Thursday, July 14, 2016

What Must I Do?

"Good Teacher.....What must I DO to inherit eternal life?"
The question was posed. Jesus already knew the answer. He already knew how this man lived his life. Jesus chose His words carefully.
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother."
Jesus essentially said, "Hey man. You know all the rules. You're great at keeping them!"
I see the man replying with a slight change in his stance, right? He stands a little straighter and probably sticks out his chest a little with pride. "All these I have followed since I was a boy."
Translation: "I've been a Christian all my life. I've been to church every time the doors are open. I sing in the choir. I'm Sunday School superintendent. I always help little old ladies across the street. I tithe on a regular basis. I even give above and beyond my tithe to missionaries. You bet I know these rules!"
Then it comes. Not necessarily with a hammer or with condemnation. Remember, Jesus starts out the reply with making it clear that He is not good, it is but God alone.
“You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Silence. Crickets. The man just stares back. He doesn't even blink.
And the story ends. This is from Luke's perspective in Chapter 18:18-22. In another of the Gospels, we get a description that this man was a "rich young ruler." In that same perspective, we read that "He went away sad."
Just following the rules wasn't the answer here! Right?
Jesus required ALL of him!
Remember Peter? Ha. Love this guy! I'm kind of like him. I'll jump in the water without thinking then midway, I'm over-analyzing everything and it's only Jesus that saves me. I always seem to jump into something feet first and charge like a bull. That was Peter.
Remember what he said to Jesus? "I'll give you my ears and elbows and feet and hands and armpits!"
Well...he didn't say all of that, but it's a close Rayment interpretation.
And even though Peter was willing to give verbally and stand up in front of the whole group of disciples and declare that, he still ended up denying Christ. He followed all the rules, then was afraid to go ALL THE WAY!
What stopped these men from going any farther?
The answer is simple. Trust.
At that exact moment in their lives, they couldn't part with what was important to them because they weren't willing to put their full trust in God.
I want to be honest with you. I have a problem in trusting God.
Yup. I sure do. And it took for my life to be where it is right now in order to finally see that.
I haven't been trusting him in any of my decisions. I didn't trust him financially, even though I have testified at how He has provided for my family ALL THE TIME. I barreled on through. I charged like a bull. I thought I knew what the right thing to DO was. But I left Jesus behind.
Did you read that?
I LEFT Jesus behind. He didn't leave me! He kept His distance so that I would learn my lesson, but HE NEVER LEFT ME. I left Him.
Because I couldn't come to fully trust in Him. I thought that I had figured out the solution. I thought I was wiser than He and I walked away.
Jesus is standing before you this morning. He's standing before me. He needs our undivided attention.
This means we need to turn off the television, the iPhone, the podcast, the Facebook, the talk show on the radio, even the Pokemon GO app.
Picture Him as He brings His mighty hand, places it under our chin, and raises our head so that our eyes meet.
And He replies, “You still lack one thing." Trust.
Give up all that you think you have and all that you think you have to have. Give up the plans you've made. Let go of what you treasure most.
"Then come, follow me.”

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Chloe...Blooming

Chloe Elyse

We want to start out by letting you know that from the beginning we never once forgot about all those little ones, nor their parents, that have experienced similar situations.
Abbey
Matthew
Mason
Gabby
Nicole
Ezra
Those names kept rolling through our hearts and minds.  We remembered hearing about how their parents processed and went through that time; those times in their lives.  Some of them still make trips and visits to hospitals.

It was a little after 11:30pm on Monday, October 27, when Amy said the words "All right.  Let's go."  It feels like an eternity.  We got to the hospital, got registered and were escorted upstairs.  We were placed in LDR 6.  Time: 12:10am, Tuesday, October 28.

Our little Chloe Elyse was born at 1:58am just under 2 hours later and like the last two without any pain medications (GO AMY!).  She weighed 7lbs 6.2oz and was 20in long.  She came out just like all three of our babies have come out.  Perfect.

Moments after delivery
video

We had a great couple of Facetime sessions with grandparents as they were introduced to their newest granddaughter.  We were excited when it seemed she was going to nurse well and latched on well.
The nurse came to us in LDR 6 and needed to take Chloe to get her shots, etc.  They moved us in to Rm 444 (I think it was because we now had 4 kids? Ha!)  We decided now would be a good time to get some sleep.  Time: 5:04am, Tuesday, October 28.

It was 20 minutes later when the nurse arrived into the room.  I was going to ignore her and keep sleeping because I figured she was there for Amy and not me.  So I started to drift off.  That's when I heard from Amy, "Chris.  CHRIS."

I took the covers off and sat on the side of the little "chair" bed that I was on.  That was when the nurse told us that Chloe was having trouble getting warmed up.  They were trying to do this because they wanted to give her a bath.  They kept taking her temperature under her arm but needed a more accurate reading.  So she decided she was going to try a rectal thermometer.  But she couldn't find a place of entry.  There was no opening.  We were informed that she had an impatent anus.

This wasn't totally unsettling until the words came out of her mouth.  "We're going to have to transfer her to another facility." That's when we realized this was no small matter.  But praise be to God because not less than 10 minutes after we were told, a dear friend from our church, who is also a nurse, came into our room.  She gave Amy a hug and then asked, "Can I pray with you guys?"  

Just when we needed it the most God put her in our path.

The next hour or so was spent trying to make plans for our other three kids.  A huge thanks to Bev (Amy's mom) who canceled the appointments she had to come down and give our kids a sense of comfort and normalcy.  What a blessing.  We also had to see if Amy could be discharged and what hospital were we going to send our little baby girl.  During this time we posted a few statuses to Facebook and the prayers, texts, emails and calls started to pour in.

One such call was from a teacher friend of Amy's from Justice Intermediate where Amy works.  Amy and I had just discussed money and me missing work, etc.  The teacher said she'd take care of it.  A collection was taken.  An hour later two teachers showed up to Amy's room.  A significant amount of money was given to us.  

God knew what we needed and He reminded us that He wasn't going to leave us.

Amy's doctor came in and gave his consent to release her early so she could go down to Indy.  Meanwhile Riley Children's Hospital was called and the Lifeline ambulance was dispatched.  We waited, prayed and prepared.

I'm very thankful for the nurse (I never did get her name) who came to me and explained that when Lifeline would arrive they would come in with a team of EMTs and it might be overwhelming.  It allowed me to prepare my wife.  It allowed me to be prepared.  When they arrived we learned she wasn't kidding.  I took Amy back to the room to get dressed and to finish the discharge process.

A few minutes later the team arrived with Chloe.  We had to sign some paperwork.  We thanked them.  We prayed for the safety of the ambulance.  Then we touched our little one and with tears let her go on her way.
Time: 11:30am, Tuesday, October 28

 
Amy touches Chloe's little leg as she is strapped and ready for transport to Indy

It took us another 45 minutes to get ourselves loaded up and ready to head out.  All the while we were still receiving texts, calls, and FB comments.  People were praying.  Many took the time out of their day to kneel at the throne of God to ask for help for Chloe.  I even received a call from a friend in Indy.  He offered his home if needed and said he would come visit once he was available.

I wish I could list all those that offered a prayer, offered to help or bring us anything (several that were either coming to Indy or who live in Indy).  But the list would be way too long.  A fact that awed and amazed us.  We spent a lot of time with tears in our eyes.  Many times it was because of how grateful we were for God's provision.

God knows what we need when and where we need it.  Always.

We arrived at Riley and headed straight to Chloe's room.  There we sought information.  And praise the Lord, we received answers.

We were told that she HAD an opening!!!!!  After being told all the possibilities of what COULD be going on, the answer was so much BETTER than we could have hoped for.  But there still is an anomaly.  Our little Chloe has what is known as an imperforate anus.  The anus isn't in the proper location and is higher than normal.  The nurse said that we would be here at least 4 or 5 days.  When we asked if there would be surgery, we were told not during this visit.  Why was she being kept then?

We still didn't know if she had a functioning bowel.  The doctor also informed us that many times a baby with this condition also has other things that are wrong.  There would be several tests.  They needed to make sure.

The next several hours we discovered new and wonderful things about Riley.  We were given a room at the Ronald McDonald House that is within the hospital.  This place provides three meals daily for free to parents.  It also provides a free washer and dryer.  I've never truly understood humility until now.  How humbling is it to receive love from others you don't know!

This morning the surgery team came into the room to inform us of some news.  Our little Chloe was clear of any other anomalies!  The test results all came back negative!  God is good!  We even received better news when we learned that we would be able to take Chloe home on FRIDAY as long as she eats and gains some weight!  Please be praying for this to happen!  We miss our other kiddos too!

OUR GOD IS AN AWESOME GOD!  HE IS REAL!  HE IS FAITHFUL!  AMEN!

The road ahead...

We will be taught how to dilate Chloe's anus (which will need to take place 2 to 3 times daily) as we wait 6-8 weeks for her to grow so she can have surgery.  When that time comes we will come back down to Riley for a 2-3 day visit.  The surgery will move her anus to the correct location.  This will give her back the muscles used to push, etc.  We will then have visits every two weeks.  This will get longer in between until hopefully and prayerfully simple annual checkups.

What HOPE God brings to us during the times when there seems to be none!  HE IS GOOD!

We just want to thank everyone of you.  ALL of you who have been there with us on our journey.  We are so blessed.  AND HUMBLED.  We know we don't deserve your love, but you have given so freely.  Thank you for being Christ to us!