Monday, April 4, 2011

How can I not be thankful?

Every story has two sides. At least. Recently God gave me a wonderful experience where he showed this to be so very true. For me, it all started when I prayed this crazy prayer for Silas. I was praying before bed with Silas and I asked God for Silas to bring Him the most glory possible, whether by his life, his actions, or his death. Now this truly is a crazy prayer for a parent-one society tells us is nuts-but I believe we are all here to serve a greater purpose; the kingdom of God and His glory. And I will always sing that tune.

  • "Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever.His dominion is an eternal dominion;his kingdom endures from generation to generation.All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing.  He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth.  No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?”"Daniel 4:34b,35

Mid March the Carroll family and one other family went down to North Carolina to attend a family encouragement weekend. It promised to be up-lifting to our families, and a time to build on Biblical knowledge for raising our kids God's way in a culture and climate not fully devoted to God. However God had a completely different experience planned for us. At the time we were completely unaware of what God wanted to teach us, but boy, if God wanted to teach us something we sure better be thankful that God cares enough for us and desires us to grow. If you want to hear about the story of Silas' two day trip to the Hospital with seizures, helicopter rides, and tears then read my wife's post here.

  • "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
  • "In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps." Proverbs 16:9

I would like to share with you my journey through this and what God has taught our family. If you didn't follow my encouragement to read my wife's post about our trip the rest of this post might not make sense. Just sayin...

Right after Silas had his Seizure, Emily and I were kind of in shock. We didn't really know what to do, so we called 911 and had Silas rushed to the hospital. Emily rode with Silas and I was left behind, not a place I wanted to be at the time. This enters the first two amazing families of this story. One the Martins said they would take care of Timo as long as we needed to be away in the Hospital. Timo got to spend the night and the next morning with the Martins. He was blessed to be able to spend time with their family! He even got to have a sleepover with the boys! The second amazing family was the Neelys. They call themselves "the Neely Team" and that is exactly what they are. Mr. Neely asked what our family needed several times, and was always willing to offer help when he could. Everyone else in his family was also eager to help and follow their father's lead. The Neelys lent us a car, and allowed a couple of their kids to come and watch Lily while Emily and I attended to Silas. What a blessing! I remember riding in the car asking the girls if they would be willing to sing "On Christ the Solid rock I stand" with me, and they had such blessed voices it was comforting.

  • "As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless.  He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.  For who is God besides the Lord?  And who is the Rock except our God?  It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect." II Samuel 22:31-33
  • "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock." Matthew 7:24,25

All the time in my mind I was saying a few things. I was saying, "Ok God, I asked for this, please help me understand how I can bring you the most glory through this." I also asked God "What are you trying to teach me." And lastly I was shouting loudly at Satan, "YOU WILL NOT WIN THIS, I WILL PRAISE MY GOD ALL THE DAYS OF MY LIFE!" I must admit that in my times of doubt I also had fear for what was going to happen to Silas and how it would affect our family. But God is gracious and forgiving and still has our best interest in His heart.

  • "The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.  So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer." Ezra 8:22b,23
  • "But let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight." Jeremiah 9:24
  • "Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.  The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised." Job 1:21

While in the Hospital with Silas, Emily and I knew that seizures in the Bible times were often associated with demons so we prayed to Jesus to cast out any demons in Silas. After that, the doctors never said Silas had another seizure. We knew that there were many prayers from many different people around the Country and we are so very grateful for their prayers! They were answered! Not wanting to waste such an amazing opportunity to figure out why God had us there I tried to think of how I could serve Him and bring Him glory. While in the Hospital I had the opportunity to pray with another family who had a sick child. We prayed together and shed tears. I talked about how God is our strength.  I encouraged them to keep praying as I was.

  • "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God" Philippians 4:6

Emily and I learned so much from this trip. We thought we were going down to a family encouragement conference. We missed out on the conference part but we definitely got the family encouragement part. We are so blessed to have a God who stirs our convictions and confirms them and plants them firmly in our minds. We are also blessed to understand how fragile life is and the great need to preach repentance all the time. We are blessed to serve a God who has all of our lives in His hands, and now when people ask "How is Emily?" or Silas, the Carroll family. Regardless of how they are physically, I smile and respond "They are great. They are in God's hands and that is the best place to be." and I truly mean it.

  • "But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy.  Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you." Psalm 5:11

Our family's prayer is that God will prune us and teach us what He wants, and we will continue down the path he has planned for us with grateful hearts! We will rejoice in the fact that our Savior has spent time trying to teach us to be more like Him in His holiness and less like our own selfish desires.

  • "Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:10,11
  • "He must become greater; I must become less. " John 3:30

For everything the Lord is teaching me, I am so very thankful!

  • "Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. " I Thessalonians 5:18


  1. Oh Sean and Emily - thank you for your posts!! I learn so much from both of you - you have NO idea! I pray that the Lord helps me to be the type of parents that you both are! I'm so thankful for the blessing He's given me and Kevin in your friendship!!! Love you both!

  2. Thank you for taking the time to let us know how you are doing and also to remind us of how good God is. You guys inspire us so much and we are proud to call you friends. We think of you all often and pray for you always! You mean the world to us!