Monday, August 31, 2009

In The Beginning

February 24, 2004

Hi, guys. I'm not sure how many of you were aware, but my older brother, Chad, had (melanoma) about two years ago. We caught it early and he has been in remission for about 18 months. Today, he went to a surgeon to have a knot under his arm looked over. The surgeon in Albemarle didn't like what he saw and is sending him to Charlotte in the morning to have it removed for biopsy. I'm trying not to get ahead of myself, but, naturally, we're all very concerned and shaken. I don't know how many of you are praying people, but I believe in the power of prayer, and I'm asking all of you to lift him up tonight.

Love to you all...Marti

The next evening, in the check-out line at my neighborhood Bi-Lo, I got the news that Chad's tumor was malignant. I began to sob...right there in the grocery store, as the cashier and fellow-shoppers eyed me nervously. I just could not get a hold of myself. As I think back on that moment, and I remember it well, I realize, more than anything else, I was grieving the all too sudden passing of life as I knew it.

The Wonder Years had come to an end. They would not return.

The above email to various friends and family marks the beginning of my journey of suffering. It doesn't speak to my brother's suffering...I cannot even begin to do it justice. Neither does it speak to my family's suffering. Truly, I can only really speak to my own There would be many, many more emails to a growing number of folks over the course of the next few years. And, as the distribution list grew, so did the author. I would like to share the messages and the journey with you through this blog.

How one seemingly normal afternoon I was sitting in my cubicle...and how the ringing of the phone on that afternoon changed everything...

The very first step on my road to Ephraim.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Wonder Years

I have been meaning to begin a blog for some time...even feel called to it. I have put it off...for no other reason than I wonder what I could have to say that anyone else would want to hear? Blogs seem a bit narcissistic, don't they?

Yet, here am I. The truth is that I do have something to say...Ephraim.

The second son he named Ephraim and said,
"It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering."
- Genesis 41:52

I lived a somewhat charmed life in my early years..."The Wonder Years" as Gen X could refer to it. I was raised in a home that did not just teach me about my Savior, they showed me. There is a mighty difference, and I'm no fool. I am well aware that I am blessed. As an eight year old, I began to feel a tug inside of me..."What does it mean to be this Christian that I hear them talking about?" One night, I asked my father that very question, and on an old church pew my mother had placed right there in my bedroom, I surrendered to Lord Jesus.

Then what?

Nothing really. Of course, I attended church and memorized Scripture...the usual...but by most standards my life was incredibly normal and, really, rather uneventful. I actually had a psych teacher tell me in college that I was so normal I was abnormal...for real. I'm convinced it started at home. I'm sure of it. There was never any real unrest in my home. You know what I'm taking about...there was no marital discord, drinking, abuse, anger...all the unthinkable atrocities that we all know lurk behind front doors all over America. As an adult I have learned that there were tough times, but my parents did an incredible job of making sure those concerns were kept where they belonged...with the mommy and the daddy. It was very peaceful in that respect. Peaceful, yes. Quiet, no. With two brothers and get the picture. My family was strict, but full of happiness. It was such a wonderful thing.

I tell you all this because during this time...I truly had no idea who I had surrendered my life to. Of course, if you had asked me to tell you about my Jesus, I would have answered. "He is my Savior!", I would have said. "He is the Son of God, crucified for my sins and victorious over death!", I would have told you. And I would have been right. I had no idea, however, just who He is...and how crazy he is about me. Not because I wasn't saved, but because I had not truly struggled...wrestled...fought...begged...trusted...rested.

In my twenty-seventh year, that all changed.

Ephraim. This is the story of my struggle. This is the story of my harvest...