It has been a long while since I have posted anything here. I have been busy completing three years toward my B.A. in English and my senior year is underway. My current class (Creative Writing) has finally given me the space to take off the tight harness of academic writing rules, and it feels SO GOOD!! After reading my first assignment, Mom and Daddy gave it their thumbs up and suggested I make it a blog post, so here it is. It is my story and their story. It's a little longer than my usual posts, but as with everything I have ever posted here, I pray it encourages you to run "up the sunbeam to the sun" (C. S. Lewis).

"Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ." 1 Corinthians 11:1 NIV

I sat above them on the stairs. Looking down through the window-like openings in the partition between the living room and the stairway, I listened to the basketball players, football players, baseball players, wrestlers, track athletes, both the lettermen and the also-…

Riding Whitecaps



The splash of whitewater dots the lake surface, each wave advancing like a tiny storm all its own.

Whitecaps on a deep blue mountain lake are what this past week reminds me of. It may not be stormy all around, but the water certainly is choppy!

Last week I wrote of our friends, the Shaffer family, and their son, Stephen. They were hit with one mighty, overwhelming rogue wave that looked like something you'd see on an episode of Deadliest Catch. Since then, they have been riding a series of crazy and unpredictable whitecaps that just keep coming.

It's hard to believe all that has transpired since the 4th of July. At the time I wrote last week's post, the facebook group, Pray for Stephen Shaffer, was barely over 1500--it now tops 13,000!!! Keep in mind, this is a "secret group" that people can't just look up and click 'Like' to join! Apparently God didn't keep the secret! =)

This has been a truly turbulent ride with such violent twists and turns, and ups and downs, they leave us constantly breathless. Every wave we've ridden has been some wild mix of exhilaration and terror, extreme joy and heart-in-throat gulps for air. We have seen MIRACLES of the highest order! We have seen God completely override what people thought were impossibilities!! We have praised God in a chorus that literally covers the earth! We have ascended such heights as some of us have never seen before!

How we have wanted to stay on those mountaintops and keep breathing the air of glory you only find in high country!

But what we thought was the happily-ever-after ending was only the first act, and there is no intermission. The need for miraculous intervention is not over. The whitecaps continue to arch up and over, up and over, splashing down like wild horses tossing their heads in defiance of any thoughts of taming them. Stephen is still defying death, and God is still His Champion! And we, the transfixed onlookers, continue to watch and pray while we passionately cheer for the good guys!!

If you notice that I am mixing metaphors and shifting from one to the other like a writer who doesn't know any better, it's only because words are such weak vessels for this experience! It feels like the battle line runs right through Stephen's hospital bed, and the enemy does not want to admit defeat (yes, I know that's another one). Make no mistake, that wicked old liar IS defeated, but the fight is not over quite yet.

This morning, we had our church service in a beautiful park, and we broke into groups to share our reflections on the passage of Scripture we were given to study last week in preparation for today. It could not have been more perfect!  I hope you'll go read all eight verses, but especially this: 

"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge —that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:17b-19 NIV1984

Do you get the feeling even Paul struggled for words big enough to express the thoughts God breathed into his pen?

I have never felt "together with all the saints" like I have this week! The inexplicable closeness I feel for these 13,000+ prayer warriors, most of whom I have never met, is a powerful glimpse into what Heaven will be like! This I know:

The love of Christ is a

There is no one like HIM!

I pray that we all grab ahold of this love that is unlike any other and that we will allow God free rein to show us just "how wide and long and high and deep" His love really is!!

May I ask you to please continue to pray for Stephen! He is not out of the woods yet, but we are trusting God to bring him safely through to a full recovery! Let me know if you'd like to be added to the Praying for Stephen Shaffer facebook group, or you can follow the updates on his story at a special website maintained by his family: www.pray4stephen@weebly.comThank you so much!! I will continue to pass along any love and encouragement you would like to send to the Shaffer family!! Just leave your words for them in the comments!!

Here is a portion of the latest update from Gloria, Stephen's amazing mother:  ‎4:00pm 7/16 UPDATE: . . . Before we make a final decision (about putting in a defibrillation unit), we want to make sure that God didn't do something crazy like heal his heart, because God has been doing some crazy miracles with Stephen already, don't you think??
-As far as Stephen's heart condition, last we heard his ejection fraction rate was 10 - 15% (ejection fraction is a measurement of the percentage of blood leaving your heart each time it contracts.) Normal is 50 - 70%. Stephen's poor heart :(
-We learned today that his heart is also enlarged :(
- They are still baffled about what caused his heart to stop (and not want to start up again...) in a 23 year old, a potassium deficiency or electrolyte imbalance would make you weak, but not kill you!!! Bottom line: It is a medical mystery WHY Stephen's heart stopped and we (I am including me in this equation) just have to get over it. Repeat after me, "I'm over it." Good job. Now let's let God be God and move on. He has a plan and what He has accomplished thus far with this medical mystery thing is amazing!!

Prayer Requests: 
**Pray that between now and tomorrow, God completely heals Stephen's heart; more specifically, that his ejection fraction rate is 50%. God can do it!!!
**Pray that his heart returns to normal size
**Pray that his lungs, chest, heart area stays clear of fluids
**Pray that his electrolyte levels stay in balance
Praise: Kidneys working great
Praise: Fluid has cleared, lungs sound great.
Praise: Stephen is TOTALLY back!! He is acting completely normal. No confusion, no strangeness, just our regular Stephen. He's asking lots of questions, dazzling the nurses, watching movies on the hospital's movie channel - Moneyball, Tron, Real Steel, etc..., just being his normal self. No one can believe he's not brain damaged!! He should not have recovered brain activity so quickly! Praise God for his mighty healing.

Joining Ann Voskamp in counting His graces for her Multitudes on Monday
I hope you'll join in if you haven't already!
In the counting of the endless gifts I say with C. S. Lewis,
"This also is Thou!"

Counting my next 1000 Gifts, joining Ann in The Joy Dare--like a scavenger hunt for graces, gifts and glory!! Wanna come along?  I dare ya!!

The continuing JOY DARE: 
#1569-1589 (July 8th through July 14th)

8. 3 Gifts Water
Ice for my knee
Ice for my Peet's Dark Chocolate Mocha Freddo
Water that makes Peet's Coffee at home
9. A Gift of Rhythm, Rhyme, Reason
The one-two, one-two, one-two count of my 2-mile walk
Bryan Duncan in my iPhone playlist:
           "In my mind I'm like a kid in the corner
     Where I argue with the devil 'til I've had my fill 
     When I start to believe all the lies that you're tellin' me
     Sayin' I'll never make it, I say, 'Yes I will'"
         C. S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm, Letter XIV
   "We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade, the presence of God.  The world is crowded with Him.  He walks everywhere incognito.  And the incognito is not always hard to penetrate.  The real labour is to remember, to attend.  In fact, to come awake.  Still more to remain awake."  
10. 3 Gifts in Weakness
That God's strength is shown in bold relief against our weakness
The glory of God shown through the momentary frailty of Stephen's heart
Overwhelmed tears of joy at good news that makes you go weak in the knees (amazing how we are hard-wired to get into a position for prayer when life is too much, either too scary, too sad to handle or too good to believe)
11. 3 Gifts in Jars
Kalamata olives
Peanut butter
My favorite spicy dill pickles
12. A Gift of Life, Growth, Decline
Stephen Shaffer!!!
The faith of all who have prayed and watched God do MIRACLE UPON MIRACLE in Stephen's odyssey!!
Numbers on the scale!
13. 3 Gifts Curled
Kissin' curls at the base of She So Sweet's ponytail (the only ones she can't completely straighten)
Leaves of every shape and size
Peeling bark on the manzanita trees
14. 3 Gifts Yellow
Flowers She So Sweet put in a vase
Gentle sunshine
Ripe bananas
   Beauty in His Grip Button

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who make these communities available!

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