September 5th, 2008

Well, we are on our way to Israel! Gregg and Cori initiated and planned a benefit dinner to raise funds for our whole family to go, except Brook and Avery. They are too little, still. So, they are staying with a couple different family members who love them at home. Jordan and Marci are already in Israel waiting for us. Anyway, the funds were raised and oh, my gosh! We almost can’t believe it. God and His people are so good to us and so loving. We feel blessed beyond belief.

The dinner had about 350 people in attendance. 375 tickets were sold. Chris and Gloria donated all the yummy food. My husband is very loved and I am so grateful. There were silent auction items to bid on – some were amazingly generous – trips, etc.. A car had also been donated and the couple who won it, friends of ours, didn’t need it and gave it to Chelsea. Wow!

The 3rd and 4th of Sept. Cliff and I went to the ALS clinic at Virginia Mason in Seattle. The doc there just reaffirmed what we already knew. We did have a sweet time together, though.

Now, on Friday morning, we are on the plane flying into Denver, then to Atlanta, then to Tel Aviv. To walk where Jesus walked. The thought now makes me feel weepy.

Lord Jesus, Your goodness to us is overwhelming. How many times I have thought about the many godly people who are now with you who did not have the opportunities to see the fruit of their labor or to be blessed in the way as we are? Thank You. I will not take this time for granted. Thank You, too, that we get to experience this with all our kids. Please sustain Cliff. And please allow this trip to be spiritually lifechanging for all of us. I love you.

Cliff’s condition: his tremors are throughout his body and his right hand and arm have almost no strength. It is going in his left, as well. He tires easily at the end of the day. So, we are committed to being sure that his energy bank is being used for what he loves and that he paces himself. No reserves so once the energy is gone – that’s it. I don’t think too, too much about the future – I know it will be difficult for both of us as well as our kids – but I also think it may some of the sweetest times in our life together.

July 21, 2008

It’s been 19 days since Cliff was diagnosed with ALS. A lot has happened in this short time. It feels like it’s been a couple of months. The first two weeks were pretty much just shock. On Monday, July 7, we went up to the Johnson’s cabin so that we, Cliff especially, could spend time with the Lord to hear from Him. As soon as we got there – in late afternoon – Cliff went immediately to worship and prayer. We prayed together, but mostly sought God alone. He was up much of that night and, in the morning, was sure that the Lord had told him to wait upon Him and that Cliff would find answers in the Word. So, we are waiting and trusting in God’s goodness and the truths of His Word.

While there, I felt that God spoke to me in my despair and said to “watch and see the mighty things that I will do”. I believe He also gave us two Psalms to hang onto at that time…Psalm 116 and Psalm 112. Two passages in these Psalms specifically spoke (and continue to speak) to me: “Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever. He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is secure, he will have no fear.” Psalm 116:6-8. The other was this: “I love the Lord, for He heard my cry for mercy. Because He has turned His ear to me I will call on Him as long as I live. The cords of death entangled me. The anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome by trouble and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord; ‘O Lord, save me!’ The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The Lord protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, He saved me. Be at rest once more, oh my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. For You, O Lord, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living.” Psalm 116:1-9.

Back track…when Cliff was initially diagnosed it was on a Thursday (July 3rd, 2008) – this is when we shared the news with our kids and then with the church. All of us were devastated. But through the shock and all the tears there was earnest prayer for Cliff that night at our church picnic and the prayer has continued and it has spread. We told the whole church the following Sunday and, again, they laid hands on Cliff and prayed for him. Many people have communicated that they believe God is going to bring healing.

Our church has surrounded us and our whole family with prayer. We believe many people who have not sought God in earnest are learning what that looks like as they pray for Cliff and us.

We found out that on Sunday, July 13th, another church in town spent much of their morning service praying for Cliff, our family and our church. We were told that 50 people at that other church committed to fast their evening meal and pray for us – wow! Most do not know us. This is the body of Christ!

July 14th. This was also the day we met together with the neurologist, Dr. Green. Cliff had an EMG and a nerve conductor test – which helped to further support the diagnosis of ALS. Cliff had his MRI on Tuesday, July 15th which came back negative – again supporting Dr. Green’s diagnosis.

Wednesday morning, July 16th, a woman from the ALS foundation called and really encouraged Cliff. Since that day God has given Cliff (and me) more peace, hope and joy. We know it is the power of prayer.

Our kids have committed to press on and serve the Lord in the midst of their own pain, We are grateful to God for all of them. It will be an ongoing process but we will all make it and our faith in Jesus will increase because of it.

Friday night, July 18th, a “pastor’s prayer meeting” was called by a close friend and another pastor in our area at the Christian Bookstore for Cliff and I. There were about 15-18 pastors, some of their wives, some people from the bookstore and half a dozen people from our church. It was packed in there. Cliff has prayed that God would find a way to bring the pastors together for 6 years.

One pastor said that in his 15 years in this town he had never seen the pastors come together like that.

Our prayer time was just life-giving. And healing for our hearts. It was powerful. WE believe there was prophetic prayer prayed over us. The pastor who initiated this time had a horseback riding accident a year ago and was given 3 days to live. Ha! God showed that He alone is sovereign…that pastor lived, and is doing great. He knows and proclaims that God healed him.

On top of all that, during VBS the kids brought offering, as always, for a special project. We thought it was for LOVE, Inc.. It turned out that it was really for our family. Sneaky kids ~ no one said one word. Good secret keepers. The kids and VBS workers raised $2050.00 to go towards our family taking a trip to Israel. Then, on Sunday, they took another offering on top of that and raised $3600.00 more. Overwhelmed is the only appropriate word for our feelings. Thank You, Jesus, for people who love us, desire to show it in a tangible way. Please multiply blessing back to them.

We have heard that many churches all over the valley have taken time in their services to pray for Cliff, our family and the church.

Sunday morning the firefighters at Station 5 had us come down (Cliff and I) and fixed us breakfast before church. One of the firefighters, (who is not a believer, yet) went the day before and got all organic stuff to make Cliff and I omelets and toast. Again, we thank God for the people who love us and for the influence Christ has allowed Cliff to have in their lives.

So, now, it’s Monday, July 21st. It is a very good day. Jordan is here and Marci came up on Saturday but had to go back for work. Jord and Cliff are golfing. Cliff is feeling good and will also play in the church league softball game tonight.

Jesus, I just want to say thank you, again, for helping us in this to see the beauty inside each other, confirming and even growing our love for each other and allowing us to see Your glory in our lives together. Thank you for my man of God who loves me, our kids, grandkids, his church, the lost and, mostly, You. Help us to follow his example as he follows You.

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