“Remain in Me”

Last Thursday, one of my former baking students came to Bible Study.  When I first met her during Baking Classes, she was not a believer in Jesus.  I was able to share a little about my faith with her; pieces here and there.  Another baking student, who was a Christian, also witnessed to her.  God was drawing her to Himself and eventually, during a difficult time in her life, she turned to Him.

So, this week the first Scripture we looked at was John 15: 4.  “Abide in Me, and I will abide in you.”  The discussion question was “What does it mean to abide in Jesus?”  One of the ladies read the Scripture aloud from the NIV translation, which reads “Remain in Me.”  As the lady read, May (my student) raised her hand.  She wanted to speak.  (I must admit that I was a little surprised at her boldness to speak, as she had just joined our class.)  First she asked, “Does ‘abide’ mean ‘remain’?” I told her that it does, and she was so excited. Then she proceeded to tell us part of her story.

She was just beginning to seek God as her mother was diagnosed with lung cancer.  She told us that, coming from a Buddhist background, she didn’t really know “how to pray”.  But in desperation over her mother’s illness, she prayed.  She said that she asked God if she should take her mother to “Hospital A” or “Hospital B”.  And God’s answer to her? “Remain in Me.”  She told us how frustrated she was at the time, thinking “What kind of answer is that?” and wondered why God didn’t answer her when she prayed to Him.

(She ended up taking her Mom to a Catholic hospital and eventually a Catholic hospice; where her mother was led to the Lord.  May had previously shared with me about the change in her mother that was evident during that last month of her life.  The peace that passes all understanding had flooded her mom; and May was able to see the reality of God through the change in her mother.  I think that May, though she had initially prayed to God asking for a divine hospital recommendation, actually made the choice to follow Christ through the witness of her mother!)

The truth is, when she asked God about “A” or “B”, the hospital she chose wasn’t the important thing.  The important thing was that both she and her mother needed a relationship with the Lord Jesus.  May thought that taking her Mom to the “right” hospital would give her peace about her mother’s medical condition.  Instead, they met the Prince of Peace Himself.

This week, she was so delighted to find that God’s answer to her (“Remain in Me”) was actually written in the Bible (“just for me!”).  I, of course, was  delighted by her testimony,  and by being reminded once again how God answers the prayers of His children, even when our question is wrong.

P.S. I was extra happy because this was a “Baking Student”.  I recall as a young teenager wondering what I could do for God.  My brothers were multi-talented; playing piano, writing and singing songs, praising God and leading others to do so.  And me?  I could bake a cake.  I always thought, “Ho-hum.  How is baking a cake going to help the Kingdom?”  But God had a plan.

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This entry was posted on August 14, 2016. 1 Comment

butterfly

butterfly

I need help

This will be a short post; but basically, I am stuck.  I followed all of the steps for importing my files from Xanga.  I received the confirmation message that they were uploaded to WordPress.  But I don’t see them anywhere.  Where can I find these files?  If you have done this (move from Xanga to WordPress) can you help me out?  Thanks!

This entry was posted on April 12, 2015. 1 Comment

Birthday month

PJ

Today I found an old picture frame.  I decided to take out the photo which was inside and scan it into the computer.  But when I opened the back, I gasped!

Behind that picture was another; one of our first-born son, P.J., giving high-fives with a girl at church.

My heart flooded with emotion; and I ran to show Paul this special treasure.

Why is this photo so precious!  It was taken at our church after a wedding.  P.J. was about 17 months old then; so this is one of the last pictures of him before….. our loss.

March is P.J.’s birth month… and on March 1, I found this picture.  His birthday is often a bittersweet time… P.J. (Paul, Jr.) was born to us while we lived in Arkansas.  When he was 18 months old, we moved to Missouri.  Shortly thereafter, he contracted a horrible, lingering illness.  A few months later, he was gone.

We had moved, and he got ill right afterwards; so nobody there in Missouri really got to “know” my precious son.  When we lost him, there was no “memorial service”; so it felt like we alone grieved.  Of course, my family and extended family had seen him; they got to hold him shortly after his birth, and had seen him at Christmas when he was about 9 months old.  But since we lived far away, we’d never had much time together…and I felt that they hadn’t ever really gotten the opportunity to “Know” him.  Although they were sad for us; how do you grieve for someone you’ve never known?

I was thankful for all the time that I had shared with him and the memories we had made.  I thanked God over and over that I had been able to be a “stay-at-home Mom” and Paul had worked mostly from his office at home during that time.  P.J. was never sent to Daycare; so we didn’t miss a moment of his precious infancy and his toddler days.  I am certain that no mother and child ever had as much fun together as we.  We walked in the park daily with a friend and her daughter.  We walked around our neighborhood, where a lady (yes, in town) kept ducks.  Then P.J. would come home and play with his stuffed duck.  He had 3 favorite stuffed animals… a duck, a rabbit, and of course, a teddy bear.  He liked the dog that lived behind the privacy fence next door–a huge German shepherd that was at least twice as tall as he was.  He wasn’t the least bit intimidated; even when “Rex” was out loose.  Later, he would point at every privacy fence he saw, and authoritatively announce, “Dog!”  Surprisingly, regardless of the location of the fence, he was usually right!  By 15 months old, he had figured out that he should wave to Americans, but bow to Koreans.  Unless they were the Korean kids, who, speaking English as they did, deserved the “wave”.  He loved music and had a strong affinity for all things black.  Cordless phone, TV remote, headphones, camcorder, camera… You name it.  If it was black, he liked it.  He loved reading story books; “Spot Goes Splash” was an early favorite.  By 7-8 months, I would start telling a story from one of his favorite books, and he would crawl to the right book for that story.  The strong bond we had and the precious memories we had created helped carry us through the dark times to come.

Wasn’t he adorable?

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The rest of the story is…maybe different than what you thought.

P.J. didn’t pass away.  But, the son we had known and cherished was gone…lost to autism.

No longer did he play with his beloved rabbit, kiss his duck, and pat his bear to sleep in the rocking chair.  No longer did he give “high fives” to the other children at church.   No longer did he talk.  I missed hearing his voice, saying, “I want apple juice”; and I would have done anything to hear him shout “Ball!” (as he had a few months earlier when he picked up his baked potato and threw it across a restaurant. Smile.)  No longer did he give kisses.  No longer did he look in our eyes and call us “momma” or “daddy”; many times he didn’t even respond to his name being called.

We stopped calling him “P.J.” (Some said it was a “baby-ish” name; and since he had ‘delays’, we didn’t want to add a baby-ish name to the mix…)  But more than that, “P.J.” was gone.  His personality was gone.  Everything that had made P.J. be “P.J.” was gone.  Days, weeks and months passed without seeing a smile on his face.  (I’m sure the people who looked at my face said the same about me.)  But how could I smile?  My son was gone.  I grieved for a long time.  I felt like I was grieving the loss of a child; while at the same time being responsible for the care of a special needs child–one who was a stranger to me, though.

We began calling our son by his given name, David.  It’s meaning: “Beloved”.  And, as the years have passed, God has shown us time and time again that not only is David “beloved”; we are, too.  When the hurt was too bad, God comforted us.  When the stress of having an special-needs child was too heavy, He gave us strength and rest.  Time after time, He sent just the right person–teacher, therapist, doctor, friend–our way at just the right time.

He proved true what our pastor had told us years before:  “When Karen in weak, Paul is strong.  When Paul is weak, Karen is strong.  When Paul AND Karen are weak, GOD IS STRONG!”

“The Lord is near to the broken-hearted, and saves those who are crushed…(Psalms)”  We know by experience that this is true.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or danger (or AUTISM)? No! Nothing will ever be able to separate from the love of God…(Romans)  We know by experience that this is true.

Does time heal all wounds?  Don’t believe that for a second.  Time makes bitter old ladies of us.  Only Jesus heals our wounds.  He alone gives peace that the world cannot understand and joy that no one can take away…

A friend gave me a card a few days after his diagnosis was finally made; it read: “Don’t put a period where God has only placed a comma.”  Sage advice coming from a Hallmark card.  There was/IS more to David’s life than just a diagnosis.  God knew about the things He had planned for David’s future–bicycling and roller-blading, hiking and TaeKwondo, swimming and woodworking, piano and guitar, music and eating kimchi, roller-coasters on 2 continents, learning and enjoying each day.  I kind of wonder what God has up his sleeve for the next 18 years, and more…

Happy Birthday-month, David!

This entry was posted on March 8, 2011. 4 Comments