Bless the Lord O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name
Sammie gave me permission so here goes.
I’m going to look over here so I don’t look at my daughters.
OK, kids, I know you think these teen events and summer camp are all about you and what you get out of it, but I know what God has done for me at these events. If you’ve been at camp W over the years and you’ve been in my class you’ve heard the story of my tough relationship with my father. Just to summarize, it was bad. And one day at camp I had a talk with God and I said, “I’m done. I’m laying it all at your feet.” You see I had spent 10 years resisting Him–to the point that I developed a chronic illness. And God answered and I got to hear my father say the words I never thought he’d say. “I was wrong and I am sorry.” I can’t begin to describe what that was like! I still get goose bumps. That IS the peace the passes understanding. A burden lifted. God restored me to Him, restored me to my father. My relationship with my father is so much better. He even insisted on being the one to take care of me this summer when I had back surgery and my husband was at sea. If you want the long version of the story just ask T1 or Tess or anyone who was at camp. I made three out of five classes cry–I don’t know if that was some kind of record but it was intense.
So what does this have to do with this weekend? I didn’t want to come. You see, when your husband is at sea and you see an opportunity to send your children away you really want to jump at the chance to do that and to sleep in! I was very tired but at 2 PM I got an email with last minute housing instructions for this weekend. And I saw the email address of someone I hadn’t seen in a long time. I was excited to see him and I thought, “ok, I’ll go even if I’m tired.”
Last night was great. Got to see my Brother, the singing was great, my daughters were enjoying themselves. Not too bad. Sammie asked us to think about why we are here this weekend. Well I found out this morning.
I got a call from my mother. My father has cancer.
You know the first thing I wanted was to hear my husband’s voice telling me it was going to be ok. While we were driving over here and I was trying to figure out how to tell my daughters their grandfather was sick, a text message came through. Just a simple, “Love you.” Let me tell you that after almost 20 years of marriage there have been too many times to deny that God has made sure my husband knew by the Holy Spirit when I needed to hear from him!
One of the first people I saw this morning was my Brother. He asked me how I was doing and I said, “Not good. My dad has cancer.” And he was like “Wow.” And he stopped and we talked and before we came in here he said, “Let’s pray.” If you have never had Brother A pray with you, you are missing out! When we were in youth group together, he was the cement of our group. I even texted my mom, “A prayed for us!”
And then the singing. Oh, the singing! I may have been standing there with tears streaming down my face, but they were tears of faith. Every song was about declaring the mighty power of God. I even took a picture of the screen “Our God is a God who Saves”. He is! And while I hope and pray for physical saving, I know even greater is the spiritual healing. He’s got this. I will follow Him.
I am here this weekend because God did not want me home crying alone. He wanted me here among all of you beautiful teens, with our youth volunteers, with my daughters who are surrounded by their friends. Singing songs of praise and worship.
So I am asking you to pray for my father and his surgery on Nov. 18th.
Sammie and Brother A came down the aisle toward me. “Oh Sammie, no!” “You said, pray. What did you think we were going to do?” A Sister who I hadn’t seen in years ran up and joined our circle for the prayer. God is so good.
And God continues to work: the girls and I were on our way home from the event. I was trying to figure when we could see my father…I offered the choice of swinging by that very day or trying to arrange to go the next week. My girls said stop now. It was the right decision. (Though going up next Sunday is still not off the table…)
Last night I got a FB private message from, again, friends we hadn’t seen in a while. He asked me what was my secret to not changing in 17 years and that he was going to tease my BIL about his NY Giants. And then he asked how was my family. I replied, “God must have been working on your heart. My father has cancer.” His response was, “Wow, I was thinking and praying for your family and I decided to reach out to you!” I think I will call this and all these experiences a “God work”, kind of a sighting/example of how God is actively working.
I really want the Chief home so badly but I have trust and faith in God. I am scared but God has this. My dad is ready to fight. It seems so different from my mother’s breast cancer. Her’s was caught so early–praise God. There is a chance he’s had this for over 3 years. So in the moments when the tears are too great, I let my soul sing like never before.