Tuesday, March 26, 2013

"For His hour had not yet come"

...and no one laid hands on Him, for His hour had not yet come. —John 8:20b

The last two nights have been rough. Fear rises up in Lydia before bed because she is so afraid that sleep will bring her closer to another seizure. All of her seizures have occurred in the morning, and the last two have woken her out of sleep (she had another over the weekend).

I don't blame her for feeling that fear. It rises up in me, too, especially when I awake in the early morning hours. Will it happen again? It's like living next to a ticking time bomb I didn't set. It might go off any minute, or it might not. But it's there ticking, reminding me of the scary sights and sounds that come from a small little girl not in control of her body.

But the other night during our family devotions, God reminded me of a simple truth. We have been taking the kids through the book of John, and AB has noted that three times now the same words have been repeated...

"and no one laid hands on Him, for His hour had not yet come." 

Jesus has been saying some not so popular things around the teachers of the Law, and they clearly don't like this. Actually, they'd like to seize Him and kill Him. But they haven't, not because they couldn't find Him or reach Him, but because God wouldn't let them!. God's power is supreme, isn't it?

And it wasn't even that they would never be able to lay their hands on Him. No, just "His hour had not YET come". God prevented their action. He was in control. They had intent but no power to touch Him—until His hour came. 

They laid their hands on Him and nailed Him to the Cross. Had God lost control for a moment? Of course not. He was accomplishing that greatest of all purposes—reconciling God and man. All of history up until that moment had awaited that hour, and all of history since has looked back upon it. 

And so, as AB pointed out this phrase for the third time, the Holy Spirit illuminated it to me. Lydia's brain seems to be susceptible to abnormal electrical activity. Any time she could have another seizure. It seems more and more likely that it will happen, and sooner than the last one. 

But it will not happen until the proper time has come. And when and if that time is, it will be for God's purposes, which we know are always good. We saw that with Luke, so how can I not trust the same now? 

It brings me rest—I don't have to wonder if I've done enough to stop another seizure. I can walk confidently in the truth that God gives wisdom to those who ask, liberally without finding any fault (James 1). As we ask Him to show us what might be the root causes of her recent seizures and how to make wise decisions for her care, we can trust Him to help us to help her. And if another seizure occurs as we are in the process of finding these things out, He'll be there to walk through it with us and give us whatever we need. 

And as for the future, it's okay, whatever may happen, because our Lord loves us and cares for us. He has good plans for us, both here on earth and there with Himself for all eternity. As I posted last time, our lives really are just one continuum of being seated in the heavenlies with Christ—it begins when we are saved in this life and (as we usually think of it) continues at death for all eternity. When my life is over, and He takes me home, I CAN'T leave His side. But this side of heaven, I must diligently keep myself from running off on my own and firmly root myself in that seat next to Him. Only from there can I watch His purposeful "hours" come and go, confidently resting in Him.

Please pray for Lydia, that we'd have some good answers and strategies for becoming seizure-free. May the Great Physician lay His hands on her and heal her, and remove all her fears.

Seated next to Him,

Natalie :)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A gift from the Lord

Ps 34:1 I will bless The Lord at all times...

Yes, and even in these times of a new trial. Today was Lydia's appointment with the neurologist. She has had three seizures since January. Yesterday was her EEG, but, because her EEG was normal, we still aren't sure if she has epilepsy or if it is something completely benign. The doctor wants to collect more information before making a diagnosis, so more tests are in her future.

Is this a "here we go again" or a "no big deal"? We don't know. But we do know it is a "thing" and the Scriptures say "He works all things together for good to those who love God and to those who are the called according to His purpose." Because He said it, and we trust His word is true, we believe it. The  overwhelming feelings of "No, not again" or "please let this be nothing because I don't know if I can take more", still rise within me, but I make myself remember this promise is a fact. And when I believe it and abandon the "what if" thoughts, peace comes again. It's like I am walking as my three year old son, who takes my hand, going where he knows not but trusting without question it will be good because he knows I love him and would never harm him. If my son can trust me, a sinner and sometimes inconstant, how can I not trust a perfectly loving and never-changing God?

This is fruit from Luke's short life. God took what seemed unimaginably horrible and used it to teach us things we could learn no other way. Before I would have said that losing a child is one of the worst things that could ever happen, and my greatest fear was having a special needs child. But now I know the mechanics of how God turns these great tragedies into good. Romans 8:28 is not just a verse that sounds promising, but a real process with tangible benefits for our lives.

Here's more fruit. The other night as Lydia sat next to me on the couch, she turned and said, "I know why God is giving me these seizures." I asked, "Why?" She said, "Because He wants me to be closer to Him." Then she said,"I can't wait to be with Jesus." 

Now her understanding of God may not be perfect, but Lydia has become eternally-minded. She thinks not just of this world, but of the one to come. She had never thought so tangibly about what happens after death before we watched Luke transition from this life to the next. But now she sees being with Jesus as part of a continuum of her life in this world. It is like how she sees getting married one day — though it is so far away she knows it will happen and she looks forward to it. Without Luke, she would likely have been afraid of death. But now an eternal mindset sits in her heart as a gift from the Lord. She is seated in the heavenlies with Christ already as a seven year old! 

Oh that I would have such a perspective (at all times, not just the spiritually good days)! I am an eternal being — we all are — and this life is but a small and short part of that eternity. May we do as Jesus commands and set our hearts on things above and not on things of the earth. I'm convinced this command is not to torture us into giving up "the good life". No! He says this because He knows all our fears will fall away, and in their place will be the confidence of life lived in perfect fellowship with our loving Creator who originally meant there to be no sickness, pain or death when He first made this world. 

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. -Revelation 21:4

Let us live today as if it is done, because, if we are seated in the heavenlies with Christ, it is. (Ephesians 2:4-7)

Much, much love,


Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Good Problem

Staring at me from the counter sits a basket full of cards and letters from dear friends and family who have written to share their love and our sorrow. Many of them I have read, but some of them not, since we left so soon after Luke's funeral service for CO. Since we've been back, school and ordering the house have taken the majority of our time, and by the time the evening routine finishes up, I'm just about finished up myself. 

So there they sit, some of them waiting to be opened, some to be read and others to be responded to. It is a good problem to have. It means we have many, many dear family and friends who have walked this road with us and who love us. Thank you, thank you, for loving us and acquainting yourselves with our grief. 

Necessities have crowded out grief for a time: three children asking for me to read to them; two boys wanting me to see their latest Thomas or block creations; laundry laying on the guest room bed beckoning as I pass through the hall towards my room. Where is the time for all that needs doing?

For a long time Luke's  "Patient's Belongings" bags from the hospital sat untouched among other clutter amassed after rearranging the kids' rooms last fall. I finally brought myself to go through them, and, of course, the tears flowed. Luke's thermometer, his patient ID tag, his red Wubbanub dog that held his pacifier. How I missed him! Fresh tears fell after many days of dryness. It was good but difficult—one more step in the grieving process; one less to-do demanding action.

And so the cards sit. I am planning to read them, but it is easier not to. It is easier to live each day with its distractions than to feel anew the pain of loss.  But I know it is time to get through them: to cry, to remember, and to feel loved and encouraged through it all. It's all such a strange mixture of emotion it can feel confusing. But I trust God will sort it out in my spirit by His Spirit. 

Though thank you's are in the works and taking more time than I'd like to make it to the mailbox, please know that if you sent a card or gift, we are so grateful for your love, kindness and thoughtfulness. God has provided for our expenses through you, sometimes before we even knew we had need. Lydia has had more seizures and so we begin our journey to discover their causes and treatment, but the ER bill was easier to stomach because of your generosity. We covet yet more prayers on her behalf.