Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Puzzle

On Sunday, I heard a devotional about puzzles and it seemed as though God was speaking directly to me. As I listened, I thought back to the weekly chemo sessions at MD Anderson. There was always a large puzzle on the table in the waiting room. There were usually many pieces upside down and scattered around the table. People would pass by and try to work on it. Carl always liked to try and fit a piece or two in while we were waiting.

I never really had the patience for puzzles. I could work them only if the box with the completed picture was right there next to it. If I couldn’t see the picture, I didn’t want to mess with it.

I thought about the times in our lives that seem like one big, uncompleted puzzle. The puzzle seems large. There are so many little pieces and they are scattered everywhere. We don’t have the picture on the box to see what it will look like when it’s finished.

Are you in a situation where the puzzle pieces seem all jumbled up? Where there seems to be way too many pieces? Where you can’t see the picture of the completed puzzle?

God has promised us that He will complete the puzzle. He sees the full picture. “Now being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you, will carry it on to completion” (Phillipians 1:6). We just have to press on, one piece at a time, trusting that when God is finished every piece will fit together perfectly and the picture will be perfectly clear.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentines Day

It’s Sunday afternoon and Valentine’s Day. The house is quiet because Carl is at a piano competition with several of his piano students. We didn’t really have a “Valentines Day” celebration as many couples are accustomed to, because it’s been a busy weekend. But the quiet gives me a chance to reflect on the holiday and what it means to me.

When we are young children, Valentines day means giving little cards to all the friends in our class. It means little “sweetheart” candies and maybe a special toy, depending on how frivolous your parents were.

As we get a little older, and begin to date, Valentines Day means teddy bears, chocolates and gifts, given as a sign of love from that special someone.

When we get married and begin to raise a family, Valentines day sometimes means rushing down to the card shop and finding a quick gift and card, rushing home to feed the kids, help with their homework, get them baths, get them in bed, followed by a tired kiss goodnight and whisper of “I Love You” to our spouse.

I can truly say that this Valentines Day holds a meaning for me that it has never held before. As I think about Carl and his love for me, I sometimes can’t understand it. I feel undeserving of his love, yet he gives it anyway. I have brought burdens to him, yet he shoulders them without complaint. I have taken my anger out on him, yet he encompasses me with kindness and understanding. In one word his love is “unconditional.

Ephesians 5:25 reads “And you husbands must love your wives with the same love Christ showed the church.”

This is what Valentines Day means to me this year. The reflection of Christ’s love shown through a quiet, humble man. A true gift of the heart.

Happy Valentines Day, Carl. I Love You!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

God is Good All the Time

I am so excited that I am actually starting to see what appears to be real hair on my head. For awhile there I wasn't sure what the chemical makeup was up there, but I was sure it couldn't be hair. I had read that I should buzz that strange new "post chemo" hair and start anew, but I just couldn't bring myself to fire up those clippers again. My good friend Petra, gave me some "magic potion" called "Chi" that helps new hair growth. I asked her if it was really called "Chia" and would it make my head look like a chia pet?

Well, it's working! Thanks, Petra! Though the top of my head isn't quite looking like a chia pet yet, it's getting there. Soon I may have to start watering it. :)

I can't wait to be done with the scarves. Although I probably have enough hair up there to go without them, there's not enough hair to keep my head warm yet. And it's downright cold this time of year. Soon though. For now, I'm just thankful to be using shampoo again.

The today show will be airing a special on Triple Negative Breast Cancer. They will be interviewing Jennifer Griffin, who is a mother of 3 and the National Security correspondent for Fox News and worked at the Pentagon until she was diagnosed with Stage 3 Triple Negative.

If you would like to know more about this type of cancer or know of someone who could benefit from watching it, it will be aired Thursday 2/11 at 8:20am Eastern Time.

"God is Good all the Time and All the time God is Good!"

Monday, February 8, 2010

Be Still And Know

The most vivid memories of God’s work in our lives are usually when we were either on top of the mountain or deep down in the valley. It is at those times in our life that that we are keenly aware of His presence. When we are in our darkest moments, we cry out to the Lord for help. When we are on top of the mountain, we shout to him with joy and thankfulness.

But what about the times that aren’t the mountaintop or desert experiences? The everyday path we walk. The small joys we experience. The trials we encounter in our lives that may not be catastrophic, but are nonetheless hard to bear. Are we as aware of His presence then?

I am walking that path right now. It is not a deep dark valley or a parched desert, but even so it is a time where I really need to hear God’s voice and He has been silent. I have been praying for understanding and discernment and still had no answer.

Does that mean He is not listening? Absolutely not! He hears every word I pray. He understands my hurt and confusion. He desires to provide me with His answers. He knows my heart.

I have learned over the years, that when God is silent, He is at work behind the scenes. He wants me to take His hand and walk with Him in the meantime. He wants me to wait patiently, trusting in His perfect timing to provide the answer. His word gives us definite instruction for those times. “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalms 46:10)

Have you been waiting on God to answer a prayer? Do you feel as though His silence means that He isn’t listening to you? His word tells us that He will never leave us or forsake us. “God has said, Never will I leave you: never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5). If He promised He will never leave us, then He is surely here. We may not always know why He asks us to wait, but we can be sure He will answer in His perfect time.

So, for now, I will just “Be still and know that He is God.”

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Fill My Cup Lord

Life seems to have gotten very busy since coming out of the desert. In the desert things seemed almost in slow motion. Time for morning devotionals out on the front porch. One to one encounters with Him during the long treatments. Time to reflect on His glory from the backyard swing in the afternoon. Feeling His presence right next to me whenever I needed to feel Him close.

But for now, God has brought me out of the desert. Life is good. No surgeries, no chemotherapy, no radiation treatments. Back to work full time. Up at 5:00, head to the hospital and before I know it, it is 7:15 pm and I am heading home with enough energy to eat dinner and fall into bed. Days off are filled with running errands, playing for a funeral, fixing a friend’s computer, choir practice, etc. And before I know it, it’s time to head back to work again. Oh sure there is time for quick prayer and scripture in the morning, and a prayer before falling asleep at night, but not the quality time spent with the Lord that I made time for when I was walking in the desert.

But then on Saturday something happened where I really needed to feel God’s presence. I was confused and discouraged by the circumstances around me and needed His discernment. But He felt far away. Why could I not feel His presence? How was it when I was in the desert, and a situation came before me, that I felt like He was right there?

On Sunday, when the children came for children’s moment, I had a pitcher of water and a cup. I told them I was thirsty and was going to pour myself a drink of water. However, when I went to pour the water, I turned the cup upside down, so that all the water ran off the sides and nothing filled the cup. Of course, the children quickly urged me to turn the cup right side up. This time when I poured the water, the cup filled to the top. I explained to the children that God wants to fill our lives with His presence. However, when we choose to turn our cup away from Him and fill it with other things, He can’t fill us up. But if we turn our cup upwards towards Him, He will fill us with His presence and all of His blessings.

As I sat down after the children’s moment, I realized that the last week my cup had been turned away from the living water. All of the “other” things in my life had gotten in the way of my time spent with Him. I had been giving Him my “left over” time and when I really needed my cup to be full, it was empty.

Have you felt like God is far away lately? Does your life feel empty? Have you called on Him, but felt like you couldn’t hear Him speak? Does your cup feel empty?

Perhaps He has been getting your “left-over” time? Maybe your cup, like mine, has been turned downward towards the “things” of this life instead of upward towards Him. Our Father longs to fill our cup with every blessing He can possibly give to us. But He can’t do it until we turn our cup towards Him.

I pray that this simple message, shared with the children, will touch your heart as it did mine. And that your cup would once again be turned towards Him allowing Him to fill it to overflowing with His blessings and love.