Words of Encouragement

We have been getting much encouragement from all over the world.  While all the technology sometimes bothers me, the internet has made this possible.

When I got here this morning, Mike informed me that he had actually slept last night, which he has never said in the past three weeks.  He is speaking much more clearly today.  I personally think there is a direct correlation between his speech and the amount of sleep he gets.  He is currently downstairs getting an echocardiogram, which is standard procedure following heart surgery.

Dr. Meyer was in again this morning, but unfortunately it was after Mike left.  He is fine with him going to rehab tomorrow, so we’ll have to see how that plays out.  He will be going in a much weaker state than previously, which will probably translate into a longer stay.  Dr. Meyer also keeps reiterating that we do not know if there has been any damage done to the right side, so it will take time to see what the long-term effects are.  Dr. Fogleson was more optimistic, saying that he felt good tone in Mike’s leg yesterday, but not in the arm yet.

Mike also keeps trying to get the nurses to let him stand up and such.  I guess he thinks that since he did it before he can still do it now.  Hopefully physical therapy will work with him on that today.

It has been interesting to see where the encouragement comes from.  I am so grateful to the Smiths, who skipped District Conference to be here with me.  Another pastor friend posted that it’s like Mike and I are in the middle of a storm on a sea and everyone is shouting encouragements from the safety of the shore.  I think that’s a pretty good description!

Another friend sent a devotional that she receives via e-mail each day.  This one was from Charles Spurgeon, on Isaiah 48:10, “Behold, I have refine dyou, but not as silver;  I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.”  Our current circumstances definitely feel like a furnace of affliction.  In Spurgeon’s commentaty, he says, “If, believer, thou requirest still greater comfort, remember that you have the Son of Man with you in the furnace.”  This is the greatest comfort, that Jesus is with us in the furnace, and in the storm, and wherever else we may be!  Thankfully we have so many reminding us of this.

I’m hoping for a good day!  Mike will be seeing many therapists, and I am looking forward to any encouraging words they have!

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10 thoughts on “Words of Encouragement”

  1. We write to you today to just send you our encouragement and prayers. One of the most difficult things to do is watch and wait. I admire your strength and the overwhelming faith you share with all of us. We keep updating our congregation and ask everyone to keep you in their prayers. The Power of Prayer!!!!! We believe in it. Please let Mike know that we are praying for him. We will keep visiting your blog and share that time with you. God Bless!

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  2. Greetings from Mexico . . . Karla your comment about technology struck a chord. Although it can be a tremendous distraction, it is an amazing tool during times like these to allow those of us thousands of miles away to receive information, keep family members updated, and share our thoughts with you and Mike. We’ve been glued to the blog, checking multiple times daily as well as Larry receiving updates via his cell phone.

    THANKS so much for investing the time and emotional energy to help us all stay connected.

    The candor and resilience you continue to demonstrate along with the faith you share is truly an inspiration! Know we’re thinking of both of you as you begin the next chapter of Mike’s recovery with therapy and the rehab program.

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  3. Everyone here at the district conference are uplifting you and your family in prayer, as well as people from Free churches and homeschools all across Iowa and beyond! We are praising our great God together here, and you are here in the hearts of so many!
    Steve and Betty from the Albert City Free

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  4. Dearest Karla,

    As I was reading your latest edition to the Tuesday Evening Post and I thought, “Struggling vines make the best wine.”

    So, I did a little google, and found this site on actual grape/wine growers, and the reality of that statement:

    http://www.wineanorak.com/struggle.htm

    Many years ago while on a solitude retreat in, of all places, Rochester (Assisi–which I think is now closed), I was brought face to face with this concept, although it was with a lilac bush (prompted me to research grape vines grown for the purpose of wine). The previous year I had been on retreat and found the a bush with the most beautiful looking and smelling flowers on their vast grounds…and had my vase and scissors ready for what I hoped would be a repeat of the previous year, but it was not to be. While the previous year had been a year of feasting with the Lord during my retreat…this was to be quite a different time. A desert time. And when I came upon the bush, I stood shocked to find it had been severely pruned by the grounds keeper. What had once been a bush at least 10 feet around was now a stump. I think I stood there for five minutes trying to comprehend “my bush” was gone. It was a picture of the time I was to have with the Lord…a time of severe pruning.

    It was painful. Beyond words…..

    It was needful. And even in that desert, He prepared a table before me.

    You see, although the bush was putting forth beautiful flowers that also smelled wonderful, when the outside of it was parted, inside it was full of bare sticks. The sunlight was not able to penitrate into the bush, and it really was unhealthy, even though it was still producing beauty.

    This is as with fine wine. The more the vine struggles, the sweeter the grape, the sweeter the wine. As the website says:

    If you take a grapevine and make its physical requirements for water and nutrients easily accessible, then (somewhat counterintuitively) it will give you poor grapes.

    and,

    But make things difficult for the vine, by restricting water supply, making nutrients scarce, pruning it hard and crowding it with close neighbours, and it will take the hump. It will sense that this is not the ideal place to be a grapevine. Instead of devoting itself to growing big and sprawling, it will focus its effort on reproducing itself sexually, which for a vine means making grapes.

    How I wish these things were not so, for it seems at times that the struggle is so great, it is a wonder our hearts keep on beating…or that the pruning is so severe, how can He expect any fruit? Yet…God has chosen you. And for His glory, and this I know, He is an expert husbandman.

    Love,
    Deb

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  5. Mike and Karla,
    I know I have met you before but I do not know if you remember Jeff and I.(I know Mike knows Jeff )And I am not sure if you know that 7 years ago, I was dying in ICU(karen). It was the first day of school in August and Jeff had to have friends bring our boys to Sioux City to tell their Mom good bye. He also had to call my parents to come to the hospital and to come very quickly, if they wanted to see me alive.
    It was a very difficult 7 days on life support, not knowing if I was going to live. It was one complication after another. Many,many doses of antibiotics and units of blood, and really no clear answers. Other than one bad bacteria.

    I was in the hospital one month, but I left very weak. I did not always connect allot with God through reading the scriptures because I was just to sick, but Jeff finally brought me a DVD player and the worship tapes really ministered to me. For years after when we would sing one song in church, it was one that God really used and I would just cry and cry. I had prayed to God years before that he would use me anyway he wanted, just so that my sister would be moved spiritually, because I was not sure where she was at. Well, I guess God did that because my sister was with us through the most difficult part and she saw the body of Christ at work. Who knows exactly why God allowed all of that, but I know it was hard and yet good at the same time. Jeff will still cry. Reading your blog has been hard , it has brought back so many memories. He knows what you are going through and has felt so bad for you all.

    I guess I write all this to encourage you, I did not think I would ever, and I mean ever feel good again. I was on Levaquin for 76 days in a row. Your body does heal and amazingly you regain your strength.

    God Bless you both. We have been there, and we are praying.
    On the lighter side; I never had so many men wipe my butt, and when you are so sick you are at the mercy of the nurses.

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  6. Karla,
    Just as I guessed…your readers are not on the shore, they are in the waves of various trials as well. As I read your blog and the encouragement sent from the responses, I am encouraged in the deep trials/fire that we find ourselves.
    What a glorious tree the Lord has planted!
    Glory to Him.
    Carol Voelker

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  7. Amen, Amen, and praise Jesus! Thank you Karla, for being upfront and so real with us. It’s encouraging and refreshing! May the Lord bless you both today. Spring is on the horizon; new life, new beginnings, time for a new song! 🙂 Praying for you guys, Love you both ! ~Wendy

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  8. Karla and Mike,
    Praise God for what He is doing! He is carrying you from day to day. I think of Is. 46:4, “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He. I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” May you be blessed by these words from our God. It is such a comfort to know that He is always there, even in the fire!
    Thank you for the updates, your transparency and hope. You are giving Him the glory!
    Praying for you and your ‘ministry’ while in the hospital,
    Lisa Dailey

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  9. WOW what a whirlwind ! Looks like we are now on the mend. Praise the Lord. Reading all your messages , I’m sure everyone feels like one BIG family and we are so releived.
    MIke keep up the great work, I know rehab is a LOT of work and you will get that good hurt. Don’t know how to explain it but I guess it hurts and you know it is helping.
    We love you guys and our whole church is always anxious to hear how you are doing, we just keep holding you up.

    Ruth and Larry Lloyd – Mo.

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  10. How uplifting it is to read your comments. Your faith and the miracle of Christ real and present in your midst is such powerful testimony. I identified with your reaction to the world still moving along. I spent 10 weeks in an ICU day and night when my mother-in-law was dying. Some of the people you meet there become life long friends. There is such intimacy during these life and death struggles. Knowing what great patients most men make, esp. the ones who have never been hospitalized, I have especially for your spirits to be lifted. The song ” Love Lifted Me” seems to be appropriate for this time. My parents ask for daily briefings and pray for your family. Be Blessed

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