Harder Family

Harder Family

Monday, January 25, 2021

A Change of Perspective

 Colossians 3:2 "Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth." 

Romans 8:28 "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose."

Recently, I had an interesting conversation with an old friend from Moody. We had not seen each other for a few years, so we caught up on what has been happening in our lives. I shared with her everything from Wayne's cancer, to our adoption, move, and the recent developments with our children. I confessed to her that I had struggled many times with what God had allowed in our lives. I told her I've wrestled with God about allowing the difficult road of mental health with our son. I explained that I felt betrayed by God at times since we obeyed Him and then He allowed this difficult situation to happen. I told her, "I just wonder why God couldn't throw me a softball. I mean we stepped out in faith and adopted with an unknown future with Wayne's health, and now this difficult thing has happened. It just feels like so much." After I spoke those words, she said something that has forever changed my perspective. She replied back, "Maybe Wayne still being here with you is God's softball to you."

Wow! Those words struck a chord in my heart. Here I had been focusing on the wrong thing all along. I was focused on the negative of my situation, dealing with mental health and other issues that have arisen with our son. In that one moment, my perspective changed. I always knew that God was faithful and was walking by our side through all of this, but I had never stopped to think that God's answer to my plea was leaving Wayne here with me to help me get through this difficult journey. God knew exactly how difficult this road would be and He gave me my helpmate to walk along my side.

I started further reflecting on this truth in other areas of my life. God, are there other areas that I have been focusing on the wrong thing? It reminded me of Corrie ten Boom's "Life is but a Weaving". God is weaving a beautiful story in my life and sometimes all I see is the underside with all the knots and strings looking crazy, but God is up above and He sees the beautiful tapestry He is weaving. I just have to remember that God has a different perspective then me and He is writing a story with my life that will bring Him the most glory and will transform me into the woman He wants me to be.

Life is but a Weaving

My life is but a weaving

Between my God and me.

I cannot choose the colors

 He weaveth steadily.

Oft' times He weaveth sorrow;

And I in foolish pride

Forget He sees the upper

And I the underside.

Not 'til the loom is silent

And the shuttles cease to fly

Will God unroll the canvas

And reveal the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful

In the weaver's skillful hand

As the threads of gold and silver

In the pattern He has planned.

He knows, He loves, He cares;

Nothing this truth can dim.

He gives the very best to those

Who leave the choice to Him.

-Corrie ten Boom

The question I face daily is will I surrender to God's plans or will I try to do it my way? I want to walk through life with a change of perspective...to ask God to see things with His eyes.

I think a change of perspective is in order in the church in America. I think that we need to realign our allegiance to God first because this earth is not our home. For too long we have put our hope in our country and not put our hope in God. Sure, we may say that we put our hope in God, but if we really believe God to be God, are we living like we believe that truth? If we say God is sovereign, that He is the one who establishes leaders and brings them down (Romans 13), then isn't the result of any election within His plan? God has been trying to get our attention for years and change our perspective in this life. Satan desires nothing else than to destroy God's plan of salvation and bring destruction to as many people as he can. If he keeps the church busy fighting with each other over politics and non-critical theology issues, he is keeping us from being a light to the world and sharing the gospel. If he keeps us busy pursuing the things of this world, we lose focus on what truly matters and fail to share the love of Jesus with others. 

I know that God showed me some areas that I need a change of perspective. Maybe God is revealing something in your life that needs to be addressed too. May we fully surrender and trust our Sovereign God who holds the past, present, and future in His hands. To quote Corrie ten Boom again, "Never be afraid to trust and unknown future to a known God." If we know Jesus as our Savior, we can rest in His plan for our lives. We may not understand this side of heaven why He allows things in our lives, but it doesn't change the fact that He is in control and has our best interest at heart. I know that I am going to ponder and meditate on that truth this week. In the midst of this world that is full of turmoil, I'm glad that I can trust a Sovereign God to guide me each step.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Momentous Milemarker

 Ecclesiastes 4:9 "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: if either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two life down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."

On January 9, Wayne and I will be celebrating 22 years of marriage. In our house, this is an extra exciting time because we didn't know if we would ever reach 20 years of marriage, let alone 22, when Wayne was diagnosed with brain cancer. This year to celebrate our anniversary, we embarked on an adventure. As I've been reflecting on our recent trip, I have concluded that Wayne and I make a good team. We have learned how to combine our passions into something we can do together. Wayne recently purchased another car for our household of growing drivers. He loves looking online for good deals. One of his main criteria for a vehicle is that it be from out west where they do not salt their roads. Since we tend to buy 20 year old cars, you do not want an old car that has been exposed to salt. He found an amazing deal for a car located in California. We had made plans to travel to California in early December, but COVID was ramping up in CA and we decided that we needed to wait after the state shut down. We quickly realized that it was not going to decrease any time soon and we made plans to travel after the holidays. 

Wayne knew that we would be traveling through some states that I haven't run in, and he offered to bring a bike so that I could run in those states. Here is where we have blended our passions: his passion for a good deal and my passion to finish my bucket list of running a half marathon in every state. Not exactly every couple's idea of an anniversary trip. But hey, no kids and traveling across the country with countless hours to talk? That sounds heavenly to me!

Sunday was a terribly long day since we had to get up at 3am (EST) to catch our flight out of Louisville. We didn't make it to our hotel in Palm Desert until 12pm (PST). Yes, we were up over 24 hours on our crazy adventure. On Sunday, we enjoyed Round Table pizza in the car as we drove from Sacramento to Fresno to pick up our car, which was being stored at our friend Laurie's house. It was great getting to catch up with her, even though it was only for a short time. We then head toward Bakersfield to head south. We stopped for a quick pitstop at my friend Brooke's house to say hi to her. I haven't seen her since China.

Brooke and me

Passed through one of the towns I lived in as a kid. Ripon, CA

Round Table Pizza!

Laurie and me in Fresno, CA. We've been friends for 20 years after meeting at Moody Bible Institute and I'm so thankful for her friendship. She helped guide us at the beginning with Wayne's cancer and helped us decipher all the medical jargon.

From Bakersfield we headed to In'n'Out for dinner before driving all the way to Palm Desert. The sunrise on Monday in Palm Desert was so beautiful. Since we didn't get in until really late and we discovered how early the sun sets in Las Cruces, we decided that Monday would be a travel day and I would run at White Sands National Park on Tuesday morning instead of Monday afternoon. It was 34 when we left the hotel Tuesday morning in Las Cruces and I thought it was cold, but I could suck it up for my run. When we dropped into the desert, it dropped to 21 degrees! I finished my running my half, but it was miserable and mentally a hard one to complete because I was so cold. I also didn't account for the high altitude. So cold, thin air made running very difficult. We found a unique medallion at the gift shop to use to make my medal for the race, since my virtual medal they sent me was just garbage. From there we spent the day driving to Oklahoma City.

When I was done running and we enjoyed the dunes a little, it decided to warm up.

Wednesday morning Wayne hopped on his bike and rode along side me as I ran around Lake Hefner in Oklahoma. Running two half marathons within a 24 hour window was brutal. My times were terrible and it was just a mental game to get through the races. Wayne reminded me that even professional runners have bad races. I was just thankful to have a partner who supports my dream and helps make it a reality. States #34 and #35 are in the books! What a way to start 2021.

It was windy and cold in Oklahoma City.

See how miserable my face looks? I was so sore and tired by the end of this race.

22 years ago, a young couple set off on a crazy adventure of life together. Little did we know what we were completely getting into at 20 and 22. We have been through so much together: good, bad, crazy, hard, birth of our children, adoption, cancer, teenagers. If Jesus weren't at the center of our marriage, who knows where we would be. I know that God made Wayne just for me. I couldn't have asked for a better husband and he truly is the answer to all my prayers as a little girl. I love you Wayne! I'm so thankful that God has given you to me and that He has decided that you are still needed down here with me. I love how passionate you are about the Lord and how you lead our family as a godly example. 

10 Year Anniversary

My 30th birthday

Wayne in rehab after brain surgery

Pictures before Wayne's surgery

Making memories after Wayne's chemo ended

Walking miracle - able to hike and bike

20 Year Anniversary

Prayer Request:

While on our trip, a friend whose husband was diagnosed three years ago with brain cancer, got terrible news on New Years Day. Her husband's tumor not only returned, it returned 4 times larger and the doctors say there is nothing else they can do. They have given him approximately 4 months to live. When I watched her live video where she shared with everyone what was going on, I sat in the car crying. She is living out my worst nightmare right now, as are her 11 children. Please pray with us for the Shaw family. Their testimony and light during this time is just amazing. My deepest prayer is that our family would be able to shine Jesus' light as well as they are in their suffering.