Getting Up to Follow

When I woke up the morning after hearing the pathology report of Stan’s (our pastor) brain tumor, I thought I would feel better. I didn’t. But I knew I was going to pray with some others that morning and there was hope in that. We read scripture, sang worship songs, prayed and talked. This news is too heavy to carry alone; it weighs me down and fogs me up, I have to give it Jesus and trust in the love of the Father. I had a great need to worship with my church family this morning, and I know I need to be led through this.

Fortunately, Stan Buck, the founding and lead pastor of our church, is leading still, and its some of his most powerful leadership. He trusted God immediately and completely with the news of the tumor. On May 31, he posted this on his Facebook page:

My soul is finding rest, my body is healing! Feeling very good, sensing a deeper renewal coming in my body, mind & Spirit! This surgery surprised me – but this season of healing is allowing me to go deeper and grow!Embracing this weakness, becoming stronger by grace! (2 Corinthians 12:9 I’m grateful – prayed for – finding a peace in being made more whole in being who God has created me!

One of our other pastors has met with Stan and reports back that Stan keeps saying that nothing defines him except for this: he is a Bondservant of Jesus Christ. (You can click below to read more about that term.)

On his CaringBridge web page the other day, his wife wrote that Stan is feeling physically good (which is amazing, considering he just had brain surgery) and that he is enjoying playing the piano and guitar and singing songs to the Lord. Singing songs to the Lord. What a leader. The power of his leadership today is undeniable. The places he is taking us, without even talking with us (he is fasting from email, texting and Facebook), is deeper than I have been. He is reminding me of David, assaulted yet singing songs to the Lord.

Stan has been our pastor, our friend, our leader, my boss (while I worked on staff for four years), and my mentor in many ways. He has been one to re-direct me as well as tell me that he is proud of me, so this is personal. The day Stan received the pathology report, he wrote down a few words for his daughter to post on CaringBridge, it ended with this: My soul finds rest in God. (Psalm 62).

So I guess mine will too. Lead on teacher, we are following.

Bondservant        Previous Post: Face Down

More Than Fun & Games

This is one of my friends, I don’t think she wants me to share her age, so I won’t. In fact, she wasn’t sure she wanted me to write about her, but eventually she agreed. She said I could use her picture, but not her name. In the end its about her inspiration….but she’s pretty so I wanted you to “meet” her.

We were at a luncheon to benefit Healthier Moms and Babies today and as we spoke, I learned she had a “small heart attack” in January. When I discovered her age (one of the details I won’t share) I asked her what she does to stay so youthful. What she said inspired me and I knew I had to write about it.

She used to be pretty active, but since the heart attack she hasn’t quite had her energy back so she works to keep her mind active. Currently, she is teaching two people how to play cribbage. I love this. She didn’t give up, she figured out what she could do and did that. She loves teaching the game because it means she has company and she gets to use her mind to stay active.

What she said next really made me smile –

“I also play Wii…to keep a little physically active.”
Smiling and with a little wonder in my voice, I asked “What do you play?
 It turns out that she bowls. So do I.
“I’m pretty good at bowling.” I tell her.
“So am I.” She said.
She asked my high score, I said I didn’t know, I just know I beat my kids at Wii bowling.
Her current high score is 260. Sometimes she bowls with her left hand to challenge herself. If she is too tired to bowl, she sits on a chair and bowls. “At least its something active.” she said.

I want to be like her when I grow into a wise woman of the ages. Actually, I want to be like her now. I want to make sure I am looking for opportunities to challenge and stretch myself. I want to think outside the box. I want to bowl a 260! 

At the end of our time together today I asked if I could take her picture and write about how inspiring I find her. She teared up.She doesn’t think she’s that inspiring. She said “I just do little things.” I told her that I believe it is the little things that make the most difference; that most of us can identify with the little things. She agreed. She hugged me and I received permission to write about a woman who I am going to invite over so we can have a bowling tournament. I’m going to try to beat her. I have a feeling I won’t.

Guest Blogger ~ Zach on Zach’s Trip to El Salvador

Helio, Quito, and Me
Well I am writing on my mom’s blog today about my trip to El Salvador. My dad and I went with a group of people from Habitat for Humanity. We left on Saturday March 19th and got back the following Saturday, the 26th.
There we experienced many cultural differences like when we went to the market and people were selling things that they had made to make a buck for their family, and this seemed to be the prime place for people to sell and buy just about anything. I quickly noticed that the language barrier was not a big deal. Now, I’m in Spanish 3 in school, but I also learned quickly that three years of Spanish in school does not help a whole lot in a country where everything is spoken in Spanish. I could translate a little and understand some, but that was the extent of it. But we got our main ideas across, and on most days had a professional translator.
I’m just going to throw this out there, everyone in El Salvador is poor. But, all of them are also happy. I did not encounter a single person who was mad because they didn’t have the latest T.V. or car or a big house; they were happy with what they had. Who can say that here in America? Us Americans feel the need to have the newest things, newest technology, we treat material wealth like it’s a competition. Like that Best Buy commerical where everyone is mad because they just bought something and they learn that there is a newer one out. I’m just saying, maybe we can learn from the El Salvadorians.
Our Work Group
So we should be happy with what we have and be happy with our friends who have the newer things. Because in the end, are you happier just after you bought the new 3D T.V., or after you helped change someone’s life? I realized that I was just helping to build a house, they were helping to change me as a person just by living their lives.

I will definitely go back next year, not only because I can help build a house, but because I can witness some of the happiest people on the planet, and walk with them to reach that same level of joy. Because this happiness is not something that you can get with material items, but by sharing the love of God. I think everyone should go on a mission trip because you realize how you can change the world, not only by providing help to others in some way, but also by providing help to yourself.

Soldiers in the Prayer Box

Several weeks ago I learned of a soldier at Brooke Army Medical Center receiving treatment for severe burns he received in a combat operation in Afghanistan. Nearly 40% of his body is covered in burns and he is enduring painful grafting and therapy. Recovering can be long, painful and can feel stagnant.

One of the blessings of my sister and I owning our own company is that we can send our product to others when we feel prompted. (you can click here to see our website, old website – but plans are in the works for an updated site) We believe marking and recording each and every, even the very small, improvements or blessings can keep a heart and mind focused on the forward progress that can be missed in times like this.

Anyway….as I was packing for an American Mothers National Board meeting in San Antonio, Texas, I grabbed a stonemarkers kit to give to another board member who would have the honor of meeting this young soldier and his wife. Erin, my youngest daughter, saw me grab the kit and asked why I packing it. I told her the story and gave her his name for her prayer box. (see The Prayer Box post below) Her heart and dedication to praying for soldiers (and others) continues to inspire me; she is faithful to pray for the names in this box.

As I left for the airport, Erin said good-bye and reminded me to get the name of the soldier who would be on my plane. (Again, see the post below and click on the link to read the back story to this) We laughed and I said I would, not really thinking there would be a soldier.

When I got to my hotel room, I sent her this text message: The soldier’s name on the plane is Randkins, he is headed to Iraq for ten months. :)

Randkins may be in Iraq, and Ronnie may be in a hospital, but they are also in her box, which means they are also before the Father.

(As a follow-up to this ~ Erin said that the first night she prayed for Randkins the word that came to her mind was “Leader”. She said since that night she has prayed for his leadership as well as his faith, strength and courage.)

Read “A Daughter, a Prayer Box & Soldiers” here. Originally published on April 26, 2009