God Will Move

My faith is weak right now. All around me I see heartache and sorrow among the people of faith. We all need to see Him move. To be reminded of His mightiness. Of His faithfulness. In the meantime we can remember what He’s done, but it’s not enough. We need more. We will claim His promises and wait with urgent expectation for them to be fulfilled.

Jeremiah 33:3, “ Call<sup class="crossreference" style="background-color: white; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(A)”> to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable<sup class="crossreference" style="background-color: white; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(B)”> things you do not know.”

I can’t tell you the passion I feel for this desire to see Him move. He still answers little prayers, which I know are faith-builders for the big ones, but He has filled me with a yearning for more. I have prayed with faith for the healing of so many lately, and we have not seen them healed. Yet.  It is not about me, I know that. But it is about Him. His word says He will not let His people be put to shame. So…where are the miracles? I don’t even care if it’s healing that we see, I just want to see something. And I know others do too. It is time.

“Then you will call,<sup class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(A)”> and the Lord will answer;  you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.” Isaiah 58:9

Sometimes people pray for things like this for selfish reasons, but I don’t think mine are. It’s not that I don’t believe He can work, or will work. It’s not that I even have a specific prayer that I’m pouting about Him not answering. It’s that people think they have so little hope. It’s hard to convince them otherwise. And it’s not just nonbelievers, who don’t know better. Every time He doesn’t answer a prayer that we offer in faith it’s like it puts a notch in the limb we’ve put ourselves out on. He knows that. He will move before the branch breaks…won’t He?

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24

Hebrews 11:6 says “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him<sup class="crossreference" style="background-color: white; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(I)”> must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”. I am earnestly seeking Him and begging for the reward of seeing Him do something big. Only God is sovereign, and only He decides what “reward” it is that I will get, but I’m not going to stop asking. He has blessed me abundantly, but Abraham set a great example of asking boldly for more and more grace when He asked God to spare Sodom for the sake of a few (Gen 18:22-32). 

I have a long list of people who are very sick that I’m praying for. Please consider adding them to your prayer list too, and I will post updates about the amazing ways God responds.
First, there is a woman named Barbara with precious, young, grandchildren who was told she likely has extensive cancer in her abdomen and lots of organs. Last I knew she was hospitalized for the pain and things were not looking good. Next, there is a young lady named Jackie who is unmarried and always wanted a family, etc. She was just diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and they started her on chemo while in the hospital. She is healthy, not a smoker or anything like that. Another is a man named Ryan, whose wife posted a note on here and is praying for his miraculous healing from Stage 4 stomach cancer. He was diagnosed last year, when his daughter was born. He is currently in a lot of pain and has a scan on Monday. They have a blog you can follow at http://watersfamilyforum.blogspot.com/. Lastly for the new ones, I can’t believe I didn’t post this sooner, but my little niece, Nora, has a tentative diagnosis of craniosyntosis, which means her soft spot closed up too early. It’s a huge deal because if that’s what it is they need to open her skull before her brain grows to be too big for it’s space. They found out on the one-year anniversary of their house burning down! Satan will do anything to destroy us! Anyway, she has a consultation with a surgeon on Monday. 
Please always keep praying for Debora P.’s healing, and Alison A., Jessica H., and my continued cancer-free health.
Two late praises are that: My friend Kristy, who has been struggling with lyme’s disease for a very long time seems to have been healed. When I saw her she was claiming His victory over the enemy’s apparent dominion in her body! Also, Alison had some symptoms of returning cancer a few weeks ago but a scan showed no cancer! He is definitely at work in all of us!

Psalm 50:15 “Sacrifice thank offerings<sup class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AD)”> to God,
    fulfill your vows<sup class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AE)”> to the Most High,<sup class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AF)”>
15 and call<sup class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AG)”> on me in the day of trouble;  I will deliver<sup class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AI)”> you, and you will honor<sup class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AJ)”> me.”

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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.

Pathology Report

Well, it happened! I just saw my FAVORITE nurse, Karen, who is Dr. Crooms’ nurse. She removed my staples, drains, and gave my report from surgery…My pathology report from bilateral mastectomies and removal of 10 lymphnodes came back, NO CANCER!!!!!!!!!!! The phrase, “no evidence of disease” that I was hoping for is not in there, but it doesn’t matter. The pathologist who wrote it just kept referring to the original biopsy slides and scars as a reference point for the cancer that would have been there.

Some of this is confusing if you’re not familiar with cancer surgeries and my particular case. So, to be clearer: Some people have surgery first, but because mine had already spread I got treatment first and then surgery. The biopsy I had was not a surgical removal of the cancer, but was gathered by puncturing the main tumor with large needles. These needles left scar tissue, which was used a reference point for the report. They did not have cancer in them at the time of removal. For a pathology report they measure “margins”, which is the amount of cancer-free tissue that is removed from the cancerous area. The wider the margins, the less chance of recurrence, because it’s less likely that loose cancer cells jumped the line before removal. My margins are wide. Probably would have been wide anyway, because of the mastectomy, but the size and location of the original tumor could have made my margins smaller. But there was no original tumor left. It wasn’t even reported as a different color, just healthy stuff around the scar tissue that remained from the biopsy zone. Cool.
All that is a long way of saying: God wins, cancer/Satan loses.

God is so good, I feel SO guilty about having thrown myself a pity party this week. I always say that He is good no matter what, but I’ve been in such a bad, crabby zone lately that it was effortful to convince myself of His awesomeness. But guess what? He loves me anyway! This is evidenced in many ways, not just by healing my cancer.

I often meditate on the fact that He loves me IN SPITE of who I am, not BECAUSE of who I am. I am overcome with gratitude and utter humility just thinking about it. He has chosen me for this journey, molded me, carried me, forgiven me, overlooked my flaws, all to glorify Himself in some way. Can you imagine? A king choosing to be represented by a commoner. A judge entrusting a hardened criminal with his valued possessions. A father selecting his outcast, worthless child to take over his company rather than all the righteous, perfect ones that seemingly deserve it.

I am overcome with joy from my father. I know the doctors will view this is a great outcome from all my medical treatment, but I know better. I know God has healed me, and only time or God himself can convince those with hardened hearts. That’s okay. In the meantime, I have many opportunities to share the news and plan to do just that.

“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it–the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.” –Romans 3: 21-25.

I know I owe a LOT of people phone calls and emails. I plan to reenter the real world soon, and will contact you then. It turns out that hiding out in my room didn’t help that much, but it was worth a try.

I had a PET scan today. I don’t expect to get the results for probably a week, but let’s all keep praying for no cancer at all. At that time I will send all my reports to Mayo and MD Anderson just to update those doctors on everything.

I just noticed that a different version of the Bible (ESV) has a line I didn’t catch in whatever version I used when blogging the other day. This added line sums up a fear i had at the begining of this journey–I was afraid that I would be loud about praying to be healed, because if God chose not to it would make Him look bad. And I’m sure I was at least a bit afraid I would look stupid. I remember my pastor teasing me that I didn’t need to worry about how God looks, so I made an effort to drop it. But the last line below sums up the issue of ourselves being shamed, and somehow it fits into the whole thing. Nice how it’s taken months but He’s showing it to me now when I’m ready to receive it.

Romans 5:3-5, “More than that, we rejoice in our suffering, knowng that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does NOT put us to SHAME, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

Hallelujah!

Day 5

Worst day yet. Got word it spread to lungs and 2 spots on my spine. This makes it Stage 4, which is considered incurable. Typically I would have 1-3 years, although being so young might help. I didn’t expect the spine part, so I’m sort of blown away. And honestly, I didn’t realize that it’s not curable. I thought there was a cure, it just didn’t necessarily work for everyone.

I didn’t think it could get worse than Friday’s call about having cancer in the first place. But this is a lot worse than I imagined. I guess I thought everything was curable until you get treated and it doesn’t work. So I didn’t think I’d get this info so soon. Blown away.

Psalm 147

 1 Praise the LORD.<sup class="footnote" value="[a]”>[a]    How good it is to sing praises to our God,
   how pleasant and fitting to praise him!
 2 The LORD builds up Jerusalem;
   he gathers the exiles of Israel.
3 He heals the brokenhearted
   and binds up their wounds.
4 He determines the number of the stars
   and calls them each by name.
5 Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
   his understanding has no limit.
6 The LORD sustains the humble
   but casts the wicked to the ground.
 7 Sing to the LORD with grateful praise;
   make music to our God on the harp.
 8 He covers the sky with clouds;
   he supplies the earth with rain
   and makes grass grow on the hills.
9 He provides food for the cattle
   and for the young ravens when they call.
 10 His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,
   nor his delight in the legs of the warrior;
11 the LORD delights in those who fear him,
   who put their hope in his unfailing love.
 12 Extol the LORD, Jerusalem;
   praise your God, Zion.
 13 He strengthens the bars of your gates
   and blesses your people within you.
14 He grants peace to your borders
   and satisfies you with the finest of wheat.
 15 He sends his command to the earth;
   his word runs swiftly.
16 He spreads the snow like wool
   and scatters the frost like ashes.
17 He hurls down his hail like pebbles.
   Who can withstand his icy blast?
18 He sends his word and melts them;
   he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow.
 19 He has revealed his word to Jacob,
   his laws and decrees to Israel.
20 He has done this for no other nation;
   they do not know his laws.<sup class="footnote" value="[b]”>[b]
   Praise the LORD.

The Diagnosis

Got the call yesterday. I have cancer. It took 4 weeks of doctors going back and forth, including one biopsy and one ultrasound with promising outcomes. This time there’s no confusion though. Final answer: It’s cancer. Always has been.

My mind is reeling. It feels surreal. I thought it was cancer the whole time. The day the idiot radiologist told me it was just a cyst and canceled my mammogram, it felt wrong. Not enough for me to argue, of course. Thank the Lord my GP still insisted on a biopsy. When the biopsy from that one came back abnormal I wasn’t surprised, just worried. Then we waited to see Dr. Crooms, the amazing surgeon. I love him and everyone in his office. He insisted on another biopsy which he did right away. A frozen section from that came back negative for cancer. Online it says only 3-5% of frozen section biopsies result in false negatives. Unfortunately, I am in that group.

We had a few hours to digest the news, during which time we went to Abigail’s preschool Thanksgiving presentation. She proudly recited Ephesians 6:1-4, then did a vaguely offensive Native American dance and we ate Chik Fil A. It was perfect. I hope to have many more Thanksgiving feasts with both my baby girls.

Dr. Crooms asked us to come in and talk about the cancer. Our friend Shannon watched the kids (again), so we could concentrate on the findings. Too bad my mind is shot so I can’t concentrate on anything. Thankfully, Neenad Shah is helping and said he’ll do the thinking for me. He got me in with a local oncologist for Wednesday and is working on getting me into the Mayo clinic too. Neenad might not be a Christian, but he and Andrea are DEFINITELY gifts from God. I would be so completely lost and confused if I didn’t have them.

Anyway, Dr. Crooms confirmed our worst fears about the way things look, but I’m praying that in reality they’ll turn out to be better than that. He said with the size of the lump (7cm), and the apparent spread to lymph nodes it seems to be Stage 3. I’m getting PET scan Monday to see if it’s spread elsewhere, which would make it even worse.

I guess that’s it for now. I’ve been crying for 4 weeks now, no need to type about my feelings and start the waterworks again. Maybe later.