In him, it is always Yes.

From Michelle.  8 February, 2013.

Dear friends and family,

We are now approaching three years since Steve’s accident.  I wish I could say that we have settled into a routine, into acceptance, into a familiarity with the new parameters of our life, but instead I feel as if we are still crashing up and down on stormy waves, in unfamiliar territory.  Each day still feels new.  I cannot predict the effects each particular configuration of hours will have on Steve’s body.  There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the evolution of this process.  Some days ring with triumphal normalcy while others are devastatingly crippling.  The facts do not line up easily.  We rake the details for some noticeable pattern and come up empty handed.

In some ways, it would be easier to have a dependable list, a bold line, a static set of variables with which to work.  Decisions would be easier.  We could bury hope and set about the work of acquiescence.  We could develop routine.  Instead the shifts come daily and sometimes hourly, the breakdowns in unlikely places, unpredictable movements, surprising victories.

This week has been replete with breakdowns.  This week, the boys are getting used to me asking them to give Papa goodnight kisses in his bed because getting up to administer the customary prayers and cuddles and tuckings in is simply too much for him at the end of these particular days.  Why now and for how long we cannot say.  What did he eat, what did he do, how long did he stand, how did he sleep?  We are like scientists isolating and assessing every factor, every day, and yet no pattern emerges and permanent solutions are elusive.

It is the perfect faith-building storm.  Prolonged and mysterious, we can garner no security from any humanly constructed shelters.  The sand beneath the waves shifts continually.  A very close friend recently asked me how I manage to achieve such calm through it all.  She is not wrong to perceive a thread of tranquility throughout the seismic shifts in well-being.  I cannot attribute it to myself.  There is a shelter that seems to guard us from the worst of the wind and rain.

I cling to the Lord differently each day, but I run for his presence more hungrily than ever, knowing with ever growing certainty that the truths I find there do not move, whatever the storm is doing outside.  Slightly rebellious for most of my youth, I have developed a new love for the law.  No casual appreciation here; I have come to adore it.  I am still a lover of adventure, and yet my prayers ring with gratitude for what does not change, for what is certain.  I find rest in scriptures such as this one, that previously rang hollow: The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. (Psalm 19:7)  Like the apostle James, I rejoice that every good and perfect gift comes from the Father of Lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change (James 1:17).  The immutability of God, the enduring, everlasting steadfastness no longer seems threatening, nor boring, nor frighteningly rigid.  Now this constancy brings relief, brings assurance, brings rest.  No matter how I come, he does not change.  Indeed, I am learning with increasing joy that in him it is always Yes (2 Corinthians 1:19).

With love and gratitude,


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  • Mindy

    Thank you so much for continuing to share your journey with all of us.  My heart aches for you still, but is appeased by the depth of your faith and understanding.

  • jenelle anderson

    Thank you for vivid and prescient descriptions of sorting through the details, analyzing, and running to the cornerstone, the compassionate, the all loving Lord. Thank you for that clarity. Blessings on your family.

  • Glen Braden

    It was so great to see the family a couple of weeks ago. I am so thankful for the time I got to spend with you guys on your own.
    In this posting of yours though, I really wish we were still there to help, to encourage, to come along side. We love you guys and lift you up to Him who is able. 

  • Jayoder98

    I also am approaching the 3rd year… Since my Cancer surgery.  And, in the area of Nerves & how they affect what I’m doing (or feeling), we have a common channel in that mine were affected in my Neck, Throat & Shoulder. Sometimes they seem to change from week to week. Other times, from day to day – even, at times, from hour to hour. I won’t bore you with what they are because Steve (& you) know well what his are and what he has to contend with.

    What I have found is that, when praying continually “I can do all things through Christ, my Saviour” (Phil. 4:13) I’m reaching back to when the Lord entered my Life. It’s that reach back that I find the Faith & strength needed to continue. I pray that Steve (& You) can continue in your Faith Journey knowing He is with you.
    God Bless your every step.!!

  • Bstalter

    I love the way that you turn a phrase and create word pictures. You are so gifted at writing. Thanks for offering us the opportunity to pray specifically for your needs.  God has been teaching me to live in the moment  ..not regrets of yesterday or sorrow worrying of tomorrow. My hope is in Him.. today.  He is all I need.  I cling to the cross and the finished work of Jesus.
    I am seeking to apply resurrection power to my prayer life.. that we have been given as a gift. I do not have because I do not ask. I have been studying..  Beth Moore. James and Deuteronomy Bible studies .. on line.  book Unglued by Lysa TerHeust.  sp?  I am spending more and more time in the Word. Romans lately. Prayers for you to get rest.. restorative sleep and to bask in the grace of God given for one day at a time. 24 hours.  I love to preplan my pressure points and plan ahead. With chronic health issues that is not possible.  Dealing with today and the energy and schedule that requires.  You must be a very busy mom.  Can you hire help in the daytime?
    prayers for God to give wisdom as to more PT for Steve.  Be gentle with yourself. God loves you. 

  • Sarah Callender

    Each time you write, Michelle, and share your faith, hope and love, I am mightily blessed. Thank you for being a living example of how we must all lean into God, how we must yearn for His closeness, how we must rest in the certainty that our faith in Him will make our paths straight, even when they seem anything BUT straight.

  • Barry

    I am so sorry to hear of the irregularity of life in this time for you all.  It must be maddening.  I cannot begin to guess God’s purpose for it any more than I can guess the purpose of the accident or childhood cancer or any other such things.  But I do know that when a person goes to a personal trainer to get into shape the trainer invariably offers a wide variety of exercises to develop the body into it’s fit status.  One day it’s abs, another it’s arms, another it’s legs.  Sometimes it’s a work out of all muscles everywhere – and sometimes it’s nothing but rest.  I wonder if God exercises our spiritual muscles the same way.  I do not know.  But I do know you trust the Trainer and love Him, so all will be well.  We are praying for you.  Barry

  • Mark

    Gods law doesn’t keep us from having fun but rather revives us, makes us wise, gives joy to our heart, gives light to our eyes, warns us, and rewards us. That’s because God’s laws are guidelines and lights for our path, rather than chains on our hands and feet. They point at danger and warn us, and then point at success and guide us.

  • Lulu_ongkiko

    Your words are not empty.  They come from experience.  That is why whenever I read your letter, i think. and pause. And praise God.  He is indeed the Shelter from the storms.  Be healed and restored, Pastor Steve, in Jesus Name.

  • Roger – Union Church

    Hi Michelle – your words are profound, your experience(s) beyond what most of us can relate to, and yet, on Sunday, there is Pastor Steve wearing a red shirt and a Chinese hat with pony tail, smiling and making us all laugh. And his joy is amazing to see. God never gives us more than we can bear – you are one of the few people who can not only handle life at its most uncertain, but can also write about it in the most intense and profound way, to help all of us understand how God is at work in our lives. According to the nationality chart on the right, you have now touched (and in a way deep way) 120,00 lives. I always look forward to reading your “letters”; they are indeed, a new testament. Our prayers continue as does God’s work …… 

  • Olive Hafenstein

     The immutability of God, the enduring, everlasting steadfastness no
    longer seems threatening, nor boring, nor frighteningly rigid…Oh Michelle, how these words resonated with me for the issues that my husband and I struggle with on our faith journey at the moment.  What a joy to have met you face to face on our recent visit to the Philippines.  In the midst of the crashing stormy waves, Pastor Steve ministers to hearts deeply bringing the presence of God to us.  We came to see him before we left the Philippines and the depth of insights that he shared blessed us immensely for the issues we currently face.   There are many hurting around us and we ourselves are walking in pain but we rejoice at the little kisses from God such as the time we had with Pastor Steve and your post above.  May God increase our capacity to receive from Him even more.  With our love and prayers, Detlef, Olive and Belicia Hafenstein

  • Craig and Margaret Sutherland

    Thank you so much once again for sharing Steve’s and your journey, Michelle, and all that the Lord continues to teach you. May the Lord help us all to deal with the daily challenges we face with the grace you have exemplified, as well as the rest and wisdom from His word. And what a great reminder, that “no matter how we come He does not change… in Him it is always Yes!”

    Our love and prayers,

    Margaret Sutherland