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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Looking Back

The end of 2011 is near. It has been filled with much excitement and heartache. A year to remember for sure.  Many amazing things have happened.  I thought that it would be good to write down some of the blessings and share them with you.  Our family has been here in Idaho for 6 1/2 years now. We moved here with the hopes of farming and ranching and raising a family.  Our first farm we intended to purchase did not work out.  Needless to say I was 9 months pregnant and we lived with my husbands brother and wife.  This continued post Dustin arriving for four months.  We found the farm we now reside on.  It had a double wide trailer for a home.  It worked for it's purpose and was very comfortable for our family of three.  We had dreams of building a house at some point in the future.  It was my hearts desire and prayer the last 5 years to have a home.  The house that sits on our lane heading back to the trailer sat empty for 1 1/2 years.  It was the original farmhouse on our property.  We would drive by and just not look.  God was working in the background.  He always is!  In January of 2011 we inquired about the house.  We prayed.  The price had been reduced once again.  The bank was working on the deal.  On February 14, 2011 we signed the papers for the house.  This truly was a miracle.  It has been a prayer of mine to have a home for our family - a place for family and friends to gather.  It is at the core of a women's being to have a home and decorate and entertain.  I wanted an oasis for my family.  God saw my heart's desire and granted the request.  His timing was perfect.  Shortly after moving in to the house my health became a huge concern.   On May 13, 2011 I was diagnosed with colon cancer. Two weeks later post surgery, we knew it was stage 111 and chemotherapy was required.  Talk about a bomb shell being dropped.  But, we had a home - a place of rest.  A room for visitors and overnight guests.  A great peace washed over me. Just knowing that we had a home to dwell in and welcome the extra help during my days of recovery was huge. 
My basket of cards!
Dustin at the Tide Pool at Sea World
I had many friends come and prepare the soil in my garden, plant my garden and water my garden.  We had many meals delivered.  I had cleaning angels knock on my door to vacuum, dust, mop floors and do laundry.  I had a roof put on my chicken coop. The blessings kept coming.  My mailbox overflowed with cards, notes and sweet words of encouragement. These literally kept me going day to day moment to moment.  The power of prayer has blessed me greatly.  As I look back, every physical need my family had was met.  In July, our family was able to take a short vacation to San Diego.  We took Dustin to Sea World and enjoyed some much needed family time. 
There have been some long days and nights over the past year. Many trips to the new hospital (great timing on that too!).  I have had countless doctor appointments, many lab draws for blood work and one trip to the ER.  God has proven once again His faithfulness.  We have remained hopeful.  I have completed 10 rounds of chemotherapy.  I have pushed through the nausea, aches, pains and long list of side-effects of the too many to name drugs I am taking.  Most of all we are a family.  Together we have overcome the obstacles in our path.  The Lord has fought for us.  He has made a way.  His power in us carried us through.  He is able to do exceedingly more.  His goodness overwhelms me.  We are a testimony to His faithfulness.  Many would be ruined financially by this ordeal.  Our health insurance is good. Our God is gracious.  He has shown compassion.  Our farm has done well this year.  We have reaped a bountiful harvest and are blessed.  We are grateful, humble and stand in awe.
My longing for heaven increases daily.  When I ponder my earthly trials and so called "suffering" I know that nothing will compare to the glory that awaits me - face to face with my Savior.  It will be worth all the pain and drama of the last year of our lives.This road is worthy, because Jesus paid the ultimate price.  I am strong only because He lives in me.  My joy rests upon relationship with Him.  His Word is alive, it consumes me day and night.  Thankfulness.  Deep eucharisteo has been birthed out of this season.  New levels of spiritual discovery and intamacy with the almighty.  You could say I have tapped into my own
"glory hole."  The gold I have found can not be bought.  It is worth the journey I have taken to find it. The time spent seeking His comfort, mercy and strength is worth the struggle.  I have traded my sorrows, my ashes for beauty.  Only God can create (bara) something out of nothing. He isn't finished.  2012 is a few days a way.  I continue to wait upon Him. I don't know what 2012 holds, but I know that it will be good!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Star to Follow

"Can anything separate us from the love Christ has for us? God answered our question before we asked it.  So we'd see his answer, he lit the sky with a star.  So we'd hear it, he filled the night with a choir; and so we'd believe it, he did what no man had ever dreamed.  He became flesh and dwelt among us."  Max Lucado

"I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night - but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.  To you the night shines as bright as day.  Darkness and light are the same to you." Psalm 139:11-12 NLT

"For God, who said Let the light shine out of darkness made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus."  2 Corinthians 4:6

"The angel came in the night because that is when lights are best seen and that is when they are most needed.  Stepping from his throne in heaven he removed his robe of light and wrapped himself in skin."  Max Lucado

"We have seen his star in the east and and have come to worship Him." Matthew 2:2

Can something be learned from the wise men?  It is hard to fathom the incarnation of God here on earth.  It is too great to comprehend.  So we have faith and believe in a miracle.  We must learn from the wise men.  They were on a quest, a searching for the Savior.  When they saw the star they were overjoyed.  This calls for a celebration.  When joy wells up you can not keep quiet.  It bursts forth in song.  The angelic choir was ready. They found the baby, the Christ child. This is the response I want to have: humble worship.  They brought gifts from afar.  I have no gifts of gold, frankincense or myrrh to offer.  All he wants is my praise and worship to wonder and marvel in awe.  To sing praises in my Spirit.  I am looking for the Star.  A star to lead me down the path.  Where you go I will follow.

"Because of God's tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace."  Luke 1:78-79

A new favorite worship song by Hillsong: You Are More



Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Christmas Story to Ponder

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Can you sense the anticipation growing?  There are two days left till Christmas break and we are 7 days and counting till the big day.  The presents are wrapped, the tree is decorated, the lights are hung and yummy goodies line the counter-top in my kitchen. I love this time of year when we make our home look pretty with Martha Stewart like decorations, we bake like Betty Crocker and we post Christmas photos of our family and friends on the fridge. The music is cued to the holiday music station and my favorite Christmas candle is burning.  Ahh the sights, sounds and smells of Christmas are here.  I want to hit the pause button and savor it all year long.

I was supposed to get chemo treatment last week on Wednesday.  I had it planned out this way so that I could enjoy the days leading up to Christmas better.  It didn't work out that way.  Christmas is still going to happen.  It happens every year on the 25th of December.  I am reminding myself that we can celebrate like this anytime of the year.  I wonder if Mary might have felt the same way.  Her plans to get married somehow interrupted by news heralded by the angel Gabriel: you will be with Child by the Holy Spirit and you shall call Him Jesus.  Talk about a change in plans!  It's Mary's response to the angel that catches my attention.  It strikes a chord in me. She responds, "I am the Lord's servant, may it be to me as you have said." Luke 1:38 Mary immediately accepts the news and believes. This is faith in action.  The bells ring loud and the choir sings forth Glory to God in the Highest.  Do I respond this way when my plans don't seem to work out?  I have to admit most times my ways don't work out. I don't respond with a quick yes Lord.  Instead I parade around like a chicken with it's head cut off.  Lovely picture!  It's true that I get upset when my plans seem to fail.  I want to hear those words, "you are highly favored."  I mess it up over and over again.

Mary was betrothed to be married to Joseph.  It was Jewish custom to be pledged or like an engagement period.  In all aspects Joseph and Mary were "married" yet Jewish custom stated that they were to remain pure.  So for Mary to return from Elizabeth's pregnant was a big deal.  She could have been stoned or Joseph could have divorced her.  God had plans for Joseph and Mary.  It was hard.  People talk.  Joseph also had an encounter with an angel.  Joseph also believed and put his faith into action: he obeyed and took Mary as his wife.  He was told not to fear, but it is human nature to be afraid.  Afraid of the future.  I can relate.  Faith conquers all fears.  I think both Mary and Joseph were afraid, yet they were determined to be obedient to what God had told them.  Was it hard for them?  Certainly.  Did they miss their family when they had to travel to Bethlehem for the Census ordered by King Herod.  Did Mary really think her time to deliver was not soon?  Did the travel bring labor?  Many questions I ponder.  Scripture tells us they did not return back to Nazareth but were warned in a dream to flee to Egypt.  More distance between family.  I can imagine on one hand they were both relived to be away from those in Nazareth and the ridicule they must have experienced. New friends and community would not know their circumstances.  Maybe this was God's divine way of protecting their fragile hearts.  God's ways are always best.  I must remind myself of this daily.  I fight to be in control, but then remember His ways I can not fathom.

I was reminded of this once again this morning in church.  Pastor Jackie was reminding us of the Israelites and their captivity to the Babylonians.  They were placed in chains, families torn apart heading for a life of slavery.  Life was not going as planned.  Yet God gave Jeremiah a message for the children of Israel.  He told them, "For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 I think this future and a hope means two things.  One, it was the promise of a Messiah to come.  The second was not going to be found here on earth.  It was set in their hearts: eternity.  For the Jew the promised Messiah was to come and set up His kingdom and set them free from captivity.  God was speaking of a heavenly kingdom and freedom from the law and peace with God.  The long walk to Babylon must have been rough.  Where was God? What was He thinking?  This is not the plan!  Yet it was part of God's perfect plan for the children of Israel.  The future and hope was on it's way...all in His time. 

Sweet Mary and Joseph did not plan on a baby prior to starting their marriage.  Yet this was part of God's plan to bring salvation to the world.  A baby changes everything.  So Jesus was born in Bethlehem and laid in a manger.  A feeding trough. A stark reminder that He is the Bread of Life. The star brightly reflecting the glory of the moment.  What am I reflecting?  Is it this God glory? Or am I too caught up in this Christmas hype to see the miracle before me?  My heart screams out like Mary I am the Lord's servant...I want to make a difference, I want to be a light. In spite of my circumstances and the way plans seem to change like the wind, I must take a stand.  Like Mary I must resolve in my heart that I am the Lord's servant  -- let it be as the Lord has chosen. For I know that the plans God has for me are good and he is building a future for me and that gives my spirit hope for the moment and hope for a bright future in heaven.

Christmas time seems to bring to the front of our memory our relationship with Christ. It causes us to wonder at the miracle of the virgin birth.  To marvel in the amazing gift God gave us: his one and only Son, Jesus, Emmanuel God with us. We make time to be with friends and family.  We exchange gifts, food and stories.  This year is different for me.  I have a fresh perspective.  A God-given-glory view.  I want to cherish it and savor this season of Christmas for the year to come.  I have great hope and expectation for the future.  I can only say one thing about it: I know it will be good!
Merry Christmas Friends!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My Jonah Moment(s)

It is early this morning of my 10th scheduled round of chemo.  I really don't want to go this morning.  I feel like Jonah.  I know God has said you  have to do this -- finish.  I don't want to.  I have a lot of anxiety you could say.  How does one balance the mixture of emotions at this point in the journey?  On one hand I am extremely thankful and full of joy.  Yet on the other hand I laid awake in bed last night chasing wild thoughts and making up scenarios that most likely won't ever happen.  So draining and such a waste!  Yet I wonder during this Christmas season how many of us have mixed emotions wrapped around our hearts.  How is it humanly possible to truly be in anguish over something or someone and yet have joy?  Paul lets us in on the secret in 2 Corinthians 7:4-7, "I have great confidence in you; I take great pride in you.  I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds. For when we came into Macedonia, this body of our had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn conflicts on the outside, fears within.  But god, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him.  He told us your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater than ever."  Even though Paul so called afflicted he knew joy.  I like that the scripture tells us not only was it physical suffering but mentally that Paul had fear.  I have fear only created by self - a wandering mind.  I can only imagine the horrific things dreamed up in the mind of Paul and the other believers alongside of him.  The Romans were cruel folks.  Those who opposed the Gospel were relentless in their torment.  Yet God comforted them.  I love this concept of a person (Titus) being sent as comforter to encourage Paul during this difficult time.  For me knowing that I am not alone in the battle, that I am covered in many prayers and that my God cares about me gives me great joy.  Sweet joy in the midst of difficult circumstances.  This is what Paul experienced.  This is what I am experiencing. My joy know no bounds!


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Waters Rising

I have not been writing much the last few days because I guess you could say I have had writers block.  Not sure what to write.  So at this point I am going to share about my last chemo round.  It was eventful.  Not something I am truly excited about but it did give me a good scare.  Unfortunately during my infusion process I had a serious reaction to the drugs that caused abdominal pain and an anaphylactic reaction.  I was in severe pain for a few hours with stomach cramping.  I also swelled up like a balloon. My hands turned bright red/purple and I was barely able to get my wedding ring off.  I also felt like I had a lump stuck in my throat, making it hard to breathe.   This had the nurses swarming over me like bees.  It is all a bit blurry as to what exactly did happen and why.  The Doctor is not absolutely sure why at this point.  Many factors weigh into determining the exact cause.  Which at this point we may never really know since I had several drugs in my body.  The most likely source was the chemo drug oxaliplatin.  There are a few rare cases of hypersensitivity and idiosyncratic reactions due to this drug.  The interesting case studies about oxaliplatin include a developed hypersenstivity to this drug over time.  In other words over the course of my chemo treatment I have built up a sensitivity to this drug and it finally surfaced it's ugly head.  Other cases state that anywhere between cycles 4 to 8 of chemo these clinical signs were seen.  This was my 9th round of chemo and putting the pieces together from previous chemo rounds points to this same pattern. 
Hypersensitivity reactions are typically immediately seen after administration of drug -
facial edema
bronchospasm
hypotension
tachycardia
pruritis
erythema

fever
chills
abdominal pain
nausea
diarrhea
hypotension
I had several of the above symptoms listed.  The facial edema has been one that has been present increasingly more each chemo treatment.  It seems to be more of a redness in the face and flushing that comes and goes.  This time it decided to stay and get worse.  Because of the allergic reaction my chemo was suspended and I did not receive my normal dosage amount.  I am told that this is no big deal right now.  As for future chemo treatments I don't know about that either. There is much to discuss.  This was a very scary ordeal for me.  My primary oncology doctor was not in town when all of this happened so I will have another follow-up appointment with her on December 14th, which is when I am scheduled to have my 10th round of chemo.(I am hoping for maybe an earlier appointment to discuss options and allow time for prayer.)  Case studies point to a re-occurrence of these clinical symptoms when oxaliplatin is administered again.
The nurses were excellent and moved quickly to make me comfortable and treat the symptoms I had.  If you are allergic to a bee sting and have a reaction to that you know what I am talking about.  If you have been stung once and reacted poorly you avoid getting stung again.  If you do get stung you make sure you have an antihistamine readily available. Great caution and care must be taken.  It is my earnest prayer now that God would grant us and doctors wisdom as we sort all of this out. It gives new meaning to the phrase practicing medicine...I just don't like to be the one they are practicing on! We know that God is faithful and can work out the details of an impossible situation.  Praying for that peace and comfort now. I am so grateful to so many of you for praying for me daily.  One just can't be prepared for something like this.  It gives me great comfort knowing how your prayers cover me.

"Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.  I have called you by name; you are mine.  When you go through the deep waters, I will be with you.  When you go through the rivers of difficulty, you will not drown.  When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.  For I am the Lord, Your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior." 
Isaiah 43:1-3 NLT


A song we sung in church this morning really ministered to my heart...hope you enjoy it!  When the Waters Rise by Casey Darnell.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Taking a Break

 Many of you know by now that I have encountered my first "cold" while undergoing chemotherapy.  It's been a normal head cold as far as colds go.  It's been the typical aches and pains affiliated with being under the weather.  It has been since last Wednesday that I started with a sore throat and progressed to a stuffy nose and cough.  Fortunately I have started an antibiotic protocol that seems to be keeping the cold from getting worse.  Lot's of tea, orange juice and water have helped flush this cold out.

In the mean time I have logged much time on the couch. I'm very thankful for many of your prayers and words of encouragement.  I am not certain how having this cold will effect my scheduled chemo treatment this Wednesday.  Of course I have to see what my lab results say...low platelets are plaguing me.  Whenever company is scheduled to be here with my family my chemo has been postponed one week.  This has happened four times now.  I have 4 rounds of chemo left and then I will be done!

Off to the hospital here shortly to get my labs done and await chemo treatment today.  Like I mentioned above I have done a lot of just "resting" or sitting around waiting for time to pass.  It has been good. Yesterday I was given   a prayer quilt from the Castleford Ladies Baptist group.  It is so perfect! I will post some photos today after chemo with the quilt.  Receiving this quilt is such a blessing.  It reminds me how many people are praying for me during this time.  It also is a reminder of the love Christ has for me and that He will never leave me or forsake me.  Making a quilt is a labor of love and many hands worked diligently to present this gift to me.  I am overwhelmed by the love of the body.  I cherish even the thought of some of these ladies working on this quilt for me...so precious to the Father.  This is real faith in action. Yesterday I read this short devotional from a new favorite of mine, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.

Let me infuse my peace into your innermost being.  As you sit quietly in the Light of My Presence, you can sense Peace growing within you.  This is not something that you accomplish through self-discipline and will-power; it is opening yourself to receive My blessing.


In this age of Independence, people find its hard to acknowledge their neediness.  However, I have taken you along a path that has highlighted your need for Me: placing you in situations where your strengths were irrelevant and your weaknesses were glaringly evident.  Through the aridity of those desert marches, I have drawn you closer and closer to Myself.  You have discovered flowers of Peace blossoming in the most desolate places.  You have learned to thank Me for the hard time and difficult journeys, trusting that through them I accomplish My best work.  You have realized that needing Me is the key to knowing Me intimately, which is the gift above all gifts.

This entry in her devotional was so encouraging to me along this journey I am on.  Sitting quietly is hard to do.  I have so many distractions screaming for my attention.  Yet I have chosen the better way, the hard way, the eucheristeo way. In my recognition of my neediness He meets me.  This is where the power for right living becomes possible.  I am able to put one foot in front of the other and continue the good fight.  I can find strength in Him alone. I rest in the shelter of the Almighty and find peace.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Real Thanksgiving


Merriam Webster defines thanksgiving as, “the act of giving thanks” or “an expression of gratitude.”  Middle English eukarist, from Anglo-French eukariste, from Late Latin eucharistia, from Greek, Eucharist, gratitude, from eucharistos grateful, from eu- + charizesthai to show favor, from charis favor, grace, gratitude; akin to Greek chairein to rejoice .   Eucharisteo in the Christian faith is known as the Holy Communion or the Lord’s Supper.  It is the great table of Thanksgiving.  The Eucharist is the heart and soul of the believer’s life.  Without the actual death and resurrection of Jesus Christ it is nothing more than a symbolic religious ritual.  The table holds two elements to the believer; the first being the bread representing Christ’s body. The very substance to life: bread.  The second is the wine or cup representing Christ’s blood. The blood poured out for my sins and the sins of the world.  We eat and drink, swallowing down our thankfulness for the price paid by God’s only son: Christ Jesus.
I’ve been reading a book called, “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp.  In her book she dives into the hidden treasures found in un-wrapping the gift of Eurcharisteo.  Her faith journey is similar to mine. Questions about this Christ life, faith, injustices, marriage, kids; yet our paths maybe different the desire to see God, know Him, to embrace His goodness in the midst of this “life” is the same.  I often have wondered if anyone else on this planet thinks like me.  Is anyone else willing to ask the hard questions and actually go on this crazy quest to find the answers and then talk about the journey?  To discover how to unlock the treasure chest of this abundant life is a journey worth taking.  This book has stirred my faith, getting right at the heart of my ingratitude, discontentment and lack of zeal to live fully in Christ. The Word has a way of piercing through the clutter.  Her poetic way with words on the page with pen stabbing deep pierces my soul.  The faith journey can always go deeper.  Christ always has more for us, but we must learn it.  Paul refers to this when he states, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:12-13) Ann Voskamp lays out how our faith must reflect thankfulness, “we can only enter into the full life if our faith gives thanks.”  Just like the one leper out of ten who returned to say thank you.  Jesus’ response in Luke 17:17-19, “your faith has healed you.”  Voskamp explains how when we choose to be thankful for what Christ has done our very salvation is being worked out. Going the extra mile, “Thanksgiving is the manifestation of our yes: to His grace.”  She goes on to say, “The act of sacrificing thank offerings to God, even for the bread and cup of cost, for cancer and crucifixion – this prepares the way for God to show us His fullest salvation from bitter, angry, resentful lives and from sin that estranges us from Him.”  So I ponder.  Yes I can thank him for the communion table and for cancer (and yes it hurts); for His death on a tree and for all my sins and the sins of this world.
So the next question one must ask is how then do you have the ability to really thank God for something like cancer?  Because it’s cancer and it’s literally killing me from the inside out and the chemo is poison running in my veins.  Psalm 50:23 sheds some light to my dark question, “He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.” The hard part comes in everyday living.  I want to be happy, content, and even joyful.  I like Paul, am learning thankfulness in all circumstances (cancer?).  Voskamp gives us a dare – a dare to list, to name gifts that are before our very eyes.  Every perfect gift comes from the Father.  These gifts describe his love in the beauty around us amongst the depravity and chaos in this world.  But one must choose the hard Eucharisteo way.  So I begin recording and naming the gifts.  Is this not the first job of Adam in the perfect garden? Naming…when something has a name it has meaning, identity and therefore we can assign credit to the Creator for making it.  So I have begun the list of one thousand gifts.  I struggle to see the “God glory” around my chaos of dogs, cats, cows, boots, coats, Lego’s, Hot Wheels, laundry, bills…but I discover what Voskamp has discovered: pure charis – joy! Joy comes in the naming.  Naming is the way to abundant living in Christ, to always be thankful.  “Deep chara joy is only found at the table of Eucharisteo – the table of thanksgiving. “
And so I list:
1.   Kittens purring
2.    Stars in the sky
3.   Fresh eggs from the coop
4.   Red sun rising
5.   Clean sheets on the bed
1 Corinthians 11:26 says, “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”  Voskamp continues, “Like every day. Whenever we eat.  Eucharisteo – whenever: now, joy.   Wherever: here.” 
6.   Dog tail thumping on the wood floor
7.   Laughter
8.   Feather pillows
9.   Silence in the early morning
10.   Holding hands for prayer
The list goes on like my faith journey.  I embrace Eucharisteo intentionally with eyes only God can give.  I have reason to be thankful and I see it clearly now.  It’s all around me.  His love envelopes my world. How did I not see it before? This I can name: real thanksgiving.
11.   Real Thanksgiving
If you want to learn more about Ann Voskamp visit her blog at: www.aholyexpereince.com or www.onethousandgifts.com

Also, check out the posting of this devotional on Stonecroft's website: To Inspire You

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Endurance


 Please read Hebrews Chapter 12

 "For the Lord disciplines those he loves...God's discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness." Hebrews 12: 6;10

I am super happy to report that round eight of chemo is complete!  Only four more treatments left and I will be done!  This is very good news.  The end it almost here.  I am so very ready to be done with this!  I just need a bit more endurance to finish this leg of the race.  This is what I have been pondering the last few days: endurance.  Finding strength to push through the nausea, aches & pains one more moment at a time. It's been said that God won't give us too much to handle.  I have to disagree with this statement.  He always gives us too much to handle.  It's during these moments when life seems to heavy to bear, which direction to turn or how a situation can look so bad turn around, that His strength wells up within us to overcome.  The faithful before us (prophets) are examples to this principle.  Their weakness was turned to strength. (Hebrews 11:34)

What is divine discipline?  Is it cancer? Is it chemotherapy for my physical body as well as my spiritual heart? Is it this road I am traveling on?  The Word says that God's discipline is always good.  So then cancer is good? A gift. It's painful now while it is happening to me day to day.  My physical flesh struggles to overcome chemical poison and my mind reals to capture my thoughts and make them obedient to Him alone, not wanting to believe the lies and tricks being played out before me.  There will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. (Hebrews 12:11) What is a peaceful harvest of right living?  What does this look like? How do I know if I am trained? More pondering is necessary.  I sip more of my tea and just sit.  Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)  The only sound is the dishwasher humming and a dog snoring loud by my side.  When is the afterward?  Is it when I am done with chemotherapy? Is it when I am given those glorious words: remission. Is it time? But wait, time is irrelevant to Almighty Sovereign God.  He is time. So how do I reach this peaceful state?  Is it heaven? Maybe that's it and I can't achieve this righteous peace because it isn't meant for this side of glory.  I will continue to ponder.  Yes I will store up my treasures in heaven and these nuggets of truth in my heart. Let more barns be filled with blessings. (Malachi 3:10) I type the words on the computer screen and more blessings appear.  My cup runs over.  My jars of tears are many. (Psalm 56:8) Some are tears of pain and sorrow but these days they are joyful drops from heaven.  I wonder if someday I will get a tour in heaven of these storehouses. The tear jar room and the scrolls of remembrance (Malachi 3:16) for all the times I have prayed with so many of my sweet sisters and God recorded the act.  Are there rooms filled with these items waiting for me? Maybe this is part of the righteous peace; the hope tucked away inside of my heart.  The hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27)  This is producing in me the joy of the Lord, which is my strength.  God literally comes and fills my cup with all joy and peace as I trust in Him so that I bubble over with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Nehemiah 8:10 and Romans 15:13)  He delights in giving and in my pleasure of receiving; they flow together in perfect harmony.  It's just so hard.  Jesus said it wouldn't be trouble free. (Matthew 6:34)


Farmers have great endurance: faith.  In the spring they work the ground and prepare it for seeds. The ground is fertilized and the seeds go down under the soil.  The waiting begins.  This is when a tiny corn seed figures out which direction is up towards the sun and a tiny shoot emerges out of clumps of soil.  The roots shoot down in search of water and nutrients and leaves open drinking in the sunlight.  It takes time for the stalk to develop. Along the way tassels develop in preparation for the silks to appear for pollination.  The whole process is actually very complex. It all evolves from one tiny seed, amazing! Soon an ear of corn emerges and the corn kernels continue to mature.  The average number of days  to maturity for corn is 125 days (about 4 months) with some hybrid varieties being shorter in the number of days.  I say all of this because we have grown grain corn this year on our farm.  We are eagerly waiting for the harvest.  The moisture level in the corn husk has to be around 14%  in order to combine and haul.  This is where I have made the connection to having endurance to finish out my chemo to growing corn.  It takes patience as a farmer to watch each individual step as the corn grows.  In the end the farmer is waiting for his harvest. The sound of the combine chopping and the trucks leaving with bushels of corn.  For me I am waiting for this harvest of righteousness.  Both require endurance. 


We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. Colossians 1:11-12

For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.  James 1:3-4





























Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Crazy Joy

"Be joyful always, pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."  1 Thessalonians 5:16-17

It's Tuesday night and I am preparing myself for round eight of chemo.  It all depends on my lab results tomorrow morning for a green light for chemo.  I really want to get it done and mark treatment eight off the list.  Yet another week of rest would be nice.  If only my human brain could comprehend the ways of the Lord!  So I will wait for the lab results tomorrow morning and see if my WBC, RBC and platelets are in good working order.  I will send out txt to those of you on the list.  If you want to be added to the list let me know.  Thank you so much for your encouragement and never ending prayers on my behalf.  I can't express in words how your prayers have kept me going and held me close to Jesus.  I am truly thankful - even now facing my 8th treatment of chemo.  It's crazy but the joy I have found in this waiting is supernatural. Apparently this is God's will for my life and I embrace it with joy.  Crazy I know. 


Monday, November 7, 2011

What is certain?

"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."  Hebrews 11:1  Faith is the only thing that is certain in this life.  Without it, it is impossible to please God.  The Father of faith, Abraham was credited as righteous because he believed, because his faith was unshakable.   He was able to put his faith into action by leaving Hebron and heading out into the great unknown.  He was able to trust God for a child even in his old age and he was able to offer his son Issac as a sacrifice.  This all happened as a result of his faith. Faith proceeded his works.  Faith comes before the blessing of obedience.  Romans 5: 2-5 says, "we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love onto our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." Hope.  That is what I cling to.  My faith is being challenged and I am forced to believe just like Abraham, not knowing what really lies ahead but trusting in my faith in a good and loving God. He speaks through his Word, through songs, through prayer, through dreams and yes I have a choice.  I can choose the high road that is wide open or I can choose the narrow less traveled road, filled with twists, turns, valleys and mountains.  It is Monday and I wait for Wednesday to come like a child counting the days till Christmas.  Part of me is giddy with excitement and anticipation, the other part of me wants to stop time and pretend I don't have cancer.  Wednesday I will go in for my usual lab draw and see where my blood chemistry levels are at in order to receive chemo treatment.  So I hope, waiting in great expectation for a miracle.  My blood work has not been favorable post two weeks of chemo.  The last two treatments have gone three weeks apart.  So am am pushing back my minds thoughts that it won't be good and clinging with all belief (hope) that it will be good.  I think Paul calls this part perseverance.  So through my waiting, my very core character is being reformed and I am building bricks of faith that bring me hope.  His love is being poured out in so many tangible ways in the midst of my rebuilding of character. Amazingly they strike deep at the core of my character -- all the things I don't like, the "old man" are being pealed away like layers of an onion.  It's the fruit I have been waiting for in this season of rest.  Fruit can only come when the tree has been well watered, pruned and fertilized.  It also doesn't just appear on the branches.  It takes time.  There it is again: waiting, patience.  It has to be the right season for the fruit to be ripe and ready.  Even Abraham had to wait through the seasons for God's promise.  The fruit of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).  I may be seriously onto something here.  I have cracked another code of the Spirit filled abundant life.  I choose to believe against all hope.  Because my hope is in Christ, I can believe the impossible.  I can enjoy the fruit, even now. 

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful." Hebrews 10:23
Ripe peaches on the tree


Monday, October 31, 2011

Supercalifradulisticexpeialidocious

October has certainly flown by!  Where did it go?  Happy to report that round 7 of chemo is complete and we are down to 5 treatments left.  The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter.  I have had many asking about how I am doing and what is going on with treatments etc.  So I thought that I would write a bit about how I am actually feeling.  To be perfectly honest this is the hardest thing I have ever had to do.  It ranks up their with child birthing.  I can only say I've done that once and with out drugs -- it was tough but not like this.   Knowing you won't feel good for a few days is one thing. It's the mental battle that gnaws at you. The chemo is working and doing it's job killing off the good and bad cells.  My lab results are an indicator to the effectiveness of this poison.  My body struggles 6 to 10 days post chemo to make enough platelets.  These thrombocytes are used for blood clotting.  They are made in the bone marrow along with Red and White Blood Cells.  Chemo drugs interfere with this process and cause these levels in my body to be abnormally low.  This is to be expected with chemo.  Some patients fair better than others.  At this point their is nothing more that can be done to encourage or promote medically the platelets.  I am doing my best to eat and drink.  It's not easy.  Sounds funny.  My appetite swings like a pendulum.  About 2 to 3 days after chemo my appetite slowly increases.  The only problem is I am sensitive to smells that turn my stomach into knots.  I wish there was some magic food that could make it all better.  I will admit that I get the munchies and their is nothing off limits.  Even late last night it was me eating a bowl of Rice Krispies in the dark.  My energy level also fluctuates.  It take me a few days post chemo to bounce back.  I typically spend 3 to 4 days in bed or on the couch.  I have also had problems with headaches post treatment.  The bad part about this is I really don't like taking medication.  Taking aspirin is off limits since it thins your blood and stays in your system for about 2 weeks. This also lowers the number of your platelets.  As an alternative I can take ibuprofen; this doesn't last long in the blood stream and only effects the platelets while in my system.  It's just hard to know when to take something or not.  It seems that each round of chemo is a bit different with it's own mind.   I am trying to rest a relax during these days.  Soaking in the peace and quiet.  I know this is a season and I truly am thankful. I am learning that it is okay for my son to wear the same outfit 3 days in a row, letting laundry pile up and to ignore dust bunnies. Life is just to short to worry about stuff. In the end it's all stuff and it will be there tomorrow.  It's not that important.  My health is.  My family is.  We are approaching that time of year when we are reminded to be thankful.  I have been keeping a list of things I am thankful for.  They are simple things like warm brown eggs from the chicken coop, a sunrise and kiss good night. The blessings are abundant -- if you are looking for them.  This season of life has forced me to look around - beyond self.  To look up and give thanks.  Oh He is good...taste and see for yourself.  It's not enough for me to just thank Him. Yes that is what He desires. But He really wants is relationship.  One must enter His courts.  Then we can bring him our praise and thanksgiving.  I am learning this daily habit of thankfulness regardless of how I am feeling.  
This last round of chemo I watched the movie  Mary Poppins -- light hearted and silly songs can make anyone laugh.    Mary Poppins said it best -- when there are no words to describe how you are feeling or what to say "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" fits perfectly!


"Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good.  His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation."  Psalm 100:4-5
Anna at MSTI Round 7

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Don't Waste Your Cancer

Don't Waste Your Cancer Read this link or below:

John Piper is one of my favorite authors...hope you enjoy this read. It is a conformation to my spirit during this season with cancer.

[Editor's Note: Our friend, David Powlison, of the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation, who also was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer, has added some helpful expansions to John Piper’s ten points. Indented paragraphs beginning with "DP:" are written by David Powlison.]

I write this on the eve of prostate surgery. I believe in God’s power to heal—by miracle and by medicine. I believe it is right and good to pray for both kinds of healing. Cancer is not wasted when it is healed by God. He gets the glory and that is why cancer exists. So not to pray for healing may waste your cancer. But healing is not God’s plan for everyone. And there are many other ways to waste your cancer. I am praying for myself and for you that we will not waste this pain.

DP: I (David Powlison) add these reflections on John Piper’s words the morning after receiving news that I have been diagnosed with prostate cancer (March 3, 2006). The ten main points and first paragraphs are his; the second paragraphs are mine.

1. You will waste your cancer if you do not believe it is designed for you by God.

It will not do to say that God only uses our cancer but does not design it. What God permits, he permits for a reason. And that reason is his design. If God foresees molecular developments becoming cancer, he can stop it or not. If he does not, he has a purpose. Since he is infinitely wise, it is right to call this purpose a design. Satan is real and causes many pleasures and pains. But he is not ultimate. So when he strikes Job with boils (Job 2:7), Job attributes it ultimately to God (2:10) and the inspired writer agrees: “They . . . comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him” (Job 42:11). If you don’t believe your cancer is designed for you by God, you will waste it.

DP: Recognizing his designing hand does not make you stoic or dishonest or artificially buoyant. Instead, the reality of God’s design elicits and channels your honest outcry to your one true Savior. God’s design invites honest speech, rather than silencing us into resignation. Consider the honesty of the Psalms, of King Hezekiah (Isaiah 38), of Habakkuk 3. These people are bluntly, believingly honest because they know that God is God and set their hopes in him. Psalm 28 teaches you passionate, direct prayer to God. He must hear you. He will hear you. He will continue to work in you and your situation. This outcry comes from your sense of need for help (28:1-2). Then name your particular troubles to God (28:3-5). You are free to personalize with your own particulars. Often in life’s ‘various trials’ (James 1:2), what you face does not exactly map on to the particulars that David or Jesus faced – but the dynamic of faith is the same. Having cast your cares on him who cares for you, then voice your joy (28:6-7): the God-given peace that is beyond understanding. Finally, because faith always works out into love, your personal need and joy will branch out into loving concern for others (28:8-9). Illness can sharpen your awareness of how thoroughly God has already and always been at work in every detail of your life.

2. You will waste your cancer if you believe it is a curse and not a gift.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13). “There is no enchantment against Jacob, no divination against Israel” (Numbers 23:23). “The Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11).

DP: The blessing comes in what God does for us, with us, through us. He brings his great and merciful redemption onto the stage of the curse. Your cancer, in itself, is one of those 10,000 ‘shadows of death’ (Psalm 23:4) that come upon each of us: all the threats, losses, pains, incompletion, disappointment, evils. But in his beloved children, our Father works a most kind good through our most grievous losses: sometimes healing and restoring the body (temporarily, until the resurrection of the dead to eternal life), always sustaining and teaching us that we might know and love him more simply. In the testing ground of evils, your faith becomes deep and real, and your love becomes purposeful and wise: James 1:2-5, 1 Peter 1:3-9, Romans 5:1-5, Romans 8:18-39.

3. You will waste your cancer if you seek comfort from your odds rather than from God.

The design of God in your cancer is not to train you in the rationalistic, human calculation of odds. The world gets comfort from their odds. Not Christians. Some count their chariots (percentages of survival) and some count their horses (side effects of treatment), but we trust in the name of the Lord our God (Psalm 20:7). God’s design is clear from 2 Corinthians 1:9, “We felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” The aim of God in your cancer (among a thousand other good things) is to knock props out from under our hearts so that we rely utterly on him.

DP: God himself is your comfort. He gives himself. The hymn “Be Still My Soul” (by Katerina von Schlegel) reckons the odds the right way: we are 100% certain to suffer, and Christ is 100% certain to meet us, to come for us, comfort us, and restore love’s purest joys. The hymn “How Firm a Foundation” reckons the odds the same way: you are 100% certain to pass through grave distresses, and your Savior is 100% certain to “be with you, your troubles to bless, and sanctify to you your deepest distress.” With God, you aren’t playing percentages, but living within certainties.

4. You will waste your cancer if you refuse to think about death.

We will all die, if Jesus postpones his return. Not to think about what it will be like to leave this life and meet God is folly. Ecclesiastes 7:2 says, “It is better to go to the house of mourning [a funeral] than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.” How can you lay it to heart if you won’t think about it? Psalm 90:12 says, “Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Numbering your days means thinking about how few there are and that they will end. How will you get a heart of wisdom if you refuse to think about this? What a waste, if we do not think about death.

DP: Paul describes the Holy Spirit is the unseen, inner ‘downpayment’ on the certainty of life. By faith, the Lord gives a sweet taste of the face-to-face reality of eternal life in the presence of our God and Christ. We might also say that cancer is one ‘downpayment’ on inevitable death, giving one bad taste of the reality of of our mortality. Cancer is a signpost pointing to something far bigger: the last enemy that you must face. But Christ has defeated this last enemy: 1 Corinthians 15. Death is swallowed up in victory. Cancer is merely one of the enemy’s scouting parties, out on patrol. It has no final power if you are a child of the resurrection, so you can look it in the eye.

5. You will waste your cancer if you think that “beating” cancer means staying alive rather than cherishing Christ.

Satan’s and God’s designs in your cancer are not the same. Satan designs to destroy your love for Christ. God designs to deepen your love for Christ. Cancer does not win if you die. It wins if you fail to cherish Christ. God’s design is to wean you off the breast of the world and feast you on the sufficiency of Christ. It is meant to help you say and feel, “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” And to know that therefore, “To live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 3:8; 1:21).

DP: Cherishing Christ expresses the two core activities of faith: dire need and utter joy. Many psalms cry out in a ‘minor key’: we cherish our Savior by needing him to save us from real troubles, real sins, real sufferings, real anguish. Many psalms sing out in a ‘major key’: we cherish our Savior by delighting in him, loving him, thanking him for all his benefits to us, rejoicing that his salvation is the weightiest thing in the world and that he gets last say. And many psalms start out in one key and end up in the other. Cherishing Christ is not monochromatic; you live the whole spectrum of human experience with him. To ‘beat’ cancer is to live knowing how your Father has compassion on his beloved child, because he knows your frame, that you are but dust. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. To live is to know him, whom to know is to love.

6. You will waste your cancer if you spend too much time reading about cancer and not enough time reading about God.

It is not wrong to know about cancer. Ignorance is not a virtue. But the lure to know more and more and the lack of zeal to know God more and more is symptomatic of unbelief. Cancer is meant to waken us to the reality of God. It is meant to put feeling and force behind the command, “Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord” (Hosea 6:3). It is meant to waken us to the truth of Daniel 11:32, “The people who know their God shall stand firm and take action.” It is meant to make unshakable, indestructible oak trees out of us: “His delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers” (Psalm 1:2). What a waste of cancer if we read day and night about cancer and not about God.

DP: What is so for your reading is also true for your conversations with others. Other people will often express their care and concern by inquiring about your health. That’s good, but the conversation easily gets stuck there. So tell them openly about your sickness, seeking their prayers and counsel, but then change the direction of the conversation by telling them what your God is doing to faithfully sustain you with 10,000 mercies. Robert Murray McCheyne wisely said, “For every one look at your sins, take ten looks at Christ.” He was countering our tendency to reverse that 10:1 ratio by brooding over our failings and forgetting the Lord of mercy. What McCheyne says about our sins we can also apply to our sufferings. For every one sentence you say to others about your cancer, say ten sentences about your God, and your hope, and what he is teaching you, and the small blessings of each day. For every hour you spend researching or discussing your cancer, spend 10 hours researching and discussing and serving your Lord. Relate all that you are learning about cancer back to him and his purposes, and you won’t become obsessed.

7. You will waste your cancer if you let it drive you into solitude instead of deepen your relationships with manifest affection.

When Epaphroditus brought the gifts to Paul sent by the Philippian church he became ill and almost died. Paul tells the Philippians, “He has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill” (Philippians 2:26-27). What an amazing response! It does not say they were distressed that he was ill, but that he was distressed because they heard he was ill. That is the kind of heart God is aiming to create with cancer: a deeply affectionate, caring heart for people. Don’t waste your cancer by retreating into yourself.

DP: Our culture is terrified of facing death. It is obsessed with medicine. It idolizes youth, health and energy. It tries to hide any signs of weakness or imperfection. You will bring huge blessing to others by living openly, believingly and lovingly within your weaknesses. Paradoxically, moving out into relationships when you are hurting and weak will actually strengthen others. ‘One anothering’ is a two-way street of generous giving and grateful receiving. Your need gives others an opportunity to love. And since love is always God’s highest purpose in you, too, you will learn his finest and most joyous lessons as you find small ways to express concern for others even when you are most weak. A great, life-threatening weakness can prove amazingly freeing. Nothing is left for you to do except to be loved by God and others, and to love God and others.

8. You will waste your cancer if you grieve as those who have no hope.

Paul used this phrase in relation to those whose loved ones had died: “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). There is a grief at death. Even for the believer who dies, there is temporary loss—loss of body, and loss of loved ones here, and loss of earthly ministry. But the grief is different—it is permeated with hope. “We would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). Don’t waste your cancer grieving as those who don’t have this hope.

DP: Show the world this different way of grieving. Paul said that he would have had “grief upon grief” if his friend Epaphroditus had died. He had been grieving, feeling the painful weight of his friend’s illness. He would have doubly grieved if his friend had died. But this loving, honest, God-oriented grief coexisted with “rejoice always” and “the peace of God that passes understanding” and “showing a genuine concern for your welfare.” How on earth can heartache coexist with love, joy, peace, and an indestructible sense of life purpose? In the inner logic of faith, this makes perfect sense. In fact, because you have hope, you may feel the sufferings of this life more keenly: grief upon grief. In contrast, the grieving that has no hope often chooses denial or escape or busyness because it can’t face reality without becoming distraught. In Christ, you know what’s at stake, and so you keenly feel the wrong of this fallen world. You don’t take pain and death for granted. You love what is good, and hate what is evil. After all, you follow in the image of “a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.” But this Jesus chose his cross willingly “for the joy set before him.” He lived and died in hopes that all come true. His pain was not muted by denial or medication, nor was it tainted with despair, fear, or thrashing about for any straw of hope that might change his circumstances. Jesus’ final promises overflow with the gladness of solid hope amid sorrows: “My joy will be in you, and your joy will be made full. Your grief will be turned to joy. No one will take your joy away from you. Ask, and you will receive, so that your joy will be made full. These things I speak in the world, so that they may have my joy made full in themselves” (selection from John 15-17).

9. You will waste your cancer if you treat sin as casually as before.

Are your besetting sins as attractive as they were before you had cancer? If so you are wasting your cancer. Cancer is designed to destroy the appetite for sin. Pride, greed, lust, hatred, unforgiveness, impatience, laziness, procrastination—all these are the adversaries that cancer is meant to attack. Don’t just think of battling against cancer. Also think of battling with cancer. All these things are worse enemies than cancer. Don’t waste the power of cancer to crush these foes. Let the presence of eternity make the sins of time look as futile as they really are. “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?” (Luke 9:25).

DP: Suffering really is meant to wean you from sin and strengthen your faith. If you are God-less, then suffering magnifies sin. Will you become more bitter, despairing, addictive, fearful, frenzied, avoidant, sentimental, godless in how you go about life? Will you pretend it’s business as usual? Will you come to terms with death, on your terms? But if you are God’s, then suffering in Christ’s hands will change you, always slowly, sometimes quickly. You come to terms with life and death on his terms. He will gentle you, purify you, cleanse you of vanities. He will make you need him and love him. He rearranges your priorities, so first things come first more often. He will walk with you. Of course you’ll fail at times, perhaps seized by irritability or brooding, escapism or fears. But he will always pick you up when you stumble. Your inner enemy – a moral cancer 10,000 times more deadly than your physical cancer – will be dying as you continue seeking and finding your Savior: “For your name’s sake, O Lord, pardon my iniquity, for it is very great. Who is the man who fears the Lord? He will instruct him in the way he should choose” (Psalm 25).

10. You will waste your cancer if you fail to use it as a means of witness to the truth and glory of Christ.

Christians are never anywhere by divine accident. There are reasons for why we wind up where we do. Consider what Jesus said about painful, unplanned circumstances: “They will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. This will be your opportunity to bear witness” (Luke 21:12 -13). So it is with cancer. This will be an opportunity to bear witness. Christ is infinitely worthy. Here is a golden opportunity to show that he is worth more than life. Don’t waste it.

DP: Jesus is your life. He is the man before whom every knee will bow. He has defeated death once for all. He will finish what he has begun. Let your light so shine as you live in him, by him, through him, for him. One of the church’s ancient hymns puts it this way:

Christ be with me,
Christ within me,
Christ behind me,
Christ before me,
Christ beside me,
Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ in quiet,
Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger
(from “I bind unto myself the name”).

In your cancer, you will need your brothers and sisters to witness to the truth and glory of Christ, to walk with you, to live out their faith beside you, to love you. And you can do same with them and with all others, becoming the heart that loves with the love of Christ, the mouth filled with hope to both friends and strangers.

Remember you are not left alone. You will have the help you need. “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

Pastor John

Material is from Don't Waste Your Cancer by John Piper, copyright 2010.

Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org