Harder Family

Harder Family

Friday, October 22, 2021

In the Waiting

 Psalm 27:14 “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

Psalm 96:3 “Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples!”

Waiting is hard. Over the years waiting on Wayne’s MRI results, I have tried to use the time that may cause anxiety (or as people in the brain cancer world call it, scanxiety) to spend time studying God’s word. I find that by focusing my attention on who God is gets my eyes off of my worries. It always reminds me of Peter when he walked on the water. As soon as he took his eyes off of Jesus, the waves overcame him. That’s how life is. If we look too much at all the chaos and events going on around us, we can start to fear and take our eyes off if Jesus. 

God is always so gracious to meet me right where I need Him. Yesterday, I was reading Isaiah 40-42 to catch up on my accountability group Bible reading. God in those chapters reminded me of His sovereignty, that He is my Creator and my sustainer. In chapter 41, He reminded me not to fear. As Wayne has quoted, “I’m invincible until Jesus calls me home.” Wayne rests and trusts that God has numbered and ordained his days before he was even born. As believers, there is so much freedom in that statement and knowledge that your time on earth has been already determined. I’m not advocating for living wildly and doing crazy things thinking you are invincible like some Marvel fictional character, but I am saying we live in fear of things that we shouldn’t. God is in control and I love that I can rest and trust in Him, even in the most difficult and dark times in my life.

So as I sit hear waiting for Wayne, I am working on my Daniel Bible study and I wanted to share something I wrote on the last day in Florida last week. 

I am sure as a child you once had a dream of what you wanted to be. It may have changed over the years, but we all had a dream as kids to be something-a firefighter, a vet, teacher, doctor, etc. I vividly remember being about nine years old reading “With Daring Faith”, the story of Amy Carmichael. I remember being moved by her heart for serving the Lord and her passion for the children in India. I can recall telling Jesus that I wanted to be a missionary like Amy. A few months later, missionaries visited our church and shared what God was doing through their ministry. My heart once again felt compelled to be a missionary. As the years went on, the passion was still there for missions, but my practical mind started thinking of all the things I was scared of-snakes, spiders, etc. Slowly, overtime, I got distracted by other dreams-dreams to be married, have a family, and live in a safe environment. 

I know that as Christians we don’t have to go overseas to be a missionary, because God calls all of us to share the good news of Jesus with others. But deep in my heart, I have this passion for missions. As a family, we have read countless biographies of missionaries from all around the world. Their faith and full surrender to Jesus has challenged my faith to grow. My prayer has been that my children would be so in love with Jesus, that they would serve Him wherever He calls them. 

I say all of this as a foundation for what I feel has been a dream come true for me this past week. While we were down in Florida, I was blessed and privileged to volunteer at Ethnos360 headquarters. Everyone who works here is a missionary. Most served overseas and for different reasons returned back to the states. This week has felt like I stepped into one of the missionary books we’ve read and they came alive! I have heard them share how God moved them to be a missionary, how God used them to help translate the Bible into other languages, and other amazing testimonies of God. I met some of the most humble servants of God. Their nicknames during the week became the country they served in, since I’m so bad with names. I know it may sound silly to others, but volunteering there for the week blessed my life in ways I can never describe. It was like a dream come true to work along side faithful servants of God who are passionate about their love for Jesus and the people around the world. Their faith and lives challenged me, just like those many missionary stories we’ve read!

Stories We’ve Read (as a family and on my own):

I Dared to Call Him Father

The Insanity of God


With Daring Faith

Heroes in Black History

Hero Tales: A Family Treasury of True Stories

Window on the World

Christian Hero Tales: David Livingston, George Muller, Gladys Aylward, Nate Saint, Lillian Trasher, William Carey, Hudson Taylor, Corrie ten Boom, Brother Andrew, Ida Scudder, Adoniram Judson, Mary Slessor

Peace Child

The Heavenly Man

Radical and Counter Culture

The week in Florida was great for our family. The kids and Wayne worked once again at The Homes at Ethnos360 (a place for older missionaries who can no longer serve overseas). In the evenings after work, we spent time at the beach, visiting friends, and just making memories. 

Please pray for Wayne’s MRI today. We are trusting that God is good no matter what the results. I will update as soon as we know! 

Update: Wayne's scan came back once more clear. Doctor said just watch the hearing thing, but he looked on the scan and nothing is near or on his hearing nerve, so nothing in his brain can be causing the hearing issues. And his shorter temper is probably due to him missing part of his frontal lobe, which helps control that. But praising Jesus for this report!

Monday, October 11, 2021

Resolve, Faith, and an Update

 Daniel 1:8-9 "But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king's food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs."

Daniel 3:16-18 "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whose we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up."

I am currently studying the book of Daniel in a Precepts Bible study. I haven't done a Precept Bible study since I was a senior in high school. I forgot how in-depth and wonderful these Bible studies are. If you've never heard of it, Precepts is an inductive Bible study. I love the way we go through and mark up words or phrases that repeat. It makes themes and parts of the scripture you might have just glazed over, really pop. I have already learned so much in the few weeks that I have been doing the Bible study.

In Daniel 1:8, it says that Daniel resolved in his heart. I decided to study that word a little bit more and it means to decide firm a course of action. The one thing that has challenged me throughout this Bible study is how committed these young men were to God. They knew the scripture and they were not going to allow themselves to compromise for anything! I really feel like this study is so timely in my life. Some people may not agree, but I feel that as a Christian, we need to be prepared for anything that may come our way in the future. I look around the world and all of our brothers and sisters in Christ have had to resolve in their heart to follow Christ no matter what the cost. They are such an example to me and they challenge my faith. 

We were discussing persecution in my Bible study the other day, and God showed me that the time to make a firm course of action is not when you are facing persecution, but now. This is a decision that you must make ahead of time. If you waffle now, when there is no persecution, wondering if you would be able to withstand it, you will have a harder time standing strong. BUT, if you take time now to make a decision, to draw that line in the sand in your life, then it will be one less thing to face when persecution comes. As a human, it is easy to understand how hard it must be to stare death in the face and be willing to die for Christ. On the other hand, you read testimony after testimony of faithful believers before us who have stood faithful to the end and how God gave them the strength to be faithful until the end...many with songs of praise on their lips. It doesn't make any human sense, and yet, I believe in that moment, God shows Himself even more real and clear. Look at the story of Stephen! If you are struggling with making a resolve in your heart to stand with Jesus until the end, I challenge you to go read story of martyrs or other faithful saints who have gone before us. 

I have also been so challenged the last few weeks as the girls and I have been reading the biography of Lillian Trasher. What an amazing young woman who lived a life of faith. She is the female version of George Mueller. It was so phenomenal to see how she just lived out her faith and trusted God with everything. It reminded me of Matthew 17:20 where Jesus talks about the faith of a mustard seed and Matthew 6:25-34 where Jesus reminds them that God takes care of the birds of the air and the flowers of the field, so how much more He will take care of us. I want to live a life full of faith like Lillian. When I feel God asking me to do something, I want to immediately obey and full faith that He will provide. 

With all of these lessons God has been showing me, it is like God is reminding me that He is sovereign. You see, I have been struggling once again with so many fears. I haven't voiced them to many people, but they are right there under the surface. Wayne's next MRI is coming up 10/22 and I am super nervous about this MRI. I cannot explain why, but I have this deep fear that somehow we've been so fortunate this far, that it cannot keep going. Not only that, but Wayne has been having some unexplained hearing issues. We called his neuro-oncologist when it first started and he wrote it off as an ENT issue. Wayne finally visited an ENT a few weeks ago and they didn't find anything wrong with his ears. Wayne says there is definitely something wrong. Of course, our minds immediately jump to something in the brain since his ears are functioning correctly. The kids have been worried as well since they feel like he has been more moody. They say it is like before we discovered his tumor. We may just all be reading into things, but when you've experienced trauma like they have, it is easy to understand their deep rooted fears in losing their dad. I'm sure it was brought more to the surface when our wonderful friend visited this summer. She lost her amazing husband to brain cancer a few months before visiting us. I know it was great visit, but it was also hard on each family. For their family, it was hard to see another dad going through the same thing and reminded them of their loss. For our kids, it encouraged them that they aren't alone in this struggle, but it also reminded them of the outcome of brain cancer. I know that their fear is right under the surface too. This summer, Micaela and Joella were at the farm with us as we were mowing. Wayne was on the ground working on the mower. When Micaela saw him on the ground, she freaked out and ran screaming to me that Papa was having a seizure. It's heartbreaking sometimes to know that Micaela and Joella have had to live their whole lives with the thought of their dad may die. It's traumatic.

One thing I have thoroughly enjoyed about attending CR (Celebrate Recovery), is that I can now see when my thoughts are starting to head a dangerous way and I ask my group for prayer to intervene. See, I not only struggle with thoughts of Wayne's cancer being back, but then I start to worry about how I would manage without him. How will I raise our kids, how would I handle all of DJ's issues on my own, etc. Do you see how easily fear can cause our minds to spiral out of control? Surrendering my fears is a daily task. If I don't surrender my fears, fear can start to weaken my faith and cause me to stumble. How many of us have allowed the fear of COVID, fear of death, fear of losing our jobs, fear of what other people think of us, fear of failure, etc to keep us from doing what God wants us to do? Fear can cripple us!

So where does that leave me? I need prayer! Pray for Wayne's next MRI, pray for our children as they navigate through all of these hard issues, pray for DJ, pray for me to completely surrender my fears and trust God with each passing day. I know He loves me more then I could ever fathom. The choice is up to me. Will I trust and surrender, or will I live in fear?


Photo Dump and Summer Recap:

June - celebrated Abigail's graduation, added another kitten to the family, made family memories in the pool, celebrated Abigail and Joella's birthdays, Wayne's brother's family visited, Shan and Sophia went to CAP Encampment, and the oldest kids went to camp.

July - kids return from camp and we all got COVID, blueberry picking, Shaw family visited, celebrated Wayne's birthday, and more swimming.

August - asked where did our summer go, more swimming, buying school supplies, celebrated Grace's birthday, took Abigail to college, visited Virginia for a school field trip (Appomattox Court House, Jamestown and Yorktown) , met up with Shan Chen's best friend from China, and started school.

September - school, doctor appointments, camping trip, got a dog, celebrated Sophia's birthday, visited DJ, and trip to Georgia

Abigail's high school graduation party

Summer biology class - dissection

Trip to the Ark with the cousins

I am in a cast for six weeks to try to repair a torn plantar fasciitis

Grace and Sophia's birthday date to Loco Ice

Joella broke her wrist

New dock at Beth Rapha Farm

Abigail at Liberty

Miniature Golf in Virginia

Shan Chen's best friend from China!

Started Classical Conversations for the first time with these two

Studying Upper and Lower Egypt

Celebrating the Sabbath (learning about Jewish holidays)

Naomi's first debate for Classical Conversations Challenge 2

Made moon cakes for Mid-Autumn festival

Made sugar cube pyramids for Egypt

Dress up Sunday for church (Shan Chen was bummed he had strep and had to miss this service)