Monday, January 24, 2011

A Golden Nugget

Several years ago we were studying the book of Romans and as we well know it’s not exactly one of the easiest books of the Bible to study. I know for myself that so often I shy away from the seemingly difficult parts of Scripture rather than delve into them. But on this particular day as I was preparing the material to lead the Bible study I didn’t have a choice…this was the chapter we were to study and I must somewhat grasp the meaning of the verses myself. And so after many, many hours of studying and many commentaries being consulted I discovered and understood (to some small degree) one of the richest nuggets of gold contained in the entire Word of God.

This golden nugget is in Romans 6. As I began to slowly comprehend what Paul is saying it made me feel as if I was standing on holy ground. Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, so beautifully explains how in conversion the sins of the sinner are crucified and buried with Christ in His death and as Christ was raised from the dead so the new creature is raised in newness of life. Verse 6 says, “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him that the body of sin might be destroyed and henceforth we should not serve sin.” Knowing and understanding that the old man is crucified (killed & buried – never to be raised again) the regenerated person is a new creature and sin should also be destroyed and rooted out. We are called to walk in ‘newness of life.’ This means a life 180 degrees different than prior to conversion. To let these words just take root – to stop and sit and meditate upon them and let the dawn of this truth light our minds is something that is worth more than all that could be attained in this present world. The old man is crucified and buried…

Why then do we so often feel that we are a slave to sin and are not able to fight against it but that one day it will overcome us? Why do we think that the old man can be resurrected again? Why do we so often still take pleasure in sin? Why are we so often overwhelmed? Why do we still find so much enjoyment in worldly things? Romans 6 instructs us to, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteous unto God,” verses 12, 13.

And so the daily struggle then is if we are to walk in ‘newness of life’ what does that look like? Obviously there should be a noticeable difference in the life and walk of a believer. The world should be able to see that we do not belong to them and yet sometimes I ask myself when the ‘world’ looks at me and the way I walk and train our children does it see the difference?? Am I living as if sin still has dominion over me – as if I’m still a slave to sin? Am I consciously rooting out sin each day? Am I walking each day with joy on my face?

And then as many of these questions are swirling in my mind I remind myself how profitable it is to come again and again back to Romans 6 for rebuke, for instruction and for comfort.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

What If

The events of the past week will no doubt be forever written in the annals of the Kelderman family. Last week Saturday Hannah (with her long list of allergies) thought she ate something that she shouldn’t have for she had a stomach ache. Now for Hannah this is nothing new and life continued with us figuring we probably wouldn’t know what the affecting food was. She woke up on Sunday and instead of being better the situation seemed worse as she had a low grade fever and so we diagnosed her with “the flu.” This being said we figured a few days on the couch and she would be good to go. Then on Wednesday “the flu” turned into more severe pain in her stomach and side – hence we were beginning to become confused. She stopped eating and drinking and cried off and on the rest of Wednesday and through the night, even at one point dry heaving in the middle of the night. I called the Dr. in the morning and was told to go to our local hospital to meet our family physician. When we arrived he not only was not there but we were told a covering Dr. would see her. When I heard who it was I quietly but firmly told the nurse I refused to see him. She was shocked, surprised and a little angry but said it was my choice. I called our Dr's. office and was told to come right over. After our family Dr. saw her he sent her back to the local hospital where she had an ultrasound and blood work. The blood work came back with her white count only somewhat elevated. The ultrasound on the other hand proved to be a joke as 2 technicians tried but said they could not even find her appendix.
Now all this time Hannah was crying from pain and they wouldn’t give her anything for the pain or anything to drink. We were now going on 24 hours without food or water and Hannah was getting visibly dry. Finally, we saw the local surgeon who decided to send us to London Children’s hospital. I dropped my husband off at home and headed straight there. Once there, another ultrasound was ordered her appendix was “found” and she was immediately diagnosed with appendicitis. Finally at 6 pm they started an IV for fluids to prep her for surgery and gave her some morphine for pain.
At 9:30 pm the surgery team was ready and my husband had arrived at the hospital as we followed Hannah’s bed down the corridors toward the operating room. The surgeon talked a few minutes with us and told us he would do his best but really wouldn’t know what he was in for until he went inside with the camera. And then the moment came….her to go down the hall one way…. and us to go down the hall the opposite way to the waiting room. All of a sudden as a ton of bricks it hit me….WHAT IF….WHAT IF something went wrong and this was the end? All my shortcomings as a mom suddenly were before my eyes. Had I talked to her enough during her short 10 years? What about my prayers….how much had I pleaded for her salvation? I know it is not dependant on our prayers but God also blesses prayer and its our duty. For a few moments exhaustion and fear almost overtook me. All alone in this waiting room I confessed my shortcomings before the Lord begging Him to please spare her life and make all things well. And then slowly I realized I needed to leave her in the hands of the Lord who is the covenant keeping God and whatever the outcome He would still be good and just. Here then I needed to rest – it was again a point of giving over once again the child that is really not ours in the first place but only entrusted to our care. Here it was that the Lord answered my prayer when an hour later the Dr. came out with a smile on his face – I could have jumped up and hugged him! Now this surgeon was about 6'7" tall and 280 pounds and he looked down at us and so kindly said, "It looked messy but the appendix came off nicely. I know how important it is for a young girl to have a nice looking abdomen so i made a bigger incision in her belly button and a small one down low so when she grows older nobody will see any scars." Wow! what a thoughtful man coming in at 10 at night to do a surgery and then trying to keep this little girl's tummy looking nice!
As I look back I feel so strongly that we need to be our children’s advocate. If we had just gone along with the system we are very afraid that things would not have turned out well as they were just going to send us home. It’s often very hard to stand up against those who seem to have more authority over us and yet we are responsible for the care of our children as well. We are so thankful that we pushed for what we thought was best for Hannah.
And yet this whole event has really given me a renewed realization of our great responsibility as parents. We never know when our child’s last day on this earth will be. We cannot assume that they will live beyond childhood. I ask myself what lessons am I teaching my children by my walk and talk? Am I fulfilling my biblical role as mother? God has shown me my shortcomings once again and I pray that the events of this past week may only be for eternal gain.

Friday, January 7, 2011

It Began Like This.....

After a night of attempting to sleep I awoke to see the snow gently falling outside of my window. Maybe another couple would think this is the perfect setting for a wedding but it made me anxious knowing that our minister would be flying in that afternoon for 2 weddings (ours on Friday and my cousin’s on Saturday). Just what would we do if his plane was cancelled or delayed I thought and yet the excitement of the day pushed away the anxious feelings.

Everything seemed perfectly planned and arranged: the organist, minister, flowers, reception hall, harpist, motel and trip to Florida. As the hours ticked past we began preparing for the photographer to take our pictures – me at one brother’s house and my soon to be husband at another brother’s house while each of us waited till the moment we saw one another at the church for the first time that day.

My bridesmaids and I were dressed and ready when the phone rang…the call that would change the day. It wasn’t the minister but my sister-in-law calling from their house an hour away from where we were. My sister-in-law made the flowers for us since she worked for a florist and she said that they loaded the flowers into their van and went back into the house for their little girl and our rings. Going back outside they were met with a van fully engulfed in flames and since they had no other vehicle they would not be able to make it in time for the service to start.

So now we had not only no flowers but even worse we did not have our rings to exchange. My cousin’s flowers (made by another florist from church for the wedding the next day) were brought to us as soon as possible. As we snapped a few pictures I was whisked off through the snowstorm to the church. By this time we were almost 45 minutes late for the wedding to start – the organist had played all the music twice over. We quickly decided to use one of my brother and wife’s rings to exchange so at least we had something.

Although the minister’s plane was delayed he arrived in time for the wedding ceremony. It was a nice service with our text being, “And Noah builded an altar to the Lord,” but it was hard to keep our minds on the sermon. After the service ended our photographer took a few pictures in the church and we headed to the reception hall only to be informed that the contracted time of the harpist was over but on hearing our situation she agreed to stay for another half hour. Soon everyone was seated and we were about to open the meal when we realized that the person who was to open hadn’t arrived. He showed up 15 minutes later explaining to us he was lost.

Finally the meal was served and by this time it was past 9:30 pm. The caterers did their best but the food had been sitting ready for over an hour. The reception went smoothly although it ended very late and by the time we arrived at our motel it was 3:00am and we had to leave for our plane at 5:00am which wouldn’t have been such a big deal but tradition is where I was raised that you get an expensive motel the first night.

At 7:00am we boarded the plane and were off to Florida. We arrived exhausted only to be told that our luggage was lost and wouldn’t be there till the next day. This was the final straw. We left the airport and found our motel, ordered a pizza and slept for the next 15 hours. Our luggage came the following day and we had a nice week in Florida except for the fact that we had to buy clothes since they had the coldest weather in years the week we were there.

And so on January 8, 1988 my marriage of 23 years to my best friend began. As much as we thought we were in love then we are so much more in love now. I thank the Lord for providentially giving this wonderful man to me. He is my friend, lover, defender, supporter, and soul mate. He as lifted me up when I was down, stood beside me day by day, shared in my joys, and sorrowed in my pain.

And so I dedicate this post to my dear husband – Happy Anniversary – I Love You!!

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Everyone who has a laptop or computer fears one thing – hard drive failure or maybe better explained a computer that totally crashes and hasn’t been backed up for over 3 months. That is precisely what happened to me on Thursday evening. Accidentally, a very strong magnet was placed too close to my laptop and the rest is history…literally. As I lay in bed that night I had the feeling of being robbed….yes robbed of 3 months of information and pictures. It even more so gave me an extremely helpless feeling knowing that all that has been put on my laptop in these last months can never be retrieved.

Of course my initial reaction was sadness and unbelief. Then reality began to set in and slowly I recalled to mind one by one the things that were lost: family pictures….Bible Study notes…..Apples of Gold information….Church Bulletin information…..personal writings….email information….plus a host of misc. things.
And so after the initial shock passed I have asked myself why? Why did this happen? Why do we now have to spend countless of hours reinstalling everything on a new hard drive when it seems like my husband already doesn’t have enough hours in a day? I know all things are in the providence of God and so this too was ordered by the hand of God. Are there lessons that God is trying to convey to me through this loss? I realize I will probably never know the answers to these questions but one thing I have learned is that everything we have on this earth is temporary and often beyond our control. What we think is ours can be gone in a moment. As I meditated this fact I saw with greater clarity that one day everything on this earth will be gone up in smoke and what really matters then is the condition of the only thing we possess that will never die….our souls. As we enter 2011 I hope that this perspective will stay with me and that I do not set my affections too strongly on any thing that this earth contains but on Him who is unmovable, and unfailing. I wish you all a blessed 2011!