God’s Promises // An Update on Josiah

It has been almost six and a half months since the day that our lives changed forever.

It feels like yesterday and forever ago all at the same time.

There are days that I feel victorious.  Days when I am so confident in the mighty future the Lord has in store for our son…for miracles…for healing…for a radical testimony to come out of this little life.

And then there are days that I feel absolutely defeated.  Days when the doubts and worries and fears come rushing into the sink hole that has found its way into my soul.

Yet, woven throughout the new normal of our days, between diaper changes, bath time, nursing, playing, crying, and giggling, are the whispered reminders of God’s promises to us over our son.

See, right after Josiah was born, the Lord gave us two promises.  The first one came in the story of the meaning of his name – “Jehovah has healed” – which I wrote about here.

The second promise came through my dad the day after Josiah was born at 29 weeks.  For decades, my father has built a habit of starting out his day reading a few chapters from the Bible, not necessarily following a plan but just reading from Genesis to Revelation.  Time and time again, the Lord has spoken to him in the face of many difficult situations through the exact chapters he was to read for that day.

The Lord did not disappoint as my dad woke up on November 21, 2016, with a heavy heart, asking the Lord what had gone wrong.  How had this happened?  Not only was his first grandchild born prematurely, this little boy was also born with a birth defect.  He opened up the Word to the chapter that was next for that morning – John 9.

“As he passed by, he [Jesus] saw a man blind from birth.  And his disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’  Jesus answered, ‘It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him…'” (John 9:1-3; ESV)

It wasn’t an answer that made sense to our human minds.  But we knew it was a promise from the Lord.  That none of this was in vain.  That somehow, the works of God would be revealed through our little son’s body and life.

A few months ago, I was scrolling through Instagram when I saw that a friend of mine was creating art out of Scripture for thirty days.

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And in that moment, the Divine Voice broke through and silenced the busy traffic of my soul.  This…this is the truth over Josiah.  My ways are not your ways.  This is going to be good and this is going to be glorious.

My friend was kind enough to mail the original artwork to us, and it’s currently in Josiah’s room as a constant reminder of God’s promise.

No matter what happens the next few months, His Words are what we are going to hold on to.

This coming Wednesday morning, on June 7th, Josiah will have his second surgery (he had his first one the day after he was born) of four total surgeries to correct his imperforate anus.  Below are the specific prayer requests we desire to lift up before the Lord as we walk into this next step of healing for our son…

  1. That God’s mighty works would be displayed through Josiah.  We are contending for creative miracles, for the Lord to finish His perfect work of wonderfully and fearfully creating our son.  We want to see the look of shock and awe on the faces of Josiah’s surgeons and medical staff as they examine his development and progress.
  2. That all necessary medical intervention will be 100% successful.  We are believing for everything that his surgery team has planned for Josiah’s body to go even better than planned.  We are asking for His angels to guide the hands of all of the medical staff who will be a part of Josiah’s case.
  3. That recovery and healing will be quick and as painless as possible.  And also grace and mercy over my husband and me as we tend to Josiah post-op and work through next steps at home (e.g. continuing to change his colostomy bag, eventual daily anal dilation, etc.) to prepare Josiah for his last two surgeries.

A couple of weeks after the surgery this Wednesday, Josiah will have one more procedure (that will still require general anesthesia).  The information his surgery team collects from that procedure will determine the final plans for Josiah’s major surgery in August.  After that, as long as the dilation process is going well at home, Josiah will have his final redirect surgery sometime in the fall (we are hoping everything is done by his first birthday/Thanksgiving).

To all of our prayer warriors who are fighting alongside us…thank you.  Truly.  I wish I could reach out and give you each a virtual hug.  Your declarations of truth before His throne of grace strengthen us in ways you cannot even imagine.

The road ahead looks long and it’s definitely not going to be easy.  But this I know.  It’s going to be good.  And it’s going to be glorious.

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Living According to the Implanted Word // The Book of James {Part Three}

There is something very powerful about the concept of being born-again.  Regenerated.  A new creation.  The old has gone, the new has come.

For a sinner like you and me, this is glorious news.  It’s hope at it’s finest.  It’s an invitation for redemption and relationship.

James 1:21 tells us that we must “receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”

The implanted word?

Just a few verses earlier, in verse 18, James reveals how God, “of His own will…brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first-fruits of His creatures.”

The implanted word is the word of truth…Scripture…the Living Word…Jesus Christ (John 1:1-3).  By Him and through the Word, God makes us new…brings us into the newness of life as one of His own children.

That very word is implanted within us, a seed of the spirit of God sown deep within us, growing and bursting forth into a new life. Read more…

Count It All Joy // The Book of James {Part Two}

So, I’m going to be honest.

I really didn’t want to write this post.

You know when you read something in the Bible and it’s just too much to handle?  It’s just too much to face the reality that you don’t want to live by the truth of these words…that the Word of God really is a double-edge sword piercing through the joints and marrow and soul and heart of a person.  It’s irritating to know the truth and not live by it.

So you kind of just skim over those parts.  Push the dust-bunnies into the corners of the room (oh, you don’t do stuff like that??).  It’s like how I’ve always covered my eyes on any of the Jesus-being-crucified movie scenes from when I was a child (and yes, I still do it to this day).  I know it’s the truth, but it’s just too painful sometimes to come face to face with the gory, offensiveness of it all. Read more…

From Unbelieving Half-Brother to Bond-Servant // The Book of James {Part One}

I grew up in the church but didn’t really give my life to Jesus until the summer of 2007.  I was getting along just fine as a “Christian” – going to church, leading worship, and reading the Bible (anyone else do Awana?).  But I also got along just fine living the way I wanted.  As long as my “Christian world” didn’t intrude into my life and plans and what I thought was best, then all was well.

Until that fateful summer before my freshman year of college when the Lord in His great mercy revealed to me – Dear one…but you don’t really know me…

As I read Matthew 7:21-23, it was like I was reading the Word for the very first time…

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’   And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”

I knew if I had died in that moment, I would have been one of those that would have said, “But God, did I not say I was a Christian?  Did I not lead worship at church?  Did I not…”  And yet the truth would have been revealed – but I did not know God…thus, I did not do His will in my life.

Everything changed after that day. Read more…

One Word for 2016

I’ve been pondering on my resolutions / goals / hopes / dreams / (whatever you call it) for 2016 for a while now.

Towards the latter half of 2015, I wrestled with the reality of “letting my ‘yes’ be ‘yes,’ and my ‘no’ be ‘no’” in my own personal life, thinking about the importance of speaking the truth in every possible way on a daily basis.  I am all for making goals, lists, plans of actions, etc.  But there is something sacred about committing to one thing, even a small thing, and carrying out that commitment with grace.

I was reading my friend’s blog today (she writes with such honesty, grace, and beauty…you need to read it for yourself) when I ran across the concept of One Word 365 (or I suppose it’s 366 this year since it’s a leap year!).

It is utterly brilliant.  Instead of having all of these resolutions, you pick one word that sums up your various goals, dreams, and hopes for the year, and you live with that one word in mind every day.

The funny thing is, I had already had one word floating through my thoughts and popping into my head at random times throughout the last couple of months.  I suppose this is best evidenced in my last blog post.

So here it is, 2016… Read more…

Hearing God’s Voice

There have been a few seasons in my life when I have found myself asking the familiar question, “God, how can I know what Your will is for me?  How can I hear Your voice?”

For some funny reason, my little mind thought that once I made those “big decisions,” like college, a career, a spouse, and a family, I would be set for life.  No more “quarter life crisis” moments, no more pondering upon that fateful little question, “God, how can I know what Your will is for me?  How can I hear Your voice?”

So…joke’s on me.  Yup, there’s no such thing as being “set for life,” particularly if you’re living for Jesus. Read more…

Did Jesus Have to Die? // Remembering the Truth in the Midst of Darkness

It’s a cold, grey, chilly Monday morning in the Midwest.  It was a long weekend full of heartbreaking headlines, from the recent terrorist attacks to hit first Beirut, Lebanon and then Paris, to the violent political protests filling the streets of South Korea.  My mind is still swirling with unanswered questions, just as my heart is reminded of the power of prayer in the face of evil, darkness, and the unknown.

I am likely one of many, thousands if not millions, reflecting on the fragility of life and asking the hard questions – “What really is important in this life?  What is worth living for?  What is worth dying for?”

As I was thinking about this, I was reminded of the one Man in history who chose this life, broken as it may be.  He chose to be born, chose to live on this earth, and chose to die.  Why?  Why choose to be a part of this world, with all the joys and suffering?

Did Jesus have to live on this earth?  Did Jesus have to die? Read more…