My wife wrote this . . . . .

So, my 2nd Mother’s Day started out like most every other day. Get the boy out of bed when his talking or crying wakes me up, eat breakfast, wake up Ed, check on email and facebook while the boy plays with toys, family devotion, put the boy down for nap, send hubby off to church and then just veg out for a little while. Everything was normal until the phone rang.

I struggled from my comfy position on the couch and hurried into the kitchen for the phone. It was a woman from University of Colorado Hospital in Denver calling for Ed. I knew what that meant, they might have a potential match for him. I did not get my hopes up as the last potential match was from a high-risk donor who had done a lifetime of heroin and I figured this could be something similar. She said it was important to talk to Ed soon, so I gave her the church’s number knowing Ed had about half an hour until Bible Class started and would have time to speak with her without interrupting his class or service. I hung up the phone and just sat there. Something felt different to me this time. Maybe it was in her voice, but no words she said gave any info away.
About ten to fifteen minutes later, Ed called, as I knew he would, to fill me in. They had a match. I’ve heard this before, so nothing shocking yet. Then he proceeded to expound on the information she told him. All 6 antigens match – this is astounding as a 4 of 6 antigen match is considered very good and still called a “perfect” match. Since we have known for a while that Ed would be hard to match well to start with, this is actually a miracle, which is what the transplant coordinator said. She said matches this good, just don’t happen very often. Then Ed told me that we needed to drive to Denver tonight. I couldn’t believe it. Here was the shock, the awe, and underneath it all, the unbelievable perfection of God’s timing.
I wish I knew how God did it – how he puts so many different plans in motion, so they can all work together at just the right time.
– We found and bought our van less than two weeks ago – do you know how much stuff you have to travel with when you don’t know how long you’ll be gone from home with a 1-year old and a baby on the way? We have plenty of room in the van for everything, including an extra carseat and pack ‘n play in case little baby #2 decides to show up early.
– This last week I took the infant carseat apart removing all the washable pieces and got them washed and dried and put back together. Then we placed a teddy bear in the seat, so that Ephraim could get used to having someone else in the back of the car with him and it would be ready when the baby arrives. Who knows if I would have had time to do this now?
– I quit my paper route at the end of April. I was supposed to turn in all my stuff – bag, collection book, etc on Monday (today I guess). I didn’t quite get everything done that I wanted, but I’m mostly there and a lady at church also has a paper route and is going to take care of everything else for me.
– Ed’s recovery time (assuming all goes well with no complications) is about 6 weeks. I’m due in 7 weeks, which means that he should be pretty much back to normal by the time I need him to take care of me. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
– The call came in on a Sunday morning. Ed was able to preach, share the news with our congregation and the congregation has time to find a substitute for the next few weeks and give them time to prepare as well.
– I washed diapers this morning – not a typical Sunday morning chore for me, but I don’t think God wanted stinky diapers hanging out in our house for a few weeks any more than I do!
It simply amazes me how God works and how he has his hand in the most mundane of tasks that we do. He is completely amazing!
So now, as I prepare for bed and the big day ahead, my thoughts have drifted to the kidney currently en route to us here. I don’t know who it is coming from, or where. I only know that while I am sitting here excited (and a little scared) at its arrival, someone is mourning its departure. I imagine a mother somewhere, who is not having the same, amazing Mother’s Day that I am and I mourn with her. I think of a husband or wife, of children whose lives changed so dramatically this day and I hope that I get the opportunity at some point in the future to thank them for the wonderful gift they have given to me.

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PALS

Thursday and Friday the family and I went up to Denver for about 24 hours for this quarter’s PALS meeting. (PALS stands for Post-Seminary Applied Learning and Support.)

For my (and other recent grads) first three years in the ministry you are encouraged to join PALS. In each gathering we have devotion time, group study (men have one and the women another), casuistry and worship together. Besides the time spent with men in similar situations (first time Calls) those who participate also get continuing education credits.
This time our meeting was about Personal Devotion. We talked about how, as ministers, we are hypocrites. We advise Bible study and devotional time from our congregation and judge them when they don’t and yet we don’t follow our own advice. Thank goodness that the Lord uses us sin-filled, flawed and lazy individuals as His instruments, because if it was totally up to us to share His Word and live the life of Christ, we’d be utter failures and no one would go to church.
One aspect of Personal Devotion involves the reading of Scripture. As Luther wrote, “It is not many books or much reading that makes men learned; but it is good things, however little of them, often read, that makes men learned in the Scriptures and makes them godly, too. Indeed the writings of all the holy fathers should be read only for a time, in order that through them we may be led to the Holy Scriptures. We are like men who study the signposts and never travel the road. The dear fathers wished, by their writings, to lead us to Scriptures, but we so use them as to lead away from Scriptures, though the Scriptures alone are our vineyard in which all ought to work and toil.”
Another aspect of Personal Devotion is prayer… not just for ourselves but also for our members. (Prayer and personal study of Scripture are intertwined… one involves the other… but that’s a post for another day.) Luther wrote, “When I was a monk I was unwilling to omit any prayers, but when I was busy with public lecturing and writing I often accumulated my appointed prayers for the whole week, or even two or three weeks. Then I would take a Saturday off, or shut myself in for as long as three days without food and drink, until I had said the prescribed prayers. This made my head split, and as a consequence I couldn’t close my eyes for five nights, lay sick unto death, and went out of my senses. Even after I had quickly recovered and I tried again to read, my head went ’round and ’round. Thus our Lord God drew me, as if by force, from the torment of prayers….”
I don’t know about you, but I feel like Luther. I do my prayers and devotions, then I get behind and for one or two days in the office I translate, study and pray for hours straight, go home, eat… and do it some more. Afterwards, my head is spinning, I can’t see straight anymore, I am completely physically, emotionally and even spiritually drained… and then I feel depressed because of how terrible of a sinner I truly am. Then I get ‘caught up’ to my ‘reading schedule’ and after a few weeks I fall behind again and repent for my lack of devotion.
What about you? Do you make time for devotion and study everyday or at least a couple times a week? What do you do when in your Personal Devotions?
*Note: Thanks to Dan in my PALS group for providing the quotes from Luther and facilitating our discussion.