Our broken lives are not lost or useless. God’s love is still working. He comes in and takes the calamity and uses it victoriously, working out his wonderful plan of love. — Eric Liddell
Today is a significant day in our life. Not to say every day isn’t important, they are. But today seems really special to me. In the Scriptures the number 7 signifies completion. 7 1/2 years ago, January 2004 I started a new journal that Mark gave me as a Christmas present. Part of the first entry reads like this:
It’s been a contemplative year of change. (We became “empty-nesters”.) New Years’s Eve was spent at the Expo Center in Spirit Lake with many friends and all 3 of our kids. Our entire family worshipped publicly. Seth and Amber standing right next to Mark and Mark Hoftyzer taking photos. It brought tears to my eyes. After briefly reviewing some mental struggles over our perception of what was expected of Mark at work. I go on to say this. I believe I need to grow my faith by depending on God to take care of my family (Mark in particular). I’m always striving to come up with a plan to make life “better” – more peaceful – less frustration. I’m realizing I was trying too hard, too much. I need to trust God. I have choosen the following prayer as a “theme” prayer for my family for 2004. The following prayer was adapted from one of the Prayers That Avail Much books by Word Ministries, Inc. These prayers are all based on Scripture.
Thank you that before we were even born You knew us & had a plan for our lives. You have placed Your anointing upon our lives. I’m asking You to burn Your call into our hearts. Let it be a fire shut up in our bones so we cannot hold it in. I pray a hedge of protection over my family so that no man, woman, or enemy will squelch what You have in store for us. You are equipping us with all things that pertain to life and godliness so that we have an abundance for every good deed. Confirm Your call on our lives by Your Holy Spirit and make our paths like the first gleam of dawn shining ever brighter as we follow our callings. Let multitudes of lives be touched by Your anointing which is flowing through us. When we enter Your kingdom You will say, “well done good and faithful servant.”
January 13, 2004 I write, As I read this (my journal) I feel confirmation that it is true. I’d have to admit I work to fix everything. God help me to trust. Help me to learn Your word and trust You to handle my family…
Little did I know that a month later we would receive a phone call from our brother-in-law telling us that our sister had tried to kill herself. He called asking what to do. They have 5 children. That began years of our extended family walking an unknown path of learning to trust and heal. I couldn’t fix this.
Then 4 months later our son-in-law (age 21) began seeing double which led us down a path of discovering Thymic Carcinoid Carcinoma, an incurable cancer. I couldn’t fix this.
And within a month of the diagnosis my beloved husband crashed, physically, mentally and emotionally. I couldn’t fix this either. Over the course of 2004 everything in our life changed, except God.
By September 16th, 2004 (seven years ago today) my sister-in-law was struggling with depression and an unhealthy marriage but she was dealing with it. Our son-in-law was finding as much medical help as was offered and moving to the Twin Cities for a new job he thought he could do longer “if he got really sick”. And Mark, my husband had survived a month of being completely incapacitated, recognized his need for help and was willing to receive it. We were packing our bags and on September 17th left for Marble Retreat in Marble, Colorado. An intensive counseling time for couples in ministry. (Finding that place and getting to go is a God-story all of it’s own)
Fast forward to today, 7 years later. I’m helping Mark pack again. This time it’s for a return trip to the place we lived at the time of “the crash”. 7 years to the day later of a tangible step of faith towards healing Mark will be ministering to men in a way he did not do prior to the crash. He will be completely transparent with them. How or Why? Because God has taught him that keeping secrets makes you sick and hurts all those around you.
What about me? I could never have imagined how God was going to teach me to really trust Him with my family. It was a painful, scary at times journey. It has been simple, trust God. But I didn’t say it’s been easy. It has not. We are all much healthier now. I “fix” less and “trust” more. I don’t do it perfectly nor will I till I meet Jesus face to face. I live enjoying the moments more and I’m learning that’s a great way to live! I’m here 7 years later to testify to God’s faithfulness in loving and protecting my family through some pretty tough times. This week I begin leading a Bible Study called “When I Lay My Issac Down” by Carol Kent. It’s all about trusting God through “unthinkable circumstances.” I couldn’t have done this 7 years ago.
I’m also here declaring this particular season of brokeness and healing COMPLETE. How good is our God who seven years later will call us to share our life with others so that Lord willing they can learn from God’s word and our experiences. Will you join me in praising God for all that He has done and pray that the men Mark will be sharing with will receive whatever God has for them?