A Gift from God

The Lord is so lovely. He has answered many of the prayers I’ve posted over time. I am not good about keeping them updated. One that so many ask about is my friend with the brain tumor. He brought her through surgery with flying colors and no cancer and she is doing very well. He heard our prayers and had compassion on all of us. Thank you for praying!

I’ve been praying more deliberately for people lately and there are so many times I don’t know how to pray. I think of the Lord’s prayer as an example but still struggle when I’m not as aware of His presence and words. But suddenly tonight as I was struggling, I found the answer! In the most precious words, words that were in the gospel of John that I have read many times, were these hidden words that I previously didn’t notice. Yesterday I began praying Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” I began praying this for someone else, but He knew I had these things I don’t know. Life changing things that I needed to hear.

So, He answered my call, because that’s what He does. He promises to do it, time and again, yet oftentimes we fail to believe He really will. But He is faithful, faithful, faithful. Patient and faithful. In John 17 we are invited into the private conversation between the perfect son and the perfect father. We don’t deserve to be in their presence, but He invites anyway. That perfect son (as well as the Holy Spirit) is the only one who truly knows the full majesty of our Lord, and He loves us enough to spend time pleading for us…

In John 17:20;23-26 Jesus said, “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you… Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 
Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

Jesus isn’t being arrogant, He is literally perfect and the One who knows all knows that the absolute best thing for us, the most important prayer that could be said, is that we would have Jesus within us. So, this is how we pray. It is more important than the little issues we have going on, because if we become more like Him, we will know how to deal with them. We will have the faith to listen to His word, and the authority to command and expect the impossible. He also refers to us as “those you have given me”, because we are precious gifts for Him. I learned today also (from 1 Peter 2:24) that we should “live for righteousness” and it is clear that a gift given to the most amazing man who ever lived (who is, of course, fully God as well) should be living for righteousness. I think it’s time to up the ante with our standards and live today for righteousness, to be “worthy” of being called not just a child of God, but a gift of God.
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21 Day Challenge

I want to pass on a great offer that Beth Moore put out recently. I think it ends January 10. She’s offering 4 free E-books. If you haven’t read her stuff it’s really great. You just have to really put your heart into reading it and not just glance at it. I downloaded them onto my regular computer and they opened without any difficulty or other software need. Find them on Amazon or through the links on here: http://hip2save.com/2013/12/31/amazon-4-free-highly-rated-ebooks-by-beth-moore/
Anyway…

I heard a suggestion on the radio recently about a 21-day challenge. There are lots of resolutions and great plans of how to improve ourselves this time of year, but this one has more long term implications than the ones stressing how to improve our bodies or bank accounts. This one is a challenge to spend about 10 minutes per day seeking God, specifically by reading the book of John.

Okay, you all know I make a point of not checking who does and doesn’t follow this, just for situations like this. But I still know what some readers will think when they read about this challenge. Some believers will think, “Oh, that’s a great idea for someone who doesn’t know about the Bible”. But to you I still suggest it because there’s always something more to glean from the Word. We’re studying Matthew in Bible Study Fellowship this year and I’m getting more out of it than ever (the classes are everywhere, get in it, you won’t be sorry!!!! http://www.bsfinternational.org). Every week I’m motivated and inspired, moreso than just focusing on the letters to churches that seem more practical. Another group of readers would say they are Christians but aren’t totally devoted. Half of what I say on here sounds foreign or a little crazy. You might think you should do this challenge at some point, so maybe you’ll bookmark it for when your schedule opens up. Please just do it now! It will only take a few minutes and really could change your life. Don’t let fear of having to give things up by truly seeking Him get in the way of what He has for you! Finally, there are likely plenty of readers who have a different belief set than me. If you’re closed off to Christianity, you can do this challenge for the sake of better understanding or debating us, or to resolve those nagging questions we could all face one day, “What if I’m wrong?” and “What if they’re right?”. Ignorance is no longer an acceptable defense, we all have access to all sorts of religious writings and beliefs and being angry at God or anything else doesn’t make Him any less real.

I don’t want to ruin God’s word by adding external commentaries or explanations to it, so I’m going to just paste it here, with a little formatting for ease of reading. One chapter per day for 21 days. It will take you 10 minutes. Get to a quiet place, turn off your phone, set the kids in front of an educational tv show, pray for your eyes/ears/heart to be open to receiving it, and then read it. Write down your random thoughts, notes, or questions, to refer to later. If it is not real, it doesn’t matter if you do it, it wouldn’t hurt to pray to or read about a God who doesn’t hear or care. 
Here it is, John chapter 1:

      In the beginning was the Word,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(A)”> and the Word was with God,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(B)”> and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(D)”> Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(E)”> In him was life,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(F)”> and that life was the light<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(G)”> of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(H)”> and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God whose name was John.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(J)”> He came as a witness to testify <span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(K)”>concerning that light, so that through him all might believe.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(L)”>  He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

        The true light<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(M)”> that gives light to everyone<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(N)”> was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(O)”> the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Q)”> in his name,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(R)”> he gave the right to become children of God<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(S)”>— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(U)”> and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(V)”> the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(W)”> and truth. (John testified<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Y)”> concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”)<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Z)”> Out of his fullness<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AA)”> we have all received grace<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AB)”> in place of grace already given.  For the law was given through Moses;<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AC)”> grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AD)”> No one has ever seen God,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AE)”> but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

    Now this was John’s<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AG)”> testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.” They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.”

      Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AL)”>‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”  Now the Pharisees who had been sent questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”  “I baptize with water,”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AN)”> John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AO)”> the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AQ)”> where John was baptizing.

     The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AR)”> who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AT)”> I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.” Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him.  And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AV)”> told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AW)”>  I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”

     The next day John<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AZ)”> was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”  When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said, “Rabbi”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BB)”> (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”  “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”
So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.
     Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus.The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BC)”> And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BD)”> Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).

     The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BF)”> he said to him, “Follow me.” Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BH)”>  Philip found Nathanael<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BI)”> and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BJ)”> and about whom the prophets also wrote<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BK)”>—Jesus of Nazareth,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BL)”> the son of Joseph.”  “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BN)”> Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip. When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BO)”> in whom there is no deceit.”  “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.
Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BQ)”> you are the Son of God;<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BR)”> you are the king of Israel.” Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” He then added, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BT)”> and the angels of God ascending and descending<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BU)”> on’ the Son of Man.”

Circumstances

I have found myself in the midst of a war. The very first battle, between good and evil still continues to this day and I was blissfully unaware of much of it until recently. One thing is that I have been called to minister to and pray for sick people, mostly those with cancer, and it sometimes takes a mental toll on me. I start feeling like I’m praying the same words day after day, but just for different people. Like a broken record I pray from necessity rather than from the deep, wounded brokenness that overflows from the soul of an unworthy sinner. So I pray to care more, pray to break more, pray to yearn more. Then the worst thing happens–He answers those prayers. My circumstances change and I care more, ache from the inside out, cry out to the Lord for the ability to even comprehend the evil that surrounds me.

Psalm 34:15-18
“The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to blot out their name from the earth. The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

I’m so saddened by the circumstances around me, and I am trying not to allow them to interfere with the celebration of the season. We should reflect on the amazing gift of Jesus. He came willingly into the world, and didn’t sin. He was the only one who didn’t deserve death, but He carried our sins just because He loved us. And He is now the only way to get to heaven. None of that will ever change. Our interpretation, understanding, or circumstances all change, but those truths will stay the same.

Malachi 3:6, “For I am the Lord, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed O sons of Jacob”

I am supremely excited to tell you that Debora and I will be giving our testimonies on January 16 at Four Oaks Community Church. I’ve been honored to share it at many other places, but Four Oaks is our church home! I’ve been praying for and waiting on this opportunity for almost two years now. It will be well worth the wait, because we get to boast about His awesomeness there! If you’re in town please come rejoice with us about the amazing God we serve.

I’m going through some really difficult circumstances right now but I have to be vague about all the details. So instead I ask that you join me in praying for protection for my family and the families of all those we’ve prayed for in the past, that they would increase in faith and peace, and for help in focusing on the Lord. Pray also that the Lord will use us all for His good, and that we would see Him in all things. I have some prayer updates and new requests that I’ll put below:

Barbara–We were praying for her clear PET scan. We didn’t get that miracle yet, but we will not lose faith. Her liver looks better but it grew in other places, so they are trying to remove some to assess what best destroys it then use those drugs on here. Sounds pretty cool to me. Pray she will have total relief from pain, doctors will treat her properly, and for a complete and miraculous removal of all cancer cells

Sally–PRAISE: A long time ago I talked about her on here. She was diagnosed with stage 4 BC soon after I was, and hers disappeared. It’s been over a year without cancer and she had a bad PET scan recently, but HOORAY, the Lord had that disappear and further tests showed it was nothing.

Alison–PRAISE! At her 6 month scan they saw she has been cancer-free for over a year and a half! Glory be to God!!!!

Ryan–He has stage 4 stomach cancer and has been on chemo forever. He has a baby and has battling this for two years. Enough is enough, it’s time for this miracle. Let’s believe it for them because they are weak, tired, and worn out. We will carry him to the Lord and the Lord will heal him because of our faith (Mark 2:3-5)

Crystal–She and the others below are new on this list. She is young and was suddenly diagnosed with stage 4 BC. It’s all over her body and the chemo didn’t work so they are radiating most of her torso. They fear it is in her brain and are awaiting a CT scan. Please pray for her comfort and that she will lean on Him, as well as for her family’s peace, faith and comfort. Pray in the short run for immediate relief from her vomiting and that her brain scan shows absolutely nothing is wrong, and again for long run total healing.

Marlena–She is young and has already seen the Lord do great things with her diagnosis. There were fears that it had spread but He put those to rest. However, she’s undergoing chemo and has had a really hard time recovering from that. Please pray He will strengthen her so she can maintain her role as a mother and that He will make anything she needs to give up or modify very clear.

Jenny–She is a pastor’s wife who has had a recurrence of BC. She has a long list of awesome things the Lord has done to show her that He is in charge and is running things smoothly. She will have a bilateral mastectomy on Friday because she already had radiation. Please pray that the surgery goes well and with a smooth recovery and that the doctors have wisdom for all the proper treatment.

Teri–She loves the Lord and her triple negative BC did not spread, which is great. She’s going through chemo and trying to stay positive, but it’s really hard to work while undergoing treatment and she cannot take much time off. Please pray for her supernatural response to the chemo, that she would stay healthy and not struggle with the normal side effects of the treatment.

Contessa–This is the young mom whose home burned down a few weeks ago. She is doing well and has a new place to stay. We are collecting money for her utility deposit. Please pray she gets everything she needs and draws closer to the Lord through this experience.

NOW is the time to pray

My amazing friend Debora, who knows pretty much everyone in Tallahassee, is having a PET scan today. At 1:30 actually. I think in the past she got her results faster (maybe immediately, but that might have been a different type of test) than I have but we’ll see. So please, please devote a minute to praying for her accurate test results to show that all of her stage 4 breast cancer has disappeared.

Debora prayed for my miraculous healing then was diagnosed with the same thing just three months later. A ton of things have happened since then, and we have been amazed at how the Lord used her journey to draw others close to Him.

With that said, I know she was healed and I want this PET scan to show it. I know, we should be content in all circumstances. And God doesn’t heal everyone. And we all have to suffer. But do you know what else? Jesus healed all who came to Him. And He told His disciples to go out and heal the sick (Matthew 10:8). Are we bigger sinners than the disciples? Probably. Well, we might be better than Judas. Sometimes. But sin is sin, and there is only one Holy Spirit. It’s the one who came down as a dove and rested on Jesus. Then at pentacost the rest got it. So…was that Holy Spirit more powerful than the one we have today? NO. Did He care about healing back then but change His mind? NO. Did He love the people from back then more than He loves us today? NO. NO. NO.

James 5:14-16
Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

I wasn’t healed because I deserved it. He did it so all could see His glory. How He answers prayer. How He provides hope in a hopeless world. I want everyone to get to share that hope and joy that comes when you get to share His miracles. There is nothing like it. I can’t think of a better day than October 9, 2013 for Debora to get to do that. And for all of us, who have prayed without ceasing for her, to get to hear it.

A few other little things–I was honored at the Cards for a Cure event that is a fundraiser for the TMH Cancer Center. It was so cool. We had a lot of friends there which made me so happy. And it made the small talk, etc. much more fun. Before my little speech they showed a video that I’ll put the link to here. It’s on Facebook so if you aren’t a member and it doesn’t let you see it tell me. Cards Testimony Video

I don’t have time to brag about all the awesome stuff God has allowed me to witness lately, but it’s a lot! At that event there were 450 people, mostly those I didn’t know, gathered there to fight cancer. And they all got a brochure with my story, saw the video, and applauded when I gave a speech that said God was the hero of my story. It was a secular event so I was surprised I didn’t get booed off the stage, let alone to have people clap! And tons of people approached me later and said it was so brave of me to say that. I guess in their world it takes more courage to share the truth than I was aware. It was SUCH a huge blessing, I get tears in my eyes just thinking about it.

The last thing is that a few weeks ago I missed noting an important day on here. I feel really awful about it. It was Mesothelioma Awareness Day. You know, breast cancer gets a whole month of press and everywhere you turn you see something pink to raise awareness. People with Mesothelioma just get one day and who even noticed it? It was September 26. Apparently most people diagnosed with it get just 7200 hours to live. That’s 300 days. The man who sent me the information about it said his wife is a rare survivor of it. So, please check out this website and keep that awful disease in your prayers.

I love you all. Seriously. I do.

Good and Bad

A week or two ago, I had a very bad day. I have excuses for it, but in the end I was just not being the generous, kind, loving, gentle person God made me to be. I stormed out of the house and took a drive to calm down. I found myself complaining loudly to God about all the annoying things that were going on, and I tried to remark that “this is not what I asked for”. I was pulling the “woe is me, my life is unfair” card, I know. Anyway, as I was in mid-sentence, God changed my mind and heart so I announced (still loudly, I’m still me after all) instead, “this IS what I asked for. This is exactly what I asked for.” And it was. I always made a point not to glamorize this life I’ve been given. When I begged for Him to take the cancer away, it was for His glory and so I could continue my work as a mother. I knew that both of those options are generally not highly appreciated tasks and there would be few accolades on earth to go along with them. The daily nonsense I put up with now is all exactly what I wanted and I am doing my best not to forget that.

We went to New Orleans last week. Yaacov had a business trip so the kids and I tagged along. It was the first trip with just the four of us since cancer. There were moments of craziness (all mothers remember what it’s like trying to get kids to sleep in hotel rooms…parents have to tiptoe around in the dark starting at 7pm), but a few moments that were so special, I get tears in my eyes just thinking about them. One special time was in the early morning, when Naomi woke us all up and we were too tired to get up (plus, what is a family of four supposed to do at 5:30 am in New Orleans anyway?). I pulled her into bed with Abi and me. Yaacov didn’t fit but he was snuggled up in the neighboring bed. We all cuddled and watched cartoons. The girls were warm next to me, and they giggled innocently at all the funny parts. It was a special time, another gift from the Lord. As I zoned out of the cartoon for a moment to thank Him, He reminded me like He had during the bad day: “This is what you asked for.”

I am more aware than ever that He gives us good things but still allows bad ones. He wants the best for us. He is for us. For me. For you. Romans 8:31, “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

Tests

Got the PET scan results today…no cancer! It’s been at least a year since I had any evidence at all of cancer. I knew I was healed of the life-taking disease last Groundhog day (who knew that was a real holiday?!), but there was still a bit of minor cancer in my original tumor. The scan I had around last Memorial day though showed no cancer cells at all. And it’s still gone a year later. He did it, He kicked Satan and his disease out of my body and replaced it with healthy, viable cells (Deuteronomy 7:15).

Remember when Dr. Litton, the special expert I saw at MD Anderson, told me I would never be cancer-free for even a day? Me too. That was a lie from the destroyer, meant to blast any hope we had left into tiny shards that would poke at anyone whose path we crossed. But God Almighty turns all things the enemy intends for evil into good. That bad news is now part of my testimony, which I will continue to share at every opportunity. The testimony that cries, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” (Revelation 5:13)

Around this time last year I got to share my story when the Ride for Hope gave me their “Hero for Hope” award. It was an honor to share what God did amongst a secular group, and it was really cool to get that award. It is a great group of amazing people and raises funds for the TMH cancer center. That event will be held this weekend and they need volunteers. If you live in Tallahassee and have time, please volunteer! Or if you are a bike rider jump into the race! You can get more info at http://therideforhope.com/

If you are reading this, even if I don’t know you personally, thank-you for supporting my family and me through thoughts, prayers and shares. I had a deadly disease that by all accounts could not be cured with medicine. Now it’s gone. God did that. Because so many of us asked and believed He would do it. He did it for His glory, so that all would recognize His awesomeness. If you don’t see it now, you have your reasons. It doesn’t matter what those are, they all boil down to you being closed off to the Holy Spirit. All of us have those moments; for some they last seconds, for others a lifetime. The truth is that we all have a chance to open our hearts and accept Jesus’ sacrifice for us. Doing that will take us down a path to spending an eternity with the Lord. But most of us won’t go that way. In many ways it’s easier not to believe and follow God. But if we don’t we will suffer because of that choice forevermore. I pray that this experience God has involved me with will be the catalyst many need to decide to take the narrow path toward the Lord. 

“Enter through the narrow gate.<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(A)”> For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

The awesome stranger at the Top Salon Contest

Awhile back I mentioned that I was going to be in a fashion show and a makeover contest, then I never followed up about them. Both events were great. The fashion show was a fundraiser for the Joanna Francis Living Well Foundation, which is a great group that gives funds to local women to help pay for the non-medical costs associated with their treatment.

The makeover was a really big deal that took me way out of my comfort zone. The first thing we did was take before pictures looking dowdy. I wore sweats, which I am not unfamiliar with. Then we made a video where I told the 5-minute version of the story. That was to increase the talk about the show. The model’s story isn’t a publicly judged part of the competition, but they felt that in the past people with good stories did better. I’m not sure if this link will work because it’s through Facebook, but this is an attempt to link to the video. After that we picked out the snazziest outfit we could find because the models would be judged while on the catwalk in front of over 600 people. There were 4 judges and everyone in the audience got to vote too, but it was unclear what percent of the vote the audience comprised. We started the makeover 24 hours before the event and I looked different than I expected. I was surprised that the colors worked for me, but the final product looked good.

The experience was really nerve-wracking. A few weeks before I became very aware that we weren’t going to win. Not to say the judging is a sham, but there were undertones that the event coordinators were really focusing on certain people. Then it happened that one salon was honored with a lifetime achievement award then happened to win the Top Salon Contest too.

When I realized it was very unlikely that we would win I was humbled. I had been on such a roll with God as of late, where I had been shown favoritism time after time that I sort of started to expect it. After a lifetime of being the least favorite, always second place, etc. I really enjoyed the change. I gave Him the credit but deep down there was some sort of pride that I had sort of done something right to deserve it. Like I had finally stumbled upon the magic trick to have an easy life. So, it was really good for me to not win. I found peace beforehand with the concept that while I thought we should win (the winner’s story got published in Tallahassee magazine) to glorify God, God doesn’t need any help being glorified. It’s my job to do it, but not within my constructs of good and bad ideas. Within His.

“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”–Prov 16:9

I prayed beforehand and felt that any ways I could draw attention to God’s awesomeness would make that night/experience a success. We didn’t win the contest but it was definitely successful. I got to know a lot of ladies from the salon (if you live in Tallahassee, go to Haute Headz, they are the best!), and had the opportunity to tell one of the other contestants about His miracle. Plus, I was reminded that people still remember me from last year. You might recall that back then I was getting recognized and stopped several times per day by people who were following my blog or praying for me. That has virtually stopped, but one highlight of the night was when it happened as I walked the runway: I was terrified, much more scared than I’ve been in a long time. My dress was sort of damaged so didn’t fit properly so I had to be really cautious about showing my booty, and we had missed the practice and was unable to get any look at the runway before I walked down it. The cheering was so loud I never heard my music, which is what I had used to emphasize my “moves”. Anyway, I couldn’t see anyone because of the lights, and a few steps in someone (I couldn’t get a good look but really think she was a stranger because no one I knew was sitting in that area) shouted some really inspiring words at me about what I’d been through. About how far God has brought me.

That was one of the most memorable moments of the night. I wonder if the woman realized I even heard her, let alone how much it meant to me. There was something intangible about it. It was just LOVE. Straight from above, for that moment I needed it. It takes me back to the days of strangers stopping me when I was bald and telling me I was beautiful. One time three people did it in one trip to the drugstore. Back then I noted it, but it just added a drop to my empty heart. Now I remember that stuff and hold it dearly. God used so many people to show me His love. He practically beat me over the head with it and I couldn’t accept it.

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs on your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows.”–Lk 12:6-7

It was so personal and timely, utterly encouraging. It also reminds me how amazing it has been for strangers and virtual strangers to support my family and me so much. That they would care so much about and for me. Thank-you to that woman for her devotion and support! Thank-you to the awesome ladies at Haute Headz who made me look amazing (pics below), Ashley Easom (hair), Darcy and Monique plus everyone else there, thanks to my amazing friends Christine Boulos, Caroline Fleischer, Jenni Cox, Jennifer & Justin Menendez, my awesome mom, and to my biggest fan of all, the incomparable Yaacov. He is the best husband I could hope for. We were made for each other and his strengths during this cancer journey bolstered my weaknesses so much, I can’t imagine going through it with anyone else.

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” –Gal 6:2

Yaacov and me. He was grinning all night so I will try to keep at least parts of the makeover up.

                                                             Awesome ladies of Haute Headz

                    Great friends who always support me: Caroline Fleischer, Christine Boulos and Jenni Cox

                                                                My mom is so cute.

  
Ashley did my hair, styled me, got me a tan and makeup person, and coordinated every part of the makeover.