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Comfort and Encouragement

15 May

or Walking it Out, Part 2 – A Different Perspective

I feel more peaceful now than at my previous post.

On Friday and Saturday, the family attended the 25th Annual CHAP Homeschool Convention.  We were refreshed, encouraged and challenged listening to such popular speakers (at least in the home education movement) as Ken Ham, Doug Phillips, Steven and Teri Maxwell, and Steve Demme, among many others.  We were especially comforted and encouraged by the Maxwells.  The time and heart that they shared by hugging, crying and talking with us meant a great deal.  We also appreciated Steve Demme’s testimony about the grief and suffering in his own life and the time that he took to talk with us afterwards.  Finally, we were thankful of that special person at the CHAP information booth who lost her son in October 2010 and cried and shared with us.

Here are several encouraging and instructing scripture verses that various people shared over the weekend:

For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.  (Rom 8:24-28)

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;  (2Co 10:3-5)

Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.  (Psa 55:22)

He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.  (Psa 103:10)

The initial entrance into the facility and the vendor area was especially difficult without Isaac.  Brenda and I both broke into tears as we passed the Vision Forum booth.  That was one of Isaac’s favorite places to visit at past conventions and he always looked forward to the annual catalog.  While Isaac enjoyed the weapons, we value the family discipleship materials that they offer.  I tried to meet Doug Phillips during the convention, however he never seemed to have a free moment.

This year, we did not spend as much time or money in the vendor area but focused mainly on listening to the speakers.  While walking around, we felt encouraged to be around so many families who have adopted home education as a lifestyle, hopefully with a focus primarily on God (“our kind of people” as we like to say amongst ourselves).  It was pleasant to share the experience on Friday with my parents also, who were able to spend time with their grandchildren and learn what home eduction is really all about.  We also ran into our blessed friends (you know who you are!) whose presence, words and heart encourage and refresh us in unimaginable ways.  We are so blessed that God has allowed us to walk together with your family during the last several years and we are so thankful that we have you during this time.

One incident especially touched my heart.  Brenda noticed a boy close to Isaac’s age entertaining and helping with his baby sibling.  It reminded her (and now reminds me) of how Isaac was with his baby siblings, especially Gracia over the last year.  Brenda went over and told him that he was a good big brother.  The boy smiled.  I did not know what Brenda was doing until afterwards but, knowing her heart, I assumed it was something like what actually happened.  I almost broke down in tears.

I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge my team at work (I hope you are reading!).  The meals have been wonderful!  We are so thankful because we do not feel like doing much right now, especially preparing food.  You are a great team to work with.

We are also thankful for the many cards, emails and phone calls that we continue to receive.  Your words encourage us, even when we don’t have the energy to promptly respond.  Also, the offers of practical help (meals, etc.)  mean so much.

Most of all, we live off of the strength that God gives us.  We believe that your prayers go up into His presence and He responds as He sees fit.  What an amazingly good God that would allow us to participate in both the giving and receiving ends of that process.  Please continue to pray for us, especially regarding the direction of our journey.  It is difficult being in this house and we are contemplating steps to downsize and eliminate our mortgage debt.  However, we are being patient before making any major decisions while we are still in this period of intense grief.  Our goal is to honor God as a family and to root out the weeds that choke our fruit.  We need to know what He is calling us to do.

Walking it out, but more peacefully than before,

Andy

 

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6 responses to “Comfort and Encouragement

  1. Susie

    May 15, 2011 at 6:45 PM

    Thankful for the comfort of His Word and His people to you. Been praying much for you all. We prayed for you at Emmaus on Friday morning in our faculty prayer time and lots here have been asking about you.

    I have some friends/family from the other side that go to the CHAP conference. Small world. 🙂

     
    • ephesians516

      May 16, 2011 at 4:57 PM

      It is encouraging to know that you are praying for us. Please tell the faculty at Emmaus that we appreciate their prayers. Please also tell anyone that asks that we also appreciate their concern.

       
  2. Cheryl

    May 15, 2011 at 11:06 PM

    Comforted to know that you are doing a bit better than the last post.

    When our son died we were encouraged to put of any major decisions for at least a year from the day that he died. Looking back on that, it was good advice for our family.

    I love the family picture that is on your blog. You are fortunate to have such a wonderful picture of your beautiful family. I didn’t realize how much pictures really meant until on our little Caleb entered into Heaven.

    A Bible verse that really comforted/comforts me during my grief still to this day is: Psalm 46:10a “Be still, and know that I am God” Very simple, but profound.

    With Hope,
    Cheryl

     
    • ephesians516

      May 16, 2011 at 5:01 PM

      We are learning to be still and know that He is God, but it is hard. Thank you again for encouraging and sharing pieces of your story with us. We reflect now and are thankful that we had the family pictures taken back in October 2010.

      We will pray for your healing as well. We cling to the hope also of seeing Jesus, Isaac and other loved ones in the faith, hopefully someday soon!

       
  3. David & Carol

    May 15, 2011 at 11:07 PM

    Dear Andrew & Brenda,
    I wanted to apologize to you. You came up to our family at CHAP and introduced your family to us and mentioned you know Donald. You looked familiar to us from the reception but at that moment we just didn’t put 2 and 2 together. After talking with Susie this weekend, we realized you are the family we prayed for a few short months back. I wish we would have realized to talk with you more and pray together. We will follow your blog now though and have renewed our prayers for your family. I do hope we have an opportunity to meet again in person. Please know we are praying for you. The conference speakers really encouraged us as well and glad to hear they were to you too- we are just sorry we weren’t much of an encouragement to you!
    May God give you more comfprt each day!
    In His love,
    David and Carol Vega

     
    • ephesians516

      May 16, 2011 at 5:04 PM

      David and Carol,

      Thank you for posting your comment. I can recall times in my life when I have difficulty associating a name or a face with the event that we were introduced. Please don’t be concerned. We appreciate you praying for us.

       

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