Praying I can focus the thoughts in my head (running at a ridiculous pace!) to make sense on cyber-paper… please be patient! So that the real post will make sense, I’ll backfill a bit from the post last month where I put my big girl panties on and shared a medical diagnosis:
Stage IV NeuroEndocrine Breast Cancer
with widespread osseous metastasis…
In other words cancer run amok in the bones. I haven’t spoken with others – perhaps it’s the same for everyone when they’re first diagnosed…life seems to move at a warp speed whirling around doctors, tests, more tests, medicines, more medicines…chemo and/or radiation. The past few months have been painful, emotional, overwhelming, and odd as it may sound…wonderful! Wonderful to rely on God’s faithfulness, and more wonderful in retrospect to see God consistently in action for His precious children – whether they act like defiant two-year olds… or not!
March 2015: This is the meat of this post – sorry for the scenic route, folks! My family started a bible-study a few weeks ago based on Not a Fan by Kyle Idelman. I won’t bore you with details of the pitiful rationalization process, but needless to say I’m still on week one of the journaling process… now, if you noticed a trend…yes, hesitancy to write, you are absolutely correct. Like the quiet riot tendencies I exhibit on a far too frequent basis, I was still resisting God by not completing the journal assignments for the study – after all, the journal is *optional* – sure…every other writer out there knows there’s nothing optional when it comes to the way God speaks to a writer’s spirit…the defiant two-year old…hiding…thinking…”if I don’t write, I’m not vulnerable…if I’m not vulnerable, that rug doesn’t need to be pulled back and swept…right…let me know how that works for you…
It’s not even as if I put my study material out of sight…there are the books…along with my journal, right out in the open…I LOOK AT THEM EVERY DAY! It’s not as if I don’t “have time” – and that’s where I painted myself into a corner… I picked up the book yesterday and guess where the discussion started?
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. – Rev 3:14-16
The verse was easy enough to gloss over UNTIL I read the author’s words: “If you are to be hot, then you must be sufficiently heated. Every stimulus you allow in your life will heat or cool your love for Jesus.” which were followed by a series of exercises to examine a typical day. Keep in mind:
- I’m not working,
- I’m off chemo right now (recovering from the first two months),
- Due to physical restrictions, I’m not constantly on the go or spending time on house projects
Looking at my typical day, I was embarrassed and convicted. The amount of time I dedicated to God dwindled at an astronomical rate. I praise Him daily and profess His Mighty Goodness and pulling back all at the same time. But why????? Hello. Circle the mountain again Celeta. The incredibly painful lesson I haven’t revisited for almost a year came blasting into clarity: I’m still struggling with performance based worthiness. As I looked over the pages, I kept thinking, “It’s so much easier being a giver and now I’m just a taker” – why yes, I was feeling sorry for myself…but the thoughts are deeply rooted and apparently I didn’t let the Gardner of my Soul clear out all the weeds in my heart – translation? Unbelief.
Ugh…my head knows His truths – the circuitry to my heart is still a little faulty…
And guess what? That’s okay! God is faithful and persistent because He loves each and every one of us and will consistently meet us EXACTLY where we are – two year old attitudes and all. We each have a choice EVERY SINGLE MINUTE of EVERY SINGLE DAY: will you choose Him? God will teach me whatever I’m willing to learn from Him.
At some point, most believers have experienced the opportunity to physically lay cares at the foot of a cross – for me, it was a very powerful experience – so powerful, my daughter made me something very special – a shadow box where I can write and leave cares at Jesus’ feet. Now, take a moment and look closely at the box…granted, this is the original photo, but it’s still looks pretty darn empty today – speaks volumes, doesn’t it? I look at the cross every single day and yet I hold onto so many cares troubling my heart. A pattern of unbelief I didn’t recognize before. Yesterday I pulled out the ONE item I wrote and placed at the foot of the cross – it was a prayer to God over my work situation last year – in the weeks that followed, I left my corporate job and God blessed my obedience and trust in Him more than ten-fold. You see for me, I only know I’ve really laid it down (and left it there) when I experience perfect peace in the days and months (or years) following.
Sisters and brothers, God is waiting patiently to show up and show off in our lives! The lesson I’m still learning? Give your cares to Him freely and let Him show off! Lean into Him and HOLD ON! Claim His strength, His favor, His healing, His provision – even when we can’t see the way…HE IS THE WAY!