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23 July, 2015

HOLDING GOD’S HAND



Our theme for this week comes from Isaiah 41:13. We couldn’t have chosen a better theme for here and now had we been seeking one. Actually, it hasn’t occurred to us to have a theme each week. This one came to us as the theme for our denomination’s annual gathering of churches in the northwest U.S. God knows what we need.


The first corporate activity I attended as part of the annual gathering was the women’s banquet. It was great to be in fellowship with many women from Oregon, Washington and Idaho who have hearts for missions. These representatives of Women’s Missionary Fellowship groups in their local areas brought joy to my heart. Hearing of their projects to raise money to support missionaries and their causes stirred my soul. Singing in worship of our God together lifted my heart in praise. Hearing many tell me they are praying much for Jeff and I in this season of waiting and then surgery bolstered my courage, reminding me the Body of Christ is important in conveying his love to his people.

Sunday-Wednesday the evening services provided insight into Scripture and God’s assurance that as we hold his hand he generously shares himself with us. He is infinitely willing and able to provide all we need. He brings a “knowing” to us as we hold his hand. His perfect love casts our all fear and we can courageously move with him as we hold his hand. We benefitted from these reminders. God spoke into us his truth and our souls know his voice. We are stronger and we are grateful.

In between meetings of the gathering we continued our quest to listen and learn what will benefit us along this journey. We strive to keep a balance, studying medical/surgical information as well as contemplating God’s words and those of his messengers. God is transforming our hearts and renewing our minds. It’s all good.

And for Jeff, it seems God will also use woven dacron and a mechanical valve as part of heart transformation. God uses all things and he is always for our good. We trust him.

What is your weekly theme? What is God using in transforming your heart?


Christine

14 July, 2015

Pressing On...

Throughout the past several days we have had many opportunities to explain why we are in Oregon and not in Uganda. Each telling of the story gives us an opportunity to steward it for God’s honor and glory. It is what we want to do; faithfully steward all our King brings to us.

Preparation for surgery instructions include maintaining aerobic exercise, eating fresh fruits and vegetables, getting plenty of rest, keeping all appointments and taking medications prescribed. So while we wait for what we now call, The Day, we are finding a new balance that includes all these things. We are doing our best to keep it real and make it fun.

Fresh blackberries at the top of the hill are a great motivator to walk quickly along the winding gravel road. They don’t get any fresher than straight off the wild vine, sun-kissed to sweetness that is unmatched on grocery shelves. We sweat to get there and back a few times but it is so worth it to have fresh berry smoothies, crisps and freezer jam. These are yummy “rewards.”

Today we allowed each other time and space alone to spend as we each chose. I (as always) chose to stay home while Jeff chose (as usual) to go to a local coffee shop and meet friends. We both took time to mentally and emotionally process what lies ahead of us. We included time to worship, listening to God’s spirit infuse us with courage and strength. God’s word speaks clearly and personally to us. We are in awe of our Great Shepherd, gently leading us onward.

Jeff came home in time for us to share lunch and then we decided to walk in a different setting. It was lovely to briskly walk through riparian forest in the wildlife refuge along the Tualatin River. We experienced Sabbath rest in the close presence of our Creator. It was fun to watch water fowl, admire the beauty of a brightly colored garter snake, chuckle at the water acrobatics of nutria and enjoy the beauty of the grasses and flowers waving in the cooling breeze. As we meandered beside the still waters we felt refreshed. God is meeting us deeply and we are grateful.

Christine



09 July, 2015

Another checkpoint completed--Jeff's angiogram

Appointments, visits, diagnostic testing and follow ups. These comprise our current days in preparation for Jeff’s surgery for heart valve replacement and aneurysm repair. In the midst of this busyness we experience peace in the lovely wooded setting of our current dwelling place in the home of dear friends. For now this place is our green pasture and still water. We rest in the care of our Good Shepherd.

Today was Jeff’s pre-surgery angiogram. The intent of this diagnostic test was to find out if any of his coronary arteries have any degree of blockage. If they find any significant coronary artery disease then it might necessitate adding bypass surgery to the open heart surgery scheduled for next month.

So, off to the hospital we went early this morning. Jeff was prepped and the doctor came to talk to us. Soon thereafter Jeff was ushered on into the heart catheterization room. I went to the waiting room. A few moments after I sat down to wait the electricity went off.


I admit to thinking, “This is no different than in Africa!” Later I found out Jeff had the same thought and spoke it out loud to the staff waiting with him in the complete darkness, “This is just like in Africa!” The power outage caused a short delay in getting his procedure started but Jeff’s comment was a conversation starter to the talk that kept him distracted until the power came back on and they could get going with the task at hand.

Jeff came through his procedure well with no complications. The exam revealed Jeff has NO coronary artery disease. The physician pronounced his arteries are “pristine” and without disease. Hooray! This means Jeff will NOT require any bypass procedure added to his surgery. Praise Jesus!


Thank you for praying with us. Thank you for praying for us. We stand in awe of our God and all His good works. His provision is exactly what we need. We rejoice in His care. Tonight, as we lie in this green pasture we will snuggle our backs against our Good Shepherd and sleep in peace.