Harder Family

Harder Family

Sunday, July 21, 2024

Update 7/21/24: Foundation

Isaiah 33:6 (NLT)”In that day He will be your sure foundation, providing a rich store of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge. The fear of the Lord will be your treasure.”

This morning we sang “Firm Foundation(He Won’t)” and I was once again struck by the powerful lyrics. 

 Christ is my firm foundation

The rock on which I stand
When everything around me is shaken
I've never been more glad
That I put my faith in Jesus
'Cause He's never let me down
He's faithful through generations
So why would He fail now?
He won't, He won't
I've still got joy in chaos
I've got peace that makes no sense
So I won't be going under
I'm not held by my own strength
'Cause I've built my life on Jesus
He's never let me down
He's faithful in every season
So why would He fail now?

I try my best never to just sing songs, but to let the words resonate in my heart. It is too easy to just sing songs we are familiar with and lose the message within the songs. This is so true with this song, which if I’m honest, I initially just started singing it out of familiarity. It was when I slowed down and really thought about what I was singing that it hit home.

I reflected on the past 18 months as we sang this song. God has been faithful to us in so many ways. He has never let us down, even though there have been times of questions. When life has shaken us to the core, like both going through cancer treatments at the same time, God has never failed us and He has been our firm foundation. He’s the only reason why we can make it through the hard days. He carries us and provides us with an unexplainable peace and joy that only He can give. 

As I was teaching through Acts 2 this morning, I was struck with the many profound truths that God revealed to me this week as I prepared the lesson. When God steps on your toes as you prepare, you know it’s a message for not only those you are teaching, but for yourself as well. My big takeaway from Acts 2 was the power of prayer and obedience. The disciples obeyed Jesus’ words to stay in Jerusalem and wait for the Spirit. We discussed how hard it is to wait on God. It was no different for these early Christians. They didn’t know when this gift Jesus talked about would come, but they prayed, waited, and trusted God's timing. 

Jesus had told them in Acts 1:8, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. You will be My witnesses to the ends of the earth.” When they finally received the gift of the Holy Spirit, do you know what happened? They were able to speak in the different languages of the people who were in Jerusalem for the Day of Pentecost, which is also called the Festival of the First Fruits. 

Our lesson notes briefly mentioned the Tower of Babel and how different it was from this experience in Jerusalem. God showed me this amazing thought, which tied the Old Testament to the New Testament: after the flood, God had told Noah’s family (and the descendants) to be fruitful and fill the earth. Instead of obeying God, they all settled in one place. So we end up with the Tower of Babel where God had to step in and disperse them because of their disobedience. Their disobedience led to chaos and a confusion of their language. To contrast that, in Acts 2, these believers obeyed Jesus to remain and wait for the Holy Spirit. What resulted? God used languages to bring order to the confusion, which resulted in bringing the gospel to the nations!!

The gift of the Holy Spirit provides believers so many wonderful things: peace, comfort, He teaches us, empowers, instructs, regenerates, and sanctifies. But the primary purposes and role of the Holy Spirit in our lives is so that we would be witnesses. That we would be those who proclaim the Gospel to the lost world around us. The Holy Spirit works to change us into a person who looks like Jesus (sanctification) and someone who speaks Jesus (shares the Gospel). What an amazing God we serve. 

Going back to the song, Wayne and my desire is that God uses our story and all the hard things we have been walking through to point people to Jesus…that is the reason why we have life and breath-to bring glory to God!

Wayne continues to get stronger. He is working hard on his speech as well, which is a little harder for him to see positive results. But he is slowly making improvements! 

Drove to Indianapolis to meet up and bring home friends from Chicago for the week. The best perk was getting to see my best friend, eat lunch, catch up, and of course get a hug!

A sweet friend and photographer took updated pictures of my younger kids for me. Next blog I will share the photos!

We finished up VBS last week. I missed the last couple days because we somehow were hit with a nasty cold virus. It was the first time I had been sick in over a year. When I told that to a friend she looked at me weird and said, “Really?” I laughed when I realized what she was getting at. It was the first time I had been sick with a virus in over a year. That didn’t count cancer! 🤣

Seeing your kids serve Jesus at VBS is all that my mom heart could ever want!

I caught this picture of Grace on our church’s video and I screen shot it since it was a great picture! She’s always so much fun and bring energy to her lessons!

Wayne celebrated his 48th birthday. I was going to make him a lemon meringue pie, but the kids made him a cookie cake. Who knew he’d be here to celebrate another trip around the sun?


I had the privilege of helping surprise my friend Liz for her 60th birthday. She is such a burst of sunshine and encouragement in my life!

Naomi loves the car she bought from Wayne. This was supposed to be his baby, but it has become Naomi’s. She has poured hours of care into this vehicle fixing things and making it her own. I love seeing her learn life skills like auto mechanic things that I have no clue about.

Saying goodbye to friends is hard. I love that we can meet in Indianapolis to save me the whole trip to Chicago. This drive was a two venti chai tea day since I was running on 4 hours of sleep since I had to bring Sophia to the airport that morning (story below).

Our friend Peggy and her daughter Elli, who we met through Inheritance of Hope (IOH), came to visit us on their drive home from Georgia. We had a great time with them and are so thankful for their friendship! We have made so many amazing connections and friends because of IOH!

Peggy and Abigail have served on a few retreats together. Peggy and I served on some Hope at Home retreats together. She is an amazing woman! Naomi was able to visit the Ark with them.

Life is always crazy with having older kids. I currently have kids in IL, NC, and WI. Naomi is visiting her best friends in Chicago, which was her first solo trip driving all the way to Chicago and she did great! Abigail is in NC visiting her fiancée with his mom and sister. Sophia is in WI at a Civil Air Patrol two week National Cadet Special Activities (NCSA) called Blue Beret. We are proud of her getting selected for this honor. She is in training this week and next week she will serve with the other cadets at the Osh Kosh Air Show, which is the largest in the world.

Grace is in KY helping her boyfriend and learning all about lawnmower repairs. 

Sophia was only able to call me and let me know that she arrived (7/15). So, I had to scour the site and try to find some glimpses of her. 

Early morning at the airport. Her flight got delayed and we almost didn’t think she’d make it between the times she had to be there for the shuttle to Osh Kosh. Thankfully, the American Airlines attendant was able to switch her flights around that morning. I had been on the phone with them around midnight trying to figure out a solution. Good thing I love that girl because I had to run on 4 hours of sleep that day, which included driving to Indianapolis. 

Sophia is part of Echo. Tomorrow is the beginning of the air show. She was finally able to call us tonight (7/21). It was wonderful hearing her voice! She told us all about her activities so far, including getting to play football with the guys who reluctantly allowed her to play and she showed them she can hold her own. She said she credited Shan for teaching her all her football skills!🤣

On Friday, I spent 4 hours picking blackberries to make jelly for Abigail’s wedding favors. Micaela helped me make the jelly and fill the jars. We made over 120 1/2 pint jars of blackberry jelly. We both collapsed exhausted in bed Saturday night! It was a long day of work and labor of love, but we got it done.

Prayer Requests:

- Please pray for Sophia’s safety as she works this air show for the next week and for her flight home next Monday.
- Please pray for Naomi and Abigail’s safety as they travel home this week. 
- Pray for a wonderful time with Wayne’s brother’s family this week. We will have a full house with six extra kids. Never a dull moment here!
- Pray for my preparation to share at a women’s bruncheon/conference in Lexington in August and for the Bible classes I’m teaching. I love teaching, it is just a lot of material to cover between Ruth, Acts, and the attributes of God. 

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Update 7/11/24: Saying Goodbye is Difficult

Numbers 6:24-25 "The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you."

This week my friend Juyi, from Taiwan, boarded a plane and headed back home. I have thoroughly enjoy my time with her and her sons. On one of the last days in the states, we took Juyi and Jason to the Ark. We all had a great time and the weather was cooler that day than it had been the previous week. Lord willing, we will see them next year when we visit Taiwan!

The Ark has a free carousel that we were able to enjoy.  

Shan did a huge project for me in the backyard. We removed a little patch of grass and we will put down landscaping fabric to keep down the weeds. Instead of accepting money, Shan asked for boba tea instead. I gladly accommodated that request.

The girls enjoyed spending time with friends at camp. They came back exhausted.

We have spent many hours around here picking blackberries and raspberries for my parents. I took some home the other day and made a pie. No one complained!

Shan driving to Lexington for his drivers test. He passed! We now have five of our kids driving!

More changes are coming to our house! Abigail and Elijah got engaged over the 4th of July weekend. December 14th, we will add another son to our family. We are thrilled for the both of them and can't wait to see God move in their new family.

She isn't excited or anything. Pray for us as we navigate wedding planning!

Our friends joined us for blackberry picking at the farm. No one minds picking here because my dad planted thornless blackberry plants. No torn up arms here! We picked 40 pounds this day between my dad, me, and those that came and picked. This week we picked 100 pounds in one day! I think it is safe to say that my dad could open the blackberry patch next year for u-pick!

This is the summer of friends. We have had many friends over and I love every minute!

My friend, Janica, just moved here from the Philippines and is getting adjusted to life in America. I was blessed to spend the afternoon with her making Filipino food. Everything is new and different here, so this was a chance to make her feel more at home. She is one of the sweetest, godly young woman I know. 💗

We made ube cookies, pancit, and arroz caldo.

This week is VBS at church. I love serving alongside my kids and seeing how God is developing them into His servants. Abigail and Grace are teaching a class, Shan is leading games for preschoolers, Sophia helps with games and wherever else she is needed, Naomi is a floating helper, and Micaela is helping with a class. It makes my heart feel so full to see them love and serve Jesus!

Wayne and Rebecca Update: Nothing has really changed. We both are just continuing with our therapies and trying to stay sane with all these kids. We are so thankful for life and for all the good changes we have been able to experience the past few weeks. I have a feeling there won't be a dry eye at Abigail's wedding when, Lord willing, her dad walks her down the aisle. It is seriously nothing short of a miracle in both of our lives. Thank you again for faithfully walking alongside us and praying for us. We couldn't do this alone!

Prayer Requests:

- Pray for us as we continue to navigate Wayne's therapies and all the victories we are currently experiencing. Pray that we continue to be intentional with our time.

- Pray for us as we start the wedding planning and all that involves.

- Please pray for me as I am juggling book edits, preparing to teach our ladies class at church, and for a brunch I am speaking at in August. 

- Please pray for Sophia as she leaves Monday for a two week event with Civil Air Patrol. I know she will do great, but it's a long time to have her away.