Posts Tagged With: hope

Mysteries, emotional roller coasters and flickers of hope Pt. 1

Allow me to share a journey that our family has and is still travelling on at this time. A few of my friends are going through similar experiences and my heart and prayers go out to them as they work through their frustrations and emotions and faith during this time.

I should have written this last week or even three days ago, when my report would be a glowing one of a trial near past and the lessons I have learnt. I was reminded last night that we are not out of the woods yet.

For those of you who don’t know, our eldest son Elijah has been sick since at least the start of the year. He has had well days, well weeks even, but the cycle was getting smaller and he was getting sicker with every bout. At first we thought that he just had a bad run with some viruses as we live in a place where some pretty nasty viruses present.

But when they kept coming and the fatigue was not lifting in between the times of sickness, and he lost his bubbly, cheeky self saying things to his brothers like “believe me you don’t want to be 10, it’s just too tough”, we just knew we had to do something. So back in May we took Elijah to the doctors and explained what was going on. They ordered blood tests and it came back positive for Ross River Virus. At least, we thought, now we have an answer and he should improve over time.

But that was not to be the case. For a week after the test, after much prayer, Elijah felt the best he had in a long time. He even commented “Mum, I think Jesus has healed me”. And that is what appeared to have happened.

Until one night, he complained of a tummy ache and went to bed to the most violent vomiting we had seen yet. He was up for half the night and then ended up lying on the couch and fell asleep. He slept through the entire next day. Even with the other boys yelling and playing as normal in the house. I tried to rouse him a few times to get some fluids in him, but he didn’t know where he was and who I was. He couldn’t handle light. He had a temp. I was glad he was sleeping as I knew he needed it, but I was worried he was confused when he woke.

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In Alice Springs hospital

Then in the evening a rash came out first on his face and then on the whole right side of his body. We had been holding off taking him to the hospital, as they usually send us home and say if they get worse bring them back blahblahblah… But once the rash came Ben carried him (still sleeping) to the car and took him to the hospital.

And there Elijah stayed for 5 days. His eye became bright red, and he couldn’t handle any light. He looked grey and couldn’t walk. They thought at first it was maybe meningitis, but they ruled that out. Then the tests began. Multiple blood tests, specimen tests and a small skin biopsy. But nothing was showing up. We had so many people praying for us and our church family came and visited. Was a wonderful time for seeing the body at work, even if it was a terrible time in other ways.

I kept expecting to call the virus card, as doctors do when there is no answer. But the doctors were amazing and thorough and for once in my life took me seriously. He got well enough to go home even though he still had a high temp and his eye was no better the rest of the symptoms had subsided. He had to wear an eye patch and his eye was not getting better, so when we took him back for his follow-up check he was seen by an eye doctor and diagnosed with uveitis. This is a common occurrence in people with an auto-immune disease which is where the doctors were heading with their testing.

The doctors here had exhausted what they could do from here in Alice so we were sent to Adelaide to the Women’s and Children’s Hospital. There Elijah went through a series of tests and they ruled out so many things that had been suggested. After 10 days in hospital there, we had come up with no answers . However he had begun to gain weight again, which is great as he had lost about 8kgs since the start of the year. We could feel the prayers of our brothers and sisters in Christ and were so well supported with many visiting to sit, pray and chat (not to mention bring chocolate and lollies- have I said thank you ūüôā ).

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The barium swallow test

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Goolwa Beach

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Day leave from the hospital

2014-07-20 06.23.21

When his brothers arrived

 

One family in particular, who have so may of their own struggles they are facing, were so beautiful in the way they ministered sacrificial love to us. They opened their home to the boys and Ben who had driven down from Alice so they could stay near us in the hospital. The family¬†also¬†offered for us to stay a few days down at their holiday home before we returned. This was a blessing and so much needed. It was the middle of winter, but we all went in the beach. What a healing place it is. I miss the beach so much even though I love our desert home. We had some lovely time with Ben’s mum and grandma as well. Which I know the boys will treasure forever. We always try to make the best out of a bad situation . We managed to have some great laughs and made some awesome memories.20140729_092655

Our ride home. .Elijah was so excited to finally be going home

Our ride home. .Elijah was so excited to finally be going home

We returned to Alice no wiser than we left, and hopeful and prayerful, that maybe he would just begin to improve as he had extended rest. He appeared so well, but that was because he was able to rest all day.

Since we have been back home, he has gained 2kgs and has had more energy than before. He had been generally well, though still feeling nauseous, and fatigued but not enough to slow him down as before.Until last night when Elijah once again began vomiting and high temp and today can’t leave the couch. He is definitely not as bad as he was before which is a plus but it is wearing to know that the battle isn’t over.

We are grateful it is not some of the diseases that the symptoms were pointing to and we have seen the hand of God in this time, but it has definitely been a struggle and has made it harder to have the same energy for the ministry we are a part of here.

We thank you for all who have, and will, pray as we continue down this journey. It continues to be a mystery. Our hope is in our God who is faithful and carries us through every circumstance. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases!

Elijah’s eye is fully recovered and the eye doctor said yesterday that it has no scarring and so good that you can not even see that he had ever had it. We are so blessed to live in Australia. We have an amazing health system.

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Thank you

This is just a quick post to say THANK YOU to all who pray for our family, who have written or called ‘just because’, and to the family who have given to us financially even when it is not flowing in abundance for you…Bless you in your sacrifice. I am grateful and my words cannot express how much I appreciate your generosity. I will keep you anonymous only because I know that is the way you would have it… but it does mention in the Bible that you will be rewarded in eternity for the generosity you have bestowed in this life.

So, thanks.

It is wonderful to be a part of the body of Christ, for we know we are never alone.

Love and God’s blessings to all of you and your families.

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God’s ways are higher

The grief we witness here on a regular basis is at times overwhelming, but on the other hand,¬†having the people of Central Australia as a part of our lives, and the way we have been embraced, and the stories we have been told, which we otherwise would never have known have far outweighed the sorrow. Our opportunities to share of God’s love with their families are wonderful,¬†but¬†when people share with us their journey of faith and their wisdom we are bestowed treasures.

What I wouldn’t give to see these wonderful ladies and men healed so they could return to their families and their homes, and we pray and believe for that to happen.¬†But God’s ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts.

I hear a lot about the latest catch cry ‘on earth as in heaven’ and what people think that means like bringing our idea of perfection here and all people are healed etc… well I think it is possibly deeper than that. Healings are great yes, prosperity is comfortable yes… but gold comes through the fire and is refined… and is lasting… perhaps on earth as it is in heaven is more about our will bending to¬†His, our ambitions being set¬†aside¬†for His, and our ways, not taking¬†precedence¬†of His…Things will not be perfect this side of heaven and God is not interested in us taking glory for ourselves and becoming a big name, he is interested in matters of the heart… persecution came on the early church because they needed to spread the word… perhaps sometimes our earthly suffering is sometimes the same…God giving opportunity for us to expand our reach…I know I would maybe have never met these people if they were not here in town… and I see that even in the midst of sickness and suffering, that they are making an impact on the lives of others… on my life… by being here… I am by no means saying that God is a sadistic god who uses our suffering for his gain‚Ķ I‚Äôm just thinking on how God utilises these things in our lives to bring about his purposes…all this to say… I am thankful for my richer life and the different perspectives I am seeing because of the life of the people I have met…

I do get glimpses of ‘on earth as it is in heaven’ but not usually how one would expect: it’s by looking in people’s eyes and hearing their heartbeat.alice-springs-pictures-3

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The word of their testimony

The team from Stirling Source Church in South Australia arrived on our doorstep last Saturday afternoon not knowing what the week ahead might hold for them. Most of the team were seasoned yearly visitors to the Alice, but this year we decided to change things up.

For many of them, it was the first time they shared their testimonies. A few of them felt they didn’t really have much to share, but as they looked over their lives they realised that God had taken them all on a journey, and they could speak of God’s grace and faithfulness on their sometimes difficult and individual paths. As the week progressed, so did their confidence, and people were moved and the

team sharing at the hostel

opportunities for prayer increased.

Never underestimate the power of  your testimony. As said in the book of Revelation

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death

Our testimony is one third of the integral way we overcome the enemy, and the team got an opportunity to see how powerful their testimonies are. People responded with wanting prayer (experiencing God healing people), to others wanting to share parts of

their own stories as well as experiencing people come to salvation and rededicating their lives.

The testimonies were one highlight of an extremely hot and challenging week for the team. Another was their faith in action, doing some yard blitzes for those unable to do so themselves. This was a blessing to the families as they saw people who barely knew them working hard to make their lives easier.

One of t

he ways some of the team ministered to us was when they took time for our children. In particular, Becky and Vanessa who gave up some of their ‘free time’ to play with the boys and teach them sewing. Thanks ladies, this was beautiful.

My prayer for this team is that they will grow in their knowledge and understanding of their God the Father who was willing to lay down his most precious possession for them, his Son, and that this will spur them on to live a life of good works as an outworking of His love in them.stirling team

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the heart and Body

Alice is literally in the centre of Australia, and some have gone so far to say it’s the heartbeat. So if it’s where the heartbeat of our nation is at, then we had better look after it, as I’m pretty sure the heart is a vital part of us sustaining life. Right? ūüėČ

People come and go from this place, some unmoved by the atmosphere but loving the landscape and blue skies, others disillusioned by the hardness and dreams lost and buried here. Others are awakened here… they sense the heartbeat calling them in, drawing them in to new things and adventures untold and the deep wells of spiritual wealth in this place… and so they come. For a short while or long. Some fly in for a whirlwind tour to scout the land and feel their way and encounter new things. Others leave everything behind and come to sow their lives- some last that out, others leave from the sheer magnitude of life in the desert with its challenges and obstacles and tireless needs.

Over the last month, we have encountered many new faces and some old long-time friends who have all been drawn to this wonderful place our family have come to call home, and the exciting thing is, they have all sensed the same thing. God is doing a new thing. He is preparing the soil for a new and fresh outpouring of his Spirit and His body (His church) are getting hungry, and are awakening from their slumber and listening to the call for harvesters. Some are finding their feet and where they fit in with what God is doing here.

This week in particular we have had visits from some beautiful people who have encouraged our souls and prayed with and for us. This prayer and worship time was refreshing and just what I needed and didn’t know it. The body of Christ was doing its job. Edifying one another and spurring one another on. The coolest thing about it, was that these people were unknown to me. We were connected by our love for Christ and a love for people. The rest naturally followed. I am very aware that we often get caught up in the natural world we live in and forget about how the spiritual or supernatural is intricately intertwined in our lives… but as Watchman Nee said we are spiritual people having a natural experience, not the other way around. When we walk with God close, our lives don’t look the same as others. Our cravings are different from others, and we find ourselves in awesome experiences and being a part of naturally-supernatural moments.

The body of Christ is an amazing family, that reaches far past our nationality, language, culture and family ties. Jesus binds us together, that we can feel connected to a believer whose baby needs prayer in the Philippines, to an Indigenous man riding his horse over Australia to reach people for Jesus, and to a bunch of Koreans who come and sing and pray at your house just because they love the Lord and were obedient to His call. This body is made up of a bunch of once unruly, misfits, thieves, slanderers, murderers etc who have now laid down their former lives and said yes to the gift of life from Jesus Christ… a motley crew who, with warts and all, God chooses to outwork his grand plan of giving people opportunity to once again commune with him.

I love this body, and thank God I’m in Alice, where I get to see all these people come in, wanting to be a part of the heartbeat of Australia, be a part of its call and where I get to see daily, my God at work in ordinary people who are willing to lay down their lives for the sake of Jesus. I believe as we lay aside our own agendas and how we think things should pan out, we’ll see God weaving his tapestry and we’ll begin to flow in time with Him and see even greater things than we can imagine. This heartland of Australia will begin to beat in time with His heart and bring healing first here and then flow on and on.

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It’s been a while

Just reading a friend’s blog and am finally inspired to write again. If only so one day I might look back and remember where I was, and where I was hoping to go.

It has been 11 months since we moved here with our 3 little boys and embarked on the journey of our lives. This has been a settling, stretching year in our lives, but not one that has felt too hard to adjust to. It is like we were made to be here. It is like all the other things in our lives were equipping us for this moment (as I am sure we will feel about this time in our future endeavours).
It is true that He equips those He calls… The lives we have seen changed by the power of prayer has been beautiful. We are looking forward to God outpouring more in signs and wonders as the church of Alice Springs rises up.

This town is often put on the map for all the wrong reasons, but I believe that we will see the day when the media will be piling in to get the scoop on what God is doing in this town. What does it say? Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more!!

Every time I see the Todd River flowing (which has only been twice this year, it is often a dry river bed) I get excited in my spirit. I see that God wants to flow in this town just like that river, but as a constant flow, not  a now-and-again happening but a well-spring of life, bringing joy, freedom and healing.

You know life here seems pretty normal to us with it’s going on, but Ben’s younger brother and wife arrived recently and they looked a little wide-eyed and culture shocked and I realised that what has become the norm for us (the interesting visits at the gate for one thing) is not everyday experiences in most peoples’ lives.

We have had an interesting couple of months, both Ben and I have been in hospital (Ben with appendicitis and me collapsing and getting my first ride in an ambulance). There has been some interesting people coming in trying to upset what God is doing here in Alice, but our God is faithful and His presence is very real in our lives. The exciting thing for me is that God is speaking to our children and they are feeling/ seeing Him at work in their lives, not just hearing it from us.

Ben has started working a couple of days on The Ghan (Train) as his study is coming to an end. The boys are still homeschooling and playing soccer. Zion had his first game, which was very exciting for him. We have had 3 venues for church this year, which has happened surprisingly smoothly, but are now in a school hall where we have a chance to continue to grow and see God outwork in our community.

Looking forward to seeing exciting things in the year to come, and can’t wait to¬†share with you what is unfolding here.

Maggie, Janie, Nola and Narelle

Maggie, Janie, Nola and Narelle

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Faith like a child

My eldest fell sick. He¬†had a horrible rash a headache and bad stomach cramps all of a sudden. He couldn’t get up from bed or it got worse. Zion came up and put his hand on him and started to pray. Ben didn’t know this and was talking to Josiah, so Zion said “would you be quiet and close your eyes, I am praying for Elijah” and then he continued. The prayer went something like this… “God can you heal Elijah so he can get up and play with me and so he doesn’t feel sick in his tummy or his head anymore, thank you Jesus Amen”. Well within five minutes¬†Elijah were up, temperature gone, headache gone, and stomach ache gone, and he wanted breakfast. I can hear him singing and playing in the background now as I write!

Zion is often praying. He is quick to lay hands on people he meets if he sees they are hurt or sick and he always expects God will come through for them. My little 4 year old¬†is a reminder to me of coming to God as a little child. Not with eloquent words, but words from the heart that in turn touch His heart. Our God loves us all, but I think He has a soft spot for little ones… ūüôā

 

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relief

The following is the lyrics of a song I penned whilst sitting at the edge of¬† Todd Mall. Every now and then I get this sense that the Holy¬†Spirit wants to share with me something and I’m going to need to write it down. I had been asking God to show me what is going on with the people I had been seeing and watching (I am a people watcher, it is a hobby of mine, I love it. It¬†was honed when I was at acting school). This song is not my feelings, but the sense I got from the people I saw that day as I sat at the edge of the mall. Maybe one day you will hear the tune, and maybe not.¬†An extremely rough version is recorded on my phone so I don’t forget it.¬†I don’t often share my lyrics, but after some events today that I am not at liberty to share, I found them relevant.

Want some relief

But don’t expect me to change

Want some water for my thirst

But not enough to quench it

Can’t resolve to take the leap

that would place me in the River

In that healing place

Would rather drown in my sorrows

Get lost in my pain.

 

Find myself all alone

In a place full of people

In a sea full of faces

Wont take the leap to that flowing water¬†….

 

It’s just the way it’s always been

It’s just the way I’ve always done

Life

trying to find it

trying to hide from it

trying to

breathe

want to start living

want to start believing

but do I dare to take

a chance

What if I fall

completely down

Who’s going to catch me

if I fall

completely down

I am interested to see how God through His Holy Spirit woos these people. How many times have I been scared to trust or hope because at least I know the pain. When we used to work at Teen Challenge we saw many people who just wanted relief. It is quite often the same here.

 But GOd wants to do more than that. He wants to change us from the inside out and heal the pain and get rid of our excess baggage. He wants us to LIVE not just exist. Jesus came so we can have life to the full.

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Miracles are beginning to flow

Last night (Thursday) we went for our usual visit to a local hostel. The only difference being Ben wasn’t able to come, but my Mum and Dad rocked up which was nice. So the boys and I headed there, picking up a bus load of friends on the way around and went and sung and shared the Bible as per usual. Then we began to pray for those who needed prayer. Some had headaches, some chest pain, and some aching legs and feet. As we laid hands on them, I could feel that God was at work (as He always is , just sometimes I fail to notice ūüôā ). The first lady I prayed for had strong chest pain- but¬†as we prayed it stopped! We prayed for about 5 people that night and all of them said the pain was gone! Not just then, but still was gone when we left. You should have seen the smiles on their faces as God touched them. Praise our God hey. He loves His people and loves to work in signs and wonders.

I rejoice that He is touching¬† His people. I believe however, this is just the start. There is a lady there that needs to go in for an operation¬†on her eyes. Well we prayed and are believing that her eyes will be healed and there will be no need for an operation. The people we visit on Thursday nights need¬†lots of new things some need: new kidneys, new hips, new legs, new eyes. I know that for some they will have to wait until they reach heaven for these, but I do believe that God wants to heal people now. I trust that we will see the day soon where our friends here on dialysis will need it no more and they can return to their homes (some very far away) and they will be a testimony that our God is a MIRACLE WORKING GOD. We don’t want miracles for miracles sake. We want testimonies that we can share of what the power of our Jesus can do through the Holy SPirit in peoples lives. We want a new generation to experience God in the same tangible way that we have, and more. It is what we all need. It will bring transformation.

Rejoice with me, at the healings that are happening… but please PRAY to our Living God, that we will continue to¬†see His Living Water flow and touch the lives of those we meet. Thank you for joining with us.

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On the road again

So much has happened since my last post, but I have only half written drafts as it has been so busy and emotional. But thought it would be good to share what Ben and I have been up to in the last couple of days.

I knew that I would go back to Indulkana, but did not expect it to be this soon. Our friend, who travelled down with me the first time (Mrs Goodwin) passed away. I think she knew that her time was short when we went down last time. She was so keen to get home. Before she passed away, I had some special moments with her which I will be forever thankful for and got to meet some more of her family.

image

Ronald, Wapawapa, Nollie and Ben

On Tuesday morning we travelled down with a bus full. We had Ben Zion and me up front, and in the back was Kinyon, Rupert, Annie-Margaret, Yilpi, Maringka, Ronald and¬†Helen. We had a lovely trip down. We sung and chatted and they laughed at Zion who had questions about everything. We saw camels and eagles and dingoes and an emu.¬†Thankfully an uneventful trip. We reached the turn-off for Indulkana and I don’t remember the road being that bumpy last time I went. Gotta love the corrugated feeling on the road¬†:-).

When we arrived we first went to the ‘sorry camp’. There were a group of tents set up where the family had been staying and we were to go there and shake hands and sit¬†with the people as they wept. Zion just asked why they were crying and then sat in the dirt nearby and made a ‘chocolate cake’ out of the dirt. He seemed very much at home. Ben and I weren’t sure how long we would be down at the camp for, but no sooner were Ben and I just getting comfortable than they were all getting back in the bus and telling us it was time to get ready for the memorial service.

Ben had never ran a funeral before, and the language barrier was a bit daunting, but he seemed to take it in his stride.

The memorial service was lovely.

Getting ready for the funeral

They basically sing some songs, share memories of Mrs Goodwin, light candles and then give new blankets to the family (Mrs Martin told me that this was to symbol a fresh start). Then Ben was asked to bring a short word of encouragement from the Lord. All this time, we sat around campfires and the children played and enjoyed touching Zion’s face, I think because of how white he was, though I’m not sure. He fell asleep in my arms close to the finish.

The next morning, possibly the most amusing thing was seeing some wild pigs just walking through the town.

Dinner Anyone?

One of them were huge and had knocked over a bin and was looking for food. People were very responsive to us and were shaking our hands and saying that we had made them glad with Ben’s message the night before. The funeral was set to start at 10am, but it wasn’t until 11.30am that the car arrived with the casket, so there was a lot of hymns sung and a few people even took the time to preach, reminded me of the old open air meetings we used to be a part of. When the casket was brought out, it was laid on a table and everyone gathered around and placed a flower on top and touched the casket and wept as Ben prayed and read the Bible to them. Faxes were read out of those that couldn’t make it, and then we all headed down to the graveside where they throw dirt¬†in to the grave¬†and everyone takes turn to shake the families hands.

Although there was obviously a lot of grief at the loss of our friend Mrs Goodwin, there was a beautiful peace that was there as the people seemed very assured that her final resting place was with their loving Father in heaven. The air was full of hope.

We felt so privileged to have been welcomed into this wonderful community, to share with them a very intimate experience. The views are beautiful there, but the people are what captures my attention. I look forward to seeing them again…

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