Rejoice Always

Cancer is insidious.  It shows up and brings with it so many variables.  Treatment, surgery, prevention, survival, so many things that are unknown.  Sometimes it goes, but sometimes it stays lurking in the life of the patient and their loved ones.  I have a friend who is  in treatment for cancer.  She is loved; loved by God, the apple of His eye, she is special to Him.  Yet, she suffers, and we pray diligently for her body to be healed and whole again.  

When I watch her I study her strength and the pervasive wisdom she eschews about this season of her life.  The first time cancer was found she told me something I will never forget.  Someone had asked her how she maintained her joy while she was “fighting for her life”. She told them that she was not fighting but that Jesus was fighting for her.  She said that she doesn’t consider this her fight.  It is what God has allowed and she believes in His plan and purpose.  Her faith for the past two and a half years has made me so reflective about what my belief in God really means.  I wonder if I could face treatments, pain, and bad news the way she has.  My friend has had an extremely difficult time over the past nine months.  She has fallen and broken some bones.  She has endured more than one round of grueling chemotherapy.  At one point, both she and her husband were hospitalized.  Yet, every Sunday morning, that she is able,  I see her in church.  With the same fervency that I have always known her for, she worships God.  Her voice is raised even when her body can’t stand. When I think of her, I think of this:

Giving no offence in anything, that the ministry be not blamed.  But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflication, in necessities, in distresses, In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffeing, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armoour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left  –  2Corinthians 6:4-7

It is not realisitic to believe that there is no suffering in Christ.  Who would I be if I had no suffering in my life?  Though what I have endured is not the same as my dear friend I know that God’s plan for me is perfect.  Pain is not pleasant, it is not wanted, but it is part of life. Whatever the trials of our lives,  God is still faithful, still omnipotent, still reigning and worthy of all of our praise.  


Be encouraged, 

T.

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Strength

I believe strength is relative. Sometimes brute force is needed. That is strength. But there’s a different kind that I find myself admiring more. It’s a quiet strength. A kind of strength that is a compass during a storm. It’s the strength that’s born from hard won confidence. The type of strength that is gained from time spent on your knees. It’s the strength that comes from tears that flowed enough to create a river or a sea. This strength is present even in the worst of times. This strength reminds me that even during the worst of times there is a truth that I believe:

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Affliction

Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, (‭2 Timothy‬ ‭1‬:‭8-9‬ KJV)

Affliction is not what I ever related to the call of Christ. No, I didn’t believe God would put a long, arduous, discomforting physical affliction in my life. But He did. Well He didn’t but He did. See, I don’t believe that God created sickness. I don’t believe that is in His character. Sickness comes because of corruption. Corruption is a result of the sin that came to man in The Garden…

Before I go on any further please let me explain what I don’t mean. I don’t mean that everyone that finds themself afflicted is a sinner. Well, maybe I do. I mean, I am a sinner. There is no shame in that confession. Not for me. I stand in awe of what is forgiven – daily.

Daily comes the call to be delivered from my loathing, bitter, fruitless, hateful affliction of The Gospel. When I was selfish, foolish, impatient I was showing how unwilling I was to submit my will to His. God called and each time I answered “Yes!” Yet, my heart was full of stones. Too many things that I had the right to be angry about. While denying that I was resentful of the affliction for the Gospel. I was not concerned about the purpose or the grace. Corruption had come and like Eve I had taken a bite of the forbidden fruit.

If You’re Fainting

Hello all. I wonder of you’ve forgotten about me? It’s been a long time since I’ve been here. There’s no speech for me to give. All I can say is that I haven’t had anything much that I thought God wanted me to say. I’ve been struggling. Really struggling. Fighting to take control of my revolting body while simultaneously praying for answers. I know that God is in control of my life. He’s also in control of this blog.

Praying reminds me that God is in control. It comforts me to know that He’s listening. Somedays it seems like no one else in my life is. Praying and crying have gone on many days in the past few months. Thankfully though, I’ve laughed a lot too. The only thing that I haven’t really been able to do is write. Nothing could make it from my heart to the page. I tried a few times but what I wrote was more for me than you. But, alas, tonight I read something that I felt led to share. It’s a Scripture that I really needed tonight. I hope it encourages you too.

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. (Galatians 6:9 KJV)

Be encouraged,

T.

Lifted

The past year has been something of a whirlwind. I’ve had some medical problems. So there have been lots of tests and time in doctors’ waiting rooms. I’ve kept my prayer and meditation mixed in with the laundry, the dishes, and the vacuum cleaner. I had little time to listen while putting too much time into doing. My body and spirit were suffering.

When I began to sit quietly. I would open my Bible and find verses I’ve never seen before. Then I remembered a prayer I offered to God a few months ago.

“Lord, I’m tired. I want to go back to where I started. Please take me back to the place I was when I fell in love. When I was so hungry to study your Word!

Once upon a time, I could memorize scripture so easily. In time, I found myself frustrated because no matter how I tried, it was hard to do. My multi-tasking habit was. I’m excited because over the past few months I found myself in that place again. I returned to my passion. I’m excited. I’m refreshed. I’m grateful. I’m healed. God is good. His grace has met me once again. He’s speaking in both a whisper and a roar. Hallelujah!!! I can hear Him.

Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. (Psalms 24:7 KJV)

 

Be encouraged,

 

T.

Truth

It’s so easy to feel guilty when you’re a Christian. Too many of us succumb to the voices that speak to our insecurities.

“Oh, why did I do that?”

“I’ll never do that again?”

“Why can’t I be like…?”

I know I have! I’ve read The Word and still failed. I’ve known the truth and still believed the lie. I’ve spent times repenting over and over. Now I know, God doesn’t want us to feel we have to do that. He wants us to choose to change. We are to strive to serve Him with our whole heart.

I’m awestruck by our God. I want His majesty to fill my heart. Please remember, God doesn’t lose sleep over our sins. He sent Jesus to take care of them. You know what God does? He watches us condemn ourselves for our humanity. We have to accept that we won’t ever be perfect. If we turn our heart toward God. We must want the truth. The truth about His love for us, the gifts He’s placed inside of us, the Spirit He’s sent to comfort us, and the things He wants us to change. We must embrace the truth because through it we come to know God.

Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you. (1 Samuel 12:24 KJV)

Be encouraged,

T.

Counting The Ways

We started a seven day challenge at our church this week. Yesterday, I was supposed to write a list of things that I need. My entire life was placed in sharp focus as I meditated on what my list would be. So many things came to mind. Each time the Holy Spirit would speak – “That’s a want not need.” My list couldn’t be about the in-ground pool I want, the kitchen renovation that I’m dreaming of, or the family vacation I’d like to go on.

I was reminded once again, my life isn’t perfect but it’s wonderful! Here’s a list of just some of things I was reminded to be grateful for:

I met the love of my life in college. After many detours, we are preparing to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary.

We have 5 happy, healthy, children. They love each other, the laugh more than they’ve ever cried, they are compassionate and each of them walks in and lights up the room.

We serve The Lord, and others, together.

We pray hard, love hard, and live in peace.

I have food on my table..ALWAYS. I’ve never had to send my children to bed hungry.

We are members of a great ministry. We have an amazing Pastor and First Lady. They practice exactly what they preach and they preach the true Word of God.

Our family is surrounded by others who love The Lord.

My kids have friends who know and love The Lord.

My parents are still alive. My Mother-in-Law lives near us and attends our church.

The sounds of laughter, friends, food, are consistently heard in my house.

My friends, take a look at your life. If things in your life are tough right now please remember that His strength is made perfect in your weakness. There’s something there to be grateful for. Lean on The Master to restore you. Above all, remember these words:

11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Phi 4:11-13

Helpless but Hopeful

Well, last week my Dad was scheduled for surgery. I’ve prayed for months that the surgery would be scheduled at a “convenient” time. For me, that would have been any time before now. It takes us half a day to drive to them. There was no way we could go with school starting so soon. So the morning of surgery we called. We prayed with my parents before they left for the hospital. My Dad cried and so did I. All day, I kept my phone near and I estimated when it should ring. When they checked in, when they took him back, and when they were done. It didn’t happen. One text message is all the news I had for hours. So when I couldn’t wait any longer I called my brother. He told me they were loading Dad into the car. The surgeon had to come up with a different plan, another date, another surgery. I was helpless but hopeful once again. At least they hadn’t done anything.

Then I began to think more about the timing of it all. God allowed my parents to come and visit a few months ago. They hadn’t been to our house in a few years. My Dad wasn’t feeling very well but he’d refused to cancel their trip. Before they left we prayed and my Dad accepted Christ. God had indeed made the surgery “convenient”. He’d fulfilled his promise of salvation for my Dad. That is really all that matters. This surgery is drawing us all closer to Christ. My Dad is praying for his healing like the rest of us. I’m not going to be there when they try again but I’m feeling less helpless and much more hopeful. God’s timing means everything.

Be encouraged,

T.