It’s been a month filled with celebrations! It’s not lost on me just how blessed I am that my body has responded so well to cancer treatment when so.many.don’t. and this side of Heaven, I won’t have those answers… what I do know is that I can make the most of this time to praise God with all that I have!
As I approached 5 years since my diagnosis of stage IV breast cancer, a lot has happened….a lot of life has happened… I survived a bunch of medical stuff…intense chemo, palliative radiation, shingles, blood clots, pulmonary embolism, and lung complications from meds… all my hair came out and it came back curly as ever!
but there has been far more good….. my heart practically burst with joy as my daughter walked down the aisle to embark on the adventure of marriage. I discovered a love of FaithArt and a greater love to share art with others…from bookmarks to a Bible study to an Etsy store… God has continued to grow me by leaps and bounds!
This past year I’ve been pursuing better lifestyle choices – that started with a study called The Wellness Revelation, which led me to Whole30, another fast, and finally a more mindful approach to food as fuel vs comfort.
The timing is perfect to build on my appreciation for how far God has brought me with Ann Voskamp’s 1000 Gifts study starting Nov 18th. My prayer is that I truly commit mind and spirit to this study – although I’m already pretty darn appreciative of daily blessings, I know God has even more He wants to teach me and I’m eager to learn.
What will the next year bring? That’s a great question! I’m perfectly content to take it one day at a time ☺️
I started following along with Stepahnie Ackerman’s Documented Faith in late June. I love the concept! I know I’ve shared I for before, but here’s my take: it’s an effort to focus on God’s Word in manageable, bite-sized chunks…one word each month accompanied by weekly scripture relating to that word. Simple, manageable, memorable.
So I’ve been practicing… practicing by writing consistently… something I haven’t been successful with in the past. And writing in bite-size pieces versus the entire buffet of my life. When I committed to #write31days, something I wasn’t aware of was that I limited myself to two handwritten pages per day…bite-sized pieces…manageable vulnerability. Usually I make things more complicated, but it seems this decision is actually turning out well!
My focus is on God and how He is consistently working in my life, through me…to reveal Himself to me. When I slow down to take one step at a time, the mountain isn’t so big, the task at hand isn’t so overwhelming and Matthew 6:32-34 takes on a deeper meaning.
32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
As rocky as 2013 started, I had no idea just how crazy life would get! Even as things were becoming very clear my dad’s lifestyle demanded a dramatic change, I was finding myself thanking God for the multiple hospital visits throughout 2012. As difficult as those times were, God eased me into accepting the New Norm for my dad – the roles were shifting – his sense of independence waning as he fought changes with all his might – his identity was completely wrapped up who he believed he should be – along with the unrealistic expectations he placed on himself….and any deviation triggered tailspins of Looney Tunes Tazmanian devil (if you’re younger than oh…say 45, you might want to google the reference!) proportions.
I was thankful, because in the year prior, I not only made a point to become more informed about my dad’s medications, bills, etc. (stuff that’s so easy to overlook ), I was given the gift of time to get to know my dad as an adult – a person outside of my bubble. There was a big part of me that didn’t want to accept the change either…not because becoming a caregiver wasn’t my cup of tea…because he was my dad…the strong, independent, pain in the rear guy who loved to help other people in his community.
Today…as I’m still learning to Embrace a New Norm, I can’t help but think about a few Tazmanian monster moments of my own….
For months (and months) Romans 12:1 has been on my bathroom mirror…
“…in view of God’s mercy, offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.”
While I’m sure this verse can be interpreted many ways, to me it’s about transparency – is what’s on the inside apparent on the outside? Often perceptions can be skewed if we rely only on what we see physically. However, more often than not, we rely on physical sight alone.
For many years, I’ve been overweight. My physique can be perceived in many ways –
she doesn’t take pride in herself…
What are you hiding from?
she has no self-control…
if she would only exercise…
does she look in the mirror????
I could go on and on, but you get the idea. The real question? What is she hiding from? If you’ve read my testimony, the answer is easy – rejection. To varying degrees, I have placed my value in the affirmation of others – I have circled that mountain many times, but each time God brings me closer and closer to Him. I’m moving beyond intellect to belief .
Join me on this part of my journey as I seek God’s courage to tear down the physical barriers and allow Him full restoration access.