09
Jan 13

Tender Love


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And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them. – Genesis 3:21

Father,

In reading Genesis today, I was struck by how good you are to us, even in the midst of our disobedience. In Genesis 3:21, you provided for Adam and Eve, tenderly loving them out of their shame. Even in disciplining us, you show the same kind of love for us. In Genesis 4:7, you reminded me that sin is always crouching at my door. You tell me to rule over it – to live out of who I am, to pursue holiness. Help me to love you more than sin, to always go back to the cross and live a life in the light.

Amen

08
Jan 13

He Is For Us


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Father,

As I continue to make my way through Psalms, I am strengthened by David’s assumption in his prayers that You are for him. It is the foundation of his cries out to you, his praise, his identity.

That You, the creator of all, the sustainer of all, the one who has been and will always be, are for me is beyond overwhelming. I can’t take it all in. There are people who love me, but none that are for me like you are. Help me, Father, to live like you are for me. Help me to be bold, to live as a son of the King.

Amen

04
Jan 13

Learning to be Intentional


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I’ve spent the last several months reevaluating my intentionalness (is that even a word?) around several areas in my life: reading, listening, praying, meditating, and learning.

I’m what you could call a distracted skimmer. As I would do any activity, I would look / listen for key parts and then move on, always looking for the shiny nuggets that mattered for me to get something done. It makes for great productivity, but lousy growth. I could read book, but not fully engage in it. I could participate in a conversation, but not fully be there. I could read scripture, but not hear God speaking. You can see what this would do to someone’s prayer life, bible reading, and relationships.

While reading two books, things started crystallizing for me that there was a problem. Don Whitney’s Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, and Albert Mohler’s Conviction to Lead started to resonate deeply with me. I won’t get into a review of each book, but the main things I walked away with from both books were the importance of meditation, how time continues to tick away, and how I should be intentionally engaging my mind with challenging things. Recognizing that God would have better things for me in my walk with Him, I’ve set out to slowly change things.

  1. I’ve started reading books on a non-tablet device, a Kindle Paperwhite. That part about being easily distracted is huge for me. While iPads and tablets are great doing it all together on one device; at least for me, they make for lousy ways to get alone with God and my thoughts.
  2. I’m forcing myself to read a lot slower. I’ve found I have to intentionally tell myself, sometimes multiple times on a single page, “slow down, reread that, don’t skip sentences”. This has been very difficult, but so worthwhile. I’m retaining more of what I read and feel like I’m much more engaged in the story.
  3. I’ve started honing in on a particular area of scripture I’m reading and really concentrating on it – sometimes 15 – 30 minutes at a time, asking Gospel-centered questions about the text. In short, I’m learning to meditate and it is glorious!
  4. Last week I deleted my Facebook and Instragram accounts. I started with just removing them the apps from my iPhone, and decided to fully commit last week. Again, distraction – not just visiting Facebook, but feeling the desire to share everything about what I’m doing, reading, not being where I’m at. I finally realized that I could not come up any good reason to stay on Facebook. In the end, it was a time-sink that offered nothing back. All the people I need to stay in contact with are either are at church, work, or a phone call away. I still have my Twitter account, but no longer have the app on any of my mobile devices. I find Twitter to be very beneficial, although it, too, can get out of control if not managed.
  5. I’ve started writing out my prayers in a journal that the kids got me for Father’s Day several years ago. I can’t describe how intensely personal this is. It has become some of the richest times I’ve spent with God.
  6. We took the TV out of our bedroom. Instead of clicking on CNN or ESPN, I’m pulling out my Kindle, talking with Kathi, or getting to sleep on time.

These basic changes are creating calm in my soul. They are slowing me down. They are helping me to also become a better listener, both with people and with God. I’m a work-in-progress, and I’m thankful God knows that.

 

25
Feb 12

Winter


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“It is said that in some countries trees will grow, but will bear no fruit because there is no winter there.” John Bunyan

(via Drew Lints)

01
Dec 11

Coming Home


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Friends:

After two weeks in Rochester, we are finally coming home on Friday, December 2.

Thankfully, all of the tests the Mayo Clinic doctors have run have ruled out a life-threatening illness . We are extremely thankful for that news! The best the doctors are able to determine at this moment is that the major issues Kathi had over the summer and fall seemed to originate from an allergic reaction that went systemic, then got worse due to rebound effects from an increasing dosage of steroids to treat the original problem. The steroid treatments then caused their own set of problems and nasty side-effects.

Because Kathi is still weaning from steroids, the doctors are not able to determine the foundational root issues. They want her to continue to wean off the steroids and see if the original problems return once the steroids are gone. If they do return, then we’ll do more testing at that time.

The plan right now is to get Kathi back to full health and recover from the past six months. Her health has generally improved the past two weeks, but she still has a long ways to go.

I can’t thank our friends enough for your prayers, caring, support, and encouragement these past months. We have been loved in some immense ways. We are not sure where these next months will take us, but we do know that the Lord loves us deeply and He has used His people to care for us. A special thank you to Kathi’s friends that have loved and cared for her these past few months, and to Anna Counts for loving and caring for our children while we have been away. Many of our friends have come alongside our kids while we’ve been gone and we are so thankful for you.

Rob and Kathi

26
Nov 11

Long Week, Enjoying The Weekend, Busy Week Coming


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Friday culminated a long week of tests, juggling to fit in work-in appointments,  three straight days of fasting blood work, electromagnetic nerve tests, and more. Today we are enjoying a down day of just sitting around the hotel lobby, my catching up on some work, and enjoying football.

Next week will bring three MRI tests, an endocrinology consult, a hematology consult, a vasculitis consult, and hopefully some initial diagnosis consults on tuesday / Wednesday. So far, the doctors are keeping their initial thoughts close to their vest.

We are anticipating having to return sometime in January when Kathi is totally off her steroid load.

23
Nov 11
22
Nov 11

Best Appointment Yet


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Today has been awesome. Kathi’s CardioVascual disease doctor has taken the reigns on Kathi’s health issues and has ordered a slew of more tests and consultations. It was the most in-sync appointment we’ve had yet. The doctor was able to see things happen during our visit that we’ve only been able to verbally explain before and she asked all the right questions to pull stuff out.

We do our Occupy Neurology movement on Wednesday at 7 am, and then do the same with Hematology, Vasculitis, and Endocrinology on Friday and into next week. As of right now, we probably will not be home until next weekend, Dec 3. We are so thankful for Anna Counts loving our kids and caring for them.

Thank you for praying.

21
Nov 11

The Story


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“You can’t have a good story without tension and conflict, without things going wrong. Unanswered prayers create some of the tensions in the story God is weaving in our lives. When we realize this, we want to know what God is doing. What pattern is God weaving? If God is composing a story with our lives, then our lives are no longer static. We aren’t paralyzed by life; we can hope.” Paul Miller, A Praying Life

21
Nov 11

Great Day 2 at Mayo Clinic


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We had a great day at Mayo today. Dermatology went extremely well, finally getting Kathi some help on all the allergic issues that have been at the foundation of this past summer. Lots of medicine changes to deal with what will likely be an on / off again set of challenges for the foreseeable future. Thankfully, the systemic mastocytosis has been completely ruled out. We have a CardioVasucular Disease appointment on Tuesday, then a very important Neurology appt on Wednesday. Pray for that Neurology appt – they have no openings until early December, but we’ve been told to camp out there anyway. So, Kathi and I are planning an Occupy Neurology movement beginning at 7 am on Wednesday for a non-violent demonstration :-)

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