The Good Shepherd

God knows what is best for all of us. It is trusting in that fact, as we learn of the God given abilities that we each have, which seems to be part of our human struggle. Children openly trust. They trust that we will feed them, clothe them and do our best to take care of them – not always as they would prefer but the basics are covered for the most part. Once a child hits a certain age this process of taking care of them changes as they begin to learn and understand. They become, not less trusting, but more capable of taking care of themselves. Children also realize their ability to take care of themselves creates pride, satisfaction and pleasure for them.

As each of us realizes how capable we are of taking care of ourselves – we also realize our unique God given talents and abilities. Our Maggie has been blessed with many God given talents. She may not have the ability to clean, organize or straighten but if you need caring, compassion, love and/or understanding she has been abundantly blessed in these areas. Maggie is still very much a trusting child in other areas – as she trusts that the food, clothes and other needs will be provided for her by others. They will. Of this I am confidant.

Catie always wanted to do the caring in the other areas of life. When she first realized that she was capable of taking care of her little sister Mia – Catie delighted in doing all that she could to please and help Mia. Max, Maggie, Kevin and I all have a favorite memory of Catie at age two. She would build a stack with cups for Mia. As soon as her design was completed she would call Mia, who at one year of age, would crawl over and knock down the stack. Immediately, Catie would begin building a new tower for Mia and would shout to us “Keep her busy. Keep her busy.”

Well in many ways Catie’s legacy has done just that. In true Catie fashion she has wished something that certainly will “keep us busy” remembering her and helping her make certain that everything possible is done to ensure that cures are found so that other families know they are not alone in their battle with pediatric cancer. Spreading awareness, raising money, sharing Catie’s story of triumph amidst a diagnosis of “there is nothing medically that can be done” keeps Catie alive for us and tells us the God does know what is best for us.

Only someone as trusting as a seven year old would have thought that raising $1.4 million dollars in three months was possible – probably because she had no idea how to do it and all that remained was trust. Catie continues to teach me that John’s Gospel of the good shepherd is the voice and direction for my life. As I grew up and learned how very capable I was of taking care of not only myself but others (Kevin and the sensational six) perhaps I didn’t rely on my trust in God but rather in myself. “The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has driven out all of his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of the strangers.” (John 10:3-5)

While some will say it is easy for a sheep to blindly trust because it is just a stupid animal, I know that is not why Jesus uses a sheep as an example. God gave us our intellects to serve Him and others. While many of us are amazingly talented and use these talents for so much good – how much more success could God create from our efforts? What changes do we need to make for God to bless us and the work of our hands? All we need do is turn in prayer to God. “Keep me safe, O God: you are my hope.” (Psalm 16:1)

When we place our trust and hope in God our prayers are always answered. Today I can say that our prayers for Catie’s complete restoration of health have been answered. She has been fully restored and is enjoying her eternal reward for her trust and faith in God as well as her service to others through her legacy. God continues to bless us each day and for this I am so very grateful. Yesterday we received news that one of Catie’s St. Jude “classmates” received positive news from her neuro-oncologist during her three month post treatment check-up. This news thrilled me. Not just for the relief that it provided me as I have not stopped praying for these children; not just for the opportunity to openly PRAISE THE LORD – do I actually need a reason? Not just for the friends who I know have been through so much during their journey and wonder what is God’s plan for their daughter and their lives. At this point I turn to these friends and offer them these same thoughts – prayer and trust in God is the only answer to this life.

May you turn to God with all that your life presents you with each day – trusting that God has a plan as is proclaimed in John 10:10. “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”

Christine, Kevin, Maggie, Max, Mia, Molly, and M.E.

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