For over five years I have been writing the vision down (Habakkuk 2:2-3), first revealed in 1999, for both The Arts Expressed and Sound Expressions. Our family has battled much throughout that journey, especially this past year: neuropathy, several cyst surgeries, kidney failure/transplant, serious bacterial infections, kidney stones, car accidents, finances, bizarre relationships…so many battles that if I wrote them all down as they have transpired, readers would question their validity, as there is no way anyone could have that many things come against them in one year and make it through. We ‘appear’ to continue in the thick of it (see Enough! below), yet right before the breakthrough – right before the birth – the pain intensifies, and the end result is a new life that causes the pain to quickly fade into the distance because of the joy set before us. Many of us have been traveling through very difficult times, but we have now arrived/crossed over into the beginning of a new season. Our family has been on a very personal journey of ‘persevering’ and ‘overcoming’ through our trials/tribulations. We are more assured than ever of His abounding/abiding love for us, and of Christ’s identity in, for, and through us. Through His giftings in us, all for His glory, we will be used by the power of His Spirit alone, on behalf of releasing healing and blessing to the broken. The Arts Expressed and Sound Expressions  have persevered through a wider/deeper/higher personal lens through which to see His compassion and mercy for the painful journeys of a broken world in desperate need of intimately coming to know the One who alone is Healer…intimately coming to know the One who alone is Restorer.

I believe Holy Spirit will reveal much along the lines of Sound Expressions and The Arts Expressed beginning in 2014 that will release healing and wholeness (physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual) – His love/His peace/His joy – to a very broken world in a multitude of ways that will defy the natural mind, simply because His ways are always higher than our ways. He came to Earth many Christmas’s ago to become the Restorer for all mankind. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He changeth not! Let His Restoration be released abundantly into every family – into every heart – this Christmas/New Year season!

Enough!
December 7, 2013

Today at 6 a.m. we are sitting in the St. Cloud Hospital Emergency Room (30 minutes from home) with our son, Jadan, who has a major Christmas production guitarist commitment in the Twin Cities today and tomorrow, as he is keeled over in major pain, vomiting, etc. from what is either an attack of appendicitis or kidney stones (this would be his second kidney stone in two years, not coincidentially involving a major playing commitment in the Twin Cities at the same place). We pray all the way here and throughout the waiting. 4 cm kidney stone. Pain meds to manage pain until it passes, doctors are hopeful by Monday. I rally the prayer alliance we are connected with. We hurry to pick up the meds so I can rush home to hook up Josiah’s IV meds in time (see A Wild Ride! below for details of our week/year regarding Josiah, our youngest son’s journey). I run Josiah’s IV meds, Jadan supernaturally quickly passes the kidney stone (thank you prayer warriors!) right before we leave in order to arrive on time for rehearsal an hour away from home – all by 1:00 p.m.. Thanks abundant to our prayer alliance and to our amazing Father for His goodness! This, bizarrely enough, has been a typical week in our family’s journey this past year, yet, it will be the very thing that allows our Heavenly Father to turn it all to good, and to give us a testimony that will truly glorify Him! We are believing wholeheartedly for all of His personal restoration promises to our family for the purpose of releasing them to others, beginning in 2014 (everything He does for/through any of us is always for the blessing and benefit of others, whom He loves infinitely and immeasureably)!

A Wild Ride!
December 4, 2013

We are again back at 5th Floor Amplatz Children’s Hospital, and we can’t help but recall having been here literally 100’s of times, as both inpatient and outpatient, over the last 11 months. We are trying to catch our breath this morning, thinking about when our family moved to our present location in the Spring of 2005. We answered a serious call from the Lord to be willing to ‘risk it all’ for everything He had for us as a family. We said, ‘yes,’ and then we were told to ‘hang on, as it was going to be a wild ride.’ It has most certainly been that and more, and we have most certainly had to walk through risks in so many areas, as faith is spelled R-I-S-K. “Knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:3-4). We’re believing that it is truly His timing to get ‘off this wild ride’ and come into a season of rest: faith-filled believing that 2014 will be our year of restoration!

We have been so diligent to keep Josiah isolated, other than his doctor appointments/labs, and immediate family members who live in our home, who have to be able to move on with life via work/school. If any family members feel any kind of a bug coming on we ‘farm them out’ to stay at other places until the bug has passed. Still, Josiah tested positive for CMV virus, which is apparently quite common, thus not an issue for healthy individuals. However, for a transplant patient, CMV means immediate hospitalization on IV’s for several days. His plummeting numbers and all of our lab/specialty clinic visits/waiting last week turned out to be CMV. In this journey the slightest sniffle cannot be ignored and diligence with every detail is paramount.

During Josiah’s journey, as it is with all who battle illness, we have had to make difficult decisions. For many months, we were very concerned about the intensity of a wedding in the midst of all of this because of the medical issues and having to be so careful with Josiah’s fragile health. The week of the wedding we ended up spending most of our time in and out of specialty clinics. We were unable to participate or see anyone because of the risks. As it turns out, several extended family members either were sick or got sick with stomach flu for several days after (to clarify: we were unable to see relatives, so we know Josiah didn’t get sick from them). However, those in our immediate family who did attend the wedding, or have to be out at work or school, get ‘exposed’ and we have to continue to be on major alert…not speaking it out, but our family knows all too well about the need to, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour,” 1 Peter 5:8. Flu can be difficult for healthy individuals, but violent for transplant patients, and yes, immediate hospitalization for much longer than the CMV issues we are dealing with this week. We simply can’t go there. We will continue to isolate him until we are through his critical year of recovery. We hope to have Josiah out of the hospital by this Friday. Another lens through which to see with compassion/mercy for families battling illness: our newest leg of this adventure will involve home infusion/picc line/home healthcare nurse for two weeks, followed by his nephrology appointment, and prayerfully picc line removal and CMV free.

None of sharing our journey is speaking through lack of faith in our Healer, but rather walking out the details of our journey through His blood and in His light by His leading:

Isaiah 43:2, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.”

John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

Isaiah 59:19, “So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west,

And His glory from the rising of the sun; when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.” 

Revelation 12:11, “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.”

Testimony. There will be an amazing testimony on the other side of this wild ride our entire family has been on. We know that we know that we know that, simply because we know our God, and He is amazing, always at work turning all things to good for those who love Him and trust in His good plans. I got a text last night from a dear friend on the way to the hospital that I think is appropriate to share about this journey: “You are precious to your Heavenly Daddy! He sees you and He loves you. He sees Josiah and I believe He is making Josiah into a warrior with an amazing ministry.” We have believed and spoke that over Josiah long before this kidney journey began.

Our family is believing for and looking forward to a quiet, healthier December, keeping our focus on the Presence of the Prince of Peace in the midst of the current storms – ‘Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm,’  Mark 4:39

Thank you for your continued prayers.