Peace Can Only Come From Jesus

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I’ve been quiet lately. There’s always a reason.

I spend so much time just trying to be okay. Just trying to feel okay. You can’t really make your body feel better though even with the pain medicine and other things meant to help you feel better, to help you get through the day. Medicine is just not enough.

My battle lately? Shingles. Starts as a rash and then turns into a ton of blisters that burst and then crust over. It is extremely painful, stressful, and takes weeks to recover. You can learn more about it here. I had it for a good week before we knew what it was.

To make matters worse, I can’t have chemo while recovering from shingles. And with a fast moving cancer, I can feel the difference when I don’t have treatment for a week or two. I’m coughing a lot more which makes mobility difficult. Coughing more means throwing up more. I sat in the car yesterday puking after being stationary for a good thirty minutes. It’s not just moving that causes me to puke more. Needless to say, I am really hoping I am cleared to have chemo next Thursday when I see my doctor again.

But here’s the thing… in the midst of all this suffering, I have peace and am virtually pain free. I can’t explain it. I walked in the doctor’s office last Monday with level 8 pain, barely being able to move without screaming on the inside. I left with pain killers that only toned it down to a level 6-7. So how did I go from that level of pain, to virtually no pain the next day? To the point that I stopped taking pain medicine way too early. The blisters started bursting days later, and yet still no pain.

You have to understand the amount of stress, sorrow, and shock I was under when I found out I had shingles. That I couldn’t get the chemo I desperately need. I went to bed early. My husband went to bed early. It was just all too much for all of us. So what was the turning point?

I prayed that night, and something changed. I wrote that poem and just felt a great release. I felt at peace. That was at 2 o’clock in the morning, and I woke up pain-free. During this whole trial from the beginning of 2017 to now, I haven’t quite felt this level of peace since first getting diagnosed with cancer. It’s also the first time that I have been virtually pain free in an area that doesn’t make sense.

On my own, I can’t do anything. I can’t take away my own pain and I can’t take away my own stress. I just don’t have the power BUT I know the one that does. Peace can only come from Jesus.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

“The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.” Psalm 29:11

“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16. 

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It’s OK To Be Down, It’s OK To Be Unsure

Crying-Woman

Today is a down day for me. Maybe it’s because of all the crying I did yesterday. First at the physical therapy office… let’s just say he was a complete jerk in regards to my diagnosis and I will not be going back. The second time was when I broke down at my doctor’s office telling her everything that I’ve been through in the last two months. Okay, mostly every thing. I didn’t tell her about the cognitive issues. I didn’t tell her about the stress this has caused me. She was patient and understanding while she listened. After dealing with the physical therapist, it was encouraging to have someone be compassionate about what I’m going through.

The last time I cried was while listening to my husband’s sermon last night . He had written it out the night before when I went to bed early from exhaustion, and then recorded it last night in another room where I couldn’t hear him. I just couldn’t hold back the tears as he talked about how he has prayed for me while I sleep, how he has asked God why me? I have wondered how all of this has been affecting him, but he’s not one to talk about how he’s feeling. He said in his message that he was trying to be strong for me. That he has, and yet I know that he won’t always be able to be strong. My hope is that we can grieve and grow together as we overcome each hurdle that comes our way.

I listened to his message again this morning, and I keep thinking about the verse “my grace is sufficient for you…” 2 Corinthians 12:9. I’m desperately trying to understand the weight of it. Honestly, it’s a verse I wrestled with even before my headache started. Grace. It’s such a heavy word, and my feeble mind has a hard time comprehending.

Jesus died for me. For ME. I am a sinner, and He thought I was good enough, worthy enough, lovable enough to be pardoned. When it comes to salvation, I can much easier feel the weight of the cross. But when it comes to suffering, I fumble. Maybe because I haven’t suffered long enough. Maybe because I am coming to terms with what all this means for my life. Grace. It’s such a heavy, heavy word when you’re in the middle of suffering because it doesn’t always mean healing. It’s not a “get out of jail free card” in every situation.

I do much better with the second half of that verse… “for my power is made perfect in weakness.” This I see evidence of every day that I am in pain. He gives me the strength to do the things He has asked me to do, the things that are worthy in His eyes. When I call on Him, He is there. He shows up in the middle of struggle, and in the middle of my tears.

Whatever you are going through, know that He is always available and willing to be there for you in your darkest hour. You don’t have to be an expert on the bible or know how to pray. You can talk to God like you would talk to a friend, crying out for help and tell Him all that you have been through. You can tell Him your deepest darkest emotions that you think no one wants to hear or would understand. He wants to be the shoulder you cry on. He loves you that much.

“The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.” Psalms 34:17

Today may be a down day for me, and that’s okay because God is with me. He knows and feels my pain. Because of Him, I can withstand the lows, go through the emotions I need to feel, all the while maintaining my faith and knowing the love He has for me. I don’t know what my future looks like; I don’t know how all of this is going to turn out and that is scary. But I do know that He is using me during this time. He is teaching me, and allowing my faith to grow from a tiny mustard seed into a mature tree. And my faith combined with His promises tell me that He will deliver me in the end.

A milk weed seed pod open and waiting for the wind to spread seeds.

 

Growing My Faith

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Hurricanes are scary. In all of my time living in North Florida, we have had many predicted to come here but nothing could ever compare to Hurricane Matthew. Back in the day, you just had a hurricane party; this time, my family had to evacuate.
 
Can I share something with you? I got a little too wrapped up in anxiety with this storm. I had been watching it for at least a week ahead of time, keeping my manager in the loop so that we could make decisions at work. All of that time researching, studying storm surge maps, wind tables, etc. etc. resulted in me forgetting about my faith a bit. I got so wrapped up in the storm that in a lot of ways, I brought it with me when we made it to Alabama. It was as if my faith had been pulled up out of the ground, and I was just a mess. I knew that we were safe but I just couldn’t let go of the anxiety until we were safely back in our own home.
 
I know what the bible says. I know that I shouldn’t be anxious. It’s a reminder to me that I still have some work to do in growing my faith. I want my faith to be unshakable. I want a solid foundation to stand on, and I realize that the enemy wins every time I give in to the anxiety instead of giving it to God. I need to keep working on that Armor of God.
 
Psalms 55:22 is my new life verse: “Cast your cares on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”
 
What are you holding on to? What do you need to give to God to strengthen your faith? Respond below.

Unashamed 

I met a woman the other night that was not ashamed to tell everyone in my class that she was emotional or to display that emotion. The conversation material was difficult at times and emotion welled up in her. She got choked up, and would exclaim again how she was going to cry. She looked strong to me, like she had it to together. And she did. Her strength came from knowing who she is. Unashamed. Tears or no tears. Fears or no fears. Unashamed.

I looked up to her. I wanted to run up to her, hug her and say thank you. I wanted to say thank you for displaying such courage, for showing me that it is okay to be emotional. Even in public. To just be who she is with no need to apologize.

Maybe she’s like me. I don’t know how to separate emotion from my life. It’s part of who I am. It’s how God made me.

I have many questions for this woman that taught me so much. I wonder where she gets her strength. I wonder if she knows Christ. I see Him working in her life. I see the same compassion I have in her.

Lord, please give me the strength to accept and safely express the sensitivity you have blessed me with. I pray for others to understand why you made me this way, and how it can be useful in my relationship with them too. I want to love with abandon, to cry for your people, and to help make this world a better place.  Thank you Lord for equipping me.

It May Feel Like…

At times it may feel like you are taking two steps forward, and one step back, but as long as you are holding the hand of Christ, you are making progress and moving through the pain so that you can finally see the light.