Have you been hanging around church longer than you can remember? Do you know every Bible story and children’s worship song by heart? Do you watch baptisms with one eye while you read the church bulletin with the other?
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I won’t be posting again until next week. Amy and I will be in New Mexico teaching at the Glorieta Christian Writer’s Conference. Please pray for us and our families while we are away. Pray specifically for Amy’s son Spencer to be seizure free while we are gone. Thank you!
You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. Matthew 23:24 NIV
Have you ever gone running through the backyard hollering and swallowed a gnat? Yuck! It’s gnasty business. You spend the next few minutes hacking and spitting with thoughts of the fluttering little devil stuck on the side of your throat.
The Pharisees hated gnats, too. They feared swallowing gnats would make them unclean. This fear led them to strain their water for gnats before drinking it. If you read Matthew 23:24, you see Jesus was more than a little frustrated at the Pharisees. They were experts in the law. These guys could spout laws in a box, with a mouse, in a house. They could spout them here or there. They could spout them anywhere.
The problem was that knowing them didn’t constitute living them. The Pharisees were overly concerned about appearing saintly, but not concerned enough about the state of their hearts. They did not eat gnats but swallowed camels. They didn’t want to be holy, they just wanted to look the part.
I love sporty clothes. I’m drawn to the matching hot pink and black running shirts and pants at Target. I can imagine myself in them. I plan the earrings – small diamond studs, nothing dangly. The hair – sleek ponytail, not too high. The shoes – Nike Plus Pegasus, the ones that connect with my I-pod. But it’s really not me. I do run on occasion, but sporty is just not my style. Ask my friends, I’m more likely to be seen in sequins than spandex. But it’s fun to dress the part from time to time.
The Pharisees were the same. They walked the streets wearing sweatbands and sneakers having no plans of ever running the race.
How often could this describe my Christian walk? I’m afraid to tell you. Sometimes I don’t live like a Christian, I just play one on TV. I can spend my time teaching Sunday school, volunteering at the food bank, and singing in the choir. But when I walk past the lady who drops her bag of groceries or tailgate a car so no one can squeeze in front of me in traffic, it reflects the attitude of my heart. I’ve just swallowed a camel. Ouch.
How about you? Do want your name engraved in gold on the front of your Bible or do you want His Word engraved with grace on the walls of your heart?
Lord, let me be pleasing to you on the inside and the out. Let my thoughts and actions reflect a heart that is filled with You. Help me to be aware of those around me who are watching me for signs of You. Forgive me when I worry too much about the gnats and not enough about the camels. May my mouth be small and my heart be big. Amen.
Amy Wyatt didn’t have the typical Kodak moments after having her first child. After many hours of labor and the eventual delivery of her son Spencer, he was whisked away to the Neonatal Intensive Care. His little body was in distress and he suffered a stroke. Amy got to hold him almost 24 hours later when the doctors called her into the NICU to say good-bye.
Her precious first-born son was losing his color and losing his life. The doctors had him hooked to many machines trying to extend his time. He had heart damage, liver damage, kidney damage… The doctors told Amy she could hold him to say good-bye, but they would need to unhook him from the machines. They were asking her permission to stop rescue efforts. With a tearful nod she watched as they unhooked the tiny boy from the blips and squeaks and wrapped him tightly to cover his now gray skin.
Amy and her husband took him in a room to pray over him while the nurse began filling out his death certificate. “God,” Amy cried over the small bundle, “You say in your Word that you will give those you love the desire of their hearts. Lord, the desire of my heart is to keep my son. But Lord, I know he belongs to you.” The doctor came in every couple of minutes to check Spencer’s pulse so he could call the time of death. Like someone flipped off the switch on a fan, Spencer’s heart slowed with every beat.
Again the doctor came to take his pulse, but this time he reached to take the baby from Amy’s arms. “NO! I don’t care if he’s dead. I just want to hold my son,” Amy pleaded. “You don’t understand. Your baby is not dead. He’s alive!” The doctor rushed Spencer back to the NICU for a thorough examination. His heart beat with perfect timing.
The staff began to run tests to find out what happened. What they found was astonishing. Heart damage – gone. Liver damage – gone. Kidney damage – gone. It was a miracle.
Spencer is eight. He is a walking, never-stops-talking miracle. He loves the Lord and will share his faith with you in a heartbeat. The only sign of what happened to Spencer at birth is an area of insult to his brain. Spencer has epilepsy.
Spencer and his new seizure response dog, Lucia.
From the time of Spencer’s first seizure until now, Amy has carried a burden most of us never have to even think about. She is never away from a phone. She carries seizure meds on her belt at all times. She sleeps every night in increments of thirty to forty-five minutes. She wakes up to check on Spencer all night long. During the day, she calls his name every ten minutes. “Spencer? Are you alright?” “I’m okay.” She waits for the confirmation and goes on with her business.
This would have slowed a lot of people down. Not Amy. She travels the nation sharing the story of Spencer’s birth and giving God the glory. She speaks at churches and conference centers. She is a part of the Epilepsy Advocate Program.
Lately, Spencer’s seizures have gotten worse. What once happened every couple of months, has slowly increased to once or twice a week. The medications are no longer working. The next step is brain surgery.
Amy, her husband Greg, and Spencer have a big decision to make. Amy has spent many a night on her knees in prayer. How do you say yes to having part of your son’s skull removed so doctors can cut away a portion of his brain? No mother ever wants to make a decision like this.
Amy needs a vacation. She needs some time to get away. Let her soak her problems by the pool. Let her feel the goodness and grace that only God can provide on a cruise ship. Please choose her to go on the cruise! She desperately needs a girl’s get-away. And what kind of friend would I be if I didn’t offer to go with her?
**This is my entry for a Girl’s Get-A-way Cruise hosted at Christian Women On-line.