Growing Downward

In his book The Master’s Indwelling, Andrew Murray compares the deeper works of God in sanctification to the development of an oak tree. He writes, “How was the oak born? In a grave. The acorn was planted into the ground. A grave was made for it, that it might disappear. It died and disappeared; it cast roots downward, and it cast shoots upward, and now that oak has been standing a hundred years. Where is it standing? In its grave; all the time in the very grave where the acorn died; it has stood there stretching its roots deeper and deeper into the earth in which its grave was made, and yet, all the time, though it stood in the very grave where it died, it has been growing higher, and stronger, and broader and more beautiful. And all the fruit it ever bore, and all the foliage that adorned it, year by year, it owed to that grave in which its roots are cast and kept.” As I (Chris), consider what the Lord is doing right now in our family, it is this. He is teaching us to stretch out even further in our dependence on Him, through even the most difficult of circumstances.

I wish that I had something more outwardly glorious to share with you, a change of some kind in our circumstances or some great provision of God that I could relate to you about, but I don’t. Even though God has given us little moments of rest to enjoy here and there (for instance our 4th of July family vacation) we are still very much in the same place we were last month: still learning to make our way through the slow process of recovery, still learning to assist and adapt to our son’s special needs. And while Cindy is doing much better than before (and we are so grateful for that) she is still very weak and still in need of assistance. We are still trying to adjust to the many different challenges and changes that come with losing a year of our lives. And we are still very much in need of all the prayer we can get to know how to do it all.

And yet, we are exactly where God wants us to be as a family, no less important to our development than when He first brought us together or walked us through the difficult journey of cancer & chemo. Even though it feels at times that very little has changed for us, it turns out that much has and God is still very much on the throne and still very much at work in our lives. It’s just that it looks very different to us now than it did before. And I think we are both learning to adjust to that. Like that little acorn I mentioned before, that was planted in its grave, we are both learning to stretch our hearts and hands, our family & our finances even further down into Christ then we have before, to place our faith in His ability and surrender more of our own, that we might grow up a little bit more into His image, the image of the only begotten Son of God who loved us and called us to this place to begin with (Romans 8:29) according to His mercy & goodness.

Maybe one day we will both look back with great fondness on the season we are in, not as a pair of budding trembling acorns stretching their feeble hands down into the soil of inward death, but as two tempered oaks lifting their grateful hands to the sky in praise to the One who planted them. For now we are simply learning to be content in our surroundings, to look for any opportunity we can find, or which the Lord presents to us to serve those in need, to enter in and assist those who are suffering as best we can. And is that not the point of our suffering in this life anyways: to glorify the only one who is sufficient in it, to bring comfort & consolation to those who are going through it right now? At least that is our perspective these days and we are grateful for it, because it was given to us by One more glorious & wise than we are, quite in spite of ourselves.

In closing, I would like to say once more (I don’t think I can say it enough) how grateful we are for the kindness & charity of those who have and continue to walk through this with us. I don’t know where we would be without your love. If you would, please allow the Lord to broaden your kindness & charity toward others even further by asking Him to lead you into giving more of yourself to those around you who are suffering, to enter into their pain and walk beside them in their misery. Like I said it’s my prayer that He would do the same for us. I want our family to be a companion to the broken-hearted, the emotionally & physically crippled who languish in this life for a little bit of comfort to no avail. I want our hardship to always be in the service of those who are suffering. I want to say that we did not hesitate to stoop down in the dust or assist those around us in need, in much the same way that God in Christ has done for us.

Lord bless you and keep you in these turbulent uncertain times and add to you and yours more abundantly every day, the riches of his endless grace in Christ.

-Sincerely,
The Broniste Family

Here are some prayer needs at the moment:

Cindy- for her walk with God to be rich and full. That she would serve her family and others out of her walk with God.
Cindys health- She is continuing to heal slowly. Please pray for her upcoming blood work to check her electrolytes. She is also will be having an X-ray soon because she has lots of pain getting up from a seated position.  Recently she is having pain in her jaw with lock jaw type symptoms. This is a side effect of chemo. She also has been having a hard time with heat and it being very painful due to neuropathy.  She is still very tired and struggles to take care of our kids. Please continue to pray for healing and strenth.

Josiah- our big boy is about to start school! He will start all day kindergarten on September 8th. This will be a big adjustment but exciting one for all of us. Please pray for him and us as we prepare him for school.

Noah- we are in process of getting him early intervention through the public school. This means he will have an IEP (individualized education program) which will include occupation therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy and possible ABA (applied behavior analysis) therapy. This is a HUGE learning curve for all of us. This means that he will start preschool this fall five days a week for half day. For the school purposes they are saying he is ASD (autism spectrum disorder) high functioning. We are still seeking a medical diagnosis as this will help open up with more services for him. Currently we are still going to occupation and physical therapy once a week. Please pray for us as we learn to balance his needs along with the needs of our family.

Rebecca- she is growing like a weed and becoming her own person. Please pray for her as we learn to teach this feisty little girl who has to out do her brothers! Also pray for her especially with the adjustment of both her brothers being in school.

Chris- please pray for him as he balances everything with work and home. Pray also for his anxiety level that has been high due to the strain of this last year. Pray especially for our financial needs. Pray that his walk with God would be full and give him confidence as a husband, father and leader. Also pray for wisdom and direction as he continues to lead our family as the Lord leads.

Thank you for praying! Please email us how we can pray specifically for your family and their needs.

Summer fun in photos

Daddy and his boys!

Daddy and his boys!

Celebrating together!! One year later and in remission!

Celebrating together!! One year later and in remission!

The kids on vacation at the beach

The kids on vacation at the beach

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July!

Rebecca and mommy enjoying ice cream

Rebecca and mommy enjoying ice cream