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.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

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!

signature1

My Love Dare with God – Week 12

wk 12

Can it really be the last week??????  For some, you may be thinking, “FINALLY!” — but can I share something really incredible?  After this week, you will have the gift of seeing this particular piece of the puzzle…. a bag full of tools that can help you seize more opportunities to love…. to boldly go thru doors and let God’s love be known to others in a powerful way.  This is Living My Love Dare with God… but first things first…. let’s work through Week 12

Dare days 38 – 40  – we continue with topics that are a deeper, as they directly focus on our relationship with God

This week we take a look at how Love

  •  Fulfills Dreams – seeking God for direction  and leaning on God to open your heart to the beauty of dreams
  • Endures – the no matter what kind of love
  • is a Covenant – not a contract and so much more than a promise

 

My Love Dare with God – Week 12

signature1

 

My Love Dare with God – Week 11

wk 11Week 11 – Dare days 35 – 37  – we are on the home stretch!  And although the topics are a deeper, they directly focus on our relationship with God

This week we take a look at how Love

  •  is Accountable – the impact and importance of godly women/men in our lives
  • is God’s Word – the many tools available to us that help bring God’s Word to life and help us apply it to our daily walk
  • Agrees in Prayer – the power of prayer with others

 

My Love Dare with God – Week 11

 

signature1

 

Welcome to The Table

Welcome to the TableI shared this post on Facebook, and then it dawned on me that I didn’t write about it here first!  So…. here it is….

I’m so excited!!! My brain has been going a million miles a second….flooded with ideas….

I shared a video on Facebook about the book “The Turquoise Table” – it’s all about creating community in our own front yards by reaching out & loving others….

In case you haven’t followed recent posts on my blog, I started writing and sharing a bible study based on the Love Dare book (you can read about it here: https://celetac.com/my-love-dare-with-god/ )…..and yes, it’s about loving others!

And then, a friend at church invited me to join a group…. Fighting dirty…loving big… it’s all about getting out of my comfort zone by physically reaching out to love on others…

Well…. I’m not really out and about daily, and lately cancer challenges have really been a pain in my backside (literally! 🤣) – I’ve found that when I am out, lingering to reach out is much more difficult physically than emotionally

Notice a trend????

Well….as I read the book (The Turquoise Table) I’ve been thinking, “where can I put MY table???” I live at the back of my complex & my cottage gets very little traffic 😏….down the way, a neighbor sat out chairs, but that didn’t seem quite right either…

As I was engrossed in the book (thank you Amazon Prime!), I kept asking God, “where’s my table?????”

And then…. as I was preparing to work on the Love Dare with God study, it hit me…. THE CRAFT ROOM!

My complex has a room designated for crafts, but it’s rarely, if EVER used! They also have a COFFEE ROOM; it’s on the 2nd floor… the BEST part???? They are both near me!!! The main activity room for the complex is at the front of the property & a bit far for me to walk on a regular basis, let alone carry beverages or crafts… notice a ‘God Thing’ happening here????

No Strangers HereHonestly, I was so excited that I just had to walk over for a visual of each room 🤓….. the only thing it didn’t have was a billboard saying,

you asked Celeta, here it is…..love God

Yes indeed….. I found “my” table….first things first though….finish the Love Dare study, and THEN leap out of my comfort zone again and watch God show off 🙌🏻

signature1

My Love Dare with God – Week 10

wk 10Week 10 – Dare days 32 – 34  Some of the dares this week are a bit more challenging to flip the perspective between a spouse to God

This week we take a look at how Love

  •  Meets Sexual Needs – yes – this one’s tough… so we look at how sex filters into our daily lives through media with the question, “Does this glorify God?”
  • Completes Each Other – recognizing God is integral to our future success and seeking Him first in all things
  • Celebrates Godliness – shifting from only looking at areas that need improvement to rejoicing in all the work God is doing in us and to be cheerful in all circumstances

 

My Love Dare with God – Week 10

 

signature1

 

My Love Dare with God – Week 9

wk 9Week 8 – Dare days 28 – 31  Ready to keep diving???

This week we take a look at how Love

  •  Makes Sacrifices – keys of actively submitting to God’s call by sacrificing personal desires to meet the needs of others
  • Motivates – components that motivate us to love differently
  • Brings Unity – identifying previously undressed areas of sin in our lives that can potentially block a deeper relationship with God
  • and Marriage – taking a look at behaviors or things that can drive a wedge in our relationship with God

 

My Love Dare with God – Week 9

Thanks again for your participation!

signature1

 

Strength Rises

A month or so ago, a fellow artist shared a study on the Psalms by Lisa Albinus of Praise Heart studios – I just love how God consistently introduces me to new and inspiring believers who worship through art! Five years ago, “art” was literally not a part of my vocabulary….and today? Gosh, I can’t imagine my life without it!

Yesterday my sister and I were talking about a talent she has for deciphering ingredients for a particular dish…. she correlated that gift to art…or her lack, rather. My initial response was something like, “it’s all about what we nurture.” Well, that took us into a deeper conversation about our relationship with God – don’t you just love how He does that?????

It’s all about what we devote our time and efforts into…. it may not always be obvious, but in some form or fashion, the things we focus on will inevitably be connected to our relationship with God….to either bring me closer to Him… or pull me away… and that’s probably been the biggest standout of the current study I’m working through – My Love Dare with God – to heighten the awareness that everything I do impacts my relationship with God…. pretty exciting stuff, don’t you think? And the thing is, no two relationships are the same – similar? perhaps… but just like the two images shown – they are similar: a sun & 3 figures, but definitely not the same… so if… or rather, when you’re tempted to compare, think about these things:

This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. –1 Corinthians 12:25-28

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. –Ephesians 2:10

You alone created my inner being. You knitted me together inside my mother. I will give thanks to you because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made. Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of this. –Psalm 139:13-14