Just so you know, this post is taking a break from highlighting Isaiah's wonderfulness. I've had something on my mind that I wanted to share, and Sunday seemed a good day.
In the last week I've had the opportunity to "rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep" though from a distance. Even from thousands of miles away, the Lord has granted me wonderful friendships, some old, some new, some developing. I am thankful for the testimony of both the families that I am going to tell you about, though their situations have outcomes at opposite ends of the spectrum. Both families cling to the power of our great God and Father. And while is rejoicing over recovery and one weeps in loss they both rejoice in faith.
When we found out Isaiah was going to be named Isaiah and not Anna or Grace or Victoria, or some other girly name, we also found out that he had spina bifida. Immediately we were wrapped in the loving arms of many friends and family. We also were contacted by many strangers with words of comfort and encouragement. One of the families that contacted us were The Nelsons. They also have a daughter with spina bifida. Emily is a beautiful about-to-be 3 year old. When Isaiah was born, Anna, Emily's mother, came to the hospital to see us. I hadn't contacted her while I was pregnant, for a variety of personal reasons, but meeting her and sweet Emily was an amazing gift from God! Since that time she has been an encouragement to me, a sounding board for questions and concerns, a counselor for many different things.
In November her father was diagnosed with cancer and had to have an intensive surgery very quickly. Until just a couple weeks ago, he has been in a coma. We were able to pray with Anna from a distance and beg for God's wisdom and mercy and know that He would do what is best. The situation was serious, but throughout everything, I could see, or rather read, Anna's faith in God. Just in the past 2 weeks, Anna's dad was stable enough to be moved from Birmingham, AL back to Jackson, MS, where Anna and her family live! He is talking and even has started eating on his own. In what looked like certain loss, God is giving recovery. Anna's dad still has a long way to go, but he is doing very well! We rejoice with Anna and her family!
In California there is a church that Thomas, Isaiah and I have never been to. Several of the elders read Thomas' theological satire blog. As we were raising support to come to Russia, one of the elders contacted us about different ways that the church would like to help in our ministry, and as time went on a relationship developed and the church now supports us financially. Though we have never been there to meet this body of believers face to face, a couple of the women have contacted me through email; and, I hope, our new friendships are developing. One of the women, Heather, is a mother of 6 beautiful children. In "all her spare time" she writes a blog, which I greatly enjoy reading. For the past few months her husband had been having health problems, though he was very young. We have been praying for the family since Heather first emailed me and I started reading her blog, where I learned about her husband's health problems. No matter what was going on in her family, Heather's posts revealed her steady faith in God. Last week, her husband went home to be with the Lord, and while I read the news on her blog, though I had never met this woman or any of her family or anyone that she knows, I wept. I hope to meet Heather and her children some day on earth, and I know that I will meet her husband some day in heaven. Perhaps someone who knows this family will read this post, and I hope that my writing about them in no way seems inappropriate. But I am in awe of God's design of His church, He enables a girl most recently from MS now living in Russia to weep and pray for a sister in Christ whom she has never met in CA. I have learned from Heather by reading her blog. I am thankful for this sister that I hope to meet some day.
And switching gears just slightly....I know that there are lots of problems in the church at large-there are people in the church who aren't fully sanctified yet, so of course there are problems! But as I mentioned already, I love how God has designed for His body to live. I want to be the brother or sister that He has called me to be. I am thankful that we can rejoice and grieve with each other because we are together in Christ no matter how far apart we are on the globe.