Monday, May 2, 2011

Long Suffering...

Please pray with us for our Toot
There is no "new" news, yet today after I listened to an update on our dear grandfather "Toot", I feel lead to share and ask you all to pray with our family. We have been praying for Toot as confusion and weakness seem to be his new norm. We are praying for our Mom as she faithfully cares for her father in his last days. We don't know how long this time will be (true of our own lives as well), but she is committed to walking through these last, hard days (though it's been over a year now already) with him. I'm so thankful for her loving commitment and sacrifice. I could write an entire other blog filled with all we've learned through her in this.

We find ourselves praying and processing (and, to be honest, crying) a lot about how Toot is no longer the strong rock he has always been. Though we hear that he has good times, we miss the weekly phone conversations he and Andy had, the silly songs he'd sing to Jimmy about daily life, trying to discern whether the story he was telling was true or just made up to trick us, and the solid advice he'd offer us. We can't even imagine how daily life caring for him must be. He's not the Toot we've always known. Yet he's here still, in this new Toot. And we often ask, "Why?" Why is Toot suffering? Why can't he go be with Jesus and Gam and Casey? If he is supposed to stay here longer, why can't he have his full memory? Is there really a good purpose for him in this state of confusion and weakness?

God has been a comfort to us as we cry out. He has answered us again and again in our doubts and hurt for Toot and our parents. Here is one scripture that has been incredibly encouraging to Andy and I as we process and grieve even now for what once was... and life feels a bit more fleeting to us:

"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

Though outwardly, we are seeing Toot "wasting away", we know that God promises that even in this, his "inner self is being renewed" in Christ. Even when his mind seems to trick him and body fails, God still is doing a work in his heart and soul to grow him and prepare him for Him... and to grow us and prepare us through Toot during this season. 

So we cling to this promise as true and start to look at all the ways we are all being renewed through this "wasting away". And there are so many:
- We've been blown away as we've seen Andy's parents leave everything and everyone to serve Toot with their entire lives. 
-We've heard that even in Toot's darkest times, he cries out to God and we're encouraged that God is his God and he will soon get to be with Him forever. 
-We, as the kids, are learning to "let go" of our parents in this season while they serve Toot and instead seek to serve them by praying for and encouraging them (as they typically do for us in our "hard" seasons). 
-Heaven is becoming more real and we look forward to the day we too will get to go there. 

There are so many more, but what I'm trying to say is this: As we seek Him in it, I'm encouraged and reminded in this hard time for our family that God really is good and His ways really are best. We trust Him alone, we cling to His Word, we are strengthened in Him, we value friends that draw us to Him and pray for/with us, and we look nowhere else but to Him. Will you pray with us for Toot and our parents as they endure this season?

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns." Psalm 46:1-5