Thursday, November 10, 2011

God Walks Before Us

11/10/11: Yesterday morning we sat down with the kids for a little family devotional time.  My intention is to gather as a family on a daily basis to go over what lies ahead for the day, discuss assignments, remind them of chores, but most important to drive their hearts back into the Word.  Laura and I want our kids to grab hold fast to the truth and embrace the fullness of God’s promises. 

We both know that this is an extremely difficult time for all of us.  The two of us are grieving in our own private ways as well as what we are embracing together.  Our kids are also going through this, and each in their own way. 

Dawson is quiet in his expressions.  His questions are out of concern for mom’s well-being as well as desiring to understand the treatments and process of surgeries to come.  We have been forthright with him in all things sharing a lot of context but not a great deal of content. 

He gives us words of encouragement and physical affection.  He loves just being with us.  He has thanked me for cleaning the floor, fixing dinner, going on walks as a family.   He will come up beside us and lay his head on our shoulder and rub our back.  He has no idea what his presence means to both of us.  

Lydia has her moments but tends to move to the next thing pretty fast.  She really is our spider plant girl with extensions going everywhere.  Lydia loves to draw.   The other night she made a portrait of her mom.  It was lying at the top of the stairs when Laura and I came home.  It simply said – “The Best Mom Ever!”  Lydia is also keenly aware when one of us has been crying or our emotions have reached the surface. 

Sophia loves just being at home.  She is tender and kind, and yet very thoughtful and somewhat analytical.  There is a unique depth to her thoughts and questions and her mind is so sharp.  She memorizes so quickly and packs so much truth in her little mind. 

Her questions come randomly, as do the other two.  One of the most heart stirring questions came the other day when I was sitting at the table enjoying some of Laura’s Ezekiel Bread. 
“Dad, if you knew mom was going to die from the cancer would you tell us?” 

My head is already spinning from the news of the disease.  I’m ready for the easy questions, but this one pushed me back a bit. 

I sat for a moment and told her that we are going to do all we can while mom is going through this battle to keep life as normal as possible at our home. 

I asked her “who” ultimately knows when we are going to die?  “God’” she said. 

“That’s right, and none of us really know when we are going to die or what we will die of, but if the doctors ever tell mom or dad that one of us is going to die then we will certainly let all of you in on it.”

She seemed quite content with the answer. 

We know that questions are going to come our way.  We are also fully aware there will be some very challenging days before us.  Therefore, we want to be certain that we as a family have our anchors in place and continue to build our homes on the foundation of God’s truth found in His word.  We refuse to move our home to Sandyland. 

So the morning family meetings are critical.  Our intention is to do all we can to fill their minds with truth.  We know that there will be times when the lies of the evil one begin to sink into their little minds.  We desire that they grow-up through this and we know as they do that hard times are growing times. 

Aunt Sue bought verse journals for each child to hold onto and write verses that have meaning to them on its pages. 

Yesterday we started out with Deut. 31:8 – “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”  

This has become our family verse.  It was a verse I wrote down a few days after we learned of the cancer, and it pulled at Laura’s heartstrings as well.  One she too penned in her journal days after the diagnosis.  Neither one of us were aware about the personal impact of this gift of promise.    

I was asked the other day about the ways God has surprised me so far?  It was a great question. 

One of the ways is how God is speaking to Laura and I about the same things without either one of us talking about it.  When she told me that Deut. 31:8 was her verse I told her that the Lord had given it to me as well.  It simply confirms God’s place in all of this. 

So, we asked our kids to reflect a bit on the verse.  What does it mean?   They were quick to the punch. 

Lydia: “God is with us”
Sophia: “God will never leave us or forsake us.”
Dawson:  God goes before us.  He’s going to take us through hard times.” 

I asked Dawson to explain what the hard times are for.  “Why does God take us into and through hard times?”

“To change us,” he responded. 

“Right on.  To change us from the inside out.” 

God’s desire is that we would trust in him with all of our heart, soul and strength.  He is going to use Laura’s illness to shape in each one of us character that has yet to be revealed. 

We all know there will be hard days ahead for us.  There are so many unknowns with this diagnosis.  Such uncertainty can drive you a bit crazy, but we are holding fast to what is certain in our lives: God’s presence, God leading us, God taking us to and through this journey, God’s faithfulness, and His kindness in the midst of hard times. 

Today we will focus on Ephesians 3:20. 

”Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”

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