Sunday, November 30, 2008

Save the Ta-Tas!

My sweet friend Mandy and her girls, Brooke and Abbey, gave me a shirt that says "Save the Ta-Tas". Brooke and Abbey think it's pretty funny!

Save the Ta-Tas Foundation is a non-profit organization that raises funds and awareness for breast cancer research. They also believe that laughter brings healing. I totally agree with that! Thanks for making me laugh, girls!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Life Interrupted...

For a couple of months now I have been looking forward to a trip to L.A. to be mentored by Kim McManus and the leaders of the SHE Community of Mosaic. One of my biggest disappointments came when I realized that cancer was about to interfere with some very special ministry opportunities. I carried my calendar to every appointment and respectfully pointed out to each new doctor that my schedule was quite full and the timing of all of this was extremely inconvenient. My (unrealistic) hope was that they would allow me to finish my ministry opportunities before treatment would begin. Not exactly how it went. The news was gently broken to me that I was not in control...of any of this. And that's when I realized that it was time to surrender my calendar, along with all my "dream dates", to the Lord. It's one of those moments where you really find out if you mean it when you say, "Not my will Lord, but Yours." There are some things I've tried to hold on to and have agonized over when I think about giving them up. But after spending some time with the Lord, I am reminded that He is the Dream Giver and I can trust every bit of my hopes and desires to the One who gave them to me in the first place. In fact, what I consider "interruptions", God deems another opportunity to glorify Him. And there is a sweet freedom when you let go of your own plans, and trust God to take you to places you've never been before...and would never go otherwise. The plane leaves for Los Angeles this Wednesday and I still don't know if I will be on it. I'm relentlessly nagging the Lord to let me go, but if He chooses not to, I am confident that His plans for me are me a hope and a future. And as I turn each uncertainty over to Him, I come to know Him more. And ultimately, that is my desire; to shamelessly love the Giver more than the gift. Heaven knows that He has already given me much more favor than this girl deserves. I read this sweet reminder today:

"True surrender is not a single action but a posture in life, yielding ourselves-our whole selves-to God. Breathtaking opportunities for surrender will surface throughout our lives, but grabbing hold of them begins below the surface, in the deep places of the soul where God is already preparing us not just for those moments, but for HIMSELF." -Margaret Feinberg

Oh, I love Him so! But the way that He loves...words cannot even begin to describe! And everytime I let Him have His way, His "interruptions" prove to be glorious.

We sang this in church last weekend:

How He Loves

He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

And oh, how He loves us so
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us so

Yeah, He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves.

We are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
So Heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about, the way…

He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves.

-John Mark McMillan

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving Thanks!

Hey Sweet Friends,

I don't even know where to begin, except to tell you that I have so much to be thankful for today. I have the most amazing family and friends, many of which filled the waiting room yesterday as they stood in the gap for me all day. It has taken me all afternoon to get through the text messages and emails from those of you sending your thoughts and prayers. Oh how I love you guys!

Surgery went great and my doctor felt extremely positive about the outcome. No visible tumors in the lymph nodes and he felt that he got all of the cancer. We'll know more on Monday, but I'm believing for a good report! If all goes well, radiation will start in 4 weeks. I'm sure that experience will give me lots of blogging material!

Thanks again for your prayers and have blessed me so!

Happy, Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Someone Shook My Snowglobe...

I have a snowglobe that sits on an end table in my living room. It has a few Christmas trees surrounded by a blanket of snow and when left to itself, it's quite a peaceful scene. That was my life just a few short weeks ago, but as of this week, I feel like someone took my "snowglobe" and turned it upside down. The glittery flakes are beautiful while they're swirling around but I have no idea where each one will land or what the landscape will look like when the dust settles. There are uncertainties at every twist and turn and as I sat in the surgeon's office yesterday, fighting the tears, I kept thinking "this can't be happening". Thankfully my sweet husband was with me because once the doctor mumbled something about the seriousness of this cancer, he lost me. Those words seemed to drown out everything else he had to say. Today I'm tired. Not feeling so strong. Without the righteous right hand of the Lord that holds me up, I would be in a heap. But I am so grateful. Grateful for His Presence, grateful for His People and grateful for the Peace that passes all understanding. And I'm grateful for each of you that have come boldly before the throne of our gracious God and petitioned Him on my behalf. I would love it if you would continue to pray for a swift recovery and strength for the journey ahead. Surgery is in 6 days. Yes, the day before Thanksgiving. His ways are definitely not my ways but Proverbs 16:9 says, "In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps." I totally trust God's plans over my own any day! Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

No Wonder!

I am still in awe of God's sweet provision, so it's possible I may ramble a bit when I tell you this story. Hang in there with me because it's very good! It's such a great picture of how God leans in to meet the most specific needs in our everyday lives.

One of my concerns about this recent journey is that I am uneducated in the area of breast cancer. I have an appointment coming up on the 19th with the surgeon and I have been feeling quite inadequate to participate in the conversation I am about to have with the doctor. Until tonight. My sweet friend Renee set me up with her mom who works at the Cancer Center here in CC as the head of the (get this) BREAST CENTER! I had the opportunity to meet with this precious woman and ask her every question imaginable. She gave me the facts, encouraged me, and then we prayed. Can I just say right here that praying for my healing in the office of the Cancer Center before I have even begun a single treatment was not quite what I had imagined for my first visit there?! Isn't God gentle? Listen to this:

"My heart is confident in you, O God; NO WONDER I can sing your praises with all my heart!" Psalm 108:1

It's absolutely true. My confidence is in Him and because of that, I am free to praise Him with all my heart.

Thank you sweet blog buddies for your prayers and precious comments. I will keep you posted as I know more but in the meantime, I will be abiding in Him!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Great is His Faithfulness

Sweet Blog Buddies,

Just 72 hours after my last post, my life changed with the discovery of a lump in my breast. I went immediately to my family doctor and from his office, had a mammogram. The first round of tests revealed a suspicious area where my lump was, so another round of testing was required. That testing led to a biopsy which revealed that I have breast cancer. It is in its early stages and I would count it a privilege if you would add me to your prayer list. I have weighed heavily the decision to blog about my journey because I do not want the disease to be magnified, but the God I serve. I don't have many details yet because my doctors are still formulating the "plan", so let me share with you what I do know.

The weekend before my discovery, I had the chance to spend hours with the Lord and if you read the previous post, you know that He spoke heavily to me on the subject of abiding in Him. What I also know is that since January, He has impressed upon me that "my purpose is to know Him, to progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving, recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly..." (Phil. 3:10) I have prayed that I would know Him more and I have prayed that He would not let me miss a single opportunity to do just that. His character attributes are endless and I will never know them completely, this side of heaven. But this is an opportunity for me to know Him as Jehovah Rophe-the God that heals. I know He is THE Healer, but now I will know Him as MY Healer. I am not afraid. I am not perplexed. I am not struck down. I am on an amazing journey to know my Saviour more. And when this battle is over, I will be stronger for it. I love Him more than I could possibly express with our limited alphabet, but the really cool thing is that He loves me even more.

The morning after I heard that we were possibly facing this challenge, I got up early to have my time with the Lord. I was craving comfort "food" so I decided to start with Psalm is filled with such hope and promise and it is precious to me for many reasons. But before I turned to it, I decided to stick with my regular reading plan, thinking that maybe God would want to speak a new word to me regarding my situation. So I opened up my Bible to October 29th and began to read the Psalm for that day and can I just say I fell in love with my Jesus all over was Psalm 91. You can read it here.

He has been with me every step of the way, continually placing sweet blessings in my path and reminding me to rest under the shadow of His wing. I heard this song today and it sums it up beautifully:

The pathway is broken
And The signs are unclear
And I don't know the reason why You brought me here
But just because You love me the way that You do
I'm gonna walk through the valley
If You want me to

Cause I'm not who I was
When I took my first step
And I'm clinging to the promise You're not through with me yet
so if all of these trials bring me closer to you
Then I will walk through the fire
If You want me to

It may not be the way I would have chosen
When you lead me through a world that's not my home
But You never said it would be easy
You only said I'd never go alone

Thank you for praying. I will keep you posted on my deeper discoveries of His boundless love for me and His mercies that are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness.