Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Amen

The word AMEN solemnly confirms that which went before; and Jesus is the great Confirmer; immutable, for ever is "the Amen" in all His promises.  Sinner, I would comfort thee with this reflection.  Jesus Christ said, "Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."  If you come to Him, He will say "Amen" in your soul; His promise shall be true to you.  He said in the days of his flesh, "The bruised reed I will not break."  O thou poor, broken, bruised heart, if thou comest to Him, He will say "Amen" to thee, and that shall be true in thy soul..."  - Evening by Evening - C.H. Spurgeon c. 1928

I have been feeling the need to write something in my journal, but was struggling to find something significant to say.  My heart has been heavy and I haven't really felt as though I could articulate any thoughts.  But, something happened today that helped me to put things into perspective so that I could formulate a coherent sentence.

I have a friend and former co-worker, Andrea, who has suffered a great loss.  The loss of a daughter and son-in-law to a very violent domestic crime, and this has left Andrea with three very traumatized grandsons because both of their parents are gone.  I don't have children, so I can't imagine the amount of grief she must be feeling, and my heart just breaks for this family situation.  The Lord is completely at work on behalf of Andrea and her family and I will report more on this in the coming days as I witness the Lord's goodness showered upon them.  

In the midst of searching for words, the Lord led a co-worker to show me a devotional book from 1928, written by C.H. Spurgeon called, "Evening by Evening."  Today's devotional was just what I needed. [See above.]  "The Lord will say 'Amen' in my soul."  In my soul, not to my soul.  "In," because He resides IN my heart and IN my soul.  "Amen," a solemn confirmation of His love and His promises to us.  What more comfort can I receive at a time when I don't understand this world at all. 

The Lord speaks to me daily, reminding me that it is He, and He alone, that I should be seeking for my dependence.  HE is my Provider.  HE is my purpose! 

We will experience trials.  We will experience sickness.  We will experience heartache.  The Lord has made allowances for these in our lives in order that we may see Him at work in us and through us.  These seemingly negative situations that we experience are a perfect way for us to show our dependence on, and love and devotion to Him. 

My Lord is right beside me, resides in me, holds me up, and carries me. 

My Precious Father, I praise You for all that You are to me and in me.  Thank You.  Thank You.  Thank You.  I lift my hands to You in praise and thanksgiving.  May You be glorified.  I lift Andrea and her family up to You.  Cover them.  Protect them.  Fill them afresh with Your Spirit that they may be able to witness all that You are doing, and have done, on their behalf.  Reside in them.  Carry them.  Comfort them.  In Jesus name.  Amen.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

All is right with the world...

Forgive me...

Praise the Lord, Sanjaya is off American Idol!!

I think I will sleep well tonight. LOL


More Growing Pains

Yes, for those who are keeping track, it has been over a week since I have written in my journal.  There is good reason for that...

As the Lord leads.

Jay is doing well.  He is fishing and golfing like crazy.  I have been very busy with many other things.  The most important of which is the fact that the Lord is growing me up and stretching me more in my faith.  While it is painful at times, I am grateful that the Lord is walking beside me and guiding my steps.

I will write more about this process later when I can formulate words to describe what I am going through.

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A Song In My Heart

"Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Ephesians 5:19-20 NIV)

The one thing I know for sure is that my Lord, who resides in me, has put a song in my heart.  Even when I am disheartened and weary from this battle that Jay and I are in, I am still able to sing a song of praise to the Lord.  What an awesome gift. 

Now, I don't have a voice like that of Karen, my beloved friend, who sounds like an angel when she sings, but I know that my Lord loves me to sing to Him regardless of how I think I sound.  What is important to Him is that I sing...period.     
"Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs." (Psalm 100:2 NIVHe is worthy of such praise.

Jay Update

My honey just finished his last radiation treatment today.  Praise the Lord!  Now we wait.  He can't get a PET scan for six weeks because the radiation will remain in his system for a while after today.  So, Jay gets a small break.  He still has to take oral chemo for a while until his oncologist sees him in a few weeks and makes a determination as to what the next step will be. 

For those who are praying for my honey, please pray that there would be no cancer in his system and that there would be no new growth at all in between stopping radiation and starting the IV chemo.  It's hard to get excited about stopping the radiation early because we stopped chemo early last year and the cancer came back almost right away.  But, I'm not going to give in to my flesh and I am going to trust that the Lord has it in His hands and His will be done. 

I am thankful that Jay still has energy and a will to live everyday very actively and not give in to the fatigue.  He's a fighter and I'm so proud of him.

I am thankful to the Lord for holding me up through each day, for my wonderful support system at work/church, for my best friend who prays with me and keeps me going, for family who is faithful to check in on us, and for the song that the Lord has placed in my heart.  I could not live without any of these.  I love you all very much.


Monday, April 9, 2007

A Time To Be Molded

"So I went down to the potter's house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.  Then the word of the LORD came to me, "O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?" (Jeremiah 18:3-6 NIV)

I had some time to myself this weekend...something that I don't like because there is too much to think about.  Too many opportunities for the enemy to penetrate my brain.  I tried to keep myself busy enough that I wouldn't have time to be idle, but alas, yesterday it caught up with me. 

There wasn't much to do because it was Easter Sunday and the malls were closed and everyone else was busy with their families, which was to be expected.  Jay went golfing with his brother, and I am thankful that he felt well enough to do that.  But, that left me to go to church and then figure out what I was going to do with the rest of my day.

After spending the entire morning at church,  I made a trip to the grocery store and then went home where it was time to figure out what to do next.  Well, it occurred to me (duh) that "go, go, go" is the gear that I'm in all the time and I don't allow myself any real down time.  I work, take painting classes, give massages, go to bible study, and sing in a choir during the week.   No wonder I'm exhausted all the time! 

So, yesterday was a day that the Lord was trying to slow me down in order to get my attention.  I was really bugged because I didn't have any place to be and the Lord told me to 'sit quiet.'  Okay...sitting and being quiet is not how I'm used to being so this was a big struggle for me.  It took a while, but the Lord was finally able to quiet my spirit and I was able to handle being home alone.   

But, it wasn't until today that I realized what the Lord was really trying to do for me.  He was trying to show me that just because I was by myself, didn'tmean that I was alone.   

Ah, I get it, Lord.  I'm a little slow on the uptake, so forgive me. 

Okay, so now that I totally understand what the Lord was trying to accomplish with me...I see things a little differently and feel better about it.  This is all a part of my growth spiritually.  It is all about my leaning on the Lord for my comfort and companionship. 

He is the Potter and He is molding me.  When I refuse to "take shape" He is faithful to take me down to level ground and reshape me.  "The vessel was marred in the hand of the he made it again." (Jeremiah 18:4)

Father, I thank You for meeting me where I am at.  Your love never ceases to amaze me.  I pray that Your loving hands continue to mold me and shape me.  Even when I am resistant, I pray that Your efforts would continue.  Your vision for my life is far greater than my own.  I praise You.  In Your precious Son's name.  Amen.

Friday, April 6, 2007

No Greater Love Than His

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people. When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, "Surely he was the Son of God!"
(Matthew 27:50-54 NIV)

Today is especially difficult for me because I can't help how overwhelmingly ashamed I am of my selfish nature.  Jesus died on a cross 2000 years ago for my sins, my selfishness.  My sins were cast on Him and He was tortured, beaten and shred to pieces even before being nailed to a cross so He could suffer even more at my hands. 

Was I there 2000 years  But, my Father in heaven knew my sin nature and in order to save my soul, He sent His one and only Son to be executed in order that I may one day walk the streets of heaven with my Savior.  It is overwhelming, the amount of love my God has for me in order to do such a thing.

I just came from our Good Friday service at Harvest, and I have a wonderful relationship with Jesus Christ, so I totally understand what happened so long ago and that Jesus reigns to this very day, but it is on this day that my heart cries out to Him with desperate apologies for my iniquities, and promises that I will try to do better...all the while knowing that I will break my promises just seconds later. (if not sooner)

I absolutely love my faith because it is humbling, yet loving at the same time, and fulfilling, and such a great way to get to know who I really am in Him.  And for those who don't have a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, some may read this entry and tell themselves, "She's just a 'Jesus Freak' and if her beliefs tell her that she's a failure, why would I want to join in that religion anyway?"  Well, I say to is not my God that tells me that I have fallen short, it is merely the grief I feel for not loving my Savior more and doing more to be like Him.  I strive to become who He desires me to be, who He had in mind when He created me, and I fall short a lot. 

But, I am the one who beats myself up and tells myself that I'm not good enough.  He gave His life for me, and my greatest desire is to be a servant to Him.  He tells me that He still loves me!  There is no greater love than His love for me and I am so unworthy, but oh so grateful!  And yes, I BELIEVE Him when He says that He loves me and will always be in my heart. 

If you don't know this kind of love, you only need to open your heart and ask for it.  He is willing to meet you where you are at.  Take a chance...let Him show You just Who He is.

Lord, on this day so many years ago, You hung on the cross and allowed my sin nature to murder You.  But, You have the victory because You rose again on the third day, just as You foretold.  I will be eternally grateful to You.  I love You with my whole being! I praise Your Holy name!!  Amen.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Practicing What I Preach...

An update on Jay...he is doing fine today.  He feels a bit tired, which is to be expected from the amount of radiation he is receiving in such a short time.  He will be done with radiation as of next Wednesday, but we knew that already.  When seeking to understand exactly why we're stopping radiation early, the doctor could only offer up this reason, "Because the organs and tissues have all received their maximum amount of dosage that they can receive."  Not, "Because he is doing so well..."  That was just something that we thought because it was our hope.  The doctor doesn't know anything about the tumor and whether or not it has gotten any smaller, or if the radiation has been effective at all.  The X-rays that they take every six days are not diagnostic at all...they merely tell them if they're hitting their target.  So, the answer is still a resounding, "We don't know."  Ahhh!

At first I was angry because we got our hopes up and the rug was pulled out from under us AGAIN.  But, through the process of prayer and casting my cares upon the Lord, I see now that it isn't bad news that we received.  It just wasn't any news at all, and I'm praising the Lord!  He is in complete control of this whole thing and I am going to continue to trust that.

"Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall." (Psalm 55:22 NIV)

To the enemy who THINKS he's going to win this battle, you cannot have my mind!  Everything that I am and everything that I have belongs to the most powerful, the most wonderful and loving God who will kick you in the tail if you even try to take over!

To my Father in heaven, I love You and I'm Yours!  Carry me on Your big strong shoulders because it is You that I am completely dependent upon.  Guide and protect Jay and I.  Heal my husband, heal my heart.  In Your Holy Name, I pray.  Amen.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Looking Forward...

"No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous, nevertheless AFTERWARD it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness." (Hebrews 12:11)

Trials are very difficult to go through, there's no doubt about that.  We don't ever ask for something terrible and tragic to happen in our lives, but one thing is sure to happen when that tough circumstance does come into play...we learn something about ourselves.  For those of us who are believers in a wonderful and loving God, we learn about where we are at in our spiritual walk.  It's a chance to GROW UP in our faith.

The Lord allows trials as a way to shape and form us into better, stronger Christians.  I'm learning all of this myself, so don't go thinking that I'm preaching to anyone.  It's the Lord that is disciplining me and guiding me along the way, and by me sharing these lessons with you, I'm hoping you'll be open to learning the lessons without actually having to go through these trials yourself, or at least you can be well equipped if you do have to walk the same road as me.

The biggest lesson I've learned so far is that I can go through a life changing event such as Jay's cancer, and the Lord is right by my side, and on most days, He carries me and, if I hold on tight to Him, He will take me all the way through to the other side of the trial.  Well, I'm no where near the end of this trial...but I see His hand on everything and I see that He allowed this to happen for me to grow closer to my husband, and more importantly, so I could grow closer to Him.  I'm sure He has a lesson in this circumstance for Jay too, but only Jay can answer to that so I won't speak for him. 

I was just telling my friend that it is amazing how much clarity you receive when you know you're in the will of the Lord...and you can trust Him completely.  Trust has always been an issue of mine because it has taken many years and many heart breaks to understand that I can't put everything that I have into people, because people are imperfect and will always let me down in some fashion or another, but the one constant that has always been in my life is the Lord. I CAN TRUST HIM WITH EVERY FIBER OF MY BEING AND I KNOW THAT HE WILL NEVER LEAVE ME OR FORSAKE ME!  Isn't that what we all need to know?  That there is Someone who will be there through it all?  I have separation anxiety with people, but not with God!  Praise the Lord. 

While I'm thankful for all that the Lord is teaching me, I still can't help but think about a time when I won't have to worry about trials any longer, or lessons that need to be learned.  A time when I can sit back and breathe and all the unknown things of the world will be answered for me.  I can't wait for such a day.

Read this poem that I read in a book called, "Christ Indwelling and Enthroned" by J. Oswald Sanders.


We may not see just here and now

With vision clear the why and how

Of all that God seems to allow,

       But “Afterward!”


We may not know how that or this

Which now we fain would gladly miss

Is working for our future bliss

      But “Afterward!”


We may not fully understand

How underneath God’s chastening hand

Pain is fulfilling love’s command

      But “Afterward!”


It may not be for us to know

What portion of the seed we sow

Shall into golden harvest grow

      But “Afterward!”


We may not know when torn with care

Why earnest and persistent prayer

Should seem to die upon the air,

      But “Afterward!”


It may not be for me to see

The meaning and the mystery

Of all that God has planned for me,

      But “Afterward!”


- Selected


Oh, how I long for my "Afterward."  Thank you, Karen, for following the Lord's leading and sharing this book with me!  What an awesome blessing it is!



Okay, onto the update on Jay's's the scoop:


Jay has done well with his radiation treatments, so much so that he only has five left!  He should be done next Wednesday.  We don't have all the details, but we know that they've narrowed the radiation field down to a small targeted spot in the middle of his belly.  They are no longer radiating his whole abdomen.  Praise the Lord!  I don't really know what all of this means, but Jay and I are encouraged by what we've heard so far.  We have a doctors appointment tomorrow afternoon and we will hopefully have a lot more information to share. 


As for further IV chemo treatment and the "when" and "how often" and "how much" questions, we will have to wait for Jay's oncologist to come back from vacation.  We have been told that there will most likely be a two week period before he starts his IV chemo though.


So, for all of you who are praying, please keep praying!!  The Lord is hearing thoseprayers and is answering loud and clear!

Monday, April 2, 2007

Dreaming of Life, In Color

Growing up, it used to be that I would have vivid dreams, but they would all be in black and white and some varying shades of gray with nameless, faceless people.  But now....oh now, the Lord has given me the ability to dream in COLOR!  Not only that...I'm living this life in color.  Everything seems brighter, with the most vibrant colors.  I see everything so differently now.  All praise and glory to the Lord who loves me so! 

Is it a dark time for us?  Yes!  But, praise the Lord that He has taken what the enemy intended for bad and He's shedding His Light and teaching me to look for the literally everything...and yes, that even means finding the positive in cancer.  My walk is closer with the Lord and my love grows deeper for my husband with each new day, and I owe that to cancer!   

I have been taking a painting class because I needed a creative outlet, something to do with my anxious energy and, in this class, I've been learning how to look at the different shades of every color imaginable and how every shade, when applied one at a time and layered, gives an object its depth.  

This can be applied to our faith in God.  My walk and the many trials I have faced and each lesson I have learned thus far, when layered one on top of the other, give my faith its depth.  It is the Lord who desires to show us a life in color...a life with varying shades, and a depth that only comes from a growing knowledge of Him. We just need to open our hearts to receive this gift from Him.

This life would be a total mystery to me without God's "road map" which is provided in His word. The Lord requires us to live according to His purposes on earth so that we may have His glorious riches in heaven.  Imagine how truly lost we would be if we didn't have the Living Word, overflowing with His loving promises and guided path for us to follow.  What a scary world it would be, one that I would not want to live in at all! 

Find your purpose...listen for the Lord's calling on your life.  Find your strength in Him, apply His teachings, and do something with it.  We can all have the 'fullness of God.'  We have only to seek it. 

My purpose?  To be the best wife I can be to my honey who is so brave and strong and who is the love of my life and, hopefully, my eternity, to be a good kid to my parents and my beautiful Grandma, to be a strong and loving example to my niece who is a true survivor, to be a source of love and support to my friends, and the most important of all, to leave a legacy of love - the love of the Lord, our Creator.

"I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. 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, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." (Ephesians 3:16-21 NIV)