Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Good Grief

A good night's rest has been hard to come by lately at the Fries house.

For about two weeks, Sarah has been very nauseous. So nauseous, in fact, that she has not had more than a daily popsicle or snow cone since her nausea commenced.

Please pray for her. The onset of this recurring sickness is a bit unexplainable since it began prior to starting her second round of chemo treatment. Of course, her symptoms have been exacerbated by her treatment over the last four days. Fortunately, she takes her last second round dosage tonight. We are praying for relief. Please join us.

Times like this are tough, very tough. There's no getting around it. I'd like to say that she, I, and the kids are able to breeze through it, unscathed. We're not. This stuff can keep us at night. Whether she can't kick the physical side effects of her treatment, or my mind is racing trying to figure out what to do, there's quite a bit of tossing and turning in the master bedroom!

Fortunately, we've had a few things to celebrate during this time. Since we first learned of Sarah's preliminary diagnoses in February, we've asked that God use us for His Kingdom purpose. Over the past two weeks, we have been able to share our perspective of Sarah's trial with a young couple, with students, with a friend whose job is at risk, with group of young men, and with a couple of men with a vision to find stories that can be communicated to encourage others in our region.

It's been encouraging to reflect on how this prayer has been answered, and we look forward to more opportunities like these.

I've been asked recently, "If you had four minutes to drive home a message about what you've learned through this trial, what would it be?"

I'm going to give myself literary license to ramble for a moment. I hold old man hours. The only reason I'm up this late, anyway, is because I can't keep my mind from racing (and Sarah told me I needed to update the blog). I'm hoping this helps to settle me down.

When we talk to people about the last few months of our lives, I think it is easy for people to begin putting themselves in our shoes, specifically Sarah's shoes. But, we didn't ask for opportunities to share this story so that people would have pity on her, or us. We hope that God uses our story to change lives, and that it gives hope to people in the midst of any type of trial.

More than once, I've asked myself the question, "What good can come of this? How's this good for Sarah? For the kids? For me?"

There's a great promise 1 Peter 1: 3-9. It's worship-inducing stuff. Read it for yourself. Here's what I hear when I read it:

"Pat, you have a Father in heaven who loves you so much He sent His son to die for you. And, because of Jesus' resurrection, you have hope. By His mercy you are promised a perfect inheritance in heaven. God knew that you would face trials in this imperfect world, and that those trials would lead to grief. Grief is fine; it's even necessary. God knew that, through your grief, your faith in Him would be tested. He knew that you would ask questions like, 'What good can come of this?'. But, grief produces genuinely tested faith. And, genuine faith is more precious than gold, more precious than your health, more precious than your wealth, and even more precious than your family. Whether you live to be 8 or 108, your time on this earth is just a 'little while.' By your faith, you have an eternal promise that is untouchable. It's imperishable. Rejoice! No matter is taken from you (health, job, whatever), you have not lost your most prized possession! Encourage others to take the step of faith to obtain the salvation of their souls, and love for their Savior."

There's no guarantee of health, healing, or even personal well being. There is, though, a promise that our faith is refined through our trails. That imperfections in our faith come to surface, and we have the opportunity to respond. Our perspective is shifted towards eternal hope.

If you are in the midst of a trial, I hope these verses, and this message resinate with you. Please pray with us, that we would have more opportunities to share this message with others.

Now, I can sleep.