The Blessings of Work

Today, we children, Grandad and Dad, powered through and finished compiling the rest of a Managers of Their Chores book printing. We have a great time talking while we work and just being together.

Then, this afternoon, Dad and Joseph talked/worked through some things on the plumbing project. That’s teamwork in action! The children were out cleaning up the house work site—that’s teamwork! I know the only “payment” they desire is Dad’s smile and praise of their job. 🙂

“Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men” (Proverbs 22:29).

Only for Jesus,
Sarah

Arrived or A-Drift?

Teri and I were checking out at Sams when I asked the checker about where she was going to spend eternity. She responded that it would be heaven because of her Savior the Lord Jesus Christ. As we talked it was evident that she was truly saved, and her speech carried with it an excitement and love for the Lord Jesus.

I then asked her a question that I try to ask everyone who professes Jesus as their Savior. I asked her if she read her Bible every day. The conversation then took a turn that surprised Teri and me. She said how she has been in church since she was a child and heard every sermon there was to hear. Without directly saying it, she was saying that she didn’t feel she needed to read the Bible every day.

I encouraged her that just like physical food we need to daily partake of spiritual food. That is why God gave us His Word so that we could daily feed our souls. To our amazement, she became defensive about it even though my words were gentle and non-accusatory. By her response, it was evident she would not receive this form of “encouragement” so I let it drop and wished her a good day since we had finished paying. It is one thing for her to be convinced she would gain nothing from reading her Bible every day, but something entirely different in becoming defensive about it.

We are so blessed living in this country during this time to have the availability of God’s Word. May we never get to a point of thinking we have “arrived” and no longer need a daily time in our prayer closet with the Lord and His Word. It is so easy to be set a-drift following wrong doctrine and all manner of way of life, if we aren’t reading the Bible ourselves.

Each of us is filling our minds daily. The question is, “With what?” If her family is like the vast majority of professing believers, she is finding plenty of time for other things, most of which will not be beneficial for her family’s souls. May we be like the Bereans. “And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few” (Acts 17:10-12).

Update

It’s hard to know where to begin a post after the last one was about our precious little Susannah Joy. We all have been overwhelmed by the love and prayers of so many people. Nathan and Melanie have received many, many cards, and our family has received quite a few as well, not to mention all the e-mails. The Lord has truly been very gracious to our family as we have walked through the valley of the shadow of death. Nathan and Melanie were able to spend a few days away last weekend, which was a blessed time of healing and rest for both of them. Thank you from all of us for your prayers; we have truly felt them.

Over the last few weeks, the house work has continued. It has been amazing to see it take shape. The framers are beginning to put the rafters up. In the meantime, Dad and Mom are busy making house decisions. Dad is also preparing to start working with the boys on plumbing. A few nights ago, some of us children were over at the house, and we went up to the second floor/attic where we sat and talked. With a cool breeze blowing and the sun setting, it was a nice time to just talk.

Last month, Joseph and John purchased a used Bobcat machine. This has worked out to be such a blessing with the house project. The boys plan to begin their own business with it, and they already had their first job.

We’re excited about the extra space for the ministry. We are totally maxed out in this house. Some of us will be working on compiling Managers of Their Chores books soon with the ChorePack Kits, and even now, boxes of Chore books are stacked in the hallway. We have books out in the shed that don’t fit in the basement.

Thank you again for all your prayers. Our Lord is merciful and gracious.

Sarah for the rest

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Joseph working on the house

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John working on the house

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Honey enjoys walking to the edges and looking over :-)! Notice the Families for Jesus trailers?

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We thought this would be a fun photo.

Susannah’s Life in Pictures

A few days ago, I was unloading flowers from my car after Susannah’s graveside service. On my last trip to the car, I noticed a long, slender, closed lily flower had broken from the stem and was lying on the floor of my car. I picked it up, not sure what to do with it. As I looked at it, a thought crept into my mind that said, “Hmmm, a flower just like Susannah–beautiful, but will never bloom.” I know God had a purpose for Susannah Joy’s life, but little doubts can creep in sometimes. I left the flower in the yard for lack of a better idea.

Saturday, as I was walking through my yard, my gaze was caught by a fully open, beautiful and delicate, lily flower lying in the grass. It was the same one I had discarded only a day before. It had “bloomed.” It was like God showed me again that little Susannah had bloomed. She was here for the perfect amount of time for His purposes.

I wanted to share her slide-show with you. These pictures were scrolling on a screen at the funeral home after people exited the chapel.  A little unconventional probably, but we wanted visitors to see her life. Joseph helped prepare it for posting to the blog. You’ll need a Shockwave plug-in to view it. (http://www.adobe.com and look for the “Get AdobeFlashPlayer” icon.)

  • When you start it, you’ll see controls in the upper right that will allow you to manually advance each picture, or set it to auto-advance. The music you’re hearing is Susannah’s Lullaby written and composed for her by Joseph. It’s played and sung by a number of the Maxwells.
  • In the pictures, you will see Susannah, myself and Melanie, my parents (my mom holding Susannah and my dad participating in a little prayer service), Melanie’s parents, and Susannah’s tallest uncle. In the prayer service “Elder,” a gentleman in the Maxwell’s Families for Jesus Fellowship, came to the hospital to pray for her.
  • You will also notice a number of Bradford Pear tree pictures. When we left the hospital without our little Susannah, we noticed that spring had arrived and that the Bradford Pears were in bloom. The Lord provided this little blessing for us as our hearts mourned the loss of Susannah. We will never see another blooming Bradford Pear without remembering our Susannah Joy.

Susannah Joy’s Life in Pictures:

Susannah Joy's Slideshow and Lullaby
Susannah Joy's Slideshow and Lullaby

Nathan

Pretty Flowers for My Little Girl

Several times Nathan spoke those words as he looked at the flowers friends had given for Susannah Joy.  I can’t describe the emotions raised in my heart each time I heard him say that poignant phrase.

Thursday evening’s visitation was very difficult for everyone. Nathan and Melanie had gone to much effort in the attempt to introduce those coming to Susannah Joy. It was beautiful and heart-wrenching.

There were two tables set up with special things from Susannah’s crib, photos, a poem about Susannah, and Scripture. In a separate room was a projector showing many of the photos from the hospital. Nathan and Melanie were in the chapel with Susannah and spoke with people as they passed through.

For two hours there was a steady stream of friends, neighbors, and Nathan’s clients. The outpouring of love and encouragement was overwhelming. The surprise of the evening was when five residents, who are part of our Families for Jesus assembly, came to offer their love. Four were in wheel chairs and one used a walker. They had a beautiful Bible in a decorative cedar box that they gave to Nathan and Melanie. Their coming and gift, were a special treasure. We were all quite drained as we drove home.

Nathan asked that the graveside service be limited to family. Even then, there were twenty five of us. There was a small tent set up which was needed because it was cloudy with periods of rain.
 
Nathan shared a number of things from his heart when he opened and closed the burial “service.” We sang “Trust and Obey” and “Trusting Jesus” together because those songs had been sung to Susannah in the hospital and helped sustain Nathan and Melanie during those hours. Joseph, Anna, Jesse, and John sang and played a song called Susannah’s Lullaby written and composed especially for her. Nathan asked several of Melanie and his brothers to read Scripture verses that had been very meaningful to Nathan and Melanie while Susannah was in the hospital. Melanie’s father and I briefly shared some thoughts that the Lord had placed on our hearts. Grandad closed our service in prayer. It was a beautiful time in the Lord Jesus.

In the midst of our grief, we will often speak truth to each other, “God is good.” The rain that fell, at times by the bucket-full, seemed to represent our tears and the unseen mercy and grace being poured out on all of us.

Your comments and prayers have been such a blessing and encouragement to us and Nathan and Melanie. Thank you.

In Christ Jesus,

Steve

Wednesday Update

Thank you to each and every one for your love, sympathy, and compassion. Melanie and I have been blessed over and over again as we’ve read your blog comments, the Scripture you left, the poems, the hymns . . . the Lord has used each word to comfort us. Our Father has surrounded us with His care expressed by not only Himself, but others as well. We are amazed at how many people have suffered losses similar to ours. Thank you for loving Susannah.

The Lord has granted strength for each step. Things I thought would be impossible I’ve been able to do. This is not my strength or wisdom but God’s graciousness.

Tomorrow evening is the public visitation. Please pray both for this, and the family graveside service on Friday. We desire for God to be glorified in all areas. This is so out of our realm and comfort zone, yet our heart’s desire is to trust and honor Him. We want people to meet our little Susannah. We desire that God would use her life and death for His purposes in hearts.

We’re preparing a photo slide-show of our precious days with Susannah that we’ll post in the next day or so. Many of you have loved her and will hopefully be blessed by seeing some more of her. We delight in the four days we had with our SusieQ.

Job 1:20-22 has been very significant to us. My pastor shared this with us, and we have been meditating on it since. My mom memorized it while holding Susannah her last night with us, she quoted it out loud many times and thought Susannah probably learned it before she did. Job, after being told of the loss of his children and possessions, got up from where he was, tore his rob, shaved his head, fell to the ground and worshiped. David, (2 Samuel 12:20) after being told of the death of his first son by Bathsheba, arose from where he was, washed, and went into the house of the Lord where he worshiped. Melanie and I are desiring a response to Susannah’s home going that involves heart-felt worship while prostrate before our Lord.

Melanie sang the first verse and chorus of Trusting Jesus to Susannah frequently. I will close with it.

Simply trusting ev’ry day,
Trusting thro’ a stormy way;
Even when my faith is small,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Refrain:
Trusting as the moments fly,
Trusting as the days go by;
Trusting Him whate’er befall,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.
(Edgar Page Stites)

Nathan

The Maxwell family and ministry blog of Titus2.com.