Decisions, Decisions

This week for me was loaded with information and a few decisions.  Some I knew ahead of time, but some of the information caused me to rethink some decisions.  I knew that, ultimately, I have to feel comfortable with my decision.  I also knew that no decision is perfect.  No matter what I chose, there would be pluses and minuses.  I had prayed ahead of time that I would make a wise and appropriate decision.

God promises to lead us and establish our plans.  His way is the best.  As I submit myself to Him, God will lead me along the path He lays out.  I have confidence that the decision I made was led by God.  There is no greater peace.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for bringing me through another week of medical decisions.  Thank You for the help you sent through CTCA.  Please give me strength for the weeks ahead. 

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Weakness, Strength, and Trust

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (ESV)

My two-week break from medical appointments is coming to an end.  It has been nice to have some time away from appointments, but now it is time to move forward again.  Making decisions can feel overwhelming, but I have a Heavenly Father Who wants the best for me.  His best.  I need to daily place my trust in His care for me.  When I acknowledge my own weakness, God will give me His strength.  There is no better way to go through life than to have God’s strength readily available.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Please help me to go to CTCA in faith, trusting You and Your work in my life.  Thank you for what You have been doing and what You will do in and through me.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

What Does Cancer Do?

When we get a negative health diagnosis, we tend to look at the effects it has on our life.  Treatment, surgery, medication, and side effects are usually first on our mind.  That is understandable – health issues are life changing in those ways.

How often, though, do we think about the spiritual aspects of our life?  Does the threat of poor health draw us to or away from God?  I have prayed (and written several times) about making a difference.  I want to be God’s tool to draw people to Him.  I don’t want to deal with the struggles of a cancer diagnosis, but I know God can use even me to share the truth of God’s word with others.  My prayer is still that I would draw people to Jesus.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Jesus to die for me and the Holy Spirit to guide me.  Thank You that You can use anyone to share the truth of Who You are.  Please help me to be a shining light for You to everyone I meet. 

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Taking a Break

This week I hit the proverbial brick wall.  I had been to several appointments in 2 ½ weeks and while I had the blessings of many nice people, I think I just reached the point of exhaustion.  There was so much push to start with I felt I had to make a decision and get going.  While I don’t like crashing, it pushed me to seek a second opinion.  I will be heading to Cancer Treatment Centers of America in about 2 weeks.  I like their integrated approach including working with the patient to help them understand and feel comfortable with the decisions being made.

While it is important to work through medical issues without delay, it is nice to have a break.  Taking time to rest is important.  We tend to hurry through life, and it can take its toll.  I will thoroughly enjoy no appointments for a time.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for a short time of rest from medical appointments.  Thank You for the encouragement from the staff at CTCA.  They have been a blessing.  Please help me to cling to You and show You to others as I face this journey.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Claiming Peace

As I continue on my journey of being diagnosed with an early form of breast cancer, peace can seem illusive.  When I allow my mind to go down path A, B or C there are so many variables I can worry about.  At this point I am waiting for the results of an MRI. I do not know what path I will walk down. I need to wait for the next step, not think about 3 steps down the road.

A friend of mine talked about claiming peace.  I think we get stuck on God giving it – thinking somehow He is going to miraculously make us feel good.  God promises to give peace. I think we need to remember to take it. God doesn’t force His free gift of salvation on us.  He isn’t going to force us to take the peace He offers.  I definitely need the help of the Holy Spirit to make the wise choice.  But I shouldn’t blame God when I have chosen to be anxious.  That choice is NOT God’s fault.  That choice is mine.

As I work at taking one day at a time, I am going to ask God’s help to claim the peace He so readily offers.  Peace is a great gift from a loving Heavenly Father.  It is mine for the taking.

Dear Heavenly Father, my mind and heart are so prone to anxiety.  Please forgive me for my lack of trust.  Please help me to claim the peace You so freely give.  Thank you for such a great gift that is mine for the taking.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Thankfulness to Heal

I know I can struggle with being thankful.  This week was extra hard.  Work is tough with our new computer system issues and I had a coworker out on vacation.  I also faced a health issue that went a direction I didn’t want.  I was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ.  It sounds kind of scary, but in situ is my new favorite term.  It means the carcinoma is believed to be contained. I will be facing surgery to remove the tumor and possibly some other treatment after (to be determined based on surgery results).

As I faced this week, I knew I would need God’s grace.  This was my first mammogram, and I knew I was likely to need a biopsy.  Not an easy thing for this introvert.  There is also the emotion of dread if the results are bad.  I struggle counting trials joy because it can feel like we have to lie.  Brutal honesty – the biopsy wasn’t exactly fun.  There were several hard things for my introverted personality during the tests.  I didn’t want to take my worry out on the medical professionals providing my care.  I spent a lot of time praying, both before and during the appointment.  I asked God to show me His grace and make me aware of the ways He sent it.  God came through with His usual generosity.  My interactions with the medical professionals that day and after have been wonderful.  They showed great compassion and care.

When I find it hard to thank God for a mammogram and biopsy or a diagnosis that requires surgery, I can easily thank God for the many evidences of His grace through trials. Medical research shows that thankfulness helps with healing.  I will need that in the next weeks.  

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the kindness, care and compassion that You sent through medical professionals this week.  Thank You for friends and family who are joining me on this journey.  Thank you for the joy and comfort Your grace provides.  Please help me to honor You throughout this journey.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Different Kinds of Love

Happy Valentine’s Day, my friends!  This time of year brings lots of messages of love.  Many of them focus on romantic love.  However, there are many aspects of love talked about in the Bible.  The Greek word agape means affection or benevolence.  The Bible commands us to love (1 Peter 1:22, Galatians 5:13, Ephesians 4:2, John 13:35).  1 Corinthians 13 is a thorough list of how we can show love to one another.

This Valentine’s Day we need to look for ways to show love to everyone we meet.  The Bible gives us direction on how we can do that. 

Dear Heavenly Father, please help me to live these character traits in front of the people I meet.  Please help me to encourage others to do the same.  Thank You for sending Jesus to show the ultimate love sacrifice by giving His life.  Thank You for the love You show every day.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

Do the Next Thing

1. From an old English parsonage, down by the sea,
There came in the twilight a message for me;
Its quaint Saxon legend, deeply engraven,
It has, seems to me, God’s teaching from Heaven.
And on through the hours the quiet words ring,
Like a low inspiration: “DO THE NEXT THING.”

2. Many a questioning, many a fear,
Many a doubt has its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from Heaven,
Time, opportunity, guidance are given.
Fear not tomorrows, child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus. DO THE NEXT THING.

3. Do it immediately; do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence, tracing Christ’s hand
Who placed it before you with earnest command,
Stayed on Omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing,
Leave all resultings. DO THE NEXT THING.

4. Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
Working or suffering, let this be your demeanor.
In His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
Let the light of Christ’s countenance be your psalm.
Strong in His faithfulness, praise and sing!
Then, as He commands you, DO THE NEXT THING.

Author Unknown

This poem was popularized by Elizabeth Elliot.  It is loaded with truth.  There are difficulties in life.  We will not be 100% free from them while we live.  God has given us tools to keep moving forward.  He has given us His word and other believers to help us along the way.  All we need to do is cling to Him and “do the next thing”.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for providing a way to do the next thing.  I ask for Your help as many of us are weary and don’t feel as though we can continue.  Please give us strength and help us to honor You.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

So Many Choices

Two weeks ago, I talked about the many things outside of our control.  Today I want to focus on what is within our control.  We have many choices to make and the Bible tells us that there are natural consequences to our choices. Galatians 6:7-8 reminds us that fleshly choices bring what is bad.  Choices made with the Holy Spirit’s help bring eternal good.

Bad choices come easily to our sin nature.  However, we can have hope that God will take care of us and direct us towards good choices.  We still need to allow God to lead.  I think too often Christians assume they are doing what is right without allowing the Holy Spirit to lead.  My friend, please make sure God is leading you.

Dear Heavenly Father, we struggle with the choices we do have.  Please guide us to the right choices for Your honor and glory.

I pray this in Jesus name.

God is so good.

I Don’t Like to Suffer

I don’t think any of us likes suffering – of any kind.  The reality is that suffering happens.  The Bible reminds us that it will. While suffering is not what we want, God uses it to shape and mold His people (James 1).  The pain of the suffering is worth knowing what will come from it.

It doesn’t matter how great the pressure is. What really matters is where the pressure lies – whether it comes between you and God, or whether it presses you nearer His heart. 

-Hudson Taylor

I have learned to kiss the waves that throw me against the Rock of Ages. 

-Charles Spurgeon

God has a purpose and never makes a mistake.  We will survive the suffering in this life for a greater purpose in the next.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for having a purpose for me in suffering.  Please give the strength to endure and encourage others in their own troubles.

I pray this in Jesus’ Name.

God is so good.