Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Can't sleep......

Well, it's 2 in the morning (almost) and I cannot sleep. Perhaps it's the excitement of my family coming home tomorrow. Perhaps it's my mind's way of squeezing every second out of my time alone. Perhaps it's the 4 glasses of tea I drank with Christie at dinner. Whatever the cause...I am wide awake and my mind is racing.

God has given me a new gift. Not sure when I got it exactly, but I have recently been made aware of it. God has allowed me to live long enough to begin to see my life as seasons. He has also been gracious enough to open my eyes to His hand in my life during the seasons thus far. I certainly don't have all the answers to all of my whys, but He has been gracious enough to answer several of them recently.

We all have difficult people in our lives. I am blessed in that I have very few. (I am probably the difficult person in all my friends and family's lives!) There is one relationship in particular that has caused me a great deal of heartache...not frustration or anger or grief, but actual heartache. I have for years questioned God about this particular relationship because I simply could not understand WHY God would allow this when He knew how much pain it would cause me. I finally asked Him, "WHY did you put this person in my life?" The answer was as clear as any I have ever gotten. God spoke to my heart and answered "I didn't put this person in your life, I put you in theirs." I was breathless. God didn't stop there. He reminded me of things that had been said and done that revealed the influence my life was having on this person. Never have I been so grateful that God allowed me to suffer heartache. In allowing it, He allowed me a small part in the story of this difficult person's coming to fully know Christ.

He has also been gracious in showing me what He saved me from. I'll never know this side of heaven all the traps and snares He guided me around, but He has over time shown me why He did not give me some of the greatest desires of my heart. Every time....every single time He said "no, you can't have that", it was because He had something better for me....every single time. Took me decades to realize this in some cases, but looking back, I can say that this is true 100% of the time.

He has given me more than I could have ever dreamed for myself. Life's not always easy, and is often hectic, and many time frustrating, and even disappointing....but He promises that He is with me, and He has proven Himself trustworthy.... throughout history, and to me personally.
I still have "whys" and there are still many many things I don't understand. BUT God is growing me. He is revealing more and more of Himself to me. It is easier and easier to just trust Him. It is becoming more natural to seek HIS will.

It was enough that he gave me the Bible to show me what He is like. It was enough that He has proven Himself throughout the ages. Still, He took time to sit with this daughter and say "Look and see how far we've come, you and I." He took time to show me where He has been faithful in MY life.......

I have had lots of time to think while Calvin and the kids have been away. I realized over the weekend that I am perfectly content with where God has me planted. I'm really going to focus on blooming here and stop trying to see what God has around the corner. He's brought me this far in His time and on His terms. I figure I'll be better off letting Him handle the next 36 or so years too.

2:30 in the morning now....is it even worth trying to go to sleep at this point??????


Monday, June 22, 2009

The More I seek you

This song paints such a beautiful picture for me. My best moments are when I can get alone with my Savior and just rest in His embrace. There is such a peace that washes over me when I draw near to Him. Several times over the past few days I have stopped what I was doing just to be in the presence of the Lover of my soul. He's always there, right beside me. All I have to do is stop long enough to listen for His heartbeat. The greatest miracle in my life is that the creator of the universe calls me His own...His child...His beloved...His precious daughter.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Faithful inthe little things

Matthew 25:14-30 tells us the Parable of the Talents. In the story, Jesus tells of a master who went away on a journey and left 5 talents with one slave, 2 talents with another and one talent with still another, based on their ability.
When he returned, the slaves brought his talents back to him. The slaves that had originally been given 5 and 2 talents doubled their talents and gave the master twice as much as he'd left with them. The master told them "Well done, good and faithful slave! You have been faithful in a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master."
The slave that had been given only one talent had buried that talent and gave it back to the master. The master told him "Then you should have deposited my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received my money back with interest! 28 Therefore take the talent from him and give it to the one who has ten. 29 For the one who has will be given more, and he will have more than enough. But the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken from him."

I had actually made a note to write about "You have been faithful in a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master," earlier this week. That scripture was one of the Bible verses that were sent to me via the internet. When I got it, my thought was "I need to focus on the little things God has given me and stop wondering about where He is taking me next."

See, I really want to do BIG things for God....but "big" by my standards may not be "big" by God's standards. I filed that thought in the back of my mind to write about when I had time.

This morning, our Sunday School discussion was on the Parable of the Talents. (Ever get the feeling that God is trying to tell you something??)

I. like many people, want 5 talents. I want the mother load. I want to do BIG things for God. BUT...I, like many people, have "one talent" ability. Sadly, I have not always been faithful to the one talent God has given me because I wanted the talent He gave someone else. I'm sure I'm not the only one.

This morning in Sunday school we chatted about the talents and what God wants from us and Dave said "Grow where you're planted". Yesterday I saw a t-shirt that said "Bloom where you're planted". Sometimes God has to tell me something several times before I realize that He's talking to me.

God has given me several talents to care for
He has given me the responsibility of caring for His pastor.
He has given me the responsibility of mothering Brian and Izzy.
He has given me the responsibility of teaching Sunday School.
He has given me the responsibility of leading the Ladies Bible Study.
He has given me the responsibility of building the FLO ministry.
He has given me the responsibility of leading the Women's Ministry team.
He has given me the responsibility of sharing my faith and my walk with him here.
He has given me the responsibility of sharing Christ with women through the FLO Blog.

Each of these things built on the responsibility, talent if you will, before it.It wasn't until recently that I began to want more than what He's trusted me with.

With the gentle reminders of the past week, I am submitting to His will and focusing on the things He has given me to do now. Tomorrow will take care of itself.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

East to West

I like the Message's version of Psalm 139, especially the following verses:
13-16 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother's womb. I thank you, High God—you're breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I'd even lived one day.

From time to time, I stop and think about the chapters that are in the book of my life thus far. Yesterday I was sharing my story with a new woman in my life and was reminded of the opening lines of a chapter in my story.......
" Don't you know that if you have asked Jesus to be your savior and have asked Him to forgive you, HE has thrown your sin as far from you as the east is from the west......and that's a straight line"
Those words were spoken to me about 13 years ago by my then pastor. Those are the opening lines of the chapter that began my love relationship with Christ.
At the time those words were spoken, I did know Christ as Savior, but was FAR from accepting Him as Lord. I could not embrace God as Father because I would not allow myself to believe that He'd REALLY love me after the choices I'd made for 20 years.
I am amazed at how God's plan played out.
I had been away at college, was "unhappy" and so moved back in with my mom and step-dad. I went to work for my step dad and things seemed to be going well. I met a lady through my job that asked me to visit her church. She wanted to introduce me to her pastor. I did attend her church for a while and during that time got to know several of the members and among those people, her pastor, Tom. I joined their Bible Study group and was introduced to Max Lucado's writings. (I still use his writings in mnistering to women because his style is so simple and so full of Christ's love for us.) During that time, God used Tom to tell me the one thing I needed to hear more than anything at that time in my life....Found in Psalm 103:
The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us

Tom did not stay in my life long, but God used him to start a monumental movement in my life. His words stuck and I did finally embrace the fact that God does indeed love me and has indeed separated my sin from me....as far as the east is from the west. This understanding of forgiveness created an unquenchable thirst in me that quickly developed into a passionate relationship with my LORD and Savior Jesus Christ.
I have been crazy in love with Christ for years now and it is my greatest joy to share Him with the women He places in my life.
I am so thankful that God, in His mercy and grace loved me enough to make sure I heard His word...."I really have forgiven you".
Now, as the final words in the "Cancer" chapter have been written, I am so eternally grateful that God used a pastor of a little church to draw this Daughter to her Heavenly Father. Had it not been for THAT moment, I might have never developed the relationship with my Heavenly Father that I naturally depended on to keep me sane over the past year.

God's love for His children never ceases to amaze me.


Put an MD behind my name

Okay, maybe not, but I was correct to diagnose myself as a total hypochondriac! ha ha ha
Dr visit went GREAT!
Dr S was very considerate of my anxiety and said that it was understandable and that it would get better as time goes on. The type of cancer that I had is the least likely of all cancers to spread and they caught my cancer so very early and are monitoring things so closely that he does not forsee ever having to give me bad news again!
Had another new Intern. That's ALWAYS fun for me. So when Dr S and I were talking about my anxiety, he asked "when did it start?" I could not resist..."About 2 weeks ago which was about the time I realized I had to come in and see YOU again! Oh no! I have to go see that Doctor Schweinfurth!!!!" HE didn't miss a beat..."Oh man! That's about the time MY anxiety kicked up too...Oh No SHE's coming back in!!!!" Christy, Doc, and I were cracking up...I wish I had a picture of the look on the intern's face. His eyes were as big as dinner plates.
He did check my blood pressure and all that fun stuff to see if there was any obvious medical reason for the light headedness. There isn't. Just me being a little "unbalanced". ha ha
He also said that I can absolutely treat any headache or neck pain or shoulder pain or any other random ache and pain as exactly that...a random ache or pain. I can respond to aches and pains, even in my head and neck, as I would have before the cancer. WOW! How cool is that???
Here's the best part....I can't remember if I have mentioned it here, but I have been concerned with the scheduling of my next surgery. We were planning to do a biopsy 12 weeks from the last surgery to make sure that nothing was amis. I was PRAYING that he'd let me wait until August to do it. So, at the end of the visit, I asked about scheduling it and he said "I DON'T THINK WE NEED IT"!!!!!!!!!!
Holy COW! Are you KIDDING me??? WOOHOO!!!! No more surgeries!!!!!!!!!! Okay, to be fair...if my voice starts sounding like the crypt keeper or if he sees something on my cords, I'll have to have the surgery, but as long as every thing sounds and looks good....NO MORE SURGERY! WOO HOO! Doin the Happy Dance!
So, with the dark cloud of another surgery (and weeks of silence while my cords recover) gone, I can REALLY get on with life. I can really make plans and move forward without taking "being muted" into consideration.
oh, and I have allergies, no sinus infection. Most everthing on my list was...well nothing. Go figure!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Making a list

Funny how I do that...make a list, that is. i am not in any way shape or form a "list" person...which is why I am always running here and there to get something I forgot. You'd think I'd learn! Anyway, the one time I DO make a list is when I am getting ready to see Dr. Schweinfurth.
Because the real problem with my voice was misdiagnosed for so long, I am careful (too careful, I'm sure) to make sure that I tell him EVERYTHING that I think is not normal when i see him.
This gives him the chance to say "You are a complete hypochondriac. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you," and later I don't wonder "but what about..."

So, I am going to the Dr. this morning and my list looks something like this....

1. How do we know that I don't have cancer anywhere else?

2. Does the fact that I have had this type of cancer make me more likely to have cancer anywhere else?

3. What are the odds that this will come back?

4. Will we always be able to tell if I'm "okay" by the quality of my voice?

5. I think I may have inner ear issues. I keep losing my balance and I get light headed when I stand quickly.....or is that just because I have more fat cells on one side than the other? Oh, my left ear aches too. Right one still aches, but that one aches because of nerve damage from the neck dissection....so check out the left one.

6. My chest hurts.

7. What are these 2 bumps in the roof of my mouth?

8. Constant headache and watery right eye....sinus infection?

9. My throat feels constricted and makes me feel like I need to gag and there is a catch again when I swallow.

10. I am completely exhausted all of the time. I cannot get enough sleep.

11. (most unusual) I have very little appetite.

What do I expect him to say?
11, 10, 6. and 9 are due to anxiety
7 toros something or other...bony growth in the roof of the mouth...probably been there for years
8 sinus infection
5 inner ear problems or sinus infection
1 because this cancer does not "spread"
2 no
3 slim to none
4 yes

So, I am going to go get dressed, and me and my list are going to see Dr. Schweinfurth. We'll see how I did on my self diagnosis!


Friday, June 12, 2009

Mark 9:24

Haven’t posted in a while. It is not as easy to post here right now because this blog has become my “cancer journal” more than anything else. Since we started the FLO Blog for the Ladies Ministry, I have found it very easy to focus on writing THERE rather than here. Call it an escape mechanism if you will. I really don’t care. Quite honestly, I have not thought much about cancer over the past few weeks…and it’s been really nice. My voice is normal, and for the most part I have felt great, so I really just have not wanted to think about cancer. Now my next visit with Doc S is a week out and the reality of 5 years of monitoring is in my face once again. 5 years! MAN! That’s a long stinkin time! I started thinking about it last week actually. Because of the way my brain works, I cannot help but travel down the “What If” road. “What if” the cancer has come back? “What if” the cancer shows up somewhere else? “What if” they missed something? It is so much better for me to just go on about my business and pretend like I never had cancer.
I am at a point where I could honestly express to Doc S that my anxiety level is just about more than I can take. I have actual physical manifestations of anxiety….pain in my chest, pain in my neck, pain in my shoulders, loss of appetite, insomnia, my throat is constricted, I have a constant headache, and I am absolutely exhausted. I believe that all of these things are symptoms of anxiety and NOT “cancer of the head and neck”. HOWEVER, it is hard for me not to “what if” myself to death …which leads to more anxiety…which makes my chest hurt even more… which makes me wonder about the 5 year recurrence rate…and the survival rate after recurrence…..and the much less favorable outcome for patients with a recurrence …which makes my chest hurt more…you get the picture.
I am honestly embarrassed that I am even feeling this way. I KNOW for an absolute fact that as soon as I see Doc S and he tells me that everything is okay (other than I yap too much), I will be just fine, but I do this EVERY time I have to go see him.
So why the anxiety? I am not afraid. I absolutely know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if Doc S sits down in from of me next Friday and says “there is a lesion on your cord again” or even “there is a mass in your throat”….I KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that my response will simply be “so, what do we do now?” I am not worried. I would not say “I am so worried about my appointment on Friday”. So why the anxiety? I truly believe that God has this all under control, Doc S knows what he’s doing, and that all I have to do is go on about my business. So why do my emotions betray what I TRULY believe?

My plight is not unique, nor is it new….as a matter of fact, my prayer is very much like that of the father in Mark 9:
20So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.
21Jesus asked the boy's father, "How long has he been like this?"
"From childhood," he answered. 22"It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us."
23" 'If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes."
24Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"

Oh GOD! Help me believe beyond the what if’s. I need for my emotions to be in line with what I believe to be true about You and Your provision. I know that you are totally in control and I can already see amazing things that have come to be as a result of this cancer in my body. I truly believe that You have even greater things in store for us and I do totally trust you. Help me Lord to trust you more. Help me keep my eyes on YOU so that I am not so overwhelmed by all that is going on around me. I love you and want so much to serve you more. Whatever this next Doctor’s visit brings, help me to always remember that you are with me and that you will never leave me. You have a plan and a purpose for my life and are in complete control