This past week, Greg and I have been grappling with news about his health. In the past month and a half, he has had a lot of pain, stiffness, and swelling. I was making “Old Man Pinkner” jokes with him (it is his dream to be called that by the neighborhood kids when he is old–that and “Colonel”). Then, we got a diagnosis that he has Rheumatoid Arthritis. Rheumatoid Arthritis is an auto-immune disease where the body attacks the joints and tissues. It is chronic and progressive. It is a disease that affects women 3 to 1 over men. There have been better discoveries of medicine in the last 5 years or so. Greg is actually going to start a low dose of a chemo-therapy drug tonight. This is something that we have to get on top of fast, and we have no idea what will happen as far as daily life. There are sometimes short bouts of remission, and that is what we are praying for. He has been reading up on it for weeks…I have only begun. Most of me has just been in shock or a panicked “what can I do to make this better right now?” This is not something that you plan for in life–especially in your 30’s. My mind knows God’s promises and that He is sovereign, but my heart is a bit unsteady and fearful at the moment. The unknown shakes the foundation and causes us to go to places that were just “theory” before. Today, I want to take time to process and pray and be in His word. We both cling to the promise that God is working this for the good–to make us more like Christ. We want to shine for His glory, but our hearts still long for circumstantial comfort. I started thinking last week how I can be grateful for the chronic pain in my hip and back that I have had for 3 years. At least I will know how it plays with your mind, spirit and emotions so that I can love on Greg (I pray I remember it in times of frustration). I also think back to my dad and helping my mom care for him with Parkinson’s disease. I saw emotionally and physically the toll of a progressive disease. I can be thankful that I processed with that before. I can also be thankful for watching my mom battle Lymphoma several years ago. She showed that a positive fighting attitude is so important. She was an example day in and day out, caring for my dad with Parkinson’s, how to help your partner by encouraging and pushing and loving. We are grateful that we know Christ and His hope. We are grateful for the many friends around us praying and encouraging us. We are also grateful for a wonderful doctor to walk with us. I think I am most excited about how Greg will come to know God in deeper, richer, more intimate ways. Would I choose this? No, but we cling to Christ in it. We pray that He use it for building the kingdom and bringing the Father glory knowing that the road will, at times, be painful. We have talked to people who have given us very encouraging stories (and some discouraging stories) about those with RA this past week. When we went to the doctor yesterday, it was a little more sober than we thought, though. This will affect us all around, everyday. My heart is nervous about putting this news out there because it makes it real, and it opens us up for lots of advice. It is amazing what people say when others have hard news. They try to tell you what you should do or go to the extremes of worst or best case scenario. I have dear friends who have lost loved ones, struggled with infertility, or gotten sober diagnoses of cancer/etc., and it seems that people do not think before they speak in situations. Sometimes the most trite or scary things come out. Most of the time, I think people want genuine prayers and an “I am sorry–I do not know what to say” instead of a “Jesus just needs another choir member in heaven” or “God will bring you a baby when you trust him” or “My mom died of that in record time” or “I heard that that is not really that big of a deal.” Greg has made a good point in the last few years that standing over the casket with someone is not a good time to give them a theology lesson. I ask that you keep us in your prayers right now and continually. Pray for his health, but also pray for his heart and my heart. Pray that we cling to the Father like no other time before. Pray for increased intimacy with Him–our hope. Pray that people may come to know Jesus through this.