Harder Family

Harder Family

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Borrowed Time

James 4:13-14 "Now listen, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.' Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes."

On Tuesday night, Wayne discovered that a young man named Andrew Garwood, who Wayne had done rehab with at RIC, died. Andrew was only 22. He had GBM, brain cancer, like Wayne and he only lived 16 months. Wayne said that if anyone should be able to beat/survive this cancer, it would have been him. He was young and stronger then Wayne and yet he is gone. It was a sobering night for both of us as we thought about just how blessed we have been so far with Wayne's clear MRIs and his health. Wayne was in therapy with two people who had brain cancer and they both are dead...one after a six month battle and the other 16 months, one older woman and one a young man. That same day we also heard about the death of a little boy, 5, for whom we had been praying. Wayne said it feels like at times he is living on borrowed time. Too many stories of lives cut short by brain cancer. In those dark moments of feeling despair, we have to cling to God's promises that He numbers our days and we cannot worry.

I came across this quote by George Muller: "The Christian should never worry about tomorrow or give sparingly because of a possible future need. Only the present moment is ours to serve the Lord, and tomorrow may never come...Life is worth as much as it is spent for the Lord's service."

The world around is us always saying, "We are to live as there is no tomorrow." When in actuality, we are to live like we will stand before Jesus Christ TODAY and not as the world would, throwing caution to the wind and living in the moment, but living each moment for the glory of God. We were created to bring Him glory. I've been pondering what that should look like in my life. Everything should be and can be done for His glory...doing the dishes and laundry, teaching my children, talking to neighbors, etc. I have been asking God to show me how I can better show Him my love and appreciation for what He has done in my life and the great mercy He's given me.

Tragedy, trials, and loss give us perspective. Tuesday night brought us perspective once again...we are all living on borrowed time. Car accidents, heart attacks, cancer, and health issues are some of the things that can unexpectedly take our lives. I heard part of a sermon by John McArthur about borrowed time. I loved how he explained it:

"The real question is what kind of God lets us live. We're all living on borrowed time. It's time we don't deserve, we should be dead...The answer is because God is gracious and He's merciful and He's compassionate towards sinners and it causes Him to hold back what we deserve. I believe that the most universal gift, the most universal blessing that comes from God's common grace to humanity is time. Time to repent, time to believe, time granted by God's patience, God's patience. He is patient because He is merciful. Listen to God's own declaration in Exodus Chapter 34, verse 6. "The Lord passed by in front of Moses and said the Lord, the Lord God compassionate and gracious slow to anger and abounding in loving kindness and truth," or faithfulness. Compassionate, gracious, slow to anger." John McArthur

I am so thankful that God is gracious and merciful to me. He has a plan for my life, for Wayne's life, and for your life. God is always working. I saw this devotional on shereadstruth.com by Missy Fuller and it resonated with my heart.

"Like Romans 8:28 says, our God is always working.
When things feel helpless and desperate, God has a plan.
When we’re convinced our story is over, God is at work.
When we’re exhausted and confused, God is sovereign.
When one more horrible, unexplainable thing happens, God has a purpose.
When we’ve truly lost all hope, God is bringing about His will."

God has a plan and a purpose for our lives. He is constantly at work in us, we just have to submit to Him and allow Him to work in us. It is my prayer that each day I live fully for the Lord as though today might be my last. What would you do differently if you knew that today would be your last day on earth?

Catching up:

Micaela and Joella have been working hard in school. We've learned the letter "D" and "O". This week we are working on "W".

Dinosaur eggs and toast

Dinosaur hand prints and playdoh

The older girls worked on making a replica of the temple

"O" shaped donuts and jelly rolls

Sophia working hard at cooking class learning how to make jelly rolls

We learned about the Olmecs and made molded heads

Micaela eating octopus hot dogs for lunch and the letter "O"

Monday, January 18, 2016

MRI Results

Psalm 113:1-3 "Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, you His servants; praise the name of the Lord. Let the name of the Lord be praised, both now and forevermore. From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised."

Thank you for all of the prayers this morning as we went to the doctor for Wayne's follow up MRI. The Lord has been gracious to us and Wayne's scan came back clear!!!! The area that they have been watching, that is most likely radiation damage, has shrunk and the doctor mentioned that it looks like it is healing. We are thrilled with today's results. We don't have to return to the doctor until April!! The doctor is also reducing Wayne's kepra dosage again by 500 mg. We are hoping to continue to move him down to a more reasonable dose. Thank you again for all of your prayers! God is good!!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Trip #2

Matthew 6:34 "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."

This has been one of my favorite verses my entire life. It is so easy to get anxious about things in life. Tomorrow morning is Wayne's next MRI scan. Normally I would be feeling a little anxious this close to another scan, but I am at peace. As I have seen over the last 11 months, God is always preparing my heart for what comes next in our lives. The past few weeks I have been working through a Bible study called the "Sermon on the Mount" by Jen Wilkin. This has been an amazing Bible study. The lesson last week was on "where your treasure is", which included looking at Matthew 6:28-34 which talks about worry. I found this thought very convicting from the study: We fret so much it shows we want control and that we lack a reliance on God. Worry is an act of faithlessness. Wow! For me that was a great reminder. I need to rely on God and not worry about the future. Arthur Pink takes this thought further, "How shall we rely upon the mercy of God in the hour of death if we are afraid to trust His providence for the things of this life?" Do I really trust God? If I do, then I shouldn't worry about tomorrow or what "may happen". God has a perfect plan for our lives, even if we don't always understand why He allows things to happen in our lives. 

I was listening to a sermon by Francis Chan on Tuesday while walking on the treadmill (Wayne and I are competing for the next 8 weeks to see who can get in shape-more on that another post). Francis said that he is thankful that his mother died in childbirth, that his stepmom died in a car accident when he was 8, and that his father died when he was 12. He went on to say that those tragedies in his life helped form and shape him into the person he is today. God is in the work of transforming His children into His image...and sometimes He uses methods and things that we don't like, but that are for our own good - in the long run. What we don't see, which bothers many people, is that there is a bigger picture and a bigger plan that God has...and He doesn't always show us how our sufferings and trials play into that bigger picture. It is hard to let go and totally trust God with this unknown, yet time after time, we see that God is faithful, good, kind, merciful, and gracious. If we yield to Him and trust Him, it is a beautiful thing. It doesn't mean that it will always feel good and that you won't have questions, but surrender is beautiful in the end. 

God has been preparing my heart for the last two weeks for tomorrow. I'm leaving it in God's hands and trusting Him. We would still appreciate prayer as tomorrow is a long day - traveling and time at the hosital. Pray that we continue to trust and surrender our future to the One who holds everything in His hands.


Here are pictures from our trip to Texas.

January 2nd: We met up with my internet friend Mary for breakfast at Cracker Barrel. Her husband (Jonathan) also has brain cancer and we have been praying, emailing, and texting the past few months. It was wonderful to be able to meet them in person. I wish I lived closer so we could hang out. Although I'm a California girl at heart, I could easily fit in the south. Some of my best friends are southern ladies. Thank you Mary for taking the time to meet up with us!

Our next stop was in San Marcos. Wayne attended college one year at Southwest Texas State, now called Texas State University at San Marcos. We stopped by his favorite sandwich shop and drove around the campus looking at his old dorm and the campus, which has changed a lot in nineteen years. :) Wayne was sad when he had to move back to CA because he loved Texas, but God had better plans. Wayne met me about seven months later and the rest is history!

January 3: I ran a 1/2 marathon while the family ate 2 pound cinnamon rolls at Lulu's Bakery (Man vs Food); we ate lunch at In'N'Out; went on a drive thru safari where we fed animals, including zebras, ostrich, and gazelles; and finally, we ended the day walking the San Antonio River Walk looking at their Christmas lights. They drained the river the next day, so we wanted to see it before they emptied it.

The girls said that this was one of their favorite things that we've done. They said it was better then any zoo we've visited. We all laughed a ton feeding the animals and having the animals stick their heads in our car.

Wayne warned me to hide my bag of food, which was in my purse. This picture is taken right before the zebra got greedy and ripped the bag out of my purse dumping feed all over me, my purse, and the van. 

I survived...state #18 done!

January 4: Wayne had training Monday-Thursday, so my job was to enjoy the weather and keep the kids busy. The girls and I visited the four missions in San Antonio and the girls worked hard and earned another Jr. Ranger badge. I squeezed school into our vacation...the mean teacher I am.

Our hotel had Texas shaped waffles. Texans are very proud of their state.

Alamo at night.

January 5: We toured the Alamo and visited the San Antonio Fire Museum. The mean teacher made them learn again.

We were the only people at the museum and we received a personal tour and explanation from two retired fire fighters. This free museum was a gem.

January 6: San Antonio Children's Museum. I thought that we would go for a few hours to the museum and we ended up staying almost the entire day. The older girls found an exhibit called The Spy Academy. They spent over three hours in there completing spy tasks to earn a spy ID. It was a fun, educational day.

January 7: Our last day in San Antonio we did some tourist shopping. Later that day, we met up with our friends who are missionaries. It was amazing catching up with them. I loved hearing how God is working in their lives and sharing how God has been working in our lives. We enjoyed some authentic Jordanian food!

We all thought this shirt fit Grace's personality!

January 8: We drove from Texas to Springfield. Along the way, we stopped in Oklahoma to meet the breeder from whom we are going to buy our puppy. We met the father of our future dog. We all fell in love with the dogs. We will be getting an Entlebucher Mountain Dog. 

January 9: We visited the IL capital in Springfield and then went to see Lincoln's house so the girls could complete another Jr Ranger Badge. The plan was to then visit the Lincoln Museum, but the weather changed quickly and we had to beat a snow storm home.