Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Celebrating Joy

Back in 2013, I wrote about my daughter, Katherine, who was about to go serve for a second year at Joni and Friends Family Retreat. I am proud to say, she has now served four consecutive years, and is preparing for her fifth next month. I am excited to announce that in June, my husband, Chad, and I will be joining her!! She is super hyped that we finally signed up to go along! Their theme this year is about celebrating joy, which makes me think of these verses from James chapter 1:

"Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the
testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience
have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete,
lacking nothing."  ~James 1:2-4

Some days it feels as if my life is one continuous trial after another. I am both excited and nervous to go and serve this summer. There is not much new to report about my health, but I definitely feel that the numbness and weakness are getting worse to the degree that I have decided to try the final choice in medication. I have struggled recently dealing with my need for help with so many of my daily activities. Katherine assures me that if ever there was a place where it is okay to be unable to do something, to be sick, in pain, or need to rest, it is at a JAF Family Retreat. My next appointment is on May 13th, my birthday, *shameless plug*, and I will discuss starting Ritixumab at that appointment. I am going to ask that we start it after my return from Family Retreat, since I do not want to be sick during that! In the meantime, I am trying to adapt to my new "normal", praying God might be merciful and bring healing and that the medication might be effective without any of the very serious side effects.

Regardless of my current health issues, I have joy in knowing God, knowing He can still use me, despite my disability and circumstances. I trust that my trials are producing patience in me. I am learning to be more compassionate, which is historically not my strong suit - just ask Chad how sympathetic I am when he is in pain or sick! I am thankful for all that God has done (and is still doing) in me. I look forward to being at a place where no one judges me by my inability to do something, but where they simply see me as a child of God, created in His image to bring glory to His name. Ultimately my joy comes from knowing that Christ has secured my salvation, and "our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." (2 Corinthians 4:17)

I covet your prayers for my health to get through this upcoming mission trip. I know God is faithful and will strengthen me to accomplish all that He has called me to do. I pray that God will revive my own heart, as well as let me be an encouragement to someone else. I am truly feeling blessed that I will get to serve alongside some of the greatest people on earth (just ask Katherine, she can verify this)! I cannot wait to return home with pictures and stories to share! 

Are you letting trials steal your joy or keep you from doing something for God? Don't let trials hold you back! Keep your eyes upon Christ, and He will give you strength. "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:10)

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