New to Refiner’s Fire? I encourage you to read the FORWARD.
Life had to go on.
My internal terror continued. Life may have seemed normal to the rest of the family, but I was learning my new “normal” – and how there would never again be a normal.
I clung to Jesus. He was my only hope. He gave me the strength to do what I had to do.
Joe continued to travel. (Here he is in the Philippines.)
Our cat, had her newborns, under our dining room table
The kids and I found ways to have fun while dad was away, including hikes on a beautiful Sunday afternoon
My mother called asking us to come home for Thanksgiving because “Dad is so ill I don’ t think he will live until Christmas.” So we flew home believing it would be the last time we would see Dad
I remember him sitting in his lounge chair in the family room— He was in constant pain as blood clots moved through his legs causing horrendous cramping — I sat next to him holding his hand and prayed with him as the tears trickled down his cheek.
My father was a tough farmer — I don’t remember seeing him cry before — but now the pain was so great — and still he reminded me that God was in control.
Birthdays were celebrated. Kristin celebrating her birthday.
Out of my comfort zone would just be normal living for most people. I had to force myself, by concentrating on the love of God, to move even the slightest bit out of my comfort zone.
This is the story of one of those times. Late in 1978, our Oregon church sponsored a family from Cambodia. Joe and I offered to pick them up at the Portland airport. From there, we drove them to their sponsored house.
Originally from a “Tree Tribe,” this family of six had never lived in a roofed house. A week later, we visited them, discovering they had cut a large hole in the floor of the rental house. Shock filled the air. But not for our sponsored family. In Cambodia, cooking from a hole in the floor was normal for “tree families”. Thankful to be away from the horror of the Khmer Rouge, the hole was but a small adjustment from their horrendous experiences. Their adjustment took a long time. The combined effort from church members helped everything work out, all to God’s Glory.
I am so grateful that God gave me the strength and desire to cling to Him; so that I could have experiences such as the above even as I thought I never wanted to get out of bed again.
Our first Christmas away from family.
Something that was always on my mind was that our home had only one bathroom – that is a real horror for someone living with perpetual diarrhea.
In my prayer journal I wrote, “Please continue to heal me. Jesus, I want to feel completely well – I want to be ‘normal’ again.” This was stuck in the midst of praying for all the activities of a “normal” young family’s activities.
When your body feels like there are a million little men in your arms trying to dig their way out, it is difficult to concentrate on other things. That pressure gave me the sensation of terror. It was telling me I could not do what I needed to do.
God continues to give me the strength to do what He wants me to do. He gives the strength while the body continues to feel the terror.
Not long after, the kids and I joined Joe on one of his trips to Canada.
Riding in a car was always torturous. As we drove, I played Christian music, hoping it would relieve the “terror.” It didn’t. I told myself, if I trusted God more, the “terror” would go away.
The Triune God has a purpose for every detail of your life.
Early one morning, we left our lodging to assure an early arrival at the next town where Joe had more meetings. We were about half an hour down the road when I realized I had forgotten something and we HAD to turn-around.
Joe was not happy with me. We turned around, picked up the missing item and got back on the road. Just a few miles beyond where we had turned around, a gruesome accident had taken place. Joe and I stared at each other, realizing if we had not turned around our family could have been in that accident.
If I KNOW The Triune God has a plan and a purpose in every little detail of my life, why is it so hard for me to trust Him? (Even when He keeps showing me His faithfulness over and over.)
My CHALLENGE to you —
Grab a cup of coffee … and imagine we are chatting.
As I attempted to live a “normal” life, I had to daily deal with a body that rarely felt “normal.” In the midst of everyday life the stress of a strange body hits me and I have to fight to keep doing “normal” things.
Each day I cry out to God for desire, wisdom and strength. Tonight, I sit in awe that I was able to do what I did last night. Thank you, Jesus, for the strength you gave me. As I talked to people tears were falling down my cheeks (for no reason they knew of). I was embarrassed – but I had the strength to talk.
In the midst of my everyday life, when my body tells me lies, I KNOW all is well with my soul.
Wintley Phipps speaks powerful words to be remembered when in the midst of suffering.
It Is Well With My Soul Wintley Phipps
Whether your pain is emotional, physical, mental or relational, listen as Wintley Phipps sings with assurance. If you have surrendered your life to Jesus, it doesn’t matter what you experience — IT IS WELL WITH YOUR SOUL.
Next page: China! God Nudges Me Again …