My Breast Cancer Healing Testimony

52nd Birthday, Provided by God Himself (with testimony link)

So, I’ll turn 52 this Thursday, February 2nd.

Do you have any idea how awesome that is?  Any idea how awesome GOD is?

If you know this already, just humor me please, as this bears repeating.  I was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer on the day before Christmas Eve of 2009.  I had lumpectomy surgery in January of 2010 and on February 4, 2010, two days after turning 45, I had my first chemotherapy treatment.

As my oncologist laid out my treatment protocol, telling me a portion of my chemo would be received via infusion on Thursdays, through the end of May.  Following that, another portion of the chemo would be done (also via infusion) through the end of the following January.  She said I’d also have to have another surgery, which turned out to be two more surgeries and also radiation.  I asked for my prognosis and she replied, “You might do ok.”  All the information she’d given me was so gloomy, that I grasped at the length of time for treatment and said, “Well, at least you’re saying I’ll live to see my 46th birthday!”  She replied, “No, that’s not what I’m saying at all.”  I told her that was ok, because I really did respect her opinion and I would always want to know what she thinks, even if it’s hard to hear.  Then I’d talk it over with Jesus and by the time I got home, I’d have Him fighting with me and I’d be putting all of my faith in whatever HE said.

Well friends, here I am SEVEN birthdays from the one with that gloomy prognosis.  I’m here to testify that GOD is the boss, especially  IF you put your life in HIS hands.  Life is His to give.  And He ALWAYS rewards faith.  Whatever is going on in your life, PLEASE put your trust in the Lover of your soul, who promises to fight for you.

I invite you to listen to my healing testimony, recorded May 17, 2015 at the Cathedral of Christ the King, Sharpsburg, Georgia.  Go to https://godacts.com/breast-cancer-testimony/  I am working on a book  where I’ll share a lot of the details that I simply couldn’t share on a Sunday morning during church.  God showed me amazing and wonderful things that I truly do not believe I’d have seen had it not been for this trial in my life, and in the life of my family.  I will surely post it here once my book (and accompanying devotional!) are complete.  Please pray for me that I can work diligently and purposefully, that I can retell my story in a way that blesses God, furthers His kingdom, and  brings Him glory.

May grace and peace be with you, and fill your heart this day.  THIS is the day the LORD has made.  We will rejoice and be glad in it.  (Psalm 118:24  NKJV, emphasis mine)

#MakeAmericaGodsAgain

Happy New Year!  I’ve been praying that this new year is going to be a Godly year in which all who truly desire it, grow in the knowledge and love of the LORD.  I pray that, daily, we grow more deeply in love with the Lover of our souls.

I will not bore you with my thoughts on politics as I know we’ve all seen #Makeamericagreatagain and #Imwithher ad nauseum.  Today, on the news, I caught a glimpse of a meeting on Capitol Hill with a big billboard-type sign in front that read “#MakeAmericaSickagain.”  Oy.  I think we’re all beyond weary.   That’s likely how “they” all go about doing much of whatever they want on “the hill.”  They wear our patience so thin that we quit paying attention or holding anyone accountable.  But that’s enough of that.  I promised not to weary you any further on politics.

I cannot help but wonder what God is thinking of all of this, and what His Word has to say about it.

Regardless of one’s political affiliation or ideals for our nation and our states, God has given us an exact template we can utilize as we pray for our incoming 45th president and the future of his presidency, and our nation.  We know we are called to pray for our leaders as we have God’s ear.  We belong to Him and He’s over-the-moon for us.

Take a really good look back at King Josiah.  You’ll find the account of his reign in the Bible in 2 Kings chapters 22 and 23, and 2 Chronicles chapters 34 and 35.  The people chose Josiah to be king after his father was assassinated.  Perhaps they thought that since he wasn’t but 8 years old at the time, he’d not be much trouble.  The Kings preceding Josiah, including Josiah’s father, were evil in the eyes of LORD.  The new King Josiah decides that he wants to seek the LORD and His righteousness and finds the Book of the Laws, which was the book of Deuteronomy, and chooses to live according to God’s laws. He commands that huge, sweeping changes be made in his kingdom to comply with God’s laws.  His heart, and his intent, is that God be acknowledged and revered as the One True God throughout Josiah’s kingdom.

Wouldn’t that be the most, extremely awesome thing if after January 20th, we saw the new president take that same kind of stance that King Josiah took?  If he’d look to God’s laws with which to govern and lead?

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked way; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”  2 Chronicles 7:14

A peaceful and blessed new year to you.

“Under Attack”

I am scheduled to share my healing testimony at church next Sunday, the 17th of May.  I’ve been extremely excited about it! Do you believe that the enemy messes with you preceding something good?  For instance, if you’re going to stand up in front of your church family to thank them for praying you through stage 3 breast cancer, and you’re planning to tell the ways God answered their prayers and yours, do you think the enemy might try making you feel badly or not adequate to the task?  Of if you’ve recently begun hosting a Bible study in your home that’s designed to alleviate other moms of their worry for their children in the current perception (and treatment!) of Christians in this world as it compares to the book of Revelation?  Do these things tick the enemy off and put you in the line of fire?

I absolutely think so.  I feel pretty sure I’m irritating the enemy.  I toss around the idea that I’m thinking I’m more important than I actually am.  I mean, do I seriously carry enough clout to motivate the horned guy into action?  Seriously?  1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be alert and of sober mind.  Your enemy the devil prowels around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  (NIV)  I don’t see a lot of ways to interpret that other than this: he’s after us, individually.

As I’m preparing my testimony, I’m having a great deal of body pain, which is not really new for me.  I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia a few years ago.  But its been especially rough on me over the last few weeks.  My husband is painting our living room.  The last time it was painted we did it together, and I actually enjoyed it.  I like doing things together with him; sometimes especially jobs around our home and yard.  It feels like it makes the space that much more ours.  I’ve not been able to help at all this time and it frustrates me terribly.  We made up a plan for me to start working at the shop with him, with a specific part of the business being my responsibility.  I’ve been very excited about being with him during the day,  being productive and helping carry the burden of supporting our family.  I’ve not been able to get to the shop even one day since we made our new plan.  There are other things, but it bores me to even think of including them all here.  I’m so sure you’d be very bored with my list of complaints.

So, am I saying satan sent this dis-ease to me?  I don’t really think so.  I think cancer  is a result of this fallen world.  The pains now are basically a by-product of my chemo and the medication I currently take.  What I do blame him for is jerking me around:  I feel badly, physically and can’t think of much other than how I can’t do things I want to do.  I get depressed that I’m not the strong and energetic person I was before.  I start telling myself all the ways that I sort of did die in 2009/’10.  I think my family, My husband especially, have to be running out of patience with my current inabilities and complaints, even though they ask me how I’m feeling.  I resign myself to the knowledge that I am no longer adequate .  I know I am so immeasurably grateful to God that I am still here with my family, BUT I also know I am a fraud – how can I stand in front of anyone and tell of the peace that comes with faith?  I recognize that satan’s poking at me.   I cannot believe I am no better a disciple that that!  I have to do quite a bit of praying and Scripture reading to move myself out of the line of fire and under my Savior’s wing.

Ephesians 6:11 tells us that we are to, “Therefore put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil, (v12) for our STRUGGLE is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authority, against the powers of this dark world and of the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (V13) Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes you will be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (V14)  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, (v15)  and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. (V16) In addition to all of this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. (V17)  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (V18)  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions, with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind be alert,  and keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

God, in His wisdom and affection, knew these days would come and gave me everything I need to be victorious over them, and over our mutual enemy.  I wish my heart would remember it more readily.  It would sure save a lot of grief, you know?

New Year’s Resolutions…pie crust promises

“Its a pie crust promise, easily made, easily broken.” Mary Poppins

New Year’s Resolutions

“So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:20

I’m not picking on making resolutions for the new year. My personal experience is that they turn out to be “pie crust promises.” In general, resolutions made at the new year are goals toward positive changes…changes that we tend to lack the will power to make or endure on all the other re-start Mondays of the year. We are under the impression that some sort of magic will occur in a brand new year, and we will suddenly have all the will power and stamina necessary to lose 25 pounds, eat healthy, work out every day, read the Bible daily, make a budget and stick to it, keep the closets neat…any of this sound familiar?

Genesis 25:8 tells us that, “Abraham breathed his last and died in a ripe old age, an old man satisfied with life.”

“Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” Psalm 139:16

“A person’s days are determined; You have decreed the number of his months and set limits he cannot exceed.” Job 14:5

Clearly, none of us has any idea of how long we will live. Imagine your life thus far as one of those time lines we all learned how to make in elementary school. Or make a timeline now. I’ll wait…OK, now just for the sake of your time line, assume you will live to the reasonably generous age of 90. Got that on your timeline? Now look at it, and ask yourself these questions: How much time have you spent seeking after the heart of God? How much time have you squandered seeking after the things of this earthly life? Yes, I said squandered. I don’t say it to offend or to make you feel badly or guilty. I say it to point out all of the time you could have been living in perfect peace. (1) How about all of the time that God could have been drawing near to you? (2) Or this! All the things that could have been added unto you? (3) All the time God Himself would have been bent down to listen to you! (4) Do you know all of the healing that could have been happening? (5) And uncountable, unfathomable, immeasurable other gifts, graces and blessings! (6)

So, this is just a suggestion, maybe for this year, instead of a pie crust promise, how about resolving to trust God to grow you in wisdom, knowledge and holiness? That’s what I’ll be doing, by His grace, storing up riches and treasures in heaven (7) and leaving the earthly stuff (8) to the One Who promised to bring me to completion (9) according to His plan for my life. (10)

Then, at whatever age I leave this life, I can be satisfied with it, and I can present to God a heart of wisdom.

May the God of peace Himself make you completely holy. 1 Thessalonians 5:23

Numbered Scripture References:

1.) You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3
2.) Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8
3.) But seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:23
4.) Because He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath. Psalm 116:2
5) I am the LORD Who heals you. Exodus 15:26(b)

6.) However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”  the things that God has prepared for those who love Him.  1 Corinthians 2:9

7.) Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moths and rust destroy, and thieves break in or steal, but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth or rust destroys, and thieves do not break in or steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:20-21

8) The LORD will fight for you, you need only be still. Exodus 1414

9.) Being confident of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6
10.)  For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Chasing Normal…Giving Up The Chase

On My MindIt seems at once revealing too much that should perhaps, be private; and allowing even just one other traveler know that he or she is not isolated in the trek. It is, of course, showing mastery of the obvious to say that Jesus, the Son of the Living God, Who breathed His Holy Spirit on us, is never further away than the air we breathe.

To feel isolation in suffering physical and/or emotional pain, mental pain, or struggles is probably somewhat common. For me personally, when I don’t feel well, all of my life, I prefer to be left alone. Whatever the ailment, I seek solace in the dimly lit, quiet comfort of my favorite rocking chair in my room, surrounded by my items of convenience and contentment. I think that’s unexceptional. Who would choose to press on through a physical trial when he has the option to seek a sense of alleviation and repose? Where it could be a problem, I suppose, is in the frame of mind. Brief bouts of complacency are refreshing to body, mind and soul, regardless of the motivation.

When isolation becomes the norm, a hiding place, a self-inflicted prison, there could be a true “issue” as we have come to like saying. However, I strongly believe that God, in His infinite wisdom made us each with individual social preferences. Some prefer activity and noise while others thrive on peace solitarily. I had come to believe, or had allowed the enemy to convince me that I was shutting myself off, that it was wrong and that I had to make some big changes, some behavior modifications or I’d be going down fast. I HAD to find a way to get back to living my life and serving my God the way I used to. I begged God to show me how to do that so I could be a blessing to Him.

By God’s grace, I am a three and a half year survivor of stage 3a breast cancer. My children were ages 12; 4 and 3 when I was diagnosed. God had told me clearly, months before I had any idea I was headed for the diagnosis, that I was healed. He told me literally, “There’s no cancer.” None of it was a walk in the park, but I knew that God had it all under control. My doctor had mapped out my treatment and God was handling the healing, all I had to do was walk it out. It’s really never what we know that catches us up; it’s what we don’t know. The worst is the silent beast, patiently waiting at the end of the tunnel, casually donning a tee shirt with the words, “I’m what you don’t know you don’t know.” printed on it. I didn’t know I faced radiation, since the plan at the start didn’t include that. New research and a doctor up on the latest is a gift; but one that is sometimes hard to accept without resistance. I don’t love change, particularly when it doesn’t seem convenient. I didn’t know how my skin would “broil,” as they called it, and how that would cause something originally mapped out for just over a month, to turn into three months. I had expected to “breeze through it” as it was told to me. I encountered no such breeze. I had no foreknowledge of many other things, specifically regarding this breast cancer “journey,” were to transpired between Christmas of 2009 and this day. I pray my journey is as individual as each snowflake and that, by God’s grace, no one else suffers the five year medication as I have.

I rarely feel well. I more rarely feel good. I am often a resident of my bedroom, much like a nursing home patient. I have alternatively seen it both as my haven and my prison.

Let me be clear, that’s not who I was in November of 2009 and all of my life prior. I had prided myself (catch that? Pride does surely go before the fall. See Proverbs 16:18) on being high energy: organized, neat, honestly enjoying housework and projects like re -painting the living room with stripes even! I hand painted murals on my boys’ bedroom walls, cleared away yard stuffs and planted new flower beds, helped clear out brush and scrub from the wooded areas of our property, hung out Christmas lights, painted life-sized stand-up elves to decorate the front yard, I walked several miles a day…

I loved being capable. I loved being strong. I loved feeling independent. I loved being able to care for others, to teach my children things learned only by going, doing, being involved. John 12:25 and Luke 17:33 both record Jesus’ words about this life here: “Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” That’s from John. Hmm…Luke’s account records the teaching as, “Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it.” (Both NIV) I understand Luke’s account better. I had it all together, so to speak, and was quite pleased with myself over it. I was serving God in any and every way I could find. I don’t remember a time I didn’t adore Him and desire to bless Him.

Only in hind sight do I see that I was banking solely on my own abilities to do His work. The desire of my heart was to honor God. I never considered that I had not relied upon His provision, or even asked His help to do what I saw Him put in front of me!

I have ached in my heart and grappled in my mind with how I can get back to who I was. How can I go back to home schooling the way I like to, spending pleasant time with my husband that has nothing to do with his helping me or sacrificing what he might want? How can I lead my church’s women’s ministries into what God showed me He has for us? How can I promise my church, my fellow prayer ministers, and our home school co-ops that I’ll be there every time and really be able to follow through? How can I get back to honoring God with what He’s given me and bring Him glory…further His Kingdom and His purposes?

That sounds repetitive because it is a constant refrain in my head! More recently (have you been praying for me? I know my name’s on the list so someone has!) the desire of my heart has evolved. I can use that word. Those guys don’t own it. Psalm 37 is one of my all time favorites. Specifically verse 4 that says, “Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (NIV) How like our good, good God! And Psalm 127:1, “Except that the LORD builds the house, he that builds it labored in vain.” (NKJV)

As I sacrificed to God my insomnia last night (yes, we lovingly hold our messes once we’ve had them a while) it finally occurred to me (Baaahahaha! As if I’m so smart and I didn’t need the Holy Spirit to point it out!) that my most fervent prayer, my heart’s desire is to bring God glory NOW, in this season of my stay here in this place that’s not my home, in this life I have released because it’s NOT MINE! I did love my life and I have been gripping it as tightly as I could by my sore little finger tips! Just like Jesus warned I’d lose it, I did. I lost it that day in the doctor’s office when I told my husband I knew what the doctor was going to say, and that I’d already submitted to God, promising I’d do as He deemed good for me. That old life of self reliance is very much gone. She’s dead. As she should be. To live is Christ, not “to live is Sallie!” Oh goodness, how silly! How surely doomed! The self-sufficient, NORMAL housewife, perfect home school mom, well-rested, hard-working, pushing herself to her limit Sallie that I’ve been chasing is a ghost that I allow to haunt me. I’m giving up the chase, finally after exhausting myself emotionally and spiritually for almost 5 years! So much for thinking I was a quick study! Not!

It is not lost on me, the irony (?), the coincidence (?) that Sallie is a nickname for my real name, Sarah. In Genesis 17:15, God changes Abraham’s wife name from Sarai, meaning bitter or sorrow to Sarah, the “h” in her name, He says, is His own breath. Her new name, Sarah translates to a woman of high rank, a noblewoman, or more literally, “princess.” Sallie is the English variant of Sarah and so, carries the same meaning. But I’m going to take some poetic license and say it means “silly.” It rhymes. I’ve been called that more than once, and so surely have behaved so, even having conducted my walk with Jesus with silliness. So, with the revelation God has brought to pass for me, I’m taking back my real name, the name my Father calls me… Sarah. His princess.

Now, for the isolation that had become my nemesis and the thorn in my side, the thing I’d become ashamed of liking.. I think I had long since stopped asking God to take my body and joint pain away. I had moved on to begging Him to make me able to go back to serving Him that “normal” way I knew so well, in spite of the pain. If I can commune with Jesus, learn from Him, see His face, let Him reveal the path on which He wants to lead me…if I can write as He has called me again and again to do, then He will make up the rest. There’s freedom in that beyond what I can describe. Sweet release! Amazing grace! My allegedly cursed space can go back to being my beloved space, where I can do the new work I’ve been given to do. I don’t need the whole wide world, or even my city at my fingertips to serve God. It’s not an admonishment to bloom where you’re planted. It’s a blessing spoken over you – the key that opens your personal lock!! I can do what He’s given me to do and stop (finally) trying so hard to look beyond what He’s assigned to try to see where or how I want to serve, my way. I’ve known all of my life that God wanted me to write and illustrate, so in that prison I thought, well, I guess if I can’t ever shed this, I could always write. Like it was a last resort. Ha! But God says, “No, you’re a writer and illustrator because that’s what I assigned to you, prepared for you and prepared you for. I have things to say and you’re going to say them for me. You’re going to further My Kingdom from right where you are. It doesn’t matter who doesn’t understand. I will take care of them. I promised that ALL things come together for good. That includes body aches and joint pain. That includes physical limitations. Maybe keeping you seated is the only way I’ve been able to get your attention! To get you to write, to reach some people that I have poised to read our words.”

Allow me to introduce myself : my name is Sarah and I’m a writer and illustrator. It’s not by physical limitations or a last resort, but by God’s grace, love and affection, I’ve been freed to do what was planned for me!!! Rejoice with me! I called on God and He answered. (Ref Psalm 103:3)

Count it all Joy

Count it all Joy

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds. James 1:2 (ESV)

The New Living Translation makes the challenge sound more um, challenging and lively: “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.” Goodness!  Great joy?  That’s prolly harder than regular joy, no? How many of us greet troubles with even a modicum of joy, but great joy…hmmm.

It seems a bit of an alien concept to be joyful about our life’s trials. I do know that more than just spelling and semantics make “happiness” and “joy” different words. It seems to me that “happy” is a word that must be from the same word that means “to happen.” That leads me to believe that happiness must depend on situations or what happens. Well, that’s hardly Christ-like!

We serve the God of order, with plans for His world and His children…plans for me, specifically. I don’t live a life that’s ordered by the direction of the wind or susceptible to being tossed about like a wave on the ocean. Jeremiah 29:11 teaches me that God’s plans are to prosper me and not to harm me. Experience teaches me that sometimes things come to me that I have a hard time believing my father would give me. Breast cancer for instance – how does “every good and perfect gift is from above” justify breast cancer? And the resulting fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis…is that from God?

Before you start to believe that I’m modeling a “why me?” attitude, hear me out.

About 2013 years ago, Jesus underwent a violent, brutal and torturous death. He did absolutely nothing to deserve it. He was punched in the face repeatedly by Roman officers, men that, to my understanding, hadn’t been particularly offended by anything Jesus had said or done. It was understood at the time that 40 lashes with a whip, the “special” kind the Romans used with chunks and shards of broken pottery and such attached to it, to ensure that it would grasp skin and tear it beyond the tearing accomplished by the whipping itself, was sufficient to kill a man. So as not to kill Him, 39 lashes were ordered to punish Him…for nothing. He who knew no sin carried His own cross down the Via Dolorosa (The Way of Suffering) to Golgotha (the place of the skull.) It’s hard to imagine how He could have survived long enough to have been nailed to the cross, let alone hang between life and death for 3 hours.

Sorry for being graphic, really I am. But it’s part of what I think about when I feel myself closing in on a pity party. I have never, ever been through anything anywhere near the torture Jesus withstood. Not miscarriages, not chemotherapy, radiation, surgeries, broken bones, the loss of love and communication with 2 of my brothers, not even the on-going pain of my Dad’s passing combined is equal to Jesus’ suffering. If every good and perfect gift is from above and Jesus came that we’d have abundant life and God is love and Jesus is God’s only begotten Son, and, and, and… Then did God send Jesus to the cross? Because if He did, then it’s not a big stretch to figure He wants me to deal with fibromyalgia and whatever else. Right?

Did God send this as my consequences, since unlike Jesus Who never deserved any punishment, surely I deserve plenty for my deeds? That would make God pretty random, wouldn’t it? I don’t think God’s random. He’s for our good. I don’t even think satan is random; he hates all of us. Seems to me that since satan is the one that’s for our destruction, and he’s clearly the prince of this world, the yuck and muck all comes from him.

Genesis 50:20 says, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Don’t ever think that your faith, an enduring faith through trials, one committed to counting all joy because it is an opportunity to show God’s mercy, healing and provision, is not saving lives! Indeed, brothers and sisters watching you and witnessing your faith and JOY will be ministered to. So you can have GREAT JOY that God will use your trial to show others Himself! That’s how to be used of God! What could be more joyful than to know people will be turning to God because they see that you endure with joy?

That is not happy then, based on a happening. Hang on, we’re working into a loop. I choose to be joyful because I know my trials, through which I remain faithful, will be used by God and/or will be a means of pointing others to God. That gives me great joy! The God Who created heaven and earth uses me!!! Lowly, little, sinful me used of the one,true Almighty God – the same God of Abraham, Jacob, Paul…Who sent Moses- uses ME to further His kingdom! Are you kidding? Now that’s not just a good shoe sale kind of happiness. That’s so pitifully tiny and temporary. Real joy, great joy is knowing my trial, which is nothing by the way compared to what God has planned for me, is the celebration that what satan meant for my harm, God used for my good and for the good of others and to draw others to Him.

So for goodness sake, count it All great joy!!

It won’t be long now

“It won’t be long now” sounds like very good news indeed!  Maybe you’re awaiting the birth of a baby, the arrival of a friend from far away, your entree after you’re picked at your salad or you’ve sat in the car all day and the sign pointing to your beach destination is just ahead.

Maybe you’ve undergone 4 months of chemo treatments and you’re nearing the end of the battle!  Maybe you’re far from home, stationed in a place you don’t want to be and you’re sitting in a little puddle jumper plane with one more transport switch to home sweet home and your beloved family.

Today, my friend of almost 30 years, in a hospice was told, “It won’t be long now.”  To my friend, and to my family, this is far from good news.  We cry out to God: we’ve been begging, pleading…”Why, Father?  We know You hear us.  Why do you tell some yes and tell others, us…this important time…no?  How can we change Your mind?”

We know, Father You have made it ours to change Your mind.  We know it from the Holy letters You’ve left for us. In Genesis Chapter 18, we read about Abraham, a man after God’s own heart, humbly negotiating with God not to destroy Sodom. Abraham trying so hard…if I find 50 righteous men there?  Well how about 45? Ok maybe 30? Will 20 do? Maybe 10? For 10 righteous men, will you let Sodom be?  Each time, God relents. Why is that?  Because He is our Father, and like our earthly fathers, He WANTS to give us what we want.  Why is this story  included in God’s Love Letters to us?  I think  He wants us to know we have His ear.  He wants us to know that our loving Him in return for his loving us, our praise and our prayers move Him. We have the ability to move the All Mighty God Who made heaven and earth.  We know this.  We bank on it. We’re pretty sunk in our plans without it and we’re well aware of that.

But what of my friend in hospice? What of, “it won’t be long now?” Crushing. Devastating. Defeating.  It’s easy to feel somewhat abandoned and a lot panicked. What was all I’ve done with my life? Was it all for naught?  is this it? Why does this happen? I mean, to us?  The beloved of God, shouldn’t we be exempt somehow?  Shouldn’t we just be able to call on our Abba and He makes it all ok? We know rain falls on the just and the unjust the same. But that’s about the other children of God’s, not us…not me.

Yes, it is me and it is us. I wish I had a good answer for why God seems to be saying No about healing my friend here in this life, in this world. I don’t. But I do know one thing for very sure and I’d stake everything I have on it… On the other side, in the sweet by and by, on that beautiful shore where the angels await my friend, they are preparing a party…a huge celebration! “Welcome home son of Jacob!!” And as the days pass, they encourage one another saying, “It won’t be long now!”

I Am From

Posted on March 11, 2012by

I am from watching Daddy shave before work in the morning, from the home made “aggravation” board – marble game with Grandaddy and the milk man delivering before dawn. I am from the “L” shaped ranch at the end of the cul-de-sac, the one with all the evergreens and the cherry blossoms that snowed pink every spring, the dogwood tree that we weren’t allowed to climb but did so all the time. From the big blue spruce, with the Christmas lights, whose long-gone limbs I remember as if they were my own.

I’m from singing and reciting into the reel-to-reel tape recorder, “That’s the way it happened movin’ west.” and from painting ceramics with Mother every Tuesday. I’m from secrets with Paw-Paw whispered on the front porch glider. I’m from Grama and Grannie, from Aunt Betty, Aunt Tootsie and Aunt Tink, from Aunt Charlotte and Annie Doodle. I’m from Saturday’s pasta nights and sunburned Ocean City with a cooler full of sodas and waiting for Mom to finish canning so we can go to the lake.

I’m from knowing for sure that Santa is real and that Joseph’s brothers were jealous of his colorful coat. I’m from the song about the little boy and the little girl tying apples on the lilac tree and Puff the Magic Dragon. I’m from cook-outs every summer weekend, from rolling down the hill in the warmth and sledding down the same hill in the cold. I’m from the neighbor kids cutting through our yard to get to school and “Good health, a little wealth, friends galore and room for more.”

I’m from St.James in Smithtown, Long Island, NY and Virginia and Germany, England and Ireland. I’m from the Daughters of the American Revolution and the United Daughters of the Confederacy. I’m from steak and salad again! And Carvel ice cream and pancakes shaped like animals on Saturday morning. I’m from “Jump Down Spin Around” and a dancing, marching band around the house. I’m from the view of the Shenandoah Valley from the top of Humpback Mountain. I’m from the bear that turned out to be a cow that scared Daddy on his way home from baseball practice, and from years and years of undiscarded date books and golf score cards.

I’m from gazillions of photos in drawers, boxes and books, and on my camera and in my computer. I’m from Richard’s side – from where I draw my strength. From my children’s underneaths –  from where I draw my purpose. From my family – from whom I draw life.

I’m from the hands and feet of Jesus – from where I find my path and draw my breath. I’m from the God who loves and heals and restores what was lost, who bends down to hear my prayers, who found me worthy to be called His child because He clothes me in His righteousness and He is worthy.

I am from dust and when my body returns to dust, the part of me that loves will return to my true home – the very heart of Almighty, Who made me, freed me, holds me, Who will welcome me back home…where I’m really from.

A new year

I’ve mastered the obvious, yes, it is a new year. It’s been a while for me in turning it into a new year and I’m not entirely sure I’m there just yet. But, by God’s grace and some faithful perseverance, I’m getting there.

The hardest and most painful thing that could have happened to me happened on new year’s day; my dad left this life. Glory to God that I know that His Word teaches that to be absent from the body is to be present with Christ. My dad has been my sure foundation all my life. I have adored him every day of my life.

God is teaching me many things in these days. I am learning, at His feet, faith and patience. Richard was with my dad as he slipped the bonds of this life, as Father David says. He promised my dad he’d always take care of my mom and me and my dad said to him, “Have patience.”  That was just a little more than an hour before he died.  I know patience will be both tested and required, for all of us. Already it has been hard as my mom, in her grief and stress, has told my poor brother one thing and me something else. We are all trying to help her and do what she wants to the best of our ability. She’s told my brother that she doesn’t want to leave her home and understandably, she doesn’t. She wants to stay in her home and have everything go back to the way it was before my dad became so ill. I think she feels like my dad had told me he felt, “I feel like I’m in a nightmare and I want to wake up and have everything be back to normal.” But my mom also has said, has been saying, that she wants to live with me. She has been making plans to move in with me. I’m grateful because that is, of course, what I want. Next to my husband, my Mother and Daddy are my best friends – they always have been.  I don’t think I can remember a time when I didn’t speak to one or both of them at least once a day, wherever I was, whatever I was doing. It’s almost suffocating to think of living without my dad. I am so grateful to know my mom will be living with me. I’m happy for my husband, who lost his mother years ago and hasn’t had her around to love her and care for her.  He loves my mom and it gives him pleasure to love and protect her like he promised my dad many times  he would. I’m happy for my children who will get to know her even better. They are already pretty crazy about her. They like her company, her stories and they love when she reads to them, helps them with their Bible study, encourages their artwork and when she includes them in what she’s doing. I’m happy for myself that I will be able to love her and care for her like my dad did.

I can’t think of any person I’d rather be like than my dad. I have tried to emulate him and mimic his values, practices and beliefs all of my life. And now, I can’t think of a better way to honor my dad, and my mom, than to do what he did…put out her vitamins each morning, cut up 5 different kinds of fruit for her lunch and vanilla yogurt with walnuts for snack, take her to her dr appts, pray with her each morning, worship next to her on Sunday mornings – leaning down to where she’s sitting to kiss her when they “pass the peace” at church, walk her dog and tell her how pretty she looks, that I don’t deserve her and that I was put on this earth to take care of her.

(** since this is personal for my mom, she approved this before I posted it**)