Tag Archives: Promise

Plodding in the Desert

Hope Coloring Page

I’ve been spending time in the desert lately. Things have felt dry and parched and starving for refreshment. I’ve traveled this terrain enough times to know that there is purpose in it, but it doesn’t make the journey any easier.

Since the beginning of this year, I’ve felt a shift. That’s the only way I can describe it. Something is different with my health, but I can’t put it into words. My body feels tired all the time and it’s really hard to process that. I’ve shared these feelings with a few close friends and Chris (of course) but it’s made it difficult to write. I’ve needed a lot of me and Jesus time, with no other voices involved.

I’d like to tell you that I’ve sorted things out, but I haven’t. God’s given me a few incredible gifts along the way…things I think he knew I’d need to keep on pressing on.

One thing I do know is that along with this “shift” has come an even greater urgency for me to share with you how real God can be in your life and how very much he is needed.

It’s been a tough year so far with my health. I shared in my last post about complications with an infection in my foot. Shortly after that, I took a hard fall to polished concrete at my favorite restaurant on a date night with Chris. Ironically, Chris was about the only person in the restaurant to NOT see me fall. After a few weeks of feeling as if I’d been hit by a bus, I went in for X-rays to check out (what I thought) were cracked or bruised ribs. It turned out that I had a compression fracture in my vertebrae just below my fusion in my thoracic spine. The assumption is that is happened because of the fall, but much like a cracked rib, the only pathway to healing was time and rest. Months of time and rest.

Which brought us to the end of March in which Chris and I took a belated Anniversary trip to Puerto Rico. The warmer weather and steady climate did wonders for my pain, but the endless hours to lay around on the beach and “think” were a surprise I hadn’t bargained for. Finally on the last night of our trip, over an amazing dinner, I apologized to Chris for being so quiet the whole week (my timing is impeccable, I know). I told him the more I tried to figure out why I was so introspective, the more introspective it had made me. (Introspective is a fancy word for quiet and boring).

And then it hit me; this was the first time Chris and I had done a beach vacation…just the two of us, no family or friends…in five years. And in five years, my body has changed a lot. I had a major spine surgery that changed my entire neurological makeup along with shortening me an inch (still peeved about that one…) and an ileostomy bag placed. So to go on a vacation where you’re pretty much living in a bathing suit 24/7, was hard on me. I felt self-conscious and embarrassed (for Chris) the whole time. I was frustrated that I had to use my wheelchair so much, because getting around at the pool without my leg braces is hard and dangerous. The stares bothered me more on this trip than they ever had before. And it bothered me that it bothered me.

puerto rico

And it hit me afresh like a tidal wave that my health is not getting any better, but in fact is getting worse.

I keep having this re-occurring nightmare where I show up at the office of my Neurologist. In my dream he’s a faceless individual…older, kind…but I never am actually called into be seen by him. The dream progresses (they improved the elevator in one of them…) and I see him in the waiting room, or at a coffee shop in the hospital lobby, but I never hear his diagnosis of me and I never actually get real clinic time with him.

It’s troublesome to me and I think it probably has to do with a pending appointment I have with a new local neurologist here in Milwaukee in June. I’ve had the appointment scheduled for several months now, after my primary doctor urged me to find someone to look into a tremor that I’ve developed. They think it’s further autonomic dysfunction due to my deteriorating nervous system, but it would be good to rule out any other neurological causes (MS, fibromyalgia, parkinsons, etc.).

And I think that’s when I start to come full circle about this “shift” I’m feeling. I think part of this shift is that I no longer have a great desire to figure all this out. I’ve gotten to a point where a diagnosis is just a name. I know there is no solution, no cure, and so it all seems so futile to me. But I have this internal wrestling going on inside because I would never want Chris or Promise or anyone that I love to think that I didn’t try my hardest to live the longest, healthiest life I could.

And so that is a small window into what my desert has looked like lately. Ironically, all of this comes after giving a talk titled “The Battle for Hope- How to Keep Getting Up When You Get Kicked Down” at our Church, Elmbrook, in early March. How I’ve listened to my own advice over and over and over. I’ve repeatedly told myself that it’s not about feeling God, but knowing the truth of God. It’s about making a choice to keep plodding along, even on the hardest, driest days….that somehow God will not let that go in vain.

I was laying in bed last Sunday night, Chris silently sleeping beside me. My health and the future of my health felt like a weight on my chest and I was silently trying to muffle my sobs. I felt a nudge from the Holy Spirit to get out of bed and get on my knees by my bedside. Again, I knew it was God’s spirit because it’s not a thought that would naturally come from my human-ness. I mean getting on my knees is hard for me. It hurts. My left foot is at a permanent 90 degree angle, so it’s uncomfortable. Really awkward.

After a few moments of wrestling in my head with whether or not I was actually going to do this, I slipped out of bed and onto the floor. And I wept. And I surrendered my health to God, afresh…asking him to take it all. As I crawled into bed I had the most incredible peace where the heaviness had been. I wanted to read my bible but it was down in my car, so I opened up the bible app on my phone. Apparently the last time I had been reading it had something to do with looking up the verse we named Promise after; Psalm 145:13 NIV.

As my eyes read through verse 13 and into verse 14, my breathe caught in my throat. I had never paid attention to the verse following “her” verse but it read:

“The LORD upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.”

I know that no matter what lies in front of me, or for however long this desert period lasts, God will lift me up if I continue to bow my life to him.

-Adri

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Pennies with Promise

“And they did it with something that is basically worthless in our society – pennies. But overseas, pennies can move mountains.” -Greg Mortenson

pennies with promise

Chris, Promise, and I want to send the warmest “THANK YOU” to everyone who has prayed for Ruth and the children at the Amukura orphanage and donated money towards Ruth’s wheelchair and incontinence supplies. My prayer for Ruth has been that she would tangibly see and feel the love of Jesus through these medical supplies and that these supplies would bring relief to her body that has already endured so much.

To my knowledge, God has taken the $14.00 that Promise laid on our kitchen table a few months back, and turned it into $961.25! Our goal was to raise $650.00 for Ruth’s wheelchair and about $28.00 for monthly incontinence supplies, and as you can clearly see, we have gone far beyond that goal. The above picture shows a handful of the oldest children who attend ECCEC preschool at Elmbrook Church. These amazing little kids emptied their piggy banks and for two weeks gave generously and whole heartedly during their “Pennies with Promise” drive. Using only penny wells that were stationed in the halls, these children raised $352.25 for Ruth.

It makes me teary every time I say that. Promise and I were able to stop by ECCEC and thank some of the children personally. I also want to say thank you to all of the other families who participated in this that I did not get to thank. Thank you, as well, to my nieces Abigail and Madelyn who gave very generously from their own piggy banks.

Sr. Leah, who is one of the caretakers at the orphanage is in the process of purchasing Ruth’s wheelchair and getting us a picture of her in it. As soon as I receive that, I will be sure to share it.

Amukura Orphanage is in a remote part of Kenya, so things take time. The needs for these children are great. If you did not get the opportunity to participate in donating towards Ruth’s needs, you can still make a general gift donation to the orphanage at any point and it will be so appreciated! Checks can be made out to “The Little Sister’s Angel Fund” and can be sent to:

Sr. Lucy Marindany

4059 N 25th St.

Milwaukee, WI 53209

A receipt and tax deduction form will be sent to you.

If you missed the full story about Ruth and Promise’s $14, check out my two posts titled “Dinnertime Leftovers and Twelve Dollars” and “But God… But God… But God…”

Grace and Peace,

-Adri


But God… But God… But God…

::John 6:5-9::

When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?”  He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

 Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”

Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up,  “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”

“But how far will they go among so many?”. Andrew asked a really good, and seemingly obvious, question. I’m sure I would’ve asked Jesus the same exact thing. I know that I catch myself asking God this in my own day-to-day life quite often. “But God, how far will my single prayer for the Christian’s being persecuted by ISIS really go?”, “But God, how far will us fostering just one child go in resolving the crisis of the hundreds of thousands of orphaned children around the world?”, “But God, how far will the donations from this one painting go towards ending the rampant movement of child slavery?”.

But God… But God… But God.

It’s hard for me to not ask these questions when I have constant exposure, through technology, to the evil that exists in this world. We have access to so much knowledge, and many times after reading CNN.com or the like, it’s knowledge that I wish I didn’t have. It’s like a heavy weight that pushes down on me and causes me to have a very hard time believing how my “smalls” could help to remedy all of these “bigs” in our world.

But God already knows how they are doing this, so my job is to trust and obey and offer my “small”, just as the disciples had to do.

Since my last post about Promise giving her $14 to Ruth (the little girl with Spina Bifida in Kenya), God has taken our “small” and turned it into an ever-growing “big”. It’s been incredibly humbling for our family to watch God do this. It’s been an awesome way to teach Promise, on her level, what obedience to the Holy Spirit can bring about. I’ll share just a few snippets of what has happened;

  • The week following my blog entry, through a tangled web of social connections that I’m still trying to figure out, Promise and I received an invitation by some friends of ours to come to their house for dinner. Chris and Sue know one of the Sisters that is from Kenya and works with the orphanage that Ruth is at and they had invited her and a few others to dinner so that we could all meet. We all showed up on the Dummert’s doorstep, not knowing each other, but knowing God was working out something far bigger than we can imagine. Sister Lucy brought with her a friend who currently works at a respite care facility here in Milwaukee, but had spent extended time in Kenya, learning the language and culture and working with the poverty there. It was fascinating to talk with them, to hear about what life is like in Kenya, Nairobi, and this little orphanage 8 hours outside of Nairobi. Sister Lucy told me about Ruth and the time that she had met her two years ago; unable to walk but sitting on the ground, joyfully bouncing around with the rest of the children as they put on a performance. It was an amazing evening full of the most delicious chicken, warm laughter, sharing of stories, and imagining just a glimmer of what “could be” for this orphanage. Promise was able to physically hand Sr. Lucy her $14 and have a visual representation of where her money would be going. I’m so thankful to Erin for bringing me into this, Chris and Sue’s gracious hosting of this dinner (that had the potential to be very awkward, seeing as none of us knew each other), Kelly for making all of the social connections, and for Sr. Lucy and the rest of the sisters that serve tirelessly for the needs of these little lives at the Amukura Orphanage.
  • This same week, I received a call from Chris’ Great Aunt Margene who is fortunate enough to live in sunny and WARM AZ (as I type, it’s sunny here in Milwaukee but snow covered and the wind is howling). She told me how this specific blog post was so moving to her that she printed it and shared it with her bible study group from church. She said they usually take up an offering at the end of each of these meetings, and after reading my post, they all felt moved to give that weeks offering of $65.00 to Promise’s wheelchair fund for Ruth. I am so thankful for those who are in the “retirement” stage of life that have committed to the fact that even though their earthly work may be done, their kingdom work is not, until the Lord calls them home. This group is such a beautiful reminder to me of that.
  • At the end of February, we took a trip to MI to celebrate my nephew’s 1st birthday. While we were there,  both of my nieces VERY generously donated money from their allowances and piggy banks, bringing Ruth’s wheelchair fund past $100!
  • I was contacted by Promise’s former Pre-school, ECCEC (Elmbrook Church Child Enrichment Center), asking if they could partner with us during the week that they celebrate the young child (April 11th). After reading my blog post about Promise’s giving, one of Promise’s former teachers was moved to share it during their faculty devotion time. Collectively, the staff decided that they’d like to do something called “Pennies with Promise”, where each classroom will be able to bring in money all week that will go towards Ruth’s wheelchair and the orphanage, in addition to teaching the children about life in Africa. We are thrilled to be a part of this and pray that God uses it to show the children at ECCEC (and their families) the kingdom work that he is doing in this continent.

So as God continues to take our “small” and make it his “big” as only HE can do, will you partner with us and pray for Ruth, the children at Amukura, the Sister’s tirelessly serving there, and for other opportunities to raise funds for them? Here is a picture of precious Ruth:)

ruth

Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.

When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.”  So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.

::John 6:10-13::

We estimate the cost of the wheelchair to be $650.00 and then $26.40/month for incontinence supplies for Ruth. If you’d like to contribute donations can be made out in check form to The Little Sister’s Angel Fund with “Ruth” or “Wheelchair” in the memo. A receipt and tax deduction form will be sent to you. The checks can be mailed to

Sr. Lucy Marindany
4059 N 25th St
Milwaukee, WI 53209
-Adri

 


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