The Art of Worthlessness and the Joy of Hope

I’m totally worthless, and I don’t say that in some sort of low self-esteem, depressed tone. I mean that I am completely devoid of all value. The things I do each day could be done by anyone. I live now to glorify God and not only do I repeatedly fail to do so, it also doesn’t matter to anyone but me that I do. The thing about God is that He doesn’t NEED me to do it (Acts 17:25, “And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else”). He graciously allows me to do it. Each time is a blessing. Because my heart is such that I passionately desire to brag about God and His mightiness. I long to extol the Lord because I have experienced His love and character. I know Him and want others to taste the joy that comes with it. 

I pray for many miracles, and have not seen many lately. I do not pray for them because I’m stuck on some thought that God doesn’t want or allow suffering. I pray for them because I want every person on the earth to experience a supernatural, perfect answer to prayer. We shouldn’t need to experience such miracles because our faith is in what can’t be seen, but the honor of being involved as a recipient of a miracle or to observe the answered prayer is life-changing. Seriously. If you haven’t experienced one, change your life until you do. And by that, I mean literally, get on your knees and pray to the only one who can create the world and everything in it, and seek His face. He will guide you from there. There’s no formula, just an honest desire to find Him and when you do you will be forever changed.

Proverbs 10:28 The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish.

I often think back to when my friend Debora was healed last October. It’s really embarrassing, what a hypocrite I was about it, actually. I had prayed (along with many) with utter abandon and brokenness for her to be healed. The stage 4 breast cancer had metastasized to vital organs that didn’t respond well to chemo. She’d been off chemo for awhile and the scans had not shown improvement so we our only hope was back in His mighty hands. For days we waited and waited for her PET scan results and finally, instead of those coming through, I got an email that another friend was in labor with a child. As the hours passed, I lost my faith.  I had a feeling of dread–I was certain that God would not heal Debora and let my friend have a healthy baby on the same day. For the umpteenth time, I just “knew” Him, and “felt” this was so. When I finally heard my friend’s baby was born healthy I broke down. I was happy for her but was certain that this demonstrated that He had made His choice. Clearly, He had chosen my friend and her baby` over Debora. I was so disappointed, completely crushed. And little angry, to be honest.

I kept praying for Debora while the time ticked by, because I had assured Him that I wouldn’t give up, but my faith was shaken. I was like Peter who boldly stepped out of the boat but looked around and started sinking. Like always, I wanted others to pull me up and assure me that God would work, but when they didn’t my faith wasn’t strong enough to keep my head above water (Mth 14:29).

It was after regular business hours that we even got the call, so I had stopped watching the phone. I’m so grateful that it had no signal because it meant Debora had to leave me a voicemail that I can preserve for the long term. The memory of what God did for her is recorded there whenever I check my messages–all the incurable, terminal cancer was gone. Doctors couldn’t do it. Medicine and diet were unable. But God was able. And willing. It’s not about the cancer, it’s about His mercy. He answers prayer. He wants us to see that. To feel it. I embrace just the memory of the feeling that I had that night when I was reminded of His righteousness. Of His goodness. Of His Sovereignty. Yet again, He broke down the walls of the box I continually try to put Him in and allowed me to see even more of Him than I did when He healed me. I didn’t sleep that night. There was so much joy. Inexpressible Joy. It consumed me so much that I couldn’t really function. Words didn’t express it and memories don’t fully preserve it. That joy is merely a fraction of what we will experience in heaven for all eternity, when He restores our bodies and invites us into eternity with Him. I’m sure many of you who prayed for me felt that joy when I was healed as well. I am truly worthless in all I do, but He still looked at me and valued me highly enough to pour out a huge measure of His awesomeness that day.

God doesn’t heal everyone, as we know and many, many, many, many, many people make sure to remind me all the time. But He chooses to heal many. He chooses to answer our prayers and open the window to His goodness for we who don’t deserve it. We, who think we know Him but actually can’t guess His next move. We will never guess who He will choose, so all we can do is follow through with His commands. He says to pray for the sick, so we pray (James 5:13-16). He says to believe He will answer, so we believe (Mark 11:24). He says to worship Him with all our hearts, minds and souls, and so we do (Luke 10:27). It’s hard and scary but the rewards are beyond all measure.

And, incidentally, if you don’t have any of “your own” sick people to pray for, please pray for some on my list! The three miracles we are begging for right now all have late stages of terminal cancer. Karen, Barbara, and Gulan have faith and desire to be healed, so please lift them up and beg Him to bolster their faith and relieve their physical and mental pain!

Hebrews 10:23-2 

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Advertisements

The two best kept secrets about surgery

I’ve got the joy, joy, joy joy down in my heart. Where? Down in my heart. Where? Down in my heart, I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart. Down in my heart to stay!

Surgery went great. I am tired but can’t sleep. Not much pain. He was able to do it laparascopically and saw nothing scary in there. The biopsy results should be in Wednesday or so. Because he didn’t have to switch over to the normal cutting type of procedure it was outpatient. I have been home for a few hours.

I have had many surgeries now, so I’m a bit of a pro. Or, the angels have been ministering to me a lot (Heb 1:14). I have two huge secrets I have to share. I’m so excited I can’t even type fast enough. This was the best surgery ever, I think it’s quite possible that I’ve never been this happy before. Seriously. And it doesn’t have to do with the surgery going well or the pain meds, as they haven’t affected my mentally before.

Secret 1: Of course, God. God has given me peace and joy like no other, and I know it’s because I’ve been really disciplined about getting a lot of good time with Him lately. The more I seek Him, the more He shows Himself. Sometimes it is not easy to get myself motivated to really focus on Him, but I push through that and then it gets easier and easier. No matter what your current walk is (or isn’t) like with God, you can always do more. If you’re feeling crummy, focus on praising Him about the good things and reading uplifting scriptures. I think reading straight from the Bible instead of just topically searching for helpful verses enhances the experience more. “But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 4:29)

Secret 2: Beg for a seasick patch. They are only by prescription so the anasthesiologist gives it to you. I never have bad nausea except when getting anasthesia, so it’s not like I just have a sensitive stomach. I normally can’t eat for at least a day because of it, and that makes the recovery much more miserable. Anyway, in Gainesville the anasthesiologist put a patch behind my ear and I was skeptical. But after that 8-hour surgery I didn’t have any nausea at all. None. I mentioned it to the one today and he wasn’t impressed, but my mom pushed for him to give me one. What do you know? No sickness at all. Not even for a second. It makes such a HUGE difference. I want to make sure everyone knows about it so it becomes more standard in Tallahassee. It is completely night and day compared to my other local surgeries. I imagine that you could ask for it during your pre-op appointment and then be more likely to get it, because the anasthesiologist really wasn’t eager to give it today.

Those are my tips. Don’t forget them. They are very important. I want everyone to feel this happy after surgery. And all the time! I love you all for praying and reading!
Remember, Deut 6:5, “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” and John 15:11, “These things I have spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”

Joy to the World, the Lord is Come!!!!!!!!!

First, I have to apologize for my posts from the last few days. In my efforts to document this journey I was insensitive and self-absorbed, which resulted in my downplaying the support people have been giving me. I am so sorry to you all, for if you read this I know you care for and support me. Thank-you all so very much for putting up with me.

More importantly (not because support isn’t important, but because miracles are so great!), I have to share that not one but TWO cancer friends got amazing, cancer-free reports today. One is a for a friend I made through the blog who recently had a lumpectomy. She went today for the pathology results and the doctor said there was no evidence of disease in what was removed. She had no treatment prior to the removal. They are saying they must have gotten all the cancer in the initial biopsy but I don’t buy that. They wouldn’t have done the surgery if they thought they could get it all in a biopsy. They saw something they thought should be removed in the first place. I believe God took it all away between the biopsy and surgery.

The other case is a girl I’ve just become acquainted with through blogging. She sees the same doctor I met in Texas. She had stage 3 cancer so similar treatment as mine, and had her bilateral mastectomy last week. They told her the cancer had been looking good but would only be entirely clear in 20% of the cases. Dr. Litton (the skeptic) found them today and was ecstatic to tell her it was ALL CLEAR. Again, no evidence of disease. She’s not saying it’s a miracle or anything, but she did tell them she rarely gets to tell anyone that it was all gone prior to surgery. So, God is healing people AND He’s answering our prayers for helping Dr. Litton know Him. She might not have been great to me, but she has a soul and I have the feeling she’s not acquainted with our Savior. A few more of these incidents and she might be singing another tune. Let’s keep praying for her.

As a reminder, we’re praying for no evidence of disease in the results from my upcoming bilateral mastectomy, too. I do believe it helps to have specific stories like those above to pray for, because nothing I’m going through is new. If God did it for them He can do it for me. It wouldn’t be a huge miracle to the doctors for the rest of the cancer to be gone because I’ve been through so much chemo.  But the longer they see I have no cancer, the more likely they are to believe it. And I’m praying God will actually change my tissue so it appears that I never had any cancer in there. That would get their attention. We’ll see though. It’s not too much to ask of God, but I don’t know that He gave me that idea or if it was my own.

Anyway, I am so filled with joy about these women’s reports. Two in one day seems so huge, too. How can I complain about anything when a God like that is on my side? How can we fear if we have Him to take care of us? How dare we worship ourselves or someone else when all He asks is that we follow Him? Who do we think we are? Who do we think He is? How do we keep forgetting what He’s done for us?

“In that day you will ask in my name. <sup class="crossreference" value="(AK)”> I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father HIMSELF loves you because you have loved me <sup class="crossreference" value="(AL)”> and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.” John 16:26-28 

CHEMO!

Today’s the day! This is it. No turning back, but I wouldn’t want to anyway. I feel SO much better about everything today. I somehow lost my focus over the weekend and got caught up in worldly things that don’t matter. By yesterday morning I felt dead inside. I woke up telling God that I’m just a kid, and this was too much of a burden for me. Then He reminded me this is the same age Jesus was when He ministered to everyone, then took on all the sins of the world. How dare I complain about my petty issues?

We’ve been praying a bit about how to thwart satan in his tracks. Ephesians 6 gives us some clues, but it feels like often when I leave him a foothold I can’t figure out a practical way to get it back. Obviously I shouldn’t let him in in the first place, but it happens. Regardless, God brought me out of it in a very different way than usual–PEOPLE! Instead of crawling into a hole of depression like I wanted to, the events of the day required me to be around lots of supportive and loving people. It culminated with our fellowship group having a special night discussing cancer. I left with no fears, no feelings of mourning, no tears. Chemo is the next step in my healing process. The next chapter of the amazing life God has blessed me with. And even if I don’t always feel His presence in times of trouble (Ps 46:1), He is with me and set up my days to help me through them.

As I prepare for what I thought of as “dooms day” just 24 hours ago, I will rejoice in this place as it is and will be filled with joy instead of mourning. I am so blessed to have the opportunity for good treatment, people to take care of my family and me in these times of need, and prayers from various parts of the entire world. I will praise His name despite my circumstances, today, tomorrow and beyond.

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” Ps 150:6