Surrendering in Prayer

Today a community of writers will take the prompt that Kate Motaung has given and  write  for  five minutes  (or sometimes a little longer).        I enjoy linking up with Five Minute Friday and seeing where the word takes us. Today’s prompt is: SURRENDER

Every morning my husband and I read a  daily  devotion  from  God’s  Wisdom for Navigating Life by Tim Keller. The verse for this morning comes from Proverbs 3:11-12

My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.

My thoughts go back to the time that our son was battling leukemia. It has been almost 30 years ago. Steven’s illness was not a punishment—it was suffering that God allowed. God loved us during that difficult time; we experienced it through scripture and the community of friends that stood by us.

My husband and I fought for the life of our son with every means possible. We did research. We eventually accompanied Steven to the Cancer Research Center in Seattle where he had a bone marrow transplant. We provided his care at home.

Throughout this time we were praying. I talked with God during the long nights. I wept and cried out to him in the shower (so Steven would not see my anguish). As the cancer progressed and eventually took Steven’s life I surrendered to God in prayer.

Now, when I look back I can see how that time period refined my faith. I was talking to God, speaking to him about my pain. I saw the way Steven trusted God as we spent time in God’s word. God guided our family through a period of suffering. Steven’s sisters have grown in their faith and are now ministering to their own families.

If you are in a period of suffering the best thing you can do is pray. Lay your pain and suffering before the Lord and trust that He will carry you through, building your faith.

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Surprised by God’s Plan

Today I am joining Kate Motaung for Five Minute Friday: We write fast and free, for five minutes flat. The prompt is: CONTROL

To be honest I wrote my story a few days ago as #MyUnintendedJoy. I spent five, maybe ten minutes revising it for this post.

The birth control pill was legalized across the nation when I was a teenager. When I married, the conventional opinion was that a couple should have two children. My husband and I could plan and control the size of our family.

As a nurse I was always concerned about the side effects of hormonal pills, but knew that I could avoid pregnancy with a diaphragm (if used consistently!)   I wasn’t sure that I was ready to have children, but became pregnant in our first year of marriage. Our daughter brought joy. After our daughter was born I became pregnant again. To our surprise I was carrying twins.   So God had  determined our family size—three    children, I thought.

My twins were born via cesarean section. We were thrilled with this baby boy and girl! We brought them home to a big sister who saw her siblings with wonder.

Three weeks after they were born I developed severe complications—disseminated intravascular coagulation. I was bleeding heavily and my doctor sent me to the operating room.   He did a D & C.    Then he   considered doing a hysterectomy, but first asked another doctor’s opinion.

The consulting doctor advised my doctor to watch and wait. So I received blood transfusions, and over the next twelve hours we waited for the decision. The consultant advised against surgery. I did not have the hysterectomy and recovered. God had more plans for our family–even though my doctor advised that I not become pregnant again.

Over the next few years I sought to control the health of my children. They had allergies and food intolerances. I kept notebooks, followed elimination diets and provided vitamin supplements. I was sure that if I did everything right my children would be healthy. It didn’t turn out that way. Instead I needed to lean on the Lord for help.

When the twins were six years old,  our son was diagnosed  with  an     aggressive form of leukemia. We supported Steven through a year of chemotherapy and then bone marrow transplant. We walked through days of painful procedures, hope, endurance and reversal.

God demonstrated his love for our family through the hands of friends and the church community. I learned so much about God and his care for us during that time period. I learned that I was not in control, but God is good.

When Steven passed away, the grief I experienced was heavy.

We had family discussions in the weeks and months after Steven’s death. We received medical advice and dared to pray for a child, for new life. Eight years earlier I had been saved from a hysterectomy. We experienced God’s grace.

When our fourth child was born we rejoiced. My husband and I never imagined that God would increase our family in this way, bringing joy and blessing. God desires our good and walks with us through difficult times.