Bad Theology

It’s been a while since I’ve written – mainly because I’ve been extra busy and sad. I’ve been wrestling with why I’ve been so sad, and I think it has something to do with bad theology.

Theology is simply what you believe about God. So lately, I’ve been thinking that God is not working on our behalf, or that we’re not important to him anymore, or that he doesn’t really care about us… Crazy right? How in the world could I think such untrue thoughts… After how He’s cared for us this past year… Not to mention that on every page of the Bible is a love letter to me, His child, and to Anne, one of the “least of these.”

Anne struggles too. She often says… “Why did God make my life harder?” In my worst moments, I’ll think… “Why did God make my life harder?” Self pity is the drug that leads to despair. I think this is the other reason for my sadness. Self-pity. And self pity thrives on bad theology!

I’m thankful that God has led me through depression before Anne’s accident. It was the deep realization of God’s goodness that brought me out of depression. Because of that journey, I know God is good. Now that’s some good theology!!

If God’s goodness is the anecdote to bad theology, what is the anecdote to self-pity? Gratefulness. So I’ve been trying to practice gratefulness. Thank you Jesus that she is alive. Thank you Jesus that Anne can stand on her right foot. Thank you for Anne’s smile. Thank you for providing the means to pay for therapy. Thank you for caring for us. Thank you. Thank you for these circumstances that press us more deeply into You. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Source of strength

As I was climbing the stairs to bed, my mind twisted its way to worry… “O Lord, how long will I have to care for a disabled child? Her whole life? My whole life? Will there ever be a day when I can trust her to be alone – will the impulsivity ever improve… and her feet? What about her feet?” I stopped myself. And looked for comfort in truth… From Streams in the Desert (June 27):

“The Lord is my strength” (Ex 15:2) to go on. He gives me the power to walk the long, straight, and level path, even when the monotonous way has no turns or curves offering pleasant surprises and when my spirit is depressed with the terrible drudgery.

“The Lord is my strength” to sit still. And what a difficult accomplishment this is! …I feel like the mother who stands by her sick child but is powerless to heal. What a severe test! Yet to do nothing except to sit still and wait requires tremendous strength.

How many times do I turn to God and He speaks directly to my circumstance? So many times. He will supply what I need for today (period). He alone is my strength.


“God does miracles”

I was picking my kids up from VBS yesterday, and the song leader was up front reviewing the bible story the kids learned that day. It was from Luke 5 – the story of Jesus healing the Paralyzed man. And then the music started… and all the kids were standing, singing and doing hand motions to “God does Miracles… oh yeah, My God does Miracles!!!” And I became cynical.

Now let me stop and interject something. I have no right to be cynical. I have seen miracles. God saved Anne from the clutches of death, and now one year later, she’s learning bible verses at VBS. That’s a double dose of miracles. Hear me, I’m grateful. Oh so grateful…

But, the kids’ song raises a valid question. Why doesn’t God heal the way He healed when He walked the earth? Continue reading

I love words!

This past Sunday, I sang in our church’s ensemble. We sang a paraphrased version of Psalm 42 set to an Appalachian folk melody. It was beautiful. Way too high for me to sing well, but beautiful:-) One of the members of the ensemble noted that two words were flipped in the third verse. As I studied the text, I disagreed with him and we started a discussion that continued on and off throughout the morning (and that we both relished).

See what you think. Here’s the text… (emphasis mine)

As longs the hart for flowing streams
So longs my soul for You, O God;
My soul does thirst for the living God.
When shall I come to see Your face?

My tears have fed me day and night
While men have said, “Where is your God?”
But I recall as my soul pours dry
The days of praise within Your house.

Why do I mourn and toil within,
When is it mine to hope in God?

I shall again sing praise to Him,
He is my help, He is my God.

My friend thought the text should read: “Why do I mourn and toil within, when it is mine to hope in God?” In other words, “Why do I mourn when my hope is in this amazing God?” His view is theologically sound… But I agreed with the text as written. The Psalmist asks two questions… “Why do I mourn and toil within? When will I be able to hope in God again?” He encourages himself with the truth that he “shall again sing praise to Him, He is my help, He is my God.”

I fought back tears as I thought about this text. I know how it feels to mourn and toil and wonder if I will ever have hope again. I know how it feels to encourage myself with the truth that this season of grief will pass and I will again sing praise to Him, because He is my help and my God. I know (like so many others) all. too. well.

What’s interesting is the portion of Psalm 42 this text is based on… Check this out:

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God (Psalm 42:11).

I would suggest that neither of our interpretations is correct! The Psalmist (David) is indeed mourning, but he doesn’t ask when he will be able to hope in God again, and he doesn’t claim to already have hope in God. No, he tells himself to hope in God because He is his salvation! A subtle difference, but so important.

My friend’s interpretation focused more on God’s character and failed to give adequate weight to the psalmist’s mourning. My interpretation was too focused on the toil within. David got it right. His soul is downcast. What is the answer? God (period).

I love words!

Goodness of the Lord …in the land of the living

Eric has been very encouraged with Anne’s progress lately. He’s posted two very uplifting journal entries on CaringBridge. I’m thankful that he’s so positive because I’m struggling. I’m struggling to see God’s goodness, and I’m struggling with hope.

Caring for Anne at home is so emotionally draining, so physically demanding… I’m tired, and it’s only been two weeks! So I pray from Psalm 27…

1 The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?

4 One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple.

5 For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will lift me high upon a rock.

7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud;
be gracious to me and answer me!

8 You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you,
“Your face, Lord, do I seek.”

9 Hide not your face from me.
Turn not your servant away in anger,
O you who have been my help.
Cast me not off; forsake me not,
O God of my salvation!

11Teach me your way, O Lord,
and lead me on a level path
because of my enemies.

13 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living!

14 Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!


I was talking to Eric the other night about a thought God has given me… First a little background :-)

I’ve always been fascinated by the brain – from as early as I can remember, I wanted to grow up to be a brain scientist (that would be a neurologist, but I didn’t know that word back then!) Anyway, the hook for me was the mystery of it all. And after all the technical and scientific progress we’ve experienced since my childhood, the brain still remains a mystery to the medical community.

I know this is going to sound crazy, but… before the accident, I would climb the stairs to Anne’s darkened room, make my way to her sleeping form, kneel beside her bed and thank God for her brain. Sometimes, I would even put my forehead against hers – just to drink in what I perceived as the awesomeness of her brain. She was so complex, so deeply emotional, fiercely intuitive… Now she is simple…. so very simple.

I was crying out to God about how much I missed Anne… Why her brain, Lord? Her brain – it was beautiful; it was amazing, and now it is… even more amazing… If you look at Anne’s MRI, it is dismal. Severe, diffuse brain damage… diffuse meaning everywhere. Yet she is able to reason, laugh and spontaneously say, “I love you, Mommy.” Anne’s brain is a miracle, and a testimony to the Master Creator. It was like God was saying to me… “You can still marvel, Kathryn.” As Anne regains function, it’s like a layer of the mystery is peeled away, and I get to see a little of how He knits together His masterpiece.  Anne’s brain is neuroamazing :-)

Radio Silence

Sorry for the long absence. The month of May marks the end of school, and since my three children are in three different schools… well, we’ve been busy. Kate’s last day was Friday; Canon & Anne both finish Wednesday, and our summer will begin.

Frankly, I’m a little anxious about summer. I usually love having my children at home, but Anne is in a “demanding” phase which makes life difficult. But it forces me to interact with her, which is vital for her continued development and recovery.

Adding to my anxiety is the fact that I have been a bit lazy about reading the bible lately – which is always a source of great comfort for me. I’m sure God still has a good plan for Anne’s life – it’s just hard for God to remind me when I’m not reading His word!

Sigh. I can’t wait for heaven :-)

A Moment

I can’t tell you how many times God has shown up in the most personal of ways to encourage me in my darkest moments. One of my favorite moments happened just two days after the accident. I couldn’t even walk to the PICU to see Anne; I had to be pushed in a child-sized wheel chair by my friend, Christy. Anne’s head was swollen to twice its normal size and the pressure in her brain was dangerously high. Her survival was still in question, and I wasn’t well enough to stay with her. Leaving my little girl – not knowing if she would live – was one of my lowest points. Continue reading

Canon’s prayer

Just weeks after the accident, I had a hard conversation with Canon about Anne… “Anne’s brain has been hurt. We don’t know how that will affect Anne. There could be things about her that will be different.” Canon, in honorable big-brother fashion, took all this in, cried a bit and turned brave. All the time Anne was in the hospital, Canon prayed, “God, please help Anne talk and walk and run again.  But we know that none of these things matter compared to this: please let her remember her faith in you.” The first time he prayed this, I inwardly screamed, “NO! Those things DO matter. I want her to talk. I want her to walk.” And if I were honest, I wanted my Anne back more than I wanted her to “remember her faith” in God.

God has changed me. That’s the only explanation for what I’m about to write. Now – my greatest desire is for her to remember her faith in God… For her to know Him intimately, and to tell of His mighty works in her life. For her to know His love that is wider and higher and deeper than her wildest dreams. If from eternity past, God knew that Anne would have to pass through this tragedy and suffer physical and cognitive disability in order to win her heart for Himself – well so be it. We’ll walk this road and rejoice for the eternity we’ll spend made whole in heaven.

Canon doesn’t pray that prayer anymore… but I pray it for him. God let Anne know you…. and she will be healed, forever.

Three voices

I’m reading three books right now… This seems all too common, but it’s new ground for me. I’m not used to having three different authors competing for my attention. It just leads to lots of unorganized thoughts swirling around in my head, but I think the clearest voice right now comes from Nancy Guthrie. Her book, Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow is excellent.

She lost two infants to the same rare genetic disorder. She knows sorrow. And her questions are the same questions I’ve grappled with. Why doesn’t Jesus heal today like He did when He walked the earth? How do we reconcile His promises of protection and peace in the midst of hurricanes and terrorists (and brain injuries)? Who is responsible for my sorrow… me? Satan? God? Did God just allow the accident to happen – or did He ordain it?

These are hard questions, and she gives satisfying answers. She writes that it is our eternal home that is most important to God. My honest reaction to that reminds me of Kate whining when she has to wait ’til after dinner to get her desert. Seriously, child? Don’t you have any concept of delayed gratification? Well, I guess the apple doesn’t fall too far from… me.

Which leads me to the 2nd book I’m reading… Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. Her book is all about how to “Live Fully Right Where You Are.” It’s a great book about how thankfulness opens the door to joy, but I’m too busy whining (like Kate) to experience very much gratitude- at least for now…

My third book is a Romanian pastor’s doctoral thesis on suffering, matyrdom and the rewards of heaven… He argues that suffering on earth advances the Kingdom of Heaven – the prime example being Jesus, Himself. If we are called to suffer and/or die for the Kingdom, it is a great Eternal victory! There’s that word again… eternal.

I’ve actually learned alot about eternal perspective from Canon. I think I’ll write about that tomorrow. Good night for now…