Friday, January 29, 2010

"I Love You Too"

My little grandson, Wyatt, is about to turn 3 years old. As a baby, he never had trouble going to sleep at night. Holly, his mom, could just put him in his crib and he would go right to sleep. He had no fears. The night didn't scare him at all. But as he has gotten a little older, he has figured out that there is a big world out there and sometimes there are things that scare him. Things that confuse him. Situations he doesn't understand.

And now, when the dark of night comes and it's time to go to sleep, his fears come to life. To compound his fears, the street light outside his bedroom window casts scary shadows on his wall. Holly put a brighter night light in his room but it didn't help. She tried to rearrange his bedroom so he couldn't see the window when he falls asleep. But he was still afraid. Finally she switched him to another bedroom and it helped somewhat.

But even after all her efforts to ease his fears, when Wyatt goes to sleep at night, he calls out from his room and says "I love you Mommy". And Holly answers back from outside his door, "I love you too, Wyatt." A few minutes later comes a little voice, "I love you Mommy." Followed by Holly's, "I love you too, Wyatt." And this continues on, over and over, for about 20 minutes until he finally drifts off to a peaceful sleep, confident his mommy is close by.

We are not unlike little Wyatt. Sometimes it seems like our world is too big. Circumstances come into our lives that we don't understand. Our problems seem big and we feel small. We feel alone. We become fearful and can't find peace or rest.

Perhaps when we are afraid of the night and our life seems cast with shadows, we could call out to our heavenly Father, "I love you Lord." Then we will hear him say "I love you too, my child." And soon our fears will be replaced with His peace and we will find sweet rest.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Those Butterflies

Does God ever use the same example over and over again when He speaks to you? He certainly does me.

Today was the first follow-up visit with the oncologist, followed by a repeat mammogram. We know the routine pretty well. Review the labs. (Liver and spinach still doesn't work). But my infection fighting white blood cells are starting to come up. Examine for lumps or bumps and send you on your way with advice to call for any unusual symptoms that don't go away in a couple of weeks. What I really wanted to hear was, "Ok we've fixed the problem and there is no need for you to return here ever again." I suppose that's what anyone would like to hear from their doctor. But since we didn't hear that, I just left thankful that I wasn't coming back again in a week.

The mammogram was certainly a deja-vu experience. Same place, same lady at the check in, even the same lady who did the test as last year. As I waited to be called, a flood of memories filled my mind, of all that had taken place since being in this place last year. After the mammogram was finished, I was asked to wait while the doctor looked at it, before I could leave. After a few minutes the nurse came out and said the doctor wanted to do an ultrasound. As I remembered those exact words from last year, I felt the "butterflies" again.

I have never quite understood why they move the screen away from you while they are doing the test. I guess they don't want people constantly asking them "what's that?" but I sure tried to get my neck twisted enough to see the screen. As the technician did the ultrasound she kept stopping in the same lymph node area and marking it on her machine. Then she would move to another spot and come back to the lymph node area again and stop to take more pictures. By this time the "butterflies" were definitely out in full force.

But just for a moment. For God came close. I closed my eyes to pray, but opened them again and on the ceiling, I saw the little pink bible. It was opened to the page with the little Precious Moments girl and the caption below that said "Cast all your cares on Him." And the "butterflies" were gone as quick as they came. Replaced with a warm sense of peace. In fact, I closed my eyes again and actually fell asleep during the last few minutes of the ultrasound. Soon the radiologist came in (the same one who did the test last year) and did another ultrasound himself. He said that they thought they saw something in the axillary lymph nodes on the opposite side of the cancer side, but he was not concerned with what he saw. Thank You, Lord!

Later in the afternoon, Ann called to see how the visit went, and I shared with her my disappointment in myself. That after God's speaking to me just 2 days ago about those "butterflies", that I even allowed those feelings today. And with the loving words of a Christian friend, she reminded me that I wasn't Jesus. That we are all human and struggle with doubts. I thought about how God used a little child on Sunday to speak to me about trust. Today, I wonder if He didn't see me as a little child, still needing gentle reminding. But He quickly and lovingly provided that reminder.

God doesn't guarantee Christian people a life with out trials. He doesn't promise that because we are Christians, we won't have "butterflies". He doesn't expect us to BE Him. He only wants us to learn, as a child, to be more like Him.

My prayer for you today, is that when the" butterflies" come, (and they will), that you cast those "butterflies" upon Him and experience His peace.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Little Pink Bible

Sometimes, God has to say the same thing to us in several different ways before we get the message. That happened to me today. God told me in 3 different ways that He wanted me to start writing my blog again.

I haven't written in a couple of weeks now. I could just say that I have been too busy, but that isn't entirely true. I have found that it is a strange place to be after treatment of cancer. This last week marked the anniversary of losing my mom to this terrible disease. She has been on my mind often. Thinking back over her life and the short amount of time between her cancer diagnosis and death brings occasional butterflies to my stomach. It has been one year since I was diagnosed. The statistics say this cancer will likely return within 2-3 years. I wonder when the clock actually starts ticking and that brings butterflies to my stomach. Heaviness on my heart for one of my children sometimes brings butterflies to my stomach.

So I haven't blogged. But, God reminded me today that this is His blog and he wants to speak through me even if it's about the "butterflies". One of my good friends said, "I have missed your blog. You know you don't have to be sick to blog." Then, part of the pastor's sermon spoke about sharing our faith.

But, perhaps He spoke the loudest to me during the children's moment today. One of the youngest children in our church, a sweet little girl named Skylar, came up to show me her little pink Precious Moments bible. Oh how proud she was of that bible. Though she couldn't read yet, she showed me the pictures and she just knew that the words inside were very special.

She brought her pink bible up during the children's moment. I had a small memory stick that goes into the computer and I asked the children if they knew what it was used for. Several of them knew that it was a way to store information and use it later whenever it was needed. I touched the top of Skylar's little head and said "Did you know that you have a memory stick inside here?" She looked up at me with a child's wondering eyes. I said "Skylar can I see your bible for just a minute?" She proudly shared her treasure with me. I told the children that God uses His word for us to store in our memory, so we can use it at a time we need it. As I opened Skylar's bible, it opened to a picture of a little precious moments girl and the scripture underneath said "Cast all your cares on Him." In that split second, God spoke to me through the faces of those children and that little pink bible. He whispered "Roxanne, cast all your butterflies on me and believe for yourself what you are teaching these children."

Not only did God remind me that He still has words for me to share, but that He still wants me to cast all my "butterflies" upon him. And He chose to speak through the eyes of a child with a little pink bible.

"Cast all your cares on Him, for He cares for you." (1Peter 5:7)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A New Year's Promise

One year ago today, I officially entered the desert called "Stage 3 Triple Negative Breast Cancer." It seems almost inconceivable that one year could bring about such a tremendous change in my life. But I am not speaking solely of the physical change that cancer brought. Yes, 3 surgeries, 10 months of chemotherapy and radiation, hair loss, nausea , bone pain, etc. was physically challenging to say the least.

Our lives were wrought with emotional changes as well this last year. Entering a desert of uncertainty with a disease we were unfamiliar with, presented it's own set of challenges for Carl and I as well.

But I am speaking today of the spiritual change that has taken place in my life in the last year. For it was in the parched and dry desert that God kept me nourished me with living water. In the desert, my fears of cancer were conquered with a confidence in the power of the Great physician. I went from "my control" to "His will". I learned how to be a Mary when I had always been a Martha. I learned the difference between "His peace" and the "peace that the world offers". "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."(John 14:27).

Last week, someone asked me if I thought 2010 would be a better year than 2009. And I thought about that for awhile. In 2009, I saw the birth of two new grandchildren. I watched my youngest son step onto American soil after serving his country in Iraq. Carl and I grew closer to each other in a way that only the Lord can bring together. An ordinary friendship, developed into a spiritual bond cemented through God's love. In 2009, God led me to hundreds of new friends, both close to home and around the world, that I have been able to share my faith journey with through this blog. Carl and I have been lifted up in prayer by more people than we will ever know.

In 2009, the sky was bluer, the sun was brighter, the flowers more fragrant. The hugs of my grandchildren were longer, their laughter more contagious. The love of my husband unconditional. But most importantly, my relationship with my Lord grew much deeper and more intimate.

Often times, in 2009, I couldn't see the purpose behind God's plan. But what I know now is that, despite the desert, His plan for 2009 ultimately brought good to my life, just as He promised. "For all things work together for those who love the Lord." Romans 8:28)

I don't know His plans for 2010. I don't need to know anymore. For His love and faithfulness will be the same in 2010 as it was in 2009 and as it will be FOREVER more! "For great is His love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever." (Psalm 117:2)

Now that's a New Year's promise worth celebrating!