I’m happy to introduce Osayi Osar-Emokpae, our guest blogger today. When I first read this a few weeks ago, I almost cried. “How could she read my mind and know exactly what I was worrying about?!” God works in amazing ways. I hope this blesses each of you as much as it did me!
So many times I find myself worrying about what could happen. I’m worried about bad decisions I made, the good decisions I didn’t make, and everything in between.
I’m worried about the bills I need to pay, the friends I wish lived closer, the places I wish I could visit.
I’m worried about my past, my present, my future. Will I make a difference? Will I ever find my purpose? Will I ever accomplish all the things God wants me to accomplish?
I’m worried about the changes that seem to be happening beyond my control, about all the time I’ve wasted, and how time seems to be moving so slowly one second, and then moving at lightning-fast speed the next second.
But I’ve been reminded lately about the verse:
What then shall we say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us.
So when the voices rise up, and I begin to worry about things, I know that it’s time for me to start saying things back. When the voice of worry tells me that I’m a failure and that I’ll always be a failure, I know it’s time to start speaking back. When the voice of worry reminds me of all my past mistakes, and lost opportunities, I know that I can respond boldly.
“Since God is for me, NOTHING can succeed against me.”
How about you? How do you respond when you start to worry?
Hi friends, I can’t thank you enough for your prayers! Brian and I had a wonderful trip home over the weekend. It was such a blessing to us, and to our families.
We got to visit my Aunt Joy at home, because she was released from the hospital several days early! She encouraged us so much. She told us that the tumor is cancerous, called a glioma. Some of it is inoperable, so they will start chemo and radiation once her skull heals from her biopsy/brain surgery. They are considering Mayo clinic and the cancer center in Chicago, in addition to the cancer center in Des Moines.
It had only been a week since they discovered the tumor, and in that time, she’d found out she had cancer, the prognosis was one to five years, and had undergone brain surgery to remove some of the tumor. That’s a lot to take in just a week. But she kept telling us, “God is so good!” and recounting all the ways He had already provided for their needs. “He knows what He’s doing, He knows.” She said. That has a lot of weight when it’s coming from someone in their mid 40’s, facing an aggressive disease, with four children at home.
The white baby blanket symbolizes my cousin Andrew, who passed away as a baby.
I felt so reassured after seeing my aunt’s positive attitude, and peace. I’m sure she has lots of fears, but at the same time, she has great confidence in her God. She accepts that this is part of His plan for her, and trusts His heart.
She also realizes that it is an opportunity. When we were visiting, she shared that a friend was stopping by in the evening, and she hoped that she could lead her to Christ. Aunt Joy and Uncle Rod are also reaching out to the Drs. and nurses and sharing their hope in Christ with them. I’m confident that wherever they go for treatment, God will use them to impact the medical staff.
We also spent time with Brian’s mom and dad in the hospital. My MIL still cannot move her legs, but since they discovered she has a staph infection and put her on antibiotics, the pain has decreased. After several days, they saw the infectious diseases doctor. She was the first to agree that there had to be a connection with the staph infection and her pain and immobility of her legs. She ordered a MRI of the area with contrast, and found inflammation in the area. It’s unclear why the staph would camp out there. It’s also unclear if she will regain the use of her legs when the infection goes away.
As of yesterday, the pain is centered in her left leg, and she lost the ability to use her inner thigh muscles. They plan to move to the rehab center at the hospital.
A few days ago, the neurologist told them that her leg muscles were “dead” and she’d never walk again. They got a second opinion from a doctor, and he said with lots of therapy, she might regain some use of them. The doctor of infectious diseases said she’d be totally fine. Obviously, there’s just a little difference of opinion there.
It’s very frustrating for my in-laws. They don’t have much confidence in the staff, especially after a Dr. claimed she had pneumonia, and later, a heart murmur, which required a test to make sure her heart valves were fine. And it turned out, she had neither pneumonia nor a heart murmur.
It seemed to me that my MIL was very anxious about their insurance and how they were going to pay for everything, and my FIL’s business. He’s been staying at the hospital 24/7, so he hasn’t gone to work this whole time, and probably won’t until she’s better. When you own your own business as a consultant, that’s not good. Please pray that they will both focus on getting her better, and leave the rest in God’s hands.
None of what’s happened to them is an accident. Not even the unnecessary heart valves test. Pray that they will see this as part of God’s plan, and be open to whatever it is that God is trying to teach them through this.
We got to see a lot of family members and some friends while we were there, and it was encouraging to know that they were praying for Aunt Joy and for Brian’s mom. God gave us a few unexpected blessings, like being able to go to the ISU football game for free, and being able to attend the 75th anniversary of the church we went to in college. The whole trip was filled with blessings, everything from being able to get on planes when flying standby, having dinner with my sister and her family, and spending the night with our good friends in Ames.
It was filled with food for thought for me. I thought about how I would respond to sudden illness…would I have peace, trust, and joy? Would I see it as an opportunity to grow in my faith, or become bitter? I realized that I have a lot of spiritual growing to do, but I’m glad that God gives us grace to face anything, right when we need it.
512. God knows that getting away from all the noise, the facebook notifications, the flagged emails, the twitter updates, is sometimes the perfect gift.
513. And it’s even better with friends.
sidenote: these guys own the house we’re renting, and the dog belongs to them.
514. The gift of getting close up with nature.
515. The gift of adventure.
Two of the families on our trip are native Arizonians and grew up camping in this area. Because they knew some of us weren’t as experienced, they picked an easy trail for our hike.
The views were breathtaking, but I didn’t get to look up often, I was too busy trying not to stumble and fall down the mountainside.
the “easy” trail
It was grueling for me. Much of the trail going down was loose, sandy gravel. I was as slow as the 5 and 8 year old kids. God brought to mind several spiritual parallels, and I found that encouraging. For instance, the hike was difficult, but it was good for me. It was making me stronger physically. In the same way, God allows us to experience trials so that we grow stronger spiritually.
516. He brings beauty from ashes.
517. A strong partner.
I depended on Brian to keep my balance much of the time, and to lead me in the best way down loose gravel slopes, around scorched fallen trees, and up rocky inclines.
the “easy” path gets harder…
518. A marked trail to follow.
When the path got rocky and hard to see, some hiker before us had marked the path with stones stacked on top of each other. When we feel like we’ve lost our way in life, God gives us reminders of His plan for us and His forgiveness and love. Sometimes, He uses people who’ve been there before.
519. Being held by His hands, seeing His glory revealed.
We arrived at our destination, a cave that rail road makers had blasted out of the mountain, but never finished.
Looking at the pictures now, it brings to mind when placed Moses in a cleft in the rock and covered him with His hand as He passed by, so that Moses could see the tail-end of His glory.
We were hidden in the rock, and beholding God’s glory revealed through nature.
And we were always in His hands.
518. The gift of stillness.
The water hurried past, but for a weekend, we didn’t hurry anywhere.
519. Light touching fallen things and making them golden and beautiful.
520. The gift of growth. However painful it may be.
521. The gift of the small and the humble.
522. The gift of knowing that He knows what lies around the bend. So I don’t have to.
523. The gift of peace, quiet, and rest.
Are you taking time to “get away” this summer? Are you taking time to rest and renew?