I promised I would provide an update on the results of the challenge last week to accept all things as filtered through God's hand. Here goes:
Dennis and Karen were delayed on their trip home from her dad's house and missed (potentially) being in any one of three major accidents on the turnpike. Had they left on time, they would have been in real danger.
Lori got final word that she does, in fact, have breast cancer. I went with her yesterday to visit the surgeon. About 6 months ago, her bloodhound nearly ripped that one off of her chest jumping for a toy. Had she not followed up on the injury when she got her job back, they might not have found the cancer for quite awhile. The dog has probably saved her life. Lori tends to stay by herself most of the time and has been deeply injured in the past as she ministered in other churches. We got to talk about it for quite awhile last night. She and her family are ready and eager to get back to serving, and our group is well equipped to support her through this time.
Gail spent most of last week at Mayo Clinic with Charlie. He had a liver transplant 18 months ago and got pneumonia last week. Her post this morning was precious: "My mind is at peace. Charlie is doing great, I am at home, and all is right with my world. Praise the Lord for another awesome day!"
I had almost no work to do last week and ended up reading legislation all week. By the end of the week I wrote a plan that, if implemented, could completely change the entire structure of our communities throughout Florida. I have plenty of people around me that can get the plan press and we'll see what the Lord does from here.
As I talked with Lori last night, we talked about whether our group could even grow with people like all of us in it. Somehow, the Father was able to say through me that we would grow, but not in the same way as most. Most people would be overwhelmed by our lives--a typical suburban Christian wouldn't have an idea how to deal with families with Down syndrome, schizophrenia, liver transplants, unmarried daughters with disabled grandchildren, breast cancer, dysfunctional marriages, jobs slowly disappearing, etc. These are ordinary things for us. We have learned much about depending on God through suffering and have overcome much. We don't like the suffering, but love the fruit.
Later that night, the Father redirected me to Big Lots to get some supplies for our families and I ran into a clerk there that is dealing with a 31 year old son with suicidal bipolar. She and her husband have been depending on the Lord all by themselves. I realized that this is how we will grow--and quickly invited her to join us. Our group may not be for everyone, but we would each bury most other groups anyway--we are too heady a crowd.
Life is hard, but God is good.