Mama and Me

My mom is not as young as she used to be.  I’m not sure if she would care that I printed her age or not (taking no risks and with the fear of being “grounded” at age 50), let’s just say she was born sometime during the Roosevelt Administration (In case you were wondering–Franklin not Teddy.  Oops, I think I just got grounded.).

Up until now, my mom has been relatively healthy all things considered.  Oh she has had a few health scares down through the years (who hasn’t?), but all that changes soon as she will have two heart valves replaced (an aortic and a mitral valve are the trouble makers).  So like an Art Van Furniture Store door buster special—she is getting a ‘two for one” special: Two valves. One surgery.

This past Monday, I was able to spend the day with my mom at the hospital. It was just mama and me (and her roommate Mrs. Price).  We didn’t do much. We talked about family and friends. We talked about her bland hospital cafeteria lunch and the bruises on her arms from the IVs.  We watch the Game Show network.  (J. Peterman, of Seinfeld fame, not Richard Dawson was hosting The Family Feud.  He was not wearing an Urban Sombrero).  I helped her put her socks on when she was ready to get out of bed and we took a walk down the hall so she could get a little exercise (neither one of us will be confused with Usain Bolt).

Nothing earth shattering happened at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit with mom and me on Monday. It reminded me how thankful I am for my mom and my sister, Beth, who has spent many, many similar days with my mom.  Still it was a good day for mama and me.

When Moses brought down the Top Ten instructions for the people, number five on the hit parade reminded us to “honor your father and mother”  (Exodus 20:12).   Obeying that particular commandment according to my Jr. Church teacher, Mrs. Cones, meant no back talking and no arguing when your parents said, “eat your vegetables.” Usually, it was kind of a “behave or burn” type of lesson.  Mrs. Cones was a no nonsense kind of lady—especially when it came to obeying your parents and eating your veggies.

Now that my mom is aging, I view the commandment a little differently.  To honor an aging parent means to respect them; treat them with dignity and listen to their worries and concerns.  To honor an aging parent is being there (and when you can’t be there it’s calling them).  To honor an aging parent means that sometimes you break appointments and adjust schedules, just so you can sit and watch a two families trying to name “Things at a Picnic” on the Family Feud.

It was an honor to be with my mom this week.

As you think of it utter a prayer for my mom as surgery and treatments are looming.

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Chronic Pain: Finding Hope in the Midst of Suffering is endorsed by Dr. Jeren Rowell

Dr. Jeren Rowell, District Superintendent of the Kansas City District of the Church of the Nazarene, endorsed my new book:

“Rob Prince is among the happiest, funniest, non-angry people I know. It is easy to forget that he deals with chronic pain. Across the eight years that I have served alongside Rob, including “Roberto” (you’ll have to read the book), I cannot identify one time when he turned my attention to his pain. How can this be? The answer is revealed in this engaging book, and it is not what you might think. There is no easy formula here, no simple answer, no “three steps to a pain-free life.” What is here, is the profound testimony of one who has learned to lean into Jesus so completely that the power of Christ is made perfect in his weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). This is really not a book about pain so much as a book on prayer; the kind of prayer that emerges when faith is being built through suffering. Regardless of the nature of your “headache,” you will find here the kind of wisdom that at once disciplines and strengthens, corrects and gives hope.”

Chronic Pain: Finding Hope in the Midst of Suffer is to be release in April, 2014

 

You can preorder at Barnesandnoble.com or ChronicPainby following this link:

Chronic Pain: Finding Hope in the Midst of Suffering

Dr. Danny Welch, Professor and Chair of Cancer Biology, University of Kansas endorses my book

Dr. Danny R. Welch, Professor and Chair of Cancer Biology, University of Kansas wrote this about my book, Chronic Pain: Finding Hope in the Midst of Suffering:

 

Chronic Pain: Finding Hope in the Midst of Suffering is Rob Prince’s personal story of his long-term struggle with an oft-debilitating health issue. While the book is mostly about dealing with migraine headaches, his frank and transparent description is a guidebook for how each of us should face difficult circumstances. Whether the difficulty is chronic, like his headaches, or acute, like losing a job, there are common elements with which all can relate. None of us likes tough situations. But our frailties can either destroy us or detonate our will to overcome them. Our circumstances can be faced with looking at the glass as half-full or half-empty.

Chronic Pain: Finding Hope in the Midst of Suffering reminds me that a positive attitude makes an incredible difference when facing a trial, especially a long trial where the end does not appear on the horizon. A positive outlook can help find contentment, even when seeking to change things. In other words, we make the most of every circumstance. With a wry sense of humor, recognition of irony, self-deprecation and a keen ability to tell poignant stories, Pastor Prince brings the reader into his world in order to share how God has helped him cope with a decades-long illness.

Unfortunately, Jehovah Rapha (The Healer of our troubles) has not healed him of his headaches. I, too, wish He had. Yet, Pastor Prince provides clear examples for how his ailment has been used to help others. He shows how he prays toward heaven while rowing toward shore – he seeks heavenly healing while not foregoing modern medicine, lifestyle changes and all-the-while living his hectic life. His example is an inspiration to others. God has indeed proven that in all things, He works for good.

I am a career cancer researcher. As one of my colleagues said, “Research is best characterized as good days and bad months.” Cancer research is simultaneously frustrating – every two steps forward is accompanied by one step back – and exhilarating – the thrill of discovery and potentially helping people is unparalleled. Those same emotions and challenges are what Pastor Prince describes in his journey. We both have faith that God will heal, but neither of us presumes that God will do it our way or following our time line. We both face life with optimism, but recognize that there are still more challenges ahead. We both struggle, but we persevere because we savor the victories – big and small – which make the challenging times bearable. We both know that there is really no other option but to keep going. As the former North Carolina State Basketball coach Jim Valvano exhorted as he was dying from cancer, “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up!”

Enduring a chronic disease isn’t easy. Like my friends who are wheelchair bound or fight cancer that has spread throughout their bodies, Pastor Rob reminds us that, even when weary, we should not give up. He provides lessons that can help anyone facing a disease, heartbreak, sadness, a difficult decision or challenging relationships.

First, we are not alone. God is with us.

Second, God still performs miracles, every day. Some miracles are in the form of physical healing. Sometimes those miracles do not come. Regardless, one of God’s greatest miracles comes from healing attitudes. Being positive does not mean being pollyanna. A positive attitude helps cope, even when the journey is long. We are never given more than we can handle, even if sometimes that is not what we feel. Focusing on the facts that God is with us and that His intervention allows us to experience joy, even times of struggle, help us finish put one foot in front of the other wherever we are in the long race.

Danny R. Welch, Ph.D.

Professor & Chair of Cancer Biology
Hall Family Professorship in Molecular Medicine
Kansas Bioscience Authority Eminent Scholar
The Kansas University Medical Center
Associate Director for Basic Sciences – The University of Kansas Cancer Center

House Hunter (Preacher Edition)

I think I am going to pitch an idea to the people at the HGTV (Home and Garden).  It would be called House Hunters (Preacher edition).  The show would feature a (slightly prone to live in any place that has running water) pastor and his (slightly pickier) wife.  The pastor’s wife (who will remain nameless to protect the innocent or the writer of this article) prefers a house where the kitchen was designed by someone like Martha Stewart not Martha Washington.  There would not be a lot of action and adventure in this TV show— unless you count the times that this nameless pastor’s wife rolls her eyes and says, “A caveman would not live here.”   I’m not sure anyone would watch such a show—I just know after being in 27 houses in the last two months (but who’s counting) and looking at hundreds more on line I’m ready to put this phase of our life behind us.

We’ve been in houses that smelled so bad it would make a skunk run for cover.  Another house had water in the basement.  The house we were in last night had all of its copper pipes stolen.  (Good news: There isn’t water in the basement.  Bad News:  There isn’t water anywhere else either).  One house was owned by the Bishops (of Bishop Airport fame)— the price was sky high.  Another house in Flint was called “The Governor’s Mansion.”  I’m not sure if the governor ever lived there but I know you’d have to make the former Illinois governor’s salary (that is– salary plus illegal kickbacks) to heat the place in the winter.

Helpful people have informed us of different homes for sale in their neighborhoods.  We’ve been told everything from:

“It’s a beautiful home.  I think they are asking $399,000.”  (Obviously they don’t understand a pastor’s pay package.  We don’t get illegal kickbacks.  The Lord and the courts in Illinois frown on such things) to “The neighbors have bars on their windows but it’s a nice place.”  (Ummm… I think the former Illinois governor could say that about his neighbors in the state penitentiary).

All this to say “the Fresh Prince of Bristol” doesn’t need a castle—but a three-bedroom ranch would be nice.

I have looked to the Bible for help in our house hunting. 

Jesus’ story of the two houses in Matthew 7 reminded me that I should stay away from beachfront property during hurricane season (not a problem in Flint). Instead I should look for a house built on a rock—because even when it’s raining cats and dogs— the house stands firm.  Of course, our problem these days isn’t rain but snow.  Depending on the size of the rock on which the house is built, I’m not sure my car’s traction would get me up the icy and slippery rock’s driveway—which presents a whole other problem. That’s just plain silly. 

We all know Jesus wasn’t talking about house hunters in His story.  His lesson was for a greater purpose.  The point—wherever you live (in a shack or in a mansion) make sure you are well grounded in Him.  Our earthly home isn’t nearly as important as our eternal accommodations.  So pay attention to how you are building your life.

At this current rate, we may be looking for a house until Jesus returns (and then it won’t matter where we are living), still in the meantime I want to be building a life that is well grounded on Him.  I hope you are too!

         

Dan Rexroth (CEO of John Knox Village) endorses my book!

Mr. Dan Rexroth (President CEO of John Knox Village, one of the United States largest retirement communities) endorses “Chronic Pain: Finding Hope in the Midst of Suffering”:

“I don’t have migraines.  I never even get headaches, yet I can relate to this book.  Rob Prince has helped us understand, whatever our struggle that God is with us. We all have pain in this world; it is not a matter of if, but when. Rob has inspired us not to let the headache win.  God is sovereign, and our momentary problems should all fade in light of eternity. This is a great book to prepare you for your life’s next speed bump.”  — Dan Rexroth

Chronic Pain: Finding Hope in the Midst of Suffering is to be released in April, 2014. It can be preordered by following the link: https://www.amazon.com/author/robprince or preordering through Barnesandnoble.com or NPH.com

Dr. Jeannie Williams (Kansas City Anesthesiologist) endorses my book, Chronic Pain: Finding Hope in the Midst of Suffering

“Each of our lives is somehow affected by pain. Sometimes the pain is our personal physical or emotional suffering. However, other times the suffering and pain of our loved ones becomes our pain.  Pastor Rob Prince’s book provides a light hearted yet serious reminder that God is on our side and only through Him can we survive the “stinky”  or painful parts of life.  I am blessed to sit in Pastor Rob’s congregation each week and now feel honored to watch as God works in the lives of others through him and his migraines. “

N. Jeannie Williams, MD