It’s Confirmed. I Have Breast Cancer. Now What?

winding road on mountain
Image courtesy of Evgeni Dinev at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s been a long three weeks coming to the place of a diagnosis…invasive carcinoma were two words in the description.  It sounds a bit ominous to me.  Invasive has such an ugly feel to it.  Webster’s online dictionary gives it these three definitions: 1: of, relating to, or characterized by military aggression, 2: tending to spread; especially: tending to invade healthy tissue <invasive cancer cells>, 3: tending to infringe.  I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t sound like anything I want in my body!  Something that infringes or militantly enters into places it’s not invited is not welcome here.  All I can think about right now is getting it out!  Stop the invasion!Have you ever been in a place like this?  Something has entered your life be it disease, divorce, job loss, or whatever it might be for you and you have no control over it.  It is invading and spreading into all aspects of your life and being as you stand there helplessly on the sidelines crying out to God to rescue you!

I must say just even a few weeks into this, my eyes have been opened in a big way.  I have always had compassion on those with cancer as it has taken several of those I love.  I’ve watched them be healthy one day and incapacitated the next. Many times I was there by their side through their sufferings seeing every detail of the ugliness.  However, I realize now that even though I thought I understood and knew a lot about cancer, I was clueless.  In a few short weeks I have developed utmost respect for those who have walked in these shoes!  Whether they won or lost the battle, they are heroes in my eyes.  And I haven’t even seen the half of it yet!

I hate the feeling of being at everyone’s mercy.  I have a problem and I want to fix it.  I have goals and dreams for 2013 and all of this is getting in my way.  I don’t really want to wait to get in to see busy doctors nor do I want to wait for test results all day.  I have things to do, places to go, people to see…and then I’m reminded…I now have cancer.  It’s funny how one phone call can change your life.  All of the plans and dreams I had for the next 12 months are stifled–on hold so to speak.  I sit here numbly thinking, “God, what are you doing?  Do you not know that I have more books and blogs to write, places to speak, houses to sell? I want to travel with my husband and be his helpmate in our house projects.  I want to be here to enjoy my children and grandchildren in the years to come. I want to have more parties in my new house. I haven’t even made it to Hawaii yet!”  Realistically, in my heart I know that nothing happens in our lives for naught.  So I am forced to give up my wants and take a look at this mountain I have to face and I stop.  I regroup.  Perhaps my plans for 2013 weren’t God’s plans. I want so desperately to enjoy these midlife years I’ve grown to love. Now what?  “Lord, can you please show me where I go from here?”

As I wait upon the Lord to guide and direct my next steps, I am reminded that I am His.  With that comes the power of the Holy Spirit and wisdom from above.  There will be plenty of strength for my journey too as long as I lean on God.  I need not be afraid or grow weary.  I only need to trust that He will see me through.  However there will be days I don’t feel like getting out of bed or you might find me in a fetal position somewhere.  I am human.  I am discouraged that I once again have a mountain to climb.  I am sad that my thoughts of sitting on the beach in the next couple of months are probably out of the question at this point.  But nonetheless, I have hope.  I don’t know how people get through these things without the strength of God.  I don’t know how they face a deadly disease that has proven to have the power to take a good man down and not acknowledge they need God to see them through.  Call me a wimp.  But without God and His power in my life I am wimpy.  One of my friends said the other day, “You are better wimpy with Him than strong without Him!”  I say “Amen” to that!

You know that’s true.  God doesn’t expect us to move or climb the mountains in our power.  He says if we have just the faith of a mustard seed the mountain will be moved.  He doesn’t need us to be strong.  Rather, He wants us to trust in Him.  So for now I am still and ask God, “What now?”  Apparently the plans I had were not His.  I mentally put my hand into the loving hand of my Father and hang on for the ride down the path He has already cleared for me.  I don’t know where we’re going.  I may whine and cry along the way.  But I know my Father’s way is where I want to be.  So I trust.  I get angry. I cry a little.  Then I get back on the path.  Wipe the dust off, take my Father’s hand again and we walk a few more steps.  My strength is in Him.  What a peace there is with Him in control.

So those things I can’t control on my own…I give to Him.  We will make it—me and God.  He has never let me down yet.  Why would He start now?  Are there things you need to give to God?  Have you been fretting or depressed over things in your life you can’t control or change even if you tried?  Be reminded He cares for you.  He wants to be your Knight in Shining Armor, your Deliverer from whatever has taken you off the path today.  Please grab onto His hand with me…there’s room enough for us all.  Let’s walk together and trust that God is in control so we don’t have to be.  One step at a time…one day at a time…we will make it to the other side.  God bless you in your struggles that you face today.  Whether they are big or small, may God be your Lord over them all!  Remember, be blessed and go be a blessing!

Matthew 17:20  So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.

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God’s Timing is Always Perfect!

I apologize for the tardiness of my post today.  In the weeks ahead, I may be off schedule a little as we prepare for our move.  Thanks for hanging in there with me!

Well, we got through our inspections on the home we are buying this past weekend and we are still moving full-speed ahead.  Some people would have run when they saw what we saw, but feeling that God has led us to this point; if we are to be obedient we feel we cannot turn back now.  We’ve spent the last couple of years preparing and praying for God to sell our home and then give us the perfect home for us—whatever that might be.  We have had contracts on other homes or at least had our eye on others and the second we were ready to move forward on them, the process was stopped for one reason or another.

Jim and I had a big list of things we wanted in a home but every house up until this one has been lacking in one or two of the things on our list.  We were OK with that though realizing that short of building the perfect house for us, we were not very likely to find everything we wanted.  Keeping this in mind, if it only had a two car garage and not three, we were OK with that.  If the office wasn’t as big as liked, we would make due.  Or, if the location was OK, we could always renovate and make the new home be what we needed it to be.

When Jim and I were both single, we signed up for e-Harmony—an Internet dating site—to help us find the perfect mate.  That is where we actually met.  e-Harmony’s system matches individuals on 29 important qualities of their personality, beliefs, etc.  When you sign-up, you are to make a list of “Must Haves” and “Can’t Stands.”  Their computer supposedly uses your personality test along with those lists to match you up to the perfect person.  Before we met each other, we both dated others on that site and although we had a lot of things in common, they weren’t the perfect match for us.  Had we moved forward with those relationships, we would have been settling for less than what God actually had in store for us.

Well, it appears that the same is happening now in our home purchase.  We have begged God to speed up the process and help us move forward as we desperately wanted to at least get our living space on one floor in case I should begin having my breathing problems again that I was having last year.   Two things we weren’t willing to bend on were the size of our dining room or at least space in which to extend a table at holidays and Jim wanted a walk-in shower big enough that he wasn’t knocking his elbows as he bathed.  Just as the people we dated previously and may have settled for, there were also houses that we could’ve settled for and been OK.

However, I have learned over the years that God is Sovereign.  If I am willing to wait on His timing, He will give me the desires of my heart.   God has had a plan for the last two years for us and while we were getting to where we are today, our future house sat empty waiting on our arrival.  Others have tried to purchase it to no avail as God had a plan for the Kemptons to live there.  Just as Jim highly exceeded my expectations with my e-Harmony experiences, I suspect our new home will do the same.  It not only has a huge dining room for my entire family to sit in one room together at the holidays; but it also has Jim’s walk-in shower–one on the first floor and one in the basement!  Isn’t that how God is?  He doesn’t expect us to pray in faith and patiently wait for Him to answer only to give us something to settle for.  When God is involved and we are willing to wait on His timing and not ours, He blesses us beyond what our minds can conceive.

Does our new home have problems?  Yes.  When we turned the water on during the inspection, water came pouring out from many areas of the plumbing all over the house since it had been empty for the last two years.  However, I consider that a mere distraction from Satan.  In fact, at that point of discovery, we could have chosen to either stay focused on the problems or we could choose to stay focused on where God was at work in our lives.  Truth be known, those are easy fixes and once they are done, we will have a wonderful home.

Many of us pray and pray for something and when we get it, we think oh, it leaks, God couldn’t want this for us.  Or perhaps they think, this answer is too big or too nice.  I really don’t need that or deserve it.  But just as when our loved ones here on earth give us nice gifts, so does our heavenly Father.  In fact, it gives Him great joy when He does.  So if your spouse gave you a wonderful gift and you knew they had all the money in the world to give it to you, would you tell them to take it back?  I doubt it.  So why do we question God?  He wants to richly bless you in all areas of your life.  When have you told God, “I really don’t need that, or I had something much smaller in mind.”  Or when have you been willing to settle for second best because you felt unworthy or didn’t have the faith that God could give you everything on your must have list?

The Bible says, “If you have the faith of a mustard seed, you can move a mountain.”  Most of us will never understand that concept as we tend to depend more on ourselves than on God most of the time.  Our society tells us to be independent, just make it happen, and find one’s inner strength.  My experience has been that when I am more dependent on God, wait for His timing and pray for the Holy Spirit to be my strength in times of trouble, my socks are blessed right off my feet and I end up with way more than I ever imagined possible.

Yes, my house isn’t perfect.  In fact it is far from perfect with leaking plumbing and other things.  However, I know in my heart that God has put us in this place for this time so whatever lies ahead will be just fine.  I would much rather be in God’s will with the husband and home that He chose for me than to have settled for less and do it my way.

What have you been praying for lately?  Do you have the faith that believes that in God’s time, your prayer will be answered perfectly and according to His will?  Are you prepared for a long wait if need be?  We haven’t closed on the house yet and until we do, I don’t know what tomorrow brings.  However, if this is the gift God has planned for Jim and I, we are moving forward in faith that He will take care of the details.  I pray that whatever is on your mind and heart, God will give you the peace to wait on Him and the grace to accept the answers He gives when He does.

Matthew 17:20 So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.

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When Life Feels Like it’s Spinning Out of Control…

We all love being in control, don’t we?  There are times in all of our lives though that it seems like all we do is wander aimlessly and no matter how hard we pray, nothing happens.  When we pray and God doesn’t answer immediately or even for years in some circumstances, we start falling into that “things are definitely out of control” mode and begin to panic.  When in reality, if we are praying and trusting God for answers, things are not out of control at all.  God hears our prayers and honors them–He is in total control once we’ve prayed. Satan would just like for us to think God’s not listening and that things out of control.

Today I was driving down the road following a big white Cadillac.  It was moving rather slowly and my first reaction was to be annoyed with their speed.  I was trying to make it on time for an appointment and they were starting to make it impossible to be on time.  I had an agenda and they were in my way!  However, as I looked closer, it appeared from the back of the car that there was in fact no one driving the vehicle!  There was not one head of a driver or passenger to be seen above the front seat head rests anywhere.  I quickly turned my frustrations of their slowness into laughing. I couldn’t see anyone driving, but I knew since the vehicle was stopping, starting and turning on turn signals 500 feet before they turned, someone was behind the wheel.  I don’t know why it is funny, but it just is because you know there is some little old man or old woman behind that wheel and they’re probably sitting on a pillow!

I realized with this scenario that I could choose to be entertained and laugh or I could be upset.  The one thing I knew was that I was no longer in control of my schedule; rather the person in front of me was.  There was nowhere I could go but just stay in the lane I knew would eventually get me there—the one I thought was going to get me there on time.

How many times are our plans and agendas stopped or slowed down by things we cannot control like slow moving vehicles in our path?  We have all been  in situations where we had a plan for our lives, prayed about it, stepped out in faith, and now things just aren’t working out as we had hoped.  Why is it when we pray about things that God doesn’t just make them happen? He seemed to say, “OK,” when we were making the plans, but now it just seems that He doesn’t care or isn’t listening as nothing seems to be going our way.   Boy this is the time where the enemy arises and puts all kinds of questions and doubts in our minds.  He really wants us to believe that God doesn’t care. If he is allowed, he will turn our focus onto things that really don’t matter in the big scheme of things, while taking our focus off of what God is actually doing in our circumstances.

I have recently been learning how to knit and to say the least, the experience has been interesting.  My goal is to make dishcloths like what my mom used to knit every Christmas for her kids and grandkids to have in their kitchens every year.  As I started following the pattern yesterday to make my first one, it just wasn’t looking right.  It’s supposed to end up square when it’s done but it was beginning to take on the shape of, of, of, I’m not sure what.  I was pretty sure it wasn’t looking like a dishcloth, though!  However, as I continue to work the pattern row by row, slowly but surely, it is starting to take form and I do believe when it is done, I may have a dishcloth!  It might not be perfect, but with a little practice, I bet the next one is wonderful!

Reflecting on today’s happenings, I am reminded that even when I can’t see God behind the wheel of my life, I have to have faith that He is there.  He sends signals here and there with unexpected happenings and/or blessing and we just have to teach ourselves to focus on those signs along the way and trust.  We may look at our dishcloths in life and think it is never going to be right even when we thought we were following the pattern exactly.  The same goes for our lives.  We can read God’s Word and pray for the Holy Spirit to guide us, but we have to have faith that the outcome will be what God perfectly designed for our lives, even when it looks nothing like we imagined.

If we could always see the driver and the final outcome of our life’s dilemmas, why would we need God?  God uses these dry times in our lives to teach us and help us grow closer to Him.  Instead of panic and dismay, my prayer for you today is that even when you have that out of control feeling and think that life has thrown you another lemon, I hope you will find laughter instead of the turmoil that comes when we feel out of control and unloved by God. Have faith, He is still driving. As a matter of fact, the outcome He has planned for your situation is going to be a masterpiece.  Perhaps if it were a washcloth, it would win a blue ribbon at the county fair for workmanship!

Don’t allow the enemy to rob you of your joy.  Stay focused and trust that God has things under control.  Rather, laugh at your enemy that he has once again tried to cause you to stray and once again failed.  For when we are able to give up total control and trust, we can once again find the supernatural peace
and joy that only God can give.  Your answers may not come today nor even tomorrow, but rest assured they will come in God’s time. May His peace and joy be yours today while you wait and trust the Creator of the Universe to work it all out!

1 Peter 1:6-9   In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen,you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.