Thursday, May 27, 2010

Say It Ain't So, Willie...


No...your eyes are NOT deceiving you. Willie Nelson did indeed cut off all his hair. And I have to tell you, it has rocked my world. Really. Why? I don't so much know. I mean, it's just that...you think you know a guy...

I don't have anything even remotely profound to say. The little brother moved in with me a few weeks ago, and he has surprised me in more than a few ways...to be expected since we haven't lived under the same roof since 1995. The main surprise being...drum roll, please...the boy is clean. Like mildly OCD clean.

What?!

Talk about thinking you know somebody. When Chad lived with me several years ago it was like living with Oscar the Grouch. In spirit and in truth, you know what I'm saying? Chad was a sweetheart with a HUGE heart...but he had a "side." If he were here, he would say "Amen." He knew it. Loved it, really. Anyway, I had emotionally prepared myself for the same type of experience with Alex since, I think, in my mind they are basically the same person born 10 years apart. I was w r o n g. I have never in my adult life been the messier person in a house. I am now...and I seem to work myself to death keeping it as clean as he thinks it should be. Why? I don't know. I'm a people-pleaser. What can I say? I just want the boy to be happy.

I've been cooking at night. I really love to cook. I'm not that good at it, but I do enjoy it. I don't generally cook for myself, but I sort of find it soothing or something so I embraced it again when he moved in. Last night it was spaghetti squash and all I need to tell you about that is he wouldn't even feed the leftovers to the dogs. Enough said. It was my first strike out. I should just stick to what I know. Anyway, the bub gets in from work around 8 looking for something to eat, so I try and oblige him a few nights a week. I've spoiled him rotten his whole life. Why stop now?

So, the thing is, I don't cook carbs. I'll make a meat and a vegetable and a fruit usually. Something along those lines. On the third night he looked at me and said, "Soooo, you're not much on carbs, huh?" He's so perceptive. Such a smart boy. I told him I would be happy to start making him rice or a baked potato with his meals, but he declined. However, every night, about 20 minutes after dinner, he goes to the fridge. Hungry again. And usually winds up eating a huge pickle (which is an experience to watch, believe me) and 3 ice cream sandwiches...the expensive Breyers-No-Sugar-Added kind, not the VBS-eat-all-you-want kind with that cow on the package. Just saying. I gotta put that last kind on the shopping list.

There you go. A blog about absolutely nothing. I have to say I'm proud of me. Marti's never done that before and I have to admit that it really was super fun...

Just one last thing. Lately, I have to say, God has been beyond good to me. So good it's hard to wrap my brain around. I just want to publicly acknowledge and praise Him for that. He's really done some amazing things to orchestrate me out of some pretty tough circumstances that me myself and I put MYSELF IN, and I just need to tell you all...My God is faithful. Even when I am just not. Even when I'm a moron. (2 Timothy 2:13..read it. I'm telling ya'll, The Word is Truth and in it we find freedom. I'm living proof.) I have found these last years that if I will just rest day to day, and when I do make a move...make sure I move in obedience to Him...He will do the most extraordinary things! The question is can I quit "helping Him along" and "giving Him ideas"??? Someday I'm going to learn that God Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth, does not need my ideas. I'm not nearly as brilliant as I would like to be, or think I am sometimes...sigh...

Good thing He is.

Love ya'll. Mean it. ;)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Big "B" Brave Continued...

May 27, 2004
3:09PM

Hey guys...just a quick update.

I hope this finds everyone doing well...enjoying the scorching heat, I trust. At this rate, Charlotte will look like Pompeii by August. Maybe not...but it sure is hot. I don't like to sweat.

Alright, enough about me. Speaking of heat, Chad will be finishing his first full week of radiation today. ;) So far, we're looking great. He's gained back all the weight he lost during the high-dose interferon, and is rather hysterical these days. He's always been a funny guy, but he's raised the bar lately. It's our understanding that the radiation becomes more difficult as the weeks pass and the amount of radiation within the body grows. Keep that in your "Chad prayers" and I'll keep everyone updated, of course. It's our understanding that he should finish up with radiation around June 24, at which point he'll meet with the oncologist again and another PET scan will be scheduled. I know I've told you all this before, but a reminder never hurt anyone. The PET will be the first indication that the treatments have been a success! BIG BIG BIG. Prayers are the number one need for the Sullivan Family right now. Healing, strength, and faith...we need it all and look forward to sharing God's glory with all of you when Chad is healed...

Hugs to you all. Until next time...
Marti



Last weekend, my good friend Stephen's little brother, Scott, had a terrible accident. He was helping his dad cut some trees down in their yard and one wound up falling askew and it struck him. As I write this, Scott is still in trauma ICU. Prayers are much needed for a brain injury that Scott has suffered. He is still unconscious, but is breathing on his own now. Praise God for that huge piece of progress. I went to visit today and stayed a bit, visiting with the folks that were there at the time. They are basically living at the hospital, and I certainly know what that is like. Exhausting is the first word that comes to mind. As I left, I told Scott's fiance', Emily, to please let the church know if we could do anything at all. "Pray," she said. "Just keep praying."

"We will," I replied.

Since Chad went home, the most difficult prayers that I pray are prayers for healing. To be honest, they go something like this...

"Lord, I don't know what to say. I do ask that it could be your will to heal in a miraculous way here. But, you know I have already asked you for that for Chad, and you took him home to be with you. I've already been to the end of myself praying for this sort of situation, and an earthly healing wasn't in the plan. You're going to do what you have to do, so please just comfort the family and glorify yourself in this situation. Draw them closer to you through this. I trust you. I don't know what else to say. Amen"

Not word for word, but you get the gist.

I live a very simple faith, and a very simple life. If you want to debate Calvinism or apologetics, please don't come find me. I believe God is in control, completely sovereign, His Word is Truth, and He is good. I believe He is for me, not against me. In short, I trust Him. You will see, as I continue to share my emails from Chad's illness, that I truly did attempt to go to the end of myself, mustering every bit of faith that I had, to believe in faith that Chad would be healed here on earth from his cancer. Yet, it was not to be.

I trust my God. I trusted Him, to begin with, because my parents told me to trust Him, and they were trustworthy. They loved me. I knew they wouldn't lie to me or lead me astray. I trusted Him later because His Word, the Holy Bible, the inerrant Word of God, told me to. I had seen my folks adhere to the Word, to treat it as complete Truth, and they had been blessed by that Truth. It was indeed true! Their lives were a testimony. So, when the time came that I had to trust Him to the end of myself...and then beyond...I was able to do it. It's a whole other level of trust to look at your God and say, "I don't know exactly what or where Heaven is, but here is one of the one's I love most in the world. I hand him to You. I trust you with him. Take him...I trust you, Lord." That is big "T" Trust. It takes a lot to get to that moment...

It took nights and nights and nights alone in my room, on my bed, weeping, pouring through Scripture, crying out to God...and day after day of looking for Him, searching for Him in any way I could find even a glimpse of His presence and faithfulness and love. It took time. He gave me time. He prepared me before I had to do it. I see now, He does that with most everything he asks me to do, if I'll just pay attention.

He's sweet like that.

Lately, I seem to be truly coming out of the dark. Finding myself, my new self, on the other side of my life's big tragedy. It's not that I wasn't me before...but I was in the midst of more of a "becoming," I think. I was passionate and desperate and hungry, a little manic at times. The details of the last several years are sometimes a blur. These days, I think I'm more settled and quiet-spirited than ever before. It feels nice. With that, also comes revelations of the past. As I age, I see that clarity is sometimes hard to find in the midst of situations. It's the reflecting where so much truth...big "T" Truth...can be found. It's a rich place to be...the treasures and bounty of a hard season of sowing. The reaping of the harvest is the blessing.

Ephraim.

So, today, for Scott's family, I utter prayers of faith on Scott's behalf...still mustering up all the faith that I can to believe in a full recovery for him. I do this knowing they will be blessed and prepared for whatever road lays ahead of them. God is indeed a God of miracles. Why them and not us? I don't need to know. It is what it is, and I big"T" Trust Him. I don't have to struggle to understand everything. I see that now. I don't have to wonder what He's doing or how He's doing it. I Trust Him. He is for me, not against me. I Trust Him. He is working here. I Trust Him. He is good. I Trust Him. I don't understand all He does...I don't want to understand all He does. Who wants a God they completely understand? That is not God at all.

I Trust Him. He is the Truth. I Trust Him.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and
do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my Word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands."
-Isaiah 55:8-12

No, I don't always understand. But, He's given me the strength to be big "B" Brave, and I can big "T" Trust Him.

There is big "P" Peace there.

Ephraim.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Big "B" Brave

I've been meaning to blog since last week. Pastor Mark has gotten in the way. The once a week blog promise may have been a little unrealistic, but I'm still gonna shoot for it.


I'm just going to give you a taste of what has been on my heart the last week or two, and then I'll talk more later with more of my testimony. I started thinking about the next portions of my journey that I want to share, and they really are where the rubber meets the road in my little life journey. The word that has been resonating?


Brave.


Not little "b" brave, Big "B" Brave.


What do you think is brave? Do you think independence is brave? Do you think that rebellion is brave? Do you think living on the edge is brave? Do you think living "extreme" is brave?


Think again. I believe what this world calls "brave" is really just a weak excuse for not having the nerve to do the thing with God. Yes, I said that. I did it for years. To really get quiet and listen to God is the scariest thing I've ever done. This world's idea of brave is just a cheap imitation of the thrill we only get from our MOST High. And what's worse, we label true God-followers as straight and boring. Honey...the life I have led since surrendering myself to the direction of the Holy Spirit has been anything but straight and boring. It's been unbelievable... frightening... thrilling... miraculous... victorious... terrifying... devastating... life-altering. It's been FULL of my own mistakes and His sweet redemption. And I won't go back. But, let me tell you, it has taken more than me. More than me being brave. I've had to be Brave...capital "B" Brave from a capital "G" God.


I'll explain more later...