Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 in Review

It's been quite a year. So many highs and quite a few lows. It's been a year of transitions for me and I feel like the transitions continue.

January--we began deepening preparations for my daughter's trip to Thailand. God provided a jump start to her support at a fundraising night at the local pizza place my daughter works at. We were overwhelmed by the response!

February--life continues pretty normally. We were, however, praying diligently for my dear friend who had brain surgery (I talked about him in this blog). We almost lost him to blood clots, but the miracles were numerous and he's recovering well now. We praise God for all of those details He worked out.

My son also had big news, he asked for his girlfriend's hand in marriage and was given permission. (The proposal was yet to come-he was just getting prepared!)

One of my first losses of 2009, a sweet lady who lived nearby where I grew up and was always my go to when I needed to "run away from home". She couldn't have children of her own and she was always prepared with cookies and hugs!

March--The time was drawing closer for my daughter to head for Thailand, plus we were in preparations for A & E's upcoming wedding. An old friend's husband was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung and bone cancer. Another dear friend and her husband were finally placed in the mission field and began preparing for that. There was excitement and sadness in that announcement.

April--One month left until my daughter left for Thailand, 3 weeks left before M & S left for Colorado, and 3 weeks left until A & E's wedding. A busy month was ahead of us! We had another fundraising night at the pizza place and that was wonderful. God had provided all that S needed and then some! Her passport and visa came through. The airplane tickets came in.

We had a going away party for M & S. It was a wonderful time of reconnecting and fellowship. On April 25th, we had the wedding. It was beautiful! M & S left for Colorado right after the ceremony. Later that day, my dear friend miscarried her long-waited for baby.
The Girls
A & ES & I-her going away party.

The next day we commissioned S for her trip to Thailand the following Sunday. That was an emotional time at church, but so thankful for all those that prayed over her and with us during her time away.

May--we put S on the plane at 5:30 in the morning. We were thrilled, scared, and humbled, all at the same time! God blessed her 36 hour trip (by herself!) and everything went very smoothly! That week I almost lost another friend! Praise God, it was not her time and she's doing well.Sending her up the escalator at the airport.

May brought more diagnoses of scary cancers and needs for transplants. The health issues this year have been almost overwhelming.

On May 23rd, my son proposed to his beautiful girlfriend and she said, "YES". Such a bright spot in our year!!
He's got good taste!

I was also asked to join the Iowa Speedway Ministry. That was such a blessing to me! Not only do I love ministering to people, but I love the races and this afforded me a lot of freedom and opportunity to meet drivers, etc.. It was like the Lord gave me a sort of working vacation!

June--In June, one of the little ones that S had fallen in love with in Thailand was basically abducted. It's a long story, but it was truly a test of her faith and ours. We were all compelled to pray! S & Arm

Hubby's grandmother turned 95! She's slowing down a bit, but still going strong!!

As part of the Speedway ministry, I helped with the Indy race in mid-June. It began on Friday with a deluge!The garages

Danika Patrick-yes, I was this close.The AWESOME pace car!

To be continued......

Saturday, December 26, 2009

1 Corinthians 1:17-31 (NIV)
17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel--not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
19 For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate."
20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.
22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom,
23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,
24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.
26 Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.
27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
28 He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things--and the things that are not--to nullify the things that are,
29 so that no one may boast before him.
30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God--that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.
31 Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Life is hard, but God is good. The past two weeks have been an emotional rollercoaster of sadness, grief, fear, and hope. The question "WHY?" has been foremost in my mind.

It began with a dear old friend of mine suddenly going into kidney and liver failure. She was transported to a larger hospital in Des Moines and within a day, sent back home to go into Hospice. My mom and I went to see her and the family the next evening. How sad to see this beautiful woman as her body gave out on her. This was a shock to everyone. They knew there were problems, but no one anticipated how bad it was.

The next day, as I continued to pray for her, my phone rang and my sister was calling to tell me my dad had had a heart attack. He was doing okay, but had to have a stint replaced and another put in. The weather here was bad, the holidays were coming, my other friend was dying and I couldn't get to my dad out in Denver. It hurt.

On Sunday, we suddenly had hope about N. Her kidneys had begun to function again, they were looking at quickly changing her level of care. We had hope. Surely a miracle was going to happen!

Sadly, it was not to be. On Monday it was discovered that she had excessive bleeding on her brain. She went to be with Jesus at 7:00 that night. A beautiful 52-year-old wife, mother of 2, 4th-grade teacher of many, gone. She was ready to go Home, she even thanked her husband for letting her be selfish and leave this earth, a beautiful example of a wife. I am so thankful to have known her.

Within two days my dear friend, V, the lady I spoke of a couple of months ago in this blog, took a turn for the worse. She went home to be with Jesus this past Friday night. I can't begin to explain the emotional tail-spin that put me in. I adore her! She will always hold a special place in my heart. Now, I pray for the situation regarding her husband and all of her many children. She is at peace, Praise God, but there is much left to do here in regards to some complicated situations.

It has been very difficult for me to get into a holiday mood. I celebrate these beautiful women who have crossed my life path, I celebrate the glorious arrival of our Lord and Savior into the world by humble means, but I'm struggling with the commercial aspect of the holidays. I'm struggling with the condition of our country, especially the spiritual condition. I'm struggling with the idea of relativism and post-modernism. I'm struggling with the idea that people no longer desire the truth and have, instead, opted for personal truth.

It's this time of year that we are reminded how the world came to know this Jesus. Emmanuel, God with us. He came to us in a human form, in a human way to a young teenage girl and her betrothed husband. He came naked, wet, and crying, just like the rest of us. He came because we were in bondage and didn't even know it. He came because He loved us so much He was willing to die for us to rescue us from our bodies of death. He came to show us a better way. He came to be our Savior. May His name be praised!