Friday, May 25, 2012

Praising the Lord for His Goodness in Hard Times

Below is a letter I wrote to my second oldest sister, Joyce. I've edited it slightly to take out any personal stuff that isn't relative to this post. The reason I am posting it is because the Lord has really done so much for our family over the past 6 or 7 weeks. It is easy to forget, so hopefully this letter will always help us to remember:

Dear Joyce: Thanks for your note. I’ll let Nathaniel and Joshua know you are thinking of them. He (Nathaniel) is able to bend his fingers and move them more, but they are still wrapped and in little hard “football helmets” as the medical assistant called them. He was at Therapy on Tuesday getting the dressings removed and it nearly sent Nathaniel through the ceiling as they had to peel the dried blood-soaked gauze off the wound. He decided he wanted to go off the narcotics and just took 2 Tylenol and 3 Motrin that morning, so he felt more pain than he anticipated he would. The MA was so sweet and gentle and took an hour just to change his dressings and show him some simple things to do to keep his fingers moving and to de-sensitize them. Nathaniel has kept his incredibly great sense of humor through all of this, and although he could be “kicking” himself, he has a “heavenly” perspective on this all. And Joshua is stepping up doing Nathaniel’s chores while Nathaniel is unable to do them…without complaint and without expecting anything in return. Yup – I have two wonderful boys who love Jesus and that makes me very happy and very proud.

One of the most kind things was how quickly Dru’s family and Pam’s family responded, lavishing gifts on him and sending sweet notes of love and comfort just when he needed it most. He got the funniest card from Michelle today a sweet note from Mack who hardly even knows him. They sent a balloon to help “lighten” up the pain which he promptly inflated and put in his room. It’s the simple thing that often mean the most!

Amazing things happens when tragedy strikes – neighbors, friends, church members, my friends on Facebook and Nathaniel’s Facebook friends have all sent kind and caring messages to him. I got a friend request from the mother of one of Nathaniel’s friends on Facebook who is an evangelical Christian and a homeschooler. They want to send Nathaniel a get-well card and asked if I minded sending our address – they want to surprise him and they have never even met him! So, I guess it really shows how much love people really do have for one another.  As Dave’s mom said in a sweet note she sent to him, “sometimes accidents happen.”  Hindsight Is always 20/20, but I have always found the Lord has a reason for everything and even this tragedy will result in something good in the end…perhaps it will help Nathaniel become more empathetic toward others who are hurting, perhaps it will open up new opportunities and doors for more blessings. It will most definitely give him a great story that he can tell for many years to come. AND we have heard our share of “finger” and lawnmower stories, helping us to realize how much worse it could have been.

On another note, our insurance settlement came through and we got a partial check for the depreciated amount. Already we have watched the Lord open up opportunities and bargains to us. Just tonight as we were looking to buy a replacement for the DSLR camera that was stolen, we found one for $250 cheaper than everywhere else we had looked. We wanted to get it, but none were on the shelf and the sale ended today. The store policy is NOT to give rain checks on advertised items, but the sales guy felt sorry for us and gave us one anyhow. The rain check is good for 30 days! Two days earlier we found the exact laptop computer that I had gotten for my birthday (which was stolen as well) on sale for less than we paid when Dave bought it before. We had a warranty on the stolen computer which our insurance would not cover (exclusion for items insuring future loss), but the store honored the original warranty minus only $30. They should have taken much more off. Joshua’s Xbox that was stolen we got for almost $100 less than we paid for it two Christmases ago…again new and exact same model. We have found games that were stolen for the same amount or even cheaper than we originally paid for them….I could go on and on….

Even the insurance adjuster at State Farm was a blessing. She kept giving us more and more and felt badly that we had to wait so long because of playing telephone tag and then some other things that had happened that prevented me from calling back (my good friend from church was ill and hospitalized, so I arranged meals for her family and helped her with the AWANA closing programs this year). Our claim was for around $10,000 in the end and as Dave and I have already seen, we are saving far more than we ever expected…deals popping up before our eyes, checking websites and sales at just the right time, etc. It is as though the Lord is saying to us that He will take care of us…and the best thing of all is that He’s giving us new things for the old and worn out stuff we had….not so much that they did not work, but they weren’t in perfect condition. It reminds me of the verse in Isaiah 61:3, " give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified."

I could go on and on, but I guess it is all to say that I am still learning how to trust the Lord when difficulties come…but I know that in the end, the Lord has the big picture in mind and He works all things together for good. What may appear to the unseeing eye as a foolish or a crazy mistake is not foolish in the Lord’s eyes. He has a greater purpose and plan in mind. All we must do is trust in the Lord and allow His handiwork to shine through us.

It is a wait and see situation with us…much depends upon the outcome of Nathaniel’s fingers and our financial situation after that is all said and done. With no health insurance, we have no other choice but to trust that the Lord will work it all out…and you know what? He will! We have applied for assistance from the government, a necessary step even if we don’t qualify, but we are not worried because we know the Lord’s plans are not our plans, and there is no point in worrying about tomorrow! If He can take care of the sparrows, how much more will He also take care of us?!

We are almost finished with school…the burglary and accident put us a little behind, but I am Nathaniel’s scribe for his Geometry final which means he will finish school tomorrow. Joshua should be finished as well. Nathaniel will see the hand surgeon on Tuesday and hopefully will let us know if he can go to summer boy scout camp in 3 weeks. We are thinking it might not happen and Nathaniel, who is learning to accept the things he cannot change, is fine with that. He can still play guitar and cello, albeit, holding a pick and a bow is a little bit of a challenge right now. He may have lost the opportunity to perform his cello recital, but he has gained amazing character, perseverance and faith in the Lord because of this….money cannot buy any of those things! We are so immensely thankful that the Lord would count us worthy of such trials and tribulations to endure. James 1:12 says, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” We are anxiously awaiting to see what the Lord has in store for us next! Hopefully we will be able to stand strong and endure anything that comes our way. We are definitely praying for God’s mercy!

Have a wonderful summer and enjoy your flowers….they have been blooming here and we are taking each day one day at a time.

Camille and the rest of the Cantwell gang

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