Paddleboarding Across Lake Michigan: A Piece of Cake Compared to This . . .

Ginny and Karen Melby had no idea when they undertook their paddleboarding trip across Lake Michigan last month to raise money for orphans in Uganda that God was preparing them for something much harder just around the corner.

Three days before their story aired on Revive Our Hearts this past week, Scott Melby (Karen's husband and Ginny's dad, who also serves on Revive Our Hearts' Advisory Board) was hospitalized with extremely low blood counts, severe headaches, and overall body pain. They wondered if it could be related to a recent trip to Africa. Tests were sent off to Mayo, and they awaited a report.

Are you in the midst of a storm, a situation that seems impossible to make it through?

Saturday morning Karen texted me that they had received sad news. I asked if I could drive up to Grand Rapids (ninety minutes away) and pray with her and Scott. When I arrived at the hospital, they shared with me that Scott has been diagnosed with MDS (formerly known as "preleukemia" or "smoldering leukemia"). His condition is considered "high risk" and needs to be treated aggressively and immediately. At this point, it looks like treatment will be chemo to kill bad cells first and then a bone marrow transplant four weeks from now.

Scott and Karen are understandably shaken, but they are placing their hope in the Lord, and they desire for Christ to be magnified through this process. Would you join us in asking the Lord to accomplish all His eternal purposes through this affliction? Please pray that God would minister tailor-made, daily grace to Scott and Karen and their five children.

As I have prayed with and for this family that means so much to me and to this ministry, I can't help but reflect back on some of the things Karen and Ginny shared on ROH just last week about their paddleboarding experience:

"The current was pulling us North, so we had to work hard to stay focused on one spot on the boat and not take our eyes off that spot until we were home. And in order to stay on track and follow where the Lord wants us to go, we have to work really hard to keep our eyes on Him." —Ginny
"We started to wish we could just throw the board in the boat and head home. We didn't want to go any farther. But we also knew we had to, and we could. That's when we started to feel everyone's prayers, and we started to pray and sing when we were out on the water. My verse was Philippians 4:13, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.'" —Ginny
"I remember praying, 'Lord, why does this have to be so hard? Please calm these waves, give them a break. These kids are so tired.' And it was as if I heard the Lord say, 'My strength is sufficient for them.'" —Karen

[from Karen's journal, as she pondered the extreme difficulty of this undertaking for the kids]

"If this was an easy trip, with smooth waters . . .
  • they might not have desperately needed the Lord.
  • they might not have recognized the miraculous provision of His strength.
  • they might not have been made stronger through it.
  • the sweetness of His presence might have been missed.
  • at the end they might not have so quickly admitted that they did this in the Lord's strength—they could've felt like it was a great accomplishment on their part."
"With all the wind, waves, and rain, there was no way we did that on our own. We can honestly say this was literally impossible without the Lord's strength." —Ginny
"It was one stroke at a time. One stroke would just take us a little ways, we didn't feel we were getting very far, but soon we could look back and see how far we'd come by taking one stroke at a time in the right direction." —Ginny

Over the weekend, I sent Ginny a Facebook message:

Dearest Ginny, just want you to know you are much on my heart as you walk through this situation with your dad. My heart is heavy for you and your family. Paddleboarding across Lake Michigan was a huge undertaking. And you saw the Lord undertake on your behalf and help you do the impossible.
Now He has given you an even larger undertaking that makes Lake M seem tiny in comparison. This journey will not be easy, but the same God who was with you during the night in those waves will be with you each step of this journey. He will not forsake you. He loves you dearly and will not leave your side.
I love you dearly too, and will be cheering and praying for you as you walk through this. May you find His grace to be sufficient—one moment and day at a time.

That's my prayer for you, as well. Are you in the midst of a storm, a situation that seems impossible to make it through? Tell us about it, and our team will lift you up to the Lord in prayer this week.

About the Author

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through two nationally syndicated radio programs heard each day—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him. Her books have sold more than five million copies. Through her writing, podcasts, … read more …

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