Friday, August 12, 2011

A Summary of our Summer - Pain and Peace

We are working on getting our lives back to normal.  As you may or may not know, our summer has been a little different than normal.  Getting home with our Peaches at the end of March, we were prepared for that segment of our lives to be the most consuming.  We were prepared to cocoon and to lay low, adjusting to our new lives with our new little girl.

During our first trip to Ethiopia at the end of February, my mom, who was watching our kids back at home, found out that she had breast cancer.  There was a lot of bittersweet feelings knowing we were soon to bring home our Peaches and knowing my mom was to begin a battle with cancer.  How do you split your feelings between such opposite emotions?  Did I mention that my family has never had any cancer?  God, is your timing always good?  Are you really in control?

Later in the Spring, in late May, we found out that a flood was coming.  The Missouri River would run at three or four times its normal flow for the duration of the summer.  We were told that basements in our town could flood due to rising groundwater.  So we emptied our entire basement - furniture, carpet, doors, everything.  This included the basement section of our new addition - yes, the basement addition that had just been beautifully finished just a mere six months ago.  We also had a similar flood threat at work which resulted in working long hours, seven days a week for the month of June.  There was no time to breath.  We also felt as though we had very little breathe with which to breath.  God, why a flood?  Don't we have enough going on already?

During the middle of the month of June, Heather's dad had a serious heart attack.  It was serious enough to leave his mind not as sharp as it was.  It also affected his cardiovascular system so that he is now very out of breath in everything that he does.  It was a very sobering time to think about possibly losing him.  This was his first heart attack.  It was again a wake up call to God's timing and to His voice.  We begin to now seriously examine our own hearts and lives.  God, what are you saying to us?

Then, within a few weeks after Heather's dad's heart attack, my dad found out that he had kidney cancer.  Did I mention that my family has no history of cancer?  He ended up having surgery 9 days ago to remove the kidney with cancer.  There were concerns because the full extent of the cancer would not be known until he was opened for surgery.  We were thankful to find out that the cancer was completely confined inside of the removed kidney.  Following the surgery he was completely cancer free.  However, he is now down to a single kidney.  God?  Cancer again?  We are listening intently to Your voice.  We are bowed low.  Selah.  Speak Lord.

As if this were not enough, there have been some serious issues within our family that we have had to deal with.  Issues that cut to the heart as much, if not even more, as the health issues of our parents.  Issues that absorb every ounce of mental and emotional energy that is available.  Issues that make you wonder, why now, Lord?  We have no strength.

In the midst of all of this, it is easy to ask, is God in control?  And if He is, then why is He allowing this?  And is it even possible that He is the author of all of this, directing it for His purposes?  Heather and I have spent many hours pouring through scripture, pouring our hearts out in prayer with these and many other questions rolling through our minds.  We have pondered the very being of our great God and have once again come to see that He is high and mighty and beautiful and glorious and that all of His purposes and plans are perfectly issued from His will with great tender care.  We have tasted Him in ways we never thought possible.  We have felt a greater need for Him than ever.  We have realized our frailty and sensed that we are always sheltered under His wing, always protected even in the midst of seeming chaos.

Now as the summer is winding down, the flood waters are soon to recede.  We are thankful that we did not get any water in our basement.  My mom's breast cancer has been removed and she courageously withstood 33 radiation treatments.  For now, she is clean.  Heather's dad continues to recover.  He is easily winded, but is able to get around.  My dad, as mentioned above, is cancer free.  He is at a rehabilitation home recovering from his major kidney surgery.  Oh, and our amazing Peaches?  She has been the easiest part of our lives over the last 4 or 5 months.  Sure, there have been many adjustments as part of having an adopted toddler from Africa, but how we thank God for His many workings in her life.  He is so good.

Life is returning to normal.  God has blessed us greatly.  Not just with many answers to our prayers, but with His presence during times when we received no answer but had to wait.  Our prayer now is that as we move away from some of our recent heart-wrenching struggles, that we would still realize that we are just as frail, just as weak, and equally under His wing.  We have fallen before God's throne many times this summer.  Even though it was during painful times, there was no better place to be. 

I encourage anyone else who is hurting with their own indescribable pain, there is peace, there is mercy, there is healing with Him.  Fall before Him, call out to Him, quietly listen to Him.  He knows your need, He know your pain, He is your peace.


  1. Amen! Thank you for sharing this!

  2. So many times, your post set my heart and mind on our God who is Mighty to save. I appreciate that honesty and truth go hand in hand. May God give you a season of peace and rest.

  3. Toni,
    Thanks for you kind words. It's good to share the journey with others. And we are very thankful that in the midst of trials, God is our peace and rest!

  4. This is great. I really appreciate it and gives us an opportunity to pray for you guys. We are here for you. Send your kids over for a play date and take a much-needed nap!!! :)