Joy in the Journey!

More often than not, folks will say,

“how do you do it? how do you stay so positive? how do you always seem to be so happy?”

The answer is truly simple and yet seemed so elusive most of my adult life….God worked very diligently to prepare me for a cancer journey!

In 2013,

  • my daughter endured two debilitating bouts of meningitis
  • I moved my dad to assisted living as Alzheimer’s was taking its devastating toll
  • my job went from crazy stress, to off the charts insane stress
  • I experienced the brink of physical and emotional collapse

Being soooooooo close to that edge, I knew something had to change….and that’s where God took my trust in Him to the “liberating place.” A place where I set aside my overly analytical mind. A place where He was my sole focus. A place where I confidently said goodbye to the corporate world where I was dying. A place where miracles happen.

It was a time when I had NO IDEA as to what was next and a time where I wasn’t scrambling to come up with a “plan” of my own. It was a time of the most wonderful peace I’d ever experienced.

Don’t get me wrong, the crazies were still present in 2014 – they just weren’t dictating my steps! It was a time when my feet didn’t move without God’s influence.

  • It was a time when I began experiencing serious pain with no idea as to the cause.
  • It was a time when I enjoyed visits with my dad and eventually said goodbye.
  • It was a time when my mom & stepdad came for a visit that resulted in them staying.
  • It was a time when my relationship with my oldest sister went to a new level as we spent countless hours together helping my other sister transition her life as we packed up my parents life in California.

With God as my focus and sole compass, I began seeing each day, each challenge, so differently. Anxiety diminished and peace reigned. I began to more fully receive God’s no matter what precious love!

So later that year, when the doctor said, “you have stage IV cancer that has spread extensively through your bones,” I didn’t panic. I knew God was still with me & prepared me for the battle ahead.

Have there been really tough days? Definitely. But God is faithful. He’s my go-to guy and gets me through every single challenge – every single day.

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This past weekend I experienced a first – I attended a Bible Journalers group! I was like a kid in a candy shop for the first time – all these like-minded women in one place – at the same time – with more art goodies than I could ever imagine!

As we were about an hour in, the coordinator stopped by my table and asked what I was planning…. you would’ve thought she’d asked me to explain some vast scientific thoughts on the universe….of which I haven’t a clue!

I soon discovered that I’m really challenged to focus with so much external stimulation… granted I was probably a BIG distraction to others….I chatted incessantly…a combination of nerves and excitement…. but somehow God settled me long enough to create this page, which I now “see” as the preface to a Bible study by Lisa Harper on Job that I started this past Sunday – isn’t God grand??????

Sunday’s message is still filtering through to my heart…

Last night I started reading through Job – I may have read a verse or two before and knew the 50,000ft view (sort of)…. and as I read, it seemed as if Job certainly was affected by initial losses, but not dissuaded in his faith. Then in chapter in chapter 3, after the boils, loss & pain started taking it toll…

Pain & Circumstances….it’s something we’re all familiar with… when my focus is narrowed through my imperfect lens, I can’t focus to see what God is doing IN the circumstance.

For example,

– I have an aggressive type of cancer. check.

– I experience physical pain every single day. check.

Sure, I can get bogged down in the muck – I’m human! I have to nurture my Holy Habits – to KNOW and EXERCISE God’s promises…most importantly? BELIEVE His promises. God has promised my healing.period.

If my focus is constantly on ‘when’ or ‘how’ God’s healing will come, then I’m at risk to miss out on everything in between!

It’s the “in-between” where God shows Himself & is glorified

it’s the “in-between” where my relationships are enriched

it’s the “in-between” where I get to be extraordinarily grateful for sunrises & promises of a new day

it’s the “in-between” where I get to share His love in the midst of life’s storms

it’s the “in-between” where my love for Him grows with each breath…

Oh, precious readers…my prayer is that each of you experience and treasure the liberating place!

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It’s a “dang…not so fast” kinda day

My one word this year is FOCUS! Something I often need desperately… my mind has a tendency to flit from one thing to the next… and most often, I totally forget the thing I started out doing…. sound familiar?

This morning was no exception… often the week post-injections is kinda iffy; the medication designed to help strengthen my bones increases bone pain, and the meds focused on starving cancer cells leaves me feeling achy and just plain yucky… it’s like a see-saw – one day I think, “woohoo! I’m over the hump!” and the next day is “dang…not so fast…”  Today is a “dang…not so fast” kinda day… unfortunate, because I REALLY wanted to go to church, but knowing if I push myself, then my body rebels in a not so nice way… so here I am… in bed… fighting away resentment…

Oh yeah… back to the focus (or lack thereof!)… my NUMBER ONE task – objective – goal…call it what you will… is to ensure the bible study is ready to start at the end of this month… and I am overwhelmed at times with the “what were you thinking????” thoughts.  So what do I do? ANYTHING but focus on the task at hand!

bible tabs.jpgExample?  Well, other than writing this post?  Oh…the thing that prompted to me write this post??? Bible tabs.  Yeah…innocent enough, right?  I bought a new interleaved Bible for art journaling this year and it needed tabs… as in yesterday…. never mind I’m not ready to start working in the new Bible… it was tab-less…  sure, I could buy tabs… but no, I must make them… with cute paper and my tab punch and handwrite each of the sixty-six books… which led me down another rabbit hole… I have sooooooo much to learn!!!!

A seemingly simple task churned up more insecurities…. I know so little about God’s Word!!! My thoughts immediately jumped to planning out a better reading plan…and maybe I need to do a certain study….. and….. and…. and….

And I started writing a post, which has brought me to this:  FOCUS!!!  But I can’t truly focus on the job God assigned to me until I surrender everything else to HIM…. yeah… that thing – surrender…. you see God most often speaks to and through me with writing…. I rarely know where I’m going until finally He says…”see????” and my heart smiles wider than the Grand Canyon!

What is God trying to tell you today????  You aren’t where you are at this very moment by accident… just like for me, today started as a “dang…not so fast” day and it wasn’t so much about what I didn’t get to do, but definitely about what He needed to teach me.  He’s got a plan for every.single.minute. and it’s incredible!

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Wound Care

I must admit, wound care isn’t a topic I typically delve into, but bear with me…as with all things, God provides revelation in the simplest of things…

bandaged%20wound%202A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to be educated on how the body attempts to heal open wounds. Far from an expert on the subject, here’s my takeaway…with an open wound the body’s goal is to protect itself. To bridge the gap of exposed tissue, new tissue forms – a scab…we’ve all had them…and all probably felt the temptation to pick at them…a healing wound is uncomfortable…it itches…it’s tender, Continue reading