This morning as I prayed in my “new” chair I thought about the many hours I've spent in this chair through the years.
It’s where I start most days with my morning coffee and my Bible to meet with Jesus. In this chair, most recently, I’ve prayed for my family, for dear friends with cancer, surgeries, the loss of loved ones, for two friends whose husbands have recently lost jobs, for friends whose homes flooded this past fall, for the spiritual restoration of our nation, and in recent weeks for my own healing from serious illness.
As I reflected on my journey with the Lord in this chair, I remembered a blog I had written way back in August of 2012. It was during the time when my husband Ken had been told that it was a 95% chance that he had pancreatic cancer. When the doctor shows up at your house on a Sunday afternoon, you know it's not good news. It was the most difficult season of our married life. The mass was detected on a scan six weeks before my daughters wedding and the future was so uncertain, Ken's pain was excruciating and the pain in all our hearts seemed too much to bear.
Friends and strangers prayed for Ken’s healing all over the world as word spread and I prayed, read through the Scriptures and wept in my red chair. It became my refuge, my sanctuary with God.
Below is an excerpt I wrote during our journey with his illness. Our daughter Maggie, had flown home to have her wedding portraits made and spend time with us and hurricane Isaac was looming in the gulf.
My husband is a musician and has led ministry as a worship pastor for over forty years. It seemed natural that he chose to sing his way through this illness. I wrote these words from my “red” chair.
“Isn't it amazing what a day can bring as we journey in life. As I blogged earlier, Ken woke up yesterday with hymns of praise on his heart and began to make his way through the hymnal. He literally sang every hymn he knew (and Ken knows a lot of hymns!) non stop from 8am until we left for our follow up doctor visit, all the way to the doctor, in the waiting room, and he was somewhere around #650 in the hymnal when the doctor walked into the examining room! The doctor looked curiously at Ken when he walked in the room. I imagine he has seen many patients before with a Bible in their lap, but a hymnbook was a little different! As Dr. McDonald told us the news that the PET Scan had come back showing no cancer, Ken literally fell to his knees in the room and began to praise and worship Jesus. I was humbled to see his response and we all circled and prayed together thanking God for His love, His grace and His mercy in our lives! As Sherry sent to you in the text I sent out later that day, we still have no answers as to why his bilirubin levels are so high and what is causing the jaundice or the mass. Many doctors are consulting on his case and he will have a biopsy later this week on his liver after the storm passes. They are still not ruling out cancer in the pancreas or elsewhere in the body at this time. Please pray that the blood work and tests will lead them to an accurate diagnosis. He will have an MRI in about two weeks to give the pancreas time to heal.
......And so we learn more deeply what it means to wait on the Father for answers and trust His heart for us
in this faith journey.
Please continue to pray for miraculous healing in the name of Jesus. Ken's pain level from the pancreatitis is a little better today. He is sitting up some and actually walking around a little which he hasn't been able to do without extreme pain since last weeks procedure. He is definitely stronger today. Thank you for your faithful intercession before the throne.
"Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews 4:16
The night brought little sleep for both of us. I woke around 12:30pm and decided the Lord had waked me to pray and spend time in His Word. And so I came down to my red chair in the corner of the living room. I lit the candle next to the chair that dear Spencer (my future son-n-law) just sent me for my birthday and fell to my knees and began to pray. As I prayed, I was struck at the history the Lord and I have together in this chair. He has met me here so often in the middle of the night and ministered to my spirit, listened to my cries of pain and pleas for healing, mercy, understanding. It has been a place where He has taught me faith lessons as I poured over His Word and sang songs of praise. It's good to have a place where you sense His presence so strong. As Maggie, now grown, slept upstairs I thought of the times when she was a toddler and little girl and I would hear her come down the stairs in the early morning hours and join me at this chair. She learned that if the candle was lit mommy was talking with Jesus and she could join me in prayer or play quietly beside me if she wanted, but had to wait until the candle was blown out to leave the room. Mary Elizabeth spent many hours beside me at this chair as a child as well. Sweet memories....
I thought about the answers to prayer the Lord has given me kneeling at this chair.
I've learned that I don't have to understand all His ways, but I can trust Him.
In this place, where I write today as we wait for the storm, Isaac, to hit, I've cried to Him in the death of my Father, in the pain of years of infertility, in the storms of ministry demands, in the illnesses and deaths of precious family and loved ones, the diagnosis of my mother's alzheimer’s disease. I've cried out to Him for wisdom for my husband, my children, my life. I've prayed over the brokenness and pain of friend's marriages, loss of jobs, the lists goes on and on.... He has always heard my prayers. He has taught me to hunger and thirst after Him in His Word. Bible studies He's led me to write have been birthed here as He laid the foundation of Truth in my heart.
He has taught me some of what it means to wait on the Lord. I'm learning more today.
In this room we have also been led in songs of praise and had lots of fun with Ken at the piano leading leadership groups and gatherings of friends and students. We have seen great rejoicing and celebration in this room. It's good to have a history with the Lord and know that I can trust His heart for us where He is leading us today.
As I continued to work my way through the Psalms last night I read -
“Praise be to the Lord, for He has heard my cry for mercy.
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts
in Him and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will
give thanks to Him in song. The Lord is the strength of his
people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.
Save your people and bless your inheritance.;
be their Shepherd and carry them forever.”
I’ve heard him playing and singing today as I’ve worked throughout the house.
Today, Jesus is continuing to write His story on our hearts in my “new” chair. He is faithful still and hears the cries of our hearts.
There is healing in His music.
There is power in His presence.
We don’t always get the blessed, incredible miracle that Ken and I experienced in our lives, but always He hears and reaches out to touch the broken places in our hearts.
He is our refuge to carry us through the storms
God has met me this fall in the "new" chair and spoken to my heart as I studied His Word, prepared to teach and wrote for our most recent Restore Retreat - Awaken to the Pursuit
of the Bridegroom.
I wonder if the new white chair with threads of silver helped to inspire the bridal theme!
Of course, there is nothing magical about the chair. It is the healing presence of Jesus that heals and comforts.
It is the power of His Spirit that ministers truth and hope in the hours spent here. Yet, I do believe there is something significant about having a place in your home where you have a history with the Lord.
Here in this chair, in the quiet, in the prayers, in the beauty of His Words, Jesus is forming me into who He sees me to be, who He created me to be. I cherish the many years of faith lessons In this chair.
As long as it will hold me, I'll be here, whatever color she wears.
And I wonder....do you have a place or a chair in your home where you have a history with the Lord in prayer
and His Word?
Do you take the time to write down your story with the Lord so that you can remember to trust in His faithfulness and learn to rest in it?
One thing I have learned in my chair, in my time with Jesus.....when we lay our shattered lives and fears before the Lord, He always redeems the brokenness.
Here in His presence, I can trust that although all our struggles and relationships may not be restored and our dreams may remain unfulfilled, Jesus will ultimately redeem it all by the power of the cross. And so I come, building a legacy of faith that enables me to live in the confidence that God's grace will carry me through whatever each day brings.
I come, by the blood of Jesus, before the very throne of God and bare the deepest longings of my soul.
You never know the miracle our God may have in store......
So, settle into your chair and come!
Blessed in my chair,
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