Tuesday, July 30, 2013

not what we wanted

One year ago today, my morning started with joyful expectation as I made my way to the hospital to witness the birth of my grandson Titus. That evening, as I was still basking in the miracle of birth, my joy quickly turned to devastation as I received a phone call that suddenly snatched the rug right out from under me. My precious sister had cancer. A diagnosis that was unexpected and unwelcome.

It has been a long year. My sister has undergone many, many months of chemo and blood work and painful procedures. She has gone through the time consuming and tedious process of stem cell collection. In April of this year she underwent a stem cell transplant that required a lengthy hospital stay, a high dose of a strong chemo drug, Melaphan, followed by the infusion of her own stem cells back into her body, and the subsequent and not so pleasant side effects that go hand-in-hand with this process. She lost all of her hair and most of her strength. 

After the transplant, the waiting period begins. A 90-day waiting period. It takes that long for your system to rebuild itself and for your bone marrow to begin producing blood cells again in sufficient amounts. The 90-day mark is when they do the retesting and re-staging of your blood to see if the transplant accomplished its intended goal. Complete remission. 

So, today was the day. Exactly one year after diagnosis, we found ourselves sitting in the BMT clinic waiting for the news.

This whole year, the Lord has been so good and so faithful to us all. He has carried us when we felt we couldn't walk anymore. He has sheltered us when we needed a refuge. He has been gracious and loving and kind throughout our journey through the unknown. Our Lord has given us scriptures to stand on, verses to cling to and the promises of His Holy Word to hide in our hearts.

My sweet God has given me peace along the way and He has given me the strength I needed to keep my eyes focused on Him. I haven't wavered in my faith and have held tight to the scripture He gave me at the very beginning of this hard journey. 

But He knows the way that I take; 
when He has tried me, I shall
come forth as gold"
(Job 23:10)

I knew deep down in my heart that no matter what, God was doing a work in my sister and in me and in my entire family. I knew that no matter what, He would be there for us and with us. I knew that whatever this journey entailed, my sister was going to come forth as gold. 

Although today didn't bring the words that we all longed to hear, we are okay. The transplant didn't achieve complete remission, but she did have a 62% reduction in the disease. In multiple myeloma they call that a partial response. Anything over 50% is considered this type of response. She had never achieved this with the other chemotherapy drugs they tried, so I took this as a victory of sorts. We didn't get what we wanted, but we got what God allowed. He has a plan and I know that whatever that plan is, He will be right beside us on the journey.

So now, she goes back to her oncologist and she once again begins a regimen of chemotherapy. We start this whole process over again. Our goal is to keep the myeloma cells from progressing. A goal that is possible because the God that I serve is mighty and powerful and can do all things. 

I have complete peace tonight. I have a very broken heart, but I also have peace.  I wanted my sister to hear 'complete remission' so bad. But that isn't the case so we take what we've been dealt and we go forward. We continue to trust in our awesome God. We continue to bask in His goodness and His mercy. We keep believing for the miracle that is in the making. And we keep our eyes focused on Him and His precious Word. 

He is good. And the beautiful thing about my Jesus is that He loves us with an everlasting  and all encompassing love.  And in times like this, that is enough. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

captive thoughts

I keep promising myself that I will soon get back to blogging on a regular basis. I think about it and then just put it off. It seems like my brain has a hard time formulating lucid thoughts sometimes. I just have so much going on. So much on my mind. So much happening in my life. I get overwhelmed and then I get frustrated and so I just don't write. But God has shown me so many little nuggets of wisdom that I feel compelled to share some of them. 

He is always teaching me. My prayer has been to keep a teachable heart. To keep a teachable spirit. I don't ever want to get to the point in my life that I don't desire a fresh Word from Him daily! He is so good to impart this to us if we just ask Him! So many times we think that God isn't working in our lives but the reality is we just aren't listening to what He is teaching. 

As believers, we have a hedge of protection around us when we are walking in obedience to our Lord. satan can't touch us unless God allows it and then it is only for a season and only for a purpose. Now, don't get me wrong here, I am not saying that God causes bad things to happen to us. I am just saying that because of the fall of man, satan is alive and scouring his way through this world looking to devour God' people at every turn. There are times in our lives, that God allows things to take place to teach us, to bring us back to Him, to build our character and our faith and to build our testimony so that we can then minister to others.

Through our sin and unbelief, we can abandon our refuge. Our place of protection. We can turn our backs on our Lord and leave ourselves open and vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy. It is easy to do if we aren't keeping ourselves fed daily with His Word.

satan fights with weapons that aren't always visible. He certainly can use other people to whip us. He can use circumstances to try and defeat us. Most of the time satan wages war with us in our thought process. In our minds. We are our own worst enemy when we allow satan to captivate our minds. We must stay vigilant against the warfare that takes place in our thoughts! We must take every thought captive in Christ. 

If satan can't defeat us, he will seek to integrate us with sin. He will beckon to us and make it look attractive and even convince us that 'nobody will ever know'. The enemy is sneaky and deceptive and ready to kidnap us the minute we let our guard down.  Don't debate with the enemy. This is the first step toward defeat. He is devious and cunning and persistent in his attacks.

Too many times, people get saved and then they think that they are somehow safe. But once we have given our hearts and lives to Jesus Christ, we become a target for the wiles of satan. We must move from our unsaved, natural state into our saved and spiritual state. Our spiritual state is not one that is static in nature. It is one that is constantly moving and growing. As we feed ourselves the precious Word of God daily, we will grow and mature and begin to understand the spiritual. We will gain discernment and we will gain the ability to see deep beneath the surface of life and see truth. 

The more we seek Him, the better our spiritual vision becomes. We can begin to see the enemy moving in for attack and be on the defensive against him.  We will learn to recognize the spiritual warfare raging around us and be able to fight with what we have learned from the Sword of the Spirit. We begin to possess the mind of Christ and therefore possess His values and develop His desires for our lives. We learn to think God thoughts and not thoughts of the world.

Feast on His Word every day and begin fulfilling His purpose in your life. We are called to be holy. We are set apart by God and set apart to Him. We need reminded ourselves every day of our high and holy position as believers in Jesus Christ. We need to practice it in our daily lives. We need to be living sanctified lives that speak 'out loud' our convictions. If we continue to strive to grow in Him daily, the enemy will find himself being defeated in his attempts to derail us from our purpose. If we desire to be strong in the Lord, we must stay deep in the Word. Our only offensive weapon against the enemy is the mighty and powerful Word of God. 

"For though we walk in the flesh, we do
not war after the flesh, For the weapons of our
 warfare are not carnal, but mighty
through God to the pulling down of strongholds. 
Casting down imaginations and every high thing that
exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and
bringing into captivity every thought to the
obedience of Christ"
(2 Corinthians 2:3,4,5)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

sitting still

Sitting still.....
ears tuned to the quiet whispers of God.

Listening closely to hear His voice speak.

Opening my heart to be receptive to
what God desires me to hear.

Wanting to be obedient. Wanting to be submissive.
Wanting to be totally surrendered.

Open my eyes sweet Lord so I can
see your glory!

Draw me closer to your side. I want to see you!

I want to know you deeper and I want to know you fully.

Lead me in your ways and direct my paths.

Show me where you desire me to go.

Fill me with your sweet Holy Spirit
to overflowing.

I desire a downpour of you in my life. A rich, drenching rain filled with 
mercy and grace and healing.

One that will wash away the stain-filled essence
of my life.

A refreshing rain.

A restoring rain.

A redeeming rain.

Cleanse me, Oh God, and begin molding me into
a vessel fit to be used for the edification
and glorification of your Kingdom.

Lead me and guide me.

Empower me. Change my desires. Change my heart.
Change my focus. Change me.

I want to be like you. I want my life to be a light
shining bright with the countenance of your glory
and your presence in me. 

Sitting still...
ears tuned to the quiet whispers of God....


"Be still, and know that I am God..."
(Psalm 46:10)

Friday, July 5, 2013

the goodness of God

It is so easy to forget the goodness of God as we go about our daily lives. Oh, deep down we know that He is good, but we can take His goodness for granted and not spend time just dwelling on that amazing attribute of our God. He is good. All the time. It is just who He is.

There are so many things that serve to remind me every day of my life that I serve a God who is good. Just the fact that I am breathing attests to that fact. Just the fact that I am alive gives credence to the goodness of my God. But it goes much deeper than that. There are so many blessings that are mine to hold that have come straight from the Hand of my Savior. And I need to spend more time looking at them and appreciating them and acknowledging them.

1. The Holy Word that I hold in my hands is only because of the goodness of God. It is the living, breathing, awesome Word from the mouth of a very Holy and very good God.

2. The fact that I can read this precious book and understand it is a huge blessing. So thankful for the Holy Spirit that gives me revelation of the Word.

3. I have a husband who loves me and takes care of me. God blessed me with this precious man over 29 years ago and I am so thankful for that little nugget of goodness He bestowed upon me.

4. I have three amazing daughters who love their mother! Not a day goes by that my girls don't call me or text me. Sometimes many times throughout the day. They love to share their lives with me. When things aren't so great they know they have a mother who will encourage them and pray with them and for them. They are part of the goodness of God represented in my life.

5. I have some pretty amazing grandchildren. I am thankful that they love their Nana and I am thankful that I am their favorite. :) They love to spend time with me and they love to talk to me on the phone when I am not with them. Even though miles have separated us at this time, our hearts are twined together with a love that only comes from the goodness of God. I love that when they are sick, they always want their Nana to pray for them. They know how much I love them. And they know how much God loves them. 

6. Things don't always go the way we planned. But even when that happens, the goodness of God is what sees us through. He is always faithful. Always true. He is always there to comfort and bring peace. He is always showing us the way even when that way seems so different from what we think would be best. We know that His way is always the perfect way and that in His goodness, He will guide us and protect us each step of the journey.

7. God is our Healer. I can't even begin to count the number of times in my 50 years that I have experienced and witnessed the healing power of God. It all begin when I was 10 years old and He healed my diseased body and He hasn't stopped performing miracles in me and my family since then! I have seen many members of my family healed and some are still in the process of being healed. I have seen grandchildren healed. I have seen children healed. I have seen my husband healed. God is good! We just have to hold on to the faith that He can do what He says He can do!! The blessing of health is straight from the powerful and gracious Hand of a very good God.

Do you want to be more aware of the goodness of God? Take a look around. Pick up the precious book of scriptures and begin reading. Read the Word until it comes alive and you begin to feel the very breath of God on your skin. Sense His goodness.

Meditate on the Word. Read it prayerfully. Wrestle with it and experience it! Delight in it! Cultivate a real spirit of fervency in your quest to experience the goodness and the presence of God. He will not disappoint you. He will not leave you untouched in this quest. If you desire to find Him, seek Him! He wants to be found. He wants you to sense His goodness. He will show up.

Renew your love for Him. Purpose now to passionately begin seeking His presence in your life every day. Deliberately search for His goodness in your day to day existence. Seek Him with a desire for renewed intimacy. Be intentional. Be unhindered. Be purposeful in your pursuit.

And then, my friends, you will see the goodness of God in every breath you take.

"I had fainted, unless I had believed to see
the goodness of the LORD, in the land of the living"
(Psalm 27:13)

In His goodness, I was able to see these 9 grandchildren a few weeks ago as we traveled to Ohio and New Jersey and then on to Boston.

Then we came home and got to see 2 more grands!