Since I have seen the stroke specialist, and she seems to think that this was a one and done type of thing, the question for me is, "where do I go from here?" Obviously I want to move on, but I never want to forget from whence God has brought me. Truthfully, I was on death's door. Dr. Benjamin thinks I had less than 2 hours before the swelling got to the point that there could be no more hope. So, again I ask, where do I go now? I am reminded of Paul's words to the church in Corinth in his second letter to them. He said, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. (II Corinthians 1:3-5) The truth is, I want to use my situation to be a blessing to those around me. If one person is encouraged in their faith because of my situation, then it was worth it. I may not want to go through it again, but I don't want to waste it, either. From this point on, this blog will change: it will change from what I am going through to encouragement for anyone that is struggling. You may not have gone through a stroke, but you may be struggling. I will post my feelings from time to time, but the focus of the blog will change from one of "reflection" to one of "helping others". I encourage the ones that have been faithful to read my blog everyday to continue reading it...it may not always give insights into what I am thinking, but I pray that it gives encouragement for your walk.
A few years ago I was presented with the opportunity to come back to Stratford, Iowa, to First Baptist church, as their pastor; for those of you who have followed this blog for some time, FBC in Stratford was my first pastorate. Let's just say I prayed about it as I was jumping at the opportunity. The church has a parsonage, so I could live there and not have to worry about a houe payment; and I needed to slow down, and this was a part time position (which, as a side note, allowed for me to get a greater disability from the VA than when I was working full time with St. Croix Hospice...) We love Stratford, and absolutely love the church; the people are wonderful and accepted us, again, with open arms. This was, for me, the perfect position: I get to pastor a church I LOVE, I get to do life with people I LOVE, and I have already had the opportunity to do weddings and baptism services for kids (adults now) that I have known their entire lives. IT IS GREAT. The longer I have been here,