July 31, 2012

My Help Meet

It has been about one and a half years now since we began to realize that something was wrong with my neurological system. The process of testing eliminated everything except ALS. Lena worked for a neurologist, so we were able to get a lot of testing done quickly by a team of experts who were Lena's colleagues. Since that day, both of our lives have changed drastically, step by step and day by day. 

When we married, almost 36 years ago, we promised to love each other in sickness and in health, through the good times or the bad, until death would part us. It is becoming quite rare today to see this promise being kept in the time we are now living. Sickness, tragedies and disappointments often strain a marriage to the breaking point, as we can witness all around us today. Commitment is a decision we make, and it requires self - denial, sacrifices and there are no escape clauses. 

Our journey together with ALS has not been easy for us, and not without struggles and bumps in the road. We are sinners at best, and we remain sinners to our last breath. That is where God's grace is needed to apologize, forgive each other, and then to carry on. It is so wonderful that we receive instruction in these things from the Word of God, and to be supported by family and fellow believers. 
Thank - you Lena, for standing by me day by day, hour by hour. Thank - you Lord Jesus, for providing such a wonderful help meet for me.


July 23, 2012

Jesus I Come

From Sarah Beric: A few weeks ago I received this email from a young woman in our church. I was touched that she took the time to type out the words, and to send off such a kind and thoughtful email. I have asked her permission to share part of the email with you here.

Jesus I Come:
Out of my bondage, sorrow and night, Jesus I come, Jesus I come.
Into Thy freedom, gladness and light, Jesus I come to Thee.
Out of my sickness, into Thy health ;
Out of my want, and into Thy wealth ;
Out of my sin and into Thy self ; Jesus I come to Thee.

Out of my shameful failure and loss, Jesus I come, Jesus I come.
Into Thy glorious gain of Thy cross, Jesus I come to Thee.
Out of earth's sorrows, into Thy balm ;
Out of life's storm and into they calm ;
Out of distress to jubilant psalm , Jesus I come to Thee.

Out of the fear and death of the tomb, Jesus I come, Jesus I come.
Into the joy and light of Thy home, Jesus I come to Thee.
Out of the depths of ruin untold ;
Into the peace of Thy sheltering fold ;
Ever Thy glorious face to behold ! Jesus I come to Thee !

- W.T. Sleeper.

This song was just so comforting for us, knowing that some day, your dad wont have to suffer any more, and he will leave his sickness behind and enter into the health of our loving Jesus! All this pain is temporary! Some day he will be entering into the joy and light of Jesus' throne, and he wont have to worry about how he is going to get out of bed, or how he is going to eat that sandwich, or how he is going to take his next breath ! He will be resting in the Peace of Jesus' sheltering fold! Really though, this is something we can all look forward to! Leaving earth's sorrows and fear of death and getting out of the depths of ruin and just entering into Jesus Himself!

July 9, 2012

The Precious Promises of the Bible - J.C.Ryle

How precious are the promises which the Bible contains for the use of those who love God! There is hardly any possible emergency or condition for which it does not have a word of hope and encouragement. And it tells people that God loves to be put in remembrance of these promises, and that if He has said He will do something, His promise will certainly be fulfilled. How blessed are the hopes which the Bible holds out to the believer in Christ Jesus! Peace in the hour of death—rest and happiness on the other side of the grave—a glorious body in the morning of the resurrection—a full and triumphant acquittal in the day of judgment—an everlasting reward in the kingdom of Christ—a joyful meeting with the Lord’s people in the day of gathering together—these, these are the future prospects of every true Christian. They are all written in the book—in the book which is all true. - J.C. Ryle

July 7, 2012

Condition Update

I want to give you an update on how we are doing on our journey, especially for those of you who we don't see too often, and who live far away.

We are grateful for the cards, emails, calls and visits we receive on a regular basis. Your prayers and thoughts are a great encouragement to us. Our church has initiated a home cooked meals on wheels service for us for as long as we need it. We receive much love and care from our family, the
church and school community. We often wonder how people ever manage through trials without God and without fellow believers walking alongside.

My ability to speak is basically gone now. Even Lena is having trouble understanding my mumbling. I am also having more difficulty in breathing, especially on a full stomach, since I use stomach muscles to breathe. I use
a bipap machine at night now and sometimes during naps to help in breathing. It took me a while to get used to it, but I know that I need to use it now.

I can still eat almost everything by mouth, but I am very slow because chewing and swallowing is difficult for me. Lena has to feed me, because I can't use my hands anymore. I use a straw for all my drinking, yes even for coffee. The PEG tube is working well for me, and I use it every other day or
so, just to keep it open.

Transferring from lazyboy, to wheelchair, to commode, to the bed is getting very risky using my legs, so we are beginning to use a sling and hoyer lift. It is also getting hard on Lena's back to do all that heavy lifting, even though I lost 30 lbs. My hands are getting so weak that I am having trouble controlling my computer mouse and wheelchair joystick.

My biggest problem is that I have great difficulty sleeping and I am very restless through the night. I have a sleeping pill, but it is not helping that much. I might sleep a total of two hours per night for several months now. This is keeping Lena from getting her rest, so we have begun to schedule family members taking turns for the nights. Please pray that I may sleep at night.

Despite all my physical problems, I must confess that God has been faithful. I have His Word and the many comforting promises to lean on. I may trust His covenant faithfulness to never let me go. His providences are sufficient to my needs. His people are a daily encouragement to me. I pray for daily
submission to His way in my life, and that I might not dishonour His name in any way. Oh for a rich measure of the Holy Spirit to apply the words and works of Christ to my heart.