Family

Family

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Weakness = Strength

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 "But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

It is counter intuitive to our thinking that weakness is really strength. Everywhere we look in our society, we are told to be strong...physically, emotionally and mentally. We are inundated with images of muscular bodies challenging us to be stronger then we are now. You never see a weak person on a billboard challenging you - "Don't you want to be weak?". Yet throughout scripture, God talks about the person who is weak and humble. God isn't looking for people to be weak as we define weak (quiet church mice who don't know how to speak, frail, etc). What He is looking for is people who are humble and see that apart from HIM they are nothing and weak. They depend entirely upon Him for strength and seek His face everyday. James 4:4-10 explains this well: "You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that He jealously longs for the spirit He has caused to dwell in us? But He gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up." (underlined emphasis is mine).

We are to submit to God, draw near to Him, repent and purify our hearts, and humble ourselves before the Lord. What happens when we do that? He lifts us up and He makes us strong. I am writing this because I have seen this first hand in Wayne over the past few weeks. Wayne still suffers from aphasia (People who have aphasia may have difficulty speaking and finding the "right" words to complete their thoughts). I can see at times his battle with feeling defeated by this problem. He feels weak when he prays and when he tries to discuss a sermon we listen to online. He can't always articulate what is in his brain into words. It is hard to see someone you love struggling with something like this. I think he is doing great, but I can understand that he wants to be "normal" again. But do you know what I see emerging through all of this "weakness"? I see strength. He is depending on God now more then ever and I can see God transforming his weakness into strength. His prayers are slower, but they are also deeper. God told us that sometimes when we are unable to pray, the Spirit intercedes for us. Romans 8:26-27 "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God." I believe that the Spirit is doing that for Wayne when he is struggling in his prayers. What Wayne sees as weakness, God sees as strength because Wayne is depending on Him and not himself. Wayne's "weakness" is daily challenging me to be more dependent upon the Spirit as well. It is so easy to say that we are depending on Him, it is so much harder to actually do it. God continually is drawing our hearts closer to Him. It is our prayer that God continues to work in our life transforming us more into His image and that He is glorified every step of the way.

Wayne's doctor adjusted his seizure medicine on Thursday in attempts to stop the random seizures. This should help his body while he is on his chemo cycles the next few months. The new level of medicine seems to be helping Wayne a lot. He was able to take a 3 mile walk with the family on Saturday and yesterday he went to work the whole day. He did say he was tired, but he had enough energy to get through the day. God is good!! We know that we have a long road ahead of us, but we also know that we have the best one to depend upon as we walk this journey.

Here are some pictures from Wayne's first full day back at work. He worked from home until a client meeting. We drove him to his meeting near O'Hare and then a co-worker drove him back to work.



For the past few months, we have been watching a nest. We thought the birds were peregrine falcons, but we discovered yesterday that it was actually a cooper hawk nest. One of the young birds is out of the nest and wandering our yard. The girls have taken it upon themselves to protect the bird from any predators. Yesterday when the bird appeared on our front steps, the girls had me call a peregrine helpline to find out what we needed to do to help the bird. That is when we learned that the bird was actually a cooper hawk. We also learned that at young bird leaving the nest is quiet normal. They call this process fledgling. We read all about fledgling this morning in our science book (nothing like sneaking in some science during summer break).



Finally, we were blessed to reconnect with a sweet friend of ours, Gloria Parker. Wayne's book has been a blessing to me in many ways. One of those blessings has come from reconnecting with people from the past. Gloria is such an amazing, godly woman. I loved hearing her share how God has been working in her life. I also learned that Gloria is a crochet instructor. I am working on arranging a summer crocheting class for the girls. I guess I'm a mean teacher, I'm always finding creative ways to keep them learning, even in the summer. 


There were two things that stuck in my mind from our conversation with Gloria. 1) Gloria was talking about people being bored. She said the only board she knows is her ironing board. I thought that was hilarious and will be using it with the girls this summer if they say they are bored. 2) She said that God is sovereign and has a plan, but He also invites us to pray and ask Him anything, so that is what she is doing for Wayne. She is boldly approaching the throne for Wayne and asking God to do a mighty work in him.

Hebrews 4:15-16 "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet He did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."

1 John 5:14-15 "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him." 








Thursday, June 25, 2015

Sovereign, Sufficient God

Romans 8:26-28 "Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."

I have experienced first hand what this verse is describing. When you see the man you love going through the things I have the last few months, especially the seizures, there just aren't words at times to express. When Wayne had his big seizure at the zoo last week, I didn't have eloquent words for God, I just cried out to Him for help and guidance. There actually have been many times lately that I don't know exactly what to pray. My faith in who God is hasn't dimmed, but I have struggled with what exactly to pray. I know God is big enough to heal Wayne completely, but I also want to trust His perfect plan for our lives. I mainly ask God to help me release my will to Him and to trust Him completely.

After getting a clean bill of health with our MRI, we started making some fun plans for life. We thought that we could plan a family trip away from the "cancer". The trip to the zoo changed those plans. We decided that until Wayne is feeling better, we'd better hold off on any trips. As I mentioned before, Wayne's chemo is really affecting him physically this go around. He has had three minor seizures, including one when he went into work yesterday, since his big one at the zoo. I called the doctor today and talked to them about what we can do. They decided to temporarily increase Wayne's seizure medicine to try to get these things under control. Seizures make one realize just how fragile life is and just how helpless we are...you are not in control. All you can do in those moments is call out to God for strength and lean on Him. 

Wayne is hoping that the medicine will kick in and help these seizures stop. He is working from home for now until we can be certain that he won't experience another seizure at work. I know Wayne is frustrated. He wants to be at 100% and go back to life (work, exercising, etc). 

We were blessed today to have a friend stop by and visit with us. We got to know John Snyder when he came to our church and talked about having a proper view of God. He wrote the series that God used to touch and change our lives, "Behold Your God". It was so encouraging to talk with him and share what God is teaching us in our lives and to hear how God is working in his church in Mississippi. God especially used his prayer at the end of our time to minister to my heart. I love the way God uses little things in our lives to minister to us when we need it the most. 




Prayer RequestsPlease be praying for Wayne as he has to balance getting well and processing life changes right now. Pray for me for rest, patience and strength. This is a long road and this bump in the road has been bringing me down a little. We were so encouraged with Wayne's recovery and we feel like he has regressed since starting back up on chemo. Pray that his body handles the next dose better and that he can get back to work. Thank you for all of your prayers!!

***UPDATE-Photobook for Wayne: I am still looking for confirmation of people praying for us in Connecticut, Rhode Island, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Vermont. Just five little states left. I don't HAVE to have a picture if you are praying for us, but it would be nice. The book is turning out really nice. and I'd love to include you in the book. Thank you to everyone who has been sending in pictures!!***


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Monumental Day!!

Isaiah 40:12, 26, 29-31 "Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?..Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of His might, and because He is strong in power not one is missing...He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might He increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."

Almost every Christian school I've known has had Isaiah 40:31 as their school verse. It is a wonderful verse, but it is so powerful when you read it in the context of Isaiah 40. Last year the girls and I memorized Isaiah 40 as part of our Bible time for school. God had laid it on my heart to memorize that portion of scripture and His timing is always perfect! Knowing who God is, not just in theory, but in reality, enables you to face any storm. I by no means have even begun to understand and really know who God is...that's the beauty. Every time you learn more about Him, there is more to learn! 

I think AW Tozer illustrates this beautifully in this quote: "O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need for further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, so that I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, ‘Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away.’ Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long.” 

God, who is sovereign, all knowing and all powerful (and so much more), is the one who gives us the strength described in Isaiah 40:31. God is the one who has sustained us and carried us through the past few months. The past two weeks have been hard. Wayne's chemo dosage was doubled from when he did chemo and radiation. His body did not like the chemo and he has had a hard time recovering. 

Wayne had planned on going back to work Monday, June 22, but his body wasn't up to it. On Sunday we tried to walk to the train to see if Wayne could handle it and Wayne only made it halfway up the street. He worked from home on Monday and Tuesday to give his body more time to recuperate. Today, Wayne walked to the train and went to work.  I have been praying that God would return Wayne's strength so that he could go back to work and start a normal routine. God answered that prayer. Today as I saw Wayne walk to the train, Isaiah 40:29-31 came to my mind. God is the one who has been carrying us this whole time and He is the one who has given Wayne the strength to return to work. I'm resting in who He is and His sovereign plan for us.

Below are the pictures from Wayne's date with Joella. I cannot believe that my "baby" is now 3!! 








Friday, June 19, 2015

Tell Them Now...You May Not Have Tomorrow!

Psalm 103:13 "As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear Him."

Exodus 20:12 "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you."

Father's Day is just two days away. For some of you this day may bring a mixture of feelings and emotions. Some have dads who left them, some have a father who passed away, some may have a dad who wasn't kind or gentle and you wish they had been different, and others may have had a great dad. There may be others of you that had someone else step in and be that father that your biological dad wasn't to you. I have to say that I was blessed with a great dad and my children have been blessed with an amazing dad. 

I came across this video today and thought it was powerful (see below). Many of us love our dads, despite their flaws (which if we are honest we all have flaws). If I have learned anything during this journey it is that life is short. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow. Maybe it's time for us to tell those around us now how much we love and appreciate them. Maybe it's time for proud dads to humble themselves and let their children know how much they mean to them and not feel like it makes them "less of a man". Maybe it's time for a child to forgive their dad for not being the "ideal dad" and thank them for always being there and supporting them. We live in an imperfect world, we have imperfect lives and we have imperfect parents. The only perfect Father is our Heavenly Father (1 John 3:1 "See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.")

Not everyone gets a chance to tell their father this Father's Day that they love and appreciate them. Make sure that you take a moment and tell your father what he means to you this Father's Day. 




Happy Father's Day to my Dad!


Happy Father's Day to my dad through marriage



Happy Father's Day to my amazing husband Wayne!!!



Send your pictures and information to: rebeccaharder35@gmail.com


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Where Are You From?

I have been working like crazy getting pictures for Wayne's book. Thank you to everyone who has been sending me pictures!! 

I started writing down the different states where the photographs are coming from around the globe. I realized that we are very close to having all 50 states represented. I thought that I'd post one more time and see if there are people reading this blog who are from these states or maybe you know someone who has been praying from these states (friends, family, etc). An extra bonus would be to let me know the name of the churches/groups that have been praying for our family. If you are from another country, please let me know that as well.

**Update 6/25/15:STATES NEEDED: North Dakota, South Dakota, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont. Please note - I don't HAVE to have a picture of you for the book, but a name would be nice so I can write it down confirming people praying in the state. 

Thank you again for helping me with this project and for sending me pictures!! I know that Wayne Harder will love it.

You can send any pictures or information to me at rebeccaharder35@gmail.com



Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Visiting the Zoo to a Hospital Visit

A family trip to the Brookfield Zoo turned into a trip to the hospital. We were walking to see the monkeys when Wayne said he needed to sit for a few minutes. After sitting for a few minutes, his hand started violently shaking and then his whole body. He was able to flip over on his stomach and he never passed out, but it scared all of us, especially the girls. We called 911 and had to wait, which felt like an eternity, for the paramedics to show up. Wayne ended up having two seizures. We, Wayne's mom and I, had to scramble to figure out how I was going to go to the hospital and how my mother'n'law and the girls were going to get home (she had no GPS to get directions home and I couldn't give her my cell phone in case I needed it). I am so thankful for the body of Christ. I called the church to get someone's number and our pastor volunteered to come pick everyone up and drive them home. We are now at Adventist LaGrange Hospital waiting for Wayne's kepra dose to be finished and for him to get a cat scan to make sure nothing new is going on in his brain. Please pray for Wayne! We are pretty sure it is a culmination of things that brought this on...Wayne missed a dose of his seizure medicine last night, he's two days into his chemo treatments (that is double the dose of before ), and he's been having sinus issues due to a possible sinus infection. We probably should have stayed home from the zoo, but we were only going for a quick two hour trip. I guess today reminded us that although things seem "normal", our life will never be normal like before February. Each day is a daily surrender to God of our plans and seeking His face for guidance and direction.

****Please continue to send me pictures so that I can add all of you to Wayne's book - see my post from the other day for more information -   rebeccaharder35@gmail.com ****

Proverbs 16:9 "The heart of a man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps."

Proverbs 19:21 "Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand."

************************************************

UPDATE: Wayne has been released from the hospital after receiving a dose of kepra (for the one he missed) and a cat scan. The cat scan revealed that there wasn't any bleeding or anything internally that caused the seizure. Praise the Lord! Although they can't tell us exactly why the seizure happened, we are pretty sure it was a combination of sudafed (we were told it was safe to take even though the box says don't take with seizure medicine), missing a dose of medicine, and being on a double dose of chemo. Wayne is back home now feeling back to normal. He is currently playing Uno with Sophia and talking with his dad. Thank you for all of the prayers!!

****Please continue to send me pictures so that I can add all of you to Wayne's book - see my post from the other day for more information -   rebeccaharder35@gmail.com ****

Here are pictures from before the seizure and trip to the hospital.



Family picture


Picture with Grandma


Watching the dolphins


The tiger awoke - Naomi, Micaela, Sophia


Grandma, Joella & Abigail


Wayne and Rebecca


Wayne, Sophia, Micaela & Naomi - just a minute before his seizure


Relaxing at the hospital - I told Wayne there are easier ways to relax then going to the hospital. I now know the source of all of my headaches in the spring- hospitals!! I'm fighting another headache today - once Wayne was taken from the zoo and to the hospital. 

I'm so thankful that Wayne is okay and for the EMTs who quickly arrived at the zoo to help us out. Thank YOU for all of your prayers as well - keep them coming!!




Monday, June 15, 2015

Keep them Coming!

Thank you to everyone who has been emailing me pictures. I know that Wayne will enjoy seeing all the people who have been supporting him. If you haven't done so yet, please send me a picture of yourself and/or your family. We'd love to hear from all of you. If your church or group has been praying for us, can you please email us a picture of them as well? 

You can email me pictures at rebeccaharder35@gmail.com. Any picture will do. I appreciate everyone's help with this project!! Here are some recent pictures of the girls enjoying the summer. We've taken walks, played outside, gone swimming, picked strawberries (6 buckets), and gone to the park.


Taking a walk to Lake Katherine


Micaela and Joella finally got to see snakes. They have been asking to go see the snakes since I accidentally ran one over the other day.


Micaela enjoying the animals


Sophia looking for the snake


Joella enjoying the fish


Grandma helping Sophia make her stepping stone


Sophia's Goodwill purchase


Sophia picking strawberries with Grandma (and half of Chicago)


Abigail filling her bucket


Naomi picking strawberries 



Grace picking strawberries


Micaela working hard - just not when posing for a picture


Joella's bucket had the tops of strawberries in it since she ate every strawberry she picked


No trip to Indiana is complete without a quick stop at Albanese to get gummy bears!


Up close picture


Joella posing on a log



Grandma, Joella and Micaela

***Don't forget to email me YOUR pictures. I'd love to include you in the book for Wayne. rebeccaharder35@gmail.com***

Friday, June 12, 2015

Please Send me Pictures!!

Attention!! I am in the final stages of getting Wayne's book done with all of his supporters in beanies (or just a picture of you as you are - the beanie is a bonus). I'd love to add more people to the book. If you could take just a minute and take a selfie/picture of your family (I know we are all good at those) and email it to me (rebeccaharder35@gmail.com), I would greatly appreciate it. I'd love to show Wayne how many people were supporting him during his fight against cancer. I'm going to keep this post up through the weekend so that Wayne doesn't see this. I'm hoping to get this finalized by the end of the weekend. Thank you to everyone who has sent us pictures already. 

*Update: I'm going to wait until Wednesday for any late arrival pictures. If you don't have a beanie, I'll take any picture. :) I just want to display how many people were supporting us.

*Update#2: if your church or Sunday School class, etc has been praying for us can you 1)send me the name and 2)take a picture of your group and email it to me? rebeccaharder35@gmail.com‪
#‎prayingforWayne‬ ‪#‎givingGodtheglory‬

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

All the Glory!

1 Chronicles 16:23-31 "Sing to the Lord, all the earth! Tell of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the Lord made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and joy are in His place. Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength! Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; bring an offering and come before Him! Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; tremble before Him, all the earth; yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved. Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice, and let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!”

In light of yesterday's post, I just want to shout it from the roof tops that God is good. All the glory goes to God for all that He has done for us during this whole process. The peace and comfort that He has provided us has been beyond human comprehension. God has taught me so much about who He is and what He is capable of doing if we are surrendered to Him. He has taught me about myself, my weaknesses, my strengths, and that I am continually a work in progress (just when I think I may be "getting it", He shows me that there is so much more). May I continue to daily, and sometimes momentarily, surrender to Him. It is so hard to step out of the way and trust Him, but, when you do, you experience something that is better then anything this world has to offer. God is worthy of everything we have. If you are reading this, don't hold anything back from Him. This life is so fleeting and all the "pleasures" of this world only bring heartache and false peace. God's plan for peace in our lives is so much better!! He offers each one of us an intimate relationship with the creator and sustainer of the world. It isn't a quick prayer we say to "escape hell", it is a daily walk with our Savior who wants all of us. We have an opportunity to know God who holds the heavens in the span of His hands (Isaiah 40), who knows the number of hairs on your head (Luke 12:7), the God who is everywhere-Omnipresent (Psalm 139)...we can spend our whole life pursuing Him and we will only begin to touch the surface of who He is! God is so worthy of our praise! I want to thank Him for being there for us during these past few months. I know that in the good times and in the bad, I have the best one by my side-my Heavenly Father!!

Here are some pictures from our field trip last week to Morton Arboretum. It was a gorgeous day and we all had fun with our homeschool friends. Wayne enjoyed a few hours of peace and quiet at home. Joella is in a lot of the pictures-you can tell who I was predominately watching.




Playing in the water.


Building little rock gardens.



Joella


Water is a little cold!


"Look at the baby frogs!"


Double trouble - Micaela and Joella


Friends


Catching tadpoles!








Naomi bringing Joella a tadpole.


"Oops, I dropped it!"






Lost in the maze of life.






Wayne reading to Joella.


Wayne riding a bike for the first time!! The girls had a blast with him. God is so amazing and worthy of all of our praise! To God be the glory!!!