Wednesday, April 20, 2011

blessed

Did I ever tell you how we jumped right into a church and prayed that God would provide just the right group of friends who would not scrutinize or question my disease as some people can?  And how we prayed that God would provide a group of people who would feel led to HELP us in our time of need.  That's not always easy to do with new people so we felt it would be a gift from God if we could find people like that.  We were new to the area and had no family or "back-up" anywhere nearby.

God answered our prayers almost as SOON as we got here.  We made a thoughtful and prayerful decision about which church to attend.  We wanted one that valued the Word of God and taught it faithfully and truthfully.  After attending a few, we found a great one.

Our next order of business was to find a "Sunday School" class.  This is the kind of thing that you attend AFTER the main worship/preaching service.  It's more intimate as it involves a smaller group of people and you study the Word of God even more together.  So our first Sunday there, Matt and I just sort of aimlessly walked on the campus of the church (it's not terribly large) because we had the bulletin and it suggested a few Sunday School classes that might have our age group/stage in life in them.  We walked past one class and looked inside.  We thought maybe we had gone to the wrong room because most of the people were 50+ years!  So we left.  No one had really noticed us there.  Then we kept walking.  Past a group of family type people.  No one stopped to say hello.  That's okay.  They were all engrossed in conversation.

We kept walking and thought maybe we would just call it a day and research it more online on the church's website.  But then a voice called to us, "Hey!  Are you guys new?"  We must have looked it with our confused faces and slow walk.  The man came up to us and extended his hand and proceeded to make us feel so welcome.  He said, "Would you like to join us today in our Sunday school?"  Did we have a choice?  I'm kidding :)  We actually did.

He brought us into the room and there were couples of all different stages of life and just about EVERYONE came up to us before class started and genuinely welcomed us.  Then as class started the leader said, "So, we have some new people here.  Who met them and who can tell me something about them?"  Boy, I liked that.  I don't like standing up and introducing myself and talking about us :)  All of the sudden the room chimed in here and there.  All over the room there were facts about us spilling out.  These people really DID care and they WERE listening to us when we met them earlier.

After class, a few couples came and asked if we wanted to go out to lunch.  We said no but that we love to be asked.  We didn't tell them that it was because I was so fatigued from Lyme.  In fact, we hadn't told anyone about Lyme yet.  We felt so weird coming into a church NEEDING instead of being able to come in SERVING as we wanted.  We didn't really know how to bring it up.  I figured one of those Sundays I'd be in a wheelchair anyway so it would have to come up.

Still unsure whether this was THE church God had for us, we decided to try it a few more times.  Each time we returned to the Sunday School class and began to really get to know people.  They were so welcoming and friendly and godly!  Such a blessing.

They do prayer time every week.  So after about the third week of us being there we trepidatiously shared our prayer request.  Well, Matt wasn't trepidatious.  I'm always worried when I share with someone that I have Lyme that they will judge or that they will somehow know so much about the controversy of the disease that they will argue with us.  Or even just that they will say, "But you don't LOOK sick."  It's a hard disease to convey to people sometimes unless you're wheelchair bound or convulsing in front of them.

I was working myself up inside so I did start tremoring.  So Matt decided to talk.  He shared with them that now that we had chosen this church to be in and that we felt so blessed to be among these new friends we felt comfortable sharing our request for prayer.  Matt told of our struggle with my illness and we went into details of how it affects our every day life.  And we asked that they would continually pray that I would have strength to care for the girls each day while Matt is at work and more than anything that God would be glorified though my illness.

Everyone was sympathetic.  No one judged.  No one questioned.  There was immediate prayer for us.  And immediate love - a few women right then and there said, "We have care calendars for this type of thing.  Let's talk after and set up some days we can help you!"

And since then (February), they have stepped up, bringing meals once or twice a month and coming to play with the girls a few times a month (or more when people's schedules work out), and coming to CLEAN MY HOUSE.  Wow.  This is the body of Christ at work.  Genuine Christ-like love.  An amazing example not only for me and my husband but for my young girls.

And those of you with chronic illnesses know that it's not just the sick one that suffers, but also their spouse.  This church we are in understands that.  They pray every week not only for me but for Matt and that he wouldn't be discouraged and that God would give HIM strength to deal with all the extras that are put upon him since I'm sick -- all the gaps he has to fill.

And then today, a random call from a dear one in our class.  He said, "I'm coming over to do whatever you want. I'm bringing a few of my daughters too. We'll all pitch in and help.  We can do yard work or laundry or whatever you need.  Or if there's anything that Matt needs done that we could help with to free him up, we'll do that."

Wow, was that timely.  I told him I definitely could think of a list of things that would be so helpful if they did for Matt.  He said they felt BLESSED to be able to help.  And I'm so excited to be able to surprise Matt with accomplished work done by a loving friend.  I know he will feel overwhelmingly grateful.

This is truly what the body of Christ (the church) looks like!  And God has used it to encourage us through these dreary days of illness.  Thank you, Lord!

6 comments:

  1. Wow. So I don't check my subscriptions very often but I decided to this morning. And I am so glad!

    Your post just blessed me so much! It brought tears to my eyes. I just can't imagine having to care for a family on top of being ill with this devastating disease!

    Know that I think of you and pray for you. God bless you in your journey! With God's help we CAN have hope and a peace through it all!

    <3 Lynnelle, a fellow Lymie.

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  2. thats incredibly incredibly awesome!!!!!

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  3. Heather, this brought tears to my eyes. I have often felt the exact same way about this group of people. I know that you feel blessed by RL, but I know that we are equally blessed to have you as part of our family. You are in our daily prayers.

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  4. Wasn't God good to bring you to such an incredible church? Your last church up in Washington was fantastic also. I just love it when Christians really show love to each other. "They'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love. Yes, they'll know we are Christians by our love." What could be more attractive to the world than to see the people who claim to be Christians...acting like Christians? I'm really happy for you and Matt.

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  5. So, I don't think it's just my hormones, since other people cried too. :) You and your family are wonderful people and we love you so much! Honestly, I never quite understood just how much you suffered and now that I do, I will pray that much harder for you guys. I am always here for you, sweetie.

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