2013 Year in Review

Submitted by Melissa on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 - 12:21

As 2013 comes to a close, I reflect on all the ways God has blessed our family this past year. He has worked in ways we couldn’t have before imagined. Our biggest blessing was the healthy birth of little Andrew in July! This little guy has brought great joy into our lives and is a testimony of God’s grace to us.

Matthew is six and all boy. He loves reading and playing outside. You could probably guess his response on the homework paper today to the question “My favorite part of school is….”--yes, it was recess.

Joanna turned 5 in October and loves to read and sing. She may not let on to this if you are near her, but she adores her little brother and acts like quite the mommy to him.

Dan is keeping pretty busy with Arborworks, especially with the award of a huge municipal contract that has kept things hopping around here! He loves hunting, although opportunities for that this year have been slim.

My health has been good as far as the cancer goes, and recent blood work showed all the cancer markers to be in the normal range! We are praising the Lord for this! I found a framed print of the words “Fear not tomorrow, God is already there.” What a great reminder each day!

We rejoice in Jesus Christ, God’s Son, who came into this world so that we can have life in Him. Do you know Him as your personal Savior? Do you have a relationship with Him? This is absolutely the most important part of life. Our time on earth is short. In the New Testament book of John, the Bible tells us that Jesus “came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God.” If you are not sure of your eternal destiny, would you not receive His free gift this Christmas? What better time to turn your life over to Him?!

May God bless you richly this coming year and keep your eyes focused on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

Four Years

Submitted by Melissa on Saturday, August 30, 2014 - 21:15

fam pic

We captured this memory on my phone after a wedding today, and to me it's more than "just" a family picture. It serves as a visual reminder of God's grace because it was four years ago today, on August 30, 2010, that I heard the news that would change my life in so many ways. The "C" word--and all that accompanies it--was definitely not in my agenda. The new set of vocabulary I would learn, the extensive doctor visits, surgeries, tests, blood draws, treatments, weakness, grace, encouragement from many, questions, hospitals, uncertainty, healing, help, blessings, lessons to learn--these have all been a part of the journey.

Tonight I sat with Matthew and Joanna and reminded them of the August 30th when they were 3 and 1 (almost 2) years old. No doubt their lives have been affected in ways beyond what Dan and I have noticed. One of the most precious memories I have of Matthew during my journey occurred the evening after my first chemo treatment at Northwestern. He could tell how weak and sick I was, and he just didn't know how to help. He sweetly came over to where I was sitting, kneeled down next to me, and with much concern in his little voice, prayed that God would help me feel better. It was one of the sweetest prayers I've ever heard! And then there was the time I had to leave Matthew and Joanna (again) at Grandma's house, and I was bit emotional about it. Joanna found a kleenex and, with big eyes, helped wipe away the tears. Now there's also Andrew, our "little" miracle who just turned 1 last month. He's a constant picture to me of God's amazing power and love.

Last week I had the privilege of meeting a friend of our neighbor. As she shared with me a little of her journey which included both spinal bifida and a malignant tumor, I was touched with her kind spirit despite the challenges she's faced. We talked about the comforting truth God gives us in Jeremiah 29:11 "I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." An expected end: "a future and a hope." 

Whatever path we find ourselves on, we can rest, assured that God not only thinks of us but has plans that include a future and a hope! I love the words to this hymn by Horatius Bonar "Thy Way, Not Mine, O Lord." 

Thy way, not mine, O Lord, However dark it be;

Lead me by Thine own hand, Choose out the path for me.

Smooth let it be or rough, It will be still the best;

Winding or straight, it leads Right onward to Thy rest.

I dare not choose my lot; I would not if I might:

Choose Thou for me, my God, So I shall walk aright.

Take Thou my cup, and it With joy or sorrow fill,

As best to Thee may seem; Choose Thou my good and ill. 

Choose Thou for me my friends, My sickness or my health;

Choose Thou my cares for me My poverty or wealth.

The kingdom that I seek is Thine: so let the way

That leads to it be Thine, Else I must surely stray.

Not mine, not mine the choice In things both great or small;

Be Thou my Guide, my Strength, My Wisdom, and my All.

Fear Not Tomorrow

Submitted by Melissa on Saturday, February 6, 2016 - 22:00

Fear not tomorrow

"What is your biggest fear?" my husband asked one night. I was taken off guard because I don't consider myself a fearful person. But his question forced me to think. 

My audible answer was fearing that my children and family wouldn't love God with all their hearts. And while that answer was truthful, I don't think that was exactly what he was getting at. So in the following weeks, I did a little more thinking about what kind of fears might be lurking in my heart.

One day when I ran into Kirkland's, I found a real keeper on clearance. Sitting there with my name on it (well, almost) was a wall hanging that read, "Fear not tomorrow...God is already there." I'ts been on our living room wall for a few years now; so whenever I sit in my favorite chair, my eyes land on it. 

Something about a cancer diagnosis followed by seeming recovery brings great hope to the soul. And sometimes, it brings a desire to bury the past as deeply as possible so as to forget everything that ever happened. 

But then stark reminders glare at me. Someone I love is diagnosed with cancer. A friend's cancer returns. My own oncologist appointment is scheduled. The MRI is tomorrow.

One of my greatest fears? The nasty cancer that once showed its ugly head will return again, with a vengeance. Do I think about it every day? Probably not. Is it ever far from my mind? Certainly not.

This past Wednesday, I was fearing "tomorrow"--the back-to-back tests scheduled for the next afternoon. I really was trying to trust. And I was desperately asking God for His help to be calm and restful. 

In God's providence, the first Scripture I read Thursday morning was "Do not be anxious about anything..." from Philippians 4:6-7. (Apparently that verse encouraged me in January of 2011 as well.)

God's Word is powerful and speaks to my soul. This reminder was just what I needed: Don't be anxious. Instead, purposefully give that anxiety to God, with a spirit of thankfulness, and His peace will guard my heart and mind. I may not be fully aware of my greatest fear, but I know this: whatever I am fearing right now needs to be given to God. He will take it and replace that fear with His peace. Sounds like a great exchange to me! 


Below are the lyrics to the song that runs through my head, thanks to that reminder on my wall. I trust they will lift your eyes to the Source of Peace.


"Fear Not Tomorrow"
Carolyn Adkins


In this age of uncertainty, Questions come to my mind--
What is waiting ahead for me And the rest of mankind.

Fear not tomorrow; God is already there.
 He's charting the course you'll take; He sees each hidden stair.
 He's waiting to guide you Through each burden and care.
 Fear not tomorrow; God is already there.

Are you troubled o'er things to come? Is your future unsure?
Are you dreading the coming dawn A long day to endure?

Fear not tomorrow; God is already there.
 He's charting the course you'll take; He sees each hidden stair.
 He's waiting to guide you, through each burden and care.
 Fear not tomorrow; God is already there.

Many things about tomorrow I don't seem to understand;
Oh, but I know Who holds tomorrow, and I know Who holds my hand.
Fear not tomorrow; God is already there.

Bible Study for Children on Fighting

Submitted by Melissa on Thursday, June 30, 2016 - 06:48

If you're anything like me, you don't enjoy hearing your children fight and argue. This morning I read James 4:1 and decided to write a brief Bible study for my children to do on this topic. This is not extensive by any means but something that I thought they could do in their morning devotions. Maybe you can use it in your home too!

Bible Study on Fighting (designed for children ages 7-12).