and sarah declared, “God has brought me laughter. all who hear about this will laugh with me. who would have said to abraham that sarah would nurse a baby? yet i have given abraham a son in his old age! // genesis 21: 6-7, NLT
laughter typified both sarah and abraham‘s first responses upon learning of God’s promise to finally bless them with a son. likewise, in the days following isaac’s birth, sarah laughed over these long expected and unusual events in her later years.
have you ever wondered why she laughed?
perhaps she was reflecting on the incomprehensibility and irony of her situation, an event that could only be a product of God making good on His sweet promise. maybe it was sparked by a secret fear that they wouldn’t be capable of raising a child at an elderly age, or at the very least would pass on before he was old enough to himself become a father. what if it was a bittersweet amusement, a chuckle at the fact that it seemed His promise was seemingly being completed too late? did she have an inkling of the rivalry that would result between her future heir and the child abraham had already fathered with hagar? she could have just been filled with joy like any soon-to-be mother, who no one ever envisioned actually giving birth. or maybe she simply anticipated the gossip and doubt among those who would soon hear that she was to carry and bear a child at an elderly age.
how many times do we share in this facetious laughter at the unimaginable things God has at work? so often, our joy at His promises or plans for us is robbed – when we pause to think how others will react at something that sounds and looks proposterous, when we’re embittered that it took Him so long to fulfill our desires, when we allow fear to overshadow possibility.
let’s work on laughing out of pure delight and expectation at the things He’s appointed for us, shall we?
forget the former things; do not dwell in the past. see, I am doing a new thing! now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. // isaiah 43:18-19
these beautiful words were penned by a prophet thousands of years before i would flip open my leather bound bible and find them. this passage promises that the same power the Father employed to deliver His people across the red sea will again be used in our redemption and release from captivity. this scripture is one i will likely find myself clinging to in this season, holding to the promise that His wellspring will refresh and renew. this blessed assurance is mine to claim and proclaim.
and it’s yours too.
it’s been a little over a month since my sweet mama was diagnosed with breast cancer, which seems so much shorter than it should be. things have moved extremely quickly in terms of compiling her treatment plan, which i can only attribute to my God and my master mammographer of a sister, whose expertise in this field has been such a source of peace for me.
as of the wee hours of this morning, mom has spent the last five weeks going back and forth to dozens of appointments. a breast MRI and PET scan were performed to search for any more “hot spots” in her body where other tumors could be lurking. none could be found. :) the small tumor is located in one area only, which will be removed on december 22nd! mom will then have six consecutive weeks of radiation, beginning at the end of january and concluding in late spring. such therapy will require a daily, two-hour roundtrip commute during that time period, in addition to teaching those crazy fifth graders that she so dearly loves. this will be hard on her – but we am so pleased, elated, thankful, and awestruck that chemotherapy isn’t even deemed necessary for the time being by her oncologist and surgeon. what better news could we have gotten at this stage of the game? sometimes it gives me chills to think of how tenderly we’ve been cared for and how smooth of a road He seems to have paved for her. makes me wanna gush those happy tears that i usually roll my eyes at any other time.
shortly after mom’s diagnosis, one of my sweet girls from the youth ministry i volunteer at on wednesday nights created a facebook group to spread the word and gather the faithful to pray on her behalf. as of the wee hours of this morning, 380 people have committed to pray for my best friend – just through facebook alone. i can’t even begin to count how many more church prayer lists she appears on, or how many other prayer warriors may be interceeding for her even today! i know it’s corny, and i know i sometimes scoff at how frivolously this word is thrown around, but we are so, so blessed. it renders me speechless sometimes. and we all know how hard of an accomplishment that is. :)
so if you’re reading this and have or will speak to our Lord about my mama’s healing, thank you. it works. it is working. and it’s going to be the biggest source of healing for her following this surgery and into the months of treatment following. we love you.
to join the facebook group and receive more updates on how to pray for us, click here.
let all that i am praise the Lord; may i never forget the good things He does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
psalm 103: 2-4
φιλεω Κοινή, y’all.
this semester marked my first course in elementary greek at obu, which blew me away. thankfully, i had a few fantastic study buddies to ease the journey, and a wonderful professor to boot. this course is one of the most challenging and rewarding ones i’ve ever cracked open a book for, ranking right up there with life of Christ and the infamous year of western civ. learning a biblical language didn’t particularly strike me as possible before coming to college, and if nothing else it appeared too intimidating or time consuming of a task. five months after my first shaky morning of ancient greek, however, i am so grateful that i stepped out of my league and gave it a shot. in one semester, we’ve learned around 180 greek nouns and verbs, mastered studied 6 different tenses, translated a bajillion sentences from the new testament and septuagint, and picked up a whole lotta goodies in between. i’m one happy geek.
though i’m nowhere near being a proficent greek scholar, my friends, i’m thrilled to be continuing my studies next semester, and maybe even into my senior year. which, by the way, will require a few hundred pots of coffee, dozens of stacks of index cards, and many prayers. :) but i look forward to perhaps one day being less and less of a slave to commentaries and translated tidbits, and instead being a little closer to interpreting the Word as the authors of it intended. that’s nice and corny, right?
p.s. here’s a video dr. kelly showed us the very first day of class. i can appreciate it’s kitchyness even better today. :D
what’s been the most challenging and/or satisfying course or skill you’ve ever studied?
so tonight i had a weeping spell. you know, the kind that starts in the shower and eventually ends up under the covers in your bed? i sniffled and pouted for a few minutes over the things i wish i had control over, the things i tell myself that are nowhere close to what He says about me, and the things i fear most. i’m a girl, y’all. it’s what we do. sometimes the salty tears before bed make us even more thankful for the joy that comes with morning, i think.
and though i rarely do this, i decided to just flop open my bible to whatever passage it may reveal, and pray that i would find calm in however many verses of reading it took. no set plan, no devotion chapter tonight. just whatever. i sometimes scoff at such a strategy, ’cause the psalms are invariably what opens up. i love those songs o’ david, don’t get me wrong – i just want a little variety when throwing open the Word (can i say that?).
even so, i didn’t have to read too far to appreciate the psalms my bible took me to this evening, as i climbed into the bed of my sister’s guest room and hoped for somethin’ hearty to meet my eyes. at the top of page 676, two verses were as far as i advanced.
“those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. they weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.” // psalm 126:5-6
i think i can now stash away the kleenex box for another time.
from today’s passage in oswald chambers’ my utmost for His highest:
have I been with you so long, yet you have not known Me, philip? // john 14:9
philip expected the future revelation of a tremendous mystery, but not in Jesus, the person he thought he already knew. the mystery of God is not in what is going to be – it is now, though we look for it to be revealed in the future in some overwhelming, momentous event…
let your heart not be troubled – am i then hurting Jesus by allowing my heart to be troubled? if i believe in Jesus and His attributes, am i living up to my belief? am i allowing anything to disturb my heart, or am i allowing questions to come in which are unsound and unbalanced? i have to get to the point of the absolute and unquestionable relationship that takes everything exactly as it comes from Him. God never guides us at some time in the future, but always here and now. realize that the Lord is here now, and the freedom you receive is immediate.
and anyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return… // matthew 19:29
one of my most precious friends from back home will be spending two weeks in india next month, may 2nd through the 17th. few words could explain how proud of and thrilled for lindsey i am! i beg you to join me in prayer for the hearts of lindsey, the rest of her team, and the sweet faces of india to be prepared for how He will move among them. pray for divine opportunities to make themselves starkly known, for focus and safety, for flexibility and a cohesive team, and for the love of Christ to be made beautifully clear.
i am so excited. =)