Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Way Things Are

I haven't posted in awhile, and I apologize. I guess I was reluctant to write this all out at such a special time of year. No one wants to receive bad news at Christmas. But I'm realizing that there just isn't any good time to deliver bad news.

Jeff had an MRI scan on December 10 to determine whether or not the treatment has been working. On the 17th, Jeff's oncologist at the Cleveland Clinic told us that leukemia had not responded. Not only that, but the MRI showed significant progression into the cranial nerves, brainstem and spinal cord.

I sat motionless, trying to absorb the conversation that followed. There is nothing left to be done, medically-speaking. But we're still praying for a miracle and for time. Jeff hasn't got much left.

We decided to tell the kids right away, only because drawing it out makes it that much harder. Kids can sense when something is going on, and we didn't want them to feel like they were the last to know. Please, keep them in your prayers.

That's the way things are around here for now.

And in the midst of this storm, there is still peace--an unmistakable presence of the Holy Spirit. I was reading a passage of Scripture today about the work of the Holy Spirit. It's in Romans 8, verse 26, and it says "the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." This passage is teaching that the Holy Spirit prays for our infirmities--our sicknesses. That is such a blessed truth to me right now because I cannot tell you how many times I have started to pray and could not find words. I hope that truth encourages you as well.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

She Hath Done What She Could

Some weeks ago now, as I was making the bed, I caught a bit of an interview on the radio.  The host of the show was speaking with someone about a devotional book based on the story from Mark 14 where Mary breaks an expensive box of perfume to anoint Jesus’ feet.

Either the phone rang or one of the kids called me away, but I was not able to hear more than just the introduction.  But that little snippet got me thinking about that story and how it relates to having a servant’s heart.

And that’s when I started thinking of all of you.

So many of you that have prayed for us live great distances away. Some live right here and have wondered what you can do to help our family.  But every one of you have demonstrated that heart to serve like Mary had. 

For those of you that live far away, chances are that there is someone in your own neighborhood or church that could benefit from your help.  And so, I’m going to make a list of all the “little things” that friends have recently helped us with: 

•   Taking my turn in the nursery so that I could sit with my
        husband during the church service
•    Winterizing our lawn
•    Raking, mowing, and trimming shrubs
•    Rigging up our outdoor Christmas lights
•    Making meals
•    Planning special evenings with our children
•    Babysitting
•    Encouraging with calls, notes, e-mails, cards and such
•    Maintaining our aquarium
•    Hugs
•    Helping Jeff do some Christmas shopping
•    Picking him up to have lunch together
•    Listening – It is a tremendous blessing to have friends who
        don’t feel pressured to give answers, who simply listen.
•    Praying – this is no small thing!
•    Driving me and the cat to the vet and staying with us while she
        died.  Then bringing us home and burying her for me.
•    Meeting me for coffee or lunch to just so I could feel normal for
        a little while

And here are just a few more “little” things that people have done in the past, either for us or for others:

•    Helping with bedtime routine--When Jeff was hospitalized in
        2006, a dear friend would come over on Friday nights to
        help with bedtime.  I bathed kids, she helped with PJ's
       and read to them. After I tucked them in, we'd sit and talk.
•    Organizing the pantry or cupboards
•    Vacuuming under the couch and cushions
•    Cleaning out the garage
•    Winterizing the outside faucets
•    Shoveling the driveway
•    Sending music or links to encouraging music

And I’m sure there are a thousand other seemingly little things I could add to this list. 

The bottom line is this:  none of you can take Jeff’s leukemia away just like Mary couldn’t prevent the suffering Jesus would endure on the cross.  But Jesus praised her in His answer to those questioning her extravagance. He said, “She hath done what she could.”

I love your servants’ hearts.  You have blessed us by making our journey easier. You have done what you could.