Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Witnesses


We keep a list of names.

People and families with pressing needs.

We think of them all through the day and speak their names in our family prayers at night.

We honor this process so much.

Every name on our list is a testimony.

Every story a witness.

*Papa  He really didn’t want the surgery. He chose to simply handle the back pain and the other issues that accompanied. But ultimately, the effects and pain intensified motivating steps toward a more definitive solution. Surgery was scheduled.

Papa chose later over sooner in all of this, but Sooner would have it’s day.

*The surgery finished Sooner than expected.
*My parents went home from the hospital Sooner than was projected.
*Papa’s healing progressed Sooner than we dared hope.
*Papa was released Sooner from the doctors care because of advanced healing.

He is now back brace free, and walking with a smile.

Our hearts SOAR with joy over the provision we see in the healing of my Daddy.

*Three dear families from our Stateside homes mark the respective anniversaries of devastating loss. Sons and a daughter are with Jesus, and the practicalities of grief make daily footfalls heavy.

They all walk with such dignity, authenticity and hope.

And yet.

The difficulty of Goodbye pervades and persists.

*Travis Travis is a family practice doctor who serves with his family and team in a town several hours west of us in Uganda. They were on a short home leave, when medical tests revealed cancer. A young man (37 yrs) with no family history of cancer, the news was completely unexpected. Their family faced an abrupt change of plans and immediately settled into surgery and treatment schedules.

Twelve arduous chemo treatments later we prayed much concerning the CT scan that would determine the next steps.

With overwhelming joy we received news that the scan was clear!

Cancer Free.

*Our brother, our dear friend, was taken into emergency surgery several years ago. He has struggled with the same illness every day since. We have prayed. Asked.

We have beseeched.

He and his family have endured arduous treatments and much struggle.

They serve in their calling, in the midst of it. Faithful. Hurting. Diligent.

We all wait together still, longing for healing and relief.

*Lauren, Kimberly, Kasidy, Joanna, Jamie  Expectant mothers welcoming babies all within several weeks of each other.

Eli, Carson, Jesiah, Kamryn,Brumley and Harper Tiny little arrivals proclaiming big the mercy and wonder of New Life.

We have delighted over pictures and long to hold these adorable bundles of blessing. We are grateful for the health of each child and the safety of their Moms.

We celebrate confident in God’s plan and purpose for each of their lives.

*Three dearly esteemed sisters battling cancer, betrayal and heartbreak respectively. Each carrying burden from this broken world while loving their children and seeking their Lord.

God loves us and shows His power in wellness.
God loves us and chooses to be with us, in the need, a little while longer.

God loves us.

And this Love is Loud.

We gather the visible answers and we embrace the ongoing struggles and we fix our eyes.

Surrounded by such a cloud of Noisy Witness, we meet around a Thanksgiving Table, grateful in all these circumstances.

Marking answers in Thanksgiving while fully engaged in the God With Us miracle.

In the hope.

In the struggle.

There He Is.

We see Him.

And we are filled.

“Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us…”

“…Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith…”

“…consider Him…so that you won’t grow weary and lose heart.”

Hebrews 12: 1-3 (HCSB)









Monday, November 04, 2013

Bread, Oil and Wine

The calendar turned to November recently.
As I reset calendars and set out Thanksgiving d├ęcor, I find myself breathing disbelief.
Hard to keep up with, this turning of time.
But it marches and moves and passes.
Sometimes it even cajoles.

Life’s seasons coax us to feel or emote in particular ways.

Our family marks this particular season with fall colors and apple crisps and all things pumpkin.

We simmer apple cider and we pre-order turkeys from Kampala.

We start cycling the Christmas music.

We recall the warmth of memory, home and family.

And we are reminded to thank.

Our paper pumpkins collect on the kitchen door. The little and big things we praise God for. The difficult things we are disciplining appreciation into.

It is good to write it all down. To mark it.

David did this so beautifully.

In the Psalms.

“Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits…” Psalm 103:2

David is specific and detailed in his praising. His lists are long and descriptive. He nurtures the remembrance of our God who loves and acts in mercy and truth for all of us.

“Whoever is wise, let him heed these things and consider the great love of the Lord.” Psalm 107:43

In the considerations of Psalm 103-107 this passage has my attention today:

 “He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate—bringing forth food from the earth: wine that gladdens the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread that sustains his heart.” Psalm 104:14-15

Our Provider meets our needs with careful attention to that which ‘gladdens’ and ‘sustains’ and ‘makes us shine’.

Today I record (in photos) the ‘bread’ and the ‘wine’ and the ‘oil’ of this season in my life.

“May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the Lord.” Psalm 104:34

sweet :)
                                             
Funny boys :)



My beautiful girl!

Chef Kinley 
An All Boy schoolroom
(Kinley is completing High School work on her own--tests are mailed and graded in the States. She is working hard and making A's. So proud of her!)

Peace--our other daughter:) and Kinley's sister friend
Lovely coffee in Fort Portal. A true sign of advanced civilization :)
Dad's stories draw a crowd. (Everyone in the kitchen after dinner--storing it all up in my heart.)

Twenty years of marriage. Eighteen years in Uganda. God's grace to us, over and over again.

Exceedingly. Abundantly. Blessed. 
“Praise the Lord, O my soul.  O Lord my God, you are very great…” Psalm 104:1