Priorities

I have a lot of long term projects hanging over my head right now, and recently had a big breakthrough about them–they aren’t important! There are obviously parts of everyone’s lives that necessarily create a pit in their stomachs, but it’s occurring to me that they don’t need to comprise a large part of my day and concerns. I made a mental list of the (many) that do that for me. The current ones are all self-imposed, like the commitment I made to finishing my next book. I made that on my blog, really to myself. Not a publisher or anyone else that matters. Now whenever I start working on writing different things I remember that goal and feel guilty I’m not working on it. It eats away at me. I’m praying about the answer, but I’m pretty sure I’m taking it off the to-do list. Along with about five other unimportant things that stress me out.

This is pretty huge for me. It goes along with the “release yourself” idea that I usually take issue with. I really respect hard work and honoring commitments, as well as the satisfaction and benefits that come from a goal achieved. However, all the things that stress me out right now are things I decided to do independently. No one is counting on them but me, and I think I might go ahead and release myself from them.

So, that’s progress. I think it’s working more intentionally toward my priorities. God has spoken a lot about them to me this week. My priorities must be: God, Yaacov, Abi & Naomi, then the ministries I’m involved with. I was praying about my mission this week and feel strongly that it is to tell people what God has done for me. To glorify Him. That must be interwoven among the priorities but if I’m doing a good job in my relationship with Him, that will fall into place. Anything else on my to-do list must correspond to it’s spot on my priority list.

1 Cor 10:31, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

I feel good about all this. Here are a few other things I have going on:
Friday is the Joanna Francis Living Well Foundation event. It is a fundraiser to help people with stage 4 cancer pay their non-medical expenses. I am one of the honorees who supposedly does a good job of “Living Well”. The only things I really do to live well is keep a positive attitude and pray. I got to nominate doctors who helped me live well. They picked Dr. Crooms and Dr. Rassam and those two are being recognized. This is an event that has caused me stress, but that has waned recently and I hope it will be fun. I would appreciate prayers for it because it is the first cancer-related event I will go to without the opportunity to say anything. That means I have no chance to tell people what God has done. And that in some weird way I am getting attention like I’ve done something great. It’s sort of anti-God in that way. Please pray for opportunities to tell the truth to these people. I also don’t know who else is being “honored”, but because it is for people with advanced cancer, I expect to be the only one healed. I ran into one person involved with it and she still assumes I have it and am between treatments. I know a lot of people think that, and as much as I hate to admit it, hearing that sort of thing gives me a hiccup in my confidence. So honestly I avoid it. Anyway, I don’t want to tell a bunch of people who are dying that I am not dying. And I don’t want to sit there quietly and let them assume I ate so much broccoli that my cancer went away. And I don’t want this, I don’t want that, yada yada. Please just join me in prayer about it.

If you want to support the Living Well Foundation, you can do so by going to the event or probably just giving money. The link is: http://www.joannafrancislivingwell.com

Romans 14:20, “Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble.”

I felt led to start fundraising for an amazing woman named Debora Passetti. I have mentioned her on here before. She prayed intensely for me during cancer then was diagnosed, at stage 4, herself. It gets worse though. Her husband had just retired, they’d bought a camper to travel the country. They can’t do that now, and the cancer in her liver is not letting up. So her sons moved back to Tallahassee to be closer to her. What do you know, her son was driving one of their cars and got rear-ended. He broke his spine in two places. The police said normally people just die on the scene from that. He has a motor tic and if he had just had one little tic after the crash he would have been paralyzed. But he didn’t! We rejoice because he is not paralyzed and is doing great. But it’s still so much for his parents to deal with. Too much.

They depend on the Lord but it is clearly a difficult time in their lives. Retirement always drops people’s income so it’s probably extra hard on her husband to feel a lack of control from that. I read online that the average insured person still spends over $700/month on cancer. So anyway, we started an account where people can donate but so far it’s not taking off. I am not sure what to do from here. I have some ideas for fundraisers but they all have downsides so I’m stagnant. If you would like to help support their family, the link is: http://www.giveforward.com/supportfordeborapassetti

1 Timothy 6:18, “Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.”

Some side effects of miracles…

Abi’s school was closed today. We had a really, really nice day together. Weekends have been so busy that there’s normally no chance to relax, but today we were able to relax and just enjoy hanging out. It makes me feel so much better about everything.

She has been behaving better, so thanks very much for your prayers. God helped a lot and showed me more things I could do to get things consistent again. We’re getting there, but it’s still one day at a time. On the other hand, Naomi is a happy, happy, happy baby almost all the time. She is naughty in an 18-month-old way but our relationship has improved massively over the past few months, and she seems really well-adjusted.

Altogether, things seem sort of…normal now. I know what to expect every day and hardly any of it is bad. I want to like it, but I can’t get comfortable. I have no big problems to consume my thoughts so I just coast through the days without a care in the world, then when I have a bit of time I am overcome with memories from this time last year. I believe I am fully healed, and much of my anxiety has waned in the past few months, but I am still so damaged by it all. I should be happy that I went through all this and got my miracle, but I’m just saddened by it. I’m angry that I will spend every day until I die as a person who might have cancer come back. I am doing my best to cling to the memory of the miracle, and to build my faith in the meantime. But I have yet to come across anyone with a similar miracle who didn’t have any hint of a recurrence. Instead, I have learned the key is to not accept it, and through faith and prayer it usually disappears. Good plan, right? NO! I don’t want that! I don’t want any fear or chance of it returning. That would be a test, and I don’t want anymore tests!

I don’t want to grow, I don’t want to learn, I just want to be happy and healthy forever.

It’s so stupid, but I won’t even pray for certain things anymore because I’m afraid of they way God might answer. If you remember, I was praying intently for someone’s salvation, promising the Lord I would do anything for him to know Him. Right after that I was diagnosed with the same illness that killed his mother when he was a kid. I will tell you I believe his lack of accepting the Lord from that was the only failure from my diagnosis and healing. It might have enhanced his belief a bit, but didn’t bring him all the way to Jesus’ loving arms. Do you think I pray the same way for him now? NO WAY. No way. nope. Can’t risk it.

So, there you have it. We’ll call these issues “side effects” of the miracle. I know my mindset is wrong about a lot of things. I need prayer I guess. And faith. Mostly faith. In the meantime, it is back to basics: Get my mind off me and toward God, then everything else will fall into place. “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again, rejoice!”

Philippians 4:4-9
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.