Thursday, May 30, 2013

Thanksgiving and Contentment

Today a very kind friend offered to watch all my kids while I went for a run. It was such a refreshing, encouraging and convicting time. Thank you, Christie Cook! I enjoy listening to sermons while I run, and today I listened to Ray Cortese's most recent sermon entitled "Old Paths: Contentment." It was just what I needed to listen to today. Here is a link, I highly recommend it!

This morning I was feeling anxious, surprise, surprise. (This is probably my biggest ongoing sin struggle.) I worry about all kinds of things, preparing to move my family to Uganda, broken septic line under the house, air condition repairs needed, pre-cancer on my tongue, money to cover all of these expenses, and still needing 15% of our monthly support for life and ministry in Uganda. All of this was on my mind as I set out for a run. The first part of the sermon was pretty convicting. But then I was reminded of the good news, that God loves me! It is so easy to think that smooth circumstances in life will bring me peace, but this is not true. True joy and peace are found only when my soul is fully satisfied in my Lord. During the last portion of my run I listened to the song that says, "Jesus satisfies all my longings, Through his blood I now am saved." Here is a recording of it on YouTube.

It is so good to remember that I do not need to live in fear and worry, but I can have peace as I learn to trust my Lord more each day. Our Sunday school class last Sunday was about thankfulness. One of the antidotes to worry in my life, has been learning to thank God. So I am going to list a few things for which I am thankful.

  1. A beautiful house to rent in Uganda for the first 4 and a half months we are there
  2. A missionary family at GSF offering us their home while they are on furlough for 5 months after our first house
  3. Clean water to drink every day of my life
  4. Never going a day of my life without having food available for me to eat
  5. God providing all of our one-time support, and 85% of our monthly support needed 
  6. Loving and supportive families
  7. Loving and supportive church family
  8. Children who are excited to move to Uganda and show love to the orphans there
  9. Renters for our home here who even like to garden
  10. Friends offering to keep our dog, Ellie
  11. The opportunity to run
  12. Girlfriends who got together to have an early birthday celebration for me last night
All of these things and so many more are amazing blessings from the Lord, but the biggest blessing is that He has loved me  and made me His child and is taking care of me. It is my desire to "fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith." Hebrews 12:2 The God who created this world is working all things together for the good of "conforming me to the image of His Son." Romans 8:28-30 My loving father is the Good Shepherd! "I shall not be in want." Psalm 23:1 And I am so thankful that He has called us to serve his children at Good Shepherd's Fold in Uganda! 

32 days until take-off, Lord willing!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Email update

Here is a recent email update we sent. If you did not receive this email and want to join our email list, you can do so from the link.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Thoughts on life and request for prayer

As I have been processing all of the recent information about having pre-cancer as a generally healthy fairly young woman, I have been learning much. Thinking about my own mortality has brought about some interesting thoughts. The first thought that came to me was that if I die I will be in heaven with my Lord, and no more pain or sorrow. That will be wonderful one day! I am so thankful that because of Jesus I have this confidence. (But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.) Romans 6:23

The second thought I had was that God still has work for me to do here on earth. He has given me the privilege and opportunity to disciple my four children as their mother, showing them His love and helping them to know Him better. He has also given us this amazing opportunity to go teach missionary kids and live out the love of Jesus toward them and all the orphaned and abandoned children who live at Good Shepherd's Fold.

I am very thankful for the perspective of the apostle Paul in Philippians 1.
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith.
While I do have peace about heaven and confidence that God has work for me to do here on earth, I am still really struggling with fear and anxiety. I wake up each morning and my heart begins racing and my stomach begins hurting. It is so strange to go through this very physical fear response, while in my mind I know that God is in control and working for my good. If you are reading this I ask you to pray for me. Please pray that as I learn to trust God with my future, I would have peace in my heart, mind and body. Thank you!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Lisa's tongue update

Today I was very grateful to have the opportunity to meet with Dr. Norris, an Otolaryngologist here in Athens. He came highly recommended and seems like a very knowledgeable and capable doctor who gave us some helpful information. The first thing he mentioned is that this pre-cancer is somewhere in the middle of the continuum between normal cells and cancer cells. So while it does need to be taken care of and watched, it is not as dangerous as I first thought. He also mentioned that squamous carcinoma (cancer) has a 90% survival rate over 5 years. So he said this is not cancer, but even if it was, most people recover. Another interesting thing that Dr. Norris mentioned is that sometimes after a biopsy, as the body is trying to heal the area biopsied it can possibly also get rid of the abnormal cells nearby (the dysplasia). So please pray with me for this outcome! I would be so happy for my body to fight this off on its own. Dr. Norris thinks that we ought to wait a few more weeks to see what heals after the biopsy and what might still be dysplasia and need to be removed.

We felt very comfortable with Dr. Norris in his ability to handle this, but we are still planning to meet with the doctor at Emory for a few reasons. The main reason is that Dr. Norris thinks that Dr. Wadsworth at Emory may be able to follow up with us better while we are overseas due to the various resources available at Emory. Apparently the usual protocol for follow up includes visual screenings every 2 months for a year, and then every 3 months following that. We are hoping to talk with Dr. Wadsworth about the possibility of doing this through pictures or teleconferencing with us in while we are in Uganda. We also have a friend from Covenant College who is an MD currently living in Uganda not far from where we will be. We are planning to contact him to ask about the possibility of following up with an Otolaryngologist (ENT) in Kampala. There are apparently about 20 ENTs in Uganda. Who knew?

So I am very thankful for the additional information we received today. But I still feel sick to my stomach. A tongue biopsy, then news of pre-cancer is definitely a weight loss strategy, although I don't recommend it! I have had one week of tongue pain and then one week of feeling sick to my stomach with anxiety. Please pray that this news will help calm my nerves and that I will begin to feel a bit more normal again. I am also praying that I will be able to trust God with the future in such a way that brings peace in the midst of struggles.  Thank you all for your prayers, kind words and offers of help! I am so blessed by you all! And just for fun, I have included one of my favorite pictures of me and Zeke.

photo taken by Stephanie Atkinson

Friday, May 10, 2013


Today my dear friend Sara watched my boys so that I could have an hour to talk to God about things. I parked my car on a gravel drive near this beautiful tree and pasture. I cried, complained, begged, pleaded, thanked and worshiped my Father. While worshiping, on of my favorite songs came to mind. Here is the final verse:
"No guilt in life, no fear in death;
This is power of Christ in me.
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny!
No power of hell, No scheme of man,
Shall EVER pluck me from His hand.
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I Stand!"
For those of you who know Jeff Dickinson, It was sung in his style. For those of you who don't, that means it was sung with great passion at the top of my lungs. I am so thankful for that hour alone with my Lord and that He commands my destiny! Praise the Lord!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

some good news

If you have not received my email, or read it on facebook, I have recently been diagnosed with high-grade squamous dysplasia on my tongue. This is apparently an advanced form of pre-cancer that needs to be addressed before we move overseas. I know that with this title you are expecting to hear good news about my medical situation, which you will, but I could not write a post about "good news" without talking about The Good News first. Even if you have heard this a gazillion times, please do not skip this part. If you are a close friend of mine you have probably heard some portion of Romans 8 come out of my mouth. This chapter of the Bible is one of my favorites beginning with "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus," and ending with the good news that "nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." But stuck in the middle of the chapter is a promise that God works all things for the good of those who love him (vs.28) and then a set of verses that bring me great comfort.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
These verses do not guarantee healing, or an easy life, or any of that. But I know that the God of the universe is for me and He reminds me that I can trust Him with the future! He shows us how much He loves us by sending His own Son to take the the consequence of my sin so that I can be adopted into His family and given His perfect righteousness.  This is The Good News! I am loved. I am cared for. I have eternal life with God.
I also have more good news. I am a part of the family of God. I have had probably a hundred emails, texts, and phone calls from my brothers and sisters in Christ in the past two days. From the time I received the phone call asking me to come in to the office until last night (about 30hours) I had 7 dear friends come over to be with me. I am not only loved by my Heavenly Father, but I am so thankful to be loved by you all, His hands and feet.
And finally, the good news of a sooner appointment with the Otolaryngologist. My initial appointment has been moved to May 23rd. I have also asked to be on the list to call if there are any cancellations. So please continue to pray that I will get an appointment even sooner, that the doctor will know the best way to treat this in order to prevent it from becoming cancer, and that all of this will be able to be taken care of in time for us to leave for Uganda on July 1st. Thank you for all of your prayers and words of encouragement. I will keep you posted!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Inside Out and Back Again book review by Elijah

Elijah recently read a book and wanted to write a blog post with some of his thoughts about it. Below is what he wrote:
Front Cover
I just finished reading a book called Inside Out & Back Again. It is about a ten year old girl called Hà. When her family has to move from Saigon, they end up in Alabama. The kids at her school make fun of her name, and call her "Pancake face". Imagine having to eat lunch in the bathroom in order not to be made fun of. She feels like a stranger, and she’s not the only one. This book reminds me of a song that says "all I know is I’m not home yet, this is not where I belong." So Hà is not the only one who is lost, and we are only lost temporarily. Because God will always find us. This is a very good book, and I would recommend it for kids who are moving to a foreign place.
Getting ready to go to Uganda, I could learn a few things from Hà. For instance, I could improve on my Lugandan. I could try to make friends and learn about their ways of life. This is a very good book, and I would recommend it for kids who are going to a different country.