Simeon and Anna represented all who saw that their only hope was in the mercy and grace of God. Along with the poor carpenter and his wife and the outcast shepherds, they were flesh-and-blood examples of those to whom Christ comes. They personified the paradox of being profoundly empty and profoundly full
R. K. Hughes
I want to start by sincerely thanking everyone for all you have done for my family and me. I will not forget your kindness. Every card, prayer, donation and helping hand has helped us more than you know. Thank you.
This time has been challenging for me and my family. It has been the hardest thing we have faced together. I have not felt as weak and as helpless as I do right now. Every day I have to trust God for his help and strength to take things one day at a time.
But even at this time I see the blessings in the midst of my pain. I see my oldest son so strong and stable like we have never seen him before. I see the heart of my second son willing to drop everything to make me toast or simply pick up toys laying in the living room. I hear my oldest daughter pray for me and tell me she loves so much and my youngest who is two, turns to me and says “your going to be fine mom, don’t be scared” then hands me her favorite blankie. I can’t help but see that as God at work in the lives of my kids. That is a blessing to me. It’s a blessing that has to come through hardship that wouldn’t have been seen any other way, and I’m thankful. There is blessing in suffering, I see it and I feel it.
Things you can pray for with me:
- That my nausea will subside that my strength would increase daily.
- During Christmas, my blood counts will be at their lowest pray that I will be healthy and strong.
- Health for my kids.
- I have to take shots to increase my white blood cell counts – They produce achy bones and flu-like symptoms
- Most of all pray that at the end of these three months I won’t need any more treatments or radiation.
When I was a kids pastor at the ripe age of 21 I did then what I find unthinkable now. I wouldn’t sing Christmas songs in kids church and never would sing hymns. As I think back I can’t even remember why I felt that way. I think I felt that kids wanted to have fun and Hymns were above their pay grade. I think I thought Christmas Carols were things you heard in stores not songs of praise sung in church. What changed my perspective was being in the same church for 20 years. Seeing the kids grow up that I had taught in preschool I realized that I had made a couple of mistakes.
One mistake was thinking that fun mattered more than substance. If I made it crazy enough they would come back. I’m all for fun but not at the price of substance. The other mistake I made is I thought I was helping kids with the faith that they need today rather than preparing them for the faith they are going to need. As kids pastors we have to give them a faith for today but we also have to prepare them for the faith they are going to need.
We must give our kids a faith that is big enough they can grow into. Kids also need to be connected to the history of our faith. The need to know that God loves them yes, but many people have lived a life of uncompromising faith they can to by God’s grace.
One of the things we are grateful for is what the writer of Lamentations knew about God. He has new mercies for us every morning. His love is steadfast and unchanging. It seems each day has a new challenge to it, but each day is met by grace that far exceeds anything we could provide.
After Sandra’s first Chemo treatment she responded better than we had expected. It’s hard to know what to expect when your expectations for chemo are set by Hollywood movies. The next couple of days Sandra was tired, but they were mostly uneventful, as the week progressed Sandra struggled quite a bit with tiredness and various other symptoms. The past few days have been much much better. Your prayers are felt and are doing more than you know. Sandra today felt good enough to get out of the house for a few hours. We have much to be thankful for.
One of the prayers we pray is we don’t want to waste this season on self-pity and trying to understand the incomprehensible. One of the things we are learning is how God turns bad thing into good things. In the Dec 8th section of Tim Keller’s devotional on Psalm he has you read Psalm 135 and says this about it:
Why should we praise God? We should praise him…
1. Because He is good
2. Because it is good to praise him
3. Because in his grace He finds us
4. Because he works all thing together for good.
Huge thanks to Jamie Burgess Check out more of her work here.