Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wrapped in His Love

After a whirlwind week, Ted and I feel wrapped in God's love. Maybe I should say "rapt" in His love!

Saturday, in the Intensive Care Unit we were given heavy news. Ted's condition had baffled the good doctors and we were given three suspected scenarios of what might be causing the rapid decline in his respiratory system. Treatment for one might conflict with the other diagnoses, making things worse, so guessing would not be an option. The best way to know what is going on would be an open lung biopsy. But because Ted's oxygenation was so low, they feared he would never come off the breathing machine after surgery. This would mean being fed through a tube, and communicating by writing notes, no talking. Maybe for the rest of his life. This was what they prepared us for...

"We're between a rock and a hard place," one doctor said. "You're right on the cusp and we may have to make the decision for you. We can't afford to wait much longer." A second opinion from another doctor concurred.

We looked at each other, overwhelmed. Then we prayed.

"God, you know everything going on inside. We need Your direction. We surrender this to you, because it's way beyond us to figure out. As always, we want to abide in You."

Our pastor and his wife (our friends) were here within minutes to pray with us. Then a steady stream of others shared their wisdom and prayers through visits, emails, voicemails and texts. Another thoughtful doctor from our church stopped in (during his vacation) and share his insights.

A peace was growing as we saw one direction clearly taking shape -- we consented to the surgery.

We talked with each of our kids regarding the surgery that was scheduled for the morning. Each was sobered by the risks involved. Alyssa asked, "How does he feel about all this?" I handed Ted the phone for a few words.

"I have a peace about it." he said.

"How can you have peace with all this ahead of you?" she asked.

He softly said, "It comes from a lifetime of walking with the Lord, being in relationship with Him. I know He is with me every step of the way. He's going with me in the operating room and He knows all. I have nothing to fear."

We truly felt the love of God surround us. The peace that passes all understanding came to us.

The surgery came out far better than we had anticipated. They were able to do a less invasive surgery and get an adequate sample of a cancerous lymph node. Less cutting equals faster healing. Just knowing what it was brought some relief. That was the first hurdle cleared. 

The second one was cleared about an hour later when the breathing tube was successfully taken out!! Praise God. We are still hearing Ted's sweet voice and enjoying his smile.

Today, Tuesday, we are still awaiting the pathology results so that a treatment can be determined. Meanwhile, with other medical (and supernatural) interventions, his condition has improved enough to move out of ICU to another floor.

We still feel that incredible peace. Despite facing great darkness, it was a sweet weekend. We absolutely felt bathed in the beauty of the Lord. Wrapped in His love, we have nothing to fear.

Thank you, God, for being our Rock, our Shelter, our Peace!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Draw Me Away

Today I share with you a guest post; a devotional written by my friend, Barb Meacham. The beautiful photograph is one of her own, too!

Song of Songs 1:4 NASB
Draw me after you and let us run together!

Temptation has a loud voice, doesn’t it? It may start out as a whisper but given the chance will crescendo to a consuming roar. Recently I heard that familiar voice enticing me into another bout with temptation.

I used to think I could handle temptation, you know manage it. What a big mistake with an even bigger mess for an encore. Falling flat on my face is what it took to learn temptation is not something you play with. No wonder scripture tells us to flee it.  We need the Lord’s help. This takes surrender and dependence on him.

In Song of Songs 1:4 the maiden calls to her lover, ‘draw me after you – lets us run together!’ It’s an urgent cry to be drawn to a place of intimate communion with her loved one. He is the one she wants with all her heart. 

Jesus our Bridegroom-King delights in being our complete satisfaction. The longings of our heart are meant to be deeply satisfied in intimacy with him. It brings Him glory. When faced with temptation urgently cry out like the maiden, ‘Lord, draw me after you – let us run together!’ Not only is this beautiful love poetry but is the powerful Word of God, the Sword of the Spirit.

Who Jesus is in himself is the drawing power. He is an inexhaustible source of wonderful; a rich provision from the Father's loving heart. As the Holy Spirit reveals Jesus’ beauty and glorious perfections greater passions are awakened in us. Seeing his loveliness creates the continuous draw to run after him. When our hearts are captivated by Jesus, what the tempter baits his hook with loses its attraction. Temptation's alluring voice is drowned out by the magnificence of Christ.

Barb Meacham

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Stitched Together

When we visited our daughter recently in rural Iowa, we noticed a number of "barn quilts." A barn quilt is an 8'x8' piece of wood painted like a quilt square and mounted on the side of a barn. We learned these are seen throughout the Midwest, begun as a way to draw visitors (appealing to both men and women) to these communities. With the open farmlands, these art pieces can be seen and enjoyed for miles.

Each quilt square was interesting by itself, but the whole concept became more inviting and interesting as we spotted more and more different squares. They brought unity to the community. The idea had caught on and spread to other communities becoming "stitched" together. We took long drives and had fun counting how many quilt squares we could spot on any given drive.

It made me think of how different we all are, and when we give of ourselves, collectively, it's a beautiful thing. It's needed in a family, in a church community, on a team.

My daughter is grown and living away from me, and there are times I miss her so much. I long to strengthen our family connections and do day-to-day things with her the way I see other mothers and daughters doing locally. But our love has to stretch many miles.

We made the most of our limited time together realizing each memory we make is a stitch that makes us stronger, bonds us together. She still benefits from my influence and I thrive from connecting with her. We need each other. We're family, and our lives are forever woven together. Like a quilt, each square is unique and beautiful by itself, but when they are together, it becomes so much more!

God, thank you for the gift of a daughter. I love her so much. She's forever part of the fabric of my life. She's a joy and she is beautiful. Give me wisdom to encourage and support her in the ways she needs me in her adult life.

Love is patient, love is kind... It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Cor. 13:4-7)

Is there a "stitch" you can reach out and make today?