Monday, December 28, 2009

Letting Go and Letting God...

Mondays With Marv

It's hard, isn't it? Especially for a take charge person like myself. If I were in charge I would keep our friend Marv here on earth. I would pray away the cancer. I would keep asking God for a miracle. I "long for" or "crave" that kind of miracle, and have been reminding God what an awesome display of His mighty power that would hear the words, "cancer free." To everyone who has paid Marv a "last visit" they would be so amazed at such news! Oh how God must be laughing at me when He hears such thoughts from my head.

Probably more often than not, what we crave is not what God would have for us. He doesn't need to miraculously cure Marv to prove His awesome power. In Marv's preparedness and readiness for his death, his unswerving faith is plenty of witness to God's awesome power.

For those of you praying for Marv - he would like the prayer changed. No more prayers for Marv to be able to eat and keep it down, please. I will confess right here and right now that this has been my prayer for purely selfish reasons. Afterall, if the body is fed it will be nourished and remain alive. We will continue our bible studies, and continue our worship together. Life will remain as we know it.

Marv realized today, after talking with the Hospice folks, that he has been wrestling with God. His body wants to stop eating - God is calling him Home. He has been forcing himself to eat, and the Hospice nurse reminded him that he needs to listen to his body. His body is DONE feeding the cancer, and keeping IT alive.

When Marv shared this today I made a comment that he was like Jacob wrestling God in the river. At once he and Carol looked at one another, each making a connection that perhaps this is why Marv's hip has been hurting (for no obvious reason) for these past few weeks.

Genesis 32:22-40 reads:
Jacob Wrestles With God
That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two maidservants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, "Let me go, for it is daybreak." But Jacob replied, "I will not let you go unless you bless me." The man asked him, "What is your name?" "Jacob," he answered. Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome." Jacob said, "Please tell me your name." But he replied, "Why do you ask my name?" Then he blessed him there.
So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, "It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared." The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob's hip was touched near the tendon.

I think Marv felt he needed to get past Christmas - for all our sakes. (Heck, that would have put a huge damper on things to have him die at Christmas time.) For the past several Monday evening bible studies Marv has expressed his eagerness to be with His Jesus. Yet, when it came time to pray we did not pray, "Lord, Marv is excited to be with you soon in heaven - please honor that eagerness." Instead we prayed for Marv's stomach to be able to tolerate food, for energy, etc.

Marv would like prayers for HIS OWN ability to let go. To stop wrestling with God, to stop feeding the cancer and his body. I am sure it takes more strength to stop eating, knowing it is going to lead to death, than it does to eat, not because you are hungry, but because you know it keeps the body going.

Carol and I spent some time alone today while I helped her shop for a laptop so they could Skype (phone video) with their grandson in the military, and Marv's daughter in Oklahoma. I was concerned about how she might feel deep inside. She could be angry at God for giving her and Marv only 13 years together...but she is not. I am certain she has praised God for every moment they have spent together. She knows, and said, "it is time."

Marv is ready to be called Home - tonight he said at our bible study, "Give up, give up, give up - I need to let God be in control." He wants to crave not food that will keep him alive, but instead crave the unending joy of being in God's holy presence.

Marv does NOT like sitting in his chair all day feeling "blah". Not in pain, but simply "blah", while waiting for something to happen. Perhaps God is not completely done with Marv yet, as he has two unexpected visits coming up with people who need/want to talk with him. Perhaps they will witness firsthand Marv's strong faith in the face of death, and it will help them with their own faith journey. This is where I feel God's awesome power will be revealed, not in a miraculous cure, but in the power of steadfast faith.

Tonight, I am letting go. I am finished. I've pushed myself and have completed what I felt I needed to do. The book I so badly wanted to get done for Marv is complete. In fact, they decided on Saturday that they did not want a multitude of family pictures, or pictures of Marv doing this and that in a Powerpoint presentation. It is too complicated with their family situation. Marv does not want his funeral to be all about him. Of course it will be a celebration of his life, but more importantly, he wants it to be about giving praise to God. They've requested that the book I made, inspired by God, be made into a Powerpoint presentation. It's a "wow" request, it's a simple book, and it is an amazing honor to do this for my friend. Tonight, I assembled the images into a presentation. Finished. Ready.

That's it - 21 slides containing scripture and verses from a poem. A repetitive image of not Marv, but the "essence of Marv"...a worn straw hat, a worn bible, a cross, a trowel laden with dried concrete, and three nails...nails to represent the Savior who died, so that each of us would be given the gift of GRACE. Nails that remind us that Jesus, too, experienced suffering. Nails to remind us that our burdens, our dark pasts, our worries and our troubles - can be nailed to that cross. Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

This blog post begins with the last page of the book, "Oh Man of Simple Faith". It speaks of the hope that Marv has in eternal salvation. I want to close this posting with words Marv spoke tonight, words that really struck a cord with me. Words that made me realize I need to let go... Marv said, "If I died tonight I'd wake up as a happier man." Amen.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

December Update

I know I did not post last week, but we have been meeting with Marv on Monday evenings.

I was thrilled to get my printed books from My Publisher this past weekend. I feared I would not get the project done in time, what a relief!

Marv received his book yesterday, his story, and was speechless. Which is a good thing in this case. (LOL) He is eating again, not much, but enough to keep him going. Although he said several times how ready he is to go to heaven - he is excited to be going there. I just pray that excitement holds off happening until the new year and then some! I admit, he makes me a little jealous that he is going to get to go to heaven so soon - we all are excited to go!

Marv and Carol gave us a book they have been reading called "Heaven" - and Marv wrote a message on the inside of the book. What a treasure to have his hand-writing. Of course I am going to photograph and scrap a page about it.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Just wanted to pop in and share a photo from ths weekends shoot. We had a great study tonight - tough topic.

Monday, November 16, 2009

God's Invisible Qualities

Mondays with Marv #4
November 16, 2009

"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." Rom. 1:20

For this evening's study we read from the book of Romans. Chapter one, verses 18 through to chapter 2, verse 4. The message at Blackhawk on Sunday was a hot topic, and I have to commend Pastor Chris for his presentation of what is a controversial subject. I pray that everyone learned something. I know I did.

I believe Marv learned something, too. The last time we met he was up on his soapbox and it was great to see him so stirred and passionate. It meant he was feeling well. However, he has spent the last 10 days holding a little baby - his new grandson. Holding that little miracle, awestruck at the thought of creation - it really makes one consider our ineffable God. It makes one humble to consider how a being so tiny can be put together so intricately - it leaves little room for doubt that God is at work. That little baby, combined with Chris' message, seemed to give Marv a good dose of humble pie.

Tonight Marv removed himself from that small percentage of Christ followers, and put himself in the 99% category of a work in progress. Aren't we all? It's good to have simple stand firm in your beliefs, but even Christ followers can fall off the balance beam. Truly, the only being to ever be in the 1% category of a true Christ follower was Jesus himself. For no one, not one is holy and blameless in His sight. "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us." 1 John 1:8 Marv asked each of us to look inward to see our shortcomings. It's not easy to do.

Our journeys here on earth are ever evolving. A long time ago I remember someone saying, "learn something new everyday." I've taken that to heart, and look to learn something each day, even if it is the Spanish word for red, as Abby grills me in Spanish color names.(LOL)

Personally, I know that Marv and I have both come a long way on our journey. Both he and I tended to be quick to pass judgement. When I consider how I fall short of the glory of God, who am I to judge? It is certainly not my place, and that is a lesson I keep on learning. It is making a conscience notation to one's self to step away from that which is so tempting to do.
Romans 2:1-4 reads: "You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?"

I have learned, as has Marv, that love and grace can nurture seeds for the Kingdom with much greater impact than judgement, which only serves to build walls. It's not always easy, and curbing a behavior you're not proud of requires constant prayer. Looking back over the years, I can see how both Marv and I have been transformed through studies of the Word. Not merely reading the Message, but taking it to heart and letting it mold how we think. God is the Potter, and we are the clay. May He "take me, mold me, use me, and fill me." Marv and I -we give our lives to the Potter's hand. Sometimes the wheel starts turning so fast that our sides begin to cave in. Going round and round our vision may become blurred, and our focus on Christ and the Story is not as clear as it should be. But with the steady hand of the Spirit, God is able to reshape us, and transform us into a vessel that is purposeful for His kingdom. When God is working "the clay" it never gets old and dry, it is renewed every day with water of the Spirit.

Imagine yourself as a vessel. It may be misshapen, cracked, or have a gaping hole. God can fix each flaw if He wanted to, but being the Wise One, God lets us make our own choices. His Word and His love can reshape our lives, heal our cracked bodies, and fill the gaping hole in our hearts. All we need to do is ask Jesus to be our savior, the Potter in our lives.

When I think about Marv's life - the paths he has been down...places in his journey he is not too proud of - I am in wonder of the transformed man that sits across from me at bible study. Marv is a living vessel that has been reshaped by God's hand. I can only pray that one day I will fully submit, and allow God to change the vessel that I am, for yes, I AM a work in progress.

It is because of people like Marv, Carol, and my husband, that I have grown in my walk. We are accountable not only to one another, but to God. Relationships transform the journeys we are on, and RELATIONSHIP is really what the Good News is all about.

"And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" Romans 10:15

Saturday, November 14, 2009

2nd Photo Shoot with Marv

Today I needed to do a retake of Marv's daughter Cindy with him, as the photos from Tuesday did not turn out. Being that it is Saturday, the kids were able to go with. I really wanted a photo of each of them with Marv. Photos are so important to preserve memories.

Case in point, this week I attended a ladies gathering with the mother of a young lady who spent her entire summer babysitting our kids. This was about three years ago. The sitter had found a litter of baby mice, and actually fed them formula. For a couple of weeks these tiny mice went everywhere, including our home - which rather made me squeamish, but I knew the little pinkies would not escape and run off. They had to be hand fed every hour, and what a lesson for the kids on the work of caring for little creatures! When we were visiting Abby was asked if she remembers Brooke sitting for us and feeding the baby mice...and Abby said no.
This actually surprised me - I thought that was a pretty memorable summer. Yes, I did take photos, but have not brought myself to scrapping photos of up close baby mice - ewwww! However, if I had those photos scrapped and in an album where Abby could see them, I am certain she would remember. Abby always asked if we could get Brooke if we needed a sitter.
I want to make sure our kids will never forget Marv. He has been their adopted grandpa for too many years, and have watched them grow up. When Kyle was baptized of his own accord they were there to witness Kyle's new step of spiritual faith at age 5.

Abby doesn't give out hugs readily, and I will never forget the joy Marv felt when Abby gave him a hug one night after bible study, as they prepared to leave. Perhaps it was Marv's birthday... I cannot recall, but she hasn't done it since. She did, however, get pretty close to him for a photo today, and with a smile!

And although Jesse has been pretty quiet about Marv's illness, I know it must be very hard for him on the inside. Marv and Jesse used to meet three times a week. Mondays, at our small group study; Tuesday mornings - with a men's group, and on Friday's Marv used to meet Jesse at his workplace for either breakfast or lunch. I know the non-structured conversations are that which Jesse's is really missing right now, but there are some things that probably will not return to "the way it was". I am happy that we now have a pretty decent photo of Jes and Marv.

I took a few more pics today of Marv's new baby grandson as well...a few close ups of the little pudgies and piggies. I hope to share those soon since there are no faces. Since I did not ask, and therefore do not have permission, I won't be sharing photos of Marv's family ... but I cannot resist posting a few pics of little piggies and pudgies. Hopefully soon!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mondays With Marv - Not This Week

If anyone is wondering where this week's Mondays with Marv post is, well, we did not meet on Monday, November 9. Marv woke up Sunday experiencing lots of back pain.
On Monday they up'd the pain patch and medicated him more for relief, and it took everything out of him. I don't like it when we cannot have study, but all we can do is gather at home and pray for him.

Today I am taking a family photo of Marv and his 5 children. Hospice is coming to have a 2 hr. meeting with them to discuss what is going to be happening as the end draws near. Please pray for Marv, Carol and his five children today. Thanks.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Poem Inspired

It's been a long time since God gave me a poem while in the shower. I've always thought mounting a voice recorder on the shower wall would be a good idea. I have to get out, quickly dry off, throw on my robe and rush to the kitchen table for some sort of handy scrap paper and writing utensil - even a crayon if that is all readily available.

The flow and thoughts come easily Tuesday morning, in the peacefulness of a shower, but quickly dissipate when bombarded by children's questions when I get out. Abby was eager to share her latest journal entry and drawing, but I had to ask her to wait until I was done scribbling the skeleton form of this poem on paper. Obviously I was inspired by our Monday evening bible study and Marv's thoughts. This poem is dedicated to Marv, and of course I have a vision for a little 6x6 picture book to go with it. I plan to create it by Christmas, but first, have some photos to obtain. Here is my poem - perhaps you have someone whom you can relate this poem to.


Oh man of simple faith
like a child so highly prized
by God who welcomes all His children
whose hearts have changed for Him. (Mthw 18:3)

Oh man of simple faith
says the bible need not defend;
each morn he wakes, puts on armor of God
to protect him while on earth. (Eph. 6:11)

Oh man of simple faith
sees no need for books of scholar;
he reads the Word as spiritual Truth,
and needs to know no more. (Rom 6:4)

Oh man of simple faith
is a man of written words;
he pens what God has revealed,
and shares it with the world. (Mthw 7:24; Rev. 21:5)

Oh man of simple faith
when death knocks at his door
holds steadfast to his claim,
and feels God’s love surround. (Ps 112:7)

Oh man of simple faith
when your task on earth is done
you will go to Zion, and God will say,
“well done my faithful son.” (Mthw 25:21)

This man of simple faith
leaves a legacy to his name,
and all who share his simple faith
will rise, and meet again. (1 Thess 4:17)

R. Shimniok 11-1-2009

Scripture ties in with each verse. Next Wednesday Marv's children are gathering to meet with Hospice to go over what they can expect the future to hold. Apparently, because Marv's family is blended, there has never been a photo taken of him with his children. How sad it would be for him to pass, and not have such a photo. Of course I volunteered to take the photo, and would like to use it for the "share it with the world" verse as Marv has been diligent about sharing the message of the gospel with his family members. I admit, I am a bit nervous about taking the photo. It will be an indoor shot in their basement apartment. Guess I better practice with ambient lighting this weekend! I will only get perhaps 3 shots at getting this right, as I have a small window to get in and get out before the meeting starts. Afterwards, Marv's children - all grown up like me - have jobs to return to. And my guess is the mood will be a bit down - not exactly up for photo taking.

If you all could keep me in prayer as I prepare to take this once in a lifetime shot I would appreciate it!

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Man of Simple Faith

Monday’s with Marv #3
November 2, 2009

Pumped! That is how I would describe Marv at this evening’s bible study. He was up on a soapbox and having his say. (LOL) I was writing down his quotes as fast as I could, because they are “so Marv”.

Our message on Sunday began a new series, and the topic happened to be about the origin of the bible, historical facts, a video clip of a contemporary cynic reporter wondering why the virgin birth was not mentioned in all four gospels, etc. Probability and reasoning were discussed, eyewitness accountability, basically – lots of prodding and poking into the bible, and the basis for Christian faith. Of course this teaching fits into the mission of our church “…to reach a community that is lost without Him.”

Marv doesn’t get the need for Sunday’s message. “Why does one need to prod and pick the bible a part?” Marv asked. He stated that, “the bible doesn’t need to be defended – just believe it.”

“I know that Jesus Christ has put this book in front of me to get me ready for what’s going to happen. I can’t say that I am not excited – maybe I will get to help build the next Jerusalem...but I don’t think there will be concrete in heaven.”

Don’t you just love his conviction? This is one of the reasons I love Marv so much. Carol started reading a book called “Heaven” by Randy Alcorn. She said it is amazing…I have dibs to read it, but likely I won’t get a chance until all my Christmas gift making is done. The author pulls scripture from the bible and expands upon it. If anyone has questions about what heaven will be like – “Heaven” is being highly recommended.

From what Carol has read so far, one of Marv’s favorite paragraphs in the book discusses these Words from 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, verses 13-18:
13Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18Therefore encourage each other with these words.

Truly, I do wish I had had a tape recorder at our study this evening. I felt like we could just play it all back at Marv’s funeral and he would just be telling it to his family and friends like it is, like he is.

“Believe simply and don’t let anyone confuse you. The Spirit either convicts you to believe, or not.”

Personally, after spending an hour with Marv, all I can say is "thank God for simple faith." He is right. We don’t need to poke and prod and pick apart the bible. It needs to be read, and in context, I might add. I don’t have too many peeves, but taking one verse from the bible construing it for our own purpose and justification is one. We need to remember that the Bible was not written to us, but meant for us. Most of all, we need to remember it is a letter of love, from the heavenly Father to you and me. We don't need to have all the answers to receive God's grace, the ransom for our sins has already been paid for on the cross.

All who believe are “on their way”. Carol and Marv, Jesse and I – we’re going to hold fast to our simple faith. We know that we will all one day share in the heavenly Kingdom. Our simple faith is simply summarized in my very favorite of scripture, Hebrews 11:1 - “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mondays with Marv, the 2nd Installment

Excitement for A New Beginning

"The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, 2 it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy... Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow." Isaiah 35:1-2, 6-7

The message this past Sunday at Blackhawk Church was so uplifting - Tim Mackie did a fabulous job sharing the gospel story of "a new beginning". You can check it out here.
The last two chapters of the bible (Revelation 21 & 22) are filled with illustrations and descriptives of what the new world will be like - the New Jerusalem in which all believers will come to dwell. No longer will we need sun or moon as God will be the Light and Jesus the Lamp. Paradise, as Adam and Eve once knew it, will be restored. It's exciting imagery, and it is exciting to know that one day I will be a part of it. For anyone who knows their days are numbered due to illness or disease - the Words are encouraging.

This evening we met with Marv and Carol later in the evening as they were blessed with family members visiting. Marv looked real good, and happily ate a piece of the apple dessert I took over. I just love watching that man eat, and Carol commented how he even gets up once in a while at night and snacks, and will likely be snacking on my dessert. What a change -praise God! It seemed not that long ago just moving and getting out of bed hurt, and now Marv is quietly getting out of bed so as not to disturb Carol, and puttering around.

We had a great bible study, and Marv could not wait to get to the scripture verses in Isaiah 35. Verses 1-2 were also a part of Sunday's message - but like an eager boy with nose pressed against a candy store window, Marv wanted to go straight to verses 6-7. He especially likes the part where the lame will leap like deer - "that's me!" he quipped. He loved the imagery of the water gushing and bubbling forth to restore the dry parched land.

Marv shared a dream he had quite a ways back, before his daughter Carrie became a believer. Carrie was far away, beckoning him to come. Every time he neared her she was distant again, beckoning. Finally, as Marv reached his daughter, she said, "Look." And as he and Carrie gazed from above into a huge chasm, they saw below a beautiful land with a waterfall and stream running through the center. People were everywhere, like ants, he said - walking amongst trees and flowers. Marv said the image was breathtaking, and remains vivid in his mind.

As he reflected upon that dream, at the time his daughter had not yet asked Christ into her heart. Since that time she has. It seems the dream was a message from God - assuring Marv that his daughter would become a believer and join him in the New Jerusalem. Not that she would necessarily go before him, but that Carrie indeed would be amongst the City of Believers and he needn't worry. What I fnd very special about this dream is that Marv was given a glimpse of what the new Kingdom might be like. What an image to store up in your heart, what hope that must provide!

We talked some about the Armor of God this evening, from Ephesians 6. These scriptures are verses that I most relate to Marv when I think of him and scripture. The words have been his anchor, memory verses he has relied on each morning as he wakes and prays to the Lord that his Armor be clad about himself before going out into the day.
"10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
19Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should."

Marv may be chained to cancer, but each time that he opens his mouth to all who pass through his door, he is able to witness and declare fearlessly, his faith - even through adversity. It is Marv's belief and message in the Armor of God that I would like him to leave to Kyle. I know that any sentences utilizing armor and materials of war will capture the interest of our military history buff - and he can relate what each weapon or piece of armor is used for to realize the meaning of the metaphor. Because the Armor of God is "so Marv" I know that I want to do a layout, and will have to get creative with my limited photos of the man. I really do hope and pray that Marv will call on me to take dictation for him if he is not up to writing departing messages to our children.

I may have mentioned to some that last week Marv had mentioned wanting to write a book about what he is going through...about how he is being blessed despite his diagnosis. However, this past week Carol said he would get so uptight each time he passed the computer, that he had to set aside the idea of typing a book. It won't come about with meds messing up his hand/eye/brain coordination. The less anxiety for Marv the better, in his condition, and it was decided to give up the book writing idea. As sad as I am that I won't be spending extra time with him as his secretary - I know it is best for Marv's health.

This evening the four of us were excited to read from Revelation. We know that it marks not the end of the Bible, but instead marks the Beginning of a new story and a New World. Jesus said, "Behold, I make all things new!" And that, my friends, is what all believers in Christ have to look forward to.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mondays With Marv - An Introduction

This blog, which has been quiet for so very long, is being called out of silence. God put it upon my heart this past Sunday to resurrect "On My Way - Journey to Heaven" and dedicate it to a man who knows he is on his way, sooner than later.

I want to introduce you to our very close friend Marv. Marv is my earthly spiritual father. It is in great part, through Marv that my relationship with Christ has grown to what it is today. Although we are not related by blood, we are related in Christ, as we are all adopted as His sons and daughters. I look up to this man, and am quite blessed to see many similarities between Marv and my husband Jesse. Having said that, I must admit that Marv and I have similar qualities as well - actually weaknesses. We're kind of like two peas in a pod in some respects, but through God's grace we are maturing in our faith walk every day.

For the past four years Marv, and his lovely wife Carol, have been meeting with us on Monday evenings for bible study. We gather and discuss the message given the previous Sunday at our church, Blackhawk. All four of us have really grown in our faith journey together. We are dedicated to our Monday night study, and can probably count the number of Mondays missed in our 10 fingers. I am certain that each one of us can with certainty state that we are changed people. Meeting weekly, getting into God's Word with others for deep discussion transforms one's life. I am quite pleased to honestly say I have been able to leave some of my weaknesses in the dust of my earthly journey, and I know Marv can say the same.

Meeting on Monday nights is routine for us. It's a habit. The kids know it. We plan on leftovers from Sunday so we can eat dinner and start our study at 6:15 p.m. But sometimes all that we plan for and take for granted can be interrupted. Routines change. Hearts ache. Life's journey takes a turn down a new path, and for one of us the end of that path is quite clear.

Recently prostrate cancer has reentered Marv's life. The photo above was taken on Father's Day this year, when it was yet unknown what was happening inside Marv's body. We met at Crossroads Coffeehouse after church that Sunday and shared a wonderful morning together. It's the last time the six of us (including Kyle and Abby) met at one of our favorite hang-outs.

Marv is still with us, praise God for that! Within the past 6 weeks the cancer has gone into his spine and likely his ribs. The pain, as you might imagine, is pretty intense with cancer in the bones. Marv lost his appetite, was despondent, and our bible studies were cancelled. Two weeks ago it seemed as though the end was much nearer than later.

Fortunately Marv's doctors recommended Hospice. They have visited with Marv and Carol and have offered their counsel and services. Hospice brings the "pain patch". Thank God for the inventor of the pain patch! It keeps Marv going, as "going" gets moving around a bit inside their small apartment home.

With a handle on the pain Marv is in the mood to eat again, although very little due to nausea from the medications he is on. Still, he has more energy, and his spirits are much, much better. It's been a tremendous change in two weeks time, and I have no doubt it is because of prayer. We have asked friends, and they have asked friends...Marv and Carol have family and friends raising them up in prayer, and we know that where two or more are gathered in prayer God hears our voices and sees our hearts.

This past Monday, October 12, we met for bible study after a two week hiatus. As I sat across the table from Marv, he put a piece of hard candy in his mouth - my heart leapt for joy at watching him do that. I figured if Marv is eating a piece of candy he is definitely feeling better. We had an amazing talk, and I look forward to sharing more about that, but as it is near midnight and morning comes all too soon, I will close this introductory post of "Mondays with Marv".

I am not sure why God has called me to renew this blog URL, perhaps only to help myself as journaling about life's struggles certainly offers healing. It is my hope, however, that those who are praying for Marv will check in here periodically to see how he is doing and get updates. Marv and Carol do not have Internet, so it seems there is no point in starting a Caring Bridge account for Marv, and I don't feel it is my place to do so as well. If you are reading this, please lift both Marv and Carol in prayer. May God continue to shine His light into their lives and brighten the darkness that cancer brings.

"Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." Mark 11:24

Monday, June 29, 2009

I have a new URL!!!

Welcome! If you are looking for my former blog all has been transferred to a new URL that is shorter and easier to remember - at least that is my hope!

Please click here to see what I have been creating, and read bits of what is going on in my life.