The Joyful Heart

                                Photo courtesy Erik Thorson Copyright 2012

Check in here often for a little something to brighten your day.   Enjoy!


The God of All Comfort

I was edging the lawn by the columbines when we received the call that would change our lives. By normal standards, July 11, 1997, should have been the day my nineteen-year-old son died.

The fall that made him "another Christopher Reeve," in the words of one doctor, fractured his spine at the second vertebra from his skull. The break was similar to what occurs when a person is hanged, called the "hangman's fracture." Kevin was immediately paralyzed and his last breath went out like a long sigh.

He would have been dead or brain damaged within four to six minutes, had it not been for the quick thinking and CPR skills of his team leader. She kept breathing into him until emergency crews arrived. Thus began the long journey for Kevin into a new and hard place of service to his God.

In the last fifteen years, Kevin has endured two ICU codes, many surgeries, life-threatening illnesses, and the daily reminders of all he has lost.

He has also gained new friends, a new way to serve God with his music, and a profoundly new appreciation for life.

As a family, we have learned how to live and work together, how to pray for each other, and the value of loyalty. We also love to laugh together.

Today, fifteen years later, I am so grateful for every day we have had as a family. I thank God for all I have learned through the tears. I can look to the future with hope because of the strength, faithfulness, and comfort provided by a living God. Like Job, I can say, "I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You." (Job 42:5).

Through every dark night, in the midst of loss and despair, I have seen the power of God at work. I have seen, in the tender strength of my family, the heart of God for a hurting world. And I understand so much better the words of the Apostle:

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels,
so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God
and not from ourselves.
2 Corinthians 4:7

That says it all. Today, I thank God for granting us mercy and life. I bow before Him in gratitude for this anniversary of grace. I know we can face the future without fear because of who He is. We live by the breath of God and rest in His comfort and love. Tomorrow is His, the Giver of Life.


Far Above Jewels

She was born to be a missionary. In fact, she still likes to introduce me as her first convert. It's been more than a few years since she was an out-of-control toddler of two, and I was a defeated new mom when I cried out to God one night with these words, "God, if you are real, please take her and raise her. I only know I have ruined her." 

God quickly answered my prayer. In fact, He was glad to take over.  He took me and brought me to Him and taught me how to raise this tender, fair little soul.

And what a soul she is! Under God's hand, I watched her grow into a beautiful and wise woman. Her fervor for God and and her heart for people knew no bounds. She prayed and worked for the suffering church in foreign countries. She served in the villages of Mexico, the favelas of Brazil, the streets of Los Angeles, and the urban communities of Minneapolis. She always saw beyond the faults of others to reach out to the eternal in them.

In recent years she has run her own business and remodeled their home while homeschooling full time and serving as watch captain of their block. She has ridden with the police on their beats, worked with community members and area businesses to clean up crime, supported her husband as he pursued an education, and raised two daughters into lovely young women of God. When I look at my granddaughters, I can't help feeling it's as if God broke my daughter's heart into two pieces and put each half into them. I wonder if she knows how her sacrifice has cloned her beauty twofold. 

I watch with amazement as she presses on through every trial and setback in their lives to serve her God and care for those she loves. Today I read the description of a worthy woman in Proverbs 31 and realized with joy that it could have been written for her. 

Strength and dignity are her clothing...
She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household....

Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all. 
Proverbs 31

Sis, I am so glad God gave you to us. You have become more than I could have dreamed or prayed for. You have walked that narrow path of life, conquering every bump and detour along the way. Because your eyes are always on the top of the mountain, you have not realized the heights you have achieved. I am proud to be your first convert to Christ, and I'm proud to be your mom. God has done such a much better job than I could ever have! May you be blessed with a great return on your investment of love. Have a wonderful birthday!

Love, Mom


The God Who Raises the Dead

For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia,
that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength,
so that we despaired even of life;
indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves,
but in God who raises the dead;
who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us,
He on whom we have set our hope.
2 Corinthians 1:8-10

Nearly fifteen years ago, my husband and I sat across the living room from a friend who read this Scripture to us. I had no idea why God had given it to him in the night for us. But six hours later, I would know. Our middle son, Kevin fell while executing a backflip during a youth ministry trip in Canada and broke his neck, instantly paralyzing him from the neck down. He quit breathing and was kept alive by CPR until paramedics came.

Kevin was nineteen years old at the time. The doctor overseeing the NICU in Calgary gave him no hope for survival and tried to talk us into pulling the plug on the ventilator keeping Kevin alive. Kevin, however, had no plans to die and we had no plans to force him to die. Instead, the Salvation Army arranged for him to fly back to the United States.

Thus began a long and arduous journey for Kevin. We have watched him work, pray, and serve God with all his heart in a broken body. Indeed he had the "sentence of death" that he would trust in God who raises the dead.

Today is Kevin's thirty-fourth birthday. Today he is healthiest he has ever been. He breathes on his own except to sleep at night. He walks a bit every day. He runs a CG company with his brother Dan. He has built and maintains a growing and vibrant website devoted to contemporary Christian music. He has surrendered his life to God with a trust I wish I had.

I am so proud of all he has overcome, and all he has achieved. 

Happy Birthday, Kev. May God continue to raise you up and deliver you and give you the desires of your heart.

Love, Mom