Monday, November 30, 2009

Merciful Blessing

It was hard last night to say goodbye to Robbie last night as they headed back down to Biola. It was so incredible to have him home - I think we are all going through a little withdrawal. So after some significant schoolwork today we picked up Jensen form school and headed to Betty's Burgers in Santa Cruz. The Owner had emailed me months ago sharing how they have been following Jake's story and were holding a t-shirt and gift card for Jacob (stickers too). So many little things kept us from getting there but we finally made it. Awesome. Highly recommended!!!

Then we drove along the coast. It is dark this time of year in the redwoods - an amazing clear and beautiful day along the ocean though. After stopping by and seeing our Dear friends at Freeline (surf shop Jake works at) we hit a Goodwill store to find an ugly Christmas sweater for Jake's upcoming party and finally home - followed right behind by Kiko and Chris, two of Jacob's friends. So they are hanging out helping get ornaments on the tree.

Freeline has continues to have a can on their counter on behalf of Jacob. They had also posted a flyer about the local dentist office that is whitening teeth to benefit Jake through the end of the year. All the details are on the left side of this blog - scroll down a little. You can even give a gift certificate to someone. It is a great value and they are totally blessing us. I spoke to Angela this morning from their office. She is our dental advocate as we try to figure out our own dental needs. They have been amazing.

So many of you have been such a blessing. As I write this, I am getting waves of panic because there are so many to thank - spikes of guilt are stabbing me. I know though that this outpouring of love and caring comes though from incredibly caring hearts that just want to bless us. There is no expectation of reciprocation - making this all the more special. It is also a dramatic reminder to me to not get caught up in reciprocal giving as we approach Christmas. You know that panic attack when someone gives you a Christmas gift and you did not even have it on your radar to give them something back? Or when you give a gift just because you saw something perfect for them and they say, but I did not give you anything?

It has been a huge lesson to be a gracious receiver. To accept the gift and appreciate it without letting it trigger obligation. It is a lesson for those of us who attempt follow Christ. The gift that Jesus gave is unable to be reciprocated. Yet so often we try and try and hold tight to this sense of payback - obligation - as proof of our allegiance or to please God or worse yet influence Him. Pleasing God comes from the purity of action.

Jesus quoted the prophet Hosea when he spoke for God saying, "I desire mercy and not sacrifice." Both Hosea and Jesus were addressing the blundering of thinking that an external act would please God when there is impurity, greed, idolatry, etc in our hearts. God's message over and over again where that the sacrifices and offerings that God's people bring to him are nothing if the heart is not merciful blessings.

Our time of suffering has proved to also be our time of receiving merciful blessing. Prayers, encouragement, gifts, etc are gifts of mercy, gifts of compassion, gifts of love as they pour out to us and to Jacob and allow us to continue to focus on Jacob. This is what community is all about - we are experiencing the mercy of God. I have been asked by several people, how we are surviving through this? Community, the merciful blessing of community. Each day holds another lesson in trying to really trust in Jesus' lesson of not worrying about tomorrow but trusting in him for today and that he will provide for tomorrow.

Moving forward I am starting to send out resume's again. I was actually able to sub for a couple of half days at Jensen's school. Is that not having faith that God will continue to provide? I see it as not taking advantage of the merciful blessing and seeking to partner with God in provision. As Jacob becomes moves toward independence, especially after his next surgery, I pray that God would provide the right position for me to provide for my family and spread that merciful blessing to others.

Our prayer of mercy at this moment is still for healing to Jake's thumb. Tomorrow we go back to have it checked once again. Lord our deepest desire is that this grafting would take and that we might travel to the next major event on this journey. For Jake this all means moving toward more independence and less parent-dependence as he gets the plate inserted over his brain.

Happy December,

Tom (Daddy)

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