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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Strength for Battle

You armed me with strength for battle.
When I am weak, then I am strong.
Then Asa called to the LORD his God and said, "Lord there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, O LORD our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. O LORD you are God; do not let man prevail against you."...Jehosaphat cried out, and the LORD helped him.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.
No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the ruler, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God.

Psalm 18:39, 2 Corinthians 12:10, 2 Chronicles. 14:11, 18:31, Psalm 118:8-9, 33:16-17, Ephesians 6:12-12

Ready for round two of chemo! I will update again after today's infusion. Thanks for praying!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Order in the House

I can not thank you enough for your prayers. The last 3 days have been great. I have had a slight return to my appetite. It just seems that with chemo nothing is predictable. One day you may like orange juice the next day it's apple juice. The taste buds are just not doing their job. Most food takes metallic and bitter. I am doing my best to eat and drink. So far a favorite has to be mashed potatoes, good thing I live in Idaho where a bounty of taters is easy to find! I have spent my mornings outside in my garden. Nothing too strenuous, just sitting on the ground pulling those nasty weeds. Dustin has been helping me a lot with watering. We have some new kittens that we are trying to acclimate to the outdoor farm life. Hope you enjoy the photos! The first one is my garden...then Dustin and Tiger. Then the kittens discovered the tree. They took a cat nap in the tree, lucky them! Tiger and Skunk...both named by Dustin of course!

Keeping order isn't easy. I feel like many things in my life are just totally out of my control. I can't even predict when I might be hungry or tired. All planning for the day is out of the question. A complete lack of control over my every-day routine. This is a bit alarming for someone like myself. If you know me well enough, you know I am a planner. I love to plan! So this season of resting is hard. I am learning to be flexible. God is teaching me to trust Him more. If you have ever tried to read through 1Chronicles it can be a bit boring. I have learned to dig a bit deeper and ask God to show me some insight as to why he would want these lists of names in the Bible. Lots of names I can hardly read let alone pronounce. I have been reading about the Levites and the specific jobs given to each clan. God is in the business of keeping order. He is a planner. I love this. Each clan with in the Levites had a specific gift, a special calling of his own. A part to play in the grand scheme of developing a great nation. Some were master craftsmen, some were farmers, some musicians, some administrators of the temple treasuries. It is no accident that I am a planner. God gave me that gift. It is my desire to keep using it despite my circumstances. It is pushing me to look deep with in and reevaluate how, what and why I plan things. Some things just aren't worth the time and energy to plan. Yet God's plans prevail. "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lords purpose that prevails." Proverbs 19:21

God is in the business of keeping order in the house. Everything has purpose. I may not understand the purpose just yet, but I can trust in His wisdom and sovereignty. Thinking about each of these clans and their specific jobs leads me to believe God really does care about what jobs I do. Are they in line with the gifts He has chosen for me? Do I enjoy doing them?
The church body is a beautiful thing -- when it works together that is. All parts are needed. It can be a challenge sometimes to figure out what my gifts are. If you ask God, He will show you. Even more He will show you how to use those gifts for the body. I dare to be so bold and say if more of us would actually use the God given gifts we have the church would be healthier. I am learning to use my gift of planning in a new light. I can't see the end result from my vantage point. But, I am confident in the One who knows the plan -- start to finish. "For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Knowing Real Peace

It is hard to describe how I feel. My feelings change by the moment. Everyone wants to know, it's the million dollar question, "how is Anna feeling today?" It is not a simple answer. I have such a respect for the many other cancer survivors that have gone before me on this journey. It is difficult. No journey is the same. I remain determined to press on and not look around but up. I have many of the expected symptoms from the chemo drugs. Mainly I have a complete loss of appetite, nothing tastes good at all. Nausea seems to come in waves. As quick as it comes, it leaves again. The medication is working to keep me from actually carrying through with the feeling...praising God for this! I am sensitive to cold to the touch as well as to my mouth. This is making my job of eating a little difficult as a milkshake sounds somewhat appealing...but too cold to drink. I am very tired and have slept much of the day. I feel like I am having one of those "out-of--body-experiences"...for real. I am present but in a fog. So weird! I keep telling myself this is only the beginning. I am confident in the Doctor's care, my family support, and church prayer warrior's over my everyday well being. Most of all I am at perfect peace. It is unexplainable unless you know Peace yourself. God knows my every need even before I do. He waits expectantly for me to just ask. (Read Matthew 6:25-34) His grace is sufficient at my greatest time of need. I was able to pick up the guitar today and play a few songs. Oh it felt so good to escape into His presence. Nothing like it. It is good to be near God.
"Not only so, but we 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 into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." Romans 5:3-5

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A New Song

What a glorious day! Oh how I wish you all could have seen the sunrise this morning. It was beautiful. Well today is my first Chemotherapy treatment. So much could be said about that...but I am confident in my my hope in Christ. He is Sovereign. He knew this day was going to happen before I was formed. How wonderful are His ways. His faithfulness will be my shield. I find my rest in Him. If God created everything (and I believe He did) then everything belongs to Him. It is not mine to control. So I am reminded again to release my desire to be in control. I am letting go, again.

A new song is developing...not sure what it will sound like or look like. He is at work. I am so grateful for your prayers. They uphold me and give me great encouragement. It is good to be near the Lord. He is my refuge. I will remain restless until I find rest in Him. So I wait upon Him...

"Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and portion forever." Psalm 73:25-26

Pondering this morning:
Psalm 27
Psalm 91
Matthew 5
Philippians 4
Romans 12:1-2
Hebrews 11

Continue to pray. Pray with out ceasing.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. Colossians 3:15

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Rough Waters

An English idiom states, "when it rains it pours". Simple translation:It hasn't happened for a long time , and then it happens all at once. It's like a Dam breaking loose and Murphy's law takes over and everything that can go wrong does. It's when the storms of life seem to come over you in rapid succession with no break and no end in sight. Can anyone relate to this? I just wanted to share how I deal with this in my life. On the outside, all my circumstances are huge storms, waves crashing over the side of my boat. It is like the story of the disciples who after a long day of ministry (remember the feeding of the 5,000?) got in their boat and right away faced adversity. Isn't that how it is? The victory comes and right on it's heals is a test. In Matthew 14:22-32 we learn about how Peter overlooks the circumstances surrounding him in his boat. The wind had come up and was sending waves crashing about the disciples boat. Jesus had excused himself to be alone to pray. So He was not with them on the boat. Peter and the others were afraid. Fear. Oh how fear can rob you of your faith. Peter learns it is Jesus walking on the water. So he calls out if it is you, let me come. So Peter walks on water. Wow. His eyes are fixed solely on Jesus. He does not even notice the waves at first. It's all about Jesus. But that fear sneaks in and steals his attention, causing Peter to move His eyes to look around at his circumstances: walking on water in the middle of a windy storm with huge waves crashing around him! Fear.
Two main things here that the Lord has showed me. We never know when storms are going to pop up in our life. We were told by Jesus that we would have trouble in this world (John 16:33). First, we must excuse ourselves from the busyness of life to pray. This is a holy disciple. A trained habit that can only be learned. I truly mean pray. Not empty religious repetition, but heartfelt conversation with the Lord. Second we must keep our eyes on Jesus. If we can do these two things when things are going well for us then when the storms come we will be "prayed up". This means that fear will not overtake us. We will be ready to stand firm on His Word and resist the temptation to be afraid, to be overwhelmed by the storms of life. The waters are rough for me right now. It seems like nothing is going right. But God, has ultimate control and sovereignty in my life. I will choose to look to Him and put my faith in Him. Ephesians6:18-19 "Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep praying for all the saints." Stand with me and pray through the rough waters...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Date

My chemotherapy start date has been set for Wednesday July 13th!

"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." Proverbs 19:21

Very thankful for the timing on this. It works best for our family with Daniel's schedule for the vet clinic.

"All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Psalm 139:16

Monday, July 4, 2011

Ocean of Love

My journal entry for July 2nd, 2011 -- in San Diego, CA with my family on the beach!

Standing at the oceans edge brings to surface many deep thoughts. My mind races all over. Mostly it makes me ponder the mighty power of God and your relentless love. As the waves keep coming, crashing over my feet, tide running in then out, a pulling I can feel. The same pulling, nagging in my heart. It's an awareness to your presence. So strong, with a tight grip I feel you. It's that crazy jealous love. Rushing over me like the waves on the sand. Nothing can hold back the waves. Nothing can stop the force behind them. With the sand beneath my toes, I sink into the ground, bracing for another swell to hit. It is cold. Yet it is refreshing to my mind, my heart and my spirit. It awakens me once again. Reminding me of you power and ultimate control in all things. My life, my situation, you cause the oceans to stay with in their boundaries, you know the deepest depths of the sea. So it is with me. You know my limits -- my boundaries. You know what lies deep with in me. Oh how you love me, I am completely and utterly overwhelmed. Such love I do not deserve, yet you freely gave it to me. I thank you for saving me, for letting your grace wash over me like a wave. Washing me clean and carrying my sins far far away cast into the depths of the sea, never to be remembered anymore. Such love is too marvelous so hard to grasp...I will lean not on my own understanding. Yet I know it is real. It wells up with in me, now overflowing. I can not help but give it away.
Enjoy a favorite song of mine...Oh How He Loves!