One Year Later . . .

Kimberly, Josh and I with Angie and her family this month, celebrating the one year anniversary of the kidney transplant.
Kimberly, Josh and I with Angie and her family this month, celebrating the one year anniversary of the kidney transplant.

We live in a “what have you done for me lately” culture.  In the NBA, Vinny Del Negro led the Clippers to their most successful two year run in franchise history  . . .  but after an early playoff exit this past season, he was fired.  George H.W. Bush was a hero during the first Desert Storm, but was not reelected two years later due to concerns about the economy.  Over the past decade Apple has changed the music, computer, and wireless telephone industry, yet today, Wall Street analysts are wondering about Apple’s ability to innovate.  As a people, do we really have THAT short a memory?  All signs point to “yes.”

Sadly, this reality impacts our Christian lives and attitudes toward God as well.  Something goes well and we praise God for His faithfulness, yet one week later when a storm hits, we mutter “how could He . . . ?”  I am impacted by this phenomenon as well.  Always living in the moment or looking ahead to the next big thing, I often forget to pause and say “thank you” for gifts already given.

In the Gospels, Jesus heals many, many people, but what happened to those people 6 and 12 months later?  Though they were healed in miraculous fashion, they continued to live life on this planet, so they continued to experience difficulties, disappointments, and even death. For instance Lazarus was raised from the dead one April, but by the next April, his life would have resumed a normal pace — which probably included disagreements with his sisters, illnesses endured and other common experiences.  In the midst of his current struggles, did Lazarus stop to have a party on the one year anniversary of his resurrection?  I really wonder.

Though we don’t know what Lazarus did resurrection +1 year, we do know that many who were healed did not return to give thanks to the source of their healing.  In Luke 17, Jesus heals 10 lepers, but only one returned to give thanks.  I think the rest just got caught up in their present lives and forgot to look back and praise God for His goodness to them.

So, today . . . I want to be like the one and not the nine.

One year ago today, my wife (Kimberly) was dying of renal failure.  But God took notice of her situation, and in His sovereign plan, He saw fit to heal her through a kidney transplant from her sister (Angie).  So today, I want to return and give thanks.

  • Thank you Lord for leading Angie to make this sacrificial gift to Kimberly.  We smell the sweet aroma of the Gospel in this gift and we are forever thankful.
  • Thank you Lord for the excellent team of doctors who oversaw Kimberly’s care leading up to the transplant.  We believe the wisdom and timing you gave these men was a gift from You.
  • Thank you Lord for the transplant team at Integris Baptist Hospital.  Their skill and wisdom saw the blood clot at the time of transplant and corrected the problem, saving the transplanted kidney.
  • Thank you Lord for the love and support shown to us by both of our families and our church family during the transplant last year.  We saw you taking care of us through them and we thank You.
  • Thank you Lord for an entire year without Kimberly getting sick.  Even while on immunsuppresants, you have kept her healthy and strong.  This is not an accident.  Josh and I have both been sick several times this past year, but you have protected Kimberly.  Thank You!
  • Thank you Lord for being able to see Kimberly enjoy so many fun and active things this past year.  In addition to regular exercise, I got to see Kimberly do a high ropes course, rock climb, hike to the top of the Continental Divide and White Water raft . . . all in the last month!  Thank You Jesus!  All these are reminders to us of Your work!

Of course, life this past year has not been perfect.  In a Facebook/Blog/Twitter world, it is always possible to distort reality either positively or negatively.  There are still questions and struggles and difficulties that we deal with (just like you).  However, on this day, I do not want to have our present cause us to obscure God’s great work in the recent past.  Today we want to celebrate . . . and invite you to celebrate with us.

I want our anniversary to be a spark to cause you to think about how God has been faithful to you and your family in the past.  Take a moment today and thank Him, not just for His work in our lives but for His work in your life as well.  Let’s not take a “what have  you done for me lately” attitude toward our relationship with God.  Let’s be like the one who returned and gave Him thanks, and not like the nine who forgot.


Two Months

Two months from now, it will be Thanksgiving.  Two months ago, a significant event occurred for which we are thankful.  Two months ago today Kimberly received a transplanted kidney from her sister Angie.  We are still praising God for this provision today.

Since we are now at the two month mark, we wanted to take a moment to update you on how things are going:

  • Kimberly’s new kidney is performing brilliantly.  All her blood work is coming back normal . . . what an amazing turn of events!
  • The blood that pooled inside Kimberly post-surgery has begun to reduce in size.  The most recent ultrasound shows it to have shrunk by almost 50% over the past two months.  This is great news!
  • Kimberly’s tracheostomy site has completely healed up.  She can now take normal showers without fear of water leaking into her windpipe.  Praise!
  • Kimberly had the stent removed from her bladder about three weeks ago.  This was a normal post-surgical procedure.  Everything went great!
  • Angie has also healed nicely.  She continues to feel better every week.  We are so thankful still for her sacrificial gift!
  • I have been able to resume a normal schedule this past month, even speaking at the OU Cru/Wildwood College Life retreat two weeks ago.  We are so thankful that God allows us to serve Him in different ways.  Also, Josh and I got to go on a Father/Son Campout with our church this past weekend.  It was wet but very fun and memorable.

Please join us in praising God for His work!

Also, please be in prayer for the following:

  • Continue to pray that Kimberly does not get sick.  As most of you are aware, she is on some very strong immuno-suppression medication.  She is more susceptible to getting ill and it takes longer to get over illness if she does catch something.  So far, so good in this department.
  • Pray that Kimberly would not experience any more pain in either of her surgical sites.  Pray that the pain from the transplant site due to the hematoma continues to decrease, and also pray that the pain she has at the site of the tracheostomy would not bother her.
  • Pray that the tracheostomy site would heal in a way that would not require a scar revision surgery later.
  • Pray that Kimberly’s blood pressure stabilizes.  She takes medication for her blood pressure and the doctors have continued to alter this medication since the surgery.  Sometimes it is too high, sometimes it is too low.  Pray for a consistent, good blood pressure scores.  Also pray for Kimberly’s pulse to stay in normal ranges.
  • Pray that Kimberly would be encouraged and not discouraged as the recovery moves into its third month.  Pray for rich times in God’s Word, in fellowship with friends and family (when the opportunity presents itself), and in prayer.

Thanks for joining us in prayer on this journey!

Josh and I at the Father/Son Campout this weekend


What God has Taught Me . . . Sermon Audio from Sunday


Yesterday, I had the privilege of preaching at Wildwood Community Church on some of the lessons God has taught me during the past 40 days.  Several of you have asked me if I am going to post this sermon audio to the blog, so I am attaching the message here.  You can either download the MP3 or listen to it through the online player.  May God encourage you through these thoughts.


To download the MP3, Click on the sermon title here:  Control Sermon

To listen online, use the player below:



Being a parent is sometimes a frustrating experience.

As a parent, you care deeply about your children and you want what is best for them.  You want them to mature, make great choices, and ultimately turn into decent human beings.  You want them to be respectful, God-fearing, and FAT (faithful/available/teachable).  We want all these things for our kids.

At the same time that we want our kids to excel, we feel responsible for their upbringing.  Parents have a calling to train up their children in the way they should go, so we spend time planning out, praying for, and executing strategic investments in our children’s lives.

Parents both care for and are called to their children’s welfare.  This is not the frustrating part.  This is the good part!  The frustrating part of life as a parent is not how much we care, or how how much we do.  The frustrating part is that we lack control.  When we care for and are called to something we cannot control, we have a tendency to get frustrated when things don’t go the way we intend.  As a parent, you want your child to make right choices, but sometimes, they don’t.  No matter how much you try, no matter how much you care, you cannot control your child’s behavior . . . and at times this drives us crazy.  As a parent, you want your child to be influenced by positive forces, yet you cannot control their environment . . . no matter how many filters you have on your internet browser or television or how selective your schooling choices or friend groups are.  As the parent of a kindergartner, I get frustrated when I want him to do something and he refuses.  I can teach, I can scold, I can admonish, but I cannot make him eat those peas.  When we care about something we are called to and we cannot control its outcome, we have a tendency to get frustrated.

This is true in many areas of our lives . . . including our spiritual lives.  As believers in Jesus Christ, we care about our relationship with the Lord.  We desperately want our lives to be filled with His purpose and glorifying to His name.  We also feel some sense of responsibility to live a life of faith and obedience.  However, we lack control of exactly what our life of faith will look like.  Sometimes things go poorly; sometimes sickness ends in death; sometimes relationships disappoint; sometimes kids wander away; sometimes employment is severed; sometimes life is hard.  Sometimes these things happen to people who care deeply about God and try their best to trust and obey.  When life is hard, we can get frustrated because we are unable to control our own lives . . . we find out we cannot control our God.

The issue of control (or better our lack of control) is at the core of sinful humanity.  I believe it is a universal and epidemic problem that we seldom talk about.  Our struggle for control is the root of much of our anger towards God, anxiety towards life, and frustration about our own performance.  Over the past month or so as my wife has undergone a kidney transplant, I have felt myself being taught by the Lord about the topic of control.  I wrote about this idea over the past month on my blog here and here.

This Sunday morning at Wildwood Community Church in our 9:30 and 10:50 worship services, I will be sharing some of what the Lord has taught me through my experience, as well as through the biblical example of the Apostle Peter.  If you are in the OKC area this Sunday morning, I would love to see you at Wildwood.  In the meantime, I would love to hear some of your thoughts about this topic in the comments section to this post.  I would love to begin to dialogue about this topic as I prepare for Sunday.  Looking forward to reflecting on this topic together!



Kevin, Angie, Kimberly, and I at dinner on July 28, 2012, two days before surgery.

Anniversaries are interesting things.  They invite you to celebrate today by looking back at yesterday.  Anniversaries are the stopwatches of our milestones – they help us mark time and determine progress.  Over the past month, we have had a few anniversaries as a family:

  • On August 18, we celebrated the 39th anniversary of my birth.  This year marks a tipping point in my life.  I have now lived 20 years away from “home,” as I moved away to college right at the time of my 19th birthday.
  • On August 24, we celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary, and really the 20th year (give or take those awkward “break-up” months in 1993-94) of our being together as a couple.  We have seen God do so much together and I am so blessed to have such a wonderful wife and best friend.
  • Today, August 30, we are celebrating our one month anniversary of kidney transplant.  In some ways this past month feels like it has flown by.  In other ways, I feel like time has moved like cold maple syrup — so much has happened.  On a day like today, we cannot help but look back to “yesterday” as we celebrate God’s faithfulness.

“Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable.  One generation shall commend Your works to another and shall declare Your mighty acts.  On the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and on Your wondrous works, I will meditate.  They shall speak of the might of Your awesome deeds, and I will declare Your greatness.  They shall pour forth the fame of Your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.” (Psalm 145:3-7)

Here is hoping the fame of God is spread through His work in our family over the past month. . . we have tried to meditate on His wondrous works and mighty acts and commend them into words for all of us now, and for Joshua and his family in future generations.

As we reflect on this anniversary, we still have a few of His awesome works to proclaim and a few prayer requests to offer for both Kimberly and Angie post transplant:

His Awesome Works:

  • Initially, we were thinking that we wanted to have the surgery after school started.  Sitting here on the verge of September with the surgery in the rearview mirror, I can honestly say God was SO GOOD to allow us to have the surgery when He did.  As an added bonus both Kimberly and Angie were able to help see their children off to school for their first days.  God’s plans are always right on time!
  • Both Kimberly and Angie are feeling much more “like themselves” now.  They are both able to take walks, are gaining more energy every day, and just feeling more normal.  Praise God this has happened so quickly!
  • It is still amazing to me that Angie’s two kidneys are providing more than adequate coverage for TWO PEOPLE!  I know this is the whole goal of a transplant, but it still amazes me when I think about it.
  • Angie is cleared to pick up her two year old again tomorrow for the first time since surgery . . . a major milestone!  What a great thing that will be for mother and child, and it will also allow Darrell and Kaye (Kimberly and Angie’s mom and step-dad) to head home after providing support the past month.  I know they will LOVE sleeping in their own bed again.

Continued Prayer For Kimberly

  • Pray for the hematoma (the blood that pooled in her abdomen in the bleed right after surgery) would dissipate over the days and weeks ahead.  It still causes some discomfort and we look forward to the time that this is no longer a problem.
  • Pray for the trach site to fully heal and to look good after it heals.  The trach was removed two weeks ago, and the wound has been closing naturally over the past 14 days.  Please pray that it fully heals soon and does not leave a large or problematic scar.  Pray that no scar revision surgery will be necessary this time around.
  • Pray for continued good kidney function and no rejection events.  So far so good in these areas!  Pray that it stays that way.
  • Pray that everyone in our family would not get sick this fall . . . especially Kimberly.  With her on immun0-suppression medications, she is much more susceptible to getting sick.  This is the reason for her isolation right now.  Pray that Josh and I would stay healthy and not bring illness into the home, and if we do that God would protect Kimberly from catching anything.

Continued Prayer For Angie:

  • Pray for her pain. She still has back pain, some phantom pain in the kidney site, and is still not able to stand comfortably completely upright.  Pray that this goes away very soon.
  • Pray That God would greatly bless Angie and her family for the sacrifices they have made.


God is Good – From Both Seats

Last year my wife and I had season tickets to the Broadway series at the Civic Center Music Hall with some friends.  It was great fun.  We got to see 5 Broadway quality shows on the big stage and have 5 pre-planned nights out with my wife and friends.  I was so glad we took the leap to buy the tickets.

Our seats were not orchestra level.  They were not on the Mezzanine level.  They were not on the concourse level.  I am not even sure they were on the balcony level.  I think they were somewhere on the “Devon level,” as in somewhere halfway up the new Devon tower.  I am not complaining.  I was just happy to be there.  However, at that distance, your experience is totally different.  At the “Devon Level,” you can hear the music, but you can’t make out all the words.  You can see the people, but you cannot make out all the expressions.  You are in the building, but you are not close to the action.

We have had the great pleasure of being in the orchestra level for a show before, and the experience is totally different.  Up close you can see the hem lines in the costumes and the smudges in the makeup.  Up close you see not only the big picture that the show designers want you to see, but the imperfections in the stage setup that they want you to miss.  Honestly, I enjoy sitting in both locales.

Often times in our spiritual lives, we have a “Devon Level” seat to God’s work.  We  read the Bible and hear of how God worked in the lives of others, or we hear a testimony at church, and have a general sense of the plot.  We hear His music, but can’t make out all the words.  We know what God did, but we cannot see the exact expression of how He did it.

For the past month, however, I have had orchestra seats to God’s work in my family.  I have seen God provide and answer prayers up close and personal.  I have prayed for blood pressures to stabilize and watched the numbers go down.  I have prayed for creatinine levels to lower, and watched the numbers fall.  I have prayed for a quick recovery and seen it happen.  I have prayed for my son to do well in his travels, and seen him thrive in his time away while Kimberly was in the hospital.  For the most part, I have been able to communicate a lot of these items to all of us via this blog . . . kind of a “Playbill” detailing the Acts of His faithfulness.  Seeing God work up close like this has caused me and many of you to declare that “God is good.”

This past weekend, however, I got to have a front row seat to another display of God’s providence.  I had the incredible privilege of officiating at a Memorial Service for a precious 8 week old baby who God chose fit to call home at such an early age.  As I have been up close with this situation (and many others over my years in ministry) it has reminded me of the danger of declaring that “God is good” only when He does what we want Him to do.  In reality, God is good ALL THE TIME, not just when He answers our prayers in the way we want and according to the timetable we want.

From the front row, we see all the flaws in this world, as well as the beauty.  This close up perspective gives us a non-idealized vision of reality.  We see life and we see death.  From the back row, we can generalize problems away.  Up close we are afforded no such luxury.  For many of you reading this blog from the “Devon seats,” you might assume that everything is always easy and always works out when “God is good” in the Robinson household.  The reality is, that from the orchestra pit of life, things are hard and don’t always work out as we want.  This does not mean that God is not good.  On the contrary, it means that God is great . . . so great that we do not always understand what He is up to.  By faith, we trust that God is good, even when the surgery does not work or when the child dies.  By faith, we also trust that God is good when healing comes and when prayers are answered.

We must learn to appreciate the beauty of the different perspectives we gain on the Lord from both the Devon seats and the orchestra pit.  He is the star of the show at both levels, and His greatness is apparent regardless of our ability to make out all the lines.

“The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”  – Job 1:21  

Like Job, we must learn to bless the Lord regardless the outcome.

We are praising God currently, though, for much good news at the Robinson household.  Kimberly is doing well in her recovery.  Her kidney is functioning well.  The trach site is in the process of healing, and generally, she is feeling better every week. Thanks for joining us in prayer!  God is worthy to be trusted with all things . . . including all outcomes.  I am so thankful, however, that His outcome at this time for Kimberly has been so positive!

Everything I Need to Know I Learned in _______

OK, it’s official.  I want to go back to school.  No, I don’t want to be a doctor or a lawyer.  I am not interested in pursuing an MBA, or getting a PhD in Koine Greek.  No, I want to go way back to school.  I want to be a Monroe Mustang.

I think I just got caught up in the moment.  Josh started Kindergarten last week, and as I walked with him down the halls for back to school night, and dropped him off at his class each day, I found myself jealous of a five year old.  His school has a computer lab, a cafeteria, a music room, a brand new playground, a gym, a library, friends, teachers . . . everything!

Seeing Josh’s new school and thinking about its effect on me reminded me of a universal truth of sinful humanity  . . . we struggle to be content.  I have heard it said before that we need to watch which “tent” we are living in . . . “content” or “discontent.”  Sadly, despite the multitude of ways we are blessed, I think many of us (me included) spend too much time in the wrong tent.  Think about it.  I am a grown man with my own laptop computer, the ability to drive myself to eat anywhere I want, an MP3 player with access to any song I want to listen to, a health club membership, tons of good friends, and lots of opportunities, and yet I find myself longing for the life of a five year old.  Fascinating.  Sad, but fascinating.

There is something within us that longs for what we do not have.  The amazing thing is, often times we long EVEN FOR WHAT WE ALREADY HAVE.  Crazy, I know.  We live a remote control life.  We care not so much about what is “on” but what ELSE is “on.”

My illustration about my desire to be a kindergartner is a bit exaggerated, but in my life, I all too often find myself discontent over what I already have, but want more of.  I have a house, but my mind wanders to how a different house would be better.  I have a job, but I wonder if I am doing what I am supposed to be doing.  I have a car, but I dream of driving something else.  I am blessed beyond measure, yet too often I find myself sleeping in a the wrong “tent.”  Can you relate?

The Apostle Paul wrote about this notion in Philippians 4:11-13 when he says, “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound.  In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

The bottom line is that we need to learn to be satisfied in the Lord who gives us strength.  When we see all our provision as from Him, our perspective begins to shift from what I don’t have to what God wants me to have, and Father knows best.  You know what they say, “everything you need to know you learned in kindergarten.”  I don’t know if that will be true of Joshua, but it certainly is true of his old man.

After spending the past month in Sunday school learning about contentment, Josh informed me leaving church today that “they were not going to be content anymore starting next week.”  Of course, he was referring to his class focusing on a different virtue during September. It was a simple misstatement  by a young man learning grammar.  Here’s hoping both father and son (and all of us) follow Paul’s example and look to Christ for our strength, finding contentment next week and beyond.

Josh and Mommy having ice cream after the first day of school

A Text I Got From Kimberly . . .

My view when I got Kimberly’s text! J did great at the Dentist.

On days when Kimberly has to have her lab work drawn, we must be at Integris Baptist Medical Center around 7:00 AM.  Since she had lab done twice this week, Kimberly, Josh, and myself have had two early morning adventures.  Believe it or not, it has been pretty fun!  We scoop Josh out of bed in his jammies, drive up to the hospital, have Kimberly’s lab work drawn, then all have breakfast together in the cafeteria.  For a family that can’t go out in public together right now (due to Kimberly’s immuno-suppression medications, she is not allowed in public places for a few weeks), these hospital trips have been our only family outings so we have made the most of them.

Today, Kimberly stayed to have an appointment with the surgeon after lab work.  I left her there to take Joshua to the Dentist while a friend was going to pick Kimberly up and take her home.  While waiting for Josh’s Dental appointment to be over, I texted Kimberly to see how her appointment went.  This is what she texted back, “Things look good, I’m about to call Dr. B to get trach removed, I can get lab in Norman wed morn and then drive myself here thurs.  Good appt!  (Labs looked good too).  I’m praying for you and Josh.”

What a great text message to receive for a variety of reasons:

  • The trach is coming out (great news on two fronts — no more trach AND surgeon does not think additional surgery is needed).
  • Lab in Norman means less time on the road to OKC.
  • Kimberly driving to her next checkup means she is cleared to drive, another sign of recovery from surgery.
  • Lab work good = kidney working well.
  • Praying for Josh and I = awesome . . . cavities being filled, so we needed it.


Thanks for praising God with us for this great news!

Two Week Follow Up

Kimberly and Angie today in the transplant clinic after their check-ups!

Hello friends.  I wanted to post a quick update this afternoon to let you know how things are going around the Robinson household now 15 days after transplant . . .

We spent the morning at the hospital today doing lab work, a CT scan, and meeting with the doctor for our routine two week follow-up appointment.  The news we got today was very good.  Kimberly’s new kidney is doing great.  She still has the hematoma behind her new kidney (from the internal bleeding right after surgery), but the CT today confirmed that it has not really grown since it was drained by needle ten days ago.  She has a pool of fluid about two-thirds the size of her fist that is sitting behind the new kidney, but it is not putting pressure on her new kidney or causing distress.  They think this fluid will just absorb into her body over the next 4-6 weeks.  This is the source of the tenderness she has experienced, but they are confident that additional surgery will not be needed to correct it.  This is a major praise!  Also, the blood she experienced in her urine over the weekend has stopped.  Another praise!

Also, Angie had her first check-up since leaving the hospital.  Things looked good and she was released to return home!  After 20 days in the Sooner state she is boarding a plane in a few hours and headed back to her husband and kids.  We are praising God with them and looking forward to their reunion tonight.

Thanks for joining us in prayer.  Please continue to pray for recovery and lack of complications.  Things are looking good.

Josh spent some time this morning reading the paper (financial section), drinking some coffee, and eating a fruit cup. Looks like he has spent too much time with grandparents the past couple of weeks 🙂