Monday, August 20, 2018

Turning Whining to Worship

Most summers, I attend a retreat for pastor's wives and other ministries. This year I had no idea what my summer would hold, but I guessed that I might need some encouragement by August. Last week, since Ed was feeling so well through his radiation treatments, I dared to hope that I'd be able to attend the retreat.

Last Sunday evening, our family went to the park. Our little girls were enjoying the slides, and the boys were playing catch with Ed. We had only been at the park a few minutes when our oldest daughter wiped out while riding a rip-stick. As she fell, she caught herself with her right hand. I took one look at her arm and knew we were headed to the emergency room. X-rays confirmed that her arm was fractured just above her wrist. They put a splint on her arm and gave us an appointment to visit a orthopedic surgeon on Tuesday.

I did a lot of whining that night. Why another health emergency? Why now? Wasn't there a limit to the number of trips to the ER I could handle in one year?

On Monday morning I was in a mad scramble to get a lot of work done in preparation for a week of unknowns. I had a tremendous stack of laundry and a bushel of tomatoes on the porch. And the phone kept on ringing.

One call was from an older minister's wife. She had read my post on searching for joy and called to share what she has learned through her own challenging experiences. She has learned to focus on the attributes of God and worship despite circumstances. Worship had not been my focus that Monday morning, but her phone call pulled my mind off of my grumbling. And my sister came and helped me finish the work.

At the orthopedic surgeon on Tuesday, we heard words I didn't want to hear. Surgery. Pins. Plates. He was particularly concerned about the possible ligament damage to her wrist. Since their hand surgeon was on vacation, he wanted us to visit a specialist at Hershey.

I couldn't believe it. For years we had not had anything worse than an occasional cold. Our children had no cavities, stitches, or broken bones. Now I was going to Hershey the second time in less than a year? I didn't think I could sit in yet another surgery waiting room. And since Ed had radiation every day in the opposite direction, he could not be with us.

The earliest appointment I could get for a consultation was on Thursday. I didn't know when surgery would be scheduled, but I assumed I would not be able to make it to my retreat on Friday. My daughter felt bad that I'd have to miss the retreat because of her.

On Thursday Ed set the GPS and I headed to Hershey with my daughter and her friend. At least several trips there in the past year made me less apprehensive about driving there myself. And we were surprised with news better than we imagined possible. The doctor did not think surgery or pins were necessary. Instead of just a consultation, they decided to set her arm. It took several attempts, a couple doctors, a good deal of pain despite numbing shots and IVs, but our daughter was very brave and had a huge smile when we walked out with a perfectly set arm.

The next morning I was at the ladies' retreat feeling like I was given a huge gift-wrapped present. As I soaked in the peaceful atmosphere, relished the delicious food, and delighted in conversations, I felt like I had been given a miracle.

The theme of the retreat was Isaiah 45:3.

And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.

Jenny Miller was the main speaker for the retreat. If you have read her book Life Is a Gift, you know that she has been given treasures and hidden riches in her dark places. Jenny shared her own story of God's grace and what she has learned about worshiping God. Jenny and the other speakers, plus the women who talked, hugged, and prayed with me, poured out God's blessing into my life.

The truths shared about God were not new. I have even written about these truths. (Such as here or here).  But on weeks like last week, I'm not so good at living out truth. God knew that I needed to spend time hearing Bible-saturated women share their life stories of grace and worship.

Today we are celebrating Ed's last radiation treatment. We took some veggies and zinnias from our garden to his nurses. Ed is still feeling very well though he is shedding hair like a puppy. (His description.) I say that his receding hairline makes him look forty. He has been going to work after his treatments each day. For the next week he'll probably be more tired, but it is so nice to have this part of his treatment over.

I'm typing this at the clinic. Our home internet has been down for a week so if you've emailed me recently you have probably not had a quick response. I'm trying to swing by McDonalds a couple times a week to take care of critical emails, but don't worry if you don't hear from me promptly.

We don't know much about the future - but on this earth it is likely to contain much more sorrow. I'm grateful for the reminder that God gives treasures and riches even in those dark places.


  1. I'm so sorry to hear about your daughter's arm. I hope it heals well. My youngest daughter broke her arm in May this year. It was obviously broken (like an S shape) when she fell I saw it right away. I was surprised how well it healed. She had 6 weeks in a cast and 2 months of not being able to do certain things (things that might cause her to fall on it, like the park, running, playing tag, climbing, biking). You'd never know now it had broken. She even learned to use her left arm really well (she's right handed and it was her right arm). The first few days were the worst. The pain was bad and the nights were awful. But she's young so it might be better for an older child. After a few days she just went on with life (with a cast!) other than not being able to do certain things physically, she adapted and things went well. I hope it does for your daughter as well.

    1. Glad to hear your daughter healed well. Our daughter doesn't have much pain now and is already learning to adapt to her left hand. School work might be a challenge though!

  2. Dear Mrs. Gina,

    Greetings in the name of Jesus. On behalf of our family and church we want to let you know that we have prayed fervently for Bro. Ed these past weeks during his radiation treatments. We have also prayed for each one of your family members to be able to feel the Lord's presence with you each day.

    We will be praying for you daughter also!! I broke my right arm and clavicle when I was a little girl! Not very fun but I healed well:)



  3. Oh Gina, I'm so sorry about your sweet daughter's arm. I'm glad she didn't require surgery. If time allows can you please share more about your retreat, which I'm glad you got to go to? Thank you.

  4. I'm praying for your daughter's arm to heal quickly and wonderfully. Accidents do happen, to all of us, and a mother turns into a super-woman of inner strength, love, compassion, and endurance through all kinds of sleeplessness, concern, and just being there when you're needed the most. I am so glad to hear that Ed is doing well through all of his treatments! God is so great! And I'm thrilled to hear that you were able to go to the retreat ... what a wonderful time to renew and share!I surely could use a time such as your retreat, but unfortunately there aren't any here. It would be so nice to be able to get away even for one day alone with our Lord to renew. God bless you all!

  5. Kids seem to adapt much better than we older folks..I guess they're more resilient! I'm happy to hear it wasn't worse. I'm happy for you, that you made your retreat! I'm sure it was just what you needed!! Hopefully things are heading up for family!

  6. Tears came to my eyes when I got to the part about needing to go to Hershey without your husband. Your tenacity in clinging to Jesus in adversity calls me to deeper faithfulness. Romans 5:3-5 is manifested in you.

  7. I'm so glad you were able to attend the retreat and be encouraged. Sometimes when we are going through the thick of the battle, we need the reminders, though we already know them. Sisters in the Lord are a great blessing. Chris W.

  8. Bless you, Gina. I love to hear your words of worship. Beautiful picture of you and Ed!

  9. Glad there wasn't a need for surgery and so thankful you made it to your retreat. Praying Ed feels well and improves each day.

  10. So sorry about your husband's sickness . . . I have had cancer twice - seventeen years ago!!! I rejoice with you that you could sit and savor a ladies retreat!!!


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