Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye 2009...

As I wrote my Christmas letter this year, it was a time to reflect on all our blessings. I do my best to be encouraging, to look to the future with hope, and trust in the goodness of God. But I would be lying if I said I was without fear or always full of faith. I can fall into despair and depression just like anyone else. Sometimes I feel like I have so little to give to others, and that my family certainly gets my worst. If I were more godly, I would be sweeter, more patient, and more cheerful. I think we all go through times where we feel like we are not seeing or feeling the Lord with us. Our faith is a choice, especially during such times.

A couple of weeks ago, I was at church Sunday morning. Just as the service was beginning and the worship music started, I had to pray to the Lord to give me a worshipful attitude because I was feeling nothing. A minute later, a family moved into our pew, causing us all to make room.... and when I looked, it was the family of Ellie Potvin, a little girl who has been battling cancer for the last year and a half. Ellie had to stay home and away from germs, but her parents and twin sister were sitting next to us. It was a sudden a reminder to me of how blessed I am. So very blessed. No matter what I think I lack, I have so much for which to be thankful. Amy, Ellie's mom, is trying to be strong and hold everyone together. But as I hugged her after the service and told her I am praying for them, she just dissolved into tears in my arms.

We have taken meals to the Potvin family a number of times in the last year, my kids going with me. The Potvins have welcomed us into their home, people they don't even know, with warmth and grace and joy, introducing their 5 puppies to the kids. Once, when we dropped off dinner, no one was home and we had to leave it in the cooler on the porch. As we headed to our van, my kids skipped down the porch steps and on ahead.... and it was as if I felt a sudden, hard blow to my chest, watching my three, healthy children skip away, knowing that the mother in that home had a child who was gravely ill. It was indeed humbling.

Just this week, the Potvins learned that Ellie, who turned 8 at the end of October, has been given just 4 weeks. Ellie is about to undergo aggressive chemo and many, many prayers are going up for her healing. I cannot imagine what that family is going through. But I can see how the Lord has used this situation to bring them all into His embrace. It is His strength that carries them.

When I pull myself out of my self-centered focus, I see so many needs, so much to pray for. My heart breaks for the Potvins, and for many others who have had a tougher 2009 than I have. I feel helpless. All I can do is pray. So I pray...
  • For Ellie Potvin, her parents Tim & Amy, and twin sister Grace
  • For my sweet, godly friend who is struggling to balance homeschooling four children with caring for her aging mother as she falls deeper and deeper into alzheimers
  • For a friend who tragically lost her sister, and is now raising her young niece and nephew along with her two young children
  • For a family we love and adore who are being ripped apart by infidelity
  • For a family whose husband and father is fighting cancer
  • For friends who are waiting and hoping for children to join their families
  • For those who are in constant pain
  • For those who in financial distress and seeking employment
  • For so many other needs
Something that encourages me in dark times came to me during our Good Friday service in 2008. As I sat through that service, the reality of what the disciples saw and felt suddenly hit me in a fresh and powerful way. For them, it was a time of disappointment, disallusionment, grief, despair, and darkness. All their hope seemed for nothing. But in that darkness, God was doing His greatest work of all: securing our salvation through Christ Jesus. So when I am in a dark time, I try to remember that even if I am not seeing the Lord at work, He IS there, He is working, and He is GOOD. The resurrection is coming! Blessings to you in 2010.


Sandy said...

This is a most beautiful post. Thank you for sharing!
Happy New Year to you!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE your perspective on what God is doing in the dark times - especially from the disciples' point of view. It reminds me of a quote from Goethe - "Deep in their roots all flowers keep the light." God is always active, even when we can't see or understand. Why did He create caves and ocean depths and mountain heights we'll never climb? To give us a picture for our lives. Thanks for this!
Erica :)

Melanie said...

Terri, I somehow missed this post last week, but am so glad you put it on Facebook today. What an encouraging, uplifting post! Thank you! I agree with the previous comment, what you shared about how God is doing GREAT things in the darkest times is so beautiful! Thank you again for sharing this & giving so much of yourself to everyone--you have a true servant's heart!
Blessings for your new year!

Anonymous said...

I see you are still am amazingly deep and thoughtful writer along with all of your other creativity. Thanks for the huge reminder to pray VS just feel pity.

Dayle ~ A Collection of Days said...

Light follows darkness. Nothing can stop it.

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