Our Story, Chapter 2

As the snowstorm raged across most of this entire country, I was at home alone, wondering and praying for my husband. He was moving through heavy medical tests in snowy Chicago and meeting with specialists to discuss the results of those tests.

What would they tell him?

Would our lives be turned upside down yet again?

I fell to remembering as I was praying. The pages of this mini-memoir that I have been sharing here each first week of the month were written across our lives through tears and laughter. The surrenders were too many to recall. Some of them stand out like beacons, though, reminding me that when God calls us to surrender, He never calls us to face it alone. He is with us each step of the way.

I heard the song playing in my memory. Years ago, I had played it again and again, as I offered my questions to God. How could He ask me to do the very thing I never thought I could face?

Oh, He does ask the impossible–but only so that He can fulfill that impossible surrender for us. God walked with us through valleys then, and I knew that He would carry us through this valley too.

So as our older son listened and graciously drove my husband back through the snowy streets of Chicago to spend the night at his house, my husband called to explain the answers from his appointments that day. It was the result we had feared. The rare heart failure condition, Cardiac Amyloidosis, was already stiffening and enlarging his heart walls. A four year life span was the prognosis, even with treatment. And the original condition of heart valve replacement surgery still needed to be faced. I listened in shock, and yet I wasn’t surprised.

On that day several months ago when his first test showed something irregular, I had written to a few close friends that I felt so overwhelmed. I was ready to give up. Later that day I was ready to give in to temptation and cancel all my own medical appointments and try to “pretend” that somehow I could be strong enough to get through whatever lay ahead.

It was a day of surrender, it was a day of falling. And fall I did, but only into the strong arms of my Savior who was there to catch me. The verse He gave me over these past weeks is the one that I am still clinging to:

Oh, Lord, my times are in your hands.

Psalm 31:15 NIV

And then, from across the years, our younger son was given a precious memory from the Lord as he faced his own surrender of his Dad’s diagnosis … It was the late ’90s, and we were traveling as a family while my husband portrayed the Apostle Thomas. We all had the words of the presentation memorized, as my husband had shared that drama over 100 times across the Midwest. It was the memory of Thomas telling about Jesus’ words to His disciples that gripped our son as he prayed:

“This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”

John 11:4 NIV

Our Lord speaks when we least expect Him to. And, as our daughter and several others have prayed with me recently:

Our God has the final say.

Whatever trial we face, whatever mountain we must climb, whatever surrender He asks of us, HE is the ONE who will fulfill the days of our lives set before us.

As I share this next chapter in Our Story today, my husband is once again back in Chicago, as the Doctors perform an Angioplasty in preparation for heart valve replacement surgery next week. I thank God for such skillful and caring Doctors. But I am even more thankful that I can rest in the final say of my dear Lord and Creator.

Will you pray with me today?

Dear Heavenly Father,

We come to you with such full hearts. Thank You for creating us and calling us to Yourself. Thank You for loving us so much that You gave Your only son, to die for us, so that we could live with You forever in eternity. Thank You for the assurance that you have won for us: no matter how long our days on this earth will be, we are destined for so much more, to be with You in Heaven. But thank You for meeting us right here, in the middle of our hardest days, and speaking Your Scriptures into our lives. We need Your help in this weary world where we dwell. The surrenders You ask of us are too hard for us to fulfill on our own. Oh, Glorious Savior, how can we thank You for the grace that You bring to us when You catch us in Your own arms? How can we thank You for the encouragement and hope You speak to us? We praise You for Your Strong Arm that is not too short to ransom us. We love You our dear Lord.

In the name of Your son, Jesus, we pray,

Amen

Chapter 2. ~~1981 – 1983~~

If you have missed any of the previous chapters, click here to catch up.

Barry and Bettie Audio Blog Chapter 2, Our Story

 “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.”

Matthew 19:29 NIV

Amazingly, I found jobs open up for me rather quickly, working as a temporary receptionist and accounting clerk. I agonized over surrendering my dreams of staying at home with my child and spent many tear-filled late nights in discussion with my husband. It wasn’t the best time to wean my nursing baby, especially when I spent half of the first day back at work in the restroom. God was finding ways to soften my hardened exterior of having to do things my own way. He was not without mercy in the process though.

I tried to settle into the routine of being dropped off at work, while my husband took our son to the babysitter and went on to school for his classes. On one of those dreary days, someone had left a message with my boss for the new receptionist. He wanted to make sure I knew that my kind voice answering the phone had made his day. My heart began to melt.

And then God mercifully spoke to me during a sermon on obedience. I heard God’s gentle voice urging me forward, with a sweet call for His purposes that I could not refuse. I didn’t know that the Scripture He gave me then would come back with a literal fulfilling several years later. And I did not realize that the babysitter he gave to us would become a life-long friend.

 “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.”

Matthew 19:29 NIV

While my husband continued with his college courses, the Lord helped us to begin settling in at a new church. The leadership needed help with their children’s church, so we gladly stepped into that position and fell in love with this new group of children. While our weekends were full with church activity, my weekdays were filled with the relationships at my new workplace, a small hat factory on the edge of downtown Minneapolis.

This was the early ’80’s, where the effects of the free-flowing ’70’s were still being deeply felt. I worked in the accounting department with a New-Age-Philosopher, a Buddhist Play-write, a gay young man who was just coming out to his family, a progressive Methodist Pastor, and a prodigal young adult from the same denomination that I had been raised in.

It was such a hard time for me, as I agonized again and again about leaving my young son while I worked. But day after day, so gradually, my co-workers became such dear friends to me as we shared deep issues of life together. Once again, while I thought Bible College was the place for preparation in ministry, God was teaching us how HE wants ministry to happen: on the streets of real life.

Is there a call to surrender that you have been resisting?

Are you afraid that obedience might require more of you than is possible to fulfill?

Perhaps that obedience is the very place where God, Himself, wants to begin to show you a deeper answer.

I am linking with #RememberMeMonday  #LegacyLinkup

26 thoughts on “Our Story, Chapter 2

  1. Before I read your post Bettie, as I was praying for the grace to surrender to Jesus in loving trust, I felt these words from the Lord.
    “Fall into my arms”.

    John begins chemotherapy treatment today.
    I am praying for you and your husband, as I know that you are praying for us.

    We are all physically broken, but resting in the arms of God, we will be filled with His love and strength, whatever happens.

    We are not our own. We belong to God, and indeed our time is on His loving hands.

    Be blessed.
    Colleen.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Colleen and Bettie: your words so reminded me of this –

      Paton was working one day in his home on the translation of John’s Gospel—puzzling over John’s favorite expression pisteuo eis, to “believe in” or to “trust in” Jesus Christ, a phrase which occurs first in John 1:12. “How can I translate it?” Paton wondered. The islanders were cannibals; nobody trusted anybody else. There was no word for “trust” in their language. His native servant came in. “What am I doing?” Paton asked him. “Sitting at your desk,” the man replied. Paton then raised both feet off the floor and sat back on his chair. “What am I doing now?” In reply, Paton’s servant used a verb which means “to lean your whole weight upon.” That’s the phrase Paton used throughout John’s Gospel to translate to “believe in.”
      Morning Glory, Sept. /Oct. , 1997, p. 50
      Source: https://bible.org/illustration/trials-missionary

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dear Anna,
        Thank you so much for sharing that precious story! Our God is incredible in the way that He comes right down into our moments and communicates just what we need. He breaks through our mis-trust and speaks the word of trust that will go straight to our heart. Oh, may I give Him let Him speak that word of comfort and trust into the deep places of my own soul. Sending you love and blessings today dear Anna.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Oh Dear Colleen,
      Isn’t the grace of our God so amazing! How precious that He would give you that word right before you read my post–confirmation to both of us that He is carrying us through these heavy times. Truly, we are not our own, we belong to the King of all creation. May you and your husband feel His presence with you today and in these days ahead too. May we all continue to cling to Him in these very broken and hard places. Thank you for sharing these beautiful words today. And I am so grateful for the words of my dear friend Anna here for both of us too. May we “lean our whole weight upon” HIM. Sending love and blessings to you today,

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Lisa,
      And I feel the same way about your precious stories. God has shown Himself so faithful to every one of His promises through your life too. Thank you for all of your love and prayers dear sister. May Jesus bless you so much today.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Bettie, you always inspire and encourage me. No matter what trials we may face, we can find comfort in knowing we are not alone. God is with us. God sends people to help us in our journey. Sending love and prayers from me to you. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dear Melissa,
      I appreciate your love and prayers so much! Our God is so good to stand right here with us, and then to send the people that we need along the way too. Thank you for being that encouragement for me so often. Blessings, love, and hugs to you.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. What a beautiful story of Gods provision and the sovereignty of His plans for your life. I see His power being made perfect in these difficult parts of your journey. Thank you for being brave and vulnerable and sharing your story with us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Wendy,
      Thank you so much for the blessing that you have been as you have shared your honest and open heart with me too. I am so grateful that He is our great Provider through every hard place. Truly He is so sovereign. Blessings and love and prayers for you dear friend.

      Like

  4. Dear Bettie, words falter here, too, as I sense the sheer weight of the many tests and trials you and your husband are going through. Such immense pressure tends to take the breath away and constrict speech. But I also see a holy and wholly powerful kind of ministry springing up on the streets where you live, have your being, and exercise your faith and trust.

    There’s a deep sense of awe when someone is struggling as you are yet their heart, rather than being mired in misery, is steeped in gratitude and praise. You might feel as if you are holding on to things by your fingertips, though your words suggest you are very much holding onto God as He holds you closer still. Anna has described this so well with her story. May you also know how very much you are being cared for, loved, and prayed for. Sending blessings of rest and peace aa the storm swirls about you, and for so much love and comfort to surround you. xoxo ❤️

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Dear Joy,
      I am sure that God has brought such praise and gratitude into my heart over these past years, throughout this chronic illness journey, as I have listened and shared with you across the miles. He began a different kind of pathway for me then, and I felt so floundering, longing for others who would lift their hearts to God in the midst of their struggles and pressure. OH, how grateful I am that He led our paths to cross. On these days when I do feel my fingertips barely touching the ledge, He sends such encouragement and grace to let me know that His arms and Word will not fail. Thank you for sharing your heart and your own journey with those of us who are traveling alongside and together. Blessings, love, and prayers for you dear friend. xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, Bettie, I echo what everyone else has said. Your peace and trust in your Savior is inspiring to us to keep trusting. He will be with us through whatever He allows us to go through. In Him we can rest as you so beautifully demonstrate for us. Much love to you, dear sister, with hugs and blessings! Praying for you and yours. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Gayl,
      Thank you so much for all of your prayers and encouragement as you have shared the trust in your heart also. I am so grateful that the Lord allows us to pray for each other through all of these trials in our lives. I pray blessings and love over you and your dear family too. xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  6. My heart and prayers continue to go up to our powerful and loving Savior, Bettie. For both of you. I love how God is bringing to remembrance past mercies and impossible surrenders to help you through the deep, dark valley of today’s troubles. I love your chapter 2 and how God taught you “how HE wants ministry to happen: on the streets of real life.” By the way, my friend, you do have a kind voice. 🙂 And Barry’s is so easy to listen to as well. Thank you for sharing such encouragement here! Love and blessings of peace and strength for each moment! For both of you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Trudy,
      Your support and sweet encouragement have meant so much to me over all of these years that God has allowed us to share. I am beyond grateful that He caused our paths to cross in this blogging journey. You have brought tears to my eyes as you spoke of my voice today. It feels so weak to me, with all that has gone on, but the Lord is still present as we open our hearts for Him to have us. I was so blessed that Barry and I were able to record this audio, even in the midst of preparing for all of these extra procedures. I pray those blessings of peace and strength for you too, dear friend! xo

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Bettie, I hadn’t read Matthew 19:29 NIV in that light before – than you for sharing it! Praying that the blood of the lamb encircle you both in this journey! Praying comfort, support – that all is well! Our Dad, the King – He’s got this! ~ Maryleigh

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Maryleigh,
      I love it when the Lord brings His Word to us in a fresh new way! Isn’t it amazing how we can never get to the end of understanding His perfect word as the Holy Spirit uncovers it for us? I appreciate your precious prayers and understanding so much! Truly, “all is well” in HIS arms as He carries us! Blessings and peace for you today.

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  8. Oh gosh, I love reading your updates and your story, Betty. I can see you working alongside with others so different with differing believes gracefully and lovingly, just like Jesus calls us to be. You and your husband are in my prayers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Lynn,
      Your comments always bring me such encouragement, just when I need it. Thank you for being the comfort of God toward me! I appreciate your prayers so much as we go forward with God’s covering and purposes in our lives, even in this new season. Blessings and prayers for you too!

      Like

  9. I am SO enjoying hearing your and Barry’s testimony! And, I find it so interesting that God had you begin this right before you got such devastating health news. I believe He ordained that you do this now so that you reach way back and relive how faithful He has always been in leading your lives and bringing you through such hard places in the past. The strength you will draw as you re-walk through those past seasons will bolster necessary faith in this current, unknown season. Oh, may He continue to see you through and send healing and long life to both of you, in Jesus’ name, that one day, you can add this season to your ongoing testimony!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Cheryl,
      Thank you for all of your beautiful encouraging comments and prayers. I came to read your comment here, just after I hit publish on today’s post. OH, what an amazing confirmation from the Lord! Today’s post is on that very topic of remembering. Our God is full of such abundant grace for us as we listen for His promptings. Even in the hardest places, HE has been so faithful to us. And He wants us to continue to watch for His faithfulness even here. Blessings, love, and prayers for you today, dear sister.

      Like

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