It has been a couple of months since I published. This is because we have been going through some growing pains as a family. God ordained a series of events to shake us up a bit and to help us depend more on him.
It started off with me having a fever. I didn’t feel great, but I still was able to function. But a few days later, the boys and Abbiel caught a stomach bug, and we spent an entire day and late into the night rotating out bowls and cleaning up spill over. Next came the strep throat for the kids. Then ear infections on top of it. Lack of sleep settled in and anxiety began to build as sermons were being written But not to the standard I wanted. A few days later in the middle of the night I was unable to sleep, and I was just feeling miserable. (I think it was coffee too late at night and stress.) During the night and the next day, I had tingling in my arm. As a stubborn Warner, I kept it to myself until the third night of no sleep when I finally told my wife. She ,of course, does what I should have done a couple nights ago and calls the doctor. We were told to go into the after hours clinic to get checked out. After an EKG they were able to determine it was not my heart. Initially, they thought I strained my shoulder muscle and the swelling is pinching a nerve or a form of carpal tunnel. But they took some blood tests anyways and sent me home. The next morning I am called back in. The tests revealed a possibility of a blood clot.However, after spending all Saturday having several tests done, they are back to the original conclusion that the first doctor made.
But it doesn’t end there. A few days later, Audra begins to feel sick. And we know that when Momma feels sick the world falls apart. With all the sickness in the house and her pregnancy, she is just unable to hold up. She is diagnosed with strep in her eye and also had a cold or flu that caused her asthma to flare up.
Well, now that I have gotten my whining out of the way let me tell you how God used this all to help me grow. I am sure the rest of the family has been blessed in some way by all these hardships, but I can only speak for myself.
First, in seminary we are told that we need to take care of our bodies.By the nature of our calling, we need to spend good amounts of time sitting and studying God’s word. But God has made us physical and spiritual beings, and he even proclaimed it as good. The way we feel physically effects our spiritual and emotional lives. I had allowed physically bad habits to set in. Even though I am not extremely overweight, my lack of exercise and eating habits had affected me. When God allowed this into my life, it shook me up. It forced me to work physical exercise into my life as part of my daily routine.
Secondly, I needed to learn to depend on the Spirit to work in the peoples life even if I am unable to craft the perfect sermon. After the entire Saturday being spent in the Urgent Care center. I was unable to Make the corrections I had hoped to. I had to Depend that God would still use me even after I was unable to Complete and “perfect” the sermon. Therefore, God’s grace shown all the more, “so that faith might not rest in the wisdom of Men but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:5).
Finally, I found myself concerned about my reputation. I kept things hidden as best I could because I didn’t want people to think, “Wow they really can’t handle it.” Dr. Beach (a professor at Mid-America) describes pride in this way, “Pride is a sin that covers the devils tracks in our lives because it blinds to our need for divine mercy…Pride camouflages ones shortcomings with an overblown portrait of ones strengths.” It is hard for me to show that I need divine mercy, that I am needy sinner. I will need the help of the community of believers from time to time. I should not be ashamed of that. I can ask for prayers in difficult times.
So I ask that all of you keep our family in mind as we learn and grow spiritually in ministry life. Pray that we can get our day to day tasks done and be patient with one another. Pray that as I struggle writing sermons that God would send his Spirit to me to help me to have clarity of what he is saying and clarity of what the congregation needs to hear and be challenged on.
Thank you to those who supported us by the way of meals, encouragement, cards and prayers during our time here.