Saturday, February 26, 2011


Do yourself a favor, and read Philippians 4:10-13. Really, do it. The rest of this won't be very good in comparison. After you read it, listen to "The Secret of Contentment". Even if you have no interest at all in this "stuff", take a chance.

Here's a summary of 90% of my conversations:

"How's Sarah doing?"
Me: "She's doing fine/good/great/well?"
"Good, good, how are you?"
Me: "I'm doing fine/good/great/well."
"Good to see you. You're in our prayers/thoughts."

I like these conversations. It's good to know that people are thinking about Sarah, and lifting her up in prayer.

But, this exchange, very rarely, goes much deeper. I walk away with a multitude of thoughts: "He thinks my head is in the clouds." "She doesn't believe that I am feeling okay." "Am I really okay, or am I just numb?" "I wonder if this is a denial phase, and all my thoughts will change in an hour, a day, a week."

I have a friend, and co-worker, who doesn't allow surface conversations. He always digs deeper. We had some meaningful dialogue one day, each of the last two weeks.

I also have three brothers who are absolutely incredible, and have each influenced my life, whether intentionally or accidently. A few years ago, a brother and I had a lengthy conversation about life, in general. At the end of the phone conversation, he encouraged me not to let another year pass whereby I did not pursue that which makes me happy. He said that I could figure it out now, or wait until I was much older... better sooner rather than later.

The next day, I started reading about contentedness. I've spent more time reading about contentedness than any other aspect of faith over the last four or five years.

I hope you took time to read and listen to what I recommended above. It's a life changing perspective.

Reflecting on this passage, and talking with my buddy at work last week, I realized that, at times, I may be confusing contentedness with stoicism. Being stoic is not liberating at all. It doesn't bring joy in the midst of trial, and it doesn't allow to you to love, care, and sympathize for someone who is suffering. I know because I slip into that mode very easily.

True, biblical, contentedness does bring freedom. It does bring joy. It's comforting to those who are suffering.

Sarah's diagnosis has detached us more from this world than any other time in our lives, and caused us to focus more on the things of heaven. That breads happiness.

Chalk one up for "Good Things coming out of Unfortunate Circumstances". Let's chalk up a couple more.

Please continue to lift Sarah up. Her surgery is at 7:30 on Wednesday morning.


  1. Patrick,
    Couple of things, first I listened to "the secret of contentment". That is a powerful message on the "providence of God", thanks for sharing it. God will use this trial to reveal His character to you and use you to reveal it to many others. The other night in our "journey group", after a discussion about trials and how God uses them to build our “spiritual muscles”, we went around the table and each of the guy’s prayed for something to help you guy’s get through this. Here is the list of things they prayed for you and Sarah. They prayed for strength, courage, discernment, perseverance and joy in the midst of this trial.

  2. Ok--so I am 100% part of the 90% that have had that exact same conversation with you. Honestly I just know you guys are so strong in faith that I don't know if I can tell you anything you don't already know. I want to be encouraging but I don't know what to say or if you get tired of talking about it and just want to have a different conversation. BUT we do think about you all and pray for you consistently and frequently.

    In fact, watching you guys go through this with such strong faith and joy despite circumstances and grace has humbled me and helped me grow in the Lord. For example, (and this is so small and so ridiculous--but just go with me) if I start to get flustered or irritated with something, I think to myself "if I were talking to Pat and Sarah right now--how stupid or small would this seem in comparison to what they are going through?" And, sad to admit, but most of the time--it is horribly insignificant and not worth a second thought! Also, that reminded me that I should probably have always been asking, "How does it make God feel if I am irked by something so trivial...that I am forgetting how blessed I am because of this." I say all that so that you know that God is already using your situation for His glory and that I am so blessed to have examples like you guys in my life!

    We are praying for you guys! Everyone is! We love you all and are thinking about you--especially this week!

  3. March 2, 2011 is the 5 year anniversary of my now 14 year old son's surgery for a brain tumor and other issues related to his tumor. I remember the week before his surgery like it was yesterday. One week since we recieved the news that he was very sick. One week on medications to control week in the hospital just waiting for the big day. Over and over i said "I just want to fast forward a month, so this part is over". Here we are 5 YEARS later!! My son is amazing. Healthy and happy. Our ten year tumor free day will be your 5 year tumor free day. Praying for a complete success in your surgery and recovery. March 2 is a date that is forever in our hearts, as it will be for you. Praying.