Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Suffering Produces Endurance, Endurance Character, and Character Hope

The last two years have been two of much growth and much testing, much pain and much joy. My family has been heated, made pliable, by the warmth of God's hands in order to shape us, each one, to better suit His purpose in our lives. 
Mama Bird and Popsicle just mere months after the tests started. 
Thinking back to two years ago, J and I had just met. My mom was sure something was wrong with my dad and finally caved to her fears about his memory sending him to the doctor. I was living on campus in an apartment with two girls who picked on me day and night. Bubba was living at home in the midst of his high school career. Miah was playing soccer occasionally. 
Had we any idea about what was to come we would all have reveled in the peace of then. Instead we were busy forging forward completely unaware of the fire we were soon to enter. MRI followed by psychological testing topped off with blood panels. The answer was Alzheimer's. 
My father, a 56 year old man, raising five crazy kids and owning a half a dozen thriving businesses was losing his mind to a disease. The disease, the diagnosis unknown. My Mama Bird's intuition (an unrivaled one at that!) just knew that her husband's mind was being ravaged, but not by Alzheimer's. She fought. She prayed. She toiled. She tired. But she never gave up. She knew the answer was out there. She knew a doctor would take us on as a valuable family rather than a numerical patient.

After losing my dear Gramcracker in the midst of this immense, and rather intense, trial, my Mama Bird turned to her doctor for piece of mind. As she shared the true pain, the serious hurts of the last year with her doctor God opened a door. And the search began once again.

More tests, many sample collections, a half dozen blood panels, and supplements to start working with the different chemicals in his brain... And we are, once again, pliable clay within the warm palms of our Heavenly Father.
Fast forward to today. The disease: Lyme's. The plan: lots of antibiotics, a PICC line, a half a dozen daily pills and supplements, rest. Are we free and clear? Not in the least. We remain pliable, we remain in the process of creation, yet to be completed in our molding. We are a statue half carved from a marble block with the artist working diligently to ensure every detail serves his great vision.

Fear has plagued many nights of sleep. Anxiety easily wreaks havoc within my little mind. I spend hours dedicated to "what if"s. But we are making it. It's not easy. It's not simple. It's far from sweet. But it's my life.

God has granted my family with serenity. God grants us to ability to sleep soundly when our minds and bodies are exhausted beyond belief. He keeps our hearts pumping, our lives moving forward although we resist, we complain, we wish. However, God's promises remain unchanged. As Paul says to the church in Romans:
"Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us." -Romans 5:1-5
Thank God for the peace He grants us. The faith He provides. The rays of hope he shines into our hearts to keep us going. Moving slowly, but surely. Although joy is so hard to find in the so many dark moments of the last two years. Through the suffering He has endured. Much like a long, many mile long run that tones legs and pushes the muscles to build stronger, our God muscles are growing despite the sore inklings. He hones our character, arming us in his righteousness to ensure we are strong, standing for Him, enduring with the strength He is so kind to bestow upon us. Although the suffering hurts. Although my spiritual muscles are tired and sore, He manages to pour his sweet spirit into my soul.

Thank you Lord for your sweetness, for your faithfulness, for your love. Thank you Lord for the great blessings you bestow upon my family in the time of such serious trials. Thank you for the strength, for the hope, for the grace you sweetly share.

Song of the Day: Mercies New
By: Nichole Nordeman


Amber said... Best Blogger Tips

You're so brave to stay so positive through all of this! I'm sorry you have to go through this, but you inspire me to keep a good outlook when things get tough! I'll keep your family in my prayers sweet girl! :)

KY said... Best Blogger Tips

Wow -I can feel your strength in your words. Stay strong - and know that your family will be in my prayers tonight <3

chris aka mama bird said... Best Blogger Tips

again amber, you have said it so well. we are called to shine Him light in a world that does not know or trust Him. that is our calling in this trial...i will struggle but i will complete the race God has called us to complete. and how amazing popcicle will be when we finish this chapter! i love you-your strength-your never ending humor on the days when i can't find my smile-and all the hope a wedding offers...especially when you have done it so perfectly. 9-10-11 will be a day to celebrate so so many blessings!