Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I always get excited when my pastor preaches from the book of Psalms. Actually, I just get excited anytime he preaches not matter what it's on. Sunday, he preached about traveling through valleys. Psalm 84 was the text. In a conversation with him earlier during the week, he had mentioned this passage. I spent a good time thinking about it and how I should use it. So, Sunday, I was beside myself during his message.
Usually, one does not experience a sense of excitement when a pastor is talking about the valleys in life. However, I knew this was just what I needed. After all, I guess you could say that I'm in a valley right now. Cancer is not the most enjoyable of experiences, so in my book that constitutes it as qualifying for "valley" status. There's not a place on facebook for you to note your status as "on a mountaintop" or "deep in the valley"...because if there was, I think many of you would check the valley box just like me.
When someone asks me what my job is, providing an answer is not a problem at all. Wife, mom, maid, cook, chauffer, teacher, etc. I'm adding one thing to my list of professions....a well digger. You get that?? I've never physically dug a well, but I've been busy the past week trying to dig one in the sense that the author spoke of in Psalm 84.
Throughout this journey so far, I've been looking, listening, and praying to find out how God can use this. What can I leave behind that will help or encourage someone when they walk through this same valley? In Psalm 84, the author digs a well and God fills it with water. Now, won't that be nice for the person that follows behind him? That individual in a dark valley, maybe their soul is filled with grief, sorrow, or despair, stumbles upon this well filled with the refreshing blessings from our sovereign God. Not bitterness. Not anger. Not a cold heart. Just the opposite, a well of water that holds healing for the soul, peace for the heart, and strength for the weary body. So, I continue to dig my well, knowing that God will fill it with something refreshing for others. I'm trusting His hand will guide me down the path that is in His will. Praying that He will bless me with an opportunity to help others facing difficulty. So, the days might be long, maybe even dark. Occasionally, even in the valley, the sun does break through the clouds. No matter how long and dark, I'll keep digging. Digging that well, until God tells me it's time to move on. Maybe He'll take me to another place that's good for well digging. Maybe it will be a mountaintop. Only He knows. I do know that He will take me through this valley...this trouble will pass. I don't know what you are facing. It may be a spiritual battle that feels as it is ripping your heart into pieces. Yours may be a financial hardship, grief, sorrow, despair, the list could go on forever. I do know that our Savior is there with you. He has grace and comfort that no other can provide. He comforts us so that we may help comfort others. He leads us through the valley, we dig a well that helps nourish some dry, thristy soul in the dark night of their trial. He chooses to work through us. He could do it all by Himself, but what a blessing we would miss.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of all mercies and God of all comfort;
who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so alos our comfort is abundant through Christ.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Letting go

Letting go. Sometimes, this is an enormous task. Sometimes, letting go is painful. As I think of the things I've had to "let go" during life, I relive some sorrow, grief, pain, and regret. Often, our lives take a turn down a path, and we must let go of relationships, jobs, or even a social status. Sometimes, we have to let go of people we love due to various circumstances. Other times, we let go of certain habits or lifestyles that are not in our best interest. When I look at myself, the hardest thing to release in any circumstance is control. When I was diagnosed just 2 months ago, I immediately proclaimed that my God is great, mighty, and faithful. I began the battle with cancer. I thought I was doing a pretty good job. Three weeks into treatment, I met with my oncologists. He told me that we were "cruising right along." Bouncing out of the cancer center, I repeated those words - why they had a musical ring to them. "Cruising right along..." Sounds good doesn't it. We were right on track. Less than 12 hours later, things came to a screeching halt. I had a rough night, resulting in a late night call to Doc. The next day, treatments were postponed and I spent the week receiving fluids all day, each day in his office. I was pretty dehydrated and my blood pressure decided to hang out between 70/30 and 60/30. Doc didn't like this and was determined to get it higher. Low blood pressure is not unusual for me, but oncologists aren't very accepting of these numbers when it comes to sending their patients home. After this week, I figured that SURELY I would resume treatments the next. Not so fast. Friday night found us at the ER with a fever and infection. Sunday brought complete chaos. Stephen was sick. Two of the boys had the flu, one was recovering from croup/bronchitis/asthma stuff. I again had complications and was sent to the ER. This time, I was offered a 3 day, 2 night stay on the 7th floor of Gadsden Regional Medical Center. Yippee. Christmas was coming. My entire family was sick. My treatments were off schedule. I am in the hospital. What had happened? I was doing so well. I was fighting the cancer, and when I got tired  -- I let God take over. Yes, I was trying to fight, then letting God handle it when I got tired. He was my backup. That my friends is a problem. God doesn't play backup. He doesn't sit the bench until I'm played out. HE is the one who was capable of fighting this battle. I could do nothing. The two week hiatus provided me with lots of thinking time. God revealed to me that I had not let go of the control in this battle. I was still trying to play Commander in Chief of the cancer battle. He quietly reminded me of Gideon, Joseph, Esther, Jacob, Mary, and countless others from His Word. So many times He had proven Himself capable of fighting the battle. In the hospital bed, by myself, I handed over the control. I truly began to fall at His feet in complete surrender. Since then, He has not been my backup. He's the one and only. I'm His servant, doing what He calls me to do on a daily basis. It was then that I also began to honestly live on a day to day basis. Remembering that I cannot borrow from yesterday, it has already passed. Tomorrow is not promised to me. I only have today.
Things changed. I can't explain it all, I just haven't found the words. I knew He was capable all the time, I just had not let go of the control. Turns out, He was in control all of the time. My stubborn spirit had to learn not to attempt overthrowing Him. He is the Great Physician. Why in the world would I not let him have complete control from the beginning? Why would I try to handle more than one day at a time? Even He took creation one day at a time.
Each day, He has provided me with a new, refreshing peace that washes over my soul. Difficult moments have come, but none can take His peace away.
Each day, He has been in control of my treatments. Chemo and radiation are no good to me if He does not guide each drop of chemo and each radiation beam.
Each day, He has poured mercy and grace to cover my every need.
Each day, He has placed many of His faithful children in my path with encouraging words, meals, gifts of love that bless my heart.
Each day, He has held me in the palm of His hand.
Each day, the adversary has attempted to steal these things. For he always attempts steal and destroy what our Father is doing. With my Savior's help, I will strive to fight back against satan and his attacks. For, our God is faithful. He is victorious. He is the king of Kings. Every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess His name.
I have found myself complaining from time to time. Fact: I don't like pain, discomfort, or inconvenience. Well, this entire experience has been painful, full of discomfort, and just downright inconvenient. As I was listening to something - I can't remember what - Philippians 2:14-16 became a topic of discussion. It really hit home, reminding me that no matter what, my attitude should be full of praise and thankfulness toward God.

Philippians 2
v 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
v 14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing;
v 15 that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,
v 16 holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may have cause to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.

I don't know about you, but it humbles me to know that God choose to work in me. Pain, discomfort, inconvenience -- I guess it's worth it if God can use me. What an honor to be part of His plan.