Thursday, March 24, 2011

Her last gentle breath

Martha took her last gentle breath on earth and her first joyous breath in Heaven today, March 24, when her Lord Jesus came to take her to the place He has prepared for her, His perfect healing and eternal LIFE in His presence.  Rejoice with us in this victory!

Thank you so very much for your prayers for Martha and her family during this journey in which our Lord has so clearly shown His awesome grace and faithfulness through her testimony.

Still Waiting...

Our deepest gratitude to all of you  who continue to bear our burden with us, experience our pain, and uphold us with your prayers for this seemingly long journey with Martha as she anticipates the joy of being with Jesus.

“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us (Martha!) an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” 2 Cor. 4:17.

Martha has seemed very close to Heaven for several weeks now and the medical people continue to be amazed that she is still with us.  These recent days have been more difficult as her body systems are shutting down and her brain chemistry is changing with the build up of toxins. She is sedated and resting peacefully.

We are impressed with how often our Lord brings some kind of relief: an angel of mercy hospice nurse coming to the house at night, after one nearly sleepless night here when one of her brothers appeared to sit by Martha’s side and calm her until a new medication arrived and more surprise bouquets of flowers on our doorstep. Certainly not least, we continue to be impressed with the extent of God’s mercy and grace to us as the stretching definitely continues!

All of her vital signs have been diminishing daily. Yesterday morning the hospice nurse could not hear her blood pressure with the cuff, or get an oxygen reading in her finger, and heard only slight air movement in her lungs.  She has had no fluid input or output for almost a week and her breathing has been very irregular for days. She looks so very peaceful that I regret having to disturb her every three hours with medication that tastes terrible and is uncomfortable to receive.

So, dear intercessors, thank you again for persevering with us in this journey and may our Lord bless each of you abundantly!

In His love, Martha’s parents

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Loving wounds-Reflections by Martha's Dad

Proverbs, Chapter 27, Verse 6 tells us: ‘Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful’.

An enemy’s kisses are a clear contradiction; enemies seek not our good with kisses. Think Judas Iscariot. But why would friends wound? One song of worship reminds we have a friend in Jesus, the Son of God. Yet scripture assures ‘He was wounded for our transgressions' by His Father, ‘smitten by God’ as Isaiah 53, verse 4 tells us, because of the Father’s love for us and for Him also.

Jesus satisfied our need; perfectly covering our sins and showing His fallen creation the infinite mercy of God. Both expressed together in the Father’s sacrifice of His Son on the cross and the Son’s acceptance of wounding by the One who loved Him from before the foundation of the world.

The Father wounding His own Son for the love us; the Son accepting wounding for the love of us as well. The Father faithful to fulfill His plan to release us from our sin must wound the Son for the love of us. The Son faithfully serving as our substitute, our Lamb, wounded for His love of us as well.  

Loving wounds continue among the creatures of God bringing merciful cleansing that draw us to Him. Thomas experienced this when he beheld the wounded hands and feet of Jesus and put his hand in His side confessing belief with conviction where doubt had been, ‘My Lord and my God’; John 20, verse 28.

The Sovereign One, the All Faithful One, wounds His own thus evidencing ownership, great purpose and mysterious lovingkindness. Jacob’s chronic limp was not accidental but deeply intentional in remembrance as were the woundings of Job and Stephen.

God has assured Martha her terminal cancer is a continuation of her pilgrim journey with her Lord Jesus, not an unplanned interlude or an unfortunate shortening of her earthly life. Neither has it been so for the connected hundreds brought near and mentored by the Holy Spirit in the matters of The Creator of all and life eternal. Each one lovingly wounded directly or vicariously, each one experiencing His faithfulness, each one hearing and seeing more clearly new outlines of the Infinite, now drawn closer where blindness and deafness had formerly prevented. 

Continuing to wait...

Psalm 27, which Martha calls “my cancer psalm” concludes with:

“Wait for the Lord;
     Be strong, and let your heart take courage;
          Wait for the Lord!”

And she continues to wait, courageously, graciously, gratefully, and usually with remarkable patience toward the challenges of the cancer and her very great weakness now.  In the beginning she prayed to “be able to do this cancer thing well” and she is doing it so very well for His glory.

And all of us continue to be profoundly thankful for abounding grace and peace to our Lord Jesus and to each of you who continues to pray so faithfully for us and to send such loving messages, emails and other encouragements, like the very cheerful bouquet of flowers we discovered on the front porch Monday morning and a beautiful gerbera daisy another dayJ.  We pray God’s many blessings on each of you!

In His immense love, her parents.