Tag Archives: Christ

Praying for Aunt Gini


When I was a kid we had a VCR that had a quirk.    When you put a tape in, it would automatically eject it.   Push the tape in, out it would pop.   The way to get it to quit was to slam your palm down on the top.   The slap would reset something internally and the  next time you pushed the tape in it would hold.

I feel a bit like this old VCR.    My brain has developed an auto eject function.   It’s because my aunt has breast cancer.    This piece of information won’t stay put.    The fact that her surgery is in the morning is like a palm down slap on my mind.     I’m alternating between sighing and praying.   I’m a big sigher.   My mom is too.   My sister sighs.   My aunt sighs.   When we heard the news, it wasn’t huge quantities of tears that came forth.   It was deep and long sighs.   Cancer?   Again?   Really?

I was a flower girl in Aunt Gini’s wedding.   Two years old.   Big yellow dress.   She had long gorgeous dark hair.  A picture of the two of us sits on a bookshelf in my bedroom.   People tell me we look a bit alike.  I can’t think of a better compliment.

Gini is the kind of person who makes you smile.    She sews and bakes and crafts and laughs.    She signs cards with lots of xxx and ooos and her signature line always says I love you and I like you.    Sometimes she adds that she likes you better than M&Ms.   This is serious.

When people ask me about my personal faith, I talk about growing up with wise, compassionate and hilarious parents.   Great church.  Lots of friends.   Serious doubts about God in college.    Then I talk about Gini’s story.   Within the same year her daughter and her husband both fought and lost fights to cancer.    My aunt’s faith held strong.   She says that if she’d have given up on God she’d have nothing left.   He’s who carried her.     I watched her in those days and my faith was bolstered.

CS Lewis, as usual, said it best –

“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” — C.S. Lewis

I know people who say “How can a loving God allow bad things to happen”.   There are big complicated answers to that question all about sin and redemption and free will and those conversations are for another day.      I have a simple answer for you today.   The sermon on Sunday was timely.

Our pastor said that God’s crazy in love with us.

He said that our circumstances aren’t what show it.

The cross is what shows it.

Get it?   It’s not cancer that wins.   Evil and darkness and pain all lose.    Christ made a way.   Heaven wins.

My aunt knows this.  Tomorrow morning the family will gather around.   We’ll hold hands and we’ll pray.    We’ll pray for the surgeons, for the treatment and for healing.  We’ll pray that God will carry the details and the pain.

It’s not the only thing we’ll pray though.  Our lives are like the VCR.   We all tell a story.   We’ll pray that those that are watching now will see Christ.




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Relative Truth

I’m sure you have all been told that it is wrong to judge another culture through the lens of your own experience. The theory goes that truth is relative to any culture’s morals and history. I understand that but I have to say I think that sometimes gives us the easy way out when we see suffering in another culture. It’s easier to say “Oh, we don’t understand the culture, I’m sure that in their country that’s acceptable”.

I have a story to tell you.

Yesterday, the doctors and nurses were so busy inside the clinic that some of us (Deb, Hallie, me, Michelle, Sarah (she was great!)) were outside doing vitals.

Hallie and I looked at this sweet Rwandan woman who brought her 4 year old son and her 4 month old daughter to the clinic. We checked the temperature of mom and son and then lifted up the baby’s shirt to check her temperature under her arm. Both of us did a double take. This little one had pea size sores all over belly, she had them on her neck and both sides of her head.

We did what anyone would do.

We found the closest doctor.

Is this small pox? A severe reaction to something? Is it contagious? Pretty soon all five of our doctors were standing and checking out our little girl with more questions than answers.

Where is Dr. Manu???

He’s the Rwandan doctor who will be the lead when we leave. He gets the keys when we lock the door. He came over, took one look and said, “oh, that is traditional medicine. Whenever she gets a fever, her mother has no way to help her so they go to see the medicine man. He will heat the tip of a knife and then burn her so that the fever will leave”.



Everything in us runs right up the brick wall that is the ultimate question.

Is there an absolute truth or not?

Dr. Manu said that the major problem is that the sores get infected and that infection will probably kill her. Dr. Manu said that he would talk with the mother and try to explain the problem.

This mother loves her baby. No question about it. She doesn’t have the tools to help her child and so she’s doing everything in her power to save the one she loves. Problem is that this solution is not good in any culture. The baby is in pain and she may die.

Pray that her mother hears Dr. Manu and continues to bring her daughter in for treatment. If she can get antibiotics and no more burns she’ll probably be fine.

So here is the question. Do you believe in relative truth or absolute?

There are a few things that I know are wrong. Child slavery is wrong. Genocide is wrong. Hatred is wrong.

There are a few things that I know are true. Forgiveness is true. Love is true.

Christ for me is true. What about you?

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