Friday, March 25, 2011

Happiness is many smiles...

Thank you for your prayers. God is so gracious and good in providing the strength and grace for each day, each moment. To Him alone be the praise!
Last weekend Jon and I got to travel to High Point, NC to see friends and family. We arrived on a sunny Friday morning and spent the day chatting with friends. It was so wonderful to see my Spanish professors at High Point University. I feel like they are the "Dream Team" down there! What amazing people! Then, we got to sit and talk with friends on the couches in Slane. It was such an encouragement to both of us. So many smiles and so many hugs. The Rosses let us stay with them and we enjoyed catching up as well as continuing the forever-long argument of which school is better, UNC or NC State. Everytime I go into that house I am assaulted with genuine love and, of course, Tarheel blue. Throughout the weekend we spent time with friends and family, enjoying great conversations and so many laughs. Those times are precious to me. They are like gold.
Then, this week I had the privilege of substitute teaching for the Spanish teacher at my high school. I had a blast! Thank you, Lord, for such a great opportunity! I so enjoyed being in a classroom and teaching my favorite language in the world.
And now I am back in the treatment room. I hate the thought of being in bed for the next few days, however, God has a plan, even for those days when I am sick and in bed. And I can worship Him even from a horizontal position.

I am learning...

about delighting in simple things
about how much smiles mean
the compassion of others
about the love of my Father

about the power of laughter
the excitement of flowers
about the flow of tears
about the grasp of fears

the beauty of a bald head
the comfort of being led
about grace and humility
about standing before Majesty

the stillness of silence
about weighing resistance
about weakness and pain
the joy of feeling yourself again

about patience and resting
the hard battles of wrestling
about leaning and trusting in
the wonder of the Sovereign

Thursday, March 17, 2011


I have often wondered what it was like for Jacob that one night in Peniel. Jacob was facing a crisis in his life; he was preparing to meet his vengeful brother, Esau. He divided up his family and went off to be alone. He had no idea what he would face the next day. During that night, he wrestled with a Man. Little did he know, he was wrestling with God.
I have felt a lot like Jacob over the past week. Chemo looks like it will take longer than I had hoped. In fact, doctors are not sure what route they will take yet (either chemo, radiation, or perhaps a combo). This week I have felt like I have been wrestling. I do not know what the future holds. I feel like I cannot even get a grasp on the present. I have felt angry, depressed, and apathetic. It has been a struggle to take joy. I have gone through a heart's wrestling with the Father.
I wonder if Jacob fought for control that night. I wonder if he fought to protect what he idolized. I wonder if he fought out of fear. In the course of wrestling, God causes his hip to come out of joint. No wrestler leaves a fight unscathed. This injury would remain for the rest of his life. Job was humbled as well after his own wrestling match with the Lord. We walk away, humbled, because we have stared the Almighty in the face and He has proved victorious over our sinful hearts. We walk away remembering, that although we are dust, God loves us and blesses us through the Gospel.

Prayer Requests:
* One of the side effects of chemo is hormonal changes. This basically just means an emotional roller coaster. Please pray for grace. Tears come easy and joy seems so far.
* Pray for mental strength. It is hard to concentrate on reading and writing as well as other tasks.
* Please pray that I can share the Gospel with some of my nurses as well as other patients.

Thank you so much for your prayers.

And in every season, we are satisfied. For just one reason, Christ was crucified.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cancer: My fairytale

I sat on the front row of the Denbigh Baptist Christian School talent show and dinner. I was having serious regrets about the hotdog that I had just consumed (this was the Monday after chemo and I was still nauseous) but was still enjoying the music of the evening. Three girls stood on stage and sang one of those country songs that describes a fairytale existence for a girl. My guess, it was by our favorite country girl star, Taylor Swift, who continually sings about every girl's dream life. I remembered back to a few summers ago when I was driving with a couple of girls from the youth group I was leading at the time. We had the windows rolled down and we were belting out one of these songs. You have to admit, Swift does create some great car singing music, at least for us girls.
Life had seemed like such a fairytale then.
Things in my life seem to have fallen into place perfectly. I had a wonderful family. I was going to a great school and studying what I had wanted to study all my life. I had met the perfect guy, he had romanced my socks off, and we were going to get married. I would graduate and we would live happily ever after with several kids and a dog. Everything seemed to be working out according to my plans.
Then, I was diagnosed. Everything seemed to be falling apart. Would I graduate? Would I get a job? How were we going to live? Was I going to beat this cancer? Suddenly, I looked around and thought, "I am not living in a fairytale anymore." There was no way cancer had been part of the plan.
At the start of these girls' rendition of their fairytale song, I was mourning the loss of my fairytale. I was hoping that their dreams did not get battered like mine. However, as I sat there, I thought about God's plan for my life. As a Christian, I believe that He is daily, and in every circumstance, moving to draw me closer and closer to Himself. Romans 8:18-30 speaks of suffering yet also about how God is working all things together for the good of those who love Him. He is conforming us to the image of His Son. My "good" is not ultimately that I will be cured or that I will one day have the career and family that I always dreamed of. My "good" is knowing Christ more.
Cancer is part of my fairytale.
Although cancer seems to have taken so much from me (student teaching, last semester at college, my physical fitness, and my love for cheeseburgers), it has not taken away my love for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In fact, it is making me love Him more. Daily I have to battle to be content with where He has me and to trust in Him when I do not know what even the next day brings. Daily I must remember the Gospel, that Jesus Christ died to pay for my sins so that I might know Him now and one day be with Him forever. Even though it is such a day by day struggle, I am falling deeper and deeper in love with Jesus Christ. Cancer has not taken away my fairytale dreams. God is using this to draw me closer and closer in the ultimate fairytale of being wooed by Christ.