Mark and I have really been encouraged by several sermons, scripture, and songs we've heard recently. We are really enjoying our new pastor, Brandon Pugh. His recent sermons have really been applicable to our life. These messages-along with other scriptures-have served as a source of encouragement for us. Like I mentioned above, several songs have also helped lift our spirits in this difficult time. In fact, I told Mark last night that two songs in particular could be our "theme songs" for life right now. I wanted to pass the encouragement on to you:
Two weeks ago, Brandon was preaching on the reasons why Christians face trials and afflictions. His sermon came from Proverbs. I'm not too good at remembering every scripture that supported the message, but I do know the "take home message" or main point. Brandon used scripture to provide several reasons why Christians are afflicted. He mentioned that God often uses hardships to bring His children closer to Him. So, given that trials are used to draw you closer to God, Brandon challenged us to think about the affliction itself as an "act of love from God" or a gift. He challenged us to be thankful for the trial. So....we are now attempting to assume this attitude! We are trying (though not successful at every moment) to be thankful for Mark's kidney situation. We have talked about how there are several things to be thankful for related to his health (i.e. he has no other health problems that would jeopardize his candidacy for transplantation, we have good insurance and jobs, God has blessed us with a strong marriage, etc.) We remain firm in the belief that God's plan for our lives is a perfect and good plan.
"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
This has always been a favorite verse. Roy shared it with me when I was in his youth group. Mom reminded me of it several weeks ago. It continues to offer encouragement to our family.
Our Theme Songs
There is no way that I can verbalize the meaning of the two songs we've labeled as our "theme songs." So...here are the links videos on YouTube. Hope you enjoy!
"While I'm Waiting" by John Waller: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bb7TSGptd3Y
"Praise You in the Storm" by Casting Crowns: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHdcyue0bSw
Please pray for us on Monday as three potential donors are tested at UK!