Tuesday, February 21, 2012

His Amazing Mercy

It has been months since I have come here to blog.  In the process of time, I had forgotten how  to retrieve what I had originally written.  Rather than stress over it...for it certainly was not a lost novel...*snicker*...I just took it that I needed to redirect my mind and move forward.

Many of you are aware that over the past few weeks and months, I have been having great trials with my health. Actually, my journey started 3 1/2 years ago...when I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.  Let me just say here, that I have always been a "fall apart" person.  I used to imagine how I would react if I were ever to find out that I had a disease that could actually claim my life.  I "knew" that I would lay down and give into it out of despair and hopelessness.  I have never been a particularly emotionally stable person.  Not something I like to admit right here to everyone, but sharing may be helpful to others.

Of course, for a couple of days, I had a meltdown.  No one wants to hear the "C" word!!  But, I was about to find out that the Lord was going to create in me a new person through the trials I was fixing to go through...if I was willing to be still and listen.

In the past, I would have screamed, thrown a fit, did the "why me"...and "it's not fair" scene.  Instead, I had the most peaceful attitude and my thoughts were "why not you"?....."why would you be any different than any other human"?  I KNEW that the Lord had placed that kind of thinking within me....because that was just not me.  My heart began taking on changes throughout the chemo process that caused me to have a desire to pay attention to what was happening to me so that, hopefully, I would be able to be a help and comfort to those who would surely follow after me.  I asked the Lord to prepare me to be a servant to Him and others in this area.

I have always wanted to be a benefit to the Lord....and to His people.  However, I did very little to move in that direction, which I am ashamed to admit.  So, with this disease entering my life, I now had a chance to sort of redeem myself and "get with the program".....and that is what I set out to do.

To say that the Lord was more than merciful to me is an understatement.  The changes in these 3 1/2 years of my carnal and spiritual heart have been amazing.....and I LOVE IT !!!!   I LOVE ME !!

On May 4th, I will be entering a new phase of my life....I will be turning 60 years old!!!  (  HOLD ON WHILE I HAVE A FREAK OUT MOMENT!!!!   *snicker)   Yes, it is a bit frightening to me.  I wish I could back up 30 years...but that's not going to happen.  So my choices are to sit still...or move forward...and for the first time in my life....I am choosing to move forward.

As I was saying, I love who I am becoming.  You would really have to know me very well to know why those words mean so much to me.  Before I went through Cancer, I did not like me....and would never have chosen me to be a friend to.  How sad is that???  But it is true.  Through circumstances in my life...through my not moving forward as I entered adulthood...through not taking the wonderful teachings at church and using them like I should....I only became more bitter....more hardened towards everything and everybody....even at times, towards God.  All signs of a very immature "christian".

Here is where God's Mercy Amazes Me!!!  He always stayed in my heart.  He never let me go, though there was one point in my life that I thought He had left me......and I was devastated.  Over these past few years, I have finally been able to FEEL and KNOW that I am loved....by God....by my husband....my children and grands.....and by FRIENDS.  FRIENDS!!!!  that is such a new word to me....so much better than acquaintances....so close and so personal.  *sigh*

God has given me so much in such a short amount of time.  So, for me, it is ok that Breast Cancer entered my life.  It is ok that I am now going through the ravages of Bells Palsy.  I do not care because it is working on the inside of what was so cold and hard and bringing out something that even I am amazed at.  And I LOVE IT!!!   OH MY GOD.....I LOVE IT!!!!



Monday, June 13, 2011

At the End of the Day......

At the end of my day, right before I go to sleep, I let my mind reflect upon the blessings I have had that day.

Always, there is thankfulness that God allowed me to have another day.  It is the first thing I thank the Lord for in the morning......and the last "thank you" before I close my eyes for the night.

Even though life right now is wrought with trials and hardships, I always look for the "happies" and "thankfuls" that the Lord has allowed me to have.  I am a nature lover....birds and their songs, flowers and trees....a beautiful sky.

I love to be up early in the morning because all of nature is beginning to wake up too.  The rooster is calling for everyone to "get up"....what a great sound that is!!!  And the family of bluejays come down from their home in the big oak tree in front of our home to collect whatever food they find down on the ground below.  There are at least 5 of them.  They are wonderful to watch.....hopping about, searching and teasing one another.

We take Bailey, our adorable 3 year old mini-schnauzer, out first thing in the morning.  She runs around so playfully....like a little child with a smile on her face.  Her eyes are always looking around for the black cats that she loves to torment...well, actually, they torment her but she likes to think it is the other way around...LOL   Since the grass always has dew on it, Gary picks her up to bring her in and dry her off.  She just looks so adorable hanging in his arms...again, just like a little kid.  And for me, that is what she is  :)  Remember when your children were babies how wonderful and exciting it was to wake up to them in the morning?  That is exactly how I feel with her.   I do not have a real baby at home anymore, so Bailey gets all my morning kisses...*snicker*

Gary and I have breakfast and then we discuss what our plans are for the day.  Today, I took an "easier day".  I suffer terribly from fibromyalgia and really needed a break so I did small things to give my hurts a chance to calm down for the rest of the week.  Denise came over in the early morning and we applied Wall Words to one of the walls in our bedroom.  It has taken me quite awhile to come up with just the right words...but I saw these at Hobby Lobby this week...and they were perfect :)  I am thankful for Denise, my lovely adult daughter, and I am thankful for finding words that have such meaning for us.

In the afternoon, we took a backroads drive.  We love to do this...always seeing things we have not seen before.  The country is so pretty here with its winding, hilly and woodsy roads.  So relaxing......I am thankful for the peace and calm that it brings to me when I am troubled and stressed from the hard "bumps" in my lifes road.

Life situations for the past 4 years have been particularly hard on me.  Gary asked me on our drive today if I was ready to give up.  I told him I did not really want to "give up".....but I would just like to run away for awhile...LOL   This is where I am REALLY thankful...that I have the Lord in my life to hold me up when I feel like I want to crumble to the ground!!!  I am so, so grateful that the Lord reminds me that He is there for me...ALWAYS....and He will never, ever leave me!!!

Hebrews 13:5...for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee...KJV 

Monday, May 30, 2011

Yes Lord, YES !!

A friend reminded me about God's grace today.  I looked up the word "grace" and found many definitions given for different circumstances.  But the one I liked the most said this, " an unmerited gift or favor granted by God".  I just love that!!!  "Unmerited gift" - undeserved gift.....undeserved favor given by God.

All day today, this song has been with me:

Many times I'm tried and tested
As I travel day by day
"Oft I meet with pain and sorrow
And there's trouble in the way.

But I have a sweet assurance
That my soul, the Lord will lead
And in Him there is strength for every need.


Oh, His grace is sufficient for me
And His love is abundant and free
Oh what joy fills my soul
Just to know, Just to know
That His GRACE is sufficient for me.

How humbling it is to know that I am so undeserving of God's "unmerited gifts and favor"...yet, He constantly blesses me with them!!!

For Mother's Day this year, Denise gifted me with a book, "one thousand gifts" by Ann Voskamp. Ann shares how to live a life of gratitude with what you have.  Amazingly, I am finding that I have alot more than I thought I did.  She is helping me to see that it is the opening of the eyes and heart that allows you to receive the blessings that are already in your life.  I have found Ann to be totally blessed, not only in her ability to write so wonderfully, but for her grasp on what it takes to "live a life fully and joyfully".

A few services ago, I got up at church and expressed my appreciation to God for my trials. Trials are given to help us grow...if we let them....and to me, trials show me that God is still interested in me.  Lately, I have had to do alot of soul-searching.  I must admit that I was in an emotional hell.....so grieved in my heart over circumstances in my life....so tired and weary of me trying to do things my way instead of making room for God to be the one in control...struggling to let God have HIS wonderful way in my life.

On May 4th, I turned 60 years old!!!  So very hard to believe...but there it is...*snicker*.  Leading up to this momentous occasion, I was deeply troubled within.  So many thoughts going through my mind....why had I wasted so many years obsessing over the same situations, year after year after year?  As Dr. Phil loves to say, "how has that worked for you?"   Well, it has not worked at all...not even a little bit!!!

God was also asking me alot of questions...and showing me things I did not want to see about myself in regards to my relationship with Him.  He so forcefully was asking me to make decisions....and I was fighting, still fighting.  Trust is not one of my strong points.  I basically only trust myself...with myself.  But I knew this made the Lord sad...for He wants His children to trust Him for their needs...for the comfort that we need when sorrows are so great...for the healing of our minds, body and soul.  Could I finally make the decision to "let go and let God..."?   Ohhhhh, the decision was so hard!!!  After all, I had had 60 years to form the bad habit of self-reliance....and now, at this age, I was being asked to make the decision...or lose my place with Him.

What kept coming so strongly to my mind was a sermon I had seen and heard many years ago.  The pastor was walking around carrying a chair...and he was talking about how he did not want to "give up his chair"...he did not want the Lord to give "his chair" to anyone else.  That has always stuck with me!!!  I do not want the Lord to give my chair to anyone else...it is MY chair...and I want to keep it!!!

After 3 miserable months of such inner personal and spiritual turmoil, I finally said "Yes Lord, YES!!!"  I will make the decision to let all of the garbage that has been pushing me down all these years, go!!!  YES!!!

It was amazing how quickly I felt such freedom!!!  Oh my dear Lord!!!  Is that all it took...to just say YES??  I went a bit further and I told the Lord that I was taking all of my life's hurts...all the things that had grieved and burdened me since I was a child...and I was placing wings on them and sending them to Him...because He knew how to handle them better than I did!!!  What a release that was...for in my mind, and even with my arms, I lifted them up to Him and let them go.  And there, I intend to leave them.  I realize I will have to watch carefully so they do not float back down to me....but I really think I can do it!!!!  Because He is going to help me.

Trials....they are so troublesome...at times, so hurtful... but they are also so freeing if we leave ourselves open to "see" and "hear" with our eyes and hearts what the Lord wants for us.  I believe this with all of my heart...because I BELIEVE with all my heart that God loves ME....undeserving ME!!!.......and I love Him.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Giving It Away

This past month has been one of the hardest that I have had to deal with.  My mind has been all over the place...trying to sort out my feelings.....trying to stay open enough to let the Lord deal with me if He chooses...trying to bring myself out of the depression that has come upon me and has been hard for me to shake free from.

For 3 1/2 years, I have been in the throws of ill health.  Beginning with a diagnosis of Breast Cancer....going through chemo...loss of hair...and all the uncertainty that settles into our minds when we are told we have the "C" word.  After treatment, I thought I would get back to my old self....but that has not happened.  I jump from one ailment to another, proof to me that the poison that has to enter our bodies to help one disease can also compromise our bodies in other ways.  I literally have been sick for almost 4 years.  And after awhile, it takes its toll on mind, body and spirit.  That is where I am right now.

Even though I never lose sight of the fact that I am extremely blessed in so many ways, the burden of being 24/7 ill is just very hard to cope with.

Yesterday marked 1 month since I was diagnosed with Bells Palsy.  No matter how hard I have tried to deal with this, I am struggling.  With the cancer, there was treatment.  With the Bells Palsy, it is more of a wait and see....and in the meantime, I see myself in the mirror everyday.  The left side of my face is frozen...the eyelid will not shut and has to be taped to keep it closed when I sleep....the lower lid droops and the eye stares.  My face is pulled to the right and I speak with only half of my mouth.  I am ashamed that I have not moved past how I feel about it....but it is so physical, so out there for everyone to see.  And right now, I am allowing it to effect how I feel about me.  I know that is not right. And I have also finally "gotten" that these illnesses are being used to bring me down, by one who is not of God.  Armed with that knowledge, for I was finally able to "hear" that piece of information, I am able to move forward now. Another lesson learned.....another growth spurt!!!

Today, my mind feels better.....for it is telling me that I must "give it away".  Give it to the Lord....and let it go. Sensibly, I know that even with a misshapen face, I am blessed.  I am blessed that there were no tumors shown on my MRI's.  I am blessed that it was not a stroke, for I could also be dealing with paralysis of my whole left side of my body.  This experience definitely takes my mind to Job and the suffering he went through in his body...and his mind.  And he was just like I am right now...warring within himself and trying to figure out how to deal with it...or not.  And like Job, I do want to deal with it.

It is so amazing to me the journeys we take in our lives.  Some of them are so incredibly awesome!!!  and some of them are so very difficult.  But even the difficult ones can be beautiful if we leave space for the Lord to allow a work through them.

"But we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope..."  Romans 5:3-4

For the past 3 1/2 years, I have been learning a great lesson....TO BE STILL and LISTEN.  In so doing, there are wonderful changes that are taking place within.  So again, with this new ailment, I am having to back up....be still...and listen.  Perhaps this is the only way God has found to get my attention....and hopefully, I will soon do so well at listening He will allow me to once again become well in body.  My biggest thankful today is that I at least have finally reached a place of being willing in my heart to let my trials be an asset to me.  I may fight for awhile...I may cry buckets of tears and feel like there is no hope at times...but in the end, my mind is steering back to how the Lord works with us... IF WE ALLOW HIM TO!! 

I am doing my best to give it all away to Him.....to place it at His feet....for I know that He loves to take care of His children and for them to rely on Him.  I want to be a pleasing daughter....so I will keep on working through this and hold on to the knowledge that I will become a better person for it.  IT WILL BE WORTH IT ALL!!!