Friday, September 12, 2014

Count Your Blessings

"Count your blessings one by one, count your blessings see what God has done".  We (I) don't do this enough.  As I was reading through the last few months and processing where we've been, I was amazed at how intense this has been - reading through this, I'm amazed we are still here. I'm not going to apologize because frankly things are still intense.

Reading though all that warfare made me want to glorify the High King.  Want to know why?  He's been faithful.  He's been our strong tower when we have had enemies on every side.  He's been the one to break through when we are surrounded and relieve us.  Do you want to know how?

You.  His church, his bride.  His people.  I would be blogging 2000 years post rapture if I tried to quantify all of the things people have done for us. People that don't know us, people that do. People from literally all over the world.  The goal here is to try to convey both a universal THANK YOU and more importantly give you a chance to understand what happens to people when they surrender their lives to this man, this God, this Jesus we love.  In fact he loves us so much that the God of the Universe, the maker of us all includes you and I in what he is doing.

"My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working."
-Jesus of Nazareth

Like our Dad you have been working:

-Meals:  Since March, at least twice a week people have brought us meals. With parents splitting time between Children's Hospital, work and home this has been one way in which god has sustained us  kind of like the Ravens fed Elijah (Thank you for being a raven)

-Cards, letters, visits:  We have been showered with well wishes, letters of encouragement, written about in blogs (not this one - right Adeye?) which spurred a no kidding deluge of mail to Jacob from people from all over the globe. Each word written by you was used by our King to say "Never will I leave you, Never will I Forsake You to Jacob and to us. This is like having personal messages of encouragement from the High King delivered by the King's personal emissary (Thank you for being the Kings Presence)

- Support for Gas:  You have sent us to be with Jacob.  He lights up.  The floor full of suffering - lights up.  Lorrie comforts other Moms.  Nurses smell Jesus in that room.  The gospel is lived out.  You sending us not only comforts us and Jacob but people feel the hope that comes with your sending. As I type this I am starting to realize that this is a mission field - it is.  And you are sending us.  (Thank you for sending us)

- Shoulders:  Back to those intense blog entries. Lorrie and I have used many of your shoulders. You let us be a mess and you love us anyway. You told us its ok to be ok.  You carry our 90 lb ruck sack.  You don't get all churchy on us when we tell you that this sucks.  You cry with us.   You rejoice with us.  You comfort us in this trial we are in.  (Thank you for being our Comforter and bearer of our burden like our Father is - you are starting to look just like him you know...)

-Warriors:  I related to a friend a month or two ago that dealing with all of this is kind of like that first horrific scene in Saving Private Ryan.  We've been in the enemy's kill sack.  He was and still is intent on taking us all out to sow despair, to steal kill and destroy.  We've been down. Wounded. Bleeding out.  And out of nowhere - there you all are.   You drag us to cover, sprinkle scripture sulfa on our wound and bind us up. You are fearless. And the part I love is the enemy  (Thank you for being warriors like our High King)

-Servants: A family just left my house and I am 40% sure (you know who you are) they just walked our dogs. My goodness people you have walked dogs, toilet paper and paper towels mysteriously appeared at our home yesterday. You have sat with our Son, given up your time so Lorrie and I could have time. You have washed our feet. (Thank your for doing what Jesus does)

-Gift Givers:  Jacob now has more legos than any kid in Colorado I think. Someone sent him the coolest globe ever. T Shirts, hats have appeared to many other things to mention - all with one goal: Ease Jacob's Suffering. People have slipped us checks, paid more than what I asked for when selling a tent and then told us "we want to help."  (Thank you all for being a lavish Giver like Dad)

So many people, so many "Statues of God walking about in the Garden" as one theologian put it. You all remind me of my Abba. All of this also reminds me of this:

As it is, there are many parts, but one body
                                                          -Paul to the Corinthian Church

Each of you acting through the Spirit has been part of that body, that beautiful bride that our Jesus is madly in love with and no small wonder why he is. He's jealous for me, for you, for us.  

I want you to see in this post what I see.  The church is not a building. Christianity is not Religion.  It is the power of Jesus to transform you and I into what we were meant to be, a reflection of him and my friends you certianly do look and act like my Jesus.  

We will never ever be able to buy enough thank you cards for each of you who has prayed and acted on our behalf, so I wanted to give you all the highest compliment any person could get outside of a card.  You look like Jesus to me.

Glory, Honor, Strength and Power be to Jesus the One Who Was, Who Is and Is to Come.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

What I learned about being OK.

Just a quick update.  I really am hoping that those of you who are going through something hard consider what I am about to say - particularly you men out there who like me feel the wieght of responsibility and duty.

Maybe you are ex military like me or your father taught you these important virtues of responsibility and duty.  They are important to be sure.  But here is what I have learned going through the muck of the last month.  Responsibility and duty do not trump these truths in God's word:

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. 
Proverbs 55:22 

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you
1st Peter 5:7

Do you men know what this means?  It means it's ok to be...well ok.  Here is what I mean.  It is ok for you not to carry the wieght of a trial,  it is ok for you to give your 90 lb rucksack to Jesus. In other words, this means that the weight of a trial is only ours to carry when we refuse to give it to Jesus to carry out of duty or honor or obligation or what ever 'ought to' that is plagueing you.

What I will call a 'false obligation' kept me under that rucksack.  I chose to go into the hole.   I felt it was my 'duty'. While Jesus only wanted to free me of the burden...I chose duty over Jesus's offer of rest.  In his book, 'It's Your Call' Gary Barkalow told a story of being asked by Jesus "Is it heavy enough for you?" referring to a burden Gary had been carrying for many years.

Gents - Jesus wants your burden - for whatever reason - He wants it.  No matter what you are up against.   I now know what these scriptures mean.  Learn from my mistake..drop your rucksack...It's ok. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Not all better and it's OK.

So it's been a long while since I last wrote.  Suffice it to say - I went into the crawlspace (see the last post).  I love how I can  articulate to others how it's bad to go there and then I go and do it.  I was there for a long month.  I got angry, good and angry about everything.  I tried to do it all while at the same time realizing that was impossible and I failed. Then of course came the enemy, "you're not up to it" and "you're dropping things, you are...failing"

I started to make agreements with that enemy.."yep I am failing" and "I'm not handling this well". Then of course when the enemy has you there he easily gets you teetering on the brink of absolute dispair.  And there I was on the edge.  Then as God often arranges, a friend got me to open up....Kurt.  I had been complaining mightily to God. So he asked me how I was... I was honest.  Eventualy in our conversation I told Kurt " Man I am not doing this well!"  Pause....Kurt says "Marshall who could do this well?" And there it was. I had been trying to carry everything myself.  That conversation gave me permission to "not do this (my son having cancer) well."

Now then to say I am all better would be a lie.  I am not all better.  I am however now "not all better" and it's ok.  I  am (the whole family is) still in a tempest and we have no idea what beach we're going to wash up on.  But I've given myself permission to rest some and not try to carry all of it - that was an impossible task and the enemy took me out for a bit.  There is much much more to the story. But I wanted to be honest about where I've been.

The Laughterof a Warrior
 Now then Jacob - here's part of the "more". When we  checked out of the Hospital after numbers recoverd from  round 2 we had what we now call "the meeting".  Chemo  had not worked, Jacob was not in remission, we were  dealing with what the docs called a "refractory leukemia".  We were given 3 choices:  1. Take Jacob home and call it  done - he would have 3-4 months.  2. Take his already  sevearly weakend body through chemo round 3 right away  and hope for remission.  3. Go home rest, recooperate and  then try again.  No Brainer right? Option 3 it was.

And how he played, how he visited with his friends, how he laughed!  They wanted us to take him
in on that Friday after the Monday he was released.  We called the docs and told them - give us the weekend and they did.  So when Monday came we grudgingly took Jacob back to the hospital.  Now there is a routine to this.  First he gets a bone marrow biopsy.  Then he gets admitted.  Then chemo starts.  After a week of chemo and its side effects we get the results for the biopsy that Friday.

I (and the Doctors) fully expected to find Leukemia Blasts in the biopsy.  They didn't find them. I had fully expected to hear the same 'thats it' kind of news.  I heard the opposite.  The doc's even said they were surprised.  All of the sudden.  Hope.  We have even started to use the transplant word again and there are 2 perfect matches.  So pray for the Lord to 'Surprise' these doctors again.

10 mL per hour of suck.
There is hope, there is a break in the clouds - like an eye in a Typhoon.  The trial is not over. But as I sit here and watch Jacob sleep peacefully after a day of being a light to others on this floor with so much suffering on it I am thinking about this:  in a storm you have to struggle to hear someone speak to you through the wind and the rain - its been kind of like that for me. I know God is good. He never left us. He never left me. He used a friend to give me permission to "not do this well".

I have to apologize to my beautiful bride who knew I was in this hole and tried to help me when I was in that crawlspace for about 30 days.  I was a mess.  But having Lorrie greet me when I came out of the hole with that smile of hers well...there are no words. I Love my Lorrie very much.

And as for Jacob - a man can learn alot about how to walk through a trial from him.