Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Looking back to look forward to a new book
5:27 p.m. Today's project was to arise early, pray, read and worship the Lord, then prepare Steve for his second "free trial day" at Care Conexxus in Riverside. The last visit had not gone well at all, so the stakes were high for him to enjoy his day. I asked a friend to pray as we went out the door, and had already asked our Facebook friends to pray.
Jesus said, in Matthew 18:20,
Where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.
In today's Christendom, we can instantly agree in prayer though many miles apart. Yet, our Lord is over the entire universe, and His Holy Spirit indwells each born-again believer with connecting prayer power! And today, our prayers were answered. Steve went in willingly, the staff greeted him by name, and I was able to make a few Mary Kay stops before heading back home.
My task upon returning home was to begin reviewing 5 years' worth of journal entries for references to the effects of Steve's emotional and mental difficulties and the effect it had on our lives as Christian spouses, as parents, and as active servants at church. The Lord has directed me to begin my next book--a Christian woman's response to mental illness. Illness, in this case, that was an early precursor of Steve's Alzheimer's. So this book will be biographical and, most scary of all, autobiographical!
Of course, various issues with the kids, aged from about to graduate through college and adult years, appeared, but I also read of the Lord's intervention and solutions that glorified Him. I noticed some recurring themes of well prayed-over ministry leadership concerns and deadlines; with, again, glorious answers from the Lord for each.
My repeated concern for lack of sleep due to extremely early and extremely late hours, are a thing of the past, with my retirement from the Riverside Unified School Board of Education, not choosing to run for a 4th term in 2005; and my retirement from teaching in the Jurupa Unified School District in 2009. No longer do I arise at 4:50 a.m. to have my devotions before preparing for my work day, and to spend time with Steve before he hit the road to Ontario at 6 a.m.
Because this first journal dated January through August 2006 was not dated daily as I do now, I added numbers to the pages as I read through. I noted relevant topics to my book, even jotting "major" and adding a * if the item was very troubling or portentous. Hindsight is certainly 20/20 vsion, as the saying goes!
Much was encouraging: Steve's answers to prayer with work problems, his success with the audio-visual ministry at Calvary Moreno Valley; counseling from Pastor John; emotional disturbances becoming less frequent as a new psychiatrist prescribed appropriate medication; working together as a couple, and as parents of young adults.
As I progressed through the initial 82 journal entries, very sad issues began surfacing: my mother being paralyzed by Guillame-Barre disease; Steve's mom's frail heart condition at 86; personal trials as Steve began to show initial Alzheimer's symptoms unbeknownst to us. No matter how sad and even tragic our trials became, God was with us, and so were our Christian friends. Admittedly, with the many trials a large family tends to generate, I did some whining that bordered on doubt, but rebounded speedily to remembering who my God is. Only Jesus could--and did--resolve the convoluted issues I brought to Him!
As I begin to compile the facts as well as the emotional components of our testimony, I need to speak the truth in love, and with the purpose of edifying others. This book is not a "tell-all" with the purpose of getting things off my chest. Just as with this blog, the call is from God, and the cause is to lift up, encourage, serve and bless the reader, saved or unsaved. May the unsaved accept the Lord as they see the saving power of Jesus Christ and His lovingkindness to His children. May the saved be reminded daily how much the Cross means to each of us, and how Jesus is the center of a believer's life. There ought be no competition between Jesus and other loves in our lives!
Romans 16: 13-14 reminds me as I undertake this project:
Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.