1.Have you experienced God's faithfulness at a difficult time? Tell as much or as little as you like...
How to choose? This past year has been full of difficult times. My CPE experience brought me into contact with great pain and suffering weekly. There were 12 hour on call shifts that I thought I would never make it through either physically or emotionally. God was there. Gifted and Talented was laid off mid-November and didn't find a new job until the very end of February. That was scary. I struggled to feel God's presence, but God was there. God surrounded us with people who could feel/see God's presence in our lives even when we couldn't. Graduating from seminary and attending Annual Conference knowing that there wasn't at that time an appointment for me was difficult. It seemed I had worked so hard and my family had sacrificed so much for nothing. God was there. God brought healing from my grief. Now I am waiting to hear where I will be appointed. God is here now too.
2. Have you experienced a dark night of the soul, if so what brought you through?
Our years of struggle with infertility left me empty and hurting. Finally, I came to the point where I didn't want to be sad anymore. We began to take steps to enjoy our life. At the same time God was working through people around me to let me know I wasn't alone. God was with us in our pain. One Friday in Dec. 1992, a friend told me she was pregnant. She worried that her news would be difficult for me to deal with. I was able to tell her that for the first time in 4 years I could hear the news of someone else's pregnancy and not hurt. I had a peace that God had a plan for us. We were in the waiting part of the adoption process. We expected to wait up to a year. We brought manBoy home on the following Monday. God is indeed good.
3. Share a Bible verse, song, poem that has brought you comfort?
Romans 8:28 "We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. " Note this verse does not say all that happens to us is good, but I believe that God can work good in all things.
As we were dressing for what would be our last fertility appointment, I heard the following statement on Oprah, "The best revenge is to live happily inspite of what someone has done to you." This put into words exactly what I was feeling about infertility. I wanted to find a way to live happily inspite of it. We did. manBoy has been with us for 14+ years now.
Song: Something Beautiful (UMH 34, Bill and Gloria Gaither)Somthing beautiful, something good;
all my confusion he understood;
all I had to offer him was brokenness and strife,
but he made something beautiful of my life.
4. Is "why suffering" a valid question?
Part of my personal CPE work involved reading a book called The Power to Bless by Myron C. Madden. It has been powerful reading for me. I have to read and reread and digest a little at a time. One chapter talks about the vows we make as children and how we sometimes spend our adult lives living up to unreasonable and sometimes buried expectations. My childhood was not happy. I realized that one of the vows I made was that I would not suffer as I did then. Our CPE readings on suffering helped me see that suffering is inevitable. I do not think it was a coincidence that these two readings happened in the same time frame that I was suffering from the stress and worry over Gifted & Talented's job situation. God is good. God is faithful.
5. And on a lighter note- you have reached the end of a dark and difficult time- how are you going to celebrate?
Hey that's now! I am relaxing (some). I've already ready three novels since CPE ended. I have some bookstore gift cards and I plan to spend them on books or music. I'm listening to a CD my sisiter-in-law gave me with all girl singers. I may splurge on new CD's from some of these artists. Our family is trying to plan an overnight getaway this month.
Bonus- anything you wish to add....
Great an opportunity to tell this story on overcoming.
A is for Amazing
I want to tell you about a friend I met at the hospital. I'll call him "A". He has given me permission to tell his story.
"A" is 30 years old. He has spent his adult life seeking pleasure in partying and drinking. He admits that life was all about him and today. He didn't want to think about tomorrow. He didn't want to have to consider anyone else.
Then within a few short days, "A" went from an active man who made his living doing physical work to lying paralyzed in an Intensive Care hospital room. That's when I met him. He had a nerve disease that had started in his feet and worked its way up his body. Talking had even become difficult. "A" was scared. They told him his disease was reversible, but he couldn't see that happening. What he could feel happening was God calling him. He had seen a peace and joy he didn't understand in some of his friends who were Christians. "A" wanted what they had.
I have visited with "A" many times over the last two months. His condition has indeed improved, but what has been more wonderful to see is the way God is working in this man's heart and spirit. After a few days of fear and "why me," "A" began to see his illness as an opportunity to change himself and his life. He thanks God daily for even the smallest things that you and I take for granted. He looks forward to the day when he will be able to brush his teeth. He sees that he will be able to use his story to encourage others. He is grateful that he has been pulled out of the life he was living. Last week I asked him if he could go back and had a choice to continue in the life he had or to have this illness happen. His response was, "I'm glad this happened. I'm happier here (still mostly paralyzed in the hospital) than I ever was before."
"A" was the last patient I visited on my last shift. When I asked about his day, he said it had been the best day ever. He had received an electric wheelchair. He had wheeled himself to another wing of the hospital to look out a different window and get a different view. For the first time in months he could do something without another person having to help him. As he gazed out at the city, he prayed in thanksgiving that it had only taken him and God to get him to the window. "A" still faces several months of therapy before he recovers. He looks forward to the day when he can walk again and he finds joy in every little step in between.
I have been blessed to know "A". He has taught me and inspired me. We plan to keep in touch.