Trusting Through The Brokenness
"Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His Word. Just to rest upon His promise, Just to know, Thus saith the Lord. Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him. How I've proved Him o'er and o'er. Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus! Oh, for grace to trust Him more". Hymn by Louisa Stead.
From Matthew: We've now been in Memphis for 11 days. We are definitely feeling more settled in to our temporary home and are enjoying that just about anything we want to do is within a 15 minute drive of us. We have been to a mall, Ikea, the zoo twice, Aldi's and more and probably haven't put more than 100 miles on our car! This week has actually felt more "normal." As normal as life can be 9 hours away from anything, or anyone, familiar to us!! We got to join our Sunday church service in Chilhowie VA live via Zoom and were able to say hi to some church family via the computer. I have converted a walk in closet into my new remote Memphis office. Complete with a desk, office chair, computer with an extra monitor. This was a very hectic week with some long hours at work as October is our busiest month of the year and taking off a few days the week before put me somewhat behind.
It was actually a good time for me to disappear into my office/closet as there was not much going on with Esther's treatment. We had a couple of meetings with her new medical team at St. Jude's early in the week but no treatment until this past Friday when she had chemotherapy. We have been given some clarity as to her treatment plan. She will begin the proton therapy radiation on Monday Oct. 10th. It will be every day (Monday - Friday) for 4 weeks, along with weekly chemotherapy, and is scheduled to finish Friday Nov. 4th. To begin with at least, she will be sedated every day. Apparently laying perfectly still for 15 minutes is difficult for an adult, much more so for a 6 year old little girl. We are assuming there will be some follow up visits the week following her last radiation treatment. So... as long as there are no delays because of sickness we will hopefully finish our time at St. Jude's in Memphis by the 2nd week in November, and finally be able to head home!
This weekend, we went to an event called "Paint Memphis." Over 150 artists came from all over the county to paint murals on the side of buildings in the downtown area. We walked down Bingham Street and saw about 50 murals ourselves, most of them still in progress. It was quite impressive and very different for us country folks to observe! The picture at the top of this blog is of the mural that stood out most to me. If you look closely at the building you'll see that this is an abandoned building with most of the windows broken out. The artist who is on the ladder, still completing his masterpiece, had been able to take a forsaken place and turn it into a work of art. I couldn't help but think of our own situation and believe that God is going to take the hard places that we are walking through and make something beautiful out of it. He's good at doing that.
In line with that was a conversation I had with my sister this weekend. She told me about the history of the hymn "Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus". I hadn't realized it before but the hymn writer, Louisa Stead, wrote these words soon after her husband drowned while trying to save a drowning child. Out of that tragedy came the words "Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him! How I've proved Him o'er and o'er..." I'm often struck with the realization of why certain songs as this one seem to stand the test of time. It's because they were written during times when Christ gave hope and strength through great hardship and pain. If our life was easy, or if God rescued us immediately out of every problem, we would never learn to trust Him through times of great heartache & struggle and we would find it hard to bring hope to others in the middle of theirs. Next are some of Evie's thoughts.
From Evie: Yesterday we went to this really cool museum next to the Mississippi River that had a concrete model of the river made into the walkway. It went for what felt like half a mile and showed all the different layers of the Mississippi. It gave me a thought that I'd like to share with you. In a river there are shallow, rocky, and rapid sections. The river is like God. It a powerful force, a terrifying thing that could swallow you whole, but it is also a calm, gentle, and playful thing. Rivers are feared as you should fear God. You are wary of it's might, but still love it and wade in it. In your life there may be rough patches, like the rapids, but there will also be calm, comfortable days like the deep of the river. Even in those rough rapids you do not stray from God's love, all it does is make you appreciate the calm & deep. Each day is different, some may be so hard that you want to give up, but others take the weight off your shoulders and help you recuperate for the next hard day. Just remember in those hard days, God wouldn't let you go through something you and He couldn't handle. Even if it seems too hard and takes too much out of you, God's plan is for you to make it out.
From Matthew: So... as we come out of this somewhat "normal" week in a city far from home and get ready to begin the unknown of twenty days of radiation treatments my prayer is that God will make something beautiful out of the brokenness of our lives and teach us to understand more the sweetness of trusting a God who knows, sees, and loves us exactly where we are. "Oh, for grace to trust Him more."
Thank you Matthew and Evie for sharing. That young lady is certainly talented in writing and expressing her heart in a way to encourage others. Love you all and praying continually for precious Esther, for you and Cherish, and her precious sisters.
Thank you Carol. We love you.