Harder Family

Harder Family

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Take Me Deeper

Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."

On Sunday we sang the song "Oceans". I love the reminder that this song gives me every time I hear it. In my human nature, am not going to walk out and venture far into unknown waters. I like "safe". What exactly does the song mean when it talks about being called out upon the waters? I think that it has to do with stepping out in faith, just like Peter did when he walked on the water with Jesus. God doesn't want us to stay in our comfortable spot on the boat watching the world around us. He beckons us to participate. He desires us to trust Him and learn more about Him with every passing day. Isn't that the point of life? To know God better and make Him known to the world? If it isn't what we are doing, it should be. I still need so much help in this area of my life. My tendency is to seek safety and comfort. And yet, when I look back at the times of difficulty and trials, like Wayne's cancer, I have never felt so close to God as I did during that time. If you have grown up in the church, you have heard people say, "Be careful what you pray for! You never know how God will answer that prayer!" But, if we believe that God is sovereign and has an amazing plan for our lives, maybe we are just praying what God wanted us to in order for our hearts to be prepared for Him to stretch us and grow us deeper. I have wrestled with this for the past year. Although we have stepped out of the boat, like when we adopted the boys, I still don't want to venture out because I don't want to go through the difficult times. At the same time, I long to be closer to God. So where does that leave me? That is where this song spoke deeply to me this Sunday. This life is not about me...it is about Him. The cry of my heart is for Him to take me deeper than my feet could ever wander and that I would follow Him, no matter what it costs. I do not want to allow fear to cripple me. You see, my fear is that by surrendering and telling God to use me as He wants, that He is going to bring Wayne's cancer back. But I'm not God and I cannot fear the unknown and what God may use to draw me closer to Him. I need to run with abandon and let Him lead me through whatever it is that will draw my heart to Him and for Him to get the glory!

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand
And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now
So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger

In the presence of my Savior


Wayne flew out of Midway Airport on Tuesday, May 29th, for work. While he was waiting for his flight, he met a young girl with brain cancer. She was around Abigail's age (about 14-17). She was on the way home to Nebraska with her mom. They had just visited Lurie Children's Hospital. Before Wayne could get her name, he had to board his flight. He is hoping to find this young lady and encourage her and her family on their brain cancer journey. Would you pray with us that we locate her? I posted about it on my Facebook page and we have a couple leads, but pray that God allows us to encourage this family on their difficult journey. We have been amazed at how God has used Wayne's cancer to open doors to help share encouragement with others facing the same cancer. Thank you for praying with us!!

School is almost out! We have taken a few field trips in the last few weeks. The first field trip was to Blackberry Farms on their free day! We visited an old school, watched pottery be made, learned how they made clothes, and watched a blacksmith work.

In our Wednesday class, we have finished up learning about Explorers and the Renaissance. We did a fun project where they colored pictures like they were Michelangelo, although I later learned that he really painted standing up. We finished our last class yesterday with a final exam. The kids all did amazing!

Joella and DJ hang out a lot at night while the rest of the kids are at swimming. They both enjoy watching Umizoomi!

Our next field trip was to Kline Farm where we watched them sheer sheep. We then were able to take some wool and dye it. We also saw pigs, horses, chickens, and sheep. The kids had a great day, especially when they got to try games that kids played in the "olden" days.

Shan Chen joined the swim team! He is doing great. It is amazing that nothing stops this kid.

Our homeschool garden project is growing. We have blueberry plants, green beans, snap peas, spaghetti squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, and cantaloupe.

On Saturday, I spent the whole day in Munster at a swim meet. Because we have kids in every age category, we get to spend many hours at the pool.

Abigail's 15th birthday is in about a week. We went on our date on Monday. We went shopping and ate ice cream...can't beat that right?

My Wednesday afternoon class dressed up for Faces Through History. Naomi was Joan of Arc and Sophia was Cleopatra. Everyone did such a great job!

Sophia as Cleopatra and her friend Luke as Julius Caesar. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2018


Nehemiah 9:6 "You are the LORD, You alone. You have made the heavens, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and You preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worship You."

This morning on the Classical Conversations Facebook page, I saw a post from a woman whose husband is battling cancer. In light of May being brain cancer awareness month, I thought that this was beautifully written. As a human, I have experienced a whole range of emotions after Wayne's diagnosis. It is hard to be given a "death" sentence (aka terminal diagnosis) and not know when that date may be. Of course, we all are terminal...we all will die and we do not know when that will be. I have learned, and continue to learn, how to surrenderer the future to God and trust His sovereign plan. Below is what this woman wrote:

"Cells. God designed human cells to follow an orderly path of growth, division and death. When cells begin to grow outside of that design -outside of His design - they grow uncontrollably and do not die. His design of programmed cell death is called apoptosis in the medical field. But cells, like humans, rebel against His design....and when they do, cancer is born.
I thought about this for several days....the intention-Gods design of a tiny cell: "to follow an orderly path of 1) growth, 2) division and 3) death." Isn't that a precise example of the Christian's life? To follow an orderly path which fosters growth in Christ, dividing and dispersing in order to make disciples and dying to self so that many may live? That's truly somethin'.
And "apoptosis"...His design of programmed cell death in order to sustain life here, on earth. The origins of the word "apoptosis" derived from the Greek words "apo" which means "from" and "ptosis" meaning "falling" or "to fall" defining the term "apoptosis" as "falling off." Cells are even commanded to follow an orderly path...when they rebel against that command, the design falls apart ushering in death.
I thought of how often we rebel against His design and plan for our lives...how our choices to travel the unintended path causes a falling away from Him. When apoptosis occurs in cells, it creates havoc and destruction inside our bodies...often leading to death. When we, as humans, fall away from His plan for our lives and while His love for us still remains unconditional, our fallen paths caused by our rebellion, creates apoptosis, leading to destruction. Isn't that somethin'?
I am so saddened when I hear someone is angry with God bc of a cancer diagnosis...as if He caused it. He's the designer and He commanded a specific order in which all things under the sun must follow...even our cells. However, we live in an "apoptosis" world, a fallen world...where even the cells rebel against Him.
Not all things come from God....but He uses all things for 2 purposes : His glory and for the benefit of His children. Our ways are not His ways...our understanding is not His understanding. We must rest in His promises...and rest we will."


This weekend, DJ participated in the Special Olympic Area Games. He competed in the 100 meter dash and a softball throw. He came in 7th for running, but won silver for his softball throw. He had a great time!!

Abigail and Grace had a special event Saturday night. After a month of etiquette and dancing classes, their Classical Conversations group had a dinner at a local country club, followed by dancing (to practice what they learned in class). My babies are growing up too quickly!!!

Abigail and kids from her Challenge 1 class.

Grace and kids from her Challenge B class.

Naomi and Sophia made a piƱata and cake for our class last week. They wanted to do something "fun" for class, and Cinco de Mayo gave them an excuse to make things that resulted in them consuming too much sugar!

On Friday, Wayne and I took Shan Chen to the surgeon, to make sure everything looked okay. We have a huge praise. The doctor thinks that his fatty tumor is stable right now, meaning, it hasn't grown at all!! We do not have to see her for another year. She also told us that their imaging before surgery stopped just below his knee, so there was no way for them to know Shan Chen had a screw floating around in his leg!! She was astounded by the story as much as we are. The flowers were beautiful downtown and a complete stranger gave Shan Chen a red nose, so we had fun playing around waiting for his doctor's appointment.

This week is teacher appreciation week. We are so thankful for the amazing teachers DJ has at school. So, we made sure that they knew how much we appreciated them. We made cute little gifts, like mints in a jar that said "you were MINT to be a teacher" and nuts that said "I am NUTS about my teacher". I got up early yesterday morning and also made homemade cinnamon rolls for the staff at the school. We are glad that God has blessed DJ with such an amazing team of teachers!!

Today Abigail and her CC class attended Macbeth play. She said it was a pretty intense play.

Continue to pray for us as we finish up school (only 4 weeks left!!!). Wayne's next MRI is in June. Pray that we just continue to trust God, not have scanxiety, and that he has another clear scan. We are so thankful for all of your prayers!!