Friday, 24 August 2012

Grace Like Rain on a Really Hot Day

We were a little bit late for church last Saturday night. It was just a few minutes, but we were late and I didn’t want to be late because Nathan was playing the drums and I didn’t want to miss a minute of the music. Nevertheless, I felt rushed. I feel rushed a lot. It takes me and Mike a long time to do anything…to get ready to go out, to get ready for bed, to get up and at em in the morning etc.

It took us a full hour to get ready to go get Madison from the airport earlier that day. Madison was in Edmonton for almost a week for the Canadian national ball hockey tournament and I was excited to go pick her up. Mike decided he wasn’t going to come; he said he would lie down and have a little nap while I was gone. But first, he needed to go to the washroom. He also wanted to brush his teeth, have his face and hands washed and blow his nose. Then I helped him to the couch to lie down. After about 5 minutes of arranging pillows here and there, he couldn’t get comfortable, so I sat him back up and told him to come with me to the airport and he could sleep on the way. I put his socks and shoes on and we walked to the car. Believe it or not, that all took one hour, so now we were running late for the airport. I drove fast (faster than usual) and we got there on time, but had to wait about 45 minutes for Madison’s stick to show up in the fragile baggage claim. And this is what put us behind for church.
Earlier, while I fed Mike his lunch, he and I visited with Erin in the living room. Erin and I listened to fitness music and chose songs we liked for new play lists we both need for our fitness classes. We were having a wonderful, relaxing time, but had to wrap things up abruptly when I realized we needed to get ready to go to the airport.

Lunch was late that day because Mike and I took our dog Molly to the dyke for a swim. Mike and I were taking care of the dog because Madison was away. We were in the middle of a heat wave and in order to keep the dog cool for a few hours and get her some exercise, we thought a swim was a good idea and it was it just made our lunch later.
Molly had to wait though because our nephew Luke had a soccer game in the morning and we decided last minute to go (not really last minute – that would be out of the question, more like an hour before). Mike insisted to forgo his morning routine of drinks and Budwig protocol (see blog post: What a Heal!) to get to the game…we still missed the first half. But that was okay, because the game ran late and that’s why Molly had to wait.

It was a great day, but I’m not going to lie, a busy day like that is very exhausting for me and I can get frustrated too. Plus it was the hottest week of the year and that wasn’t helping either. But regardless of the temperature, getting Mike here and there, in and out of the vehicle, to and from his wheelchair, up and down from the sofa, to the washroom, dressed and undressed, in and out of bed, from his left side to his right side and so on and so forth, can be a little wearing to say the least.
But that night at church when we sang “Hallelujah, grace like rain, falls down on me. Hallelujah, all my stains are washed away…they’re washed away,” it didn’t matter that we were late. God’s greatest gift to me; His grace…His undeserved mercy and love was all I needed to sing about and I forgot about being late and the hurried feeling I felt five minutes before we got there. My energy was renewed, my attitude improved and peace replaced the hurry.

In the words of another great song (old hymn), 'God’s grace is greater than anything', including my rushed and hurried day, including a debilitating disease like ALS, including the imperfections of this world, including the trials of our lives. God’s grace is greater than all these things and it’s really what I need the most to overcome the above and press on every day.
After the ‘grace like rain’ song (Chris Tomlin’s rendition of Amazing Grace), Nathan left his drum booth and sat down with a bongo drum. The music started slow and softly and I was swept further away from my troubles with another song I love; The River by Brian Doerksen. Half way through, Nathan left the bongo drum and went back to his drum booth and as he played those drums, the song grew louder and more powerful and more captivating. It was moving and beautiful and the words go like this:

To the river I am going
Bringing sins I cannot bear
Come and cleanse me, come forgive me
Lord I need to meet you there

In these waters, healing mercy
Flows with freedom from despair
I am going, to that river
Lord I need to meet you there

Precious Jesus, I am ready
To surrender every care
Take my hand now, lead me closer
Lord I need to meet you there

Come and join us, in the river
Come find life beyond compare
He is calling, He is waiting
Jesus longs to meet you there

                                                      Mike and Molly at the dyke

Sunday, 12 August 2012

A Wonderful Gift Indeed

It was my birthday last week. I expected to receive some cards and gifts from family and friends and homemade cards, flowers and a gluten free birthday cake from my kids like so many wonderful birthdays before. But, first thing in the morning, I prayed that I would receive something unexpected. As much as I love all that other stuff, I prayed for something more, something really big. I prayed that Mike would show some sign of improvement. He has been so diligent with his new diet and all the homeopathic remedies, I really wanted for my birthday a sign that Mike’s efforts were paying off so he and the rest of us would be encouraged. That to me would be the ultimate birthday present.
I watched him closely all day. I waited to see something happen…perhaps a few fingers would unfold, or maybe he would lift an arm or something. I listened closely to observe any improvements in his speech, but there weren’t any.  There weren't any changes at all. He seemed the same as he was the day before.

The next day as I pondered my birthday and the gift I wanted, but didn’t get, a light came on in my head as I realised that spending the day with Mike was a gift. Every day I have with him is a splendid gift (every day we spend with the ones we love is a gift). And, what’s more, Mike was the same as the day before…he wasn’t any worse. This, my gift, was a wonderful gift indeed.
This is what Oswald Chambers says on my birthday (Aug 5). It may or may not apply, but it’s a very good message and worth sharing: What God calls us to cannot be definitely stated, because His call is simply to be His friend to accomplish His own purposes…If we are in fellowship and oneness with God and recognize that He is taking us into His purposes, then we will no longer strive to find out what His purposes are. As we grow in the Christian life, it becomes simpler to us, because we are less inclined to say, “I wonder why God allowed this or that?” And we begin to see that the compelling purpose of God lies behind everything in life, and that God is divinely shaping us into oneness with that purpose. A Christian is someone who trusts in the knowledge and the wisdom of God, not in his own abilities. If we have a purpose of our own, it destroys the simplicity and the calm, relaxed pace which should be characteristic of the children of God.

Me, Leah and Mike by the pool (my sister's house). Record breaking heat that day.

Nathan, Mike and me in the pool. Mike's eyes lit up when we suggested he go for a dip.             Nathan lifted him in.

Later at Nathan's frisbee game. Leah took this one.

My dad...Leah took this one too.

My mom and Leah.

The grand finale to the day. Mike got the picture he has wanted to get for a long time.