Saturday, December 10, 2011

"SOAP" Bible Study Method - Luke 3

This is an example of the "SOAP" Bible Study method that we are doing in Sunday School.Like I said, it is really easy, but gives great opportunity to stop and analyze a verse that jumps out to me as I read a chapter. This verse is a reminder that how we live is important and is not covered up by claims to be a church member or a Christian. The saying "Your actions speak so loudly, I cannot hear what you are saying" comes to mind!

Scripture: Luke 3:8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance and do not begin to say to yourselves, "We are sons of Abraham," for I tell you that out of these stones, God can raise up sons of Abraham.

Observation: Addressing specifically the Jewish Leaders of the day as a "Brood of Vipers". The religious elite. Jesus addressed their hypocrisy as well. NLT says "PROVE by the way you LIVE that you have repented of your sins."

Application: Like the Religious Leaders of Jesus' day, we often say "I go to church", "My family has been members of such and such church for x number of years" or "I am a Christian" and find great comfort in this affiliation. We also use these identities to overshadow a grievous list of sinful actions. This word still rings true...Prove by the way you LIVE that you have repented. Don't just call yourself a Christian.

Prayer: Father Good, Help me to realize when my actions do not speak of my servant hood to you. I do want to bear good fruit. I want people who know the way i LIVE day by day to know that I serve You and that You are Lord of my life without me ever having to tell them that I am a Christian.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Sunday School All Week long

Our Sunday School teacher challenged us to read one chapter of Luke each day, pick a verse from that chapter, and write about it. This is RIGHT up my alley! I have LOVED it!!!! The method we are using is the "SOAP" Method. In a notebook, you write the date and chapter you are reading, then you write:
Scripture (the verse that sticks out to you)
Observation (what you notice about the verse)
Application (how can ya apply this verse or what have you learned from it)

I have LOVED this exercise!!!! I have made an effort to find something new, something I have not noticed before in each chapter. I thought this would be difficult, being that the Book of Luke is one of the Gospels and tells the life of Christ. However, it has been easy...and INTERESTING. I am realizing that the verses that jump out at me are a good indication of where I am spiritually.

I want to share some of what I have learned these past couple of weeks, but before I do, I want to make sure that I say that I did not consult any commentaries or even the preacher to find out what the scripture is supposed to mean. I just read, picked out a verse that jumped out at me and wrote about what I thought about it. This is not meant to be a "lesson" so much as it is a peek into how I feel and think as I read Luke.

The most interesting thing to me has been how EASY this exercise has been . It takes me maybe 30 minutes or so to read the chapter and go through the exercise. The result is a lingering feeling of accomplishment and a growing feeling of closeness to my Savior and Lord as I search for new verses to study.

I'll share bits and pieces as I go, just because I think it is really neat to see how the Word of God speaks.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Unanswered Prayers

As I was preparing to go home this Thanksgiving, it hit me that My Great Nan would be pleased with us. She is happily spending her first Thanksgiving and Christmas in heaven with our Lord and I do not think for one moment that she is taking up any time fretting over us, BUT IF she were still here with us, she would be pleased.

Like most families, we have had our share of stressful situations and strained relationships. We have had Holiday Seasons when one or the other of us kids did not "go home" for one reason or another. For the past several years, the Holidays have created more stress than joy.

Nan Died suddenly this summer. I was absolutely devastated for very selfish reasons, but I am thrilled that she did not suffer, she did not live years with a long list of ailments and doctor appointments....and am also thrilled by what her death did to certain members of our family. As often happens when someone dies, Nan's death challenged our family to "let bygones be bygones", to let go of grudges, and stop worrying about who "is right" in this or that situation. In our family, there was much healing that took place between us as we said good bye to Nan.

Now, back to this weekend....I was preparing to go home for Thanksgiving and the thought occurred to me that Nan would be pleased, if not overjoyed, with us. All 3 of us (me, my sister and brother) would be home. We were all excited about it....looking forward to it. No one was worried about what this one or that one might say or do to upset this or that other one. We were just excited to be getting to see each other. There was no anxiety, no dread, just excitement over getting to see each other and spend a bit of time together.

This is where the unanswered prayers come in. I hope I always remember this lesson. Nan prayed...sobbed...pleaded with God for our family. It broke her heart when we "kids" would do things that separated us from the family and she prayed for years that we would all "act right" and "be nice".

She died before she saw my brother and my parents reconnect. She died before she saw my sister meet a nice man and decide to get married and "do it the right way". She died before I was cured of cancer the second time. She died before my mom was able to breathe a sigh of relief knowing that, at least for the moment, all her kids were home and safe and well. Yet, all these prayers...these countless endless prayers that Nan prayed on our behalf...they have indeed all been answered. In God's time. In God's way.

I want to remember this, because I know that there prayers that I may not see answered. I want to remember that God is on His own time schedule and it really does not matter whether I see the answers or not....God is still in the business of answering prayers.

I do indeed wish that Nan could have known that, by the end of this year, we were all going to be okay. That is my silly human-ness coming out, for I KNOW that in Heaven, we are the farthest from her mind. I am however, SO thankful that she prayed us through the dark times and oh so grateful that I can witness the fruit of her labor.

I am thankful for this very vivid lesson:

The important thing is to keep praying.

Never, never stop going to God.


Friday, November 25, 2011

I cannot believe that it has been 12 weeks since I finished radiation!
Everything is going well. I can't remember now if I mentioned the webbing that has formed between my cords...if I didn't mention it, I have webbing that has formed between my cords. Doc will check it again when I see him on the 29th of this! That's next week!
I can tell that the tissue in my neck is stiffening. My voice is hit and miss, but I do have a voice. I have been leading Ladies Bible Study and singing in the choir. Did not imagine that I would be able to sing in the choir so soon. I have noticed that my range is improving and I wonder what it would sound like if we removed the webbing. I will talk to Doc about it when I see him. I read that the prescribed voice rest is 8 weeks for the surgery and involves putting something between the cords to keep the webbing from forming again after surgery. wowzers.

On to other things....

Just had my 39th birthday. Super excited about being 40 on the next b'day!

Had a great Thanksgiving. Am looking forward to this weekend. Going to see the fam. Hoping to take pictures of the cousins.If so, i may post them. Took pics of my babies last weekend. May post them too...maybe. We'll see.

Things have been pretty uneventful...and I am not complaining.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Well, it has been 8 weeks since I got my last dose of radiation.
I feel exponentially better than I did even a month ago.
My voice is coming back and I have more energy.
I am experiencing the same anxiety that I experienced last time I had cancer. Ultimately it revolves around the question "is the cancer back yet?"
There really is no way for me to describe the level of anxiety that this question brings on me.
Chest pain, inability to concentrate, insomnia, fatigue, and a general lack of interest in things I used to like to do are the ways that this anxiety manifests itself physically. Emotionally, I just want to sob (over what? I dont even know, i just feel like crying). Mentally, I feel an overwhelming sense of impending doom.
I thought I must be strange because it seems that having HAD cancer is causing me more grief, anxiety, and frustration than HAVING cancer did. I read something online yesterday that said that many cancer patients have a very difficult time dealing with emotions post cancer... specifically the fear that the cancer will come back and the hesitency of health care providers to use the word "cured" post treatment.
So, as is the norm for me, I have over analyzed the situation and looked at every possible option from anti-anxiety meds to councilling and have come to the conclusion that I have somehow got to come to grips with the fact that I am indeed a cancer patient and will continue to be a cancer patient for at LEAST the next 5 years. I will have to face my fears at least once a month for the next 12 months as I go see Doc S and he examines my larynx to see if the cancer has returned. If I remain cancer free this year (year 1), then i will see see him every 2 months in year 2, every 3-4 months in year 3, and every 4-6 months in year 4. Then, should I make it to year 5 without recurrance, I will see him annually until...whenever. Literature says that if a patient makes it 10 years without recurrance, they are considered "cured". 10 years seems like an awefully long time.
Anyway, that's where I am. As far as my health goes, I am fine. This seems to be what most people are concerned about. Most everyone assumes that I should be perfectly able to cope with this stinkin disease now that I am done with treatment. I suppose it is impossible for someone who has not had cancer to understand what it feels like post-treatment.
I saw Doc yesterday (my chest STILL hurts from the stress of that visit) and he said that I think too much. He said "You have changes directly related to radiation and the resultant healing process. I don't know where it will settle but it's like planning for repairing a house while the tornado is just about to hit have to wait until the dust settles." I guess that is a good analogy. Right now, my whole life feels like it has been hit by a tornado.
I fully understand that I have had, and beat, cancer twice. I realize that this should be something to celebrate, but I don't really feel like celebrating. I am certain that if it comes back again i will fight it again....and again. So it does not make sense to me that the mention of my cancer causes me so much anxiety. It is as though my body and my brain are not communicating on this subject. My chest is so tight that I feel it in both arms and my neck.
I'm not really looking for advice or sympathy or even understanding. I mostly just wanted to record how I feel right now, because I know that I will feel better about all of this in time and one day I will forget how terribly hard and confusing this part of the journey was and I dont want to forget because when it is over, I want to be able to thank God for getting me through this dark valley just as he has the others. I absolutely believe that this is an opportunity for me to learn to trust God more and I know that I will have a deeper relationship with him when this is over. BUT right now I am having a difficult time letting go of my fears (of the cancer returning and of a new cancer developing as a result of the radiation) and totally trusting God to take care of all of it.
Until then,

Monday, September 26, 2011

Almost a month post radiation

Radiation has left a lovely brown rectangle on my neck....

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

10 days post radiation!

Wow! Neck looked so much better here! This was about the time I started feeling the worst though. Thankfully my neck had healed and I didn't have to worry with treating it as I suffered through the worst of the radiation side effects. I told my boss on a wednesday "I've pushed as far as I can. I'm going home and I'll be back when I am well. For 3 days I thought I was going to die. I have NEVER been so tired in ALL my life. My whole body ached with exaustion.
After that weekend, I came back to work and worked half a day on Monday. Then I worked a little longer each day until I made it q full day that Thursday.


8 days post radiation

Another photo 8 days post radiation.

8 days post radiation

This pic was taken 8 days after I finished radiation. I remember thinking how desperately I wished my throat would heal as quickly as my neck was healing!

Monday, September 19, 2011

God Will Not Give Us More Than We Can Bear

If I have heard this phrase once, I have heard it a hundred times over the past 3 years. Just the other night someone who I look up to spiritually said with great confidence "Scripure tells us that God won't put more on us than we can bear".
This phrase has been both puzzling and troubling to me over these past 3 years as I had 2 bouts with cancer and experienced spiritual warfare not only personally, but in our ministry. A week ago, I was helpless to the havok that radiation was unleashing on my body and I thought to myself...."This is definately MORE than I can bear!" But how can that be? Afterall, I have been told over and over again that God won't give me more than I can bear.
So, I went digging, and here's what I've found:
There is no scripture that tells us that God won't give us more than we can handle. There is no scripture that tells us that God won't allow more than we can bear. I've searched and I just can't find it. Now, if someone can give me book, chapter, and verse where it says this, then I will gladly recant this statement, but I am confidant that you will not.
What you WILL find is 1 Corinthians 10:13 which states
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
This verse is referring to TEMPTATION. God does allow us to be tempted to sin, but He NEVER sets us up to that the ONLY option we have is to sin. God is loving and ALWAYS gives us an alternative to sin.
We misquote this verse and use it to apply to hardships, sickness, and all sorts of troubles...which seems harmless enough.
I can find comfort in telling YOU "God won't give you more than you can bear". When I tell you this, I reassure myself that you are okay. You may be freaking out, but you are just over reacting. Afterall, God won't give you more than you can bear. You can handle this problem on your own.
I assure you, after hearing this phrase at least a dozen times last week when I truly thought I was going to die if I got any sicker...this phrase is not as comforting when you are on the receiving end. In fact, it caused me a great deal of grief. I thought, "well, what is wrong with me then? I am fairly certain that this is way more than I can bear!"
Now that the side effects of radiation have gone their merry way and I am feeling more myself, the thought hits me....
If God did not give us more than we could handle, then what need would we have for Him? I mean, in day to day life, if I could take care of everything all on my own, then why would I need a relationship with Christ? Doesn't make sense, right? First of all, I most assuredly can NOT handle every day life on my own much less things like cancer and radiation. I cannot handle losing my voice ( I have not been able to talk for almost a month) and I cannot handle the possibility that my voice may not come back, that the cancer may come back, or that there is no absolute guarantee that all the cancer is even gone! So, logically, it doesn't really make sense that God would not give us more than we can least this is the case in my life.
In fact, LOGICALLY, the opposite is true...God WILL give us more than we can bear so that we will turn to Him, seek refuge and safety and comfort in Him. Logically, God WILL give us more than we can bear so that He can teach us to depend on Him and show us how powerful He is.
Still, logic is only logic if not backed by scriptiure. Sometimes there are truths in Scripture that we learn from reading about the people in the Bible and learning from their relationships with God. To determine if God actually allows/gives more than His children can bear, we have to look to His word.
It doesn't take long to see the fact that God does indeed put His children in positions where they NEED Him....because they cannot continue without Him....
Over and over in Scripture we see men and women who are given more than they can handle... David could not have defeated Goliath on His own, Regarding himself and his fellow workers in the gospel, Paul wrote, "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God" (2 Corinthians 3:5). The 23rd Psalm reads "Yea, though I walk through the valley of death I will fear no evil for THOU ART WITH ME". and John 16:33 says that we will have troubles but to be of good cheer because GOD has overcome the world.
I'm not going to list any others. I am convinced and you can look for yourself. As a matter of fact, I think you SHOULD.
Over and Over again, God allows His children to be in situations where their ONLY hope is in Him.
Cancer was more than I could bear. God allowed it. Having cancer made me more reliant on HIM and dependent on Him and, on the other side of that valley, I trust Him even more than before.
So, I won't be telling folks "Well, you know God won't give you more than you can handle." anymore.
Instead, I will be telling them this.....
Scripture says that in this world we WILL have trouble. In my life, I have experienced things that I absolutely could not bear on my own. It was in THOSE times that I learned to lean on Christ, to trust my Heavenly Father, and to rest in the comfort that God can handle the things that I can't.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fwd: Rad burn. 5 days out

Just letting you know where I am in this. The edges are healing, the middle still has lots of blisters and peeling skin. Inside my throat feels like this looks.

Will be over soon though!

Sent from my iPhone

Fwd: Rad burn. 5 days out

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Kris Williams <>
Date: Tue, Sep 6, 2011 at 4:00 PM
Subject: Fwd: Rad burn. 5 days out
To: In The Battle <>

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Kris Williams <>
Date: Mon, Sep 5, 2011 at 2:31 PM
Subject: Rad burn. 5 days out
To: Baker Thompson <>

Just letting you know where I am in this. The edges are healing, the middle still has lots of blisters and peeling skin. Inside my throat feels like this looks. Will be over soon though!

Sent from my iPhone

Having WHINE with my cheese!!!

Date: Tue, Aug 30, 2011 at 2:51 PM
Subject: cry baby cry baby... Suck your thumb.

Email to family and friends

Good Morning!
Hope you are all doing well!
I have been a cry baby the past week or so. As most of you know, I had the FLU last week...totally NOT cool! Was really sick for about 5 days. Really really sick. Like, in the bed sick. Not moving sick. Oh my was terrible...AND IT IS OVER AND I AM BETTER PRAISE GOD! Well, then the skin on my neck started to really act up. it has gone from pink, to red, to maroon-ish and it hurts. Really hurts. Wakes me up at night hurts. Some psycho cross between a bad burn and a bad case of poison ivy. HAve not found anything to quiet the stinging or to keep it moist enought that it doesn't feel like it is going to tear when I turn my head. UGH! See, there I go again.... Told ya! CRY BABY!!!! hahaha
We're down to 2 treatments! The machine was down yesterday. Otherwise today would be IT! The END! C-Ya LATER!
But no, we still have 2. So....hoping that all goes well and TOMORROW is the END!
On an even more amazingly positive ear stopped hurting!!!! No...really...this is MAJOR BIG NEWS! Really. Ear pain is a sign of laryngeal cancer and I have had a significant ear ache every minute of every day for at least a year. (thought it had to do with my neck disection) I realized the other day that my ear DOES NOT HURT!!!!!!! This is MAJOR BIG AWESOME news!!!!!!!!! This is happy dance kinda news! Also, my neck does not ache. my skin on my neck feels like is is being burned with a blow torch, but the INSIDE muscle type tissue no longer aches!!!!!! This too is MAJOR BIG NEWS!!!!!!! GOOD GOOD GOOD stuff!!!!!!! ALSO> Stacy, my sweet friend here at work, who sees me each and every day, told me today. "I know that the radiation is taking a toll on you and that it is doing all this stuff to you, BUT I was just thinking this morning that OVERALL, you look better than you did before you found out that you had cancer again. You look healthier and more sparkley than you did earlier this year...when you had cancer and didn;t know it. I think the cancer was making you sick and you just didn;t know it." I think she may be right. I like to sparkle....that's good.
So, that's the latest. Thank you ever so much for your prayers and support along this journey. I am praying that it is almost over. Please pray as we wait for the side effects to peak in 2 weeks, that my neck and throat do not get much worse. So far, my neck is only peeling. There are no open sores. Please pray that we will find something that will soothe the tissue on my neck that is so itchy and sore from the burns. Mostly, please pray that this is it...that the radiation obliterated the cancer.
Also please remember to pray for my family. Izzy asked me the other night "Mama, will I ever hear your voice again?" They are all dealing with this like champs, but little things like that let me know that this is wearing on them too and they have concerns and fears too.
I am looking forward to feeling good and sounding good for Christmas with my friends and extended families this year!
On a side note...God has been showing off as of late. He has allowed my precious husband and I to live a couple of sermons over the past weeks. I am so thankful that HE keeps us close and guides us with a STRONG hand so that we can bask in HIS glory when He works in us. Not only has He guided us, pushed us, and carried us as we have walked this road with cancer, He has also blessed our souls beyond measure by demonstrating HIS restorative power! I am convinced MORE than EVER that God's goal in broken relationships is RESTORATION and that when we TRULY put HIM first and seek HIS will, even the most battered relationships can be made whole. I have seen it happen twice this summer and both times I have been left breathless at God's power! He is so good to us and I am so thankful not only be His child, but to be allowed to serve Him!
Love you all!!!!

Fwd: 3dys post radiation

UGH!!! Looking for something to soothe this mess. Sticks to my pillow at night. Hurts so bad it wakes me up! I HATE this.
I know it could be worse, as SO many people are quick to assure me. I HAVE seen worse at the institute. Still, thinking about how much worse it could be does not change how bad it is.


Fwd: Radiation burn

Starting to hurt. Wondering how much worse it will get. Starting to peel in the sides and under my chin. I cannot hurts. Still, compared to all the other ladies I've met at the cancer institute, I have NOTHING to whine about! I'm probably never going to eat broccoli and cheese soup ever again after this is done, but it has allowed me to eat and keep my weight steady and I like it.
So many of the patients are really really sick. I don't feel bad. I really feel pretty good. My neck and throat just hurt.


Fwd: New haircut

Decided to go ahead and get my haircut. Not sure how bad the radiation will be, but feel like this is as good a time as any to try out a new look. Its so much easier then trying to straighten my long hair.


#18 is today!!!!

August 16 email to prayer partners:

After today I will only have 10 treatments left!!! Hard to believe that this is even possible!

Radiation is going well...or at least better for me than most of the people I have met at the Cancer Institute.

Finally wore Dr Caudell down and broke through the "professional" barrier yesterday! Super excited about that! Up to now, I have felt like a name at the top of a check list. Until yesterday, he came in, checked off his list, and said "See ya next week".

So yesterday I told him that I understand that everything that happens to me is not a result of the radiation. HE seemed relieved that I had come to this realization. (He obviously does not know me very well) He sorta grinned and i said "BUT...we still need to discuss some things... First, I feel nauseous and have for about 3 days." He said "I didn't cause that" so I said, "Well, I'm gonna need you to fix it." I said "it feels like morning sickness..well, i guess you don't know what that feels like, do you...hmmm...i just feel like "bluh" all the I MIGHT puke any minute...I'm not liking it much" He laughed and I laughed and now everything is so much better! So we went over all the meds I am on and whether or not they could be causing the nausea and he prescribed something for me to take if it does not ease up.
AND I FINALLY got some answers on some other things too!!!!!!
He told me yesterday that my voice will be better when this is over (remember when we started there was a fear that I would lose it entirely and possibly for ever) I am over half way through with radiation and my voice is actually improving (sort of) over what we started with!
And here's what I learned about his feelings about the side effects.....
They rate all sorts of things to determine the toxicity of the radiation. A rating of 0 is healthy (no effects) and a rating of 5 is dead. (I told him, "Let's avoid a 5, deal?") A 4 rating means you are hospitalized. He said he expects me to be a 2 or 3. He showed me the chart of side effects they use to determine this and right now I am at 1 for my voice and 2 for my throat and 1 for my skin (on my neck). He expects me to be a 2 on my neck and possibly a 2 for my voice and 3 for my throat. He said "you are over half way through and maintaining your weight well" I told him that I am particularly gifted in that area. I think that won him over. I am no longer a row of check marks beside a list of symptoms. Hee hee (I'm the crazy person...which is okay)

He said that singing in the choir will be a long shot, but that he anticipates me having a speaking voice that is suitable for clear phone conversation. Super super super excited about that...and we'll see about singing in the choir.

Taking Loratab every 6 hours or so for pain. Eating really soft stuff...without a lot of salt or spice... and have upped my caffeine intake to fight the unbelievable fatigue. The fatigue has been the worst part. I have never been so TIRED!

I asked how he will know that the radiation worked. He said that they will check by looking in my throat starting 2 months after radiation is over to determine if the cancer is gone. This is what we have been doing all along. Still not totally sold on this answer, but didn't want to push my luck. I will address it again later.

Will see Doc S again on Friday so he can assess the damage to my throat.
I feel MUCH better about the whole thing now that I have connected with Doctor Caudell. I don't know how to explain the difference, other than to say that we actually had a conversation rather than me sitting there and him talking at me.
There are lots of other things going on too! God is just blessing my heart left and right this week! It's time for a blog entry on In The Battle, so I will go into that more there.
For those that read my ramblings on a regular basis, you know that I have strong convictions about forgiveness, spiritual warfare, about God having a plan, and about God's way being the BEST way....even when His way doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Not sure if I have actually put the following thought in print, but thought I'd leave you with it today...
As people, with our sinful nature, we want revenge. When most of us think of, or speak of, God "taking care of" someone who has wronged us, we are usually thinking along the lines of "What goes around comes around." I have experienced a beautiful new truth about God that is contrary to this train of thought. I have learned that when GOD works, people are restored to HIM first...and when a person is restored to HIM, they are naturally inclined to mend relationships with the people in their life. God's goal is not revenge, it is restoration. We would be wise to make this our goal as well. I have already put too many words on this page, so I will close by saying that this is just one more way that God has SHOWN me that HIS ways are truly best, especially when they go against my human-ness. (HA! That sorts rhymed!)
Thank you so much for sticking with me and praying for me all this time!
I am certain that YOUR PRAYERS get me through each day!
Love you all!!!!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


I was initially planning to vent about how much I DON'T like the "radiation folks". I have truly been disgruntled with Dr Radiation. He seems to think that Radiation is like spring just makes us more attractive, smarter, and smell better. Monday I told him "my throat really hurts and I feel like I can't breathe" his response... "well, your neck isn't red." REALLY???? Didn't say anything about my neck,....but evidently he thinks that damage on the outside is all that matters. So, there, I have for the good stuff....
I went to see Doc S yesterday morning (because I was so upset about Dr Radiation's lack of concern with how I feel) and he looked at my throat (go figure!!) and said that he will see me once a week to check my progress (and damage). He said that i have plenty of room to breathe, but have more damage than he expected to see this early....but also that he normally does not see patients until they are done with treatment. He said that we'll let Dr Radiation take care of the radiation and he (Doc S) will take care of my throat and vocal cords. He also told me to take B-Complex because it helps with healing...something else that Radiation didn't mention.
So...praise number one...DOC S!!!! Thank you Father God for Doc S and for his concern for my throat during radiation and for his awareness that i want to have as little damage as possible when this is over!
Praise number 2...MY VOICE IS IMPROVING!!!! The radiation is SUPPOSED to make me LOSE my voice, so this makes absolutely NO SENSE, but it IS!!!!!! God is gracious to me is so many ways, but this is such a huge blessing to my heart! Not to say that I will not lose it again, but for NOW, it is improving! Isn't it JUST LIKE GOD to do something like this?!?
Praise number 3... I actually felt BETTER last week rhan i did the week before!!! MY THOAT WAS EVEN LESS sore. Honest! Would not sugar coat this cause I want all the sympathy I can get! (hee hee) Now, again, this could change at any moment and I realize that this may very well just be the calm before the storm, but even so...IT MAKES NO SENSE!!! I even asked about my radiation dosage yesterday because I thought maybe it was like a Z-Pak and i got a higher dose the first week or so and was now getting a lower dosage and thus feeling not as bad...but NO! I am getting the same dosage every day. The effects of the radiation are supposed to BUILD. I just found out this weekend from someone that Dose #12 was the one that was "the beginning of the end" where she was SO sick.
I get number 10 today and, I honestly feel good.Okay, I am a little tired and my throat hurts a bit...but the point is, i feel BETTER than I did this time last week!!!
The ONLY thing I can attribute it to is the enormous amount of people who are going to HIM on my behalf!!!! Thank you SO MUCH for your prayers! God is so merciful and so gracious. I am blessed beyond measure! Thank you all for thinking of me, encouraging me, and for PRAYING for me! I knew that God was going to do SOMETHING in my heart, but had no idea that He was going to AFFIRM the ABSOLUTE power of prayer!
Even if i crash and burn tomorrow, and feel wretched the rest of this journey, I want you ALL to know how AMAZED I am that God saw fit to give me these blessings this week!
There is one other thing I must mention....God humbled me while i was waiting to see Doc S yesterday. I saw a woman who was covered in burns...hands, arms, legs, feet. HORRID scarring from what must have been excruciating burns! I also saw several people confined to wheelchairs, with traches, completely dependant on others to take care of them. As I sat there I felt so guilty for being a baby about taking radiation. no matter how bad this gets for WILL be over at some point. What a blessed reminder! What I have IS curable!!! Praise God for THAT!
Thank you again.....
ps...i am praying that God will help me understand Dr Radiation's thought process concerning the effects of the radiation and that I will either understand that his feelings and thoughts are correct...or that I will have the opportunity to correct him....hee hee hee

Monday, July 25, 2011

What I've learned about me

Will have my 3rd radiation treatment this afternoon.
I hate this more than I could have ever imagined. My throat hurts and I was tired all weekend.However....I did get a lot of rest this weekend and am not as tired today. Voice is almost completely gone.
I'll talk to Dr C this week about pain meds.
My biggest fear right now is that my throat will swell shut. I have never been one to worry or to be afraid, but I can honestly say that I DO dread the wrath of radiation.
I got an e-mail from an old friend last week telling me that she knew how strong my faith is, but is sure that I am struggling with this. Her e-mail was touching because i have not "talked" to her in a very long time, but it also prompted me to stop and consider the state of my heart as I embark on this leg of my journey. I found myself asking "Am I struggling? Am I saying 'i'm okay' just because that's what I say, or am I REALLY okay?" Her e-mail made me stop and ask myself, "is my faith shaken by this turn of events?"
I am thrilled that I have had the opportunity to examine my heart in this way, because it is so easy to lose sight of what I TRULY believe. I would be lying if I said I'm happy about this situation. However, I REALLY am okay, and i am so thankful that God used an old friend to give me a nudge and prompt me to examine my heart... Here's what I discovered about me....

Much has happened in my life and I am a different person than I was when I faced this 2 years ago. Maybe not so much different as I am much more of the same. I believe more than ever that things are either of God or of Satan. I am more solidified in my faith than ever before. I believe more than ever that spiritual warfare is very real. I believe more than ever that Satan is prowling around like a lion looking for devour. I believe more than ever that Satan will use whatever and whomever he can to wreak havoc on God's people. I believe with every fiber of my being that my battle is not against flesh and blood but against the powers and principalities of this dark world. I declared war on Satan a year or so ago. Took a stand and declared that I am NOT afraid of him or his minions. I even joked that this was possibly not a good idea. I believe that Satan has me in his sights and would be lying if I denied that he has wounded me severely, but I can honestly and truthfully tell you that I still am not afraid. I am even more excited than ever to be in the battle. God is sovereign. He is in control. Looking back now, I can see that God Himself prepared me for this 2nd battle with cancer. I trust Him more than ever. I believe His ways are best especially when I really do not understand what He is doing. Again and again, He has carried me through things that I thought I would literally kill me, but in the end these things have brought me great joy because they deepened my relationship with my Savior. My heart has ached more than I thought possible, but God was there all along holding on to me. God is good and loving and always knows what I NEED. God is merciful and gracious to me. He has not left me alone. I trust Him completely and know that He will use all these things to bring Glory to Himself and can confidently tell you that I am perfectly okay.

If you ever knew me, you knew that I wanted more than anything to be used by God. That is still my greatest desire and has only been multiplied over the past 6 months. I serve God. That's what I do. Many do not understand, but I love Him and have gladly surrendered my whole life to Him. If He can use me better when I have cancer, then I am glad to have it. I am finally beginning to grasp what Paul meant when he said that everything else is rubbish compared to knowing Christ. More than ever, there is nothing I want more than to let others witness this Awesome God I serve and to see how much He loves His children. He alone is the only thing I cannot bear to lose. Jesus said that in this world there WILL be trouble, but HE is with us always. I have learned to lean heavily on this promise. Though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear NO evil. Not because I'm all brave and stuff, but because GOD's rod and HIS staff comfort me. So, I'm good. I really am. I'm sick... no denying that. I am grieving the loss of Nanny- the most amazing Christian woman I have ever known. I dread how sick the radiation will make me and I hate that my family has to go through this. But I am not struggling and I am not worried. I am really truthfully honestly okay.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Catching up

As I have said before, it is harder to keep up with what is going on that I imagined it would be. I did get my radiation mask made, simulation done, and PET scan done almost 2 weeks ago on July 8. Will include a pic of the radiation mask at some point.
My Nan went to heaven on the following Sunday after a successful surgery on her carotid artery the day before. Can't talk about that yet. Don't want to get upset before I go to work today. I left here and went home Sunday afternoon ( July 10) and stayed in Tennessee until the following Saturday. We buried Nan on Wednesday the 13th. On Saturday (the 16th??) I drove on into KY and went to my other Grandmother's 90th birthday celebration. Spent the night there and came home Sunday afternoon.
Sometime while I was in TN I talked to Trey and he said that the PET scan did not show cancer in my lymph nodes or anywhere else other than my voice box! Super excited about that!
While I was home with my mom, hubs and the kids went to east tn to go white water rafting. They got home Monday. So we were uneventful for 2 days. Today is Thursday. I start radiation today at 4:15. Left my phone at home yesterday so I missed the phone call and did not get the message until later last night. Will find out exactly how many treatments we're going to do and hopefully a few more details today. I really thought we wouldn't start til Monday, but the hubs thought it would be this week. Guess he wins this time!
That's all I've got for now. Need to get ready for work.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Below the surface

Had a great weekend with family and friends. Getting ready for Sunday School and Worship Service, but wanted to stop and write before another day goes by.
On the surface, everything is so very uneventful. I found out that I can get my radiation where ever I choose. That's good...but I don;t know how to choose. So, I'm praying about it and asking God to guide me to the right place. Maybe it doesn't matter, but what if it does? I just don;t want my throat burned up. I want as little damage to the good parts of my neck as possible. I also want someone who can help me understand all of the side effects and who can explain the risk of getting a seconfary cancer from the radiation against the benefit of the radiation.
Most of all, I need someone to explain to me why I have this cancer again. I absolutely do not smoke or drink and those are the primary causes of it. If no one knows why it came back, then how do we know it won't come back again...maybe that's another reason for the radiation.
Maybe this battle will be one I fight for the rest of my life. Had no idea that I'd be here again.
So, on the surface, things are pretty uneventful. There is a lot going on below the surface though. God is working on my heart and preparing me for the rest of this journey.
Its kind of interesting how much the way I view this whole mess affects my attitude. I REALLY believe that God has ALL of this under control. I REALLY believe that He is going to heal me again. Not so sure that I won't find myself right here a third or fourth time, but never the less, I do believe that He will heal me.
When I focus on the cancer and all the "what ifs", I get anxious and aggrivated and frustrated.
When I focus on my family and friends, I get sad.
Wen I focus on the doctors, I get nervous...what if they are wrong, or miss something, or mess up?
BUT when I focus on Christ and all He has done for me and all the ways HE has blessed me and used me...I'm okay. Really okay.
I believe that GOD never fails. I believe that He has a plan and a purpose in ALL things. I believe that He does not give His children more burden than He will help them carry. I believe that He loves me and that He absolutely knows the name of every fear and uncertainty that I have. I also know that HE knows exactly what the outcome of all of this is going to be. I believe that His ways are not mine and His thoughts are not mine....and I don't have to understand what He's doing in order for Him to accomplish His work in me.
We live in a fallen world. Our lives and our bodies bear the scars of the sinful world we live in. Bad things happen. God never fails. Even in the midst of things such as cancer, God is at work. I want to be used by Him. I want my cancer journey to be a testimony to my Father in Heaven. I want my cancer journey to encourage others to know Him more intimately, to trust Him more, to live for Him more. I want those who know me best to witness the effect of God's presence in my life.

Father God,
Thank you so much for this quiet time with you. Thank you for speaking to my heart and reminding me that there are massively amazing things that can come from this. Thank you for reminding me that You have got everything under control and that people I love are watching my relationship with you grow.
Lord, draw me close to you. Give me peace and rest as we walk this road. No one can help me Lord but you. Only you can give me peace and strength and courage. Thank you for surrounding me with incredible friends too numerous to count and for the encouragement they provide.
I love You Lord and I am oh so grateful that you love me.

As Always,

Thursday, June 23, 2011

And the Verdict is....


After waiting all yesterday afternoon for my phone to ring, this completely anti climactic. I truly expected more...and am oh so very thankful that this is it.

Doc S said that I'll get a call from "them" this week to schedule an appointment.

I'll find out more then.

Last time I had cancer, I was very desperate for God's presence. I remember clinging to Him with absolute desperation. This time around, I know He's with me. I know He will get me through this. I know He is in control. I know He will not leave me. I know He prepared me for this.

Maybe that's the key. He prepared me for this. Not only has He grown me in my relationship with Him, he has placed amazing people in my life to help me as i travel this road. I have a huge support system in general, and an inner circle of precious women who are mature in their walk with the Lord and are constantly reminding me of our Father's promises and presence.

I don't know what else to say right now. I am not at all even a little tiny bit excited about having to get radiation, but am relieved that it is not combined with a neck dissection and chemo. I'm still not sure if I am truly at peace or just numb. I do know that I am absolutely honestly okay. I am not falling to pieces and I am not freaking out. I can't sleep, but I have suffered with insomnia before.

I know that this is all going to be okay. I have matured in my relationship with Christ in the past two years and my trust in Him is more matter-of-fact and less desperate. Maybe that's a thought to expand on later today.



Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Prayers for peace

I thank God for who ever it is that is praying the I have peace! I have been sitting here thinking "I should be anxious, nervous, or at least upset." the tumor board meets tomorrow. They are probably going to recommend radiation and possibly chemo. Even though Doc S didn't see anything on the ct scans, they could see something and recommend to remove more lymph nodes. Oh LORD!! I do not want that surgery again!!!! Actually, I don't want radiation or chemo either. I want this to just go away.
Still, I have the most bizarre peace. I know God is with me. I know God has already worked all of this out for His glory. I trust Him completely.
So tomorrow the tumor board will make their recommendation.

Please Lord, stay near me and give me strength for what ever they say. Lord I know you already know what they will say. I know that you know what I will need and I trust that you will provide it.

No matter the recommendation tomorrow, there will be relief in knowing that this maddening stage of waiting is over.

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, June 20, 2011

What ever you ask

I started this year off hoping that God would place in my heart an understanding of what Paul felt when he said that he wanted to know Christ in His suffering, His death, and love God so much that everything else seemed like garbage in comparison.

Perhaps I was a bit Hasty and terribly naive to ask God to grant me this request. Never the less, I did ask, and God in His goodness and sovereignty has granted my least as much of it as I can bear.

The thing I was MOST naive about was thinking that I could share such a journey in its entirety. I will try to do a better job.

3 weeks ago I saw Doc S about my voice. I've been getting progressively more hoarse for a couple of months. He looked at my vocal cords and saw suspicious tissue growing there. He took a picture for me to look at and told the resident in the room to get me scheduled for surgery.

2 weeks ago I had surgery on my vocal cords. After surgery, Doc told the hubbs that it could be scar tissue. I had a sick feeling in my gut that this was not going to be scar tissue. I have been looking at pictures of my vocal cords for 2 years. I know what they look like and I knew when I looked at that picture Doc's office that it was not good.

Last Sunday I sat on the floor and told God

"I really don't like this. I do not want to walk this road. I don't understand why, after 2 years this would be happening again. BUT i trust you and I know you have a plan and a purpose. So if I have to walk this road, please just don't make me walk it alone. I'll do whatever you ask if you will go with me. If this is the way it has to be, then draw me to Yourself and allow my life to bring others closer to You as we travel this road."

A week ago today Doc told me that all the samples they took came back positive for cancer. This realization steals my breath and makes me want to vomit. My family is devastated. It is hard to make the people who love us most understand that God uses ALL things for good for those who love Him...even cancer.

Last Tuesday I had all the CT scans done so that my case can go before the tumor board. They will determine the best course of treatment. Everything was busy last week. I didn't have much time to sit and think about all this. At some point I remembered my chat with my Maker. "I'll do what ever you ask".

Today Doc S let me know that he did not see anything on the CT scans! First bit of good news! Now, the oncologists could see things differently...they did last time. But for now I am celebrating the POSSIBILITY of not having to have my neck dissected again!

So, now you are up to speed and i can stop fretting over how much is happening and how I'll never get caught up on In The Battle. (I don't like entering a story in the middle).

I've gotten a clearer picture of something else too... in death Jesus was completely submissive to God. Completely submissive....whatever You want me to do, I will do. Jesus understood God's plan. Jesus KNEW God's heart. Jesus KNEW what the result of His life would be. I do not know these things. I do not understand. I BELIEVE that God has a plan and a purpose, but I don't understand it....or my role in it. And while I will never compare myself to my Lord and Savior, I am so thankful that God has blessed me by allowing me to understand a bit more about my Redeemer...and so thankful that God only gave me a tiny taste of these things.

As always, I wish I'd never stopped writing. I wish I'd shared with you day in and day out...especially over the past 3 weeks. It has been an emotional roller coaster! I pray that as we travel this road together that God will reveal more of himself to you. I will be as candid as i can bear, and as honest as I can stand to be.

On a slightly different but related note....I have been writing a monthly devotional on Victorious Living at The Hem of His Garment and last month I ended with "Next month we'll talk about fear". How about that?

When you talk to Jesus, please mention me.


Monday, March 21, 2011

To know you more

Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.

In January, I claimed to want to know Christ more. I questioned what it would be like to know Him in His sufferings. During that time, God expanded my understanding of forgiveness, which Iexpressed in my last post.

Then my world fell apart.

Well, not really. It didn't have to. If I was a mature in my faith as I THOUGHT I was, my world would have been just fine. A little rattled, but fine.

For me to know Christ more, I had to gain a deeper understanding of forgiveness. This is one lesson that I can truly say God intened for me to learn and not something He gave me to teach. This lesson was for me, so that I could know my Lord and Savior on a deeper and more intimate level.

In order to truly understand forgiveness, you must have someone to forgive and something to forgive them for. As in all things, My Father in Heaven knew exactly what I needed, and in His goodness He answered my prayer to know Christ more and has allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of Christ's sufferings. Not that I will ever understand what my Savior suffered for me, not that I could endure full knowledge of His sufferings...but my Father allowed me to learn MORE about the nature of my Lord and Savior.

I wish that I had been mature enough to see this at the onset. I wish, when I felt the first sting of betrayal, that I had been able to write "Praise God! He has answered my prayer and has shown me a brief glimpse of the forgiving heart of my Savior!" Sadly, I have spent 5 weeks in absolute misery. I have experienced more anger and resentment and bitterness that I have known in all my 38 years. I have asked God on more than one occasion, "Where are you? Why are you letting this happen to us?"

Last night a sweet precious God sent friend told me "you need to go back and read your blog. It is amazing that GOd spoke to your heart and gave you what you needed before all this happened. He is so good."

SO, this morning I did...and she was right. God gave me a deeper understanding of forgiveness ahead of time...and I find it especially touching that He was kind enough to speak to my heart these very words...

I have been on the receiving end of true forgiveness and I have decided that there is possibly no sweeter gift than this. And it is truly a gift. Totally in the control of the giver. I think that maybe there is greater power in forgiveness than there is in punishing someone by holding a grudge. Grudge holding is totally natural, expected, normal. Forgiveness is God-breathed, Biblical, and holy....

So, today, I choose to forgive. Let it go. Treat them as if they had done no wrong.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Forgive and Forget?

So much has happened this week. Been really interesting really. Lots of moments that made me pause and ask God "Did you see/hear that?" It's been a really GOOD week.

I heard something on the radio earlier in the week that stuck with me. The DJs were talking about things people had posted to their FB page. One lady asked how she was supposed to forgive and forget. Said she had the forgive part, but could not understand how she was supposed to forget.
One of the DJs gave the following analogy....

I have a large scar on my arm. It was a terrible cut. I remember the cut. I remember how I got it and I remember how much it hurt at the time. BUT (you could hear her slap her arm) even though I can SEE the scar and it reminds me of the cut, the SCAR does not hurt. When you forgive someone, it no longer causes you pain.


I can totally see that! There have been times when I have WANTED to forgive someone for something, knew i SHOULD forgive them, but every time something reminded me of the person or just hurt (anger hurts too). At that point I knew I had not forgiven, but was at a loss as to what to do to make myself "forgive and forget". The forget part seems to be the problem.

So, I did a little research.....

I can find lots of scripture that tells me to FORGIVE....

"Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven."
Matthew 18:21-22 ESV

"“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;"
Luke 6:37 ESV

"For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,"
Matthew 6:14 ESV

"Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive."
Colossians 3:13 ESV

"And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”"
Mark 11:25 ESV

"Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”"
Luke 17:3-4 ESV

"Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."
Ephesians 4:32 ESV

And I found scripture about GOD not remembering my sins....

Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more. Hebrews 10:17

I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more. Isaiah 43:25

For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more Hebrews 8:12

Well....I'm not God and I can't find scripture that tells me to forget that someone wronged me. God's word just tells me to forgive them...all of them...for everything that they have done.

Forgiveness is a choice of will. I have to CHOOSE to forgive someone. It does not happen naturally. I wonder if this whole "Forgive and Forget" thing is a tool of the Devil. Hear me out... If I believe that I have to FORGET something in order to have forgiven the person who did that something...well, that messes everything up because I cannot give myself amnesia. I cannot FORCE myself to forget. I don't have a delete button or backspace key. It is in the very nature of my brain to remember things. The whole focus on forgetting also takes the focus off of the forgiving.

Would it not be SOOO much easier to "forgive" someone if you forgot what they did in the first place? Would it not be SOO much easier to just hit the delete button and REALLY not even know that someone had just ripped your heart to shreds? IF we could forget, there would be no need for forgiveness.

So maybe then I MUST remember in order to truly forgive. Maybe the blessing of forgiveness is actually in the fact that I do remember. Go back to the story the DJ told that I mentioned in the beginning of this...

"The scar does not cause me any pain"

She did not forget how the scar got there, did not forget the pain of the injury, did not pretend like it wasn't there. It left a mark on her. Changed her. Hopefully taught her something. BUT THE SCAR DOESN'T HURT. The wound has healed.

I have been on the receiving end of true forgiveness and I have decided that there is possibly no sweeter gift than this. And it is truly a gift. Totally in the control of the giver. I think that maybe there is greater power in forgiveness than there is in punishing someone by holding a grudge. Grudge holding is totally natural, expected, normal. Forgiveness is God-breathed, Biblical, and holy....

I found a quote that said "Forgiveness is giving up my right to hold a grudge".

I like that.

I also found something that said that forgiveness is treating the person as though they had done no wrong.

I like that too.....

Much better than "Forgive and forget".

Perhaps a better phrase would be "I remember and I choose to forgive you anyway"

Just a thought.
Have a great weekend!

Friday, January 14, 2011

To know You

Philippians 3:8-11 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

So, I think I have a firm grasp on verses 8 and 9.

Verse 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ
First of all, I want to know Christ so intimately that every other thing in my life is like garbage in comparison. Like with kids...I LOVE my friends’ kids. They are great....but even though I love them dearly, the love I have for them is nothing compared to the love I have for my own kids. Or better yet, I remember one particular fella that I was “in love” with when I was younger. That “love”, as real and as valuable as it was to me THEN, is like garbage now that I know the love of my husband.

Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, must be like garbage to me compared to what Jesus Christ is to me.

My relationship with my Lord should be so amazing that everything else, no matter how wonderful, pales in comparison.

Oh! I soooo want that!!!!!!

Verse 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.
Hmmmmm.....this moves on from the last verse. The “and” is the key. Consider everything as garbage compared to my relationship with Jesus so that I can be found in Him. How am I found in Him? Be so connected to Him that everything else is like garbage in comparison.
I have some amazingly wonderful relationships in my life. How over the top amazing would it be for my relationship with Jesus to surpass them to such a degree that these relationships seem as garbage?!?!? And is this same thing...this amazing relationship with Christ that makes everything else seem like garbage...also what helps me understand and grasp hold of the faith that leads to righteousness? (Not righteousness through my works, but true righteousness that comes from God)

SO it is really not so difficult after least not this part of the scripture.
Strive to love Jesus to the point that everything else is as in comparison, no matter how great it is.
I guess the bottom line is, and I can totally see this in my own life, that Paul is saying to just get over all the earthly stuff and not be focused on all the “stuff” I do here. Focus rather on my relationship with Christ, on knowing Him more and more deeply.

Now, how to develop that kind of relationship with know Him that way.....

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

One thing I read about Philippians 3:10-11 said that Paul is simply saying that he wants spiritual intimacy with Christ. Paul knows Christ, but wants to know Him more. The writer goes on to say:
“To achieve this requires a clear vision of where one wants his life to go; dogged, disciplined determination to work toward that end; rigid concentration to avoid becoming distracted; and an unflagging willingness to pay whatever price might be required.”
At first I thought “Uh-oh....this guy is trying to stick ‘works’ in on me” but I don’t think so. It does take focused determination to truly know someone. You DO have to avoid distraction. If you really want it, you DO have to be willing to pay any price required. Okay, so maybe that helped a little.

All the commentaries I found seem to focus on the previous verses about earthly fame being rubbish next to knowing Christ or on the verses 12 and following that speak to pressing forward toward heaven. Of course I WOULD get hung up on the verses that don’t seem to matter much to anyone else! Ha ha ha

I also read somewhere today that Paul is talking about not being able to REALLY know Christ in his (Paul’s) own “righteousness”, but through the righteousness that is from God and that it IS the power of Christ’s resurrection that Paul is seeking and not that Paul is still seeking resurrection.

So, what is the power of Christ’s resurrection?
What I think of as Salvation, of course. Forgiveness of sin. Eternity in Heaven with God Almighty. Being known as a daughter of the Most High. The power of Christ’s resurrection is what I base my whole life on!

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

That leaves the following questions.....
How do I participate in His suffering?
If I know the power of His resurrection and participation in His sufferings, then will I become like Him in death? (Which brings me back to “What was He like in death?”)
And I cannot even wrap my brain around “and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.” this afternoon.
Maybe I can find answers tonight or tomorrow.

Father God,
You are so holy. Your power is more than I can grasp. So is your love. I know that there is no way for me to fully understand how much you love me. I love you Lord and I want to grow to the point where I can HONESTLY say that I want to know you more than I want anything else. I still hesitate Lord. I am afraid of what you will require of me. I am still afraid that you will not give me what I want. I’m sorry. I know that this is foolish. I know that what you give me is truly what I need and I know that your plans are not mine and your ways are not mine and that I can;t possibly see the big picture of what you are doing. I do know that what you require is always best. I know that as I grow, my desires change and line up with Your plan for my life. I just don’t think I like these growing pains much...but I know I don’t like this aching in my heart either....and I know that I am aching for a deeper relationship with you.
Thank you for revealing to me that I do understand more than I thought I did about Paul’s thoughts in these verses. Thank you for filling in some of the gaps. I trust that you will open my eyes to more truth as I am ready to understand it. I realize that right now I need to rest on putting you and my relationship with you above all else.
Lord, I do know one thing that still has a crippling hold on me. I do want my voice to be like it was before it got all messed up. I know that I want that more than I want anything and I know that is wrong. I am so very thankful that you healed me and that the only residual I have from all the surgeries and the cancer is a hoarse voice. I
am truly grateful. I do see how blessed I am. But Lord, if you healed me from all that, can’t you restore my voice as well? If you will restore it, I will serve you with it. I will.
To everything there is a season and this is my season to....what? get over myself and be obedient? I do trust you Lord. I do. Help me to let go of wanting to sing. I don’t even want to sing in front of anyone...I just want to be able to sing in the car....and maybe in the choir. I do trust you and I know that if I don’t have my voice back, there is a reason. I know that you can use me even if you never restore my voice. I understand that your plan may not include me ever having a pleasant voice again and I also know that I don’t have to understand why. Please help me Lord. Help me to seek more of you so that having my voice back seems like garbage compared to just knowing you.
That’s where I want to be.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I want to know Christ

I wrote before about asking God to do something IN me rather than asking Him to do something THROUGH me. I guess that's what this is all about, God working IN me. To be honest, I am more comfortable looking for what God needs to do in others. Maybe I am not the only one like that. A sweet friend and fellow minister's wife said that those of us in ministry have a tendency to see everyone else's speck. (If she wasn't in ministry herself, that would have hurt my feelings much worse- ha ha)

Several things have been bouncing around in my head the past few days. In Calvin's sermon, he commented on our tendency to begin our statements about what God is doing with the pronoun "I". Hmmmmm. I see that. When asked "How are things going?" or "What's been going on?", I am eager to tell all about the Ladies ministry at Pearson and all about what is going on at Pearson....but I am afraid that most of my sentences DO indeed begin with "I"...or we....or Calvin. (That's my super great preacher/husband for those that don't know).....I am afraid that I start far too few sentences with "God". I guess I can start now...

God is working on me. He has challenged me to the core and I don't suspect that He will be done with me anytime soon. He has humbled me and made me take an honest look at my reasons for doing all sorts of things. God is leading me into a deeper relationship with Him. To be honest, it is a little frightening, but I know that God is trustworthy and that everything He commands is ultimately good....and He is teaching me to trust Him more.

Another thing bouncing around in my brain today is what God told Cain in Genesis 4: Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” Right after that conversation, Cain murdered his brother...really??? Cain was ticked because God showed favor to Able when Able presented his offering, but not to Cain when Cain gave God his offering. He killed his brother because he (Cain) didn't do right! That's just crazy!

Or is it?

I've never killed anyone, but I have sure resented people whose offering seemed better than mine! God asked Cain and Able to give to Him first and give Him their best. If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? Is this much different than God saying "Just do what I tell you to and you will have my favor"? Doesn't matter what anyone else does. Doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. Just do what I have called you to do.

And what about the warning...sin crouches at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it. Soooo, I CAN rule over this sin...this pride. It IS possible...but I have to do what is right. In the story of Cain and Able, God was talking about offering their BEST to HIM. How many months have not done ANYTHING because I didn't possess the gift I wanted to offer? Specifically, I do not have my voice back. "I can't teach, I can't sing, so I'm not doin nuthin!" Hmmmmm...I have on more than one occasion even resented those who can teach and those who can sing. Am I so unlike Cain? We both resented someone because they were using their gift well...while we did not use our gifts at all.

wow...Me and Cain....Who'da thought it? Not exactly something I expected to discover.

Thank you Lord for shining light on my sin. Please forgive me for not using the gifts You have given me and forgive me for being jealous and resentful of other people's gifts. Help me to use the gifts YOU have given me to bring YOU glory. Help me focus on what YOU want ME to do rather than on what others are or are not doing. Help me grow in the areas You have set in place for me to minister and serve.

The final thing taking up space in my brain this week is the Scripture Calvin used in his sermon Sunday. It's found in Philippians 3...
I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. This is where I got my New Year Resolution from. I may be stuck here for a while. There is a lot of stuff before and after these particular verses that I'll have to take into consideration as well. Before these verses, Paul is talking about how all his earthly "fame" is no more than garbage, and after these verses is when he talks about pressing on toward the goal.
The questions currently bouncing around in my brain are things like:
Does Paul want to know what it is like to be resurrected and to participate in Christ's sufferings, or does he want to know the power of these things?
How does Paul suggest to become like Jesus in death? Does he want to be crucified? What was Jesus like in death? What aspect of that can a human "become like"?
If Paul knew that we are promised eternity in heaven, then why does he want to attain the resurrection from the dead? Is he really referring to "dead" as I think of "dead" or is he referring to spiritual death? And if he knew Christ already as Savior, why would he need to attain resurrection from the dead? What am I missing???
If he is referring to spiritual death here, then could he possibly have been focusing on what Christ was LIKE in His death rather than Christ's death earlier in the passage?
These are the things that go round and round (and round and round) in my head.

Lord, help me understand what Paul was talking about. How do I know? I mean, I know that there are commentaries out there to tell me what all these things mean, but they are written by people. How do I know Lord? How do I know what Paul meant? I want to know you and I want to understand what Paul was pressing toward, what he wanted to know, what he was missing, what he was looking for that made him pen these words. Lord, he knew you. He continues to lead people to you even today through the letters he wrote. Did he realize that there was more? Did he feel a longing in his heart for more of you? And if so, would he satisfy that longing in knowing the power of Your resurrection and participation in Your sufferings, becoming like You in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead? And what dead was he seeking resurrection from?
Lord, I am seeking.....

That's all I've got. I'll do some research and see what answers I can find, then I'll be back.


Monday, January 10, 2011

New Years Resolution

I have struggled since just after Christmas to settle on a New Year's resolution.

Resolve to grow spiritually
Resolve to be a better wife
Resolve to be a better mom
Resolve to lose weight
Resolve to get organized
Resolve to keep my house clean
Resolve to cook dinner every night
Resolve to be on time
Resolve to be a better friend
Resolve to be a better steward of my money
Resolve to be more conscientious and caring
Resolve to listen more and talk less
Resolve to obey the speed limit
Resolve to keep the laundry caught up
Resolve to keep my temper
Resolve to NOT pass judgment
Resolve to see the best in people
Resolve not to assume I know what someone else is thinking (especially my husband)
Resolve to....

UGH! I need a complete and total life overhaul! This is so depressing! I am a MESS! It is overwhelming! So, I have not made a resolution yet....but have spent much time obsessing over my many, many, many shortcomings. These past few weeks have left me exhausted, discouraged, and depressed.

I know, and have known for a while, that what I REALLY need is a SPIRITUAL overhaul. Now, Satan would rather I not acknowledge this. Satan would rather I just wallow in my shortcomings. Satan would rather I just lay down and claim defeat. Satan would rather I just give up and call myself a failure.

I think I'll not let Satan have his way with me any longer. I think I am ready to get back in the battle.....maybe. No, I am...I think. No, I know i am. It is time. Actually, it is long past time, but I have been spending too much time feeling sorry for myself to realize that I walked away from the place God put me to fight. I am tired of feeling this way. I am tired of feeling like a failure and like I have no purpose. I am tired of feeling like the life has been sucked out of me. I am tired of feeling empty and numb.

I quit writing several months ago. What started as my personal thoughts and feelings about The Battle (Ephesians 6:12-13), became something I never intended for it to be. It naturally morphed into my journal while I was being treated for cancer. That was natural and I believe God guided my words through that. Once I was healed, something terrible happened. I began to write what I thought some reader might need to read. Not at first, and not always, but as time went on, I wrote less and less from my heart and more and more for.....what? Acknowledgment? Praise? Adoration? Some combination of all of the above? Something like that.

Writing for "someone" who might stumble across my blog took all of the enjoyment out of writing and replaced it with pressure.

I stopped writing about what I believe God is doing in my life and started writing about what I thought others needed to let God do in theirs.

I stopped writing about my struggles and started writing about struggles I saw in other people's lives.

It makes me sick really. I guess because I know me. I know my heart and I know that somewhere along the way my heart became all about me. I know that I took a gift that God gave me and tried to use it to bring myself glory. Thankfully, I only became a giant in my own mind. Pride is a terrible thing though, and I lost all the joy I once experienced as I poured my heart out at the keyboard because I became so worried about what "someone" might think of what I wrote. (sigh) I also know that at some point along the way I decided that I couldn't (wouldn't) be used by God unless He restored my voice.....but that is a post for another day.

So, here I am. Back at the keyboard. Humbled in ways I could not have imagined otherwise....and I have settled on a resolution.

It is found in Philippians 3:10-11.....

"I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead."

I want to know Christ.

So, for the next....however long....I'll share this journey. I don't know what this road will bring, but I do know 3 things:

1-this is the road I am absolutely supposed to be traveling right now.
2- the One who knew me even in my mother's womb will be with me every step of the way
3- even though this is between me and Christ, I am supposed to share this journey with you.