Saturday, December 26, 2009

Hope

It's the 2nd Day of Christmas-MERRY CHRISTMAS!! Such a great time of year! We have really, really enjoyed ourselves. Last Christmas Eve we were at midnight mass at St. Johns hospital, holding one baby and tearfully thinking of our other son who was just a few floors up in the NICU. How far we've come!! This year we got to eat Christmas meals, open presents, look at Christmas lights, attend Christmas parties, go to Silver Dollar City, watch the snow fall and do many other merry things...all together as a family of four. :-)) Our hearts couldn't be happier.

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, seizure-free days? Well, yes and no. The last three days have been plagued with large seizure clusters for Luke. Today is Day 18 on Ketogenic diet. I am deeply, deeply grateful to be able to tell you that of the last 18 days, 4 of those days were (at least as far as we could tell) seizure free. And the other 14 days, while not free of seizures, offered much fewer seizures than what had become "normal" for Luke. As you can probably imagine, this has given way to us feeling very, very hopeful on some days and on other days, well, kicking and screaming and cursing these blasted seizures for not leaving our Luke alone once and for all.

The truth is, it did come to mind a time or two (or ok, maybe like a hundred times) in the last two weeks about how great it would be if Luke were actually seizure free by Christmas. I mean, I know.....they said we had to try this diet at least a month before we could really make any judgement on whether it was working or not. But....seriously, how great would that have been? And who doesn't love a good Christmas miracle story? Ahhh....but alas, it turns out, the calendar that hangs prominently on our fridge for us to record Luke's seizure activity, is all marked up this week...a cluster here, a cluster there. So, Christmas '09 won't go down in history as being seizure free. Maybe next year? Maybe....and then again, maybe not. While I've been thinking a lot about seizures and miracles and Christmas and....all the rest.... well, I began to really know deep down that our Christmas miracle already came. Over 2000 yrs ago now. Not it, but HE. He came and He will always be what we need most....more than healing, more than miracles...more than a healthy son...more than anything. We need Him...His grace, His forgiveness....
He came to give us life....eternal life. THAT is a miracle. God becoming flesh to be near to us....to restore relationship with us. That's huge. And more than a healthy brain and perfect development and freedom from seizures, what Luke needs most, is the same thing all of us need the most....a Saviour. Not that I'll ever stop asking God for a miracle of healing in Luke's body. I would be disobedient not to. I think Scripture makes it pretty clear that God's will is for us to ask...and ask again...and keep asking and believing. But deep down....while I'm praying and asking...and pulling all-nighters researching the best care options for our son, and driving to yet another doctors appointment....and desiring almost more than anything for Luke to be healed....deep down, I know that the greatest miralce is salvation and eternal life. And more than seizure freedom for Luke, I want salvation for Luke. I long for the day when Luke will have perfect eye-sight, and crawl and then walk and run and talk to me and interact with toys and friends and be able to be a healthy little boy. I can only imagine when that day comes, how happy I'll be. I just pray that the day that Caleb and Luke ask Jesus to be their Savior and surrender their hearts to him, that I'll be rejoicing even more. Because that IS the greatest miracle of all.

We all have something we're hoping for in 2010....a different job, a new car, a child, financial provision, a husband or wife, good health, a new beginning, the list could go on and on. What we really need though, already came. I pray I never forget that truth, and that in the coming year I'll be more mindful that the greatest miracle of all has already been given to me. A Savior and forgiveness of sin....and eternal life with Him!!

If you're not tired of reading yet, I'm going to copy a blog post I read recently that really captures what I've been sensing in my own heart. Matt Chandler is a pastor in TX (we listen to his podcasts a lot) and he was recently diagnosed with brain cancer. One of his close friends wrote these thoughts after he heard the news:


December 16, 2009
Thinking of my friend Matt Chandler and the difference between Hope and Desire

I write this today because I need to. I need to tell myself these things. I just read the pathology report from the Village Church on Matt Chandler (http://ow.ly/MM81). I have known Matt for many years and love and respect him deeply. I am praying for him and for his sweet wife Lauren, and their kiddos, and the Village. And, I am praying with this in mind: there is a difference between desire and hope.

I am praying with great desire. My desire is that God would heal Matt, hand him to Lauren and the kids to be her husband and their daddy, restore him to the pulpit, empower him to preach his heart out for the magnification of Jesus, and one day let him play with his grandkids. I think God wants me to desire those things and ask Him for them, knocking until my knuckles bleed, making it clear to God how I desire Him to respond. And, those desires are good. But those desires are different than our hope.

Sometimes desires are not fulfilled. But, our hope is. Hope does not disappoint us (Romans 5:5). Our hope is certain and sure. Our hope is that none who trust in Him will ever ultimately be put to shame. Our hope is that in Jesus we are forgiven, given his Spirit, adopted as sons and daughters of God, and will one day be revealed as such (Romans 8:14-16; 1John 3:2-3). Our hope is that Jesus has defeated our greatest enemies of Satan, Sin, and Death and through Him we will triumph (Romans 8:37). Our hope is that God is sovereignly moving heaven and earth to secure the good of his elect and bring about their glory and joy (Romans 8:28). Our hope is that we who are in Christ are the eternal objects of God's love and that nothing, absolutely nothing, can change that status or rob us of its privileges (Romans 8:38-39). Our hope is that these momentary and light afflictions are preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison (2Cor 4:16-17); that the things we suffer are not worth comparing to the glory that God will reveal to us (Romans 8:18). Our hope is that God will not leave us nor forsake us so that even as we experience ten thousand shadows of death come over us, we shall not fear because He is with us (Psalm 23). Our hope is that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us into his presence (2Cor 4:14). Our hope is that if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united to him in a resurrection like His (Romans 6:5). And, our hope is that Christ, who is our great treasure, will be exalted as such whether by life or by death (Philippians 1:20). This is Matt's hope. He knows this hope; he lives this hope; he preaches this hope. Lauren knows and lives this hope as well, and Matt is blessed to have her at his side.

I just needed to tell myself that today. I need to remember that as I voice desires to be fulfilled and as I plead with the "God who is able," for Matt's strength and healing and restoration, I must not confuse my desire and my hope. I am holding tightly to hope and finding my comfort in the God of Hope. Praying we all will. Apostles Church will be praying for the Chandlers

7 comments:

  1. Hey Kristi...I can't agree more. As you well know...I am praying for several miracles this year- but I trust that God is in control. Throughout this year He has taught me about peace...true peace. The type of peace that is unexplainable. I am learning to daily go back to God and rest in His promises. Thank you for reminding me of that this Christmas. You are a woman that has been blessed with wisdom beyond your years. I truly count it a blessing to have you as a friend and a prayer warrior. I will continue to petition God for healing for Luke! As I have watched God answer so many prayers for Luke this year...my faith has increased and I believe in God's miraculous power more than ever! Love you!

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  2. KRISTI, WE ARE PRAYING FOR YOU LITTLE BOY. READING YOUR BLOG, INSPIRES ME, I KNOW YOUR DAD MUST BE SO VERY PROUD OF YOU, WE WERE IN THE VALLEY CHURCH. YOU TRUELY ARE A STRONG WOMEN OF GOD, MAY GOD RICHLY BLESS YOU AND GIVE YOU THE DESIRES OF YOUR HEART, BRENDA RUNSICK

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  3. Fewer seizures is definitely a step in theright direction. I hope the New Year brings even fewer.

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  4. Dear Kristi & Andrew: We will be praying especially for Luke & Caleb at our Special Prayer Service tonight, bringing in the New Year at Berea Temple A/G in St. Louis. I've taken pictures off your site, and printed them for our congregation to see, and they love the boys. God Bless you Kristi and Andrew for your examples of Godly Parents. We have loved your Dad & Mom and you girls since before they left the first time as Missionaries!!! Love you, Rebekah:-) & Duane Rice

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  5. How are things going? You are about at week 4 right?

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  6. Wow Kristi, I am also inspired by your writing. I am praying for Luke,Caleb, you and Andrew. I think it's awesome that you realize that the most vital need your boys have is to know Jesus. I'm glad we are in the same church family. Love you guys, Emily Blake

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  7. Hi Kristi,

    I'm a friend of the Manuels. He referred to your blog in this month's 'In a nutshell' and I found your blog very interesting.

    You are so strong! I have had a total of 4 seizures in the past 5 years due to 2 strokes I suffered as a child, and those 4 episodes have been traumatic enough; I can't even begin to imagine what you are going through. Please take courage from Is. 63:9 In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of His presence saved them.

    Our God is a great God!

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