Here I raise my Ebenezer…

-Written by Anna-

This week marks one year since we brought Mom home from rehab. It was a day of celebration! However when I think back on it I remember very clearly the frustrations and the fears.

Frustration – Our departure ended up being weeks earlier than anticipated. The day of our departure though found us waiting all day for the paperwork for her release. Finally it came around dinnertime. God bless the sweet therapist that came after her shift to help us order the equipment we needed at the house, our local pharmacy that stayed open late just to fill Mom’s prescriptions and the nurses that walked us through her medications.

Fear – I clearly remember the fear! It took three trained aides to get Mom in our car. Could Dad and I manage to get her safely out? She was only a week out of surgery and still so weak and fragile! Would her wheelchair fit through our doorways? Could we care for her safely at home? How were we going to navigate this new reality?

Joy – And yet in the midst of frustrations and fears, there was a deep sense of joy and gratitude! We were bringing Mom home! Something we could not have imagined three months earlier! Truly a miracle!

Three months had passed since Mom had walked out of the house for lung surgery. So much had changed. We were all different people. For Mom, many of the changes were obvious. She was now being wheeled into the house that she had walked out of three months earlier, now dependent on others for everything. Yet some of the changes were not as obvious. Walking through the valley of the shadow of death changes you. And it should.

The type of change though is a choice.  As our family seeks to adjust to our new normal my prayer has and continues to be that we would all be changed and changed for the better! In recent months we have each faced moments of overwhelming gratitude and overwhelming grief as we look at the losses and gains of this past year. I don’t pretend to have any answers but I do believe that by walking through the valley we have come to know in deeper ways the One who chose the path of suffering for us! What an amazing gift to serve and follow a God who understands suffering and loss! Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Today in my Bible 7 class we acted out the book of I Samuel. Yes, you read that right. It was either a brilliant move or a moment of insanity that led me to try and act out thirty-one chapters of Old Testament history with sixteen 7th graders! I don’t know how much they got out of it (aside from the great fun of acting out battle scenes with your classmates of course!) But as I poured over the book in preparation I was moved by seeing HIS story unfold in the midst of personal and national struggles. I was inspired by the heroes of the faith who turned to God in their moments of suffering and joy and I was grieved by the tragedy of those who let their fears and insecurities keep them from obeying Him! I was struck by the fact that the real victories and losses seemed to occur before and/or after the battle/crisis not during. But the part that really stood out to me this morning was a passage from a very familiar story. After an Israelite victory over the Philistines, Samuel raised a stone and called it Ebenezer. “Thus far has the Lord helped us.” (I Samuel 7:12) Samuel knew that their victory was from the Lord and the stone served as a physical reminder of the Lord’s faithfulness to His people. 

As we mark another milestone in this journey, a year of Mom being back at home, I would like to raise our Ebenezer and testify to the fact that “Thus far has the Lord helped us.” And just like Samuel we know that there will be more battles to come, but this Ebenezer stone is a reminder to the people of the faithfulness of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob!

Much has changed in our lives in the last year but we serve the same God as Samuel and His loving kindness and faithfulness have not changed. Hallelujah! What a Savior! 



26 thoughts on “Here I raise my Ebenezer…

  1. Isaiah 43:2 immediately came to mind. As you all experienced, and we are reminded, He allows the crosses along the journey, BUT He is with us. Vs 3 says “I am …” Powerful words in our weaknesses. Thank you Anna! Much love and continued prayer.


  2. Yes, dear Liz! We raise the Ebenezer too on behalf of all of you. As I write this , I am thinking of John, my husband, lying here next to me still asleep. What lonely tragic days followed tom and the team’s murders August 5,2010! BUT the merciful hand of God was so often visible! “Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning”. We are praying with you for that joyful morning when Katy can move around on her own! We rejoice with you over just how far she has come in one year! Libby

    Sent from my iPhone



    1. Dearest Libby,if you say joy really comes in the morning, it has so much credibility because there was a day , many days, when John wasn’t there beside you, but he is unmistakenly there now. Only .God can turn mourning into gladness like this. Your story inspires and breathes hope into me, just when I want to give up. Thanks for weeping and rejoicing with us. Thanks for reading our blog. I can’t wait to read your book. (;


  3. We’re thankful for the many small blessings along the way and great perseverance and family efforts to bring you to this 1 year point. May God continue to grant strength, hope, and healing.


    1. Godwill and Miriam, we know you can raise your Ebenezer,too, of praise for His faithfulness in how far .he has brought you as a family and as the church there in Bamenda! Your “home” here is always waiting for you.


  4. Thanks Anna, for your heart-felt thoughts and reflection of the past year

    Here are very comforting words for you – all of us, as we are praying for and following Katy’s journey – “.*..I am the Lord, I change** not:…” Mal. 3:6 *

    I love you and carry you in my heart, mind and prayers. Surely the Lord is with you, and “Thus far He has helped you” indeed and will abide with you always.

    Bless you as you daily teach your precious students. What a gift you are to them, and may His strength and wisdom be with yours in every situation and each step of your journey. His peace be yours, Camille

    On Fri, Mar 10, 2017 at 7:06 AM, Journey with Katy wrote:

    > lizlind posted: “-Written by Anna- This week marks one year since we > brought Mom home from rehab. It was a day of celebration! However when I > think back on it I remember very clearly the frustrations and the fears. > Frustration – Our departure ended up being weeks earlie” >


  5. Amen. What a Savior! Good words. Ebenezer lifted high, in praise to our God. Thank you for writing this Ebenezer.


    1. Nancy, it is you who bears testimony to His power to sustain in trial. We continue to pray for you, thanking Our God for what He has already brought you through! Katy


  6. Thank you, Anna. You (and all your family) are an inspiration and blessing to all of us. We live in a world where many things happen for which we have no neat explanation. The only thing we know for sure is that God is with us and gives us strength — even as we weep in despair. Thank you, thank you. I continue to pray, with love.


  7. So beautifully written..thank you and thank your mom’s experience for helping build my faith even more…God bless your beautiful family


    1. Dear Anna, I can so picture your 7th graders doing this. Your heart for God is a blessing to your students. I’m so thankful that you could return to BFA for this school year. I have thought a lot about having “ebenezers” also during this year when we have a lot of uncertainties. I’m praying for you and your family tonight. Love in Christ, Lori


  8. Amen and amen, dear Anna! You continue to encourage and challenge my faith and I am blessed to have a “fellow pilgrim” on this road of aging or suffering parents and the many miles that separate us from them! By God’s grace you have not lost your love and concern for the other people in your life. I applaud your love and commitment to those students you love and teach! May we both know the “well done, good and faithful servant” that we so long to hear on that day! I love you, dear friend! Bon courage et bonne continuation pour l’avenir et tout ce qu’il contient!


  9. Very good! Yes, our Lord knows the ‘route’ before us because He has already traveled to!!! Blessings and grace to you all.


  10. Hi Katy! Greetings and hallucinations–ME? Writing on one of these? Yes! It’s a hallucination! A man in our church sang yest., with his wife, leaning on his cane. 3 yrs. ago he had a stroke about as bad as yours. It affected his right side, speech, etc. But he can talk now ( a bit slowly), walk with cane, holds his right hand in his pocket and drives again, with adaptations to his car. Buck up, if you can, because your “latter end” will be blessed (like Job). Western PA is cold and depressing, but I also am trying to “buck up”. (Not doing the greatest job of it, either). Your Cuz, SYL Deg.


  11. Thank you, Anna. Your words are so true and so triumphant. Your communications always bless us all. Your blog is teaching us how to face our own difficulties. God bless you all.


  12. Katy,

    Just learned yesterday of your father’s passing. Very, very saddened for you and your family, and for the loss to the Asbury community. Dr. Kinlaw gave the strongest and most dynamic meaning to “full of years,” as he continued with the work and ministry he was given.

    Please know of our sympathy, prayers, and deep appreciation for his life. Thinking about you and yours Friday, Saturday, and onward.

    May God bless you and your family with comfort and peace into the days ahead.

    Soli Deo gloria,

    Bill (and Liz) Higgs


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