Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Great Week

It's weeks like this when I am reminded of God's amazing love for me. There are so many times when, in my humanness, I think, "How could God ever give me another chance." It is those times that give Him the perfect opportunity to reveal Himself in a full and very inhuman way.

Since the move, I have become dry, spiritually. Maybe it was just because we were so busy getting everything done that it took to get here, or once we were here, the time it took to settle in, but whatever the reason...I had not been in fellowship with God the way I should have been. My time in the Word was almost "none" and my prayer life was quick and desperate, never taking the "quality" time it takes to be in communication with Someone I love and want a deeper relationship with. About three weeks after we got here, I had lunch with a precious woman in our ministry who has a heart for the new women moving here. Let's face it, moving is hard....much harder than I ever dreamed. The difficulty never had anything to do with how sure I was of our calling....I never doubted this is where God wanted us. I just got so absorbed in my homesickness and grief that all I could focus on wall all I had lost, instead of all that would lie ahead...God's best for me and my family. It was during lunch with my new friend that she looked me straight in the eyes and asked if I was in the Word. After nearly choking on my bacon bits at such a forward question (that I REALLY did NOT want to answer), I said, "No." She very lovingly challenged me to get back in the Word, and gave me a plan. Just like the Good Samaritan...she didn't just recognize I needed help. She helped me.

The plan she put me on was great. It involved reading a lot of Psalms and Proverbs, praying and journaling more, and to finish reading the book When the Boxes Are Unpacked. It definitely put me back in the right direction. After Christmas, I began praying that God would draw me even closer, wake up my cold heart, and set me back on fire for Him.

As of this week, He is beginning to answer that prayer. He used some great things this week to work on my heart. I have started a Monday night Bible study at the Life Action Ministry Center and this week was particularly wonderful. Thursday I began a great study on the book of Daniel. Friday I was able to attend a recording session in which Nancy Leigh DeMoss recorded eight broadcasts on the book The Incomparable Christ by Oswald Sanders. She presented a fresh perspective on the life of Jesus, the Crucifixion, and all He sacrificed for us. And today was the cherry on top. The pastor of the church we attended preached a message on repentance. Isn't God good? He worked on my heart all week, digging up all the rocks, thorns, and roots entangling the garden of my heart, and then gave me the perfect opportunity to make it all right. Love that about Him. :-)

Don't misunderstand me. There is nothing magical about going to church or Bible study. All of that is nothing unless you open your heart and allow God to do a work in you. I pray that that's where my heart is right now... open to a fresh work from God.

At the Monday night Bible study I mentioned before, God proved to me again that He can take something I have already heard and make it new again. Last year, when I was really struggling with the weight of Clara's diagnosis, a friend at church gave me a CD of Jennifer Rothschild when she spoke at the church of my friend's Mom.  At Bible study on Monday, we watched almost the same exact message by her from the True Woman Conference last year. I cried all the way through it the first 25 times I listened to her on the CD from my friend, and really wondered if God would be able to use it again. He did. For those of you who are not familiar with Jennifer Rothschild, she went blind from an eye disease when she was 15 and now travels the country giving her testimony. Among the MANY things she said that pierced my heart, she talked about grace. After her diagnosis, she explained that God have her participant grace; the grace that is given to the one afflicted. She then explained that she thought what happened to her was much harder for her mother than it was for her, and how her blindness was a wound that hurt her Mom anytime it was touched. Her mother, or any mother watching her child suffer, is given a measure of spectator grace, a measure that's just a little more than participant grace. I thought that was a great explanation. She encouraged us to give our fears to God and learn to be content in our present circumstances. One of my favorite things she said was,

"It doesn't have to be well with your circumstances for it to be well with your soul. We don't wait for our circumstances to change so we can experience a level of contentment in our faith. We ask God to change us in the midst of our circumstances."

Isn't that great!

And finally, the biggest thing I took away... Towards the end of her message she talked about changing your "what ifs?" to your "what is".  We had a time to pray and ask God to reveal to us what we fear that we have not yet left in His hands. I felt like He pulled so much out of me I was going to bust. I couldn't say anything out loud.

My fears?

What if:

...Clara gets worse and is confined to a wheel chair, bedridden....or worse?

...Clara loses her mental/intellectual capabilities?

....Clara is made fun of by her peers. We adore her and think she is as cute as a bug, and our family and friends in Georgia do, as well, but what if people here judge her on her physical limitations and never get to know the real "Clara" ? one here ever really gets to know me and what my gifts and talents are?

...I never get a really close friend here?

...we don't fit in?

...I pour all this time, love, prayers, and energy into my girls and they stray away from their faith when they are older? girls never go beyond head knowledge of Jesus and learn to love Him with all their hearts? one ever loves my family the way our Beech Haven friends did?

And then I replaced my what ifs with my what is:

God who called me is faithful.

As a result, I will trust Him more than I trust my feelings.


As my sister would say, "Nuff said".

That's the truth, friends. Satan's lies can always be refuted with truth.

I am praying for another great week to grow in the Lord!

Here is the link to Jennifer Rothschild's Message if you want to watch it. I think you'll be glad you did. :-)

How is Clara?

Clara is doing okay. She has been especially tired and sore this week, which is a little troubling. Temperature extremes are an issue for her, as it takes an extra amount of energy for her body to compensate for the difference, but we have never experienced this extreme. The summer in Georgia was an issue because it was so hot, but the winters were very mild. When we first moved here she was great...better than ever, actually. Now, it has been so cold for so long, I think it is catching up with her. She does seem to know, whether consciously or unconsciously, that the extreme is harder for her, because if the other kids are going outside, she does not want to go, which is not the case with milder temperatures. She has only been on her new medication for muscle pain for about a week and a half, so it is too soon to tell if that is working. Her doctor said we wouldn't know if it was going to work or not for about a month, so we are going to give it about another two weeks and try to gradually reduce her doses of ibuprofen. I will have to overcome some major fear to do that. The last time we took her off of the ibuprofen, she couldn't even walk by the third day. Thankfully, we can put her right back on it if need be. I just hate to see her suffer. We did find out that one of her other (VERY) expensive medications, while still not covered by insurance, we can pay for it with our HSA account, so that was great news! A family member has been very generously and graciously taking care of that expense up to this point, so it will be nice to take that burden off of her. We are so thankful that she has been willing to supply that the last year and a half...I don't know what we would have done without her!

We did get an appointment for the geneticist that specializes in bone disease...on June 16th. Yes, I sad "June". We are on the cancellation list, so hopefully we can get it sooner. Especially since June 16th is her birthday. I wasn't about to push it further away because of that...we can celebrate another day! She'll never know (I hope). :-)

We went snow tubing with a local church yesterday, which was super-fun! That was another first for the Bryant family, and one we will not soon forget. I forgot my snow pants, so I was on picture duty. I did go down twice, but once you get wet, there is no warming up, so I quit while I was still dry. :-) Here are a few of the shots I got. My friend, Laurie, calls me the paparazzi. :-)

***Correction: We DID go tubing at Snow Mountain when we were in Georgia. Thanks, Deddy, for reminding me. :-) It just seemed a little different with no other snow around. :-) chocolate and marshmallows!

Jeff said she looks like an old country farmer....a very cold country farmer. :-)

Alyssa absolutely adores her baby sisters!

I do think it's funny that in EVERY picture of us this winter, we all look the same. We all have only one set of snow gear! I am glad there is a date stamp on digital pictures, otherwise, I would never know one outdoor even from another. :-)

Something really funny happened after church today, but I have already "talked" too for too long, so I will save it for the next posting. I hope you are all doing well!

Have a blessed week!

1 comment:

  1. Jeannie,
    Once again, you might as well have typed that message TO me!! I needed the message you shared!! Such a blessing about the drug and the coverage, and it looks like tubing was a BLAST!!!!! Much love to you and your beautiful family!! My mom is here, and Oscar kept the kiddos (2 of which are still sick) and Mom and I went up the mountain and took a cross country ski lesson!! It was such a blast to be alone with my mom and talk and learn something new together!!
    God is good, and I have to keep that thought FIRST!!!
    Oh, are you going to the UMDF Symposium in Chicago this summer by any chance??? I am going and another Mito mom, Leigh, whom I know from Louisiana, is coming, so maybe if you go we can all split a room???? Just wondering!
    Much love,