Tuesday, May 29, 2007

How Much Is Too Much

Is there such a thing as loving someone too much?  It's a question I ask the Lord all the time.  The bible mentions love hundreds, if not thousands of times.  I haven't counted, but I know it's in there a whole bunch.

The Word tells us that we are to love others as we would want to be loved...love thy neighbor...God so loved the world, He sent His only begotten son...Greater love has no one than this, that he lay his life down for his friends...and it goes on and on and on.  I used to think that I'd be in pretty good shape if I ever reached the point where I could have a love for people that I don't even know, and love the people that I do know with an intensity that the Lord has for us.  I am in that place right now. 

The love I have for people whether I know them or not is far greater than I could've ever imagined.  But, here's the catch that comes with a great love like that...it hurts.  When someone cries, you may as well take a knife and stab me right in the heart.  It doesn't matter if those tears are out of joy or sorrow, I feel it to the core of my heart.  It can be so overwhelming at times.  I can only imagine (or maybe not) the magnitude at which the Lord must feel these same emotions.  It's too much for a human being.

So, how do I remedy that?  Do I stop looking people in the eyes so I don't feel emotion toward them?  Do I allow my heart to become hardened just enough to protect myself?  Do I just tell myself that no one cares as much as I do, so why bother?

The answers: No...to all of the above.  The Lord sent Jesus to die for me.  The Lord loves me far more than I will ever love anyone.  Even when I turn away from Him, He continues to pursue me and love me. His love for me is unconditional.  The very least I can do is try to be more like Him each and every day and if my heart hurts a little due to growing pains, I need to give the pain to Him and allow Him to do a good work in me and stretch my heart to it's very limit and then stretch it some more.  I do not want to harden my heart, but rather, I want to grow from one experience and emotion to the next.  My heart is what makes me...well,ME.  I'm learning to love who that person is.

Father, I thank you for the gift of love.  What an incredible emotion.  I ask that you grow my heart to hold all of the love that You have given me to express outwardly.  Help me to see that I am not weaker because I have so much love to give.  Help me to see that it is Your love that I am expressing to others and not my own.  Thank You for Your love that is never ending.  Thank You that You meet me where I am at.  I praise You.  In Jesus name.  Amen.



Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Journey In This Life

Lost in this Life (for Jamie Hare)

With dawn as my heart begins again to beat

It seems that the path that each day holds

Is just another journey to being lost in this life


"For the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost." (Luke 19:10)  

It is then the Lord makes His presence known  

Through the love and heart of a friend  

The journey becomes His - seeking me: I am never


-Barbara Van Winkle

(Thank you to my very sweet friend Barbara, who wrote this poem for me.  I love you friend.)

These past several days have been overwhelmingly emotional because I have been witness to a miracle.  The Lord has given me the gift of my husband's life...whether the cancer is gone forever or just for a time, I refuse to take it for granted.  My husband has been granted time and I couldn't be more grateful. 


This past weekend, I was scheduled to sing in a choir performance at Calvary Chapel Big Bear.  I needed to be up the mountain on Saturday afternoon and we were set to spend the night and perform on Sunday morning.  Well, I got up the mountain and had a really bad migraine headache, but stuck it out for the evening as the choir fellowshiped.  By the end of the evening, I was homesick and missing my husband desperately.  I knew that I had to sleep in an unfamiliar bed without my honey beside me. 


I’m 37 years old and I still get home sick! That would just tickle my Grandmother’sfunny bone because there are many instances in my childhood of me going to her house to spend the night with her and she had to turn around and take me home because I changed my mind and cried my eyes out and made her take me home. Thankfully, I have gotten a little more refined in my adult years. Ha ha!  Now, I just cry and pout…but I stay where I’m at and don’t go home.  :0)


Anyway, the weekend was still fun.  The choir performance was a hit.  We had a blast on the stage and the congregation seemed to really enjoy themselves.  What a blessing.  My goal was to go and praise the Lord, literally, and thank Him for the blessing of Jay’s restored health.  I was battling internally for a little while, because I missed my honey so much, but I knew that I NEEDED to praise the Lord for His love and mercies.  So, praise the Lord I did…with my whole heart!  I just let the Holy Spirit take hold of me and I danced and worshiped and didn’t worry if I hit a bad note or two. (okay, I hit more than two bad notes, but I don’t care.)


At this time in this journey of Jay’s health, I am thankful for all of those that have been and continue to lift my guy up in prayer.  I would be lost without you!  I am grateful to the Lord for Karen, my Sister in the Lord, who has continually carried me in my weakness.  Yes, it was the Lord that carried me, but He used her to encourage me! I love you for your strength and beautiful heart, Karen.  I am also very thankful to mine and Jay’s parents, my Grandma, and my church family for all of the hugs and love that we’ve been given.  We are so abundantly blessed!


And, to my Jaybird, I love you so much that it hurts!  I am so proud of you for your strength and courage.  You inspire me.  You make me want to be a better wife…a better person altogether.  You are my hero!  You have my heart forever.  I will walk with you through whatever life throws our way!  It is a privilege being your partner, Baby.  I love you with every fiber of my being. 



Friday, May 18, 2007

His Healing Touch

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."  (James 1:17 NIV)


"'Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security." (Jeremiah 33:6 NIV)

Jay and I got some really wonderful news last night.  The oncologist called and told us that the PET/CT scans that Jay just had done on Friday came back clean.  It was so awesome to receive that news right as we were walking out the door to go and have dinner with my former staff that I lovingly refer to as "my kids."  Now we had a reason to make it a celebration dinner! 

Dinner was a blast...it always is.  My kids are such great human beings.  I love and adore them very much.  And my honey loves them too.  He really enjoys their company.  It was Joy, Ethel, Ron, Holly, Jay and myself.  We laughed and brought attention to ourselves because we were loud and having too much fun.  It was great! We decided that next month we will meet at Ethel and Joy's house so we can be as loud as we want.  We're going to play Nintendo Wii, Dance Dance Revolution, and sing Karaoke...well, they will sing karaoke, not me.  I am looking forward to it, no matter what we do.  My kids are great and they fill my heart with joy.

I think it finally hit me this morning that Jay's body is showing no signs of cancer.  That is a miracle to me.  A gift from God.  Only time will tell if the cancer will return or not, but right now I'm thinking that I received the miracle that I've been asking the Lord for.  It's an overwhelming thought.  The enemy wants to come in and take that thought away and fill my head with all of the "what ifs" and doubts that can come with this process, but I will rebuke him and his evil ways and instead, praise my Savior for what He has done which is take the cancer from Jay.

The plan is to continue with the chemotherapy treatments and then at the end of it the doc will do another set of tests.  For all of you who are praying for my guy, please pray that the cancer would not return, that Jay would not suffer the severe side effects from the chemotherapy, and that we would return to 100% restored health.  And above all else, please join me in praising the Lord for the miracle He has given to us...the miracle of no cancer, as well as the miracle of a stronger love for one another and for the Lord.  I never would've imagined that cancer could bring about so many positive circumstances.  That is a God-thing!

Abba Father, there are no words...just a swelling heart that overflows with happiness that You have given my honey such a gift.  Only You can bring about such a significant change in his body.  A simple 'thank you' is not enough for the miracle You have given to us, but it is what I have to offer.  I praise Your name.  I ask for Your continued protection over Jay's body, that the cancer would never return again.  But, I desire Your perfect will to be done in our lives, so I thank You even if this is only for a season.  You know what is best for our lives and Your plan is far greater, so I am trusting You to bring Your will to fruition.  I love You, Lord.  My heart sings because of YOU!  In Jesus' precious name.  Amen.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

A New Day

"Through the LORD's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.  "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I hope in Him!" (Lamentations 3:22-24 NKJV)

The past week has been pretty hectic for my Jaybird...and me too.  Jay received his first round of IV chemo last Friday.  He sat in the chair for 4 1/2 hours.  He was pretty drained when he got done.  Later that evening, he began to feel very nauseous.  We got through to Saturday afternoon and then the chemo really kicked in and he began to vomit.  Oh my gosh, it's so much worse than how they portray it in the movies.  I guess because I'm not connected to the people in the movies and it's not real, but I am totally connected to my honey and I love him and don't want to see him hurting or sick. 

Jay was such a trooper.  He kept trying to eat something because he thought that if he could get enough in his belly, that would make him feel better.  But every time I gave him something to eat, it came right back up.  It was just so sad.  I hated to see him so down.  He tried so hard not to show any fear or worry to me, but I know he was very concerned as we approached Saturday night and then Sunday and he was still getting sick.  I was so worried about him.  I didn't sleep much at all last weekend.

Monday morning I took him back to the doctor for IV fluids and anti-nausea meds so that he could recuperate fully.  It did the trick.  He finally stopped getting sick and was able to hold down some food.  Praise the Lord.

All weekend long, I prayed and prayed and prayed and asked the Lord to take the sickness from Jay, but He didn’t do it.  I knew that the Lord was with us, but it was difficult to understand that there was a purpose for this experience.  The purpose was to draw me closer to Him so that I will lean completely on Him and trust that He knows what is best and has a greater plan for us through this cancer. 

My heart was broken as I watched Jay make trip after trip to the bathroom, but with each time, we would come closer together as a couple because he knew that I was there to care for him and I knew that he needed me.  I praise God for the closeness that I feel to my husband.  This cancer has been a blessing and a curse.  My greatest desire is for the Lord to take the cancer away from my honey, but if He’s not willing to do that right now, I am so thankful for the time I get to spend with Jay and for the added dose of love that I feel for him.  Sometimes I feel the love overflowing in my heart, so much so that it is actually painful.  There is no greater gift that the Lord could have given me.

Jay is doing very well now.  Little to no nausea and he's able to eat real food now.  He actually went golfing yesterday!  I love his spirit.  He really is my hero.  His next round of chemo is next week so all of you who are praying, please pray that the nurses would get the dosage of anti-nausea medication right so that he won’t be sick, or at least AS SICK as he waslast weekend, as well as for strength and rest for him…and me too.

Heavenly Father, I pray Your hand of healing touch on my Jaybird.  Give him continued strength and courage as we journey down this uncertain road.  Give me a renewed energy as I minister to him through this treatment process.  I praise You, Father, for Your mercies that are new every morning.  Thank You for my husband.  Thank You for teaching me lessons daily through this experience.  I am begging for a miracle, that my husband would be spared from cancer, but Your will be done because I KNOW that Your plan is far greater for Jay's life and mine.  Thank You for Your love and comfort.  May You be glorified in my daily actions.  In Jesus Precious name.  Amen. 



Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The Struggle - Keepin' It Real

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.  Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.  This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones."  (Proverbs 3:5-8 NIV)

Jay and I went to the oncologist today and he is still doing well.  His liver enzymes are still a bit elevated, but the numbers are improving slightly.  Praise the Lord for that!  He has a PET/CT scan Friday morning and then starts IV chemo on Friday afternoon.  Sessions will be 4 hours long, every other week.  In four weeks we go back to see the oncologist again.  "We are going to be playing it by ear," says the doc.  Meaning, we will do a few weeks of chemo and then see where that gets us. 

The doctor seemed very distracted today.  He was late getting to us in the examination room, and then he came in and tried to rush us along.  We kept asking him to clarify what he meant so we could write stuff down and understand what the plan was for Jay.  Then, once he was finally making some sense to us, he tried to rush us out without giving us the results of Jay's blood tests.  His liver enzymes were elevated last time around, so I was concerned with how the tests look now.  So, as the doc was closing Jay's ever thickening chart, he says, "Okay, so I'll see you in four weeks!" and proceeds toward the door.  "Oh NO!  I don't think so," I saidThe doc quickly turned around obviously caught off guard by my tone of voice.   

I said that I wanted him to tell us the results and he quickly said, "They're fine."  I said, "No, I want you to actually LOOK at the results and compare them to last time and tell me if the levels are the same, worse or better."  He seemed a little annoyed at this, but he obliged.  He said that the levels are better than last time, but are still elevated and that was why he was calling for a PET/CT scan so he could have a base line scan to see if the radiation/chemo combo helped.  Now, that made sense to me, but I wanted to hear him say it. 

The doc is not normally like this, so needless-to-say I was very shocked by his behavior and I am trying to chalk it up to the fact that he has lots of patients and he was just really busy.  But, I won't let anyone treat my husband like he is just another patient.  As if all cancer patients are the same or something.  Jay is different from everyone else, if for no other reason than he is my husband and I won't tolerate second rate care!

Jay told me today that he is ready to start going to all of his appointments on his own.  He doesn't need me to be with him.  I have mixed emotions about this because on one hand, I want to be there with him because I am walking through this trial with him and I have a need to know what's going on and want to hear it at the same time as Jay.  But, on the other hand, he feels as though he's got this under control and he doesn't need me to be there with him.  So, I need to be able to just let him do this on his own and not take it as a sign that he doesn't need me anymore. 

I've rather enjoyed the time he has been off work and at home.  I have felt more connected to him.  But,I want more than anything for him to have a normal life again and go back to work and do the things that he wants to do.  I think we're heading in that direction...at least my hope is for that anyway.  I'm praying for the Lord to heal him completely of this disease.  I don't know for sure what will happen but I am praying for the best results possible.  My honey deserves that. 

With all of the emotions that come with this whole treatment process, and the fact that I just lost a very dear loved one, I have been emotionally overwhelmed lately.  I have felt as though I were drowning.  But, the Lord has been faithful to keep reminding me that He is in control and that I need to TRUST Him. 

As I am typing this entry out, I am beginning to understand that I am getting in my own way by being so angry.  I need to lean on the Lord for His understanding of how and why things happen the way they do and not my own.  I know nothing, and can do absolutely nothing without my Lord, so why do I struggle?  I shouldn't bother, right? 

Well, I'm human.  I will struggle until the day that I die.  Some days I wish that would happen soon so I won't have to deal with heartache, but I know that the Lord has a plan for my life, Jay's life and the life of everyone around me and I need to honor God and allow Him to shine through all circumstances whether desired or not.  I have to allow Him to dig in, and dig up!

"Let Him plough, He purposeth a crop." - J. Oswald Sanders

Lord, I don't want You to just take my anger from me...I am handing it over to You.  Do with it whatever will glorify You.  None of what I am going through is easy, but I am trusting You to turn that which was meant for bad into something beautiful and brilliant as only You can do.  Help me to look inward and see what You see in me.  Renew me.  Revive me.  Mend my heart, Lord.  In my desperation, I cry out to You because I know You hear me.  Carry my burdens.  Carry me.  I love you. In Christ's name.  Amen.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Happy Birthday Karen!!

"Greater love has no one than this , that he lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13-14 NIV)

Today is a special day for my best friend, Karen.  I won't say how old she is, but it is her birthday.  I celebrate the fact that, on this day sometime ago, the Lord created such a wonderful person.  I celebrate that He counted me worthy of being her friend.

If I had the best imagination in the world, I couldn't have ever imagined a better friend than this woman.  I prayed for years for the Lord to place a strong woman of God in my life, and in His perfect timing, AS ALWAYS, He was faithful to provide.  That poor thing, she had no clue what was comin' to her!  She didn't stand a chance!

I met her in a bible study group and by the end of the study, I knew that she was the woman that the Lord had in mind to be my friend.  On the last evening of the study, I went to Karen and said, "I think we're going to be friends."  And as she likes to tell people, she hasn't been able to get rid of me since.  I suppose that's true to a certain degree.

We share so much...laughter, love, clothes & jewelry, and most importantly, our love of the Lord.  It is a blessing to have a friendship where the Lord is the central focus.  She keeps me focused on the Lord when I begin to get lost.  She prays with me.  She prays for me.  She is not just my friend, she is my sister.  What greater blessing is there!

Karen, my friend, Happy Birthday to you.  I love you my sister and pray that we can celebrate birthdays together for years to come.  I pray the Lord's abundant blessings on you.



Saturday, May 5, 2007

Catching Up

Okay, so I apologize for not updating my blog for several days.  I've been very busy.  Jay is doing very well, so anyone who might be worried that I haven't entered anything into my journal because of him, rest easy...he is well.  As a matter of fact, we have a doctor's appointment on Tuesday to schedule the next round of tests to see where we are at, so I won't have anything to report on him for several weeks.  I am thankful for the period of rest that he gets from treatment so he can just go out and enjoy himself with his friends and brother.  He has continued to golf and fish every week regardless of any treatments he may have been receiving and I am grateful to the Lord that he has been able to do so. 

The past couple of weeks have been very difficult for me because I have been busy with work, bible study, choir rehearsals and performances.  In addition to that, I have been to three funerals in three weeks.  Two funerals were for the passing of loved ones of good friends and I was there to provide support to those friends.  This last one was mine to claim.  I lost a very dear friend and second mother.  It's official, I am in mourning. 

I loved Ginger very much and knew her from two years old.  The funeral was yesterday and the reality of her death hit me then.  I will not go on and on about how much I loved her because it is too hard right now.  But, I will say this...I will miss Ginger very much.  A piece of my heart is gone.  But, thankfully, as I found out yesterday, I will see Ginger again in heaven.  She was a believer in Jesus Christ.  So, not only was she my mother, but she was my sister in the Lord as well.  I couldn't have asked for a greater gift yesterday than finding out that I will see her again.

Anyway, in the coming days, I will be able to write more and more about my walk with the Lord and all the things that He is teaching me on a daily basis.  Bible study came to an end last Thursday and we have our last choir rehearsals and performance in May so that will free up a couple of days per week. 

I promise to write more as my mind begins to declutter.  I have allowed too much noise in and I am praying and giving it to the Lord so that I can begin the healing process.

My love to all who have written, asking about my blog and when I will update again.  Thank you for your interest in what I have to say.  Bless you.