Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Take it easy!

On Monday we went to the doctor for Shirley’s check-up after the operation. He showed us the x-rays, talked about what they mean, mentioned that everything was looking quite good, and asked if there were any questions. Shirley had a few, which were easily and clearly answered: she is doing great and can do whatever is possible for her body. She just needs to listen to what her body is telling her.
Then I had some questions. I am the one who has been coming down hard on her about doing all sorts of things. I am overprotective, I admit it. But I want to help. So Shirley has chafed at not being able to even do some simple things – not because she is not able, but because I will not allow her. The doctor had now made it clear: Take it easy! That was directed at me, not at Shirley.
Thank you all for your prayers and emails, your encouragement and good advice. The next time Shirley has to go in isn’t until August for a six-month check-up where they will just check the implants and make sure all is still going well. As far as the doctor is concerned, Shirley is ready to roll (and I will try to take it easy while I try to make sure that she really listens to her body). 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sons and Daughters

Thanks for the photo from "Erin" on fb
I never wanted to know what the gender of our child would be before he/she was born. I have always been like that. One Christmas my brothers and I snuck out to see what presents were being wrapped – before they were wrapped. It was the worst Christmas ever. I like surprise. So when Shirley was pregnant, I didn’t need to know if it was a boy or girl (even if they could have given us certainty – which they couldn’t at that time).
We were blessed with two wonderful boys. After Stephan came, we would have welcomed, as we would have when Stephan was on his way, either a boy or a girl as our second child. It didn’t matter. Sean and Stephan are two very different young men, but they are definitely boys in so many ways. So we never had the opportunity to experience girls. Of course we have baby-sat plenty of households with girls. Our colleagues, the Verheijen’s, are a family of only girls, so they had the opposite experience to ours. And both families have always been happy.
But of course, we also know how wonderful it is to find your soul-mate, that very person who matches you, challenges you, helps you to grow in the very faith and goodness that God has placed in us in order to grow. To find someone with whom you can share the best part of life – the very Creator of life, this is joy. And it is through knowing love, as God has shown us love, that we are truly able to recognize it in the other. This is why a spouse is a gift from the Lord.
It was so exciting to hear Stephan and Natalie’s news – they will soon be one ("soon" being relative - the wedding is in December). And we will have a daughter. It is so good to see how they share the best part of life. Their faith together has grown and continues to grow. What a blessing! And it has been especially precious to us to experience the outpouring of joy that all of you have had in this choice as well. Thank you for sharing in this.

“He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.”
“Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the LORD.”
Proverbs 18:22; 19:14

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

A willing heart

What would you do if you found out that everything you had learned from your parents was wrong? Would you even be able to come to such a conclusion? Or is reaching this conclusion too easy, simply because you want to rebel against everything your parents think? Knowing why we believe what we believe is extremely important. I remember very well the struggles I went through as a young man searching for faith and truth. And I am aware of the struggles I still experience.
Recently we were pleasantly surprised (I don’t know why I am still surprised at how God does things, but He certainly does surprise) when someone who had contacted us years ago renewed contact. D. Had struggled with the teachings of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. At the time we met, she had made the decision to leave them – which meant that her whole family, who she had brought to the Witnesses, would have to shun her. Not an easy decision. In the meantime she had seemed to be going in a different direction and we kept praying for her.
This past Sunday she worshipped with us in Maastricht. She has an open, questioning heart willing to learn and aware of where she has come from. Pray for her, her children and for us as we work with her on her journey. We want to be people who know Jesus well enough that we can let her see who He is – in our words, attitudes and actions. It is great how God uses people to bring us to Him and His grace!