Suffering in Cruise Control

Most of you know – if you’ve been following us for any time at all – that this has been quite a health journey for us over the past 2 1/2 years. We’ve tried to be very open and honest about our journey, in order to help those who are struggling in other areas and right alongside us, as we have been striving to continue to honor Christ through all of it.

Sometimes perseverance is pushing through and pushing hard to continue to make difficult decisions and have wisdom throughout the process. And other times perseverance looks like and feels like you’re just coasting in cruise control. Life continues to move all around you and you’re trying to find your new normal. Each day is different. One day you have enough energy to complete all the tasks that need to be done. A couple days later the same tasks could send you to bed for the next 48 hours.

To be honest, these past six months have been lived in many moments of cruise control. I’ve had a very difficult time formulating my thoughts let alone my words, about everything that has been happening.

We are currently at another intersection, where cruise control just doesn’t work. Life has pushed us to make another decision. We’ve spent many hours in prayer and counsel about this new direction in our health journey. Memorial Sloan Kettering is an amazing hospital and are on the cutting edge of cancer treatment.

I have qualified for the “prequalification” of another study. I begin a low iodine diet tomorrow. Next week I will begin a ten day trek into the city for various appointments. During that time, there will be tests and evaluations to see if I qualify for the study. If so, it could lead to another isolation period for me. We could really use the prayers for this time period – for us and for our kids. This treatment has the potential to eradicate the cancer which is a hopeful solution that we haven’t heard in several months.

Thank you for patiently riding this journey alongside us, and for covering us in your prayers and encouragement. We are hopeful knowing that God has designed this entire path for us from the beginning of time. “The heart of man plans his way but the Lord establishes his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)

50 Years, 5 Lessons

In this day in age, when marriage seems to be disposable and no longer a sacred union between husband and wife, we believe it is important to take time to pause and celebrate milestones of this institutions that God has created. One of those milestones, for our family, that we are celebrating this year, is the 50th wedding anniversary of Nate’s parents.

Larry and Brinda have been an encouragement to us in their dedication and faithfulness to each other and to the Lord. Over the next few weeks, we will be highlighting five lessons we have learned from them in our observation of their commitment to one another and to the Lord.

Lesson #5

We have learned many things from Larry and Brinda over the years of observing their covenant relationship with one another, and with the Lord. In highlighting the top five, the fifth one we would say is their communication with one another.

If we are thinking about speaking in such a way that ministers grace to all who hear (Ephesians 4), we’ve observed that they do not speak poorly about the other person in public. They do not say anything negative to or about one another when they are with others. If there is something that needs to be discussed, they do it in such a way that is not letting the sun go down on their wrath, but sharpening each other in a private, personal setting.

The other thing they do well, is talking together at the end of the day. They talk about their day — and hear how the other person’s day was. Then they spend time praying together about difficulties they might be facing for our family and for anyone else they know who is going through a difficult time.

They are each others most trusted confidant, and at the same time most persistent prayer partner. They are each others greatest critic and at the same time, each others greatest fans.

Our challenge to you, as you read this, would be:

  • To not say anything negative about or to your spouse in public.
  • End the day actually talking to your spouse and praying with them. If you aren’t sure where to start, here are three questions we try to ask each other every evening:

1. What brought you the greatest joy today?

2. What was the hardest thing you had to do today?

3. How can I pray for you?

50 Years, 5 Lessons #4

In this day and age, when marriage seems to be disposable and no longer a sacred union between husband and wife, we believe it is important to take time to pause and celebrate milestones of this institutions that God has created. One of those milestones, for our family, that we are celebrating this year, is the 50th wedding anniversary of Nate’s parents.

Larry and Brinda have been an encouragement to us in their dedication and faithfulness to each other and to the Lord. Over the next few weeks, we will be highlighting five lessons we have learned from them in our observation of their commitment to one another and to the Lord.

Lesson #4

Larry and Brinda have chosen to not let the hardships of life be divisive. Instead, the hardships have made them stronger and brought them closer — not only to each other, but most importantly, to their Savior. 

There have been several circumstances where they have faced some pretty extreme difficulties financially, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Several years ago, Nate’s Dad was in a serious work accident that put him out of work for quite some time. It put their family in some very difficult situations in many ways. The easy thing, for either one of them, would have been to just move away from the relationship completely. However, they stayed faithful to the Lord and to each other through that trial (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Years later, their daughter was in a fatal car accident. It could have completely driven them apart, but it didn’t. It deepened their faith and brought them closer to their Savior. They have allowed these trials over the years, to draw them closer to the Lord, which has in turn drawn them closer to each other.

It seems for them, there has been one overarching Truth that has allowed them to face adversity in a way that brings God glory. That Truth, is God’s sovereignty over all things — He does all that He pleases (Psalm 115:3). Specifically during trials, so many couples spend so much time wondering if they married the right person. But if God is sovereign, meaning He is in complete control of every situation, then He allowed for them to marry the perfect person for them, and that is part of His perfect plan. This allowed them to put those questions aside and commit to loving their spouse in the way in which God has called them. Even when we face situations we don’t like, difficulty, and ground shaking trauma, an understanding of God’s sovereignty allows us to walk through those situations, knowing God is in complete control and up to something far bigger than we can comprehend or understand (Ephesians 3:20-21).

Stop and consider if you’ve allowed hardships, difficult situations, or even just the mundane things of life, to encourage division or distance between you and your spouse.

Then talk about it together. Seek and extend forgiveness where needed. And recognize that “the heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes His steps” (Proverbs 16:9).

 

50 Years, 5 Lessons #3

Cardinals picIn this day and age, when marriage seems to be disposable and no longer a sacred union between husband and wife, we believe it is important to take time to pause and celebrate milestones of this institutions that God has created. One of those milestones, for our family, that we are celebrating this year, is the 50th wedding anniversary of Nate’s parents.

Larry and Brinda have been an encouragement to us in their dedication and faithfulness to each other and to the Lord. Over the next few weeks, we will be highlighting five lessons we have learned from them in our observation of their commitment to one another and to the Lord.

Lesson #3

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24 (ESV)

For many couples, one or both parents live nearby, and they are constantly running to one or both families when something in the relationship does not go how they planned. Although both of their parents lived fairly close to them, Larry and Brinda spent intentional time fostering their relationship with each other by leaving and cleaving to become one flesh. They did (and still do) this in several practical ways.

1. They pursue and encourage each other’s interests.

Watching Larry’s softball games and supporting him, enjoying Cardinals’ games together, listening to Southern gospel music and going to concerts. These all seem like small things, but show a genuine interest in the other person as their lives became molded together.

2. They have built a life together.

One thing that seems to be pretty common in today’s day, is having separate bank accounts. They chose from the beginning of their marriage to join their finances together, to have transparency with each other about how their money was being spent. 

Going on separate vacations is another area that seems to be pretty prevalent in our culture. Although it’s not wrong to take an occasional trip without your spouse, it often appears that many couples vacation separately to “get a break from one another.” Building a life together by pursuing one another’s interests are very practical ways to become one flesh.

3. They are not absorbed in their own careers, but have helped each other accomplish their individual goals.

After marriage, Larry and Brinda waited for ten years to have their first child. This gave Brinda time to establish a career that would allow her to still be a stay-at-home mom but also generate income. Because of her career, when Larry had a serious injury, Brinda’s job allowed their family to keep the farm. This kept Larry’s desire to be a farmer, alive.

The call of the culture is to follow your own dreams. However, Scripture calls us to something much different. Because of that, the call of being one flesh in our marriage is needed more than ever.

We challenge you to review the areas above and see how you can grow to be one flesh in your marriage.

Are there any other ways that you have seen or experienced, in what it practically looks like to become one flesh as a married couple?

50 Years, 5 Lessons #2

In this day and age, when marriage seems to be disposable and no longer a sacred union between husband and wife, we believe it is important to take time to pause and celebrate milestones of this institution that God has created. One of those milestones for our family, that we are celebrating this year, is the 50th wedding anniversary of Nate’s parents.

Larry and Brinda have been an encouragement to us in their dedication and faithfulness to each other and to the Lord. Over the next few weeks, we will be highlighting five lessons we have learned from them in our observation of their commitment to one another and to the Lord.

Lesson #2

The second lesson we’ve learned from watching Nate’s parents in their marriage, is their commitment for the long haul. Our culture portrays that commitments are not important in the marriage relationship. If life gets even just a little bit hard, people get divorced. To our culture, working hard at a marriage just isn’t easy, and the quick way out, is to get a divorce.

But with Nate’s parents, that’s not the case. All too often we think about the commitment of being married for 50 years, and that seems like such a daunting task. We have to realize that the journey to 50 years begins with one day. There must be a commitment in that one day to growing your relationship. That commitment should be filled with things that are put in place to purposefully and intentionally grow your relationship toward God and toward each other.

There are three things that Nate’s parents do (and have done for many years) on a regular basis that has engendered this type of intentionality toward growing and fostering their relationship together.

1. Regular church attendance. This is a priority in their marriage. They worship together, they serve together, they fellowship together. Almost anytime the doors of the church building are open, they are there. Although we know that regular church attendance is not how you get to Heaven, spending time with other believers and serving in the local church body should be a part of regular life for a Christian family.

2. Talking and praying together almost every night before they go to sleep. They have made it a practice to end their day by sharing with each other the challenges and blessings of the day. Then they close out the evening by spending time in prayer over those challenges, and praying for people that they love and care about. It becomes a very important opportunity to end the day by focusing on their relationship with each other and with Christ.

3. Eating at least one meal together every day. With both of Nate’s parents working, mealtime was a time where the family could reconnect with one another, and they could reconnect as a couple. It made use of the time that they were going to use anyway to eat, and made it productive in growing their families’ relationship with each other and with the Lord.

This lesson in commitment has encouraged us to be intentional in the everyday moments of our marriage. We are in turn, encouraging you to choose one of these areas that you do not currently practice, and implement it into your relationship.

We would love to hear any other ideas you have implemented or seen implemented in a marriage, that seem to be small, but have a profound impact on the commitment and journey of marriage.IMG_5337

50 Years, 5 Lessons #1

In this day in age, when marriage seems to be disposable and no longer a sacred union between husband and wife, we believe it is important to take time to pause and celebrate milestones of this institutions that God has created. One of those milestones, for our family, that we are celebrating this year, is the 50th wedding anniversary of Nate’s parents.

Larry and Brinda have been an encouragement to us in their dedication and faithfulness to each other and to the Lord. Over the next few weeks, we will be highlighting five lessons we have learned from them in our observation of their commitment to one another and to the Lord.

Lesson #1

Larry and Brinda have a commitment to serve the Lord together.  This has not only happened in their marriage and in their home, but also in their ministry in the local church. Although we have seen Larry and Brinda minister in whatever capacities needed, one of their favorite ways to minister together is through music. Whether it is singing and playing themselves, or teaching others, they have used their gifts together to point other people to Christ. This has been a challenge to us from the very beginning of our marriage, to consider how we would serve the Lord together in whatever areas He would have us.

We want to challenge each couple to see their example, and ask yourselves two questions:

  1. Are you serving the Lord together as a couple?

2. How could you serve the Lord better together?

Take some time over the next week to consider how God has gifted each one of you, and how you can use those gifts together to serve the Lord in your local church.