Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father, There is no shadow of turning with Thee; Thou changes not, Thy compassions they fail not; As Thou hast been Thou forever will be.
Chorus: Great is thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see; All I have needed Thy hand has provided –Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord onto me!
Summer and winter and springtime and harvest, Sun, moons and stars in their courses above Join with all nature in manifold witness To thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.
Pardon for sin and a peace that endures, Thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide; Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!
This morning as I was getting started for the day, the Lord put this hymn on my mind… specifically the last part of the third stanza “…strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!” Every morning our little family gathers together to do family devotions. We usually pick out some hymns and then read scripture together. The hymn Noah picked out today was this same one the Lord had me already humming to in my head! Praise God who works to knit our hearts together in unity as we seek to worship Him!
There are countless blessings the Lord bestows on all of us to confirm his great faithfulness and love! We’ve been enjoying the summer season in Oregon spending time with friends who have become very dear! Our church has truly become like a family in the short year we have spent together. The Lord has been teaching me to enjoy each day and that joy itself becomes the strength needed.
The ministry that he has for me at this present moment is mainly for my children, our home, and my Merlin church family. I’ve seen some in our church weep while talking of us moving and I am left bewildered. All that needs to be said is that I’m convinced this is the path the Lord would have me to go. It will also be good to be close to our family! I will continue to keep up with this blog on a regular basis so I hope it will also help us to stay close even while far away physically—being close in spirit. I’m excited about compiling a book or two out of Josh’s writings! My prayer is that many will be encouraged and God glorified by the amazing things the Lord has done in the life of Josh, through even his suffering and seemingly untimely death; and to have his legacy continue on. This will be the work that I will be dedicated to doing from home on top serving my children through homeschooling. I hope you can all share in my excitement and partner with us in prayer. My prayer for Merlin Church will be for the Lord to continue to do wonderful things in the upcoming years through their gracious love paired with a firm commitment to God’s Word!
As I sit and ponder what our life will look like for us in the future, I am filled with many hopes and dreams matched with some anxious thoughts of potential hurdles. There are very real fears that at times linger in my mind. Yet, I really try not to let these fears surface and steal my joy. The other night I did stay up late afraid after seeing a scorpion in my prayer bedroom floor! I think the Lord gifts me with these critters in my home to give me a healthy fear… yet he wants me not to fear even scorpions but only God himself! I recently read an excellent devotional based on Psalms 91:14-16 about different ways the Lord delivers us and how sometimes our deliverance may be to take us out of this world. Not only did I identify this is what happened to Josh; but it was such a convicting teaching for me personally. When I find myself in fear, I often tell myself—“What’s the worst thing that could happen to me–I die?” When in all reality, for the Christian dying is the best thing that could happen to us! That should be our greatest anticipation!! Paul says for me to live is Christ and to die is gain! Without unhealthy fear in the way, we can truly live our lives to the fullest measure that God has ordained for each of us, no matter how long or how short if we live a selfless life as Christ did–ready and willing to even give up our very life out of love for our Savior and others.
It’s good to have goals and be diligent to make plans. Yet, when we think of the plans WE make for the future, we are reminded that they are never guaranteed unless the Lord established them and gives us our next breath. However, the Lord has graciously filled me with much hope for what tomorrow may bring–plans for good and not for evil, to give us a future and a hope. His promises assure me that he takes notice of me and he keeps all my tears in a bottle. I simply must surrender my life with open arms and embrace his will, regardless of what the Lord would call me to.
One of the deacon’s and his wife from Clackamas Bible Church drove out from Portland and ended up spending two nights with us, which was an immense blessing to us! As soon as they got here, they just assumed the role of grandparents and the boys loved it. It was good for them and me to talk about what happened in Portland with Josh’s treatment and recount the ways God faithfully provided for all our needs during such a difficult time. One of the things that I was exhorted to do was to make sure to deal with grief now so that God may be better able to use me in the next ministry he has for me. There is much wisdom in this, so I have once more asked God to show me if there is undealt grief that needs to come forth.
What the Lord has comforted me with is that Josh is in heaven now and thus, I don’t need to continue to grieve for him. There is nothing I can do to bring him back. I feel much like David when he wept and fasted before his son died and then got up and ate once he learned his baby was dead. David worshipped and when asked why, he said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept for the child while he was alive; for I said, ‘Who knows whether the LORD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” Josh and I together prayed and prayed along with hundreds of others who joined us in praying that God may grant him more time on this earth. He and I mourned together before he even went to the hospital. When Josh was in the ICU, I just kept begging God with many tears to prolong his life. As I prayed, I had to end my prayer with “not my will, but thine will be done.” I knew that a partial healing in this life might not be God’s will for Josh. I didn’t doubt His wisdom. The Lord already had been training me in so many ways leading up to this point to trust in him. Plus, his grace really does just supernaturally empower us in our time of need. However, I can see how much our faith is tested during some of the most difficult times in our life.
There are still times when I cry but it’s usually when I’m praying or singing songs of praise. This past week this has happened a couple times when I was not expecting it. One night as I was reading my Bible, I decided to use a different Bible. I grabbed my pretty bright pink MacArthur study Bible with pink tabs. It was one that Josh had given me almost two years ago for my 31st birthday. I stumbled upon the page where he signed it and read: to my beloved wife, from her eternally grateful husband. Tears just started flowing, partly out of joy thinking of Josh, not as my husband anymore because the Bible says there is no marriage in heaven, but as he is now—to picture him in glory as he remembers our earthly marriage with gratitude to God for eternity.
God is in the business of resurrecting, reconciling, redeeming, restoring, recovering, returning, and regenerating! I firmly believe that He is using all of the different facets of this trial to accomplish a mighty work in our own lives and many around us! I’m eager to continue to watch His plans unfold and only pray that I may be patient and truly filled with his wisdom, love, and Spirit to faithfully walk in what he has prepared beforehand.
“It is quite striking that virtually all of the basic words describing salvation in the Bible imply a return to an originally good state or situation… The point of redemption is to free the prisoner from the bondage, to give back the freedom he or she once enjoyed.” Albert Wolters