What Comes Your Way

What Comes Your Way

By Mike & Debbie Henderson

If you have received bad news or have gone or are going through a difficult experience, you may be wondering how you are going to get through it.

The morning of September 11th 2001 was different for so many people in so many ways, but for my wife and I it was a life changer. The news of terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centers was dominating the news and our office calls. It is a day we will never forget.

In all of the craziness of the day and for all its meaning, I will never forget the phone call from my wife. It was around 11:00 AM on that somber morning. My wife called and said. “Mike, the doctor just called, I have breast cancer”. As the tears welled up deep inside, all we could do is cry.

There were a lot of things we didn’t know. We didn’t know how bad it was and we didn’t know if it was life threatening, so we just cried. Those moments seemed like eternity for both of us. Inside my world was crashing down.

The news around the world shook me and caused me to wonder what was going on, but the news of my wife’s cancer was more devastating than anything either of us had ever faced before. It was during our conversation on the phone that my wife and I had determined that we both wanted answers.

I sat in my office chair trying to comprehend the news of my wife and cancer. I prayed and I prayed and then I would cry some more. My wife, at home, was doing the same thing. We were stunned. We both struggled inside.

I remember feeling inside that I had to let my wife go…a very difficult thing to do. As I was contemplating releasing her over to the Lord, a sinking feeling overwhelmed me. I remember praying, “Lord I don’t understand and I don’t know why but I give my wife to you. I don’t know what you have in mind but I am going to trust you for this moment.” I opened my bible and this verse jumped off the page at me. It is found in 1 Corinthians 10:13 (The Message Bible),

No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.”

It was comforting to me to realize that others have had to face this same problem also, and in some cases, so much more, and they came through it okay.

The days and months passed. I was at my wife’s side the whole time as she went through six months of chemotherapy and three months of radiation treatments. Admittedly, some days were harder than others.

I remember one day in particular when my wife had her third chemo treatment. She was lying in bed, hurting and unresponsive. She said, “Mike, I can’t do this anymore.” I could sense her desperation, so I laid down next to her and said, “Honey, let’s look at the clock and let’s try to make it just five minutes.” After we had made that first five minutes, we would do it all over again. We must have looked at the clock some 20 times that day. HE helped us get through a very difficult day

The 1 Corinthians 10:13 verse that jumped out at me hung on our refrigerator door for over a year. It was always there as a constant reminder to us the Lord Jesus was with us. It was so comforting to know that He promised we will never let us be pushed past our limit, even when everything inside says you are.

Today, my wife is cancer free. Praise God! I thank the Lord for her and for what HE has done in our lives and in the lives of my children. What we as a family learned during that difficult time has changed all of us.

About Mike & Debbie Henderson

Mike and Debbie have been married 41 years, have two children and four awesome grandchildren, ages 7,4,3,and 1. Mike, with the full support of Debbie, has been the Senior Pastor for the K-LOVE and Air1 radio networks for 17 years. They are listener supported ministries with 10 associate pastors on staff responding to our listeners’ needs all around the country and the world.

To learn more, visit www.Klove.comwww.air1.com and www.crisisresponse.org

Mike and Debbie Henderson

30 Day Devotional

This resource can help you and your family encounter Scripture together and make deeper connections with God and each other. This has been designed to be used during the month of July, but you can use it at any time. We suggest you begin Day 1 on a Sunday because some activities are designed around the weekend and Sunday worship. God bless you!

Family Bridges App

Books too “last century” for you? This customized app will give you access to resources to manage your own growth or even take the journey with a group of friends. What are you waiting for?

Resolving Conflict

Resolving Conflict

By Bill Ferrell

Where are you in your marriage/significant relationship? How are you at resolving conflict? Do you move towards one another in a healthy way in order to address issues, or do you avoid conflict?

I picked my wife up from the airport as I did every Thursday night. She travels for her job and this was part of our weekly ritual. This reunion was always a highlight for both of us.

As we drove through Chicago to our home, we reconnected. She told me about her day and I told her about mine. I described a conversation I had with the neighbor. It involved a rabbit and a rotten oversized tomato. She laughed. I laughed. We felt connected. Ah – life is good.

Once we got home she went to the pantry to get some Trader Joe’s biscotti. She loves their biscotti. She swung the doors open, looked in and suddenly a perplexed expression crossed her face. She looked at me and asked, “Did you buy the biscotti this week?” “No,” I said.

She looked back into the pantry and stood there for a minute. Silently. As quickly as we had connected earlier – it felt like we were suddenly disconnected. Without saying another word, she walked up the stairs and to our bedroom.

I was confused. What happened? Why the sudden shift? I may be a little slow but I have been married long enough to know that something was not quite right. I traced back the order of events since I had picked her up. We had hugged, talked about our kids, discussed the weekend ahead, I told her the rabbit and tomato story, we came in, she looked into the pantry, and then that’s when it happened.

The sound of silence.

That was my first clue. Actually, it was my only clue. But that was enough. No biscotti. I know she loves her biscotti, but it couldn’t be that. Or could it?

I stood in the kitchen and looked at the clock. It was 10:30 p.m. I had a decision to make. Do I go upstairs and try to work this out with her tonight – whatever “this” is? I know from experience that it will take time and work.Or do I follow her lead, keep quiet, shut off the lights, and go to sleep? I knew the answer before I even seriously contemplated the question.

I went upstairs and waded in. It took a few questions to get to the core issue of her upset. And it wasn’t the lack of biscotti. No real surprise there. That was just a “trigger” for feelings she had experienced in our marriage for years – feeling neglected and unloved.

So I sat on the bed and listened. I worked at not being defensive or critical. The end result was that she felt loved and valued and we re-established the connection we had before. But it was actually even stronger.

Previously, I had spent too many years of our marriage avoiding conflict, which had damaged our relationship. I had been fearful of what might happen if I had addressed difficult issues head on. So I had chosen the path of least resistance. The result was a marriage that lacked true intimacy.

One day while reading the Bible, God spoke to me about how I had been in my marriage from this Scripture passage:

Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9

God was encouraging Joshua to be the leader He had created him to be – and not to fear. There was no need to be afraid because God was with him.

This is not your typical marriage verse. And yet it was exactly what I needed to hear. I needed to be strong and courageous in order to be the husband God had called me to be. I needed to reject passivity and take the initiative to resolve conflict.

In the last six years we have worked hard on our marriage. It has required trusting God through some very honest and difficult discussions. There has been a lot of pain – but it has been pain with a purpose.

Along the way I have constantly been encouraged to be strong and courageous because God is with us. The result is a marriage that is far greater than anything we ever could have imagined.

About Bill and Leslie Ferrell

Bill and Leslie have been married for 31 years, have 2 children and 2 adorable grandchildren: ages 1 and 3. Bill has been in vocational ministry his entire adult career and is currently the Executive Director of Pinnacle Forum – a ministry to marketplace leaders. Leslie is the CEO of Big Idea, Inc., the makers of Veggie Tales. And she does love her biscotti!

Bill and Leslie Ferell

30 Day Devotional

This resource can help you and your family encounter Scripture together and make deeper connections with God and each other. This has been designed to be used during the month of July, but you can use it at any time. We suggest you begin Day 1 on a Sunday because some activities are designed around the weekend and Sunday worship. God bless you!

Family Bridges App

Books too “last century” for you? This customized app will give you access to resources to manage your own growth or even take the journey with a group of friends. What are you waiting for?

What makes a Good Friend?

What makes a Good Friend?

Contributed by
Analiese Fernandez

On the days that hang low in the valley and the ones that soar at the mountain peak, we tend to lean deep into our friendships for support. One of the areas in my life that I continuously work to invest in is the area of friendships. As a millennial, I find that as I get older, it’s harder to establish lasting friendships. When you do have one, you realize it’s a valuable, rare treasure and you do what you can to nurture it. Does anyone else agree?

Three best friends hugging each other in the city.
Three best friends hugging each other in the city.

I have always strived to keep my circle of friends small and intimate. I don’t desire to call a plethora of people my friends, but preferably two or three like-minded individuals who want to run this journey of life with me. I recently moved to Arizona from Florida with my husband. As newlyweds, we uprooted our lives and all that we know to begin a new chapter across the country. I left my job behind, we both left our families, our homes, and the safety of our comfort blanket. We also left behind our cherished friendships. The ones that have withstood the test of time and have walked with us through some pivotal seasons of our lives. How blessed my husband and I are to have friendships so wonderful to miss. We know our friendships back home will always have a special place in our hearts; however, my husband and I know it is important to connect with community. With that being said, in a completely new city as millennials, we question where to even begin. It feels like starting over. What exactly makes a good friend?

When I ask myself that question, I immediately think of my closest friend, Sara, who has been there for me through some of my recent young adulthood years. We supported one another in our season of singleness; ensuring that we didn’t get discouraged. We were each other’s voice of reason when the rest of the world would try to sway us off track. We would remind each other of our worth and that in the waiting, we had our friendship to cultivate and watch grow.

Shortly after, we both met the men who would later become our future husbands. When it was my time to get married, I saw Sara’s friendship on a whole new level. A level of sacrifice and love that I will forever cherish. When I was engaged, Sara had already become a wonderful wife and a new mother. In the midst of a major transition in Sara’s own life, she never once hesitated to make herself available for every detail of my wedding planning (despite living an hour away from me). When I reflect back on wedding planning, I think of Sara who willingly and joyfully sacrificed to see my special day come to fruition.

So when I think of the qualities of a good friend, I remember that I have to surround myself with like-minded people. How I would define that would be by surrounding yourself with people who are running by your side in life. People who share common values, qualities, interests, and passions. Those who won’t hold you back from all that God is calling you to be but will help propel you forward. A good friend is someone who is loyal and supportive but will also be able to give you tough love when you need it if it means it’s going to help better you as an individual. As the Proverb says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Perhaps consider tough love to be an opportunity to be sharpened and be sure to reciprocate it for your friend who might need it one day too. Also, being capable of expressing empathy and being an active listener are essential qualities in a good friendship.

All in all, the thought I keep coming back to is striving for life-giving and intentional friendships. Ones that leave you feeling rejuvenated and encouraged at the end of a conversation. A friendship where you and that person truly understand each other’s sense of humor and find yourselves laughing often. As millennials, we learn first-hand about “adulting” and the challenges it can bring at times, so laughter is essential and liberating. Strive for intentionality where both you and that other person make the same effort to cultivate your friendship. When I think of “cultivate,” I think of gardening; making preparations and caring for crops to one day reap a harvest. When we apply this mentality to our friendships, taking care of them and being intentional, we can one day hope to see the fruit of lasting, life-giving friendships.

What other characteristics do you think would make a good friend? Comment below.

For more tips on life and relationships, follow us on social media @familybridges.