I’m a Foot: The Blessing of Adversity

by Kimberly on May 9, 2011 in Faithfulness, Grace, Ministry, Purpose, Servanthood

Mother & Daughter Foot prints

When I was 11 years old, God brought my world tumbling down.

I was a regular Christian girl growing up in America. I did chores, headed off to school, came home, did homework, ate with my family and helped with the dishes.

When I was 11, God loved me enough to turn my world upside down, to force our family out of our typical Christian life, to cause us to reevaluate goals and focus on priorities. When I was 11 God poured out the blessing of cancer to our family.

My mother was 35 years old and pregnant with her fifth child when the doctors said, “Six more months”.

What do you do with your last six months?

As my parents struggled to answer that question our lives changed, priorities became clear and we spent more time on the most important things because we no longer had time for anything less.

My parents decided to pour themselves into me so that I could care for the home when my mother was no longer here.  They pulled me out of the Christian school I attended and began to homeschool and train me to help with the home. As they did this they realized that there is something biblical and beautiful about parents dedicated to training and educating their children in such a focused and constant way.

After homeschooling me for a few short months, my parents gave both of my school aged siblings a paper bag to pack up their school things and bring them home.

Through cancer God taught our family that our focus should be relational, first relationship with God, then with others. We are called to love and care for people, we should work to improve the lives of people, we must appreciate and enjoy people. It seems simple when you read it, but it’s uncommon in this world. It’s much more common to sacrifice people and relationship for a bigger home, a nicer car, a better education and even recognition, or a certificate of completion.

We learned that sometimes (dare I say often)  the regularly accepted way of doing things isn’t the biblical way of doing things.

We learned that God is good, no matter what.

After two years of fighting cancer, God showed another grace to our family. He granted healing to my mother. She has now been blessed to see 20 of her grandchildren and is eagerly awaiting the birth of two more.

The pregnancy that ALL the doctors recommended terminating because if she didn’t neither she nor the baby would survive, resulted in my youngest brother, the father of two, who is currently stationed in Afghanistan.

When Mark and I married we stood on the shoulders of our parents,  gleaned from what the Lord had taught them and  built on their foundation.

Our family focuses on relationship.

We try not to spend our time doing things that are merely good because we know that God only gives time for the best.

We strive to live each day and make each decision with purpose.

From the early years of our marriage we knew that God had called us to the mission field of the family, that God had called us to help and encourage others as they built their family according to His blueprint.

God has since expanded our mission to include helping those families join together to create a larger family, a Christian community. It is our dream to see a large and flourishing community of Christians, here in our hometown, that love and care for each other in real, physical ways and not just in church on Sunday and Wednesday. We pray to see God’s people of  different denominations coming together as family and reaching out to impact the communities around them for the glory of God.

For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us.

So as I write, keep in mind that relationship/community is our family’s calling. We focus much of our ‘educational’  time on equipping our children to be in relationship with God. We spend a lot of time with other families. We strive to have an open door and regularly practice hospitality to those both inside and outside the Christian community.

To facilitate these things, we spend very little time involved in what many people invest much of their energy, extra-curricular activities such as organized sports, competitions and classes. We believe that all of the benefits of these activities can be garnered from putting our time and resources to work serving God as we seek to build His kingdom.

If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? … If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. ~1 Cor. 12:14-18

Your calling and your focus may be different from ours, but we rejoice that God has made it so that  our different personalities, gifts and callings work together for the good of the body and for the glory of Christ.

Kimberly is a wife and homeschooling mother of 10 who seeks to contribute to her family’s mission of building up families through her blog Raising Olives.

You may also be interested in Carter’s Story: God’s Amazing Grace

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Photo Credit: Mother & Daughter Foot Prints

Kimberly

Kimberly is a homeschool graduate, thanks to her mom's cancer diagnosis. Now married to Mark and blessed with eleven children; Kimberly homeschools, washes mountains of laundry, mops acres of floors and attempts to live deliberately by examining each decision in light of God’s word. She blogs about managing it all at Raising Olives.

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{ 37 comments }

I Live in an Antbed May 9, 2011

This is beautiful! And you are so very right: so many don’t understand what they are giving up by having the wrong focus. Every bit of their education should point them to Him. Thank you for casting such beautiful vision! 🙂

Erica May 9, 2011

I am praising God right now for your post. It encourages me to hear of God’s healing. And relationships in the body is something I am care a lot about. I am sick of having just “Sunday” friends or acquaintances. We all live lives and need to help each other along all the time, not just at services or Biblestudies. Yet I know that it is also an area that I struggle in due to shyness and insecurity.

Stacie May 9, 2011

Oh that was so encouraging. Thank you!!! And Praise the Lord for Your mother’s healing!

Lisa Maria May 9, 2011

Kimberly, thank you for sharing your amazing story with us. God’s ways are definitely above ours and far beyond our comprehension, yet when we can surrender to His will, we see the blessings, we see the purpose in everything. God bless you and your amazing family and I pray that He will continue to protect, to guide and to inspire you.

Sandra May 9, 2011

I’m going to copy this and give it to a lady at our church. She got pregnant last summer and a month later was told she had stage 4 cancer, to abort the baby and plan her funeral. She delivered a healthy baby boy in February and is fine, as of now. They’ll do another scan next month. But after seeing what this family with 5 children and the sixth on the way, have gone through, I can imagine how this turned this family around many years ago. This family already homeschools, but I’m sure it changed them in other ways.

Jennifer May 9, 2011

Kimberly,
What a beautiful testament! Thank you so much for sharing.

Jennifer @ http://justpeachyindixie.blogspot.com

Gail May 9, 2011

Wow! This is an amazing story! I love seeing God’s faithfulness at work. Thank you for sharing your heart and your story with us!

Ashley Knoef May 9, 2011

What a wonderful read to start my week! Praise God for your mother’s healing, and what a beautiful perspective for you to have looking back at the situation. Thank you for the blessing!

Elizabeth May 9, 2011

Just coming out of lurking to thank you for sharing this story..it’s truly inspirational!

Julia Carnes May 9, 2011

Beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing this post!

Natalie May 9, 2011

This was excellent. I linked my readers to it because I think this kind of message puts meat on the bones of ideas rooted in Scripture and the heart of God. (The bones part being in OUR minds…not in the mind of God!)

Ashley Tucker May 9, 2011

Kimberly, Thanks so much for your post! It started my morning out in a perfect way.

Rebecca May 9, 2011

What a beautiful, inspiring story! I hope someday your family is able to write a book about that experience.

Misty May 9, 2011

Such a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing. I will be sharing this one with my family.

Brandy Hunter May 9, 2011

What an amazing testimony of the Lord’s grace and provision in our lives!!

You have spelled out our desire for our family, but you have helped to renew it today! Thank you for your beautifully written post!

Amy Heath-Carpentier May 9, 2011

Kimberly,

Thank you for sharing your story! As the mother of two who is just surviving my own cancer battle while mothering a 7 and a 2 year old, so much of your story speaks to me. Blessings to your mother and happy belated Mother’s Day to you.

Amy

Robyn May 9, 2011

Dear Kimberly,
please pray for me. I am a homeschool mom and I need a lott of prayer due to I left my husband over 1 yr ago due to domestic abuse for 29 yrs…I just couldn’t handle anymore. Long story…I lost the place I was renting due to foreclosure . My 2 youngest are having to live with their dad. I am asking for praayer that God would provide a home for us and a job so we can be together. your story touched my heart

amy May 9, 2011

This is such a beautiful post….thank you so much for sharing it. If you have the time, I would like to understand how they found her cancer. I’ve always sort of felt a special protection while I was pregnant….as if my body was in super-mode. I see now that is foolish, and of course not the point of your post. But if you have time….
Warmly,
Amy,
mom to 8

Carol May 9, 2011

Loved this post. Thank you.

Kimberly May 9, 2011

Thank you all for your kind words and the lovely welcome to the community here at Raising Homemakers.

Robyn – I certainly will pray for you. Prayer is one of the areas that God is growing and stretching our family and it would be a privilege to add you to our prayer list.

Amy – When my mom was about 5 months pregnant she noticed a lump on her neck. We were getting ready to leave for vacation that weekend and she says that if she hadn’t been pregnant she would have waited until after our trip. Instead she called her OB. When two other specialists saw her right away she knew it probably wasn’t good. It is a vacation our whole family will always remember. We camped and cried.

TMichelle May 9, 2011

Wonderful words!

Tasha May 9, 2011

Thank you for this lovely post! I seriously have chills reading this because I feel it parallels my recent experience. Although I do not have cancer, I am dealing with a chronic health condition and it has made me refocus my attention more sharply on God, my family and children. I have felt His guiding hand, for years, shifting me on to a path that is very family centered. I do homeschool my son and have found it increasingly more difficult to continue when my health keeps failing but this is one thing I can not give up on and I’m trying to keep my eye on the reasons we are doing it for because I know how important it is. I am keenly aware that my children are His children and they have an intended purpose in His Kingdom and so I will forever keep at it, if it is his will 🙂

Jamie Soles May 9, 2011

Good words, Kimberly!

We are feet, too…

The Soles Family

Heather Anderson May 9, 2011

Thank you for this post. It helps keep things in proper perspective for sure!

Aisha Lewis May 9, 2011

Thanks for sharing a child’s perspective going through and wise assessment looking back. I am a homeschooling mom to seven wonderful blessings under age 10. I am also a pastor’s wife. I was diagnosed with cancer about six months ago, and I too, was given bleak outlook for my future. May God be glorified in how our family continues to respond to this mercifully rare trial. I know He has so much to teach us. Thank you for the extra push to keep pouring and pouring and pouring into my children.

Penny May 9, 2011

I love the quote about the popular thing isn’t usually the biblical thing. So true. I am trying to teach my children the biblical way not the wordly one. Well, said.

Joycelyn Connet May 10, 2011

This is so beautiful!! Thank you so much!!!
Blessings in Yeshua HaMashiach,
Joycelyn

Stephanie May 10, 2011

I am very encouraged by your post Ms. Kimberly, I am also very glad to see you over here at Raising Homemakers 🙂

Kimberly May 10, 2011

Aisha – You and your family are in our prayers! My father was also a pastor, so our stories parallel even more than you realize. I pray that God will bless you and your children with as much and more blessing as He granted to my family, that He will soften the hard and that He will allow you to see your children’s children.

Rebecca May 10, 2011

Kimberly your story encouraged me so much. Last year at this time my husband was diagnosed with stage 4 Lymphoma. He completed treatment and just before Christmas was declared “in remission” althought we truly believe he is healed. The doctors tell us that they believe that the cancer will return but we will not accept that diagnosis, we believe that Christ died for our sin and our sicknesses and by His stripes we are healed! It is so encouraging to hear others tell of the grace that our Lord showers on us and how even when the world tells you that it is an impossible situation we can know that with Him all things are possible. I also believe my children will look back and see the love and grace in this adversity.

I would love to hear more about your mothers healing, if you have time.

Bless you and your family

Rianna May 10, 2011

Hello Kimberly:
It is wonderful that you were taken out of the public system to learn the much more valuable lessons of life.
Just a few things I may say: You say that God brought your world down through Cancer. I would say that the Father I know does not cause the things to happen… things happen every day! Some bad things just happen and when they do our faith is tested. With that line of reasoning … Then God kills people every day through natural disasters and through hunger and other things. I would suggest that God has set the earth to follow natural patterns and that things like earthquakes and tornados and things happen. Cancer happens to people all over the world for reasons that we do know and other cancers for reasons we don’t. We do know that through these difficult times we have a loving compassionate father who longs to have his children love him, to want to be with him. He wants us to make him every thing to us all the time!

feel free to read our website … we used to be “christians”now we are just disciples..

Rianna

Kansas Bradley May 10, 2011

I must say, being married to that baby that the doctors recommended be aborted, I am also blessed by the way this story has turned out, and in turn to the way that MY story has turned out.

Kayre May 10, 2011

Thank you!

Kimberly May 10, 2011

Hi Rianna,

Thanks for taking the time to comment. Obviously our view of God is a bit different than yours. We believe that the Bible is God’s inspired Word wherein He reveals Himself so that we may have a relationship with Him.

You say,

the Father I know does not cause the things to happen

But in 1 Kings 22 we read the story of Ahab and Michaiah,

The LORD said, ‘Who will entice Ahab to go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said this while another said that.
Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD and said, ‘I will entice him.’
The LORD said to him, ‘How?’ And he said, ‘I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ Then He said, ‘You are to entice him and also prevail. Go and do so.’

Here God assigns one of His spirits to entice Ahab to go to his death.

In Job God gives Satan permission to take everything away from Job.

There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job; and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil……Then the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he (Job) has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.”

and within the day all of Job’s children were dead and his wealth was destroyed.

So whether you prefer to say caused or allowed, God is obviously the one who is in control of everything that occurs.

You say,

I would suggest that God has set the earth to follow natural patterns and that things like earthquakes and tornadoes and things happen.

but in Luke 21:18 we read that even though we will be hated for His name sake,

Yet not a hair of your head will perish.

a promise He would be unable to keep if He had no control

In Exodus 3 we read that not only did God have control over all of the big miraculous plagues in Egypt, which included the death of all the first born, but He also ordained the attitude of the Egyptians toward the Hebrews.

But I know that the king of Egypt will not permit you to go, except under compulsion. So I will stretch out My hand, and strike Egypt with all My miracles which I shall do in the midst of it: and after that he will let you go. And I will grant this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be that when you go, you will not go empty-handed. But every woman shall ask of her neighbor and the woman who lives in her house, articles of silver and articles of gold, and clothing; and you will put them on your sons and daughters. Thus you will plunder the Egyptians.

and Matthew 10:29 tells us that He is concerned with even the smallest details of life and death ,

Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.

John 9 and Proverbs 16:4 reveal some of His purpose,

And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.

and

The LORD has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.

Tamara May 11, 2011

Kimberly,
What a beautiful testimony! How life-changing. I am thankful that God was merciful to your family and that He used your circumstances to bring such glorious riches to the lives of so many. It is His way to take something frightening and deadly and use it to Glorify His name. His ways are higher than ours. Thank you for sharing and allowing God to be glorified even further. I am always grateful for the reminder to live every moment to it’s fullest in HIS eyes and according to HIS ways. It is so easy to get distracted with the every day.

You have a wonderful way with words. God Bless You.

Tamara

his.talmidat May 15, 2011

I so appreciate the spirit of God I sense through your writing and through the gracious but strong way you respond to commenters. Thank you for such a great example.

“…God had called us to the mission field of the family, that God had called us to help and encourage others as they built their family according to His blueprint.” I’m starting to see that our family is called to this, in one way or another. It is amazing the response people have seeing a family being together, of being invited into our home or being out in public. I am just starting to see how powerfully God can use a family that serves Him in this world that doesn’t honor His ways or family. Anyway, thanks.

Kelley August 4, 2011

I ended up in tears reading this! God is SO AMAZING! Thank you so much for sharing.

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