Monday, November 28, 2011

God's Intimate Concern

It continues to amaze me how the words of my devotional in Jesus Calling and my reading in The Land Between seem to echo each other as if there is a very specific message that I need to hear. The scripture reading in the devotional was one that I have come to love, Ephesians 3:17-18 "And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ."  Then the chapter I read in The Land Between was about all about God's Provision. I love this quote, "God loves to provide for us-providing is what He does. And he does it with intimate knowledge of who we are and what we need."

This message could not have come at a more appropriate time. Despite enjoying a beautiful Thanksgiving weekend at Bethany Beach with my family, I was fretting about the week ahead. Today I was scheduled with the Plastic Surgeon for another injection in the expanders which always leads to some increased discomfort. Tomorrow I need to have bloodwork followed by an appointment with the Oncologist. Then this Wednesday at 8 am begins the dreaded few days of nausea and fatigue that comes with my chemotherapy treatments. However, as I was reminded this morning, God provides. And not only does He provide but He provides out of His extremely wide, long, high and deep love for me. He has provided with people to help care for me and my kids this week. He has provided with a knowledgeable physical therapist to help give me relief after my expansion and talk through some of my concerns regarding the expansion process and my next surgery. He has provided with a phone call from my Nurse Navigator to let us know that an organization would like to provide Christmas gifts for our kids this year. Most of all, He has provided with His Word that continues to keep my heart encouraged. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Wind in my Sails-Part 2

My reading in The Life Between continues and I really love something I read in it this morning.  “With each discomfort we experience, our responses both reveal the person we are and set the trajectory for the person we are becoming.” It doesn’t seem like a profound point being made but then I started thinking about how hard it is to apply to our lives. It also reminded me of someone that has been teaching me this principle over the last ten years that I have known him. 

If you don’t have the privilege of knowing my husband, Blake I wish you would and I want to tell you a little about why. Blake is probably not the guy that will walk up to a stranger and start making conversation but once you get to know him, you just can’t help but like him.  On a personality test, he would score extremely high on Thinking vs. Feeling when determining how decisions are made. In our ten years together, I have never seen him shed a tear. We have a joke when we sit down to talk, I will ask “So how are you feeling about things?” There must be some emotion in there but it doesn’t present itself too often.  He isn’t one to start an argument either because conflict is not his thing. He is a hard worker but doesn’t spend too much time on any one task cause he doesn’t see the value in perfection. He always thinks ahead and is the man you want if you need to work out some logistics.  Numbers run through his head a lot especially when it comes to finances.  But perhaps my favorite and one of the most amazing things about Blake is that I never hear him complain. Most likely, this is because of his past. Blake lost his dad when he was just nine years old to Melanoma. His mom who is a truly amazing woman in my eyes then raised Blake and his three younger sisters on her own in Hawaii. The man I just described to you could have turned out a lot different being without his dad for most of his life.  Blake has chosen to let the hard stuff in his life provide him better perspective on what is truly important and realizes that discomfort can deepen our character if we let it.  It is for this reason and so many others that I know God has given me an incredible gift in my husband, especially for this time in my life. 

Yesterday, the kids and I had the privilege of participating in the Mid-Atlantic Cancer Support Group’s annual Fashion Show at Lord & Taylor in the Annapolis Mall.  The purpose of the fashion show is to celebrate cancer survivors and their families.  Who would have thought I would ever qualify? It was a great event to be a part of and I got to meet some really neat people.  I am including a picture of the kids and me from the fashion show. Thank you to all who came out to support us.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Manna in my Wilderness

I must confess that this week began with a bit of grumbling and complaining on my part.  It wasn't until I started reading The Land Between by Jeff Manion that I even realized the condition of my heart earlier this week.  Perhaps it is the shorter days (I love being outside) or the overall yuck feeling I have after chemo or maybe it is the discomfort from the expanders in my chest while trying to sleep at night.  Things were starting to get to me.  As I mentioned before "The Land Between" refers to the difficult transition times in our lives during which we have the option to put all of our trust in God or to start to grumble and complain. Jeff Manion uses the Isrealites' journey through the wilderness from their slavery in Egypt to the promised land in Canaan to help us compare to these times of "undesired, transitional space" in our own lives.  

I was particularly touched by what Manion says about the Isrealites' option for food while they are traveling through the desert.  Numbers 11 speaks of the manna that God sent down every night for them to eat.  They would then go around gathering it and would grind it up to either be cooked in a pot or made into cakes.  It doesn't sound like there were too many options for preparation, and this is what they ate for every meal.  I think I would start to grumble myself.  But then I was reminded that the manna was God's provision and it was literally falling from heaven for them.  As horrible as the thought of controlled poison being injected into my veins every 3 weeks is, chemotherapy is God's provision for me to be well and for this cancer to hopefully never come back.  As much as I hate not being able to sleep in my beloved fetal position with pillows between my legs and arms, the expanders are God's provision that my body might someday look pretty normal again.  And the short days, well maybe it is God's provision for me to slow down a bit and allow for some hibernation to get through the next few months. Especially with Thanksgiving being next week, I am so very grateful for the manna that God has provided for me and will do my best to avoid the grumbling and complaining.  

Friday, November 11, 2011

Almost Halfway There!

Wednesday was my third Chemotherapy treatment and I am excited to say that I am almost halfway through all of my chemo.  I say "almost" because I am still struggling through the side effects of this most recent treatment and feel like once I get through the next few days, I can honestly say I am halfway there. I have been relying on the Sancuso patch again for this round and it has been successful at keeping the nausea under control and keeping me out of the ER. I am extremely grateful for that. I am also grateful for the Lord's provision of those that cared for the kids and for me during the days when I am mostly in my bed.  It seems that He always works out the schedule to allow my mom, my aunt, and my friends to fill in the gaps when I don't have the strength for the usual activities.  

This week I have been reminded once again that this journey that I am on is all because God loves me and wants the best for me.  He has provided an opportunity ("a Land Between" as we heard at church on Sunday) for growth as I seek to put my trust completely in Him and learn that God is all I need.  I don't think I could have learned this without traveling through this land between at this time in my life.  So I will continue to be grateful and cling to how great His affections are for me. 

I am including a YouTube link to a song that I heard last Sunday.  I was so overwhelmed by "How He Loves Us".  Click here to listen.