Tag Archive | Family

Exploring Our Theme, Part 1: Anchored in Hope

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.                                         It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain,” Hebrews‬ ‭6:19‬ ‭NIV

When I sensed God prompting me last December to choose hope as my word of the year for 2017, I had no idea how important this decision would be.

This has been a year filled with the storms of life.

First, we learned that we owed a large amount in property taxes on the house and property we had inherited from my husband’s mother. We made arrangements to begin making monthly payments on these taxes. Living on Social Security, supplemented with a self-employment income that varies greatly from month to month, this put a severe strain on our budget.

A few months later, our only vehicle broke down. When we learned that repairing it would cost more than we could afford and more than the value of the car, we were suddenly without transportation.

Then an actual storm, Hurricane Harvey, touched our lives. While we were fortunate that our home was not flooded, we did not make it through the torrential rainstorm without damage. Our roof sprung a leak, part of the ceiling in an upstairs room we use for storage collapsed, and water got into the walls and shorted out the wiring that supplies power to close to half of the house.

This however was not the most devastating result of the hurricane.  The Friday before the storm began on Sunday, our special needs son David began running a fever. Since David doesn’t regulate his body temperature very well because of his brain damage, we just watched him closely, using medication and cool compresses to reduce the fever. But by the following Tuesday, it’s was obvious David was fighting a major infection so we contacted his doctor for an antibiotic. We quickly learned that finding a drug store open and well stocked in Houston in the days following Hurricane Harvey was not an easy task. No one we contacted had the original prescription in stock.

Finally on Friday, after again contacting David’s doctor for a prescription of a different antibiotic, we were able to begin David on an antibiotic for what now appeared to be pneumonia. The next day, the house calls group we use for our son’s medical care sent out a mobile x-ray unit to do a chest x-ray, and pneumonia was confirmed. A stronger prescription was ordered, and we began treating the pneumonia at home.

The following Wednesday, it became obvious this home treatment plan was not working, in spite of the antibiotic and aggressive respiratory care our son’s nursing team was giving him. We called 911 and transported him to the hospital.

And thus began one of the most intense periods of our year so far.  We learned the pneumonia had caused fluid to fill David’s right lung, and the lung had collapsed. After several procedures to drain the fluid and reinflate the lung, and other health problems being diagnosed through further testing, it is now two and a half weeks later and we are still in the hospital.

So what does all of this have to do with being anchored in hope?

 When we go through the storms of life, we need an anchor to hold us steady. Hope in Jesus Christ is the anchor that holds us secure as we are blown and tossed by the wind and waves of the storms of life.

In today’s culture, hope is often equated to wishful thinking. But biblical hope is so much more. According to Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, to hope is “to trust in, wait for, look for, or desire something or someone; or to expect something beneficial in the future.” Biblical hope is rooted is trust in God and confident expectation based on His character and promises, especially during times of waiting for His answer.

As our family has walked through these difficult circumstances in 2017, our trust in God has not been shaken. If anything, these trials have drawn us into a closer relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. There have been times of feeling overwhelmed, but even those have been taken to the Lord and our anchor has held. As I write this, we are still in a time of waiting for God’s answers. But through it all, the anchor of hope has held us steady in these storms of life.

 

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Five Minute Friday: Visit

When was the last time you actually visited someone? I’m sorry to say for me it has been a long time. There are some practical reasons for this, but that doesn’t negate the fact that in-person visits are of value.

Living with chronic illness makes it unsafe for me to drive.  That combined with difficulties traveling by myself, limited stamina for outings, my husband’s busy schedule, and financial pressures have made me basically a stay-at-home person. With my husband’s help, I make it to doctors’ appointments and to our church most Sunday mornings, but otherwise I’m home bound. Most of my friends are ladies I either haven’t seen in years or have never actually met in person. 

With today’s technology, I’ve become accustomed to online relationships, and that in itself isn’t bad. In fact, many times my online contacts are my main source of both daily encouragement and of encouraging others. But the value of actual in-person visits can’t be totally replaced by typing a message into a text, Facebook post or email. I long for a way to visit extended family and friends more often.


The apostle John understood the importance of visiting the people he was called to minister to. He used letters to send messages to the churches, but he recognized this was not a substitute for actually seeing others face-to-face. In 2 John 1:12, he made it clear that sometimes we really need to make a way to visit others in person. To fail to find room for this in our lives is to miss one of the major joys of the Christian life.

Right now, infrequent visits are a fact of life for me. But my hope and prayer is that this won’t always be true. I long to meet some special friends I’ve grown to love and yet never actually had an opportunity to visit with. But until that happens, I choose to rejoice in the few local friends I’m able to have contact with and my circle of online friends. And I never want to forget my “friend who sticks closer than a brother,” the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Family

I remember the day my husband asked me to marry him. We had met as students in Bible college, both determined to put God first in our marriage and dedicated to serving God in anyway He chose. We were in love, looking forward to our life as a married couple and then as parents to as many children as God gave us. We were married on September 2, 1973, by one of the pastor’s of our Bible college, Charismatic Bible Institute, which jokingly became known as Charismatic Bridal Institute, and after our honeymoon moved to Houston, Texas, where Mitch’s family lived.
As newlyweds, we went through some major adjustments, as most couples do. I felt neglected as my husband was busy with work and church activities and I was often at home alone. After a few months, our church started a discipleship class, and our home became one of the bases. Now I had three extra people to take care of, cook for, etc. And soon after that I became pregnant. Unlike most ladies who battle through morning sickness for three months, mine started in the first few days of the pregnancy and lasted until I gave birth. I went through this four times, though one pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage. During our time in Houston, our first daughter, Teresa, was born.

In 1975, we moved to Throckmorton, Texas, to work with a ministry there. We prayed long and hard about this move, and felt strongly that it was what God wanted us to do. But before many months there, we experienced our first major trial. We were on our way to Fort Worth to pick up some carpet for Mitch’s boss and to visit friends, when a man who had been drinking crossed into our lane.  The truck we were in was totaled, and we were all injured. Teresa died shortly after we reached the hospital, and the doctors warned Mitch that I might not survive. But I did, leaving the hospital over two months later, using a wheelchair.

Our next major experience as a family was the birth of our daughter Amy. She was a healthy, happy child and a real comfort to me after losing Teresa. By this time,  Mitch had joined the Air Force and we were stationed in Blytheville, Arkansas. A few years later, our church decided to start a preschool, and since I had been a kindergarten teacher I was asked to take a class.  Amy had just turned forum and that was an interesting year, as I tried to teach while Amy kept wandering out of her classroom looking for her Mommy. But she finally adjusted, and we had a good year. At the end of that year, Mitch’s military service came to an end, and we moved to Jacksonville, Texas.

A couple years later, I became pregnant with our son David. After David was born, we felt that God wanted us to move back to Houston, and we made plans to move in with his Mom temporarily, to give us time for Mitch to find a job and us to find a house suited to our needs. We expected to be there no more than three months, but it turned into more than a year. During this time, our son was diagnosed with massive infantile spasms, an age-specific seizure disorder that causes cluster seizures and often results  in severe brain damage and mental retardation. To cut the story short, David is now thirty-one years old, but mentally he is still like a baby.  He can do nothing for himself, has fourteen hours of private duty nursing care per day, and is completely bed bound.

I could also tell you about our days of homeschooling, of having a home bound school and therapy program for David, and of our years of caring for Mitch’s Mom before she passed away from Alheimers. But there isn’t time for more details. To summarize our experience as a family, I’d have to say that there were good times and there were hard times. Our story is different than yours, but you too will experience good times and bad times. No family is perfect, no relationship is perfect, because no person has ever lived a perfect life on earth except Jesus. I don’t know why God has allowed our family to go through so many difficulties, and I’ve stopped asking. What I do know is that God is good and He is faithful. As Laura Story said in her book When God Doesn’t Fix It, “We need to see marriage not as a union to make us happy but as a union to make us holy.” Marriage is the beginning of family, so the same thing applies to family. She goes on to say, our stories aren’t just a series of things that happen to us. They are part of a much bigger story of how God is drawing all of us closer to Him. A story of His faithfulness intersecting  with our unfaithfulness.

And that’s my final word on family. For now.