Wednesday, July 11, 2018

What I really want

The other day, I was reading in the Bible about the blind beggar. In the book of Mark, the author tells us that the beggar was on the side of the road as Jesus was passing by. Knowing that Jesus was the Healer, the beggar began to call our to Him. At that point, Jesus turns to him and asks, "What do you want me to do for you?"

I've always wondered why Jesus made the beggar verbalize his need. I'm sure it wasn't to give Jesus clarity, because He is all knowing. Perhaps it was to cause the beggar to really stop and think what he wanted. I'm sure as the beggar searched his heart, he probably had many requests he'd love Jesus to grant, but being forced to pinpoint his desire made him choose the most important thing. The beggar wanted his sight. That was the one thing he needed Jesus to do for him - heal his blindness. And Jesus did.

I just celebrated my fourth cancerversary. This year was very low key. My husband, two of my children, their significant others, and one of my grandchildren went out to a restaurant to eat then came home for cake. The day was pleasant and although we didn't have a big celebration, as we'd done in the past, it was significant to mark the passing of another year since diagnosis.

Celebrating my fourth year since being diagnosed with cancer made me stop and think back to the story of the beggar. What did I really want? What did I want Jesus to do for me?

In my heart, I knew what I really wanted. I wanted to live more than just one more year. Making it to the elusive five year post cancer mark wasn't going to be good enough. I needed more! I wanted more! I wanted to live a long and happy life. I wanted to grow old and watch my grandchildren grow up.

Of course, truth be told, I wish I'd never been diagnosed with breast cancer in the first place and if I'd ever had the opportunity, I would have asked Jesus to completely rewind my life and allow me not to have experienced cancer but He doesn't work that way. As each year since diagnosis has passed, I realize all of this was part of His divine plan for my life. You see, without my having to take the hard road through cancer, I would never have learned the valuable lessons I've learned along the way.

When the blind man was on the side of the road calling to Jesus, he was desperate. He wanted to be healed and he knew Jesus had the power to give him the gift of sight. His faith in Jesus was manifest when Jesus required the man to verbalize his need. If the beggar had chosen to ask Jesus for something other than his sight, I doubt Jesus would have answered the request. Jesus, able to see into our hearts and minds, weighs carefully our needs. He always knows what's best for us even when we don't have that knowledge ourselves.

I could have asked Jesus to remove the cancerous tumor from my body and He might have done it if it fit into His perfect will for my life but, I never asked. Throughout my life, I've learned to trust whatever He sends my way, be it good or bad because I know each comes directly from His hand into my life for a reason.

My prayers now revolve around my desire to live as long as God will allow. It is my heart's desire that my life will be a blessing to others and that God will the receive glory. Each moment, each hour, each day He gives has been a gift and one I don't take lightly. Before cancer, I took so much for granted.

Have you ever thought about what you really want? If Jesus were standing before you, what request would you present to Him? Would you be willing to verbalize your need boldly like the beggar did?

Jesus said, in John 11: 25-26, "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in Me will never die. Do you believe this?" 

You can have eternal life by believing in Jesus. You can be assured that you will be with Him through all eternity. It's very simple. If you'd like more information, click here.

To read the story of the blind beggar, click here. 

Friday, July 6, 2018

It's getting closer

In just a few more days, I'll celebrate my fourth cancerversary! It's hard to believe 4 years have gone by so quickly since the day I found out I had cancer. Sometimes, it seems another lifetime ago and sometimes it seems like just yesterday. More than anything in the world, I'm just thankful to still be alive.

The day I received my diagnosis, it felt like I'd been given a death sentence. It was almost as if I was handed a piece of parchment paper with my expiration date printed across it boldly in bloody red letters. As the paper was thrust into my hand, I didn't want to receive it. Though that didn't actually happen, it sure felt like it did. As I listened carefully to the voice on the other end of the telephone, the words traveled across time and emblazoned themselves upon my heart. I had cancer and not only did I have cancer, I had breast cancer.

Since that life changing day, I've been on an emotional roller-coaster. Some days have been really good and others have been extremely challenging. Not only has my mind been battered by an arsenal of thoughts and feelings, my body has also been assaulted. Test after test for the past four years have been on the lookout for any rogue cancer cells that might be wandering through my body. Thankfully none have been found, although a couple of years ago there was a suspicious mass on my spine. It turned out to be a hemangioma,  a benign tumor formed by a collection of excess blood vessels. I was extremely grateful.

I've had to work hard at learning how to return to normal since then. You'd think it would have been easy but the trauma of cancer changes things in a big way. Now I suffer from self esteem issues, severe chronic fatigue, residual pain, and the side effects of lymphedema. Each day I have to choose to push through. Some days are easier than others, but I do it anyway.

On July 9, I'll celebrate. That was the day in 2014 the cancer was removed from my body. I was actually diagnosed on June 5, 2014. This year, on July 9, it will have been 1462 since I began my new life post cancer. That's pretty amazing, I must say.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Subterfuge

Yesterday I was ambushed. The day had gone extremely well as we celebrated the fourth of July with one of my daughters and her family, but late in the day, I received an unexpected surprise.

I was given a handwritten letter from my mother who'd passed away this past December. At first, when I began reading, I thought it would be a beautiful keepsake but instead, I found nothing but hurtful and bitter words. Needless to say, I was crushed. It was a sneak attack and it was so painful.

I spent the rest of the afternoon in tears. Trying to keep from ruining the party, I excused myself to the bathroom where I cried in private. Why had I been given this letter now and why had my mother written such terrible words? I was so confused and it seemed so unfair.

On my way home from the party, I threw the letter out the car window. Watching the 3 pieces of paper float away on the wind gave me peace. Although I knew I'd never be able to forget the words I'd read, at least I didn't have a tangible reminder of them any longer.

The Bible says in Proverbs 18:21 "Life and death are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit." Words wound. Even if they're coming from the grave, they can still pierce the heart. So please, don't say damaging things to your loved ones...ever.


Writing a book is like giving birth

This is the year I'm supposed to complete my book. That was the impression I got from God as I prayed about it. Over the past few year...