While we were in Latvia we had two students who were new believers. They had been living together before they came to faith in Christ and when they repented they broke up and decided to go to Bible School for one year to get their lives in order and pray about whether they were to be together. We had the privilege of talking and praying with them on several occasion while there for our two weeks and helped them come up with a plan to follow when they left school so they could investigate what they were to do for their future. Anyway to make a long story short, we just found out a few weeks ago that they are engaged and going to get married. We love them and are so thankful for the Lords faithfulness in blessing us in our obedience.
Please pray for Rihard and Eva as they begin their new life together.
It is a beautiful Spring day today, Oh I forgot to mention it is November 18, and it is 78 degrees and sunny. So I am sitting outside enjoying the weather as long as I can. As I have sat here and prayed and meditated on the word, I find myself getting nostalgic.
As you know my (Sherry) mom has been declining in her health for some time and as the days progress into winter she seems to be slipping away from us. Not physically, but her mind is getting a bit confused these days. It is like a long good bye. Each day I wake up and wonder if I will be spending it with my old mom or the new one. Now mind you, the new one is as sweet and funny as the old, but sometimes our conversations are rather basic due to her condition. I love when she is searching for a memory of some conversation we just had and she announces with a twinkle in her eye, darn that short term memory. I don't think I could handle this if her sense of humor was not intact. God is so gracious to us.
I was thinking back over our lives together. My mom was one of those moms who poured herself into her family. I was an only child and when I was 10 my dad died suddenly. I remember as a little girl how unsettling that was, but mom was a rock for me during that season of life. Even with her own pain she always had time to spend with me and take such good care of my needs. We would talk for hours about all the good times we had with Daddy and it would somehow make it seem like he was still with us. She eventually married again to a wonderful man named George who had two kids. So I went from being an only child to a middle child. Oh my what a change. But mom was always there for me and we loved our new family.
Mom always worked during the school year as a secretary, but arranged her house so she was home when we were home. And the best part she made sure she had her summers off so we could be together. We like so many families have tons of memories and most of them are good.
Mom was there for me when I had trouble at School, or was sick or when I got married and was having problems and then when our daughter was born and I knew nothing about kids, mom was there. Always with good advice and stability. And she was and is a fabulous Grandma and Great Grandma. Ask any of our 5 Grandchildren.
After mom gave her life to Christ she got even better. Her life was spent serving others and caring for those God brought across her path. She loves to evangelize even now and so no one got away without hearing the gospel at least once. She started a blog a few years ago title The Granny Grams where she continued to share what God was teaching her and also the need for each person to give their lives to Christ.
But I have realized that as mom changes, if I am not careful I look at her each day and wait for the old mom to show up and if she does not it makes me very very sad. So I said all of that to say that the Lord has shown me how important it is to do as Paul said in Philippians 3:13: Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet;but one thing I do, FORGETTING WHAT LIES BEHIND and REACHING FORWARD TO WHAT LIES AHEAD, I PRESS ON TOWARD the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
As I tuck her in each night her last words to me are always, I love you and thank you for taking such good care of me. What a precious memory to add to my list of things I love about her.
So what I am learning, note I said learning, is to celebrate each day for what it is and not look back always wanting things to return to what they were yesterday or last year or farther back. This is the season God has me in and it is to be celebrated. It will not be wasted with what ifs and I wish we could go back. This is an opportunity for me to give back to mom all the love and care she gave to me for years without ever complaining. This is my opportunity to model to others how a believer in Jesus shows honor to a parent and handles difficulty. God will not give me more than I can handle. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
So as I say my long goodbye to mom I will mediate on what the Psalmist said in Psalm 33:20-22 My soul waits for the Lord; He is my help and my shield. For my heart rejoices in Him, because I trust in His holy name. Let your loving kindness, O Lord, be upon me. According as I have hoped in you.
I hope this has been an encouragement to you to look at your life and see how you are handling the season God has you.
James 1: 2-4 says: Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
I just realized today that we have not posted anything since our return from Latvia in May. Two weeks after our return, Sherry's mom had a stroke and was in the hospital for 2 long weeks then came home and needed extra care for most of the summer. Sherry is the primary caretaker so time was definitely taken up with her care. If it had not been for our family and those from our Church stepping up to help it would have been overwhelming. They provided respite, meals and just encouragement. It made such a difference. God used each one at the exact moment they were needed to help carry the load.
PW was also battling health issues. The summer was spent going to specialists, having tests done and then thankfully in September we finally got a good report and all is clear, no cancer, no lymphoma no anything life threatening. We definitely learned a lot about healing during this summer. Learning to stand on the promises of God for His children and rejoicing when we saw the fruition of those things for which we prayed.
At the present time both of our moms are still with us but both are getting weaker and more needy of our care as the days progress. This is a season and we are so honored that God is giving us this time with them as they finish their race on this earth.
However in light of this, Sherry is not able to travel with PW for a bit. That means we cannot visit Ukraine or Poland this year as much as our hearts would love to go. The Latvian Bible School is coming up in April and unless things change PW will be attending and teaching alone. This will be the first time we have not been able to go together. Please pray that God will work out all the details and that we will wait patiently for His will to be accomplished in this season.
We have had a busy summer of ministry also.
Had the privilege of doing many baptisms like this one.
Our Grandson, Nathan put on a concert of his original songs to earn money for his trip to Emerging Sound in July.
WE said goodbye to our beloved treasurer, Cindy Easthom, who was moving to Kentucky
Hosted our friends Roger and Josiah Harsh who are missionaries in Czech Republic
Hosted our friends Ebi, Jessica and Natasha Dudzhus from Ukraine
Went to Sherry's 50th class reunion
Participated in an awesome Prayer meeting, on our town square with over 250 saints from area Churches, crying out to God for our nation.
Did our annual Church free and living water outreach at the Chardon Arts festival
Here are some of our youth passing out tracts and water
Had a family carnival for our community as an outreach
So that is our update so now you know how to pray for us. May God bless you and keep you and make His face shine upon you today and always.