Thursday, April 29, 2010

Grace in VICTORY

I don't think I've ever considered just cutting and pasting here, but this is so inspiring and you'll even find Grace Stacked On Grace, from the mouth of the pastor included. Enjoy God's rich response to our calling on Him.

This is an email from a husband and father who, along with his family and church, has been seeking God's faithfulness for his wife. And look what God has done:

Dear Family, Friends and Devoted Prayer Warriors,

VICTORY! . . . Mission Accomplished.  I am honored to report that by the grace of God, Teresa received her liver transplant today. Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow. Three was indeed the charm!

Earlier this month, Teresa and I decided to take an inventory of the many perfectly orchestrated blessings that the Lord had been raining down on us during her journey. One by one, we recalled praise report after praise report. My friend Jeff  & I like to call them "God-Incidences". We stopped when Teresa got tired and our list was over 20 blessings.  Then came almost 3 weeks as we waited for another opportunity. After a wonderful visit with our daughters, Nicole and Sarah, "the empty nest" at the hotel left Teresa very homesick and anxious.  After several sleepless nights we took a long walk around the campus and soaked in God's creation.  The chirping birds, the quacking ducks, the blue waters in the ponds, the budding trees, the cool ocean breezes.  All around us, Nature shouted out, "Be Still and Know that I am God".  We sat down to a nice dinner and felt a peace that is beyond all understanding.  We realized that it was time to let go of any expectations and trust that God would provide the transplant in His timing and in His way . . .  not ours. A huge weight came off our shoulders and it felt great to just be back in the moment again . . . not looking back . . .  not looking forward . . . happy and content in the now.

After dinner, Teresa called our friend Mandy to wish her a Happy Birthday. We walked back to our room and kicked back to enjoy a few television shows (American Idol and the Lakers game - our respective favorites) Sitting on the couch, we felt like teenagers in our parents basement.  Later, Teresa called her cousin Clint on our cell phone. Just before midnight the hotel phone rang with "The Call" . . . The Mayo Clinic Organ Procurement Team was on the line for the 3rd and final time.  A young lady who was brain dead on life support would be the kind soul who would give Teresa the opportunity for life. Our prayers and thoughts go out to her and her family. We believe her act of love was the greatest of gifts and will be forever grateful. 

Here's the play by play for those keeping score at home:

11:30 PM on Tuesday "The Call
12:45 AM we checked into the Hospital.
12:45 Prepped for Surgery
7 AM, The donor organ arrived
8:30 AM Teresa WALKED to Surgery (Our prayer had been that she could walk into the hospital on the day of her surgery.
10 AM Surgery began. Within the first hour the liver was in her body and responding favorably. Minimal blood products needed to be given
1 PM Taken to Recovery
1:30 PM Her brilliant surgeon, Dr. Dana Perry came and gave me the wonderful news
4:30 PM Teresa is resting beside me in her Hospital Room, the proud owner of a brand new liver!

Receiving a transplant is just like God's grace. It is freely given even though we've done nothing to deserve it. Or as Pastor Harold likes to call it "Grace stacked on Grace."  And now we begin Teresa's Road to Recovery.  After 10 days in the hospital, we look to be here in Florida for anywhere from 3 - 6 more weeks (depending on many factors) as Teresa heals, gets stronger and adjusts to the anti-rejection drugs, etc. We'll call this leg of the race our VICTORY LAP! Then it's California Here We Come!  Thank you ALL for sharing in our joy and Teresa's Journey! It is only by your prayers that this has been made possible and we look forward to the opportunity to thank you all personally very soon and very often. :)   We've come so far together and to say we are thrilled would be a gross understatement. Suffice to say, we are floating on air.  As Pastor Larry has encouraged us for many months, "THE BEST IS YET TO COME!"

All our love,

Karl, Teresa, Phil, Nicole, Sarah & Savannah

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Obedience. Brilliance.

I read this post today at the abstracted pea, about obedience and thoroughly love all it holds. Oh do go read.
The brilliance is in this small and huge truth, quoting the writer, "We don't have to have all of the answers and we don't have to immediately be whatever it is that God has called us to be. We just have to follow what he tells us and we'll get there."

Really, scoot, go read this lovely post.

Obedience is blessing. And it changes our nature. All a part of that transformed life we're seeking.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Really, who is in control?

One of the great tools used against THIS believer, is concern. Ok, worry. I was faced with a rather frustrating situation this morning and as I was driving, my thoughts were on how I would conquer this rather arrogant and invisible dragon. The thoughts of all that could happen became the overwhelming chorus to which my response is to consider my every step, carefully, plotting my way.
I know this is a defeating method and that I, the daughter of the Ruler of the Universe, can rest, because my DAD has my back. Still, I try to consider beguiling phrases as I pick up my weapons, and try to handle my situation.
Then, I turned on the radio, and a beloved pastor reminded me that "worry, is not a tool for the Christian." It flies in the face of who God is. You see it is an unreasonable response to potential danger when one lives under the cover of the God who promises to light our path and even prepare a table for us in the presence of our enemies.
Oh yeah, now I remember.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Simplicity out of duplicity

I'm reading a wonderful book. Small and mighty by Mindy Caliguire, simply called, Simplicity. It jumps right into the clearing out of closets, looking for what stays and what goes. And in the process, speaks to the duplicity found therein. Yikes. Duplicity.
The author talks about the lack of truth found in the things we keep thinking (keeping thinking) that we'll use them. That they really are about us.
I'm starting to see the store-housed treasures as duplicitous purchases. The things I buy, bought, want, which have nothing to do with who I am, but who I'd like you to believe I am. There. I said it. Duplicity.
My darling friend was wearing a fun orange bag the other night as we strolled a promenade. We shared great, loving conversations about life and kids and all the ands we could come up with. I noted the bag, which is/was/could be the perfect size and shape, texture and color for me. Another friend referred to this orange delight as an "investment bag." With my focus away from new bags for the last few years, (this does suggest my focus elsewhere, graciously) I wasn't even aware of the maker of the statement. When I checked into where I could find this perfect bag, I found that even if I found it, (or it's rich red counterpart, ahhh) I wouldn't find it fitting into my experience anytime soon. (I pitched the idea of buying a $xxx.xx bag to my youngest and her first and funniest comment was, "or we could buy groceries and gas for a long time, Mom.") God has shifted my values. Narrowed my path. And for all the straining I do to go left or right, for now, He has me going fairly straight.
But, today, while I'm on that path, I notice a little tendency to pick up the (less expensive) rocks along the way. Not the ones the Father has put in front of me. Rather, those off to the side, under the bush, in the thicket along the path. I'm not always happy with the weight of carrying these trifles. They might be left there, close enough for me to pick up, test and try and learn about what I don't need.
Hmmm. Duplicity. Found in the distractions I choose when I could just stay focused on what the Creator has created for me. Duplicity. I like this.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The struggle to accept all Jesus has for me.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. - Hebrews 12:12. 

I must say this might be the other* key to life. Fix my eyes on Jesus. I find my eyes fixed on every other thing around me. And in it I'm disturbed. Herein lies the discrepancy: I get to choose. In my immaturity, my arrogance, my pride, I can choose poorly.

When I truly allow God's leadership, the movement of His Spirit within me, I focus on Jesus. I can hear the words of John the Baptist, "Prepare the way of the LORD," he very well may have been speaking directly to me.

Prepare, consider the way of the LORD. Consider His way. See Him. Focus on Him.

And when I do I get to consider peace, a path that doesn't require trappings. The more. How do you experience The more in Him?

*Philippians 4:6-7

Monday, April 5, 2010

"Third, I think we need to remember that as awe-struck as Christ's first followers felt after his resurrection, they still didn't know what it fully meant… for humanity or for their personal lives. While the resurrection brought their beloved Rabbi back to them, he was different now. The resurrection simultaneously healed some wounds while opening a new can of questions, insecurities, fears, and even pain - at least temporarily."

It never really occurred to me that the disciples didn't really know what the resurrection meant. How many times have I wished that my faith was founded on being there with Jesus as He walked? (Actually, I'm grateful as can be to know and love Him from right where I am. But I used to wish, wish, wish.)

I read these words at Crosswalk and it got me to thinking. Those disciples must have been fractured. Broken. Shocked and, I'm sure, without the benefit of the full counsel of God's word, (the whole truth of the books that comfort my soul, Romans, Hebrews, James) they were beyond confusion. Jesus was dead, gone, then there among them and then gone. What was to be next but to wait. Where do they go? What do they do? When will He be back?

Even though I wrestle with when, I have the formation of the church to lean into. History and Christians who have walked this road before me. I am grateful, to have a moment to think of the days of the disciples. 

And even more grateful to have the historic view of the resurrection.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

He is Risen and Love Wins, again!

 5-6The angel spoke to the women: "There is nothing to fear here. I know you're looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. He is not here. He was raised, just as he said. Come and look at the place where he was placed.
 7"Now, get on your way quickly and tell his disciples, 'He is risen from the dead. He is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there.' That's the message."  - Matthew 17:5-7, The Message

This is the reason for my hope. Jesus Christ who walked on earth, died for a specific purpose at the Passover. It was foretold that he would become the sacrificial lamb for purpose of atonement for all who follow the Way. A way away from the law and directly into the path of unrealistic, gracious love. An inexplicable love for more than a few. 
This is the reason for my hope. There were witnesses to His death and to His resurrection, the walking amongst them for proof of this transformation. 
I'm in. All the way in. Whether I witness the great or small miracle(s). I believe. And my joy is in my hope. I profess Jesus Christ and I know that the only choice that is certain is what He has spoke:  Love. Love Won. Love Wins. Always.