The latest from the Pauper’s Hovel

Well it has been a bit since I posted (OK since Oct 2011 but who’s counting). So I thought it might be time to give an update and begin to tell the new story through which the KING has elected I must pass.

One of the reasons for my silence about issues on the homefront has been the journey into foster care that the Lord began taking us in Dec of 2010. The confidentiality rules made it very hard to blog and not get myself in trouble so I didn’t. Needless to say it has been a journey of increased dependence on our Father God and a journey of emptying of self (that part is often not very pretty). We are currently fostering a sibling group that we are praying the Lord will allow us to adopt but for that to happen very God-sized mountains will have to be removed into the sea as you will soon see.

All other issues aside, the single biggest mountain we face in this journey is Cancer. In January I found out that I had cancer. Initially they thought and began planning like it was rectal cancer (very bad stuff and not much hope). “But God” being rich in his grace and goodness saw fit that after 2 biopsies, 1 attempt at a bone marrow biopsy and losing over 6 units of blood that they should discover that I DO NOT have rectal cancer but rather Burkitt’s Lymphoma! Praise God for Lymphoma! (Still bad stuff – see the 6 unit blood loss; but very treatable and highly curable).

Due to the aggressive nature of Burkitt’s the Doctors must be equally aggressive so that meant I spent most of last week in the oncology ward of our hospital. Each day has a regimen of meds so vile that no one can use the same bathroom as me for about 3-4 days AFTER they stop giving it to me. I have had 2 lumbar punctures, 1 bone marrow biopsy, 7 units of blood and more medicine than I have had most of my life. This journey will be at least 9 – 12 weeks and due to the frequent hospitalizations, immune compromise and fatigue I will be out of work on short term disability.  Needless to say, we could use your prayers.

It is my hope to not waste this suffering and to testify of God’s overflowing goodness and mercy in all of this. God is so good and he is good all the time! From the way far flung friends have sent gift cards and tender words of encouragement, to the way we have been surrounded by our church family, to the way my mountain of a man brother continues to tenderly check on me, We have been so richly blessed!

I will leave you with but one of the tender mercies of Our God. After being in the hospital all week, my doctor came into my room late on Friday evening for what we thought was just a regular round of checks before she went home. However, she had come to discharge me since my blood numbers were so good. There was one small issue, there was a medication that I needed which we had thought we had all arranged, small problem – it was not arranged. We tried every pharmacy we could think of and it was no good, the medication was special order and would not arrive until Monday. So it looked like we were going to have to make the 45 min car ride to the doctor’s office each day until the medicine came in. That is until God sent one of my dearest friends to my room in the midst of this madness and reminded him of a pharmacist friend of his. It was after hours and getting later but my friend tried anyway, by God’s providence the pharmacist was in the office late and as a specialty pharmacy had exactly what I needed. A few minutes, a few phone calls later and I had the medicine and was on my way home. God is seldom early, but he is NEVER, EVER late.

Theology Thursday: What is your faith worth to you?

Many of us are comfortable thinking and even speaking about our convictions but what would we really give up for them? For a young man named Joel Northrup his convictions were worth more than the treasures of Egypt  (Heb 11:24-26). Well done Mr. Northrup! You have acquitted yourself as a man should.

From the Associated Press via Yahoo:

DES MOINES, Iowa – An Iowa high school wrestler who was one of the favorites to win his weight class defaulted on his first-round state tournament match rather than face one of the first girls to ever qualify for the event.

Joel Northup, a home-schooled sophomore who was 35-4 wrestling for Linn-Mar High this season, said in a statement that he doesn’t feel it would be right for him to wrestle Cedar Falls freshman Cassy Herkelman. Herkelman, who was 20-13 entering the tournament, and fellow 112-pounder Ottumwa sophomore Megan Black, who was 25-13, made history by being the first girls to qualify for the state tournament. Black was pinned quickly in her opening round match.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Cassy and Megan and their accomplishments. However, wrestling is a combat sport and it can get violent at times,” wrote Northup. “As a matter of conscience and my faith I do not believe that it is appropriate for a boy to engage a girl in this manner. It is unfortunate that I have been placed in a situation not seen in most other high school sports in Iowa.”

Read the rest here.

Theology Thursday – Are You REALLY Pro-Life?

Valerie at In Faith and In Purity poses a question with which I think we ALL should wrestle:

So I ask you again, are you REALLY pro-life?

Let’s be clear and make no confusion about my heart on this. I am not saying at all that if you use birth control of any kind, you are pro-abortion. I know many different families with many different views on children, and I know how much each one of them loves the Lord. I try and support all my friends in their personal decision that are between them, their husbands, and God.

But I cannot get away from the hypocrisy of it all when it comes to the pro-life movement in general.

Some of the women I knew, who I KNOW are pro-life, were so horrified when they found out my husband and I were getting a reversal and decided to let God bless us with more children. As many as He wanted actually. They were absolutely disgusted. How can I translate that with their STAUNCH pro-life stance? I just can’t.

I volunteered as a counselor/client advocate at a crisis pregnancy resource center and all the while, my hope was that I could encourage, love on, and bring hope in the name of Christ to some of these hurting women. Not all women who came in wanted abortions, some just wanted a free pregnancy test. But some, whom I will never forget, where hurting, and scared, and desperately wanted to keep the baby, but didn’t know how to make it work. They reminded me so much of myself at nineteen, pregnant, unmarried and scared to death , when I too had to walk in to a crisis pregnancy center because I couldn’t even afford the ten dollar test. I remember the feelings of fear, hurt, and joy that you experience all at the same time when you find out your are expecting a VERY unplanned ill-timed pregnancy.

Read the entire post here.

Freebie Friday – Free Book!

Logos is offering “Memoir and Remains of the Rev. Robert Murray McCheyne” as a free download for a limited time:

John Piper’s address at this year’s Desiring God Conference for Pastors is on Scottish Presbyterian minister Robert Murray McCheyne. McCheyne died at 29, but left a lasting legacy. To help you get acquainted with McCheyne and prepare for Piper’s message, we’ve partnered with Desiring God to offer a free download of the classic Memoir and Remains of the Rev. Robert Murray McCheyne, and we’re extending this free offer to everyone.

Click here to go to the download page.

Theology Thursday – God Does Not Make Mistakes

I like this video on 2 fronts:

  1. It attacks our practical atheism in which we live our lives without relating EVERYTHING that happens to the divine plan and purpose for His glory through our lives.
  2. It attacks the idea that we can not trust God to determine how many children we have. Dr. Evans makes it clear that the scriptures testify that EVERY single person is a special creation of God. Created by HIS divine volition and unction, out of HIS perfect counsel, plan and will. There are NO “SURPRISE” children if we believe the Bible to be God’s Word. Each of them were sovereignly ordained in eternity past to be created by God’s own hand in their mother’s womb. When we take the “planning” of our family and its size into our own hands we proclaim that we do NOT believe that the Bible is God’s word (else we would live as if we believed passages like Ps 139:13-16) and we show ourselves to be atheistic in our daily practice – living as one with without regard for God and his Law.

Watch at your own risk!

Remember you are accountable for the revelation you have been given!

Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

I am ruined

Well it is official, all of this Bible study and Jesus stuff has ruined me. Tonight I did something I have not done in a very long time but something that holds fond memories for me – I watched a John Wayne movie. You see I loved watching John Wayne movies with my Dad growing up and so tonight I thought I would watch one I had recorded. So after the Dear Wife had gone to bed and the Little Pauper was asleep I settled on the couch for a bit of fun and nostalgia with The Duke in “The Wings of Eagles”.

As the opening credits began to roll for this John Ford film, I was really looking forward to seeing this film about Frank “Spig” Wead for the first time. The opening scenes set up a typical Wayne military movie with side splitting hijinks  and the usual fisticuffs. Oh, what memories and the fun. The only problem is that as the film portrayed this very real man and his trials and successes, all I could see was the sub-plot of his failings as a family man. You see while “Spig” was making a career in the Navy it was at the expense of his family. Then when he realizes what a dolt he has been and is trying to put his family back together he has an accident and is rendered a quadriplegic. After a surgery to save his life and hopefully help him walk again, when he would most need his family, “Spig” does the “heroic” and I guess “expected” (for the era) thing and tells his wife to go make a life without him since he will “never” be any good to her now. She foolishly listens to him and leaves. The story then goes on to show how “Spig” eventually walks with 2 canes and leg braces, goes on to be a successful screen and playwright. All the while his DAUGHTERS grow up without him and while he saves his money for them, it is not until he is old and they are in college that he attempts to re-connect with them. Then just when he and his wife are about to once again try to put their marriage back together again WWII breaks out and his mistress the Navy calls him like a Siren away from his family and into active duty once again. The only thing that stops his march into the Naval War in the Pacific is a heart attack. The movie ends with all of his Navy buddies saluting him as he rides a ship to ship transfer seat headed home.

Now John Ford meant this movie to be a tribute to his friend who no doubt made a lasting and significant contribution to the Navy and the War effort. The problem for me is I can’t get lost in the fantasy painted by those without Christ anymore. The father’s heart that beats in my chest watched this movie and broke for a man and a family I have never met. I am not sure how much of the movie is “real” and how much is “dramatic license” but for me it did not matter. You see as one who YHWH has begun to teach about the importance of fathers and who has turned my heart to the hearts of my children (Mal. 4:6) all I could see was the mess left by an absent, albeit ambitious, father.  I could not see the achievements, all I saw was the sad story of a man who had gained the adulation of the world (even played a part in saving it from the Axis Powers) but had traded the souls of his wife and daughters to get it.

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,” (Ephesians 5:25, ESV)

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4, ESV)

“For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?” (Luke 9:25, ESV)

See I told you am ruined. As one for whom Jesus is turning on the lights of his wisdom through his Word, my flesh might want to return to bliss of the dark where movies are just harmless entertainments but I can’t. Even if the lights went back out, the brightness of His truth would be so burned in my retinas that the illusion of the dark would still reveal its horrible ugliness.     ………. Sure makes you want to come and watch a movie at my house doesn’t it?