Our journey in life, love, ministry, and mitochondrial disease.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Created in His Image
About a month ago, Jeff had a week off from work and some friends offered to let us use their camper, so we were off to a much-needed vacation. Mentally, we were all pretty exhausted and in definite need of some family time. It rained most of the time we were there, but on one clear morning, I went outside with my coffee to sit by the fire that my strapping husband had just built. ;-) As I sat there, I couldn't help but notice one of the most interesting trees I have ever seen. Yes...I said "tree". It was all gnarly and crooked where it had, very obviously, had to struggle its entire life to get light from the sun. At that very moment, I felt a lot like that tree...crooked a gnarly from having to struggle my entire life for just a glimpse of light from the Son. Right beside it was an identical tree, except it was as straight and beautiful as any I have ever seen. I thought, "Just figures. Of course that tree that is like me is standing right beside the perfect tree...a tree that has never had to struggle, that has never known the struggle of being overweight or had struggle to make ends meet, or never known the pain of having a child that has problems you can't fix. Not to mention, that 'perfect' tree has never known the pain of its parents' divorce, had to go without things it needed, was never neglected or hungry as a child, never knew abuse, and never knew the pain of being abandoned by a mother. It just figures....story of my life. God has always brought the most perfect people into my life to stand right beside me. That must be exactly what it looks like in His eyes." (Did I mention I was in need of a break?) The longer I sat there and pondered this tree, God began to really work in my heart. First, He showed me some roots of bitterness that had really taken root in my heart (I know you are surprised by this) and showed me some areas that I had never given thanks for. Actually, for the past few months I have felt totally abandoned....waiting for test results, waiting for our house to sell, struggling to take care of the many things on my plate....Where are You??? God was right. Where was my gratitude? Gratitude for still being here, close to Clara's doctors, making it very easy to get her the help she needs right now. Gratitude for four beautiful girls that bring so much joy to my heart and a husband who, really, couldn't be much better, and truly, as heavy as my heart has been about Clara, He has protected her from so much. Gratitude for a family that loves me, a wonderful woman who stepped in to be my Mom when I was 13 years old, and a church family that I love so dearly. Gratitude for our calling into a ministry we are passionate about and love....the list goes on and on. So, as I sat there pondering this tree, God really used this time to soften my heart. All at once, it hit me. That perfect tree didn't represent other people at all. It represented the One who came to earth, firmly planted in the soil of our Heavenly Father and never struggled to see His light, because He never wavered, never sinned, and well, really, He IS the Light Himself. That crooked, gnarly tree represents us all....struggling to get to the light, but still standing. But what a beautiful picture of what it means to be created in His image, because even with all that crookedness, that tree was still beautiful, and had it had a perfect life, would have looked just like the tree beside it...but I don't know anyone who has had a perfect life. That's why we need Grace, and Grace is given so abundantly. I know that sounds like a lot of thinking for one tree, but why wouldn't God use something from his wonderful creation to, so gently, speak to me the very way I needed to be spoken to? He really is So very good!
Jeff and I are excited about what God is doing in our lives! We have been married for 15 years, and are blessed to be the parents of 4 beautiful girls! We are currently serving as full-time missionaries with Life Action Ministries in Niles, Michigan. It is our heart's desire to see God's people have revival in their own lives, leading to a Revival in our great nation.
On November 4th, 2009, our third daughter, Clara, was diagnosed with a mitochondrial disease. We do not know the specific gene at this time, but we are hoping and praying that as more research is done, we will know more. Our journey with Clara continues, just as our journey with God is never-ending. This blog chronicles that journey.
As missionaries with Life Action Ministries, we will live completely on the financial support from friends and family. We believe that it is our responsibility, as God leads, to inform God's people of our needs. We also believe that it is God's responsibility to prompt believers to give. And finally, we believe it is the responsibility of God's people to respond in obedience to His prompting, and to develop a lifestyle of Christlike, scriptural giving. If God prompts you to support our family, you may do so by clicking Life Action Ministries. Thank you!!