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Friday, May 16, 2008

Why I Must...............

I've been thinking for sometime about my blog addiction......it's two blogs specifically that have me going to the computer in the early hours of the morning and last thing before bed at night. Two blogs that are worlds apart, yet identical.....two sides of the same coin, two stories that reflect the same God, yet have different endings. Two families that have come to two different forks in the road, yet come to the exact same conclusion of who God is. One family I know well, one I'll probably never meet this side of heaven. Two families, that if I was really honest with my flesh, I'd never want to be. Two families, that as I watch them go through what they do, I admire, and in my deepest, deepest heart you want what they have....a glimpse of God. Him. The ability to put one foot in front of the other, despite the barren place their feet are taking them.....the place He's calling them...the place where He is.

I've hesitated to even write about this, so profoundly it's affected me. And also, I'm a little embarrassed, as though I was ticketed for rubber-necking at the scene of an car accident. You see, I'm a visual learner. I hardly learn anything through my ears. I love the picture, the color, the line, the value. I need to see. When I first became a Christian, I was so frustrated learning about the Israelites in the desert, still falling away from a God that they could literally see. For goodness sake, a pillar and a cloud.....if I could have that.....right in my back yard, I am pretty sure I'd be GOOD! Darn straight. No golden cows for me. Now, I'm fairly sure I'm a little delusional regarding my ability to stay sinless, given what the bible says about my natural state, but I'd at least be BETTER if I could stake my life on what I SEE. Know what I mean? I'd like to think I'd be less distracted by the things that really don't matter. Wishful thinking, probably. But still....

Take Ella, for instance. She is the lovely daughter of our good friends from California, and now Colorado, Josh and Tina. You can read her story at www.ellawest.com but I will give you the short version here. Josh and Tina really hoped for a child, but it was looking like that just not happening for them, and would likely be an impossibility. They dealt with this with grace and humor, and hung with us as we popped out one baby after another. I'm sure the tears were there, but at every opportunity, they proclaimed the fame of God in their situation. Last winter we received a card that said that they were expecting, and we rejoiced in a big way! I emailed Tina in July....wanting to send a gift for the sweet babe expected in August. She emailed me that she had just given birth to a baby girl with a potentially fatal birth defect called CDH. Thus began my www.ellawest.com addiction. This is a kid who was given odds of about 20%. A kid who spent weeks on a machine that made every medical professional I spoke to pale, and say "That's a really sick baby" (translation: don't get your hopes up). A baby with no lungs to speak of, with all her organs knit together in an unusual place. These are parents who refused to abort their baby, who, by the grace of God, were able to move thousands of miles to a strange place.......where weeks turned into months........9 months exactly. (That's ironic, isn't it? ) A place where angels disguised as doctors saved their baby, brought them dinner, loved them......a place where HE was. The place where they found HIM, in a way they hadn't before. And you know, they shared Him....spread His fame....talking daily about what they saw Him do. And they posted pictures.....visual manna for my hungry eyes......Yes, God. You still do miracles. My pillar of cloud that I wake up and view at www.ellawest.com challenges me to REALLY follow him. Praise God for his indescribable gift in sweet Ella.......Only the Lord himself knows how many people came to their knees because of her. And it is this, that gives our precious friends the ability to set one foot in front of the other.............knowing that He saved their baby.....that he will be with them through the surgeries to come, the delays, the questions, the quest for the right doctors.....whatever comes. God gave them what they asked. They had to do hard things, but they did them. And now, miracle of all miracles....they are taking their baby home to Colorado in just a few short days. And we get to see them and kiss her little face. Selah.

And then there is Noah.....the fuzzy haired blond boy belonging to a sweet Christian couple that I know only through this computer screen, and one phone call a few years ago. They run a home business selling homeschool history kits, and I called to ask some questions once. I spoke to Kate, and we discovered that we both had sons who were recovering from severe autism. Fast forward a few years and a random prayer request later, and I came upon http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/ourquiverfull/ and became acquainted with Baby Noah. Kate's little baby was diagnosed with a most likely fatal mitochondrial defect that leaves him unable to metabolize his food or control his body temperature. The food that they have to feed him will eventually kill him. They have no good answers, ever. It has been bad news, on top of bad news. Literally. For example, while Noah was so terribly sick, their small daughter was attacked in their suburban back yard by a rabid squirrel, and had to endure the rabies treatment. Truth is stranger than fiction. But man, is God showing himself ever present in the lives of this family. The faith and trust that they display is jaw-dropping, and not in a "Oh, God has a reason behind everything" placating type of way. It's a rubber-hitting-the-road-flames-a-mile-high kind of faith. That's where the pillar of fire comes in. That's why I read their blog everyday and why I pray throughout the day for Kate, Jeff, Noah, and all the member of the Estes family.

I hate that it takes the trials of these families and the weakest among them to make me honestly face the God I claim to love, but so often forget, amid the trivial distractions of my life. I wish I was capable of more on my own. But in my weakness, I find Him. I am the hitchhiker.....bumming a ride from these families on the road to His neighborhood of many mansions. . Embarrassed at my need. Grateful for the movement from the place I was to the place I could not get. The heart is a beggar.

Lord, please bless these families today. Thank you for them. Thank you for their faith. Thank you for the way that you never waste a hurt. Thank you that You have demonstrated oh so many times that you are ever present in the time of trouble. Thank you for holding them up. And thank you for letting me watch. Because I need to see.


Anonymous said...

It is so true that hard circumstances draw us to God. We just can't see the big picture when we are a mere paint stoke in the painting. One thing I am moist sure of, is that when we get to Heaven, our praise will stem not only from seeing Him face to face, but from seeing His masterpiece at last, and how God's ways were most beautiful and perfect! What we may see as a dark unproductive stroke, may very well be a defining line that a painting needs to bring out more character and color.
Sorry for the imagery, I get carried away sometimes.
P.S. I can't believe you copied the Golden Coral picture. You are so funny!
P.P.S I hope you all feel better soon.

Anonymous said...

P.P.P.S. I'm a subscriber now!!!
O.K. enough P.S.'

Molly said...

This is an excellent, challenging post. Thank you for writing it.

Your words reminded me of a Caedmon's Call song, Shifting Sands...

"And like a consumer I've been thinking if I could just get a bit more...more than my 15 minutes of faith, then I'd be secure.

My faith is like shifting sands, changed by every wave. My faith is like shifting sand, so I stand on grace.

I've begged you for some proof for my Thomas eyes to see.
A slithering staff, a leprous hand, and lions resting lazily.
A glimpse of your backside glory and this soaked altar going ablaze. But you know, I've seen so much, I explained it away...

My faith is like shifting sands, changed by every wave.
My faith is like shifting sands, so I stand on grace."

Molly in GA, who is grateful for grace