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Common Slaves

Common Men; Uncommon Master

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joe reed

“Lord, give the doctors wisdom,” we instinctively plead in our desperation.

The wise doctors don’t give us the answers we wanted.

We immediately cry out, “Lord, make the doctors fools!”

Weird.

-jr

Alice: Prognosis

I left our saga in “Limbo Land,” the land of unknown between initial diagnosis and confirmation/prognosis. I’ll pick it up there and catch you up…

Last Monday or Tuesday morning, Alice woke up particularly irritable and ornery. I wrapped her up in a blanket, then in my arms, and as we laid on the couch, I figured I’d try to make up a story to tell her. Lewis did that with Narnia, so how hard can it really be?

I didn’t get far, but managed to come up with a frog she named “Ribbit” who went fishing. “Dad, I wanna go fishing.” Continue reading “Alice: Prognosis”

Alice: Thoughts From Limbo-land

At this point, we don’t have much more to say as far as Alice’s condition. Writing helps sort out the scattered thoughts of a beleaguered mind, so what follows is more therapy than journalism.

We’re home, awaiting the pathology results and then the process of working through treatment options. More thoughts on that a little later. I call it “limbo-land” because we’re sort of in our old “normal,” wondering what the new “normal” will be like when treatment starts. In the meantime, we talked with her doctor and reduced her steroids to half of what they were, and that’s having some favorable results.

Alice effortlessly ate 4 boiled eggs for lunch today. To say she’s been really hungry is like saying Spurgeon was an ok preacher. She’s been voracious. Hopefully the reduced steroids help curb some of that. Our biggest challenge is trying to help her not eat constantly, especially when everything in us wants to dote on her every wish. Continue reading “Alice: Thoughts From Limbo-land”

Alice: Biopsy Day

First, Shelly and I have been absolutely overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support. As I write that, it sounds so cliche, so let me try again. The bride of Christ, often belittled and maligned for her dysfunction, has dazzled us with her tenderness, compassion, and affection. Jesus doesn’t marry down, and although His work with His bride isn’t done yet, we’ve been privileged to see something of what He sees in her, and I have to tell you, it’s awesome.

Let me catch you up… Monday was Alice’s birthday. What a bittersweet day that was. I always take the kids for breakfast on their birthday. Rock Creek Cafe. I barely managed to hold it together as I wondered if this would be the last one I’d ever have with Alice. I gave her all my bacon when she wasn’t looking. She held one up, “Want one Dad?” That’s Alice. She just knows how to do it. And she can eat pancakes, my word. A plate-sized, 1/2″ thick pancake, and she ate most of it, with three strips of bacon and a cup of apple juice. That’s my girl! Ate more than me that morning, that’s for sure. I gagged down a couple eggs and some toast. Continue reading “Alice: Biopsy Day”

Alice

note: Since I (Joe) am not on social media, but we have many friends with whom our only contact is through the digital pipeline, I’m going to use this site as a platform to share my heart and thoughts about our little Alice. Please know that we’d love to hear from you, but for reasons our own, leave your comments here on the blog instead of Shelly’s Facebook, and we’d greatly appreciate it.

In various conversations around the dinner table over the last couple of months, my wife and I occasionally discussed the fact that it seemed the “light” had gone out of our little girl’s eyes. This was significant, since Alice’s full-featured smile could infamously light up a room of any size. She has seasonal allergy issues, so we chalked it up to that, and did the whole Zyrtek Allegra Claritin thing.

Then she seemed a bit more unstable from time to time. Shaky might be a better word. Not much, just a little. But still our happy little girl (and she still is, by God’s grace!). Last Tuesday I came home, and she met me at the door, which she often did, and as we talked together, I noticed her eyes weren’t quite tracking with each other. Not crossed, and not really a lazy eye, just not quite in alignment. Continue reading “Alice”

Jesus, See My Bride!

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. – Paul

One of the enduring marks of the image of God found in people is the joy of creating beauty. When God created the world, He made a beautiful creation. The story of redemption is the transformation of that which had been uglified (to borrow a term from Narnia) into something gloriously lovely.

Even children love creating beauty. The first time those chubby hands awkardly grasp a crayon and scribble all over a page, they look up and say, “Look what I made!” and those innocent eyes are begging for your approval – “Oh honey, it’s beautiful! You’re an amazing artist!” Continue reading “Jesus, See My Bride!”

The Curious Case of Righteous Lot

 

as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard”
– 2Peter 2:8

Dare to be a Daniel. Like young David, slay your Goliaths. Endure hardship with the patience of Job. Imitate Paul, as he imitates Jesus. These are but a smattering of biblical role models from which we can learn much, as we seek to emulate their triumphs against evils within and without. There are the negative role models too: Saul, the poster child of a promising beginning, coming to a tragic end by means of impatience, jealousy, and a mere partial obedience to God. Broken-necked Eli: the father who didn’t love his sons enough to “restrain them.” Solomon, whose multiplied wives caused his heart to wander. Samson, a man of brute strength which knew no limits, yet utterly incapable of muscling his own brute passions into any sort of submission.

Then there’s Lot. He’s the picture of compromise. He’s the one who selfishly chose the better land for himself, despite (because of?) the close proximity to Sodom. Then he pitched his tent facing the city. Next he moved into town. Finally, he sat at the gates, quite at home in this figuratively (but soon to be literally!) “hell-hole.” Continue reading “The Curious Case of Righteous Lot”

What’s up with the “Silly, Weak Women”?

For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. – 2Tim. 3:6-7

Paul must have hated women. Either that, or he was so entrenched in the unenlightened, oppressive, chauvinistic culture of the day he can be entirely disregarded as an irrelevant misogynist. Or so the ultra-tolerant and hyper-diverse entirely non-judgmental thinking of our era might say.

Why did he have to pick on the ladies, though? “Weak women weighed down with sins” isn’t very loving, especially coming from the guy who commanded women to keep silent in the church, submit to their husbands, and cover their heads. The translators in the employ of King James had the audacity to render this text “silly women,” so no extra points for flattery there.

So what’s the deal with these silly, weak, or gullible (NKJV) women? Continue reading “What’s up with the “Silly, Weak Women”?”

Choosing Better, pt.7: It is Better to Attend a Funeral than a Party

It is better to go to a house of mourning
Than to go to a house of feasting,
Because that is the end of every man,
And the living takes it to heart.
Ecclesiastes 7:2 

Here is a seemingly morbid portion of Scripture, and hardly a common piece of advice: Better to go to a funeral than a party.

My Dad, who is far more gifted with acronyms and alliteration than I could ever be, summarizes the book of Ecclesiastes this way: ITIA –“I Tried It All.”

It’s good to read books, because in a matter of hours or a few days you can absorb material it took the author perhaps years to learn. It’s good to talk to elderly people, because if you’re willing to listen and learn, in a matter of a few conversations you can take graduate level courses from the school of their hard knocks and keep the bumps off your own head. Continue reading “Choosing Better, pt.7: It is Better to Attend a Funeral than a Party”

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