Did You Miss Me?

STORM

Image courtesy of prozac1 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I apologize if you’ve missed my writings the last couple of weeks.  I needed to take a break and rest amidst the storm.  Cancer has a way of coming in and taking over your life with doctor visits, tests, treatments and all that goes along with it. I have had my days of utter despair and felt I wanted to walk away from it all.  I have had times of great anger and fear to the point I didn’t even recognize myself.   But through it all, I can now say, “Thank You, Lord, for putting this obstacle in my path to allow me to once again experience You.”

Through it all, I’ve developed a new respect for those I used to cheer on from the sidelines as they fought their cancer battles.  Now I truly understand the depth of life change that is brought on by something totally out of your control.  Speaking of control, God has been teaching me a new lesson.  I’m not really a control freak like many I know.  However, through this simple experience, God showed me that I tend to hang on more than I should.  I think what I really learned is that I hold a lot of pride in being able to handle tough times and perhaps that pride is something I need to deal with within myself.  Perhaps I have learned to be so strong that I forgot how God has carried me in the past.  Frankly, I didn’t think there was anything that could come my way that could shake my world or cause me to fear anymore.  That is…until cancer arrived at my doorstep.

I’m not saying it shook my world in a bad way like you might think though.  It caused me to stop and re-evaluate my life–where I’ve been, what I’ve done, and even the big question, “What now?”  This experience in my life reminded me that I am not the one calling the shots or controlling the outcome.  I learned again, I am only strong with God in my life.  If He’s not front and center in everything I do, I become weak.  Some might say I’m just human.  I agree.

I am having problems finding the words.  Let’s do it this way.  Let’s make it my top 10 list of things I’ve learned since my journey with this latest trial began.

  1. God has a plan for my life.  My plan for myself is not always His.
  2. God is faithful to be there with me every step of the way when I invite Him along.
  3. God knows that when I struggle, I will learn to depend on Him more.
  4. God teaches those who are willing to learn, to praise Him even when life circumstances don’t seem worthy.
  5. The power that Jesus called on when He walked this earth is the same power that lives within you and I as believers and followers of Christ today.
  6. God knows that when I finally get to the end of me, He can then mold and form me into something more like Him.
  7. God understands our pain and fears and lovingly meets us where we are when we call on Him.
  8. God can heal disease miraculously, but doesn’t always choose to do it that way.
  9. God allows only that which He knows I can handle to come into my life…and when it does, He always provides a way out.
  10. There is nothing on this earth that I would trade for my relationship with Jesus.

Thank you so much for the prayers and encouragement each one of you has given me along this path.  I am forever grateful for you all.  God is Good–there is no doubt in my mind!

Psalm 145:17-21  (NIV)

The Lord is righteous in all his ways
and faithful in all he does.
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cry and saves them.
The Lord watches over all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.

My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord.
Let every creature praise his holy name
for ever and ever.

Death Has Lost Its Sting

bee

Image courtesy of SweetCrisis at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I don’t want to freak you out if you’re a hypochondriac, but did you know that having cancer cells in your body is normal?    Even healthy bodies produce thousands of cancer cells every day.  However, since our body’s immune system  is designed to manage and kill these cells, many people don’t actually get cancer even if they have cancer cells in their bloodstream.  It’s basically when your body stops working properly that it allows cancer cells to grow and create problems.  In that regard, cancer is a symptom of your body’s immune system not functioning properly.

Similarly, we all have a sinful nature running through our veins.  Some of us choose to pray and trust God to help us overcome it.  Others allow that sinful nature to chew at their soul until there is nothing left…like a cancer.  You might then say that sinning is a symptom of a malfunction in our relationship with God… similar to our body’s immune system malfunctioning and not protecting us from cancer.

There is a song that we sing in church called Marvelous Light, by Charlie Hall that says, “Sin has lost its power, death has lost its sting…”  Since we sang that song last week, those ten words have constantly been in my mind.  Not being able to shake the thought, I figured I would write my blog about it this week and work it out on paper. Then maybe I could stop it from repeating in my mind all the time.  It’s way cheaper than a counselor and much less inconvenient!

I’ve had a lot of people check-in on me to see how I am and how things are going.  I have been happy to report that as a result of prayer and God’s protection, I feel great!  I truly have peace that surpasses all understanding.  I realize though that there might be some tough days ahead; I’m human.  However, I am blessed by the way God is taking me through this and I am convinced that I have peace because God, my spiritual immune system, is at work in my life.  I am overcoming my need to focus on woe is me as a victim and am being shown how God is taking me through as a victor.

We all have a choice.  Do we allow the sin and dark thoughts to win or do we stay focused on God and trust Him when we face a challenge in life? The words, “Sin has lost its power” have come to life for me this past week.  It is not worth it for me to fall into the darkness anymore and not trust God.  To me, that would be sinful.  I have tasted of the sweetness of my Lord and Savior and no matter how much I must suffer, I will continue to call on God to protect me.  Sin has lost its appeal.

Whether I overcome my physical issues is irrelevant.  God’s plan for me is unfolding and whatever the outcome, it is His will for my life.  He is teaching me in an intimate way that I can trust Him through EVERYTHING that this life leads me through.  I don’t have to succumb to my carnal ways and entertain fear and anger; rather, I just need to trust and believe.  If I win the physical battle, I will praise Him for healing me.  If I lose the physical battle, I will praise Him for seeing me through to the end.  Either way, I see it as a win…death has lost its sting. When you know this life isn’t your home and there is something waiting for you on the other side far greater than you could ever imagine, it is easy to praise and thank God for whatever challenge you might be facing.

I’ve said having cancer is like wrestling an alligator.  Some days you’re on top and others it whisks you to the bottom of the swamp before you know it.  However, even the bottom of the swamp can be OK when you know the Savior Who created the universe and everything in it has your back.  So today I choose to follow, trust and give Him my life whatever that may look like for the rest of my days on this earth.

If you don’t have a relationship with God that you know He will see you through anything you face, pray and ask Him to come into your life today.  Ask Him for ways to overcome the sin and temptations that you may be experiencing and take away the fears that cripple you.  Trust Him to see you through…all the way to the end.  As His servant and witness, I can truly say, “He is faithful.  You can put your trust in Him.”

1Corinthians 15:55-58 (NIV)  “Where, O death, is your victory?  Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Psalm 56:3-4 (NKJV)  Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.  In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?

If You Would Like to Enjoy the Song, Marvelous Light, Click Here!  *

*Disclaimer: Since this directs you to YouTube, I cannot be responsible for the advertising the video might have previous to it playing.

God Heard My Prayers and Rescued Me!

Image courtesy of Simon Howden at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Simon Howden at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I can’t lie.  Last week I hit an all-time low.  I was recuperating from surgery and instead of my pain getting better, it was becoming worse and more widespread.  I called the nurse on Thursday to make sure this was normal as my healing seemed to be going in the wrong direction.   She called me back that evening and said unfortunately, the nerves were waking up and all of the extra pain was very normal.  Then she proceeded to say, “Oh, you’re six days from surgery, your pathology reports should be in.  Let me see what they said.”  Then she started ho-humming around about the computer being slow and not working, then she delayed a little more and then I started to worry.  Could it say something bad that she doesn’t want to tell me?

She was already deep into the fact that the report should be there and she could give me the results so at that point she was committed.  Eventually, she said, “They took three lymph nodes and the good news is that two of them looked good.  There were just a few cancer cells found in the third one.  It’s a very small amount it probably doesn’t mean anything.  They will probably take care of it with a little extra radiation in that area and maybe some chemo.”  At that point she had lost me.  In my mind, even just one cancer cell in your bloodstream is one too many.  As I tried to stay positive and focus on the baby shower we were having here that weekend for my daughter, I was struggling to stay on top of things.  I found myself curled up in bed more often trying to sleep my cares away.  I could tell that Jim was beginning to worry about me as it really isn’t my nature to be down for long.

I knew in my heart this was a job for God. Sunday I went to church and found a few friends who I knew were prayer warriors.  I asked them if they would please pray with me after the service.  By that point I knew that I was allowing my focus on God to wane while my focus on my worries grew.  The sermon highlighted the scripture from Proverbs 3:5-6.  It reads Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.  I memorized that verse over twenty-five years ago so it didn’t strike me as anything new.  However, as the service went forward the Holy Spirit showed me over and over how I had taken my eyes off of God and put them on my fears of things that may or may not lie ahead.  I was not trusting in God at that point.  I was leaning on my own understanding.

After the service my friends swooped in to come pray for me as I had asked.  They probably saw me crying through most of the service and knew they were on a God Mission to pray for me!  I was a mess!  We all prayed but my pain and sadness didn’t disappear right away.  It wasn’t some miraculous and immediate change.  However, as the night went on I eventually felt the burden of my illness leave my shoulders and the Holy Spirit take His place once again in my life.  As I’m writing, it’s been three days since we prayed and my pain is becoming much better too.  I’m giving God the praise and glory for this huge change in me physically, mentally and spiritually!

I won’t know what the oncology team has to say about my lymph node until tomorrow. However, for today I am no longer a blubbering mess.  I am at peace with whatever lies ahead.  No.  I’m not going to like it if because of this new finding I am faced with more diagnostic tests, more surgeries and/or extra chemotherapy that I was not expecting.  I will probably see more down days if this is the case as I am only human.  However, moving forward I will be making sure that I’m focused on God.  I’m trusting Him that whatever comes my way is the path that He has ordained for me to travel.  I’m no longer leaning on my own understanding.   I am putting Him in control once again for that is where I find joy and peace.

I know I’m not the only one facing hard times right now.  What are you worrying about that shouldn’t be?  Are you leaning on the Lord or on your own understanding?  Take time today to tell God of your fears and worries and ask the Holy Spirit to come into your life and give you peace over your circumstances. Get into the Word and seek encouragement from its pages.  Perhaps you have a friend that needs prayer like me.  Maybe this week you don’t need the blessing but need to be the blessing to someone else.

Many have sent me scriptures of encouragement over the last several weeks.  Please enjoy the greatness of our Lord as you read God’s words below.

Psalm 94:18-19 (NIV)  When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.

Psalm 71:14 As for me, I will always have hope: I will praise you more and more.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord.  For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit.”

Isn’t God good?!  Have a blessed week!

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