Tuesday, April 18, 2017

San Diego and Living in a world of unknown

2017 has been a whirlwind of a year. I remember celebrating the New Year in January, we were so hopeful for the newness that was ahead, for the fresh start. 2016 was the year that Hudson was diagnosed with a wicked rare heart condition and we were looking forward to falling into a new normal of maintenance. We no longer had to give him medication after 4 hours (waking him up in the middle of the night). It seemed as though we had finally adjusted to this new diagnosis and were thankful to take some deep breaths to lick our wounds. After a diagnosis that rocks your world, you may often only start to see how your family, kids, marriage has been affected till after the doctors visits have calmed down, therapies been put into place, insurance been taken care of.

That feeling of newness, freshness, anticipation of good…somehow I think we should celebrate more often. Not just one day of the year. As Christians, I think we get a taste of that again at Easter. We remember that the old has passed away, the worst enemy has been defeated, the sad is coming untrue.  At least, I know my heart needs a more frequent reminder that I can put the past behind us and move on for the good things that are ahead. It can be easy for me to live in the past hurts, the past pain, the Good Friday of life. So very glad that Friday wasn’t where things ended for Jesus!

In January, we headed into another health battle that is yet to be clarified. Hudson’s genetic condition is unique. Not rare…as in, no one else in the world has it. The symptoms he is exhibiting with his genetic mutation is starting to be a combination of symptoms that doctors have not seen. This new symptom is manifesting in his GI tract. We have no idea what is going on! Doctors don’t know yet. We don’t know how serious it could be. We don’t know how simple or complicated of a fix it could require. We don’t even know if there is a fix. Lots of ‘I don’t knows.’ Heading into an unknown is tough. No, not just tough. It’s excruciating. With cancer, you have a course of treatment. With Down Syndrome, you have a general understanding of what has been affected, although not to what extent. With Hudson, we have been told, that his genetic condition could manifest itself in his kidneys, lungs, brain and heart. This GI manifestation is new from what they expected.

So, how do you live in uncertainty? I’m still trying to figure that out. What I do know is that the more I focus on what I don’t know, the more my heart wavers, staggers, gives out. The more I focus on what I know, the more stability. Have to stay in the things that I know.

What I do know is that God is good. He is for us and not against us. He will make all things new one day. Jesus did not just come to redeem me. He came to redeem the whole world. One day all sickness will be wiped out. One day, tears will never come from sadness again. Many have gone before me who never got to taste the fruition of God’s promises but they did come true, even after those individuals died. I should not be surprised by struggle. God hears the cries of the afflicted. I am not in control.

These are just some of the things that I am sure of. The Bible calls this faith, the assurance of things hoped. Some people don’t understand that faith involves assurance. It’s not a blind faith. It is a hope in the never failing promises of God! And God proved his faithfulness on the cross and throughout the whole of the Bible. Story after story of how God ALWAYS keeps his word.

The hard part is the timing of it all. I think the hard part may always be the timing of it all. We just want resolution sooner rather than later. We at least want it in our lifetime. But to be honest, we may not see it in our lifetime. Admitting that frailty is tough! 

From here, we are still living in the unknown. This is a period of literal testing where we hope to learn more of why Hudson is experiencing great distress in his GI tract. So much distress that he had to have morphine during his last hospitalization.

Praise be to God though! We just received word from Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego that Hudson’s case was accepted and we received insurance approval! This is truly a miracle since our doctor told us that getting an insurance approval could be very difficult. This was a Red Sea moment! Just one of many to add to our list of God’s faithfulness. We wait for consultations and more approvals. We wait to hear when we will be heading to San Diego, most likely at some point in the summer. We wait to see God provide for the host of needs that will arrive as a requirement of going out there. 

Pray for faith to be strong. Pray for us to see God’s hand as we are walking through heavy grief right now. Pray for us to have wisdom in guiding Hudson through these host of new experiences. Pray for us to trust, even though He slay me. Pray for hearts to be comforted along our journey. Pray for insurance to be generous. Pray for wisdom to know our limits and protect and love the girls through this. Pray for good memories to be built through the pain.

Thanks for reading friends! We need all the support and love that people are willing to give. God has us on a marathon and we feel as though we are often “hitting the wall” and yet He says, “Push on. You are not done with this race.”
post signature

Monday, March 20, 2017

Girls You Are Heroes - A letter to my girls

Oh my sweet girls. As I sit here in downtown Gilbert, taking in the sounds around me, enjoying the sweetness of time to just think, I can’t help but think of you right now. For so long I have wanted to write you a letter to tell you more about our life. To explain to you more about why mommy cries so much. Maybe someday, you will read this and understand better what I am not sure you may not understand right now, at age 8, 4 and 14 months.

You girls, are my heroes! Our life as a family, it has not been easy and you are the first ones to see and experience that. However, because this is all you have known, I wonder how much you see the struggle. I wonder if your free spirits and flexibility are a result of not having to mourn some of the luxuries that you have not been able to experience. Some of the things and experiences that I wish I could give you but can’t at this time because of how difficult Hudson’s health makes our day to day. Experiences like going to a restaurant as a family, taking a family vacation and all sleeping in the same room. Taking a bike ride as a family. Walking through a store without people looking at you. Getting time with mommy and daddy that is undivided. And many many more that I know you want also but mommy often says no. I say no many times because I’m scared that I will be putting one of you in danger. I’m scared that if we go to the park, I will not be able to keep Ivory from eating woodchips while Hudson is running into the street. I’m scared of going into the Chik-fil-a to play because in order for me to place our order, I would have to put Ivory on the ground or let go of Hudson’s hand, and then he could run. Or, I’m scared of the tantrums that he would throw and it would just be too overwhelming for your brother to be in those places. His tantrum would then result in broken hearts because we could only stay for 5 minutes instead of 30. So, I often just say no. I want to be braver for you girls.

Then I wonder, are you becoming bitter with me saying no all the time or is that God’s way of building gratefulness in you. When we say no to the game system because we have to pay a medical bill, I pray that God is teaching you to appreciate what we have. Believe me, I want to say yes. I want to say yes to all the sleepovers, all the bike rides, all the play dates. We just can’t because our family is experiencing different challenges then other families.

I just wonder what this upbringing is working in your hearts and I beg, I pray, I plead that it is not a heart of bitterness. In fact, I see small glimpses of the bravery that it is teaching you. It is teaching you to be courageous lovers. A few days ago was one of those days where autism is dangerous, where autism is draining, where it is most difficult to see the good that comes from autism. Hannah and Izzie, a few days you showed me what it means to give of your life for someone else. We were riding in the car on the freeway, headed to an appointment for your brother.  I had put him in the seat next to your 14 month old sister and normally that wouldn’t be a big deal. On that day though, it turned into a nightmare. He started hitting, just smacking her little face over and over again. I’m not sure if he was trying to get her attention, my attention, was frustrated with the level of noise in the car, was scared about reflections he was seeing or if he was just being mean. I just know that he started hitting her helpless little face and we were on the freeway. The only thing I could do was maneuver as fast as I could to get off the freeway so that I could rearrange his seating to prevent this. As I maneuvered and tried to block his hands, Hannah, you unbuckled and put your body in front of your sister. Izzie, you did too.  I never asked you to do this. You both just stayed in that position, letting your brother attack you while I got off of the freeway. You are 8 and 4 years old. By the time I got off the freeway and he stopped hitting and scratching, Hannah you had been pretty scratched up. You grabbed your arms and didn’t cry. Of course, I was crying. Through my tears I asked, “Are you ok?” And your response blew me away! “Mom, I would much rather get hurt than him hurt my sister. He didn’t mean it. It’s ok.”  Babies, whether you see it or not… you showed Jesus, embodied Jesus in that moment! He is teaching you to love, even when it hurts. That is amazing!! That is courageous!!! That is God in the flesh of my 8 year old and 4 year old girls.

I pray that I get better at walking through those moments with you to show you how God is using you, alive in you. That’s what you were created for baby! No, not being beat up. I never, ever what you to get hurt. I never ever want you to walk away from this life thinking that it is ok for another person to hit you. I tell you that all the time! But that day, you shared the gospel to me, and now to the world. And girls, the gospel is worth it! You did on that day, what Jesus has done for this whole world. You laid down your life for your fellow man, whatever the cost, even when it cost you your own comfort, your own safety.  Even when the person you were saving did not deserve it.

Hereos girls! You girls are heroes!

Again, I must ask that you be brave as we head into a new type of journey. We got word this week that some of Hudson’s medical issues, his tummy problems will require us to get more testing. This testing has to be done in a different state. There are a lot of pieces that have to fall into place to make this happen. Insurance, coordinating specialists, finding childcare, finding another car, making sure someone is there to make meals for you, take you to gymnastics, take you and pick you up from school. And I am sure a lot of other things as we go further down this road. We will maneuver it together though. God will be faithful to our family. He always has and He always will. We just may have to do an extra hard job of looking for it when we are apart.  Please know my sweet girls that mommy loves you so much! Please know that I don’t want to be away from you, for our family to be separated. It feels a lot like it did when Hudson was first born and in the NICU for 6 weeks, having to choose who to spend time with. I hate it. But I am so proud of you!
post signature

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Pendulum is in Motion

Here we are again. Writing an update of the medical happenings in the Stone home. You know, someday we hope that we won’t have to write these updates. Someday maybe this blog will be filled with posts of redone furniture or fun new recipes, maybe lessons we are teaching the kids. Not today my friends. Not today.

Today we invite you into our new journey with Hudson. For the past month, we have been in survival mode, just trying to make it to bedtime. Why? You ask. What is going on? A month ago, something very strange started happening with Hudson and it lasted for eight days! Hudson stopped eating and stopped using the bathroom. At first, we didn’t really know what to think of this. My first reaction as an ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) momma was, this might be a sensory issue or a behavior. But, I quickly dismissed that thought and chose to believe my sane momma instinct. Something was wrong, very wrong. We would try to give him anything to eat, all his favorites and he wouldn’t touch a thing. For this kid to not want to eat a Larabar, Chipotle, or ice cream, we knew. He started losing weight and for being a tall lanky kid, it made him look even more malnourished. Then, I really started to worry about the fact that he wasn’t using the bathroom. Could his body be shutting down?! Does he have an obstruction? Is he going to become septic? Why is this happening? Am I losing my child? So, mama bear came out and I demanded that his GI specialist order some tests. Something was wrong and they needed to figure it out. Well, we got some answers with a simple x-ray. He had an ileus. A what? Temporary paralysis of a portion of the GI tract. So, give him a laxative you say. No, it’s paralyzed. Try feeding him all fruits and veggies you say. No, it’s not going to help. Try giving him an enema you say. No, he is paralyzed! The switch is turned off and everything is just sitting there no matter how much I change or pump into him.

So, we waited. We waited because this thing is supposed to resolve itself. It took a couple of days after we got the x-ray results, but things started to move again. Why did they resolve? We believe it was the healing power of God because it started to function again right after our elders prayed over him. God healed our son?! Wait, we get to experience this healing again? Yep, it happened several years ago with my thyroid. And yes, I just got a check up and the nodules are still gone. Why us? Was it because we had great faith? No. Trust me friends that we waver in faith. No. It was because we have a great God who every once in a while reminds us all that He is about the business of making sad things come untrue, of healing the broken, of binding up the sick, of restoring this world.  He is delighting to show the world that it will not always be this way. We are so unworthy to be the recipients of His healing but we are so grateful that He chose to touch Hudson’s digestive tract that day! We know that not everyone gets a taste of that in this life. We know that many people will have to wait for that restoration a lot longer, and maybe even after they have passed away. There are pieces of us that are still waiting with you. We still wait for the day that we will get to have a full conversation with our son. Or play a game of soccer. Or make a meal without having to worry about food sensitivities. Or maybe that redemption will be more me seeing the joy of opening up all the cabinets. Or the joy of looking through every page in a book without reading it. Or the miracle of every grain of sand. I have a feeling that it is going to be even better than I hope for! We groan, we wait, we long for that day to come soon. Man, I am glad that Jesus rose for the dead! Him defeating the worst enemy, death, ensures that for us. He killed the worst thing that could ever happen to us, complete separation from all good, all love, all life…in other words, Him.

Brokenness then restoration. Paralysis then function. Times of sickness and times of health. Tears then rejoicing. Fear then trust. These are some of the cycles that we live in.  It’s a constant pendulum. Balance doesn’t happen this side of heaven my friends. We will never find that perfect stillness until we see Jesus face to face. So, we live in this pendulum of life, constantly moving from one sickness to another, one emotion to another, one truth to another, one joy to another.

Back to Hudson…I get side tracked in my own mind…We now enter a phase of testing to see why this has happened. We suspect it has been happening for a while. This episode was just the longest and the most dangerous. Lots of tests. The first of which is tomorrow. He will have a upper endoscopy to check for ulcers tomorrow. If that comes back negative, we move onto motility studies. This my friends, is more scary because it will take us out of the state for a short period of time. Motility refers to the function of the intestinal tract. Is it all working as it should? We shall see.

Pray for our little man to retain his happy, sweet disposition through this all. Change is not easy for him. New environments are not easy for him. New touches are not easy for him. Fortunately, new people is not a problem! He loves him some people!! Pray for wisdom from the doctors to order the right tests. Pray for money to fund trips, energy to cook meals, wisdom to pour into our other kids, carelessness about the things that don’t matter as much. Wisdom to know what those things are. Pray most of God’s glory, His weight on our lives, to be displayed everyone He takes us on this journey with our little dude. Pray that people will see the hope that we have. Pray that we would be wise to know when to be weak and when to be strong.

post signature

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Our heart for Hudson's heart

The month of January, 2016…aka the month of challenge, or maybe we should call it the month of change.

So much has happened to our family this month that we are living in survival mode. You know, I really wish that I was more consistent at blogging. I wish that every time I updated this wasn’t because we were in some sort of crisis. But, I’m not going to cry too much over that failure. Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things.

Back to the reason for this post.

On December 31st at 10:40pm, we had the privilege of having Ivory Rose Stone join our family. What a joy it has been to have a little teenie, tiny baby around again. It is so much fun seeing new sides come out of each of us. Hannah is even more of a mom than I could have imagined. I am so proud of her instinct and compassion. She is going to be a fantastic mom one day! I was a little nervous about Izzie. She is my little snuggle bug, so the whole jealous factor was a big concern. She has definitely had her moments but what 3 year old wouldn’t? She loves her new role as a big sister and wants to be just like her big sister. “No Izzie! You cannot bring baby Ivory to mommy.” She’s a little too confident in her big sister abilities right now. Hudson has transitioned amazingly! So much smoother than when Izzie was born. It’s fun to see how much he has grown in his ability to adjust. He is doing great at being a gentle big brother! He still has so much going on in that mind of his that we need to remind him to slow down and watch out for her, but other than that, he is good!

Life with a newborn. Fun family changes and lots of sleepless nights. Wow, it’s amazing what you forget about having a newborn! It's really hard! I’m just glad that I have the perspective now to know that much of the hardship will pass very soon. It’s a lot easier to enjoy the hard days this time around because of that mom experience.

God decided that having a newborn wasn’t challenging enough for us right now. He decided that we needed to trust Him more with Hudson’s little life.

In the middle of January, we had a routine specialist appointment set. At this appointment, we were made aware of an abnormality in an EKG that Hudson had had several months prior and were never notified of. We knew that Hudson was born with an abnormality in his heart but after 4 years of cardiology visits, we were under the assumption that this was not a major deal.

Well, the wisdom of men is not always right. Our new cardiologist looked at this EKG, had another EKG done, had an EKG done on me, Dan, and our girls and we came to find out that this was in fact a very big deal. A very big and rare deal…rare as in only 100 or so documented cases in the world. Hudson has a heart condition that if left untreated could cause sudden cardiac arrest. What?! I can’t believe he has been spared this far! He is a beautiful little boy with a disorder called autism. It has been said that individuals with autism will experience some of the most severe pain because they do not have the adequate ability to communicate their pain and thus, experience much pain untreated. His little body has gone through so much stress already! What does that tell me about him? That tells me that he is a warrior!!!! He is a superhero!!! The fact that he has not died and endured so much without his heart giving out shows me that he is the strongest individual I know! I am so proud of you my boy!! Grown men would have died but you have endured. You are strong, smart, brave, kind, handsome and tall.

This new diagnosis leaves us pursuing new kinds of treatment. He has been receiving therapies since he was 2 months old and now he is beginning a new journey of receiving different kinds of treatment. This includes medication for the rest of his life and possibly, more than likely open heart surgery for a defibrillator. We’ll take one step at a time. Because of Hudson’s diagnoses, he is literally one of a kind. There is no other child in the world who has been medically treated like Hudson. He is blazing a trail. He is exploring new frontier. He is going where no man had gone before. And, he has the support and care of the Creator of it all.

That’s how we are finding comforting in this devastating news. If God is for Hudson, who can be against him? God is working all things together for Hudson’s good. God will not withhold any good from him. God will supply all things for Hudson according to Christ’s riches. This knowledge, this good news can make us brave! It certainly doesn’t keep us from bleeding, but it can make us fight this battle till the end. We will not give up. We will not despair! We are infinitely loved and we know this without question because God gave His most prized possession for us, for Hudson…His son. God knows what it’s like to see a son suffer. He knows what it’s like to wish things were different. He did this all for you, for me, for Hudson. Believing that changes everything! It makes me able to walk through my fears instead of escape them. It makes me able to be concerned for the state of others, while I also suffer. It makes me rejoice in struggle instead of grow bitter. I’m sure that as we journey in this longer, we will see more and more of how this changes everything. Jesus changes everything!

So this weekend, we go into testing. We are being admitted to a hospital to see whether or not medication can help him. We might see him flatline this weekend, but in that flatlining, we will understand how much is too much of his medication. We’ll be one step closer to finding the interventions that will help to save his life in the long run. We are so grateful that we found this now!!! Many people find this out after they die. He has a super good prognosis since we found it!

Please pray for us this weekend, everyday, in years to come. We have a long road ahead of us.
post signature

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

With great struggle comes great victory

With great struggle comes great victory. If you sow sparingly you will also reap sparingly.  For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison. “If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle.” 

I hate the struggle of autism. Now don’t get me wrong and let me be VERY clear. I do not hate my son! I would die for him. Hudson is not autism. He is a happy, empathetic, loving, passionate kid. He is not autism. That is not his identity. He has autism. There is a big difference in the way that we say it. I never say that my son is autistic because that is not who he is. That is definitely his struggle but it is not his identity. I hate that it can make it so hard for him to communicate. I hate that it can make it difficult for him to experience rest. I hate that people misunderstand him because of it. For a while, I have wanted it to go away. You see, when I was younger, someone once called me the connoisseur of comfort. Autism makes me so incredibly uncomfortable! But slowly, God is changing my mind and transforming me to see that I also love this struggle of autism. Struggle isn’t something to avoid.

Last week, I volunteered in Hannah’s kindergarten classroom with another parent. We were having the normal conversation that two moms have when they first meet each other.

“So, do you have any other kids? Do you have another job beside being a mom? How is school going for your kiddo?”

Regular stuff. Then we got to the question, “So, why did you decide to put your child in this school?”

She told me the usual, “We did our research and really liked what this place had to offer” and then she reciprocated the question.

“Well, I really wanted to homeschool Hannah and still do. However after having my son, we decided that homeschooling wouldn’t be the optimal environment for Hannah to learn in and we decided to put her here.”

“So, do you mind if I ask what is going on with your son?”

“Sure, he has autism.”

“Oh, I’m so sorry!”

“Well, I’m not.”

In that moment, it felt weird to have that as my first reaction. There are many times that I have wished that Hudson didn’t have autism. Why did I respond that way? Over the weekend, it really had me thinking about what has been going on in my heart and the changes that could be taking place in my thoughts of autism. God has slowly, and I mean over the process of 4 years of appointments, exclusion and grief, been showing me how to understand a bit of what the author of the book of Hebrews meant when he said of Jesus that “for the joy set before Him, He endured the cross.” I never quite understood what that meant but now I think I’m starting to understand. 

Now, I’m starting to see a little down the road when Hudson is having one of his hard weeks. A week that could be filled with regression in potty training, more drooling, more tantrums, screaming, biting, pinching or a meltdown every time I try to redirect him. Down the road of these hard weeks is huge successes! Things like taking steps, jumping for the first time, pulling up his pants, saying “I love you.” All things that we have been working on or waiting on for years. Now, these hard times are reminding me that there is great…no, ridiculously awesome ahead of us. For the joy set before us, we endure and we even are beginning to be thankful for the struggle. Without the struggle, we wouldn’t appreciate the victory. Without the lows, we wouldn’t realize how crazy good life is. Without the screaming, we wouldn’t remember to thank God for the quiet.

Maybe that’s why I said that I’m not sorry for Hudson’s autism. If he didn’t have autism, we wouldn’t enjoy life as fully! It’s funny how most people think that because of his autism, we enjoy life less. I wouldn’t say we enjoy life less. I would say that we feel life’s struggles more deeply and maybe more frequently, but I would also say that we experiences life’s victories more sweetly! I wouldn’t want to take away Hudson’s autism anymore. What I would want to take away is my unwillingness to enjoy the ride when things are tough. Man, I have so much more to learn!

That’s why I’m glad that Jesus did it for me. “For the joy that was set before him, he endured the cross.” He kept His eyes on what was ahead to cover and replace my failures to do so. Isn’t God good that He sees Jesus’ perfection over my failures and all because Jesus’ blood on the cross covered my sin. The fancy word for that is substitutionary atonement. Jesus is my atonement. He is the paint over my rust. When I get lost in the struggle and impatience of trying to potty train Hudson, Jesus doesn’t. When I lose my ability to have hope that it’s going to get better, Jesus doesn’t. When I hate the struggle of autism, Jesus doesn’t.

post signature

Thursday, August 14, 2014



So, this is my fourth go around at trying to write down what has happened to me today. No matter how I write, I can’t seem to find the words to describe my awe and wonder. I can’t seem to adequately explain how I feel about what God did for me today. I’ll try though, because I want to praise Him with my lips, or my fingers. 

Today, I went to the doctor to have a follow-up on the nodules that have developed on my thyroid over the past several months. About six weeks ago, I went through a pretty scary time of thinking my heart was literally going to fail because my thyroid was so out of wack. Doctors were confounded. Tests were coming back strange and what I was left with was, “Let’s just wait and see how this goes for the next several weeks.” That’s always what you want to hear when you think that you may be dying right? WRONG! I walked away from all those appointments six weeks ago with a diagnosis of Hashimotos Thyroditis and possibly cancer. The cancer was the wait and see part. Naturally, it was hard to settle into a short season of waiting, but soon it became comfortable. It actually turned into an out of sight, out of mind circumstance. I wasn’t going to tons of appointments anymore so I just wasn’t entertaining the thought that I may have cancer. That time of waiting really was a form of God’s favor to give my worried heart time to just rest.

It wasn’t until this past week that I started to think more about the possibilities that were before us. A biopsy, cancer, surgery, radiation, taking medication for the rest of my life, shorter life span, rates of survival. All that stuff and much more running through my head again. The time of waiting God used to help me see that I needed to just take one step at a time or the list of possibilities would soon be too overwhelming and throw me into a state of fear.

So, what was before was a follow-up appointment. It was at this appointment that I would have an ultrasound and a possible biopsy. The biopsy would be immediate if the doctor saw something concerning in the ultrasound. We were waiting in the office and I was lying on the examination room table just staring at the ceiling. It was kind of a numb feeling for me. “Just one step at a time.” The doctor came in and started talking about what would happen and I honestly don’t remember much of the conversation. All I wanted to know was if there were still nodules on my thyroid. Somehow, I suspected that there may not be. Was it real? Had God truly healed me? I just wanted him to confirm what I thought may be true. He put that cold gel on me and started poking around. 

After looking at the left side of the thyroid, he said, “Nothing on that side.”

NO WAY!! That was where the big nodule was! Ok, what about the other side? He put the ultrasound wand down and I asked him, “What about the right side?”

“Nothing to stick a needle in. There’s nothing there. You have a perfectly looking thyroid.”

WHAT! Ok, is this really happening? I just need to know if the blood tests are normal? “What were my blood test results?”…. Looking through results…

”They look perfectly normal.”

I didn’t have words. I just started crying and the doctor said, “I thought that was good news?” It is good news! It is some of the best news that I have had in years. God healed me! There it is. God healed me!

The doctor kept on saying, “Sometimes this just happens and the body just heals itself.” We responded with, “We believe that God healed me.” My heart then hurt for this doctor because it was very apparent that he was strictly just a man of science. What I saw in this doctor was amazing grace in that moment. Even though he had no apparent love for God or recognition of the miraculous, he was still being used by God to bring hope and healing to others through his excellent care. He was being used as an instrument of redemption, even though he may not even believe in a good and personal God making things right.

Grace was all over this day!! Unmerited, undeserved and ridiculous grace. And what makes God so good is not that He healed me. It’s that He is still worthy of praise and honor even if He hadn’t healed me! Why? Why is He so good even when things go down hill and not the way I had expected? The answer my friends is found in Jesus. It’s always found in Jesus. He proved His love for me by dying on the cross in my place and living the perfect life in my place. That’s what makes Him amazing. My hope and prayer is that this healing will be a reminder to all of us that Jesus lived and died to make things right some day. We may get to see it here, but many of you will have to wait to see it when we are with Him one day. But know that it will happen! Let us not grow weary friends in hoping for His glorious healing of all bodies!

post signature

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Norovirus and Exodus 19

I’m laying here right now, totally and completely depleted, wasted, exhausted. "What from?" you ask. My family has been put through the gauntlet with a stomach bug that has earned us one urgent care visit, two emergency rooms, and one hospital stay, all in the span of a week. And now, I lay here out of necessity because it is my turn to do battle with the norovirus. Being sick, stinks. Especially being stomach sick because it is so contagious and leaves you feeling so dirty. So, naturally I take a shower to wash off all the virus junk, try to keep this monster at bay.

While I’m no longer the child who enjoys being sick because that means she gets to stay home and just watch tv all day, being sick does have one advantage. It forces me to slow down. Everything around begins to slow down and it’s no longer my fulltime job to take care of the family, I have to take care of myself too. Laying in bed has afforded some good time to just read. Not endless amounts of facebook posts, although that is tempting. The Bible. Chapters and chapters at a time.

The Spirit of God placed me in the book of Exodus and I had one of those moments where I know I’ve read it before but I’ve never really read it before. Exodus 19. This may just be one of the most underestimated chapters in the Bible. Most Christians are familiar with the chapter that comes after. Most people who aren’t Christians have heard of what is in the next chapter. The ten commandments. God comes down to visit his people and give the law to Moses. Thou shalt not, Thou shalt. Do this. Don’t do this. The rule book of the Bible, right there in Exodus 20. But, chapter 19 shows the heart of the Lawgiver before He even gives the law to Moses. Read Exodus 19, taking time to check out the headings in a couple chapters before and after.

God has just brought His people out of Egypt, crossed the Red Sea, fed them bread from heaven, water from rocks and why? Why did He do all this for the people of Israel? Did you catch it in verse 4? He was bringing them people to Himself. All this that happened before, He was doing that He might be with His people. He desired their presence. Did He need it? By all means, no. He didn’t draw the people out of deficit that He had. He drew them out of His love and desire to experience community with His children, no strings attached.

But wait! There are tons of strings attached. 613 commandments in the Old Testament to be exact. He drew them out with conditions, with expectations and anyone whose been in a relationship before will know that expectations will kill a relationship. His love is conditional, isn’t it? By all means no, my friends!

Let’s keep checking out chapter 19. Moses is interacting with the Lord and being asked to take messages back and forth to the people. All the while, the people have never seen the Lord, never heard the commands from the source. So, God says, “I am coming to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe you forever.” God wants to show a portion of His presence to the people that they may believe. However, in order for the people to be able to come near to God, they must consecrate themselves. They must clean themselves to be ready for the presence of the Lord and even then, they can’t even touch the mountain on which the Lord is dwelling.

God brought the people out of slavery that they might dwell with Him, but dwelling with Him, meant that they had to be clean. There in lies the grace! God did not allow them to come before Him unclean. He gave them the grace to prepare for His presence. He knew that He is so glorious, so holy, so righteous that His people would not survive in His presence. So, what does He do? Like any good father, He protected His kids from Himself. It was as if He was saying in our modern language, “I’m so good and I want you to be with me. But, my goodness is too great for you. It will destroy you. You must come under these terms, or you cannot come at all. If you do come on your own, you will perish.” God does not delight in the death of the wicked and He was trying to protect His children from the death that would certainly come from His holiness.

We forget that He is that holy! He forget that He is that far above our understanding and ability to cope! He forget that He is the supreme of all that is good and we think that we can just come to Him as we are. That’s what the old hymn says, right? Come as you are.

That freedom to come before a holy and righteous God is what it is, real freedom. Do come as you are! But that freedom was bought with the sacrifice of Jesus dying on the cross. You see, God did lay out 613 commands that He meant and expected to be followed or else we are in the same danger as the Israelites standing before God, unconsecrated. God wants to dwell with us, but knows He is so holy. We can’t come near him. We are so dirty that we can’t make ourselves clean. My son’s body was so sick, so full of the stomach bug that it couldn’t get well. We needed the intervention of someone without the stomach bug to help him begin to recover. He needed a stomach bug savior. That’s us. We are so terribly sick and dirty with sin that we need an outside intervention to make us well enough to be with our Father. Enter Jesus. He is our covering. He is our consecration. He is our IV fluids. He is what makes us right before God, so that we get God.

Are you ready to come before the presence of God as you stand?
Have you looked at God’s commands as burdensome or an expression of His grace, His protection?
post signature