Going Forward…

Have you ever wanted to be like a stubborn 2 yr old and just stand your ground and say, ‘no’?  And not like any toddler, I mean like a really strong-willed one that just isn’t gonna budge on his own.  That’s exactly what my attitude is reminding me of right now…just plain, ‘no’ I don’t want to do this…I don’t want this surgery…I don’t want this baby coming early…I have other plans…NO, NO, NO!

Unfortunately, I am an adult, and although I am stubborn and controlling and independent and selfish, etc, etc, etc… I guess there is a point when reality is responsibility and it just wins and life is cruel whether you are 2 or 30 or 75.  And I know God loves me, even in my stubborn questioning and He will take care of me and be with me through it.  And I know I should consider this trial pure joy and it will bring about refining character that I need.  So….I guess this is where the adult in me must choose to treasure what I have been given, to not fear the unknown and to joyfully and purposefully engulf myself in each day ahead.  Instead of being the 2 yr old kicking and screaming my way through life’s obstacles, which is so easy to do.

 Today, was the oncologist appt.  It was good to see her, if only I didn’t have the reasons that I do to visit her.  We went over a few questions and details of the surgery.  Way too much information if you ask me.  When I left there I had no date of delivery/surgery, but tonight I noticed they emailed me a tentative pre-op schedule.  So unless the MRI on Monday changes anything, our D-Day is July 26.  AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!  Just kidding…kind of.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You that You love me beyond who I am and what kind of attitude I have. I know Your love is bigger than the mountains that I face and it is constant in the trials and the change.  Help me to see You in everything, good and bad.  I pray that I would joyfully embrace each day as a precious gift and the people You place within those days as Heavenly blessings.  I don’t want to miss the good because I fear the bad.  You are all, You are in all, and You conquer all.  Thank You for the work You do in me.  I love you.  Me.

Update

To all my great prayer warriors out there….here is just a short update.  (Sorry, it took me so long, a week with no Internet)

First,  I don’t really know anything new.

Second, I have an oncologist appt this Thursday to discuss delivery and surgery (which I frankly don’t want to discuss at all, but I don’t see many other options)

Third, I will go for another MRI next Monday, July 15th and then an appt with my OB Thursday, July 18th (which all we do is chat and it’s always fun to see her)

So I guess I will have a D-Day by the end of this week or beginning of next week.  Yay….not really.  Yay baby….no yay surgery.  Totally mixed emotions. I can handle baby-surgery separately, but together, yikes, it kinda freaks me out.

I get asked a lot how I am feeling…I am just feeling normal pregnancy stuff.  A few annoyances but otherwise doing good.  

And the baby…well, it is part ninja.  I am grateful that I don’t EVER have to worry about it’s well-being, because it NEVER leaves me doubting, especially whenever I sit down or get in bed at night. 

With all this said…God’s ways are still higher and better…so unless He changes something this is the route for the next few weeks.   

Thanks for the prayers…I will keep ya’all posted.

Plan B

Wait…before you freak out, this is not a post about a plan the doctors have changed…it’s about faith.   Medically…still the same plan.

Anyways… we all have heard the verse from Jeremiah 29:11,

‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord,  ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’.”

but what if it just said,

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord.

without all that stuff about prospering, not harming, hope and a future.  It definitely doesn’t sound as pretty or reassuring, but it still has such power!  What if that is what God gives us, the reassurance that He knows and that He has a plan and a plan for each of us?  Is that good enough? 

Many times we want to know the outcome before we even know the details.  Honestly, my first thought with kanser, ‘am I gonna live or die.’  Although I had very little details about anything and those words never came out of my mouth, they hovered in my mind, in my husband’s mind, and I am sure most of my friends and family wondered the same thing.  So tell me God, “Am I gonna live or die?”  Because I need to know so I know what kind of faith I should present to others…so I don’t look like a fool. 

It took a couple of days of really seeking God, searching out His character and tons of prayer and cries for wisdom.  My husband and I hashed out every ugly and beautiful possibility we had.  It ranged from totally perfect powerful healing, to leaving him as a single dad with 5 kids to raise and me missing out on my daughter’s weddings.  Yes, it was super sad and ugly.  I would find myself planning my funeral (it’s amazing how far our thoughts can take us).  But thankfully, after those few ugly days and the worldly shock wore off, we put on our full armor of God (Eph 6:10-11) and remembered who He was in our lives.  There was no room to doubt God or not trust in His plan for us.

Our devotional said it perfectly,

Something is holding us back.  Perhaps it is a fear that maybe we are wrong about God.  Maybe we feel presumptuous.  It is possible, if we have been disappointed in the past, that our misunderstanding is haunting us.  We hear a voice in the back of our minds that says, “What if God doesn’t come through?  What if He makes it more difficult than I can handle?  What if all my hopes are illusions?” So we hesitate to trust God.  We pray and we hope, but faith remains incomplete and doubts linger.  We’ll ask Him to help us, but we withhold judgment until we’ve seen His response.

The call of Scripture is contrary to our natural inclination.  We are called to believe God with reckless abandon- not just believe that He is there and that He is involved with us somehow, though we’re not sure exactly how; but that He is actively, personally seeking our good and answering our prayers.  We are to give up our own strategies and ambitions, to relinquish all “Plan B’s,” to recklessly, irrevocably cast ourselves completely into His arms.  But we’re reluctant, and the problem always comes back to us:  In spite of His track record, we don’t seem to completely trust Him.  Why not?

God calls us to ‘reckless’ trust, the kind that prepares no safety net and reserves nothing for a spiritually rainy day.  That kind of trust, if broken, leaves no room to save face.  But it can’t be broken.  Try to find someone God has forsaken, observe His faithfulness, and ask yourself: ‘Why wouldn’t I trust Him wholeheartedly?’  Think about it.  Why not?”¹

Do we trust God enough with His plans?  Do we believe in His goodness?  Has He proven Himself in our lives?  I believe the most powerful lie satan deceives us with is to doubt God’s character.   When we doubt, we don’t trust.  And when we don’t trust God our lives are left to the careless wanderings of our mind and the subsequent worldly actions.

As a man thinks in his heart, so he is.”                                    Proverbs 23:7

I had to come to the conclusion that if I am not dying, my thoughts can not be leading me in that direction, otherwise (to put it bluntly) I might as well be dead.  If I trust in God, my thoughts and actions need to be a reflection of that trust.  With totally reckless faith and trust there is no Plan B.  He knows the plans He has for me…and that’s all I need to know.

 

¹C. Tiegreen, One Yr Walk w/ God Devotional, (Illinois: Tyndale, 2004) 132.

“The Plan”

My plan for the summer was to have a great time with my kids…swimming, fun times with friends, fountains, going to Table Rock, getting a nice tan, trips to the library, having an excellently organized chore chart and obedient children to follow it, and add to that a summer of great children’s bible study where they would truly be convicted of all their wrongs (especially sibling rivalry) and become little angels, and after all that’s said and done I would have a perfectly healthy baby with a naturally smooth delivery somewhere around September 1st.  HA!  Although that totally (and I mean TOTALLY) all sounds great, “my plan” will not prevail….not just because of what the doctors are telling me, but because of human nature.  We are fallen, my children are fallen, being raised by fallen parents, stricken to sin, yet so desperate for things of the Spirit, His goodness, grace, forgiveness.  For now, we live in a fallen world…with poverty, murder, car-wrecks, processed foods, kanser, ugly words, and more depressing things no one wants to hear about.  But, Praise God,  

“He brings us up out of the horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and sets our feet upon a rock, and establishes our steps.” Ps 40:2

The definition of establish: to found, to bring into being on a stable basis, to install and settle into a position, to show to be true, to cause to be accepted, to bring about permanently.   Wow!  How gracious God is to us…He finds us, calls us out and places us on His stable rock, settles us into our individual path, shows His ways and our ways with Him are true, He accepts us (sin and all) and will one day make us permanent with Him in Heaven.

Because we are a family after God’s own heart, He establishes our steps. He has called us out among darkness to stand on His rock, His ways, His path filled with daily awe and wonder.  Do we fall short?  DAILY, even hourly…yet, He loves us, convicts us and encourages us to continue.

There is another plan this summer…one the doctor’s have given us.  Their plan is to do another MRI around 33 weeks (we are heading into our 26th week now), check that the kanser hasn’t progressed and deliver the baby by C-Section around 34 to 35 weeks (which is around the end of July).  Immediately following that C-Section delivery would be a radical hysterectomy.  Talk about an emotional roller-coaster day for my husband…”oh congrats on your new baby, now you need to leave while we do surgery on your wife and remove her kanser!”  The findings on the MRI could change things up a bit; however, we are trusting in God’s plan for all this and of course His healing power!  But for an update on those who didn’t know, those are the doctor’s plans.  And to answer the question I get a lot…yes, the baby is fine.  They are not concerned at all about the health of the baby.  To quote my oncologist, she said babies are pretty resilient and are the first to ‘jump ship’ when they feel threatened.

So “my” summer might not look like I originally planned. I am a work in progress and my life and character is still being carefully molded by my Creator.  Praise God!  And what might look like an ugly plan to most, we totally see His beauty in it.  The hand of God is upon us and there is no greater feeling. 

Healing…EVERYWHERE

A few weeks ago I would have never known that May 20, 2013 would be an anxious day for me.  Nor would I have known that on May 9, 2013 my doctor would be calling me in to her office to talk with me about cervical kanser (if you spell it incorrectly it takes away some of it’s power).  And again I would never have imagined I would be sitting in an oncologist office on May 10, 2013 and back again on May 14, 2013 with sweaty hands and feet, bible open, yet unable to concentrate (this is where God reminds us to have scripture in our hearts, around our necks and on our tongues…He is referring to these times when He knows our minds are racing and we can’t read).  And next step… an MRI and chest x-ray on Friday, May 17, 2013, so we can find out if this unwelcomed guest has spread outside the known area.

So, yes, Monday, was another day on this new path of exams, reports and doctors.  In all honesty, I wasn’t even that nervous….well, in order for me to be really honest…I wasn’t nervous until the afternoon.  I knew I would have to call the nurse to get the results, so I had the timing of it all in my hands (possibly the only thing I had control over)  It was easier to put off that phone call and not know to what variation my life was about to change.  But I also knew, I had a husband and close friends and family hanging on the line to find out the news…and I did need to know (although many times I am better at sitting in denial for a bit).

My heart leapt every time my phone rang…it wasn’t just a heart jump…it leapt!  And there I was speaking with the nurse.  Her news was good to hear (finally)…as far as they could tell nothing looked different from what they expected…the lymph nodes were not abnormally large…chest x-ray was clear…the kanser was contained to the cervix.  Way better news than my mind had conjured up…I will spare you those details.

With all this reporting on my “new path” I did want to fill in many of you with the doctor’s news.  However, the most important part of all this is the journey I am on with my True Healer and Redeemer, the One who knows all and sees all.  He is my source, my strength, my total focus…His wisdom is that which I truly crave.  God has all of this in His capable hands, good reports and bad.  My faith and love for Him has grown by leaps and bounds within the past 12 days.  It saddens me that it takes utter desperation for me to truly seek Him out, to yearn for His Presence, to do whatever it takes to become the woman He created me to be.  Yes, I can spend my quiet time praying, reading devotionals, and studying Scripture, even on a daily basis…but how much is that really changing me?  How far will I go to seek His physical healing power in my body compared with the healing that needs to occur:

in my mind- to think in the Spirit and not in the flesh, no worries

in my attitude- to be grateful in all things

in my heart- to love, not to judge

in my actions- to think of others first, not grow weary of doing good.

in my words- to only speak what is uplifting and honoring to God

And on and on the list goes…so much healing, such a loving and patient Father.

Dear Father-

I thank You for the work You are doing in me and especially that You have promised to complete that work (phil 1:6).  You are so faithful and constant when our earthly lives are so unsure and unstable.  I praise You for working through us so that other’s may see Your Glory.  I love you.

So no matter what you ‘expect’ your life/days/hours to look like, no matter your dreams or goals, your to-do list, very little is ever under our control, but Praise God it is under His Ultimate and Loving Control!

My devotional yesterday (as in most days) spoke to my heart…

“You will conquer. The conquering spirit is never crushed.  Keep a brave and trusting heart.  Face all your difficulties in the spirit of Conquest.

Rise to greater heights than you have known before.  Remember where I am is Victory. Forces of evil, within and without you, flee at My Presence.

Win Me and all is Won.  All.”

“God Calling” Devotional, May 20, 2013