October 1, 2005

When Gwen and I were first married, we rented half of a small duplex in Kent, Ohio. It was basically a small square divided into five rooms: kitchen, living room, bathroom, and two bedrooms, all on one level. There was one spot in the center of the square where I could stand and see into every room in the house. It was small, but we were newly married, so we didnít mind the closeness. We were still living there when our daughter was born fifteen months later. Bringing a baby into our home introduced a completely new set of responsibilities and priorities. As parents, we were now on call twenty four hours a day.

I remember hooking up the brand new baby monitor and putting it in her crib. The other half we put in our bed, right between us at head level. We listened to her breathe all night. As you can guess, it wasnít always breathing that we heard. Like all babies, Kaylee cried. And it wasnít enough in our tiny home to hear it live; we had to have it amplified through the baby monitor. Then one of us would get out of bed, walk the six or seven steps from our bed to hers, and check to see what was wrong.

This crying would happen not only at night, but throughout the day, as well. Sometimes it was for a diaper change, sometimes because of a stomach ache or tiredness, or to get attention, and often for food. After several weeks we were able to develop a schedule and try to establish a routine to take care of most of her needs. She didnít catch on right away. In fact, the crying continued much like it had before. Rather than trusting that we, her parents, would take care of her and provide for her needs, she continued to be very demanding and impatient with us.

As Kaylee grew, she learned that she could depend on us to care for her. She cried less and less, and became a very contented baby. Our two boys, Joshua and Nathan, came next and followed much the same pattern. Lots of crying in the beginning, less and less as they adjusted and learned to trust and be content. Weíve been blessed with three wonderful children. They are 9, 8, and 6 years old now.

Iíve been fighting this brain tumor for over a year now. In some ways the experience has made me feel like an infant. I have been through a wide range of emotions, and have shared them all with my Heavenly Father. Iíve cried out to Him in the night and in the day. And it seems that my cries always sound the same. But every time Iíve cried out to Him, He has come to me, picked me up, and held me close to His heart. Iíve cried for healing countless times, and I feel like Iím running out of words to use and ways to say the same thing without becoming repetitive and thoughtless. God never gets tired of hearing from me, but I donít ever want to take His ever-listening ear for granted. I want to become more mature and more trusting, through this experience.

Here are some verses that have been impressed upon my heart recently:

Psalm 131:2

ďI have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.Ē

I like this picture of a weaned child with its mother. He doesnít need to cry frantically at the slightest need. He trusts his mother to provide right on time. God is the same way with us. He will meet our needs and come to our rescue when the time is right. God wants us to rely upon Him. He wants us to pray to Him unceasingly. He also wants us to trust in Him to meet our needs, and to do so when the time is right.

2 Corinthians 12:7b-10

ďThere was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ĎMy grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.í Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christís power may rest on me. That is why, for Christís sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.Ē

These are the words of Paul, and his thorn in the flesh was given to keep him from boasting about visions and revelations he had received. I havenít received any visions or revelations. But I do believe that God is trying to show me, and anyone else who is watching me, that His strength is being made perfect in my weakness. Paul said that he prayed three times for his thorn to be taken away. Iíve got him beat there. Iím sure it has been hundreds of times for me.

I need to become more like that weaned child. I need to trust my Heavenly Father more and more. I will continue to pray for a complete healing, and I ask that you would, too. A miraculous healing would certainly demonstrate Godís strength, and bring Him glory. But perhaps He wants to demonstrate His strength in me through my weakness. He has a very specific plan for my life, and for yours. Sometimes that plan involves hardships. Use those opportunities, along with me, to allow God to demonstrate His strength and to bring Himself glory. Trust in Him and wait patiently to meet your needs. He is our Faithful Father.

My health condition remains basically unchanged. I do not feel any change in my symptoms, and the tests continue to show that everything is stable. My next MRI is scheduled for October 5. As always, my prayer is that the MRI would reveal the healing that has already taken place.

Please pray also for my sister, Amy. She has been diagnosed with breast cancer, and is just starting chemotherapy. She just turned 25 years old. Pray also for my parents, that God will give them strength to bear the burden of watching their children go through these intense physical trials.

Thank you for your prayers!

-Jeff

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