Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Going Deep

I normally do not write about really deep or personal things on our blog. It is more a means of keeping our friends and family updated on our not-so-exciting life. However, tonight I just felt the need to write about something deep.

Our church, Grace Point Church, is beginning an Advent series this Sunday, as are probably numerous other churches across the US. Our pastor, Brent, has asked Daniel and I to be in a video to be played on Sunday morning. The message and the video will be focused on "Hope." Not a worldly hope, but the hope that believers have because of the redeeming work of Christ Jesus.

Brent has asked me to share about two of the most difficult life experiences I have walked through. First, my father's illness and death and second, my mother's battle with breast cancer. While these two circumstances are similar, both involved cancer and both involved a parent, my life was affected differently by each. Not because my mom survived and my dad did not, not because of different relationships with each parent, but because of where I was and am in my relationship to Christ.

Brent sent a couple of questions for me to think about and to guide our conversation for the video we will be producing.
One of the questions he asks is:
How did you maintain your hope in Christ when you lost your father and cancer threatened your mother?

As I thought about the question, I came to the realization that hope looked very different to me in each circumstance.
I remember the phone call I received while a junior in college in which my mom shared with me that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. I had accepted Christ just 5 months prior to that phone call. As I hung up the phone I remember this immense feeling of hopelessness. I cried. I was angry. I began to question how God could allow this to happen to my mom. I kept thinking... my mom is going to die. I knew Christ, but as a young believer I did not know hope. Perhaps I did know hope, but certainly not the hope I know today.

7 years later I would receive another phone call. This time the phone call was from my dad with the news that he had been diagnosed with cancer. I would soon learn that the prognosis was not good. The treatment would most likely not save his life, but prolong it for just a short time. I cried. But this time they were not tears of hopelessness, but a cry of hopefulness. I did not think ... my dad is going to die, but instead, God please heal him.

My dad was not given an earthly healing. He passed from this life a little after 7:00am on Wednesday, May 11, 2005. A few hours later a neighbor shared with me that she was certain my dad was in Heaven. She told me that just the week before she came to sit with my dad while my stepmom ran errands and she asked him if he knew Jesus as His personal Lord and Savior. She told me with a smile on her face, that he said YES! Oh, what blessed hope of knowing Christ and Christ crucified, but even better yet, the resurrected Christ.

How did I maintain my hope? Through God's grace.
I spent time in His word, I prayed, I cried. I surrounded myself with other believers and talked about the things that were going on. I leaned on the promises of God. That He would never leave me nor forsake me. That even as I walked through the valley of the shadow of death , I could fear no evil because He was with me. I clung to the promise that His Word does not return void. I envisioned the mansion prepared for my dad, if he truly believed.

How did I maintain my hope? Again, I say through God's grace.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Growing Up Fast!

Wow! Kindergarten all ready!
So grown up!

I can't believe how quickly time passes. It seems like just yesterday that my nephew was born and of course not much longer ago my niece. They are just too cute!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

One Week Ago Today

One week ago today I had already walked 20 miles, used multiple port-a-potties, drank more Gatorade than I have in 10 years, attempted to sleep in a tent while wearing multiple layers of clothing and had set out on day 2 of my 60 mile adventure. When I look back all I can say is WOW!

Last Friday morning, Daniel dropped Melissa and I off at South Fork Ranch in Parker, Texas. The temperature was a slight 34 degrees. I had goose bumps on top of my goose bumps. We dropped off our luggage and joined almost 3000 others for Opening Ceremonies. Emotions were high! Excitement, tears, laughter, anxiety they were all there. The spokeswoman for this year's events was a phenomenal speaker and she truly facilitated in preparing us for the journey we were about to embark upon.

The crowd was as diverse as a box of Crayola Crayons. Men, women, young, old, survivors, fighters, repeat walkers, first timers. But each person in that field had the same purpose. 60 miles in 3 Days in hopes of finding a cure!

Watching the Survivor Circle walk in carrying their banners, I could not help but cry. Tears of joy for these women and the many others who have overcome this terrible disease. But tears of sorrow as well, for those who have not been so lucky. I walked because I could and I can. I walked because there were others who couldn't.

I knew as I took my first steps on Friday morning that it would not be easy. Physically, I knew my feet would hurt, I knew my muscles would ache. I knew I would be cold and hot and at times truly uncomfortable. However, I also knew it would only be temporary. Emotionally, I did not know what to expect and looking back all I can say is that I rode on a roller coaster of emotions that weekend. And I am so thankful I did.

Today as I go about my daily tasks I think back on last weekend when I had no concern except for putting one foot in front of the other and accomplishing my task at hand. I remember the faces of the women I walked with who were walking because life had given them a second chance. I remember!