Press play on this song while you read this blog post today:
You might think of this song as a Christmas carol, but it is so much more than that. It is a worship song that speaks to my heart right now. Imagine the expectation of those 3 wise men as they trekked through difficult terrain, following a star that they had studied their entire lives. They were traveling with expensive gifts to see a King. A new born King. A King that had been prophesied for thousands of years. A King that they knew would change the course of history. They left everything they knew and set out on a journey to find Him and lay gifts at His feet. Their hope was set. They must have been so excited to think that He has finally come and they would be the ones to worship Him first. They would be able to see Him and touch Him. I wonder if they thought about what His palace would look like. They probably wondered how many servants He would have and what His treasury of gold would look like. If God wrote to them in the heavens about this King, then surely He will be something magnificent, right?
What in the world were they thinking when they arrived at a humble place and found a lowly peasant girl and her carpenter husband with a little boy? I wonder if they questioned themselves. Did we follow the right star? Did we really understand the signs in the heavens? Did we totally miss God? I wonder if they questioned God. Did you really lead us here? Is this really what You had planned? The scripture doesn’t tell us very much about these men, but it does tell us this….they were filled with joy and they fell on their faces to worship and bestow their gifts. So, regardless of their perception or their idea of what it should be like, they worshipped. Even though they were not bowing on a beautiful palace floor, they bowed. Even though they weren’t laying their gifts at the foot of a beautiful throne, they laid them anyway. What an example to us today.
When life doesn’t happen the way we expected it to happen, we must adore Him anyway. We are here on this earth for one reason – to bring glory to Jesus. So, if you have spent years serving Him and following His star in your life, but it has led you to an unexpected place, fall on your face with joy and worship Him anyway. I know. It’s not easy. But, you can do it. Worship Him. Love Him. Rejoice in Him. Focus on the things you know are true. His Word. His love for you. His majesty. His presence. His peace. His salvation. His purpose for your life. His grace. Thank Him for who He is. I’m glad I serve a King who decided to come as a lowly peasant boy, rather than a highly exalted and unreachable noble. I’m glad that my Savior lived on this earth as a poor man who faced many hardships because as I walk through my Gethsemene, I know that He has already been here. He’s already done what I am doing now. He can comfort me because He understands. He is acquainted with my suffering. That is an amazing thought. The creator of this universe, the God of all things, is acquainted with me. And, He is not asking anything of me that He didn’t require of Himself. He loves me. He loves you.
Over the past 6 weeks, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what I imagined my life to look like. I’ve known since I was a little girl that God had a call on my life for ministry. When Clay and I first met, I was teaching a Bible study to our College and Career girls group. I remember telling him one night that God had called me to ministry and I needed to make sure he was ok with that before we got more serious with our relationship. He kind of laughed and said, “I really like to be in the background, so you go girl and I’ll be right behind you to support you.” So, I’ve spent 17 years asking God what that ministry looks like. I had a full time career in which God used me in many ways. I’ve spent 17 years raising 3 incredible young people who call me mom. (That is, by far, my greatest ministry.) But, I always knew there was more.
You could have told me to dream up 1,000 ways God would use me, and I don’t think I ever would have come up with this plan. I was expecting my star to lead me to a palace, in which I would find a beautiful King on His throne, but instead it led me to a dirt floor cottage with a peasant girl and her poor little boy. Wow. Was I ever surprised??!! Shocked, really. But, what else am I going to do? I know His star led me here. I know it…more than I know that I’m sitting here right now typing these words. God’s hand has been so evident in our path. So, I know He brought me here. And, when I walked through the door, I was holding Frankincense and Myhr that I had carried for a long time, so I just poured it out to Him. I just laid my gifts at His feet. Nothing was as I thought it would be, but I just gave my gifts. That’s why He brought me here….to adore Him. So, I’m adoring Him today. He is worthy.
This board is in my office. It is from the Ladies’ Retreat the Lord used me to teach, just days before we got Clay’s diagnosis. The theme of the entire retreat was about numbering our days and growing in wisdom. I drew this timeline of my life as an illustration for the first teaching. You can see that I expect to live at least 80 years. (Insert ironic smile.) The Lord really used this exercise to help me search my heart and think about what I’ve allowed Him to accomplish through the first (almost) 40 years of my life. I spent time planning and thinking about what He might accomplish through the next 40. The things I imagined when I was preparing for that teaching are completely different from what I imagine today as I look at this board. God has totally shaken my world and reminded me to trust Him for every day. It is not about my plan, or my expectations. It is about what He sees and wants to accomplish. I must be careful not to seek a palace and a throne, but to be prepared to worship Him, even if he leads me to a cottage and a poor little boy. Amen.
Just to catch you up on our week, we have spent a lot of time resting over the past few days. We felt ourselves getting tired, and I was starting to have stress headaches. So, my mom and sister gave me a gift card for a massage! It was just what the doctor ordered for me.
I was really able to unwind and relax a little. When I went in the room, the therapist asked me where my trouble areas were. I just started crying. I asked her if anyone had ever cried on her massage table before. When she said, “No,” I warned her that today might be a first. I could literally feel the stress leaving my body and it was wonderful. Thank you, Mom and Summer. I love you.
We’ve had lots of good visits over the past week.
To all my Hosanna friends, look who came to see me!! My precious friend, Stacey Neely, was in my wedding and was my friend from middle school and all through high school. She let me drive my first manual transmission car when I was probably 12 years old! Oh my goodness. The sweet face on the right is Rhonda Anzivino, who is married to my high school Bible teacher. I learned so much in that high school Bible class. I can still remember specific things “Mr. A” taught us. I am thankful for the solid foundation on which my faith is built. It was so sweet to have visits that were meant to refresh me. I have been so blessed with great people in my life.
Clay’s Aunt Jean and Uncle Clem came to visit and brought us a delicious home cooked meal. Clay always loved Aunt Jean’s cooking, so he was very excited. His college buddy, Michael Mullins, came to visit at the perfect time….just as Jean was dropping off food! So, he got to enjoy the goodness with us. Michael has been a lifelong friend to Clay and he blessed us so much with his visit.
The Arnold’s and the Merchant’s visited together one afternoon. Bobby Arnold was a work friend of Clay’s and they’ve remained close friends for many years. Bobby loves the Lord and has been encouraging Clay every day through text messages and emails that are so uplifting. He and his wife, Sherry, have been praying diligently and we loved the visit. Angie and Paul Merchant are dear friends from church. We’ve helped them carry a burden for a few years, through prayer and intercession, and now they are right by our side helping us. The Body of Christ is so amazing. We love you guys.
The Lord brought our friends, the Scherer’s, into our lives a few years ago. He instantly knitted our hearts together and we have shared a special bond with them ever since. Clay and Caleb are great friends. They are nothing alike, but close nonetheless. Robin and I were made to be friends. Those of you who saw Anne of Green Gables will know what I mean when I say that we are “kindred spirits.” God has really used them in our lives and we cherish the friendship. Their girls are like our own kids. How do you like the face swap between Clay and Hanna?? Or how about the face swap between Hanna and our dog, Ellie! Ha.
We gave Clay this weight bench for Christmas! It’s been in the box for 6 months. So, the other night, while we had dinner with Bill and Marcelle Nipper, Sam put the bench together for Clay. He said it was his Father’s Day gift to him! It was great. Thank you, Sam.
We had some quiet family time last night. Sam had to work, but the rest of us swam together and sat on the swing while we listened to worship music. Even Ellie got in the pool! It was fun. It’s been good to do some normal things and to just have fun together. If you are wondering if Clay’s competitive nature is still in tact, let me be the first to tell you that it is. Now, Grace started this, but I think Clay finished it….
God added Jean Raggio to my life recently. She is my neighbor and one of my newest friends. We both love Jesus, and that makes us great friends. She brought us a delicious dinner last night and she rubbed my neck for me! And she did it like a trained massage therapist. It really helped me relax. How sweet. She is my second friend to do that. Robin was pretty good at it, too. Who knew I had such talented friends??
The Browning family has been precious to us, too. They’ve been helping us so much. Then today, Mark took Ben fishing. He had a great time catching his first few fish.
Today, we celebrated Grace. She is having a birthday and Clay needed any excuse to get a cookie cake into this house. He succeeded. I thank God, all the time, for giving me this girl. We had some alone time the other day, and the whole time we were talking, I was amazed at how mature she is. She is handling this situation with such grace and poise. God is really growing her.
Last pic….this is me and Clay sitting in the waiting room of our Oncologist yesterday. That TV behind us is playing very loudly and it is The Price is Right. Who in the world thinks that a bunch of sick people in an Oncology waiting room want to listen to the foolishness on The Price is Right??? We just laughed and tried our best to ignore it. And, we didn’t have to wait long. We met with the Nurse Practitioner and she explained the chemotherapy. As I’ve said before, Temodar is a pill. We will administer it at home, along with a few other meds. We are praying that Clay can sleep through the side effects most of the time. He will stay on the Temodar daily during the 6 weeks of radiation therapy. Then, he’ll take it for 6 more months, but only 5 days out of each month. There is a lot of information to manage, but thankfully, I’m on top of it right now.
Clay’s spirits are really good. We laugh a lot. I’m so thankful he can laugh about the side effects he’s having now. They are extremely mild for what he has been through, but I think some people would let it get them down. He has not. We laugh and joke all the time. He continues to praise the Lord at every opportunity. The peace of God is with us, for sure.
We love you and thank you for your continued prayers and support. You are showering us with love, gifts, food, help, and prayer. Thank you. Thank you so much. We will go to our first radiation appointment on Monday at 12:30. It will be a test run, and Tuesday will be the first actual treatment. Thank you for praying for wisdom for our doctors, and low side effects for Clay. We love you!