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Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Year Ago Today

Have you ever asked yourself what was I doing a year ago today?  Well I did that today.  Last year exactly a year ago I was in the hospital getting my colon removed and the cancer cut out.  Yep it was a year ago.  I can hardly believe it has been that long.  So much has happened between then and now.  The Lord has brought me so far.  I have so much further to go in my journey.  It is good to remember where you have been.  It is good to look back and remember what the Lord has brought you through.

"And Moses said to the people: "Remember this day in which you went out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out of this [place]." Exodus 13:3

Mr. Star

For those that don't know the full story of my latest injury (drama) I thought I would update you.  On May 12th I was riding a horse.  I won't bore you with the details of why and how but in the end I was bucked off.  I landed on my tail bone and then whacked my head on the hard ground.  I knew instantly that I had done some damage.  I could move but was afraid I had hurt my back or neck.  So those with me called 911.  I was hoping for a fancy helicopter ride to Twin Falls.  Nope -- I wasn't bleeding.  The ride to Twin was long.  I don't remember anything about the ER visit.  I awoke the next day in a hospital room.  I had a concussion and had badly bruised my lower back and tail bone region.  I spent two nights in the hospital.  Sunday was Mother's Day and the anniversary of my diagnosis of colon cancer.  Next year I am locking myself in my bedroom on May 13th.  I was in terrible pain from my fall and was slow moving.  I came home and attempted returning to my normal activities.  The pain seemed to stay the same.  This past Thursday I went back to the doctor, who then informed me that I did indeed fracture my pelvis in two places.  YIKES!  This explains the pain and walking so awkwardly.  There is no band-aid to fix the fractures.  They heal on their own, much like a broken rib.  Over time it will heal.  Again -- I feel a common theme resurfacing.  More time waiting and resting has arrived, again.  More lessons to be learned, perhaps for myself and my family.  I am certainly sore and the bruising is improving (lovely colors). I find myself once again having to pace myself and judge how much can I really do with out over doing it.

I have heard from many of you since this latest incident.  It seems wrong to have to endure more trials -- more hardship -- it's just not fair.  Your are right.  But what can I do about it?  Absolutely nothing.  I have to embrace what comes my way and live.  Not just live, but fully live.  I am not in control.  Bad things happen to good people.  It's just a fact of life here on planet Earth.  There is always good wrapped up inside something that seems so bad or unjust.  It's a matter of perspective.  There is a common prayer I repeat daily: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.  Serenity: a state of being calm, having inner peace.  I need that all the time!

 "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to [His] purpose."  Romans 8:28

"God takes the initiative to interrupt our lives for the higher cost of developing us into spiritually mature believers." A.W. Tozer

If you aren't facing some sort of crisis in your own personal life -- then brace yourself, because the storm is about to hit.  Trust me, you can bank on it.

"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. {like serenity} In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."  John 16:33

  If not -- who are you really serving?  We have an enemy who prowls around seeking to steal, kill and destroy the life of believers.  We must fight the good fight and raise the shield of faith and not quit.  I hear about so many who want to raise the white flag and throw in the towel.  Not me.  I stand firm, knowing the battle at hand.  I am not immune to falling prey to the enemies traps, but I am getting wiser at detecting them laying in ambush before he strikes.  I am playing both offense and defense. Trials have a way of pealing away the layers that hinder our spiritual growth.  I want to grow.  I don't want to be a casual Christian.  This is the hard stuff. Faith is built over a lifetime.  Not overnight.  Old habits die hard.  New habits require discipline.  Trials go hand in hand with fire.  Fire burns away the imperfections.

"You have to have more than simple growth; you have to have trials to bring you to perfection." A.W. Tozer

"Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary [principles] of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God..." Hebrews 6:1

We are aiming for perfection.  It is impossible on our own.  In Christ we are becoming perfect.  It is our goal to become more and more like Him...moving in the direction of perfection.  Our faith grows as a result of the trials we face.  We can choose to embrace them and thank God for the hiccups along the road or we can curse the ground and complain our way through life.

Be joyful always! 
Pray Continually;
Give thanks is ALL circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

How will you remember this day a year from now?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Relay on Friday Night

Just wanted to share a few photos from last night at the Relay 4 Life Event.  I would have stayed the entire night with my team, but due to my back injury last weekend it wouldn't be smart.  So I did a few trips around the track and participated in the survivor lab.  The luminary ceremony was really special.  I am so thankful for old friends and new friends!

KayLynn Mitchell & Anna Luehrs
Team Mitchell #37

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Opportunity - Benefit Dinner

THANK YOU!

The Benefit Dinner was a blast!  It was so sweet to see so many of you at this event.  Our family was so overwhelmed with your love, support and generosity.  It truly was a special night celebrating what the Lord has done for our family over this last year.

I just thought I would post some of my notes from what I shared at the Benefit Dinner for those of you who could not be there.

1. Trials are an opportunity to prove the faithfulness of God in our lives.
Cancer has been the hardest thing I've had to face in my life.  I've heard it said that God won't give you more than you can handle.  I don't believe this anymore.  I think He gives us more so that we can reflect Him and His power to others.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Praise be to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves received from God.

Ephesians 3:20 To Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to his power that is at work within us.

2. Opportunity to Wrestle With God.
Have you ever had to ask God the hard questions?  Why me? Why now? Why cancer?  Why not fill in the blank...for your life?

Isaiah 40:27 Why do you say O Jacob and complain O Israel, My way is hidden from the Lord, my cause is disregarded by my God?

Another words...Ahhh God it's me here...well don't you see that I have a life going on right now, a son to take care of, chores, friends and family...I'm busy!  They say it's cancer God...Don't you see my pain?

"The only ones we can rest in God are the ones who have wrestled with God...I will not let go until you bless me...There is no tighter embrace than the grip of the wrestle." Ann Voskamp

3.  Opportunity to Renew Strength and Grow Stronger
This last year has been like having a sabbatical.  All of my so called "normal" every-day chores were just impossible for me to accomplish.  I had to learn to let go of my to-do's and hang onto God in a brand new way.  I did a lot of waiting.  I did a lot of counting.  I counted days.  My days consisted of waiting till the next treatment or lab results...waiting.

Isaiah 40:29  God gives strength to the weary and he increases the power of the weak.

12 rounds of chemotherapy later I have learned what it means to wait on the Lord.  Through it all I discovered I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).  It's not about me, but about Christ in me, that's how I made it through...daily...moment by moment.

4.  Opportunity to Be Thankful
Life is messy.  Stuff happens.  Words are spoken that you can't take back.  Circumstances are UN-controllable.  Here is a definition I like for thanksgiving:  Thanksgiving is the evidence of our acceptance of whatever He gives -- thanksgiving is the manifestation of our yes to His grace.  It's choosing the have a thankful heart and live in a way that reflects gratitude regardless of circumstances -- yes, even cancer!

1 Thessalonians 5:16  Be joyful always. Pray continually.  Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

I'm still learning this.  But the crazy thing is this: discovering joy and the freedom that comes from having a thankful heart is changing me.  I am learning to not complain and to recognize the things I can not change.  All means all.  All the time we are to be thankful -- you can fill in the blank...

5.  Opportunity to Share My Faith

I'm just doing what Jesus told me to do.  Like the disciples untying  a donkey.  It doesn't make sense but this is what god said to do.  Many people ask, what are you doing? I'm just following instructions and being obedient to what Christ asked me to do.

I can't share about this past year without talking about my personal relationship with Christ.  I don't know why God choose me to get cancer. I do know that it has deepened my faith and my relationships to those I am closest to.

Psalm 73:28  I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge and I will tell of all His works.

I vowed at the beginning of this journey to not waste my cancer. So it would not be right for me to take this opportunity to give you an opportunity to accept the free gift of salvation.  So that you too can have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  God's love is so big, so crazy, so consuming.  He desires a relationship with you.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 6:23  For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

John 3:3  I tell you the truth no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.

John 14:6  I am the way the truth and the life. No noe comes to the Father except through me.

Romans 10:9-11  That is if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Revelation 3:20  Here I am!  I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with me.

Pray with me:
Admit
Believe
Confess


Friday, May 4, 2012

A Sheppard's Heart




Where's my faith at? Actually the better question is where is my heart at?  It's not a question of faith but a matter of the heart when it comes to how much faith I truly have. The fact is the harvest is ready, am I?  Am I really a threat to the Kingdom of darkness? Or am I an agent of freedom marching in the Kingdom of Light?


"But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, The harvest truly [is] plentiful, but the laborers [are] few. Therefore pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest."  Mathew 9:36-38

Compassion starts with prayer then moves into action.  Jesus was moved with compassion over the multitudes - scattered, lost, weary and with out a Shepard. Lost sheep are scared and wander aimlessly in search of life's answers.  They want to hear the Truth, but no one shares the Gospel.

"So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." Romans 10:17

 Am I so busy being a Worker, a Laborer for the Kingdom of light that I have missed the boat?  Is my heart so messed up (still & again) to see the lost sheep?  My heart must be like the Shepard's heart.  Full of compassion and eager to offer the Living Water. It's my motives. The sheep need the Word. Do I serve with the right heart -- keeping the main thing the main thing: Jesus?  Do I have a Shepard's heart?

How to know if you have a "bad" Shepard's heart:
Taken from lecture notes by Ed Taylor at Calvary Chapel Boise Leadership Conference 4/27/12 

Based on Ezekiel 34

  1. Selfish - feed themselves
  2. Use People - take advantage
  3. Take the best - choose first
  4. Ignore needs - not compassionate
  5. Disregard pain - those who are sick
  6. Close eyes to the hurting - ignore
  7. Pay no attention - to those drawn away
  8. Refuse to help - lazy
  9. Harsh & angry - bitter with words
  10. Careless - sheep astray 















The reward for faithfulness is always more.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Why Pray? It's National Day of Prayer!


PRESIDENT SIGNS PRESIDENTIAL PROCLAMATION RECOGNIZING THURSDAY, MAY 3RD, 2012, AS THE 61ST ANNUAL NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO (May 2, 2012) – The National Day of Prayer is a vital part of America’s heritage. Since the first call to prayer in 1775, when the Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray for wisdom in forming a nation, the call to prayer has continued through our history. In all, there have been 137 national calls to prayer, humiliation, fasting and thanksgiving by United States Presidents.
In 1952, a joint resolution by Congress, signed by President Truman, declared an annual, National Day of Prayer.  In 1988, the law was amended and signed by President Reagan, officially designating the day as the first Thursday of May, and each year the President signs a proclamation, inviting all Americans to take part.  Typically, all 50 state governors issue similar proclamations.
National Day of Prayer Task Force Chairman Shirley Dobson, wife of Family Talk Founder Dr. James Dobson, said “Even though most national, state, and local leaders have again acknowledged a National Day of Prayer, there is still a disturbing trend of trying to remove God and prayer from all aspects of American public life.”  Dobson also stated.  “President Ronald Reagan once said, ‘If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a Nation gone under.’  Whether it involves the Ten Commandments or our Pledge of Allegiance, there is a very small number of people leading this movement to expel the Creator of the universe from society altogether.  The National Day of Prayer provides an opportunity for the community of faith to take advantage of our freedom to worship and keep the Lord in the public arena.  It’s imperative that we take advantage of this government-proclaimed day of observance by expressing our faith through prayer in the public square.  By doing so, we can help to ensure that subsequent generations will enjoy the same liberty.”
On May 1st, President Obama signed this year’s Presidential Proclamation officially recognizing Thursday, May 3rd, 2012, as the 61st Annual National Day of Prayer.  In his proclamation, he calls upon individuals – “ to pray for guidance, grace, and protection for our great Nation as we address the challenges of our time.”  As we join together and ask with humility, may God Almighty, in His great and abundant mercy, grant this request.
For more information, or to find a National Day of Prayer event in your community, visit www.NationalDayofPrayer.org.
About the National Day of Prayer
The National Day of Prayer tradition predates the founding of the United States of America, evidenced by the Continental Congress’ proclamation in 1775 setting aside a day of prayer.  In 1952, Congress established an annual day of prayer and, in 1988, that law was amended, designating the National Day of Prayer as the first Thursday in May.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

April Joy Dare

Join me in counting gifts: April Joy Dare by Ann Voskamp

269. A bowl of strawberries
270. Quarters found in jean pockets
271. Cherry tomato
272. Flowers
273. White out
274. Flour sack dish cloth
275. A bird stuck in a rain gutter (I set him free!)
276. Spelling test
277. Speeding down the lane on the 4-wheeler
278. Birds bathing in a puddle
279. Instructions on how to pray
280. Rewards for following instructions
281. His mercy
282. Some alone time sewing
283. Leftovers
284. Cup of tea
285. Dogs fed, cows fed, boys fed!
286. Forgivness
287. Mercy
288. Grace
289. Down time
290. Sleep
291. The wind to stop blowing
292. The leader to lead
293. A growing boy
294. Weeds!
295.
296. Baby chicks
297. Music
298. Priority package
299. Mail
300. New tooth paste tube
301. Tulips outside
302. Orchid in my bathroom
303. Forsythia tree
304. Fuzzy flannel jacket
305. Work jeans
306. Scarf
307. Sunrise
308. Candle in the dark
309. Stars in the sky
310. Hawk
311. Leaves on trees
312. Clouds
313. Birds sitting on power lines
314. Birthday present for a friend
315. Live Full Throttle
316. Patience - with the boy child
317. Joy - in the midst of pain
318. Respect - not based on merit
319. Dirty clothes, washing machine & dryer
320. Sun, clouds and wind
321. Written words, guitar, voice to sing
322. Organizational skills
323. Stubbornness
324. Blue eyes
325. Envelope
326. Chocolate bar
327. Photograph
328. Old cards in a basket
329. Cash in an envelope
330. A cat waiting to pounce on it's prey
331. Passion to live
332. Confidence
333. My hide-away
334. Smell of horse hair
335. Sitting shoulder to shoulder with hubby in the tractor
336. Money found in my pocket
337. My boy
338. Mirror
339. Cow eyes in the dark (easier to spot a black cow in the middle of the night!)
340. Baby chicks
341. Tea cup
342. A child's spirit
343. Purple bandana
344. Seed - starting plant stand (homemade)
345. Old Pallets
346. Case Tractor
347. Wind gauge on weather station
348. Horses running in fields
349. Tests
350. Infertility
351. Grey hair
352. Tangerine in bowl
353. Tulips blooming
354. Hot wheel race track scattered across living room
355. Substance for life (seed)
356. Rocks - some you can move, some you can't
357. Worms
358. Card
359. Dinner
360. Time