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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Eternal Iron




My maternal grandfather was a blacksmith. When his last child (my Aunt Lois) was growing up, he built a sturdy iron swingset for her. Aunt Lois was ten when I was born so I have always considered her my big sister and her swingset.... my swingset. I spent many hours playing on "our" iron swingset. In the summer, my grandmother would hang her freshly washed laundry on the clothesline while I played on the swingset. Other times Grandma would make a little picnic for us and she would let me take my sandwich to the top of the swingset and eat my lunch. (I had such a neat grandma!)

Grandma and Grandpa are in Heaven now and Aunt Lois lives next door to us. Last summer she decided to resurrect the beloved swingset and set it up in her backyard. We all cheered when it was finally up. Waves of nostalgia swept over me, but yesterday I experienced an emotion much deeper than a sentimental journey.

My husband and I were babysitting our nine-month-old grandson Tristan. I took him to swing on the swingset. I wasn't prepared for the emotion I felt as we plopped down in the swing. In my mind's eye, I saw my grandmother swinging with me on the sturdy swingset and in the circle of life I was now swinging on the same swingset with my grandchild. A lump formed in my throat when I realized I was singing the same songs to my grandson that my grandmother sang to me.

I thought about my grandfather the blacksmith and how when he built something - he built it to last..... And at that moment, I realized my grandmother and grandfather were instrumental in putting iron in my soul - eternal iron. They gave me a sample - a living example of God's love.

I'm no blacksmith, but when I gaze into the eyes of our two little grandsons - Tristan and Easton - I pray that they would see the "SON" in my eyes and the JESUS in me would help form "eternal iron" in their little souls.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Faithful



I'm back! It's been awhile since I blogged, but what can I say? The last two years have been a blur. Let's see..... In the last twenty-four months we have had all four of our children get married, our son gave his daddy a kidney, and now we have two darling grandbabies.

Through it all, we have seen God's faithfulness. I can't help but think of two years ago, when the specialists at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, informed us just how sick my husband Paul really was with End Stage Renal Failure. Then, the process of finding a match - and to discover the MVD (Most Valuable Donor) would be our only son John Drake. In the midst of it all, our two daughters were engaged and planning to married the same summer as the kidney transplant. ;-)

I remember the tug-of-war in my soul. The "What ifs" plagued me. Then, in the midst of my own fiery furnance I read the reply of the three Hebrew children when they were thrown into a fiery furnace.

If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. Daniel 3:17-18

These verses helped settle something in my heart. Our God whom we served was able to deliver our family from this trial, but even if He didn't, we were still going to love and serve Him.

On June 12, it will be two years since Paul's surgery. Jesus has been with us every step of the way.

John married Natasha Stamman (Yes, I have my very own daughter-in-law.) this past April 23. (That's them in the picture above.) Paul was John's best man. Words are inadequate to describe the emotions I felt. Paul said it best when he spoke at the wedding reception, "John, you are really my "best" man. Than you for the gift of life."

Paul heads back up to Rochester for a kidney biopsy this month. We realize more than ever before that life is precious and you are only as healthy as your next checkup.
But we know, as the old hymn so eloquently puts it:

Many things about tomorrow. I don't seem to understand.
But I know who holds tomorrow and I know who holds my hand.


But we are thanking the Lord every day for the gift of life. We will celebrate Paul's second anniversary with thanksgiving and we will declare, "EVEN IN THE VALLEY GOD IS GOOD.... EVEN IN THE VALLEY HE IS FAITHFUL AND TRUE. HE CARRIES HIS CHILDREN THROUGH LIKE HE SAID HE WOULD - YES, EVEN IN THE VALLEY GOD IS GOOD!"

I don't regret a mile,
Dixie

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