Why I Share

After I was healed from terminal breast cancer, I had something like post traumatic stress disorder. I felt like I had been through a war, and because I was on the winning side, I was supposed to just rejoice and get over it. I’ll never know if this was real or perceived, but it affected my speech, heart, and focus.

Now I think most things like that are actually my usurping the Holy Spirit. He provides us with experiences that can and should be shared. It’s the enemy who wants to shut us up, to hide the glory the Lord deserves. And to create fear in speaking aloud, which ultimately causes us (or me, at least) to analyze many things within ourselves, without the input of wise counsel. Now that I’ve started speaking more of these issues aloud, I hear how stupid they sound. Maybe that’s one reason I was led to write all this out.

Ephesians 4:15, “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ…”

So, at the start of this journey through redemption, we have a book by that name. The Lord had already been doing a work in me to get me excited about caring for really broken people. I’ve met a lot of them who are dealing with cancer, but there are other problems out there, too. I met a young woman who was on a great trajectory after years of drug use and living on the streets. She went into a great treatment facility, got clean and saved, and was living for the Lord. When I spoke to her, this stuff was clearly real. It wasn’t just self-control that was helping her keep it together. She was free!

Somehow this girl didn’t end up with the external support that might have been helpful for the transition between the safe and awesome treatment facility to the dangerous and tempting real world. Within months Yaacov and I watched as she fell back to her old ways. It was disheartening for her, for her family, and for the kingdom of God, and as a behavior analyst, and recovering “fixer”, I obviously wanted to save the world with a transition plan for the treatment facility to use!

Isaiah 58:11“And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.”

But that wasn’t the Lord’s plan or the right thing to do. His perfect plan was so much BETTER! Around that time led me to a ministry called Redemption Groups, which our church was about to start training leaders for. I thought the ministry was intended for people like that girl I described, who need more help than the church is currently set up to provide. But it turns out these groups are much more than that. They are one way He leads us all into a deeper communion with Him. And we can’t get closer to Him without recognizing the sin and lies that we are steeped in, building a bigger divide between us.

I talk about this ministry and about the book a lot because the Lord used both to speak to me and to change the entire trajectory of my life. He redeemed me from my own sin with His Word (for the billionth time), through this journey. But there’s no magic in the book or the techniques used in the group. They are led by the Holy Spirit, and that is where the true power is. For example, He brought that girl who I mentioned back to Him, and she didn’t even go through a Redemption Group. But I am so grateful for the way He has helped me see Him, and to see me, through it all.

Proverbs 12:26 “The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray.”

So, in this “Redemption” trail on unceasinglove.com,  I’m going to journal the growth, changes, and struggles I’m learning through being a leader and being a participant with this ministry. It doesn’t have much to directly do with cancer, which might be why people are reading in the first place, but it has to do with real issues that are applied to all aspects of our lives. He’s using it to make me a better person, better mother, better servant, primarily because it’s making me get real with the truth about who I am, in all my filthy hypocrisy. So, I’ll share the details because we’re all going to either heaven or hell, and either way it all relates to the truth about God. To Him be the glory forever! I don’t want to fight for privacy or hope to blend into a wall when it comes to my problems. I want to grow and to share the cool ways the Holy Spirit and Word of God are making that happen.

Jeremiah 17:7-8  But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.  They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.  It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.  It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

My Ongoing Redemption Story

“And because of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,” 1 Corinthians 1:30

What? I can’t believe I’m typing this. Okay, I can’t believe I’m typing anything at all! This is my special, special, special, uninterrupted and uninterruptable “God time”. I get up early–except when I’m feeling lazy or, you know, sleepy–and worship the Lord while the rest of the house is asleep. At this point, if I don’t start my day with Him, it shows. So now if the kids dare to get up early and try to get my attention, they truly know it’s not worth it. EVERYONE is happier when Mommy has spent her morning time with the Lord.

Anyway, I have been praying for over a year now for help with writing…the book about my healing from cancer has been a disaster…I feel stupid and irrelevant continuing to blog when it’s not about cancer, and I don’t have that anymore! So, not much to say there, but don’t feel peace about closing it down.

The point is, the Lord told me and confirmed a zillion times to write, and I have tried to obey, tried to push through the block, tried to wait it out. I tried to ignore the call, and nothing seemed right. But what do you know? This morning out of nowhere He told me! I MUST write my redemption story. On here. Starting now. I’ve tried to no avail to get it on a separate page on here to keep it separate from the normal content but it’s not working.

img_93811

My Workspace

Even if the Lord hadn’t told me to write this, I would have loved to share it. I’m not actually thinking of my initial redemption story where I got saved from hell, although I’ll probably cover it. I’m referring more to the story He has brought me through over the past year. The story of a self-righteous old lady trapped in the body of a thirthysomething mother. This person who had been through the ringer and was only aware of the little things she needed to change to be more holy. The one who no one understood, or could understand, so was exiled and left alone to scramble around for safety.

While I was looking inward for strength, I got knocked down a few more times and finally stopped bothering. I hid in the cleft of a rock and tried to call it home while and didn’t dare to hope I’d be rescued.

But…as I wriggled to get comfortable, the cleft of that rock turned to face me. I saw the face of the Lord God Almighty, who never leaves me. He guided me back into the light and shines His face upon me.

I love that He told me to write this before the story even began. I love that He gave me the opportunity to share it online, where there is someone who will be encouraged by it. And I love that my story didn’t end with what I learned from cancer, that I know now there is no such thing as having “arrived”, and that this story of redemption has not ended for me. Or for you.

To Die or Not to Die: That is NOT the Question

It’s been about five years since we heard the answer to the question Yaacov and I had never thought to ask: “Am I going to die of cancer?”. The response was certain. Death was knocking at the door, loudly. It banged in rhythm with my heart. It was louder than the voices on the other end of the phone as I shared the news with loved ones. It pounded furiously through every word of each prayer, demanding attention as we sought the wisdom of the only One who can rescue us from earthly death or from eternal wrath. The only One who really understood every bit of what we were going through.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”Hebrews 4:15-16

Death colored every conversation that Thanksgiving, and later cast his dark shadow over each Christmas carol and gift. My mind became a kaleidoscope as the reality of my impending exit reflected off each sight, sound, thought, memory, and perception.

I’m so different now that I can’t get a good understanding of the way I used to see and think about things. But I know He moved me from constant sadness and terror into deep faith. By the time the Lord miraculously removed the cancer from inside my bones and my lungs I wasn’t even surprised that He had done it. I remember thinking, “Of course He did, He IS GOD!”.

I wish I could end the post here. It’s almost Thanksgiving, I haven’t posted in forever, and I want to glorify Him with my words. But the truth is, some sinful, idiotic part of me rose up around the time He healed me. And it would serve to boast in myself if I didn’t admit it. My faith grew like never before, but so did my pride. How can that be? My God, my God, how I have sinned against you! Stolen your credit, took your mercy for granted.

It was like I conveniently forgot about my weaknesses and decided I had earned His favor or delight, and that was why He healed me. I started thinking I had been strong, but in reality I was as weak as a person could be. I forgot that He rescued me because I begged Him like crazy to do so. Because I was scared to trust Him with my kids. Because I was scared to die. He healed me because I have more to learn on earth, more to experience, more to grow in. Somewhere along the line I got the impression that it was about my awesomeness. That I would be so good for the kingdom work on earth that y’all needed me down here. Yes, at some point between funerals of other women who died of breast cancer, I found myself standing up straight–because I had been chosen, selected, found worthy to be on earth. I had arrived!

Shame fills me now, as I drink in the humiliation. It’s like I danced and sang my way through a graveyard of godly people, rejoicing that I was on earth. And the joy of getting what I wanted was nothing compared to those who truly get to rejoice in heaven! THIS world is the one fading away. THIS world is where hopelessness reigns, where evil lies around each corner, if it isn’t already stuck to your shoe. Death can’t chase us there, it has been defeated once and for all!

“Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”–I Cor 15:24, 26

I am so embarrassed by my sin, I kind of want to throw up. But I don’t want to carry it anymore. I don’t want to leave it unconfessed on here, leaving the appearance that the pride that might have colored previous posts had gone unnoticed–or unwashed by the blood of the spotless lamb. He has been graciously revealing it to me over the past year, and there have been many times I need to wear a “No Trespassing!” sign, because it’s been exciting, excruciating, exhausting, and exhilarating all at once, and even an extra hug would send me over the edge.

“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all our uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:25-26

So this is a new, better year for different reasons than the last five. It’s not about life and death anymore. I am still healed by His mercy, still rebirthed in the blood of Christ. But I am even weaker now. Weaker physically because I have a lot of bone and joint pain. Weaker mentally because I’m still working through this “new me” business. And, with much more excitement, I declare: I’m weaker in pride, weaker in my own abilities, weaker in my independence. Because He is teaching me to appreciate His glory, so I can see His majesty and power at work. And I have a front row seat!

“But I will save them from all the backslidings in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God”–Ezekiel 37:23b

If you’re reading this and you haven’t “arrived” yet either, that’s okay. The truth is that none of us have, it’s just that some of us are too prideful to notice. No matter what you’re struggling with today, there is an answer. And there is One who will answer. He is hope, He is love, He is courage, He is power. He is Jesus, and He has arrived. He IS God with Us.