Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Couldn't we stand to kneel a little longer (4HIM)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Olivia and I are lying in the hospital bed together doing her favorite thing "talking". Since the moment is tender and she is listening I take this opportunity to find out what is in her mind and heart.

In the last five weeks she has been so sick, so tired, so worn out that even the event of rolling over in bed seemed to take her very last bit of energy. It has been so hard to watch this incredibly vivacious, fully of energy, stubborn girl of mine wither to the point of just a lump of emptiness. It is so hard to describe because it was so unimaginable that even I have been taken aback at how sick she has been.

But, the last two days that feisty attitude and that determination has come back. Oh, she is tired. The tired though is a good tired. She is talking, chatty even, moving her body more, socializing and being her vibrant self most of the day. By the end of the day she is worn out but to me it is a wonderful thing to see.

During this sweet time of talking we start talking about what she has been through. How hard it has been and what the future might hold. Because, darn it , we have that awful, ugly stent that is draining her liver's bile, getting rid of the infection and we have to talk about it because it is the "elephant " in the room. She was told it would only be very temporary. She was told two weeks for the stent and we are realizing that it may be months now. She was told a new liver would make her life better, she would feel better, have more energy and be able to have a life outside the hospital. Unfortunately, everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong and she barely feels like she did when she was really, really sick waiting on this liver. Big points of credibility weigh in the balance as we move through each day. For a fourteen year old, the ability to see beyond a day, week or month is so very hard. There is just not enough life experience to be able to view a time ahead.

Dean and I as her parents, have the privilege and heartache of helping her walk through all of this. The ups and downs. The disappointments and the heartaches. The fears and helping her see the victories. This moment in life seems to hold little hope in her eyes and more trust each day seems to ebb away at her heart. We discuss one procedure with her and then the Doctors decide to do another which throws another cog in the wheel of trusting and of trying to move forward. We are barely balancing all the plates in the air so we can stabilize her mind, emotions and spirit at the same time so she has something to "fight" with to get better. The Doctors are not helping. The experience of walking through this to me is close to fighting a war. But this is a spiritual war. This war is not about Olivia's body as much as it is about her heart and her spirit. This realization brings a new prayer to our lips for her. We are putting a fortress around her heart so that the enemy cannot take this opportunity to discredit God.

I never realized this as much as when we were laying there talking. When I was explaining to her about the stents, how they might stay but would not be years. I asked her specifically "Olivia do you trust me?" she answers "Of course" . The next question that just stopped me in my tracks "But, do you believe me?" her answer " A Little". Wow!

I get it. I totally understand where she is at. I have been there with God more times than I can count. Do I trust Him? Without a doubt. Do I believe Him, well, as I have gotten older and marched through so many wars, today I can answer an emphatic yes. But that answer took years in the making. But this is reality, is it not. We walk through this life and we have expectations. We read our bible, we go to church, we are a blessed people by God, so our expectations are high. But what do we do when our hopes, our dreams, our expectations that are honorable and just are not met?

I am realizing more and more we stand! We stand until it hurts. I can't tell you why one man suffers more than another. I can't tell you why God has taken my life and made it full of a walk of suffering. Then, my child is walking down the same path of suffering, which adds more suffering to my heart. I have been through more than I can write here on a page. I have fought hard and lost more times than I have won….I have sat and cried until there was nothing left. My heart has been broken and torn. But, God took a hold of my heart years ago and I will stand until I can stand no more, and even then, when it seems all hope is gone, I will stand.

Isa 40:31 but they that wait for Jehovah shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.

My commentary says this for this verse "Such a God is able to deliver and restore his distressed people if they will wait in faith for him to act. They are to trust in him and draw strength from him."

We have been walking through so much uncertainty. We want to get excited about each step forward but then we see four or five steps back. Is that not true of so many of our circumstances. We are walking through this huge event in our life and we know God is able but we cannot see even the "trace of His Hand" at times through the darkness. Some of my stand favorite verses through those times are job 13:15 "Though He slay me, yet I will hope in Him", "Jeremiah 29:11-14…summarized says "I know the plans I have for you, a future and a hope….come and pray to me, and I will listen…You will seek me and find me…."

There is a 4HIM song "Couldn't we stand ?" Mark Harris penned a timeless classic in these lyrics:


Couldn't we stand to kneel a little longer

The time is never spent in vain

In the light of all we stand to gain

Finding the faith that only makes us stronger

Touching what we cannot see

Reaching to heaven from our knees

Couldn't we stand

Pasted from

I am praying that fortress over Olivia. Because today, she does trust Dean and I but she is having a hard time believing. Not just us, but God as well. I wish I could pour out the years of wisdom I have learned from God, friends, Pastors, teachers and my own walk so she could see past the moment and know that God is doing a great thing even though it seems so dark. What if we end of with stents, or another transplant or another problem? Those are the days that trust has to override our belief…and belief will come because my God has always proven that His ways are much higher than my ways. His expectations for my life are much higher than mine. Yes, I have suffered. Yes, I have lost battles. But I have never lost the war….remember, we win in the end. The books says so :)

In His Grip


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Obedience is better than Sacrifice

In the bible God says "obedience is better than sacrifice". I read that all the time. I thought I had a grasp on it until we started walking down this road again with the second transplant. God really has given me such a clearer picture of that statement and I want to run out of the room and say "no more!".

You see, there is never a more clearer picture when you see God demonstrating a scripture, a heart motive, a principle you have never seen before, an innocence, a sin, really anything until you see it in your own child. Within our own home, we learn more about God than we do every Sunday in Church. I believe God designed the family unit specifically for us to understand the kingdom of God and His love for us. I truly believe that the kingdom of God is more about relationship than we realize. Throughout the bible God talks about it. In fact, that is all He talks about. His desire for us to know Him. Ultimately stated, He desires relationship with us. And so with any relationship it has the ebb and flow of life. Those moments that are wonderful and those moments of frustration. But at the end of the day, when the lights are down and the moment is quiet…you check the kids and see their innocence, you lay down next to your husband and you realize and feel the peace and love of God. That these people around you have taught you that no matter what happens, how you have acted at the end of the day they still love you for you…and no other reason. So therefore, warts and all God loves us that same way.

It is our relationship to Him that He longs for. That was the one and only reason for Him to send Jesus to help us, His only son, so we might understand how much He loves us. I think as a parent we see more through His eyes than ever as we watch our child grow and make a place in this world. We are able to envision that care and love that He demonstrates to us more than we have ever known by watching our child grow. We see the helplessness when they are born, the struggle for independence as they get older, and their walk into adulthood with the growing pains of their youth. No matter how old, how wise, how accomplished they are…they are still the babies we held and loved and our heart still yearns to protect every part of them. On occasion, we get a small glimpse into the sacrifice that God and Jesus made just for us. That selfless act of His son.

So my walk with the Lord has always been about love and obedience. I cherished the love He has poured out into my life and appreciated all the steps we have walked for good and maybe not so good. But never have I seen demonstrated so clearly the act of obedience based on love more than I have in Olivia these past few weeks. No one will ever know everything she has felt and gone through except her and God. The Doctors want to push her hard to protect her and my job as Mom is to honor that and to protect. But protection can sometimes mean a lot of unbearable pain.

Olivia goes to Physical Therapy each day. I really had not been going down with her because it had become a place where she and Dean did this together. But on Thursday she begged me to go down with her the next day. She said that Dad and the therapist really pushed her beyond what she could do. She held it together while she was at therapy but the minute she saw me she immediately started crying. Dean felt so bad. He felt he had not been paying attention but that really was not the case. Olivia has always, since a little baby, held her pain until she saw me. She broke her collar bone once in two and no one believed it was broken but me. Because she was not crying in pain. But yes, it was broken and the technician profusely apologized.

So on Friday, off we went to physical therapy. Honestly, I knew she was working the treadmill. She was doing about 18 minutes a day and I knew she did a few leg stretches but I had no idea how it all went together. Off we go to the gym to work out. I was in for a bit of a shock. They really make her work hard but the problem is not them, it is Olivia. They tell her what she needs to accomplish and except for a few, "I can't go anymore" that sound like she can but doesn't want to push…she does exactly what they tell her. She stretches every part of her body, walks on that treadmill, and works out for 30 minutes. I sat (it is not the parent gym, LOL) and watched her. I saw those eyes plead with me to stop but those feet that continued on…I saw the pain in the stretches but the determination to do it in her manner and I saw something else. I saw a trust that was beyond words. I saw her eyes pleading, begging and in much pain but I also saw this respect. This heart wrenching trust that if I said she needed to do it, even though it was taking everything out of her, then it must be the best thing for her to do. I saw obedience out of trust. I was almost in awe of the moment. That look on her face I will never forget. Pure trust that was etched in pain, struggle and a trust that is beyond words.

I am not sure I have ever obeyed anyone out of pure trust like that when there was pain involved. When I could not see past the moment to the ultimate goal. To feel there is no hope and yet trust in someone else's hope that there will be better days. Because in Olivia's world life is hard to see past this 8x8 room. She is struggling to believe that there will be a day when she is better. At first there was much hope and joy. Things went very well. Then we rebounded and there was still a glimmer of hope but now on the third crash she is weaker and holding on. She is holding on to my faith. My belief that God will bring us through this. That He has a bigger plan because she feels He is just not listening to her. But yet, through all of that, that need to be obedient to Him, that need to trust in her parents is so much stronger, and a heart that needs to have hope still seeks it even though there is doubt. Her obedience is what is giving her hope and she does not even realize it. For the first time I can see why obedience is better than sacrifice. Obedience happens in the midst of the storm, in battle of war, the downward spiral of a crisis and instead of desperation to fix it all by sacrificing ...obedience through it all brings a consistent hope, though we are discouraged we are not beaten down because obedience knows the scripture and has a relationship with the Father that far exceeds the circumstances that we are standing in.

I am working daily to trust that God has it under control but that pure obedience without a question is hard. I know the scripture, I know I love my Father but, that pure obedience without a rebuttal, an argument, a well" I have thought it out and I agree with you" is still a bit of a struggle. But there is my child, with all her strength, all of her spunk, all of her ability to argue but not once did she argue. She just pressed until she finished the task because she trusted that one day she would be better for it. That her obedience is the grounds for hope in her hopeless situation.

Again, I am in awe. I can look over my life with the Lord and see the references to it through different moments in my life. I hear those words about obedience and at times I have been obedient but after a few arguments and a final "I get where you are trying to lead me!" but obedience for obedience sake. I am not so sure. My life has not been easy and life situations have made me mistrust many of my relationships because of pains from the past. But that purity I see in Olivia I long for.

The purity of trust, the purity of obedience because I know He loves me so much that He would not allow harm to come to me. That I just need to work through the hard stuff and I will see the better days…WOW. Yes on some level we all obey but truly I can say I need to become a small child again and learn that lesson over. Because now I have a new vision of what that verse truly means and applying that to my life will forever change me and my relationship with the Father.

In His grip eternally