Harder Family

Harder Family

Friday, February 13, 2015

Ultimate Goal: God's Glory

We were created for one purpose - to bring glory to God. 

"Ascribe to the Lord, O sons of the mighty, Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due to His name; Worship the Lord in holy array." Psalm 29:1-2

"I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and will glorify Your name forever." Psalm 86:12

"Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created." Revelation 4:11

As a family, we decided 2015 was going to be a year of making intentional decisions that would teach us 1)more about who God is and how we can bring Him glory and 2)teach us about suffering so that we can have compassion on orphans and the persecuted church (know how to pray for them better). You can see more here. February was designated "eat like an orphan" month. We have mainly been eating rice and bean dishes from around the world to discover and experience just how blessed we are in America. We have been learning so much this month about how blessed we are and just how wonderful God is to us. 

God laid it on my heart about a month ago to start a new devotional on God's Attributes with the girls during our morning devotions. We also have been memorizing verses about God (Isaiah 40:9-31; Romans 8:39). At the same time, Wayne has been teaching a Sunday School class on "Who God Is". He has been delving deeply into the attributes of God and we have continued to grow in our knowledge of this wonderful God we serve.

Psalm 90:2 "Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God."

I say all of this to lay the ground work for what I am going to share with you. It has been 44 hours since our world was "turned upside down". On Wednesday, I had just finished singing some praise songs with the girls. The last song we were singing before the phone rang was "My Heart is Yours". I ran to answer the phone and it was Wayne. I assumed that he was calling to let me know that his meeting was going to go too long that evening and he wouldn't be able to come to AWANA. He then went on to tell me that he had a seizure. Wayne had been at a work lunch. They were leaving the restaurant and he went to grab some mints out of a bowl with a spoon. He was able to dump the mints into his hand, but when he went to drop the spoon, he couldn't. He knew something was wrong and went to say something, but the words in his brain wouldn't come out of his mouth. He then collapsed. His co-workers called 9-1-1. It wasn't until the EMTs arrived that Wayne regained consciousness (about 5-8 minutes later). The EMTs wanted to take him to Mercy Hospital, but Wayne asked to be taken to Northwestern. He was right near both of them, but they thought Mercy was closer. He insisted that Northwestern had to be just as close as Mercy and he wanted to be at Northwestern Hospital. God's hand was upon this decision we later found out because we were at one of the best neurological hospitals in the U.S.

It was about 1:50pm when Wayne called me. I was trying to figure out where I could take the girls and how I would get downtown so I could get to Wayne. I didn't want to drive downtown because Wayne had driven into work, no point paying parking on two vehicles, let along trying to get both back home. God's hand was upon Wayne this whole day. It was less then two hours after Wayne parked his car that his seizure hit. If it would have hit when he was driving...well, we don't want to think about that. I looked up Metra trains and there "just happened" to be a train coming at 3pm in Worth. You have to understand, Worth doesn't have many trains that come through. The fact that there was a train in less then an hour at this time of day was a miracle. I called my neighbor about watching the girls. She had just walked in the door and told me to bring the girls right over. In less then an hour, I got everyone out the door and jumped on the train. In all the craziness, I forgot that I'd have to pay for a train ticket to go downtown. I dug through my purse and found four $1 bills. The ticket cost $5.50, so I started digging like crazy for change. Thankfully, I had just enough change. I normally don't carry cash and paying for a train ticket was the last thing on my mind that day. The song that we had been singing the hour before "My Heart is Yours" kept ringing in my head as the train traveled closer to Chicago. Everything in my life is ultimately God's and I wanted Him to know that I trust Him 100%, even if the results aren't what I, as a human, would want to see. I could feel His presence on that train and I have felt His presence and peace through this whole ordeal. 

When I pulled into Union Station, I decided that I'd walk to the hospital. Traffic was bad and I didn't want to just sit in a taxi. I love walking downtown and I used this time to get some pent up energy out. I walked so fast that it only took me 27 minutes to walk 2 miles. When I arrived at the hospital, it was such a relief to see Wayne looking "normal" except for a huge black eye he received when he fell. He then told me that he had a cat-scan and it showed that he has a mass in his brain. They believe that the mass is what caused the seizure. That was a rough few minutes trying to digest that news. Looking at him it was hard to believe that this man that I have loved for 17 years could have something that could potentially kill him. 

The ER doctor came in and spoke with us and said the next step was to get Wayne an MRI so they could get a better look at the mass. I learned very quickly that "fast" in the hospital in normal people's time is hours. The MRI was supposed to take 15-20 minutes and he was gone for almost 1.5 hours. Thankfully, three of the guys who Wayne works with, that had been with him at lunch, stopped by the hospital. It was a nice distraction as we waited for Wayne to get out of the MRI. In all the craziness of trying to process the news, I wasn't sure who to call or what to say since we didn't know much ourselves. 

When Wayne arrived back from his MRI, they moved him up to his regular hospital room. The nurses we had at Northwestern, Emily and Mary Margaret, were phenomenal. They helped answer any questions we had about what was next. Everything takes so much time when you are at a hospital. There were many hours of just waiting and talking through what may happen. Some discussions I wish we didn't even have to talk about, but we wanted to make sure that we addressed even hard issues that may arise. 

A neurological doctor came by and talked a little with us, but they kept deferring everything off to the head surgeon, who wouldn't be in until tomorrow. It was getting late and I wasn't sure what to do about the girls. I knew my neighbor had said she would take the kids, but what if they did surgery overnight? I wanted to be there with Wayne until we had a plan figured out. I was thinking about contacting another friend to see if she could spend the night, but I decided I'd wait a little longer. Literally, a minute later, I received a text from her telling me that if I need anything, she'd help. I took that as a sign that I should text her and ask her to spend the night with the girls. Once I knew the "home front" was taking care of, I was able to focus on Wayne. I also used this time to get our prayer warriors started.

Thankfully, Wayne had a great night sleep. Unfortunately, I did not. Between the pull out couch "bed", the dry hospital air and my mind running wild, I didn't get much sleep. It was worth it though to be with Wayne. I prayed and yielded everything, including Wayne to God. This is where the rubber hits the road. It is easy to say you know things about God and that you trust Him, but here is where it becomes real. Everything I know about God and have been studying, strengthened me and is what I clung to. God, Elohim the Creator, created Wayne and knit him together in his mother's womb. He is fearfully and wonderfully made by God and God holds the future in His hands. Our God is Sovereign and has a perfect plan and purpose for our lives, including Wayne. If the God, who holds the waters in the palms of His hands and marks of the heavens with a span, can do all of these things and more, who am I to doubt that He has a perfect plan in all of this? 

Thursday morning, well the whole day, was a lot more waiting. The residents stopped by first thing in the morning and gave us an update. Dr. Chandler would be by later in the afternoon to talk about the plan. Meanwhile, the next step was to get a more detailed MRI that maps his brain and shows them where things are located (nerves, different functions of the brain). If I thought the wait was brutal, Wayne's part was even worse. He had to lay on a flat board with a ring around his head for 2.5 hours. They asked him all kinds of questions to make his brain work as they were scanning it. He said when it was all over, he did a bunch of squats to get his body loose, which the nurses weren't too thrilled about him doing.

As I was waiting, I caught up on texts and calls. All the response was overwhelming, but wonderful. One thing I have discovered in all of this is that the family of God is amazing. I don't know how non-believers and people who aren't actively involved in church, get through things like this. I didn't have to give one minute of thought to the girls being provided for. I have had more offers to babysit and help then I could even use. Meals, shopping, really anything, had been offered. The love and care poured out from everyone has been such a blessing. The most important thing, is all the prayers. We believe the more prayer, the better! The one thing Wayne is asking is that if you are going to pray for us, the first thing we want to pray is for God to be glorified. Wayne said, "Whether I live or die, I want all of this to bring glory to God." Secondarily, you can pray for wisdom for the doctors and for our family. 

So what's next? Dr. Chandler has scheduled Wayne for a biopsy on Tuesday. He will be taken in and have the procedure done on Tuesday morning. We then have to wait a week for the pathology results. We are scheduled to go in on Monday, 2/23, to plan the next step based on the biopsy. From the sounds of it, if it is cancerous, they will do radiation and chemo to shrink the tumor. If it isn't cancerous, they will then do surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible. The most difficult thing in all of this is where the tumor is located. It is located on the top left side of his brain. It is right in-between the motor skills section of the brain - one side is where the brain is told "move my arm" the other side is where your arm actually does the movement. If they move or touch the part that tells your arm to move, if can repair itself and get better, but may experience weeks or months of decreased ability. If they cut too close to the part where you actually move body parts, that would be permanently altered. So, we are looking at potentially some life-changing things coming up. Again, our main prayer is that God is glorified. Secondarily, we are praying that the doctor's will have wisdom to remove this mass as safely as possible with few repercussions. 

Finally I wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone for the prayers, support and help. We couldn't do this with out God and without you!! Here are some verses that were shared with us in the hospital by a dear friend. It spoke volumes to me and brought me such encouragement. May it be an encouragement to you as well!!

Ephesians 3:14-20
"For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith;and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,  to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations [n]forever and ever. Amen."


  1. So sorry to hear of this news, Rebecca! What a whirlwind of events to process. So thankful you have a good network of church, family, and friends who have stepped up to help and that you are in a good place, both physically (at a great hospital) and spiritually. Praying that God would continue to be glorified in your lives, that God would give guidance to you and the doctors, that Wayne would be healed, and that you all would feel His love, peace, comfort, and even joy in the process.

  2. Praying for you all, Rebecca. Your faith and trust in Jesus is inspiring!

  3. Rebecca, Thanks for the update. I have been waiting to see what was going on. I love hearing how God is giving you such peace and hope. When Bekah was going through her surgery last February, this is exactly what I was feeling. We are so close to God when we go through hard times. He loves you so much and He will be glorified!!! We will lift up Wayne, You and the girls daily in prayer. Love you all so much!