Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Good Shepherd

So, here we are staring Stage 4 cancer in the face and even though God’s Word says more than 350 times “do not fear” in my human-ness/sinfulness - I fear. What I’m seeing is HUGE and it’s UGLY. Here's the latest news... If Scott does nothing, no treatment, he has 1 month or less. With treatment, he has 3 months, maybe more, but most of that 3 months will be hell due to the therapy. But we’re kind of stuck. The alternative is worse and it would be “messy”. And it’s scary looking. I wonder what King David was really thinking when he was looking up at Goliath.
I have wonderful friends that continue to lift my spirits with their words, prayers, and deeds.

And without them in my life things would be SO incredibly different. I had coffee with one of those friends last Saturday. We both have enjoyed some of the same movies and books and we are in a bible study together and yet often have very conflicting points of view. But, we love each other enough to respect those views. Anyway, we were talking about a recent favorite movie of mine that I am often blessed by called “Facing the Giants”. There’s a scene in the movie that she reminded me of and I believe this was “inspired by God”- where the “hall prayer” tells the main character the story of 2 farmers who were praying for rain. One of them didn’t prepare his fields and the other did. They both got the rain, but the one who prepared his field was rewarded for his faith. My friend pointed out that I’ve done all the research and preparation I can do ( I don’t know if I’m quite done but I get her point ) and now I need to wait for the rain. WOW!! More waiting, but I’m reminded to “have faith in the waiting”. To honor God in the waiting. Yes, Lord, I will still love you.

I’m also reading a book I’ve read several times before by a favorite author of mine, Phillip Keller, called “A Shepherd looks at Psalms 23”. Each time I read it I’m comforted or something just ministers to me and I’m totally BLESSED! And I came across a couple of paragraphs that really supported what my friend was saying to me on Saturday.

This book is really a comparison of sheep and humans and their individual nature. How we humans are really so much like sheep in our very nature. We, like sheep don’t rest if there’s any threat or discomfort.

Page 37- Ps. 23:2
“He maketh me to lie down...”

“In the Christian’s life there is no substitute for the keen awareness that my Shepherd is nearby. There is nothing like Christ’s presence to dispel the fear, the panic the terror of the unknown."

My friend and I were talking about the unknown and how frightening that is and then I read the above and the below. WOW again!

“We live a most uncertain life. Any hour can bring disaster, danger and distress from unknown quarters. Life is full of hazards. No one can tell what a day will produce in new trouble. We live either in a sense of anxiety, fear and foreboding, or in a sense of quiet rest. Which is it?
Generally it is the “unknown”, the “unexpected” that produces the greatest panic. It is in the grip of fear that most of us are unable to cope with the cruel circumstances and harsh complexities of life. We feel they are foes which endanger our tranquility. Often our first impulse is simply to get up and run from them.

Then in the midst of our misfortunes there suddenly comes the awareness that He, the Christ, the Good Shepherd is there. It makes all the difference. His presence in the picture throws a different light on the whole scene. Suddenly things are not half so black nor nearly so terrifying. The outlook changes and there is hope. I find myself delivered from fear. Rest returns and I can relax”. Just like sheep.

So here I am, “Baaahhhhing” away at my Goliath and my Lord comes into the picture. He’s really always been here I just didn’t see Him as clearly as I do right now. His presence comforts me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still somewhat fearful. I am still doubtful, He’s working with me on that one too.
Some days are good and some days, not so much. I have more good than bad days lately. I’m still very sad, but I know that He is there and nothing that comes upon me hasn’t already gone through Him first.

“If we win, we praise Him. If we lose, we praise Him. No matter what, we praise Him”.

And finally, my dearest friend in the world right now, sent me this song that was SO appropriate that I had to share it with you. Please click on the link and close your eyes and just listen. Just listen.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

WAIT for it.

Okay, so everyone knows that Scott has cancer. And that it’s very serious. I’m in a situation where my perspective is completely different than his.
I’ve actually written a lengthy dissertation on it, just to get it off my chest and to validate what I was feeling and thinking. I may post it one day. I don’t know.

It was during a conversation I had with Scott in the wee hours of the A.M., (aka; "who-am") yesterday about his feelings on what’s going on. He seems, to me, to have been much less “concerned” than I have been. He probably freaks out when I'm at work.
Yep, wrote about that too, but his comment to me seems to indicate back to me that he is concerned, but doesn’t seem to despair about it. He said, what he’s said from the beginning, “this is in God’s hands”. And he seems to have a peace about it. I on the other hand didn’t start out with that peace at all, and still struggle with having peace, but I’m learning to lean on God and allow Him to give me that peace. I have good days and I have bad days.

As we come up on the appointed time to meet with his oncologist, Dr. Cheng, tomorrow morning at 9AM, the air around me is pregnant with anticipation. Or maybe it’s just me. I feel the anxiousness of getting the final diagnosis, and then having conversations about what to do next, depending on what the outcome of the lung biopsy is. I have tons of questions and God has given me enough sense to write them down because I will forget when the time comes to ask them.

We are relying heavily on the prayers of our friends and family. And our friends, that are more like family than our family, have encouraged me in my deepest times of despair. One person in particular has allowed me the room, the space, and the ability to just cry, brought me a box of tissue and didn’t try to change the subject, then fed me soup. She let me vent even when my venting didn’t make any sense to me at the time, but she’s been through something similar and so she “knows”. She let me have my very own private “freak out” session.

God has given me strength – but He gives it to me sparingly and daily only. Like manna from heaven. Only enough for today, not extra to save up for later. He continues to put people in my life and in my daily “paths” that encourage me, or say something that is so profoundly supportive that I’m speechless, and they probably don’t even know how much their words meant to me in that very moment.

I’ve found that one of the most trying parts of this, so far, has been the constant and endless waiting. Waiting on the first test results, then waiting to get home, because we were visiting family for Thanksgiving when the results came in, to research this, then waiting to get more tests done, then waiting for those results. And just knowing the whole time that the ordering doctor had the results in his possession and wasn’t contacting us. That was the first time I "lost it". Then waiting to see the oncologist, which was a HUGE blessing in all of this. We know this doctor from Scott’s last health issue 3 ½ years ago and credit him for saving Scott’s life last time.

Understand, this whole thing happened right before the holiday season so everyone was not in. Then waiting for the appointment for the lung biopsy, and finally waiting to see Dr. Cheng again tomorrow. The waiting! The waiting! The waiting! So much damn waiting!

How much waiting can a person bear?? Especially when time is of the essence here. There seems to be this thought in my head/heart that I’m running out of time. That I can’t do things or get things done fast enough to accommodate ‘whatever’ in my life.

Then it dawned on me this morning in the “who-am” that God is trying to show me something in the waiting. That I need to just be still and wait on Him. He is still in control. I may not like what He’s doing but that’s just my temporal thinking. He has a much greater plan for me and I need to wait on Him for the plan to be revealed- if it ever is. He’s preparing me for something. I just don’t know what that something is. Oh God, how I hate that! Wait, wait, wait…. for it.

I just watched a movie a couple of weeks ago for the 2nd time with Scott, it was called “Facing the Giants”. The first time it was great but the 2nd time, WOW! What a powerful movie, but one line in the movie that kept getting repeated is the line I woke up with today. “If we win, we praise Him. If we lose, we praise Him. No matter what, we praise Him." Then another line from the movie, where the husband asks his wife, “If God doesn’t give you a baby, will you still love Him”? Yep, I cry even as I type this. So I had to ask myself, if God doesn’t spare my husband’s life will I still love Him. Of course I will. It will be hard, so hard. But I know that this will be a "hind-sight" moment, where you look back on your life and say to yourself, "oh, I see, I get it now".

I hate the not knowing. I like to prepare for things. And God knows this about me. So He continually puts things in my path that knock the air out of my sails and I have to “back up 6 steps and punt” (another line from “Facing the Giants”). In His own way, He’s preparing me. I don’t get to have an active role, with the exception that I have to be obedient and “wait on Him”.

So here I am, listening to music that touches my soul and remembering conversations with my friends and my children and letting the Lord comfort me and give me my manna, His strength daily.
And staying connected to Him. Clinging to Him. He is the Vine, I am but a branch, clinging to Him.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Life's Bouncing Ball.

Okay, so I was thinking today when I was trying to nap and couldn’t fall asleep that life is like a ball.

It’s bouncing between God and me.

Most of the time it’s bouncing pretty good, regardless of the trials I face and joys I'm experiencing. Something happens, I bounce it up and then He says, “You can do this, I’m here with you”, and bounces it back. It gets hard to deal with life and its tragedies and I bounce it back and he bounces it for me for awhile and then bounces it back.

Then wonderful things are happening and the ball goes back and forth quickly as I share my highs with the Lord and He is just as pleased as I am and bounces it back, “Here, see how I’ve blessed you”.

You get the idea…

Then like every other human being I know, I get distracted and turn my spiritual eyes away from Him and drop the damn thing and it goes rolling away. This is when I find I’m freaking out and I’m emotionally and spiritually out of control.

How strange that this happens during the times when I need to stay focused on God and paying attention.

What happens?? Why do I do that?? I get so frustrated! I feel so foolish.

My own frustration/foolishness level rises and I give up, of course, till He quietly calls me back again. He is faithful even and more so, when I am not. And I'm thinking about "mustard seeds" here.

Then I ask myself why do I lose faith?? What happens to my head that the first thing I do is regress to old ways?? Back to the old ways of trying to “work it out on my own”, and the last thing I do is bounce it back up to Him, when He’s waiting right there to catch it.

I know I need to be more disciplined, especially now! Discipline has never been my strong point. I know I have some discipline, but I often wonder where I got that. Then I heard a song today by Nicole C. Mullin called "One Touch" and it was about just touching the hem of His garment. Yep, started to cry!!! I hate it when that happens! But at the same time I needed that to happen.


That's how I feel today, that all I have right now is the strength to just touch the hem.

So here I am tossing the life ball back to Him and knowing that He’s going to catch it, put a bit strength on it, and toss it back to me.