Sunday, May 9, 2010

Introduction: Stones From My Journey

Dear Reader,

November 2000 Andrew, my oldest son, died…less than 3 months after his fifth birthday. For 18 months we’d battled some unknown type of mitochondrial disease, a genetic condition that inhibits correct energy production at the cellular level. Two months before he died, my other son, Peter, started treatments for the same disease. Just over a year later he too began manifesting symptoms. Four and a half years later we finally had a diagnosis, identifying the genetic cause for their mitochondrial disease: PolG1 mutations causing Alper’s Syndrome. Our journey continues to date as we traverse Peter’s progressive neurological decline, thankful for every good day we share.

It has been a long journey through the wilderness of pain, grief, frustration, loss, doubt, fatigue -- and surprisingly, growth. For like the Israelites of the Old Testament, it was a journey toward the promise land. Dealing with Andrew’s illness and death shook my faith, leaving me only one rock on which to stand. I knew that God had sent his son Jesus to pay the debt for my sins and, having received that gift, I was guaranteed an eternal relationship with God. But everything else- God’s goodness, his sovereignty, the role of prayer, healing – everything else was confusion. As I sought to understand this God who I’d felt let me down, a relationship of intimacy and faith developed. Like the re-growth after a forest fire, the faith that God has graciously helped me rebuild is now my children’s legacy.

When the Israelites finally entered the promise land, they had to cross the Jordan River. Joshua 4 tells how God directed them to take stones from the middle of the Jordan as they crossed and use them to erect a memorial on the other side. Verses 21, 22 and 24 explain: “Then he told the People of Israel, ‘In the days to come, when your children ask their fathers, What are these stones doing here? tell your children this: Israel crossed over this Jordan on dry ground’….This was so that everybody on earth would recognize how strong God’s rescuing hand is and so that you would hold God in solemn reverence always.”

This is my memorial of what God has done in my journey. My stones are stories, the many lessons, encouragements, and God-sightings that helped me to keep putting one foot in front of the other, to keep enduring the grief of each loss, and to keep turning to the arms of God. I hope that somehow they will encourage you in your own wilderness journey and bring you into His loving arms as well. God surely does have a strong rescuing hand. May you find comfort there as I have, Juli

5 comments:

  1. Amazing Juli. I will be reading this daily. Thank you for putting this altogether. It will be a blessing to many, I am certain. Love you. tj

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  2. Thanks Juli- it is absolutly beautiful! Your hard work is apparent. What a blessing!

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  3. You are a blessing.

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  4. Juli- so thankful this is coming to be... To God be the glory.....

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  5. If ever there was a picture, Juli, of God's comfort to others, it's you. I can't wait to experience this next step with you! Tony

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