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Common Slaves

Common Men; Uncommon Master

Alice: Puddle Boots

Now, I further saw, that betwixt them and the gate [of the Celestial City] was a river, but there was no bridge to go over: the river was very deep. 

…The Pilgrims then, especially Christian, began to despond in their minds, and looked this way and that, but no way could be found by them by which they might escape the river. Then they asked the men if the waters were all of a depth. They said: No; yet they could not help them in that case; for, said they, you shall find it deeper or shallower as you believe in the King of the place.

They then addressed themselves to the water and, entering, Christian began to sink, and crying out to his good friend Hopeful, he said, I sink in deep waters; the billows go over my head, all his waves go over me!

Then said the other, Be of good cheer, my brother, I feel the bottom, and it is good.

– Pilgrim’s Progress Continue reading “Alice: Puddle Boots”

Alice: Making Tracks

The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
Lamentations 3:25-26

The other day the family was outside playing around in the snow – something we don’t do often enough – and as Alice was traipsing about, I looked at her little footprints and thought, “Making tracks. That’s what so much of life on this earth is. Leaving an impression everywhere we go, whatever we do, so that when we’re gone, our tracks remain.” Continue reading “Alice: Making Tracks”

Conference: God and the Christian Mind

We want to make you aware of a tremendous opportunity available to all of us here in Rural Northern and Central Minnesota:

On Saturday afternoon and evening, April 21, Pastor Eric Anderson and Lifespring Church in Crosby are hosting a conference on God and The Christian Mind: The Biblical way to think, discern and walk in this present world. Drs. Paul Helseth and Ardel Canaday from Northwestern University in Roseville, MN will be presenting. For more information, including schedule and registration (it’s free!), see the conference flyer.

This conference is open and applicable to all, but may be of particular interest and benefit to those of high school and college ages. This would be a great and dare we say especially relevant conference to invite youth and young adult groups.

Alice: Doing Nothing

“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
Psalm 46:10-11

A good mother might say, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” If I could tweak that for my own purposes to explain a 6 week lapse in recording our journey, “If you can’t write anything interesting, don’t write at all.”

I could see myself morphing into Captain Hook – desperately trying to stop the incessant march of time. If only clock-smashing were less symbolic and more effective! It’s almost sickening sometimes to think we’re already 4 months post-diagnosis and 2 months out of radiation. The heaviest burden we bear is the stewardship of days that seem so much more valuable than they did before. Continue reading “Alice: Doing Nothing”

Alice: Post-Radiation MRI

You formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
– from Ps. 139

So today we went to see the monster… and there was no monster to see.  Continue reading “Alice: Post-Radiation MRI”

Alice: Life Beyond Radiation

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us.
Psalm 62:5-8

Three weeks since the last trip to Children’s Hospital for radiation, two and a half months since diagnosis. Time is marching on, and sometimes it seems to be flying by at a cruelly rapid pace. Continue reading “Alice: Life Beyond Radiation”

Alice: Radiation Complete, Giving Thanks

…the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good… Romans 8:26-28

On the eve of this Thanksgiving, reflecting once again on that mental list of good things to be thankful for, perhaps it is best to say that this year we give thanks in faith, trusting the Lord we love that all things, especially the bad things, will indeed work together for good.

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We arrived at the last day of radiation to find the entire sedation unit staff wearing panda masks in honor of Alice. They even had a couple extra for us. Alice’s room, the hallways to the radiation room, and the radiation room itself were littered with SpongeBob signs for her. We can’t say enough about how amazing the medical staff all were. To the last day, Alice never once complained about having to go “to the Doctor’s house.”

I’m tempted to give thanks for the things we like and hold them up against the things we don’t like as little spots of peace in the middle of the storm. Continue reading “Alice: Radiation Complete, Giving Thanks”

Alice: Radiation, Week 5

If God is for us, who can be against us?
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all,
how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
Romans 8:31-32

We’re still figuring out what “God is for us” and “graciously give us all things” means and doesn’t mean. Pretty clearly it doesn’t mean God does what we want when we want it. But we’re learning that it does mean that in the midst of the turmoil of soul, He gradually helps us know He inflicts no pain vindictively, that His love really does never fail, and that we can trust Him for the future, even if the future becomes that which we fear rather than what we hope.

Twenty five trips complete. The last full week of radiation is behind us. Two more trips next week, and we’re done. I’m unsure how I feel about it just yet. Continue reading “Alice: Radiation, Week 5”

Alice: Radiation, Week 4

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Twenty down. To date, we’ve covered about 2,700 miles going back and forth, held Alice twenty times as she takes that big deep breath that means she just fell asleep, picked her up and handed her over to the radiation therapy guys, kissed her face as she wakes up, peeled off the three EKG stickers she hates so much, and eaten who knows how many bowls of Cheerios and a couple bottles of honey. We’ve made it through SpongeBob season 3, and are well into season 4.

Seven trips to go. Almost there. Continue reading “Alice: Radiation, Week 4”

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