Monday, May 11, 2009

Guest Post from Brian's Sister, Myra

Myra, Owen, & I had a great visit with Brian late last week & Myra, Brian's youngest sister, wanted to share some reflections on that visit with all of you...

Kara & I visited Brian this week. It was during this particular visit Kara & I made it our mission to arrange for some good ol' family time via a picnic dinner at Carmel Road Park. To prepare for this outing, we headed to the nearest grocery store to pick out an assortment of food. My dad decided to accompany us on this grocery trip to ensure we picked an appropriate dessert; I mean help watch my nephew, Owen (well, he did give Owen a few firm no's when he started punching each & every potato chip bag ;).

Earlier that day, a bunch of us had been talking about what defines people as people. One notion that came up was “walking & standing upright." Although I neither agreed nor disagreed with this statement at the time, I felt something tugging at my heart to scream out "No!". It wasn't until today that I understood why I wanted so strongly to disagree.

When I returned home, I thought nothing of the conversation & went about my business. That night as I prepared for bed, I felt a strong urge to continue with my current studies in Proverbs. Feeling tired & lazy, I chose to ignore that urge & instead opted to close my eyes & go to sleep. As I began drifting off for what I felt was going to be a great night of sleep; I was abruptly awakened. I would lie awake tossing & turning the next thirty minutes wondering why I was struggling to fall back asleep. Unable to fall asleep, I finally decided, okay, fine I will continue reading in Proverbs. Not feeling particular thrilled with my decision, I obligatorily opened my Bible to Proverbs. I began my studies “conveniently” where I left off last in Chapter 6 (For those familiar with Chapter 6, you might understand why I place quotation marks around the word conveniently. Part of this chapter explains how God expects us to use our time. He makes several references to sleeping. Specifically:

Allow no sleep to your eyes, no slumber to your eyelids (Proverbs 6:4).

How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep (Proverbs 6:9)?

(Well God's to answer that apparently was right now.).

Over the year, my relationship with God has grown. I have developed a more personal relationship with Jesus. It has been through this growth, that I have come to realize God is a funny guy. I find when I least expect it, God reveals himself in ways that make me laugh. To me, this is a strong testament to how God so desires for us to develop a personal relationship with him. God knows that for me personally, humor is a great tool. He knows that I respond well to it & sometimes uses it to teach & motivate me. He also knows that sometimes I need very literal examples to understand the deeper meaning of his words (Hence the irony of Chapter 6). Do I think God expects me to sacrifice sleep? No. But because of this literal example I now better understand what He really means.

I lay awake reading & studying Proverbs for about an hour, reading to about Chapter 15. As I closed my Bible, I began to thank God for all the wisdom He revealed to me through my studies. I also asked him, as he commands in Proverbs 7:1-3, to help me remember His teachings, to be able to use His teachings to uplift others, & bring them into a relationship with Jesus. No sooner could I say amen, my new found wisdom brought me back to that conversation about what makes us human. I, now, undoubtedly understood why I felt the way I did about standing upright & walking as a requirement to be human. I thought of Proverbs 2:6 & 10:

For the Lord gives wisdom and from his mouth comes knowledge and understanding...For wisdom will enter your heart & knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.

It is with unwavering confidence I can say “walking & standing upright” does not define us as humans. All one needs to do is look at a monkey, a gorilla, or even a lemur to see they all have the ability to walk upright & yet they do not live as humans. Rather, it is our ability to make choices, to feel an array of emotions, to think, & to communicate that defines us as humans. No other creature comes even remotely close to having the ability to think & communicate with such a freedom & capacity as we do. But God knew this when He created us. That’s why He created a Bible & He's constantly showing us how powerful our own words are.

I know I still have a lot to learn & study, but nowhere in the Bible have I found where God talks about or even emphasizes the importance of walking. Instead I find over & over again how powerful our words are. Our words represent who we are, what is important to us, & how we think of others. Words have the ability to hurt people, to uplift people (such as those kind, encouraging, hopeful, & prayerful words which so many of you have graciously provided for Brian & for us), to bring people closer to or further from God. Proverbs is full of such reminders:

Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing (12:18).

An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up (12:25).

The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit (15:4).

In this world, I agree walking & standing are important. Our infrastructures are designed based on that functionality. I see this especially as I witness the struggles my brother will face with a wheelchair & I am excited about some of the technological advances that will make mobility more of a reality for him, hopefully in the very near future. However, just as my brother's paralysis is not made for the kind of world we live in neither are we. We are worth more & made for so much more. God shows us that we are to live our lives based on His teachings & not on what the world values (2 Corinthians 1:12). However, in order for us to do this we must have faith in His Son & His promise. Webster defines faith as "something that is believed with strong convection, without question." Unfortunately for many of us our desire to want to have all the answers to our questions before we will believe & the desire to have complete control are the biggest obstacles to faith.

Loyal blog followers will recall that as Brian still struggled to survive in ICU, my dad clung to God's instructions in Proverbs 3:5, ones that continue to be relevant to our coping everyday of this journey.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart & lean not on your own understanding.

God doesn’t expect us to understand everything all at once. He doesn’t want us to waste our time trying to find the answers in life without Him or for us to put hope into things that don’t involve him. God wants us to instead use our time to work on developing a personal relationship with Him & to learn to trust Him. That's why Proverbs 3:6 tells the rest of the story:

In all your ways acknowledge Him & He shall direct your paths.

God teaches us over & over again, particularly in Proverbs, that only through this kind of commitment will we gain the wisdom needed to understand.

To close, I leave you with Proverbs 10:25:

When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever.

God never promises us a life here free of disappointments & struggles. One look at the indescribable suffering of many innocent that surround us will confirm that; however, what He does promise is an eternal life free of all the horrible stuff.

As I closed my Bible that night, I asked God, “Do you think You could spend some time teaching me a little bit more about Proverbs 3:24?

When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down your sleep will be sweet.

A literal example of this teaching was very much needed for my understanding... ;)


  1. Way to keep your mind open, Myra. True we are so much more than just walking creatures.

    I also hope you guys had a great time at the park.

  2. "Live in the the world... not OF the world."

    I've heard this quote so many times growing up but it took me a long time to figure out exactly what it meant. The "world" tries to tell you that you NEED to have all of these "things" to make yourself happy. Your family is a true example that you don't need "things" to be a happy people, but you do need the LOVE of Christ and the love and support of your family.

    When Christian and I got pregnant, we had SO many people who thought we were making a huge mistake. We had the love and support of family (not everyone) but most of our family. But the faith that Christian and I both had in our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ kept us going. We knew we had made the decision that HE wanted us to make. We may not have understood it at the time, and we had our fair share of struggles, but it has been the greatest blessing to follow spirit and lean on my Savior for those bumps down the road.

    I know that your family is being watched over and blessed greatly. You are good people and I love you all.