Saturday, April 12, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Saturday! All is well here at 811 except for the still stopped up sink. Bruce went under the house to try and fix the problem. Some pipes have to be replaced. I am always a bit nervous when he goes under the house so say a prayer as he will try again tomorrow. I took far less pain medicine today than yesterday so I know I am on the mend.

Dear God, I thank you for being with me in the all of the moments of my life. Thank you for never leaving me alone. Help me not to worry about tomorrow, but focus on honoring you now. You are my constant friend and you fill me with comfort and hope. I love you Lord. In Jesus name, amen.

It seems like this year has been filled with sudden life changes. Bruce having a stroke and me having cancer were unanticipated and  traumatic shocks to my life and to my soul.  As we come to a close of the Lenten journey with Palm Sunday being tomorrow I look back to the beginning of Lent. The lessons I have learned seemed to be toward wisdom. So here is a piece of wisdom I have learned over the last nine months. Treasure the ones you love TODAY because you may not have tomorrow. Bruce and I have both had catastrophic illness that tried to claim our lives within the last nine months. Remembering to appreciate your loved ones today is vital because we may not have tomorrow. Also, in the wisdom department, I still have hopes for the future and I will not wait too very long to begin living into those hopes and dreams. It is still my hope to honor God in the faithful ministry of pastoral care and to become ordained.  Making every moment count is the greatest opportunity we have to care for those around us and serve our risen Savior.  My friends, today is a good day to honor God in inspired worship, love our families and to faithfully live out the life God has planned for us.

“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered—how fleeting my life is.”
Psalm 39:4
“My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.”…And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My hope is in you.”
Psalm 39: 5, 7

Take joy in the journey and hug your babies, babies hug your Moms and Dads. Wear comfortable shoes, get some sleep and think pink!  Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Friday, April 11, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
TGIF Today God is First!  All is well here at 811. I am doing pretty well for one day out of a day surgery. We arrived at home about mid-afternoon yesterday and I promptly went to sleep for several hours.  Today has been pretty good up until the last few hours. But modern chemistry and ice packs are pretty wonderful and really help a lot. Bruce and Geni have stayed with me most of the day. I finally got to see Frozen. Awesome movie with beautiful music. A friend from Advent brought dinner last evening and friends from Rush Creek are providing dinner throughout the weekend. Thank you all for your wonderful prayers, words of encouragement, beautiful cards and loving words shared on FB. God is good and love wins. I wish to thank my beautiful daughter, Geni, for hostessing the Think Pink party during surgery.

Dear God, thank you for sending your blessings at just the right to me. You are so good.  I fall at your feet almighty God as your kindness and healing soak my soul in your might and majestic power. Your greatness is beyond my comprehension. Thank you for your compassion and the love you pour down so completely covering each of us in your blessings and in your grace. I love you Jesus. In Jesus name, amen.

Tonight my meditation begins with a story about the movie director John Huston. He was asked what was the most difficult subject in making a motion picture? His reply was “Bible stories especially creation and flood scenes from scripture”. He said, “I had a terrible time making them,” he said. “I really don’t know how God managed it.”  Well God managed it because God is  almighty God. God is sovereign over all life. 

When I pray I claim God’s sovereignty over my life and the things I do and say.  As I prepared for the surgery yesterday I claimed God’s sovereignty not only for myself, but for the doctors, nurses, techs, assistants, surgical instruments, technology and a germ free field. I prayed for my family and friends waiting to be joyful as they waited. I prayed they would think pink, eat pink, drink pink and celebrate God’s goodness found in family, friends and God’s presence.  I prayed for all of these folks who attended me would be kind and compassionate. Our nurse who was my nurse throughout the day was a woman of faith and sang praise songs with Bruce and I as she took vitals, stats, information, started IV’s etc…She stood in prayer with us as my family and friends prayed for me just before surgery was to begin. God’s sovereignty over all of life means that we are “divinely ordained and profoundly significant.” WOW!!! God has written His will and plans for each of us into our very being.  God made each of special and important and gives us what it takes to get through the most difficult of times and may even place a song in our hearts.  God is good all the time. He put a song of praise in this heart of mine!!

“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.”
Acts 17: 24
Take joy in the journey remembering that we have a mighty big God who loves us and offers His storehouse of love, grace and healing to each of us with each breath we take. Wear comfortable shoes, get some sleep and think pink!! Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Wednesday!  All is quiet and well here at 811. The nuclear procedure went very well today. The nuclear specialist was very kind and covered me with warm blankets. I wasn’t particularly cold, but they make me relax and feel like I had been given a warm hug. She offered music and put in Christian music during the procedure. There is a lot of waiting during this so I just sang along with the music. Songs like…Bless the Lord O My Soul, In Christ Alone and others helped the time pass quite nicely and kept me focused on the Savior. 

Dear God, tonight I come to you with thanksgiving for the prayer covering I am receiving from family and friends as prepare for tomorrow’s surgery. I know your presence is always with me and I have hope that your presence will be with all who will work with me tomorrow. You gave them the skills to do their jobs and tomorrow I ask that you perfect their skills so that there are no mistakes.I ask a measure of your grace that my body will receive this care by your will and design.  I pray that you would bring peace and comfort to my family and friends who are waiting and perfect their trust in you.  Thank  you Lord that  your Holy Spirit helps us when we are  in need especially when we are all prayed out and can only speak or even just think your name. You search our hearts and our minds and intercede for us before God and ask for God’s will to be done. Help me sleep tonight. It’s an early call in the morning. I love you Lord. In Jesus name, amen.

My friends it has been a long day and a longer day is to come. Bruce and I have been asked to arrive at the hospital at 5:30 am. Wire procedure to begin at 7:30 and surgery at 9:00.  The surgery is supposed to last around one and one-half hours. I will be on the fourth floor of Arlington Memorial. Look for the waiting room with the Think Pink party. I had one brief moment of panic when in the pre-assessment time they had written the procedure to be one on the right breast. I immediately (almost shouting) said, “NO! NO!” the nurse got out a clean sheet of paper and started over. This did bring just a bit of panic into my heart.

The circumstances of tomorrow are very serious, but they not out of the realm of God’s protection, strength and healing grace.  So tonight I lift my soul into the hands of the Master Healer and wait in His peaceful presence. The longer I wait in the peaceful presence of the Savior the more abundantly God will fill me with peace, joy and even though my anxious moments will probably not subside until the knock out medicine kicks in I will still know that God is present with me throughout the day and will be found in the hearts and prayers of His people. Thank you all mighty and faithful prayer warriors for your loving support and encouragement. Pray for my family as they travel to be there tomorrow. Pray for Bruce, Geni, Travis, Sarah and Cody as they anxiously wait for updates throughout the morning.  Finally, to quote my beautiful daughter, “Tomorrow will be a day of victory!” God bless you all.

“Rejoice and exult in hope; be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation; be constant in prayer.”
Romans 12: 12
“Rejoice the soul of Your servant, for to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.”
Palm 86: 4
Take joy in the journey singing as you go along. Wear comfortable shoes, get some sleep and think pink! Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Tuesday!  All is well here at 811 except for a stubborn stopped up sink!  Bruce is working diligently to get it repaired so we can finish the dishes.  Completely awesome dinner tonight with Geni and Cody, Travis and Sarah and Cody’s Mom.  It was such a joy to have everyone around the table and hear laughter, stories and love in every word.  Families are forever, God is good and love wins!

Dear God, you know my heart and my emotions better than anyone. You know that I had a couple of weepy moments today. I began to have some thoughts and moments of anxiety about the surgery and treatment. I am not fearful for you are with me, my family and friends are supporting me emotionally and prayerfully and the team in the OR are well skilled and have compassion for their patients. My faith is strong and when I look upon the cross I see your arms stretched out in blessing. So Lord, when my tears of being scared come may I remember to look and see you clearly and keep company with me until the moment passes. Your faithfulness gives me great comfort and wonderful peace love you Lord. In Jesus name, amen.

Lately my nightly meditations speak of Biblical characters that exhibit acts of great faith, belief, hope or obedience. When I first went to MD Anderson with Casey I was pretty scared. A friend came to visit and said, “Gaylene, keep yourself covered in the Word.” As these biblical characters keep crossing my path I believe they have a story for me to think about. Tonight the meditation reminds me of Abraham and how He willingly did whatever God asked him to do because Abraham totally trusted God. God called Abraham, a friend. (I took one of those FB surveys the other night as to what Biblical Character are you most like and according to the survey I was most like Abraham.) For me Abraham’s story is always a story of great faith and how God blessed Abraham through his faith. Do you think Abraham was ever scared?  Abraham’s faith rested on his choice to believe in God and choosing to be obedient or to turn away. Abraham was willing to step out in faith believing that God would send him where He needed Abraham to go and give him the provision needed. While I have a pretty strong faith and I think I am as obedient as I think I can be. And I do believe God.  I am also a bit scared about the days to come.  A friend asked me today if I was scared about any of this. I said, somewhat, but I am not fearful. Being scared or anxious is like radiation. It is localized. Fear is like chemotherapy and is systemic.  Abraham trusted God, stepped out on his faith and maybe he was scared at times.  And God still called Abraham his friend. The song says, “I am a friend of God. I am a friend of God. He calls me friend. God almighty, Lord of glory you have called me friend.”  I give thanks that God who by His very Word called the universe into creation and became flesh and dwelt among us  still calls me friend even when I have moments of being scared.

“The Scriptures fulfilled which says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’ And he was called the friend of God.”
James 2: 23
“Abraham’s faith and deeds worked together. He proved that his faith was real by what he did.”
James 2: 22
Take joy in the journey and give thanks that we are friends of God. Wear comfortable shoes, get some sleep and think pink! Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Monday, April 7, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Happy Monday!  All is well here at 811. Family conference at the center today. Bruce is such a rock star and making progress. Following the conference Bruce and his counselor went to Home Depot for the project materials to make the garden at the center.  So very cool! God is good and love wins!

Dear God, thank you for my roots that sink deep into your promises. Keep me building always on rock, never on sand. Make me secure as I surrender to you. God with your help no obstacle is too big for you. I thank you my God, that no obstacle is ever too big for you to fulfill your promises. I love you Lord. In Jesus name, amen.

This journey we call life has unexpected twists and carries the risk of stumbling. The psalmist knew that we all stumble and was so bold as to pen ancient words that would bring comfort to people centuries later. God holds us closely and even though we stumble we do not fall. There is no obstacle too big for any of us when God is with us. The obstacles we face are the way we learn our lessons of faith and they do not prevent His promises from coming to fruition in our lives. The nation of Israel was promised a land that would belong to them. It took them 40 years to arrive at that land and faced many obstacles along the way. I am sure that there were times along the way when they wanted to give up and go back to what they knew and were intimidated by the obstacles in their way. But God was determined that they receive the promise of the desires of their hearts and claim the Promised Land. With God leading them there was not an obstacle that could not be overcome.

When we follow the steps of the Lord then we may face obstacles, but we do not face them alone. There is an old gospel hymn that my Daddy really loves. It is titled, “I Can’t Even Walk Without You Holding My Hand.”  The phrase that that touches my heart says, “Down on my knees is where I learned to stand because I can’t even walk without You holding my hand.”  My friends let us pray and learn to stand being led by the Holy Spirit and face our obstacles full in the assurance that God walks with us in every step.

“When a person’s steps follow the LORD, God is pleased with his ways. If he stumbles, he will not fall, because the LORD holds his hand.”
Psalm 37: 23-24

Take joy in the journey finding our strength in the joy of the Lord. Wear comfortable shoes, get some sleep and think pink.  Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Greetings from Austin Street
Blessed Sunday to you all!  All is well here at 811.  Bruce and Geni played handbells in both worship services at Advent Lutheran today and I preached at St. Andrews Christian Church in Carrolton. Preaching is fun for me. I like to walk around in a passage of scripture and give some information about the text, find a way for this text or at least part of it to have meaning for our lives and tell a story. Geni is continuing to work on cookie recipes for the Think Pink party being held during my surgery on Thursday. She is really an amazing daughter. 

Dear God, thank you for putting the times of my waiting into perspective. I praise you that all you have planned for me is already accomplished. Thank you Lord for the message in the Gospel of John that reads “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”  I thank you for sending me to this passage because I think I better understand it now.  Thank you God for your powerful desire to dwell among us so that we could know you through the body of Jesus. I love you Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Today I preached on the passage from John 11: 1-45. It is the story of the raising of Lazarus. It is an enormous passage; far too much in which to preach on in one time slot. I titled the sermon “When the Dead Stand Up…The Funeral’s Over!”   Jesus never preached a funeral he just raised the dead. But the focus of the sermon was in the reaction of Mary and Martha and their reaction to Jesus at the death of their brother. Both of these women greeted Jesus with the same declaration, “If you had been there our brother would not have died.” Martha meets Jesus on the road near the tomb and shares her powerful faith in her friend as Messiah Son of God. Mary did not go to greet Jesus on the road. She remained at their home and Martha had to go and get her. It is this event that caused me to think.

I think Mary was so hurt, angry and felt so neglected by Jesus in this time of her greatest need that she did not want to see him. When she arrived in the presence of Jesus she too declared, “If you had been here my brother would not have died.” And Jesus having such compassion for these grieving, broken hearted women filled with so much sadness and sorrow that he did not scold; he wept. He wept for their sorrow and their pain. He took the possible anger of Mary and the faith of Martha and became “the word made flesh and dwelt among them.”

And Jesus weeps with us today. Jesus is compassionate and hurts with us bringing the very heart of the gospel to us at the point of our deepest need because “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,” for when Jesus weeps with us our healing begins and God cries too.

“Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He will do it.”
Psalm 37:5
Take joy in the journey remembering that Jesus dwells in us. Wear comfortable shoes, get some sleep and think pink!  Love you all, Bruce and Gaylene