 5:25-34

25 A woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years, 26 and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse— 27 after hearing about Jesus, she came up in the crowd behind Him and touched His cloak. 28 For she thought, “If I just touch His garments, I will get well.” 29 Immediately the flow of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. 30 Immediately Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power proceeding from Him had gone forth, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My garments?” 31 And His disciples said to Him, “You see the crowd pressing in on You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’” 32 And He looked around to see the woman who had done this.33 But the woman fearing and trembling, aware of what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. 34 And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction.”

We have been studying Mark in church the past few weeks. And in small group this last week we were talking about this passage among others. A young lady in our group posed the question “Would I have enough faith to touch His garment?” And her question has been on my mind all week.
Would I have enough faith to believe that if I could just touch Him I would be made well. Jesus had been healing people all week. He had thousands of people following Him, people pressing in on Him so hard that He had to retreat to a boat to teach. No doubt people touching Him all the time, surrounding Him, wanting to see a miracle. Yet the woman in the story had enough faith to believe that if she just touched Him, the hem of His garment she would be healed. I wonder how long she pushed through the crowds to get close enough, how many times she was shoved out of the way and yet she persisted. And she finally got there…she just reached out and touched Him.
And she was healed. IMMEDIATELY she was healed. And Jesus tells her “Woman, your faith has made you well.”
And then the question came…”Would I have enough faith to reach out and touch His garment?”
I think we’d all like to think that “Of course I would…Of course if I lived when Jesus lived I would believe and I would have enough faith” But I too, wonder…would I…really?
Faith is sometimes so hard. It means that we trust in Him and what He has in store for us even when we don’t see a purpose or reason for the trial we are wading through. It means that we willingly obey without hesitation when what He is asking us to do doesn’t make a bit of sense. Sometimes it means that we are hurt again or that we find indescribable joy on the other side of the valley. And having faith enough to reach out and touch Him means we are willing to lay down our lives, our desires and our mess to follow Him.
It’s so easy to trust, follow and reach out to Him when things make sense, when they’re going our way and when we’re sure of the path. Not so much when we can’t see around the bend ahead of us or when we’re wallowing in hurt, self doubt and fear.
I remember this struggle when Knox and Lily died. Especially after Knox. I remember the daily struggle to trust God with what lay ahead. I would pray one day “Lord, if you are going to call me to lose another baby…please don’t ever let me get pregnant again.” And the next I would pray “Lord, please bless my womb and I will surrender to what You call me to walk through.” When we got pregnant with Lily, and found out she had Turner syndrome and her 1% chance of survival, I fully expected, believed and felt deep down that she would survive. Kerry and I both did. We both totally expected that this past November we would welcome a baby girl to our family. And then she died too. Strangely enough though, it was much easier to surrender to what God was asking us to walk through emotionally. Not easy to do, but we had faith He would walk with us, He was in control and that He would heal us.
Yet…
Yet there are days when I fall prey to worry for this new baby. When I wonder if He calls me to again, mourn the loss of a child, if I could do it…if I could survive. I am not in control, no matter how much I like to think I am.
In doing HIS will, I surrender mine. I reach out and touch His garment and cling to Him because HE will rescue me. I know He will, because He is a God who loves me. I know that even when it doesn’t make sense, when it hurts so much I think I’ll break into pieces that He knows, He heals and He loves. The woman sought Jesus, she pursued Him and she fought the throngs of people to just get close enough. If I just reach for Him, seek Him, He will answer me. But I also know, that the healing I seek and envision, isn’t always what He has planned for me. It doesn’t look like I want it to and sometimes it hurts more than I think it should.
I have come to realize, it’s not so much about how much faith I have. It’s about whether am I willing to recognize Jesus for who He is. The woman in the story touched Him like so many others, but is it possible that she is the only one of all of them who recognized Jesus as someone more than just healer…that she recognized Him to be the Son of God? That He was the only one who could save her?
 

A letter to a Children's ministry worker

You may not remember me. You may not know what my home life was like and the family I came from. Or you might know everything about me. But I want to thank you. I want to thank you for investing your time, your energy and your life into mine.
Thank you.
It was so long ago, 27 years or so, that I hopped down the brown tile stairs to the basement of the Nazarene church. I can still remember the smell of homemade playdough, glue and construction paper. I remember standing there saying my memory verses to you, putting the sticker on the chart and watching the story unfold on the flannel-graph.
Thank you.
Thank you for taking the time to prepare the lesson, to be patient with me while my little fingers and hands figured out the scissors and to sing “I’m in the Lord’s Army” every Sunday because the 3 year olds love yelling “Yes sir!”
I remember, I think I was 5 or 6, working on a skit and song for a talent contest. I am surprised sometimes that my mom let me go on a trip to the little church in Lyons. I think of that trip every time we drive by. I remember praying the night before we all slept there. And I remember the prayer of one young lady…she prayed for you not to be afraid because you had just lost your baby. I don’t remember anything else that was said and I’m not even sure I understood at that moment what it meant, but I remember you. I remember you sitting there surrounded by the youth, with tears in your eyes…grieving your loss and being with us. As a mother who has lost 4 children, the fact that you were even there is more profound to me…more meaningful and significant. Thank you for being there in your time of loss to be there for us, the youth who so admired you and were blessed by you.
Thank you.
I still have the Christmas ornament you made for us one year. I hang it on my tree every year and I tell my children about the children’s ministry worker who invested in me. Who helped build the foundation of my faith, in the middle of the turmoil of my life, but who invested in me…who believed I was worth it. And I send up a prayer of thanks for you and the impact you had, whether you knew it or not.
Thank you.
I think of you every time I tell my faith story. Because of the time you invested in me (and the prayers I believe of my grandparents and great grandparents), the teaching, the prayers you offered on my behalf, I knew God’s word was true when I was very young. I trusted in Him early on.
Thank you.
I moved when I was 8. I came less often and eventually stopped all together. But you had a lasting impact on my life. We would occasionally see each other in passing. I always remembered you and how you made me feel. I think seriously, that if you had not been willing to spend the time you did teaching me and investing in my life I would have a very different faith life. In those 8 years you had more impact on me and my life than any other youth worker I had after.
Thank you.
I couldn’t appreciate it then like I can now, both as a mother and a children’s ministry worker myself. There are days when I am exhausted and the thought of voluntarily caring for a room full of preschoolers seems just more than I can handle. And I think of you. I don’t remember the lessons necessarily, but I think of you, how you made me feel and I can recognize it now…how you lived your faith in front of my eyes every time I saw you. You put your belief into action. You believed children, that we, were blessings. You believed in investing in the next generation, in helping us grow up in faith, and you were obedient to God’s call. You showed it every time you came. Every time you gave a hug or high five and every time you bowed your head and prayed with us…thanking God for each one. You lived it and that’s what I remember. You were one of the first people I saw who showed me what it meant to serve Christ.
I’m sure it wasn’t always glorious, it wasn’t appreciated like it should have been and that there were times when you were just plain exhausted and wanted to stay home. But you came, you taught and you cared.  For that, I am ever thankful. And I wanted you to know that you made a difference to me.
Thank you.

Grow up

I wanted to share with you this week an email my husband sent to our congregation this week. It made me pause and think a bit and I feel like it’s a good reminder for us all to grow up…
This week I was informed by Erin that our 2 oldest boys, Gabe and Otto, were talking amongst themselves about how they wanted to grow up. The topic was one day about the fact that they had hair on their legs. Even though it was light hair, it was still hair. Another day Gabe asked , “What could I do to make myself grow taller?” Erin told him that there was not a lot that you could do, but it is important to eat healthy; eat your fruits and vegetables. Whether he will eat his fruits and vegetables is another matter, but I wanted to share something that baffles me a little.
Kids want to grow up. I cannot speak for what little girls want since I never was one nor have I had the pleasure of raising one up as of yet, but little boys want to grow big and strong. They look forward to the day when they will be able to lift heavy objects, grow hair, and even shave the hair on their face. If there were something that they could do to grow up faster, they would most likely do it. But the thing that gets me is this, how often do we as believers ask our Father, “What must I do to grow up?”
Is there a desire within you to grow up spiritually? Do you long for your faith in the Lord to strengthen? Although questions regard growing up physically seem to be common place among young boys, there seems to be a lack of these questions for us as believers spiritually. Are you growing up spiritually? If not, have you made an intentional change in your plans so that you can grow? If you are pressing “on toward the goal” (Philippians 3:14), then continue that and may God bless you in that. But if you are content with where you are at spiritually, then I would recommend that you reexamine your life and God’s Word. My prayer as I write this is that we all may have a God-given desire to “Grow Up” and that God would help us in our endeavors to become more Christ-like.
Pastor Kerry
**This especially hit home for me as I pondered the events of the last year and how God has used them to grow me and how far I still feel like I have to go. I can’t say that I did anything intentional to grow up, it was God putting things in my path to make me grow. He allowed me to experience hurt, disappointment, rejection, abandonment and deep grief. He allowed me to feel the love of others who surrounded me and the peace that only He could provide. I will admit too, that there were many times when the last thing I wanted to do was “grow up”. But I’ve grown, I’ve learned and I’m still doing both of those. **