Friday, September 4, 2009

First Thursdays

Thursday I had a goal...

Thursday night was the start of something new at Community of Faith called First Thursdays. The first Thursday of each month we will be having a time dedicated to praise and prayer. Last night was the first such service, and I was determined to be there.

So, all day long I rested (ugh!), took my pain meds, ate, drank fluids, and kept resting. My goal was to have the strength and energy to be able to attend this service in the evening. God has done so much for me in the past three months, and even in just the past week, that I desperately wanted to be there to praise His name and tell everyone how good He is. 

Actually getting dressed in something other than pajamas and making myself  presentable took quite a bit of energy! I was nervous about "Betty" - what if she leaks, what if she "speaks"??? - I sat down in the bathroom at 6:40, looked up at Mark, and wondered out loud if I was doing the right thing. Maybe I should just climb back into bed...

At 6:45, with Mark's encouragement, I hopped (or slowly lowered) myself into the car and we headed to COF. We parked right by the back door, dodged the rain, and went inside. It was the most awesome feeling ever, I was home!

We were greeted with cheers, giant smiles, and gentle hugs by the worship team in the green room. I shuffled down to Mark's office and collapsed in a chair. My back was hurting, I felt winded. But I was there. I was going to praise God for His goodness with my COF family. These are the people who have prayed for me since May; the people who have cried with me and cheered me on; the people who have encouraged me with their words, their smiles, their notes, and their gifts. These people are my family. 

The music started and Mark and I made our way out to the front row of chairs. My heart was full of gratitude to my God - The God who has listened and answered, the God who has been present with me every second of this journey. The God of the universe who humbles Himself to walk with me each day. There are no words really to express what I feel. With a smile on my face, I start to sing and clap my hands. Before long I am out of breath (singing requires a lot of work of the stomach muscles and mine are still recovering!) so I just stand there letting the praise of God's people wash over me. How good it is to be in the house of the Lord!

Mark welcomes the people of COF to First Thursday and he gives me the opportunity to share with them the good pathology report we received this week, and our gratitude for their faithful prayers. Everyone is standing, clapping, and cheering. I know they love me, and I hope they see how much I love them, how much I love God, and how much He loves each one of them. He is good.

Later, Donald reads from Psalm 34:1-8, the very verses I had been reading in the morning:

"I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises.
I will boast only in the L
ord; let all who are helpless take heart.
Come, let us tell of the L
ord’s greatness; let us exalt his name together.

I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.
Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
In my desperation I prayed, and the L
ord listened; he saved me from all my troubles.
For the angel of the L
ord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him.

Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!"

I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me! The Lord is good! Thank you, God, for an awesome night with you and with my COF family!


  1. It was sooo awesome to have you there! I still can't believe you look beautiful and you are amazing! We have missed you tooo much!

  2. so wonderful Laura and Mark..Laura if you get time I do a blog on my cancer result for my friends new to COF but you inspire my walk also..ty Larry Dyson..

  3. I wish I could of been there to see you and be a part of the worship and praise night!!!! I'm glad you made it! :) I bet God was smiling on you and the angels were dancing all around you as you struggled to get to church to praise and adore HIM !!!! :)

  4. Just read that Psalm this morning and claiming its victory in your life and Jim's! It always feels so good to be "home", really home! So thankful you made it!

    Praying for all your strength to return quickly!

  5. Laura,

    When I saw you and Mark come in and sit down for the Praise & Worship service last night, I was soooo thrilled to see you. You are amazing! The Holy Spirit was most definately "in the house" last night! Glad you were there to receive the "love" from your COF family!! It made me think of the Batwa and how they clap and send off there love and greetings, then you receive them.

    Don't push too hard, give yourself time to heal, but we do miss you and hope to see you more when you are feeling up to it.

    Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
    Paula P.

  6. Laura,
    I am so glad to hear that you were able to make it to the service last night. I think that is just amazing that you just got out of the hospital a few days ago and here your are getting up to go to church. I have been keeping up with your blog and praying for you since the beginning. I just wanted you to know that because of you (and a couple of my friends) I now attend COF. I have only been to 3 services and I feel God with me more so than I ever have in my life. The services there are beyond amazing, and to see God walking with you in this journey is blowing me away. Your words are inspirational. I look forward to meeting you one day and can't wait to call the people of COF my family too.

    Rachelle T.

  7. You go girl!!! Scott told me you made it to church Thurs night....Was feeling under the weather so I stayed home but I know that being back at COF made your recovery that much better! Just make sure to keep resting and listen to your body!! We love and miss you but want you well when you come home to your COF family!!!

  8. Laura,
    Your blog has been a huge level of strength for me. We recently held our 9 week old baby girl's funeral at the church the day you had your surgery. The first Thursday night at church was litteraly a God send to my husband and myself. You are such a strong individual with your faith that reading your words makes me a stronger believer. I still ask why sometimes. But with the death of our little girl we have really turned to God for help and support. COF has been a source of healing for my family. We have had you in our prayers since it was announced back in May.
    Stay strong! It was great to see you Thursday and to see the healing of God.
    Because of your words, I have actually created the same blog format to get things off my chest. It is a bit sad at times, but it helps me clear my head and we are collecting donations to the SIDS research to help save babies.

  9. Thanks for reminding me,I still did not make it, my lose,one of those moments ,P.S. hope you have been swiming it realy helps. hugs darrel

  10. Laura,
    I read your blog and I think you show everyone that God is real. You have shown me that putting your faith in him is the best way to live. I never have been able to do this, but reading your pages has helped me to understand that if I do every thing in life will be good. I will work on this and I will keep praying for you. Thank you so much,relax and except what will be.