Friday, October 21, 2011

What hidden treasures have we found

I am completely amazed at the outpouring of love our family has experienced in the last few days. It is so humbling to know that you are with us in prayer. You have so loved us even though we truly have no way to repay.

You have filled our refrigerator with plenty and you have spent your precious time praying for us and thinking up ways to bless us. You have provided delicious meals and money for gas. You have donated your time to clean out our junk room and turn it into a playroom. You cut our lawn you built a swing set for our children. You've rejoiced with us and cried with us.

You have sent us cards and lent us your DVD's and video game equipment so Kenny wouldn't be bored while recovering. You've give us furniture and clothes, CD's, noise reducing head phones. You have helped us move over and over again. You have been there through the good days and bad days.
You have helped us to understand the Word of life. We can never repay that! You have sacrificed yourselves for us. "Thank you," just doesn't seem sufficient, but it's all we have.

But do you know what really makes me grateful? It's that God so loved us that He gave His one and only Son that anybody who believes in Him will have everlasting life.

I was a filthy rotten sinner, full of myself and greedy. I was so blinded by what the world calls love that I almost walked out on my marriage. I wasn't "feeling" like I was treated well enough by my husband, that he didn't appreciate me or try to love me the way I thought I needed to be loved. I was so self centered but yet I thought I was a good person. I didn't try to steal anything or hurt another person intentionally so I thought I was good-to-go with God.
When Kenny was diagnosed with cancer I couldn't believe it. I had been working hard to fix my marriage and had been sure that at some point I would be rewarded for my valiant efforts. God had to be watching me pull this off on my own. He knew I was a good person before the marriage troubles and now, well I was a saint because I was doing all the wifely duties and taking my issues to Him first with out blowing up at Kenny. I was striving in my own strength to be good enough for God. And I was on a roll. Until that diagnosis.

"Wait a minute God you have the wrong family! This can't be for us! You must be mistaken! I have been good and I'm reading your word and I'm doing what's right. Why are you punishing us now? What did we do wrong?"
I was so angry at God and confused and hurt and fearful. I didn't know if I had somehow prayed the wrong prayer or done something to deserve this. But what I didn't expect was how God used this horrible disease to bring Kenny and me closer to Him. And then how that would bring other people to Him as well. And what I found when I really got close to God is something far better than anything this world could ever offer.

God's love is amazing! He is all knowing and yet He still loves us. He see's us better than we see ourselves. He opens our eyes to see life in a new way. He gives us peace that surpasses all understanding. He speaks to our souls and He heals us from the inside out. He gave us His Son to take all our sin and shame. We don't have to carry around all that garbage anymore. He wants to take it from us. I don't know about you but I don't even want to take Kenny's dirty socks to the laundry room. It's unfathomable what God has done for us!
The best and most wonderful gift of all through this very hard stuff of life is that God taught us how to live like life truly is a gift. Everyday, every minute, every heartbeat is from Him. Why isn't that enough for us? Why do we seek anything else?

God showed Kenny and me how to forgive, how to really love, how be patient, how to listen and how to pray. He opened our eyes to see that it doesn't really matter if the kids are out of bed for the tenth time, so what? Listen to them while they are young. They wont sound this cute when they are teenagers. Laugh when things get to stressful. Look up when your feeling down. Be thankful for everything you have because in an instant it can all be gone.

Don't hold a grudge! There is no point in worrying about the future. Things could be a lot worse. Look around you to see the people who need a friend. There are a lot of lonely and hurting people out there and they just need someone to care. Shouldn't that be us? We have the gift of Truth, the gospel of Jesus Christ, we should really share it more freely and with a much greater passion than we do.

I am grateful for Kenny's cancer, because without it I would never have known how much of life I was missing. Will God chooses to heal Kenny or to take Him home? I don't know, but I have faith that whatever God chooses it will be for our good. He loves taking ashes and turning them into beauty.

We would never have seen His beauty if it wasn't for His pain.We would never have known His love if it wasn't for our shame!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Indescribable Unbelievable

I don't even know where to begin. In the dark of night He is Lord!
Many of you have already heard the news. but for those who haven't I will share it with you. It's not the kind of news a person likes to hear but non the less hear it is. Kenny had another MRI scan on Oct 7th and we went in for results on Oct 13th. I started crying in the waiting room before we even saw the nurse let alone the doctor. I don't know why I just felt so weak and overwhelmingly sad. We were taken back to the room where the doctor would come in to tell us the results. We waited, I don't know how long but time didn't seem to matter. When the doctor finally came in he looked right at me and asked if I was OK. I just shook my head yes and looked away. If I spoke I might have lost it. Kenny was strong as ever and he just said to the doctor, "She just hates result day." I don't even know how many of these days we've had in the last two and half years. It never gets easy.
"Well," the doctor says as he pulls up Kenny's MRI scan on the computer, "This is definitely concerning." I couldn't even look at the screen. I didn't want to. This doctor has been with us since the beginning of this trial and he is as sweet as they come. He always has such a warming look on his face but today his face showed a different look. He was concerned. There was a lot of talk about this treatment and that treatment and even another surgery but Kenny just wanted to know one question. "How long?" The sweet doctor danced around a bit about percentages and said every person and every case is different but... He quietly said as if to soften the blow, "Ten months." Kenny just looked at him and looked at me and ask, "with treatment?" And the doctor said, "yes, with treatment." "So, he continued, "you can take your choice of treatments and here is what I would recommend, but eventually we will loose this battle."
So there it is, as soft or as calmly as the message can be delivered it still leaves you wounded. Questions will start to flood your mind now as you try to grasp on to anything logical for support. But the sad truth is there is no explanation, no logical answer and no escaping these results.
Our children don't know these results and I beg you to please be careful about your children hearing you talk about these results. Kenny and I have decided to wait for if or when there is a noticeable difference in his health before we tell the kids what is happening. Little ears are listening even when we don't realize it.
So the last week or so has kind of blown past like a whirlwind, people offering prayer and meals and more prayer and groceries and support and everything in between. They all say, "tell me what to do and I'll do it." "Ask and you shall receive, anything we are there for you guys, all the way, 100 percent." You know we would say the same things to any of you. And we know that this news hurts more than just our family. You all have been so wonderful and loving and generous to us. You have taught us what true friends are what true Christians are! But the truth is I just want one thing and not one person can deliver that. We know God is in control and He will decide whether or not Kenny will stay here or go home. But it still hurts, a lot!!! Please be patient with me I really don't know what to say when asked that question. I know you have the best intentions and I love you all so much. A person couldn't ask for a better group of family and friends than you all. I will come up with something for you to do I promise. Until then your prayers are needed so desperately.
So I spent all day yesterday crying, all day! I couldn't stop. I road with Kenny to pick up Josiah from preschool and sat in the car so no one would see my red blotchy face. I felt so weak and then Josiah climbed into the car tears in his eyes crying, "my teacher yelled at me." I got out of the car and held Josiah and told Kenny, "You better go find out what the heck happened or I will." Kenny calmly walked over to the teacher and they talked for a few minutes and he walked back over to the car and explained the situation. Well you can guess that Josiah wasn't listening to his teacher. She told Kenny that he had been warned 4 times and he kept on doing what he wasn't supposed to do. I knew it was probably his fault but you should have seen his little face. And I was in a very compassionate state for my little guy. He could have asked for anything in that moment and I would have said yes. Well my temporary explosive anger turned into a lesson from God. There is no good reason to unleash your pain on someone else. Check, got that one loud and clear. Good thing Kenny was there to intervene for me or I would have felt worse after yelling at my son's preschool teacher.
The lessons didn't stop there.
I am in a class with this guy who I could read the moment I looked at him. He is clearly full of himself and loud and opinionated and wouldn't you know it, we get put in a group together to do our class project. Oh gee whiz this is going to be interesting. Well this Monday we were going to have a test on chapters 4 and 6 in our books and I had been so busy crying and worrying about my math homework that I forgot all about my business test. Oh great Lord! Now I am going to fail. I am going to FAIL! This is just perfect. This was my prayer in the car as I drove all the way to school on Monday night. I even text Jenny to complain to her about it. She assured me that God was in control and that He knew this was going to happen. So I changed my prayer. I prayed, "OK God you are in control and you knew this would happen so please help me now. I don't want to fail my test but I didn't read any of my book. Go before me Lord and prepare my way." I got to class that night about 3 minutes late (big shock right Alyscia, Late, never!) well there were all my classmates but, where was the teacher? Then I saw that guy from my group. You know the one? Well he said that class had been canceled so we should just go over some of our ideas for the group project since we were all there. Oh wow! No test? This is amazing! I can't believe this!! I really can't believe this. God you did it! You went before me and look I don't have to take my test. I am so amazed that you did this for little old me. I was just yelling at you in the car and you still loved me enough to bless me and answer my prayer. Wow Thank You God!!!
So tonight my teacher was in class and we took our test and I didn't stress too much about it because of what I had witnessed two nights before. My teacher told the class why he wasn't in class the night before last. He said he had some medical issues and after some tests he was told he had a tumor in his bladder. Well apparently after a scope went in to find out what kind of tumor it was, the tech said well there seems to be nothing here. You don't have a tumor. So I guess he was celebrating and that's why he didn't come into class. Strange hu?
So after the test I had a chance to tell the teacher about my situation. I had told some of my group members last time when class had been canceled and they were nice about it. Lucky them, they get the girl with all the baggage in their group. I told the teacher and he said as long as your group is OK with this I think I can make it so that you can do your school work from home so you can spend as much time with your husband as you want to and you wont have to worry about financial aid giving you problems. I was so overwhelmed and speechless I didn't know what to say as everyone in my group nodded in agreement. I was amazed at how the Lord was working everything out for me. He was here for me, He wasn't going to overwhelm me with stress. He had a plan to help me stay in school and finish my classes without me feeling guilty for not being around for Kenny and the kids. He was moving mountains for me because he loves me.
I walked out to my car in the dark of the night and I looked up at the sky and told God Thank you!
But God wasn't done yet.
Then I heard a voice from behind me. It was that guy from my class, the one who I pegged as full of himself and opinionated. He walked over to me and said, "so this is kind of a personal question but I was wondering if you had any support, you know some people or friends to help you out during this crazy time?" I said yes I had a wonderful church and family who were supporting us and loving us through this tough situation. He said, "oh that's good." "I was just wondering if you would be OK if I prayed with you right now or would you feel uncomfortable with that?" I said in shock, "NO not at all I would love that!" He began to pray with me the most wonderful prayer and all I could think about was how I had judged him. I was so ashamed! I didn't deserve this love. I was so wrong! He was such a nice person who was truly amazing. He walked over to me and ask me, not knowing that I was a Christian, boldly asked, if I would like some prayer. Wow! I am undone. He blessed me and I judged him. I can't believe my sinful heart. God why are you so good to me? I don't deserve it! I am a fool. Please forgive me.
I am in the midst of this giant trial and God is with me! God is loving me through this great big life altering trial and still correcting me along the way. Who can do that but God? I wish you could have seen first hand all these wonderful things that the Lord has done just for me in the last few days.
So that's my story, my indescribable unbelievable story. GOD is so good! I love being a Christian! I couldn't imagine going through life without God! Things might not be perfect but with God on our side what can go wrong?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Men Men Men

Men, what can you say about them? We like them, we hate them. We long to be noticed by them. We always want their attention. Did I say we long to be noticed by them? My husband is my best friend and that's the truth. But, sometimes he can drive me absolutely crazy! I'm just being honest and don't pretend you don't have the same issues with your man. Why is that? Why do we idolize our husbands, fathers, leaders, male figures? It's part of the fall of man. When Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil she and her husband were judged, and rightly so, they disobeyed God! They were warned before hand and they still chose to do what they wanted to anyways. So here we are. Part of our curse is that women's desire shall be for man. Genesis 3:16 To the woman He said, "I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you."

Well there you have it, we brought this on ourselves. So what do we do about it. Recognize their weakness! What is that you ask? They are men, just plain old ordinary men. We forget that they were created right along with us. Yes they may have come first in the order of creation but usually in the bible the older shall serve the younger. I'm just kidding about that part. But seriously, we give them too much credit. They are only human just like we are. They make mistakes and sometimes big mistakes just like we do. Why is that so hard for some of us to remember? We see this guy who says the right things and makes the right moves and botta bing botta boom... he's won our hearts without a second thought. Trust me when I say this too shall pass. There will be a day when the love of your life will hurt your feelings and even mess up royally! Thank God He showed us how to forgive through Jesus' ministry here on earth. We do need to forgive and to understand that the only one who will ever be all we need and more is God! He is our all powerful all knowing all understanding father in heaven. He will never lead us down a wrong path or say the wrong thing. He is perfect and Holy. He is the truth and He knows us better than we know ourselves. He should, He made us. If we would only put Him in His rightful place on the thrown of our lives than we could be more forgiving of our less than perfect husbands and fathers and maybe even pray for them more. To live up to a woman's standard is a difficult thing to do, but God is up for the challenge! Go ahead see if His word will fail you. I bet you will be surprised to find out that He will never break a promise to you and He will never leave you nor forsake you.

Lord help us all to pray more and to look to You for the answers. You are our creator and our loving father. You know exactly what we need in this life to make us into the image you created us for. Please help us to be more forgiving of the men in our lives. Help us to place you in that seat of honor and glory and praise and to pray more for our men to live up to your Holy standard. We are all just human, forgive us for our sins, in Jesus name AMEN!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Need something more?

What satisfies a person? What do you think you need right now that would satisfy your desires? Is it money so you can pay off all those bills and buy that big house you've always dreamed of? Is it a man/woman that understands you and loves you just the way you want to be loved? Is it that cushy job that gives you great medical and dental with paid vacations every year? Is it a latte? The point is that we all think something will satisfy us to the point where we will never want again and I hate to break it to you but if it's one of these things or any other earthly thing, you will thirst again.

So what is the point? It seems this life is all about getting somewhere or achieving something that gives you status or money or respect, and those aren't necessarily bad things. They can feel really good especially when you've over come tremendous circumstances to get to those places. But let's say you get all those things and you are on top of the world, what happens next? Do you finish your race, is that all she wrote? What happens when you've reached the top?

So maybe you know the "right answer" to such questions as these because you've heard them all before. It's family, friends, relationships that are what really satisfies and what truly matters in the end. OK sounds nice enough, but what if you are horrible at relationships? What if you mean well enough but when you try to help your family out they view you as judgmental and you end up alienating the ones you love. Or the opposite happens where you can't stand your family and friends because they just don't understand you.

So does anything satisfy? Do we ever have that void deep inside filled by seeking to have fun or working hard enough to have every life experience or make enough money to buy whatever we want? Or is it filled by being such a "people person" that we are surrounded by friends and family all the time and they just think we are the most pleasant person in the whole world but deep down we still feel alone? Who can answer these questions? Who knows all the answers? You do, or at least you know the One who does.

You see you are a created human being. You have a maker! And even better than that your Maker has supplied the how-to-book of your dreams (hint, it's the BIBLE)! This life comes with instructions! Isn't that the most amazing news you've ever heard? I ended the last paragraph with the sentence, you do for a very important reason. You may be thinking, if I had these answers I wouldn't be so messed up inside. Well the very fact that you are messed up inside speaks big truths about how you do know the answers to these questions. Jeremiah 31: 33 says, "But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
Guess what that means? You know right from wrong, you have that little voice whispering to you that says hmm... this is wrong. But like most of us do we just usually explain that little voice away. It's not like I'm committing murder for goodness sake!

Well what do you think? Is that a good enough answer for how you might know more than you think you do about this life and what might truly satisfy? Still not sure? In Romans 1: 20-25 Paul writes, For since the creation of the world His (God's) invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made (you and me), even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image (like say money or fame or status or___ fill in the blank) made like corruptible man--and birds and four-footed animals (for instance, cow worshipers) and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

What that verse states is that although man knew who God was he turned his back on God to live his own life apart from God. Why? Think of it like this, a child is determined to jump on the couch even after being warned by his mother, 3 plus times, not to jump on the couch. Well this child thinks he's a pretty smart cookie and thinks he can keep jumping because he's having too much fun to consider the possibility that he could fall. Low and behold the child hits the floor but first hits the coffee table on his way down. A painful lesson learned. We are a stubborn race! We are so arrogant and prideful that we can't see the consequences for our actions. We think we know more and can avoid disaster because we are "super special and really cool!"

So we know that we know God and his law because Jeremiah 31:33 says He has written it in our hearts and put it in our minds. We know we turned away from God because we wanted to live our own lives and we didn't need those silly rules or laws because they are so restricting and totally cramped our style anyways. We also know that His invisible attributes are clearly seen and understood by His creation, us. So what do you think is that enough for you to know that you know these answers?

Well if you are still having a hard time let me tell you one more thing. You my dear reader are a big fat sinner, as I am. We can't help it we are born into sin. It's a curse carried down from our ancestors since the creation of time. We are all lost and searching for fulfillment in this life because we have found out the hard way that our way isn't what we thought it would be. But I have GOOD news. God knew we would need a savior. He knew before He even created us that we would need a savior so in His loving kindness He sent His One and only Son to come down and live among His creation. Emanuel, God with us. Jesus Christ our savior lived a sinless life and chose to die a sinners death. He took on the sins of this whole world, He became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God through Christ Jesus. God so loved the world! God so loved you that He gave His one and only son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Ahh yes that is the missing void. Everlasting life with our Maker God. Our Father who lives in heaven. Doesn't that just quench your thirst? God loves us and we are simply blinded to that love because of sin. Don't let sin condemn you, live in the blessed assurance of everlasting life through faith in Christ Jesus and His atoning work on the cross for love of you.

Since we have realize we are sinners and need a savior, what do we do now? Pray, pray, pray. God is never far from us He is always waiting for us to turn around and realize that He's been waiting ever so patiently for this day to come. Prayer can be hard to do, ever wonder why that is? Prayer opens your heart to Him and you've been trying so hard to handle things your own way for so long. Praying to God means you believe and your sin becomes revealed. Nobody likes to see their faults, but I promise you if you confess your sins to God He will remember them no more. He will forgive you and give you a new life. He is overjoyed and is eagerly waiting to hear from you. Please take a minute to pray to Him and ask Him to reveal Himself to you in a way that would convince you of His love for you. Ask Him to be your Lord and to help you live this life. Tell Him you're sorry, tell Him your hurts, talk to Him and share you heart with Him. He knows your heartache and He wants to heal you. But you will never know unless you find out for yourself. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. God is who He says He is! Ask me how I know I would love to share with you.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

To the loves of my life!

I love you all so much! I know I get stressed and sometimes I yell so instead of making excuses I just want to say I am so sorry. I wish I was stronger. I know you don't understand now why things are the way they are but you will one day. Until then I will keep praying that God will protect you. You are so important to me. Keegan you are so smart and you have an obedient heart. I love watching you grow and learn more. I know God has a wonderful plan for your life and I will love every minute of watching His plan unfold. Holly you are so beautiful and so sweet. I love your sensitivity for others. How you cry when they cry. You are going to be an amazing woman one day. God will always be your strength. Josiah you are so darn funny. I love how silly you are. Your laugh is contagious and your hugs are only second to daddy's. You are fearless and I hope you keep that quality except when it comes to God. I hope you learn that fear early on in life and keep it all your days. I pray that for all three of you. Let Him be number one and You'll never lose your way. Please forgive me for the times I fail you. It's a hard fact of life to learn your parents aren't perfect and don't have all the answers and they even make bad choices. The only one you can always count on is God. He will never fail you and He knows everything. He will never make wrong choices, though sometimes your emotions might lead you to think He makes wrong choices. Never give up hope and pray always! You are meant to be hear, there is a reason for all of this. I love you all so much and I will never stop praying for you. I am so blessed to be your mom!