Monday, November 15, 2010

Pointing to Christ

When I visited my friend Tiffany a little over a week ago I got have some extra conversation time with her due to my unexpected over night stay. It was a great time, as visits with Tiffany always are.
She told me about an area where God has been dealing with her over the last couple of years. It really stuck in my mind.
She talked about how we should constantly be pointing to Christ in all our life. Whether it is a brief conversation with someone you meet at a conference, or a close friendship, our motives should not be to bring focus to ourselves to but Christ.
I fail to do that so often. I let selfishness reign in my heart. I put my wants in front of what is best for others, and worse yet, in front of honoring God.
I am reading a book called "The Pursuit of Holiness" right now. It has really been convicting me about my personal responsibility to fight sin, and in so doing, pursue holiness.
Oh, how thankful I am that God patiently guides us!
So, I ask my friends to forgive me where I have failed. As I grow in grace I will strive to point to Christ all the more.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Chickens and Tires

Saturday afternoon I drove from Cincinnati to my friend Tiffany's house which is about an hour and twenty minute drive. The plan was for me to go spend the afternoon and evening there while Beckisue and Andy went to a wedding.
Tiffany's family was having a chicken butchering that day. There were quite a few people there. We had such a good time. Most of the people there I had never met before. There was a guy there from North Carolina, and two guys and a young married couple from West Virginia. That is a long way to travel to butcher chickens! I really enjoyed getting to meet them all. The whole group just had a sweet time.
I was planning to leave about 7 so I wasn't traveling by myself too late. But just about the time I should have been leaving Tiffany and two other people got out their instruments. Tiffany plays the guitar incredibly well. There was an other guitar and a banjo. Both were played very well. The music was so much fun. I always take my violin when I go on a trip. I don't always play it when I take it places but I have it just in case I want it. Well, guess what? I didn't take it this trip. I wanted to join the music SO badly. I had to stick to singing, which totally isn't my forte!
When they finished practicing in the basement one of the men led a devotional. The instrumentalist then played along with the whole group while we sang many songs. One song we sang was How Deep the Father's Love for Us. How can a person keep from bowing low in worship while singing that song?
When the music was over, and I had said all my good-byes, I dragged myself away. I hadn't gotten far down the road, maybe a mile or so, when I realized something wasn't right. I got out of the car and checked on the tires because it kind of felt like one was flat. I had never had a flat tire before so I didn't really know what it was like. :) All the tires looked fine. I continued on my journey. As I drove along the car started vibrating a little. As the miles went by it was getting worse. I started getting worried that something would happen half way between Georgetown and Cincinnati. I called Beckisue as I was getting on the interstate. She said maybe I should go back. It is a little late to turn around once your are on the interstate. You cannot exactly make a u-turn. But, amazingly enough, as soon as I got on the interstate the noise/vibration completely stopped! I told Beckisue that and she said if it started again before I got too far away from Tiffany's to turn around (which I was already planning on). I drove along fine for about three miles. Suddenly it started again and was *horrible*! Thankfully there was an exit right there. I got off and got back on going the other direction. I knew I couldn't get back up to speed. What ever was wrong was seriously wrong!
I went about a mile and I think I had decided to pull of the road. I am not sure because things like that kind of happen quickly. My back right tire blew. Yikes! Thankfully I was only going about 40 mph I think.
I called Tiffany first thing so they could come get me. I was about 20 minutes or so from their house. I then called Beckisue to tell her what happened. I guess I should just say at this point I was assuming that the tire had blown. I hadn't even gotten out of the car to look. I just wanted to sit tight with the doors locked. After making two phone calls I did open the door and look out. Whoa! Flat tire doesn't begin to describe it.

I sat there telling myself not to worry. You know, God keeps His promises. He tells us that He will keep us in perfect peace if our mind is stayed on Him. I am a big chicken and sitting by the side of the interstate at 10:00 at night by myself is no fun. I needed His peace! I kept praying and God answered.
My uncle sends us a good night text every night. When I got it while sitting there I replied and told him what was going on. A minute later I got a call from him asking if I was okay. I told him I was fine and that my friends were coming to get me. He said he would just chat with me to keep my occupied. I was thankful for that.
I think it took about 45 minutes for Tiffany, her dad, and Isaac (the guy from NC) to arrive. They thought I was having engine trouble and were trying to find tools. :) They didn't realize it was just a tire.
Isaac quickly changed the tire then offered to drive the car back so I didn't have to with the doughnut. I didn't mind driving but I was glad to let him.
I had to leave before the bonfire started and I was disappointed to miss that. Well, with the change of plans I got to go back! A few of us sat around the bonfire until about 1 AM. We talked and laughed and toasted marshmallows.
Tiffany and I went to bed and whispered for an other couple of hours. We whispered until my voice was going hoarse. It was such a blessing to get the extra time with her. We had some much needed conversation.
I got out the paperwork on the tires the next day. They were exactly a year old. I don't know what happened to it because it certainly wasn't warn out! I was able to take it to Sears and drive back to Cincinnati that evening.
I guess I had better end this post. If anyone has read the whole thing they are probably going cross eyed by now.
All that to tell a simple little story. There were SO many things to be thankful for! I am thankful that it happened so soon after I left. If I would have been half way between Tiffany's and Cincinnati.... Yikes!
So, I had a wonderful, wonderful weekend even if it didn't go as planned.

Monday, November 8, 2010

I planned to post about my adventures Saturday night, but right now my heart is too heavy with infinitely more important things.
Our close friend, Greg Wallace, is going in for surgery in the morning. Very, very serious surgery. Please pray with us for Greg, his family, and his girlfriend, Melody.

Dear family and friends,

Today at the Cancer Treatment Center here in Zion I had final consultations and tests done, as well as insertion of a filter to prevent possible clots from traveling to my heart and lungs. Tonight I have some final preparations yet to ready myself for tomorrow.

We will be checking into the hospital about 7am, surgery will begin at 9am, and is expected to last 8-10 hours. After that I will be in ICU, and I will remain sedated for a total of about 24 hours. I basically won't know that Tuesday happened. In the interim, though, my parents who are here with me, my siblings at home, and so many more who are praying for me, will be the ones who are worried. Bring your burdens to the Lord, because He hears and will give you peace.

Evening and morning, and at noon, I will pray and cry aloud; and He shall hear my voice. - Psalm 55:17

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:6-7

The surgeon Dr. Brown will have big decisions to make when he is in there. On Wednesday we had a great consultation with him, and he was very good at both listening and explaining, so that I could make the best choice and give him clear direction with my preferences. He is reputed to be very thorough in his approach and that is a very good thing. Pray that he is able to discern what to remove and what to leave. This is really my number one concern about this surgery.

I will be incommunicado for the next several days, so expect updates to the Facebook group via my sister Jill as she has time. I brought my laptop with me, and once I'm up to it, will email you all again to let you know how I'm doing.

Thank you all once again for your persistent prayers. I have really been touched by the number of people encouraging me & my family and praying regularly, including friends of friends and people I do not even know. Tomorrow is a big day in my search for health, and I know that hundreds, possibly into the thousands, are interceding on my behalf. Blessings to you all.

In God's hands,