Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Personal Note

It is always hard for me to determine what to share and what not to share. I am by nature a very private person. I have had to learn to share various things in my life first, to obtain prayer support and encouragement and second to be an example to others as I encourage them to be open and transparent.

When I was laid off in August of 2009 I was at first very OK. I had been laid off once before and found good employment within about 2 or 3 months. It might have even been less than that. As time wore on I began to worry and be concerned. Of course during this time God has had ample opportunity to do some pruning and shaping in my life. I began to worry less, pray more, and be content with whatever God intended to do.

Some of you may not be aware that I have had severe and advanced arthritis in both knees for four years. It has been a major handicap and has been very painful. I have learned to live with it and have not let it stop me from preaching, teaching, discipling, and various ministries. The Apostle Paul had his medical issues which he did not let them stop him and I figured when I was weak God was strong and that His grace is sufficient for me. So I now teach and preach while sitting on a stool. Takes me longer to walk somewhere but by God's grace I get there.

In 2006 I developed pneumonia which led to 8 days in the hospital and an emergency thoracotomy. Since then I have had trouble breathing and have had a nagging and unrelentless cough.

In January I was diagnosed with COPD. By the way, they don't think my COPD is related to smoking. I quit smoking August 1, 1978.

Several family  members and some friends felt that I should apply for SS DI. Well I did, and I had to apply twice (we were denied once), jump through a number of hoops, see several doctors, etc. Well, we awarded full disability in an award letter which we received yesterday. Now I know why God refused to open a door for a job, which I would rather have. We did not hit the lottery nor will we receive allot. Until I can find a job that I can do with these infirmities and with a lot of belt tightening we can stay afloat.

Thank you for all who prayed for us and regularly asked about us. Thank you for all who have encouraged me. Sometimes I couldn't see up for looking down. Sometimes it was so dark I couldn't see any light. I started working at 11 years of age and have worked  every day since except for a few weeks here and there. This past 18 months have been a real trial. God has done a major work in my soul. We have trusted, maintained joy and looked to God for the majority of the time. Yes, I am only human.

I do not intend on letting either COPD or arthritis keep me from preaching, teaching, discipling, and leading bible studies. I still covet your prayers for the power of God to fall on me as I claim:

"But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities, For when I am weak, then I am strong." (II Corinthians 12:9-10, ESV)


Pat Donovan said...

Thank you Lord for your provision for Gregg and Irene. May the Lord continue to bless you Gregg.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

I am sorry about your disabilities Gregg, I have arthitis in one knee and shoulders which every 6/7 months have a shot in my shoulder which is very good.All this is due to back surgery I had in 1989.
What is COPD? perhaps we have a different name for it over here.
I try to carry on regardless but there is a limit to what I can do.
I wish you well.

Ma said...

I'm praying for you Gregg..

His power is made perfect in weakness. May we be the willing clay!

li said...

It's terribly difficult sometimes to figure out why some really awful things happen to us or loved ones. Sometimes, it's made clear; other times, not. All we can do is hold tight, have faith, and struggle on. It's good to have friends and family to call on as well. You're busy reaching out and ministering to people with your blog; perhaps you are touching more people than you realize, and if you had a great job and worked all of the time, you wouldn't be blogging and someone you've helped would have fallen through the cracks instead. Just a thought.

Larri @ Seams Inspired said...

Thanks for sharing your heart today, Gregg. When I look back, I'm always amazed I didn't see God's work at hand in certain situations. You are such an encouraging spirit while in the midst of your troubles. You'll be in my prayers.

PS...Woo-hoo on the SS DI! I know firsthand how tiny those hoops you must jump through can be.

Happy Wednesday! ☺

Persis said...

Thank God for His provision.

Continuing to pray for you and Irene and that you would continue to serve and glory the Lord in this trial.

Trisha said...

Praising God with you for this wonderful provision!! I didn't realize you battle these many health issues, and I count it a privilege to pray for you and your dear wife. God bless you for glorifying His name in the midst of such severe trials.

Anonymous said...

Brother Gregg,

Thanks for the update on your personal life. I will continue to pray for you.

Brother Ron

Kansas Bob said...

Thank you for this transparent peek into your journey Gregg. I join you in prayer for improved health and employment opportunities. And partner with you in praise for His provision and leading.

Blessings, Bob

Eddie Eddings said...

God bless you brother! You are an encouragement to me as well as a reminder that Romans 8:28 is still in the Book!

Michael Wright said...

Praying. And will pray. Keep going, crowns to cast don't come easily.

Anonymous said...

Gregg, If you will allow me I would like to share a bit about you with your readers.

Robert and I had the privilege of spending time with Gregg and Irene at their home in May. I learned about these various disabilites that Gregg has during our visit and I can't even express how thankful I am to learn that God has opened this marvelous door of provision for them!

Gregg has converted his garage into a wonderul office and library where he gets up at dark o'clock every day to study, pray and read many of our blogs. I was thoroughly blessed to meet a man who in spite of so much physical suffering works so incredibly hard to bring us these in depth educational posts every day.

So thank you Greg, and Irene (behind every great man is a good woman!)

My only regret is that I FORGOT TO TAKE PICTURES!!! We will just have to come back to get them next time! :)

God bless you both!

Scott said...

We continue to pray. It's nice to see someone with "gov't" level disability still desiring to work and serve, rather than using it as an excuse to do nothing. May He continue to bless and to use you as a blessing to others.

~Rasz~ said...

I am so sorry to hear all you have been going through and yet so happy to hear how God is helping you grow and provide. Your story and sharing touches home with me as I am sure with many others. It is hard at times to understand why things happen, even with the most faith, we are still humans trying to understand our purpose I guess.

I do know that your blog has and continues to touch my heart, my soul and teaches me so much. I feel blessed by what you are doing, reaching out to others and sharing the Gospel, even while you are going through so much in your life.

Thank you and my prayers will continue for you and your family. Thank God for your award yesterday, and the wonders he works in you and through you!

Josh Litton said...

Thanks for your openness.

Corey P. said...

Praise God for His bounitful provision! Will continue to pray for you, brother Gregg. :)

Arlee Bird said...

I think your ministry will grow stronger than ever. I pray for both of our futures and have faith in God's providence. He's never let me down yet!

Tossing It Out

Cathy M. said...

Dear Bro. Gregg,

I had no idea you were going through so much. I'll be much more diligent to pray for you.

You've been a blessing to me through your blog. May God grant you every grace to continue to serve Him.

Penned Pebbles said...

Thank you for opening a window to your life. I didn't know... Praise God for His provision. I rejoice with you and will pray for increased health and your growing ministry. God knows what He is doing and I look forward to reading more personal praise reports in the future! Blessings!