Carmen update: Carmen is looking and sounding really good! Thank you for all of your prayers. I am so hopeful that she will continue to get better and soon be back to her normal. Dave still sounds really congested and I am thinking of strapping Carmen’s Vest on him and jiggling him up too! Big thanks to Karen and Tammy for meals yesterday and today.

Dave made me read The Barbarian Way by Erwin McManus. Well, really he left multiple copies around the house and then when I told him I was going to give up TV for 3 weeks (our church did the 21 day Daniel fast and, since I was already on a diet, I decided to give up TV), he handed The Barbarian Way to me and said, “Read this!!!” So, while I rode my exercise bike, I read this book.

One section stood out to me. “If even He (Jesus) found Himself sweating blood at Gethsemane, then we should be certain we will stand in crisis moments where all we can do after asking for relief is declare, ‘Not my will, but Yours.’ In those moments you may find very few who stand by you to provide you comfort and strength, and strangely enough, you may find far too many trying to reason with you that God would never require so much of anyone.”

I’ve thought to myself a few times, “What if we have or adopt another child and he/she is terminally ill? Surely God wouldn’t allow this to happen again! I’ve dealt with enough pain. I have accepted that we are going to lose Carmen but from now on, I want smooth sailing. No sickness, no death, no tragedies, no pain!!!!” But, I know that is not how this life works, and we often have to give up far more than is “fair.”

I have a feeling that when Jesus died on the cross, His disciples were saying, “This is not fair! Look at all the people He healed! He did not deserve this!” Jesus’ disciples couldn’t see the big picture, just like I cannot see the big picture of my own life.

Dave and I have friends who lost all four of their children. And I do wonder why God would require so much of anyone. They experienced the valley of the shadow of death. But, I look at this couple and see pure joy. And when I asked them how they said, “We tried bitter and chose being better over being bitter.”

Erwin McManus calls us to return to untamed faith, the barbarian way. Faith that makes no sense. Faith that isn’t pretty or easy or safe.

I like pretty and easy and safe.

The past couple of years with Carmen haven’t been easy or safe.  But somehow they have been far more fullfilling than I ever dreamed.