Friday, August 7, 2015

a LONG process

It's been awhile!  I hope to be back here more regularly!  However I'm back to school in another week so not sure what "regular" will look like!

My blog tends to be about things God has been doing in my life and showing me through it.  It's not that He hasn't shown up, rather He has been the only thing holding me up over the last two years!  Funny thing is I remember taking a deep breath at the beginning of 2014-15 school year and thinking "finally, my life is returning back to normal & it's going to be a GOOD year!"  Well, it was a GREAT year but not in ways one would expect!!!!!

From November 2013 - June of 2015 life has felt like a Tilt-a-Whirl.  I never did like carnival rides because there was a person in control that I did not know NOR trust!  This particular Tilt-a-Whirl ride was crazy & precarious.....YET I knew my God was in control and He was teaching me about TRUST!  Two things I struggle relinquishing!

If you've not followed this blog all along you might want to go back and reread some to understand the last two years.  Anyway, the evening I found out that I had endometrial cancer I have to say I was in a bit of a fog.  All I knew is that I had to tell the people I loved without losing it!  I really didn't have time to process it.   All I could think was I needed to form a plan but with so many unknowns I didn't know where to start.  So that next morning while still in a fog, my daily quiet time had me in Acts 27.   As I was numbly reading, several verses leapt off the page at me:  "God of whose I am and whom I serve",  "unless you abide in the ship, you can't be saved",  and "not a hair from your head will be harmed". 

The first two verses were all I needed for "a plan".  It was no accident that I was reading there because that was exactly the reassurance I needed.  He had my full attention.  I know this might seem odd but ask many who are saved and daily reading the Bible.  This is how He communicates with us through good times and bad!  And in my 50 years I have learned that His ways are SOOOOOO much better than mine!!!!

Acts 27 was a great reminder of who I am and what I needed to do!  I just needed to focus on Him, not fear this diagnosis, and just keep about the purpose He's placed me in.   The last verse.....well,I was not certain it was a promise I could claim.  Maybe it was just my vain, wishful thinking?   So I went about my job, daily routines/responsibilities, medical appointments/tests, & enjoying family/church/friends.  If you didn't notice that I looked 13 months pregnant with twins, you'd never know that anything was wrong!  There were minor issues that I'd been dealing with but nothing totally terrible.  On the bright side I developed a brand new stretchy wardrobe that can adjust through 3 sizes!

By mid-April we knew that it had been caught early, I had to have surgery mid May, and it was possible that I might need chemo or radiation but still not probable.  May 11th I awoke early afternoon in recovery to realize that the discomfort I'd been feeling was gone, a big part of the swelling was gone, & I didn't have a big incision.  All huge blessings....and then I went back to sleep! ;)   Next day Dr came in to tell me that it was Stage 1, contained, and believe it was all gotten.  The tumor was larger than they thought which caused some tears and appeared to be just moving into another stage.  Though he wasn't planning to take a lymph they did take one to verify that the cancer had not spread.  My only question was if he'd okay me to try fly-fishing for the first time.  He thought I was kidding!

So more unknowns but three weeks later I found out that lymphs were all clear and no radiation/chemo were necessary.  I was going to get to keep my hair!  I was not going to have to be stuck with needles and have IV's which I HATE with a passion!!!!!  God is amazing! 

Interestingly the hardest part for me was recovery!  I didn't struggle with the resting as I had imagined.  It could be a bit frustrating at times but I had no options!  My body was exhausted and weak beyond what I had ever imagined.  I am so thankful my school told me to end my year on medical leave!!!   After 4 weeks when I should have been bouncing back(well, I thought I should have been), I was just starting to have symptoms from the surgery, severe vertigo, severe exhaustion, and fear.

The physical recovery wasn't the hard part, rather it was the mental.  I feared I would never get back to my personal normal.  I truly thought I would not be able to take this celebratory trip I had planned.  That was something I'd not experienced before!  "I can't" & "can you do this for me?" was never in my vocabulary before so this was a scary experience!  I had to constantly face the fears with God's truth and push through.  I had to work past a whiny attitude that irritated even me!  I had no right to whine because SOOO MANY others had worst circumstances than I!  Even with mom's recovery I didn't know what to expect so I took it one day at a time.  However, I was told by my surgeon "oh you'll be back to overdoing it AND you can't!"  That truly wasn't the case for me!   Truth is that he scared me a little and I do not scare easily!  I am just now getting back to a little more than half of my normal pace without naps. ;)

Beginning of July I did take that trip to Gatlinburg, TN.  One of my goals was to try something new; fly-fishing in a National Park river.  BEST  THING  EVER!!!!  Beautiful scenery, going with my best friend, trying something new in my 50's, & having the most patient guide in TN!   I actually caught two.....purely by accident too!  Casting was easy but the "setting the fish" was something altogether I did not get the feel for!  Thankfully my sister traipsed through the forest with us getting some of the best pictures ever!!!!  You can actually tell how stressed I was in the pictures at the beginning because I truly didn't believe I could do this physically.  Soon in the pictures you can tell I was stress-free and having fun.  In fact there was a point where I was in tears all alone because I was so thankful that I was able to take part in God's amazing beauty! I remember walking up out of the river at the end with a huge smile exclaiming to my bestie & my sis "I did it!  Love it & can't wait to show my surgeon the pictures!" 

I am back!  AND better than before because of the grace of God!!!!

Friday, July 24, 2015

the bite

Deep thoughts as I am gardening today...

Have you ever noticed how mosquitoes hang out in the darker, shady areas of your yard?  Not the sunny, light areas?  As I am sitting in my beautiful but shady Godspot beginning my daily quiet time, I am swatting at the buzzing in my ears.  It's very distracting and makes it hard to hear God speaking through His Word.

Then it struck me..... isn't that the same with sin?  It is often those shady areas where we have trouble discerning God's voice.  We also have the constant barrage  of the world's voices buzzing in our ears.  Sin is rarely just the neon sign proclaiming all it's worldly pleasures!  It ALWAYS starts with one "seemingly innocent" choice that leads us on a really bad path. 

Eventually just like the mosquito, sin bites too!  Sometimes that bite is just an annoying, temporary sting.  BUT like those disease carrying mosquitoes, sin too often can leave permanent damage.

Since we have had a rainy summer we have a lot of mosquitoes.  Most of them found to be carrying West Nile Virus.  So now along with my morning routine I spray my yard before going out.  Nowadays we have spray that will give you a 99.9% guarantee of getting rid of mosquitoes.  Yes we are still human and mess up!  Yet, if you are daily reading and applying the Bible to your life you can have that same guarantee against sin! 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wilderness Wandering

This is one from end of November 2013 I was working on but never got posted:

I might have mentioned this before but I have never understood how a people who could see, taste, smell, and feel God's provisions could not trust him for the dailies!  As I have been reading it again this year I am starting to understand that it is a choice.  Are you going to choose to focus on the circumstances that you are currently in or are you going to choose to see how God is working in the midst of those circumstances?

The beginning of October God began to convict me on two areas of my life: 'covetousness' & 'choosing to see Him" despite life's circumstances.  Conviction came through my daily reading in Numbers.  My coveting was not about "things".  I have always been a control freak so for me coveting is about wanting control over my daily life instead of allowing God.  A word study led me to Hebrew 13:5.

It is no coincidence that God had me in that particular spot!  I believe that He was preparing me for what was ahead.

Then November 1 he drove it deeper by my living in ICU with mom for 1.5 weeks.  As terrifying as it was I can also say what a blessing that experience was because I learned how to trust Him deeper.  God is STILL always there but we have to make a choice to see Him and how He is at work!  AND we have to make the choice to trust that His ways are right not ours! 

Maybe I am strange but looking back I am thankful for those trials in my life.  I often learn the most effective lessons through them!  I love how God uses His Word to teach!  No more than a few days after realizing for the first time that the Isrealites simply were not choosing to see I got a phone call saying my mom was at the Emergency Room and they were going to lifeflight her to Peoria.  I got a first hand lesson in how we humans still have to "choose to see" Him amidst the chaos.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Blessed Assurance

This morning I woke up with the tune of Blessed Assurance running through my head.  Now for those of you who don't know me well....I am NOT musically inclined in any way!!!  I might hear a well loved tune and be able to name it but I would be lucky to tell you the words to any part of a verse.   So  I googled that song.  The words are really interesting given all that is happening in my life right now!

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine;
Oh what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His spirit, washed in His blood.

This is my story, this is my song.
Praising my Savior all the day long.
This is my story, this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long.

Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Savior am happy and blest;
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

After looking at the words I know why it is playing!  God has me in a very unusual place today.  2.5 weeks ago I was told I had cancer.  This had not been a disease that runs in either side of my families.  A little over 2 months ago I was told one of my paternal aunts has cancer....ironically it was the same day that my doctor discovered an oddity at a regular visit!  A week ago I was told that the prognosis is they caught it EXTREMELY preliminary test reveal that it is a Stage 2 at the most and lymph nodes appear normal.  In fact they are shocked at how early it was detected because generally this cancer is not detected until it's reached a Stage 4.

Looking back over some of my old blogs I can see why He was showing me so much about the Old Testament believers!  I was about to embark into some trials that I needed much preparation for!!!!!!!   During my mother's heart issues and recovery He taught me volumes.  It is because of the past two years that I now face my own upcoming surgery with Blessed Assurance running through my mind....and being belted out around the house!  I should apologize to my neighbors for the noise infractions!  Luckily they are all my family!!!