imagesCAB9SL5YJesus the bread of life

John 6:35

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

I would like to share with you a principal that God taught me very early on in my walk with Him, and that is, if I will seek Him with all of my heart, I will find him and when I find him he will nourish my spirit.

There are many things that we look to in this world to bring us comfort, things like alcohol or drugs, relationships, movies, porn, animals, books to name a few but none of these things ever have any lasting effect on our lives. They have no power to bring lasting peace or contentment or even true love into our lives.

But Jesus can and does. He is able to come in and bring healing to our hearts in areas that have long been broken. He can help us to see things in ways that gives us a  different outlook, and he most assuredly can develop our characters to reflect his Holy presence in our lives.

How does he do this you may be wandering?

I believe for me it started in my early twenties and I was in a very bad state emotionally and physically. I had tried numerous things in my life to dull the pain and self-loathing but nothing worked at all. When I woke up in the morning I was still the same hurting person I had been the previous day and so I would need to go back to those vices just to try to dull the pain once again.

Then one day I felt the tug of the lord at my heart again, I was living in England at the time and visited a few churches but they were just empty buildings. I did however find a bible study to start attending and when I joined them they were so loving and kind and accepting that I felt like I had come home.

It was strange because I did not know these people at all, but the bible says that those who believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, are a part of his body, we automatically become family, grafted into a network so large that it would stagger the mind to count everyone.

That for me was the beginning of my search for the lord again. I attended the study for as long as I could before I moved away from that little town and what began as a little ember in my spirit grew into a raging wild fire of discontent with the way I had been living my life.

The things that I had previously looked to for comfort and enjoyment no longer held any appeal but God and his precepts did. I soon realized that the things that I had looked to were empty and had literally kept me in bondage to sin, but God was doing a clean-up in my life that stripped that stuff away and replaced it with a new way of living and thinking.

 imagesCA4AX86QI believe that God did this in a number of ways, and  if you are willing to trust him for your life, you too will get to experience the sweet presence of the Lord in your daily lives.

Firstly he gave me a desire to read his word  and I found myself hungry for him all of the time. Every chance I could get I was reading my bible the whole thing had come alive to me and I was being transformed by what I was reading.

Then the second thing that God showed me was that there were some things that I was doing in my life, habits that had formed, and attitudes that I had that did not line up at all with the word of God and his will for my life.

The bible says

 1 John 1:9-10

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

I did just that and as the years went by whenever I felt that there were new things in my life that did not line up to the will of God for my life, I repented of those things too.

I found that when I had repented of the sinful things that I had been a part of for such a long time, they no longer had any appeal to me to do them again and I really wanted to please the Lord with my new life.

The third thing that I found was that the more I spent time praying and studying my bible and developing my relationship with the Lord, the more I wanted to find out about my Savior

The bible says that when we are born again in Jesus Christ we are new creations, the old man has now died and the new man now lives. That is truly how I felt.

imagesCAVZ81OU2 Corinthians 5:17 – 21

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come; the old has gone, the new is here!

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

The forth thing that I learned throughout this process was that I was now God’s ambassador to all the people around me.

 I was to share this good news that God had sent his son Jesus Christ into the world to die for the sins of the world. He promises that whoever acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God will be saved from his sins, and given eternal life. God promises never to hold the sins against the people who believe. Wow! What a great mission to be a part of, to share such good news with the world around us. I was called to be a part of reconciling the people who are lost in their sin, to God who promises forgiveness from sin and eternal life.

I joined various bible studies over the years and eventually became confident enough to actually start teaching bibles studies myself, even writing some and writing for my website about  discipleship.

These are a few of the principles that God has taught me over the years that have kept me coming back to him daily. To learn and grow more and more in him, just like we need to be fed daily with food, so do we need the spiritual food that comes from walking with God.

These principles helped me to get to really know God and know that he was faithful to his word in the bible and because of that faithfulness I had a solid ground work to stand on when my precious husband was going through his cancer treatments.

I knew that I could go to God moment by moment if necessary to get comfort and peace throughout all of the process. Some days I went to him more often than I can count.

Then on other  days when I did not have the strength to go to Him, He came to me and brought me a comforting word through someone or maybe it  would be in something that I read that I knew that God was right there with me the entire time.

I was so glad that I had learned these principals all of those years ago, as it truly sustained me through the emotional ups and downs of living with a cancer patient.

blog-windingroad1A twist in the Road

The above statement is truly an understatement of how I am actually feeling.

As most of my readers are aware, I have been on a journey with my husband that I never expected to be on, nor did I particularly want to be on it for that matter.

The journey we have been on is called Non Hodkins Lymphoma, Cancer of the Lymph nodes. My husband has had many sick days over the last eight months, with many sleepless and restless nights as well.

We have spent countless hours driving to and from the Hospital as well as countless hours meeting with doctors, specialists, nurses, and interns.

My dear husband has had to endure having his dignity stripped from him as some of the tests have been quite embarrassing as well as very invasive, to all of these he simply went along with it, tried to smile and never said “No I refuse!”

He reminded me of Jesus in those moments, when the crowds and the Pharisees and the Sadducees mocked and ridiculed him, beat him and led him to his death on the cross, he did not utter a word against them, but lovingly went to the Cross for all of mankind.

My husband too was silent, enduring things that were by no means pleasant.

Along the way we met some amazing people, some of the people were the professionals, trained in the field of medicine to help us out, others were the cleaning staff, who quietly went about cleaning all day long where others messed, from toilets to passage ways, and then there were my personal favorites, the volunteers, the people who came daily into these wards and brought a smile and their beverage carts.

I remember when we went for our very first appointment and we were waiting to see the doctor, I was really thirsty and anxious about the news we were to receive from the doctor and I remember praying, “oh lord how I would love a cup of tea” not five minutes later this lovely older lady came down the passage way with her beverage cart that was laden with beautiful tea cups and saucers, cookies, coffee and tea and milk and cream, I nearly cried, it was such a gift to receive that tea at that moment.

Over the months I have seen the volunteers with the tea Carts move about the day care ward and every time I see them I remember how grateful I was to receive that first cup of tea.

I promise if it would have been appropriate I would have loved to hug each of them to say thank you so very much, they have no idea how a little smile and a cup of tea in the midst of fear, heart ache and turmoil can lighten up your day.

Another group of people that we got to interact with were the actual patients, the ones whose bodies had been ravaged by a unforgiving disease such as cancer, some of these precious people looked like the walking dead, their bodies ravaged by the cancer and the chemotherapy drugs, looking like skeletons that shuffled along.

Some were a little luckier and still had some meat on their bodies, but not many, and they all had one thing in common, they all wore hats, some colorful, some plain, some twisted and some tied, but it was their flag that they bore, the flag of cancer, of hair falling out in big clumps, of having to shave the rest off and then being cold because they had nothing to cover their heads any longer.

cancer patient, hair lossThis is in my opinion by far the worst part of the cancer treatment process, because your hair is something that identifies you as a woman or a man, you spend time washing, combing and generally grooming it daily, it is a part of your image, defining you, making you look good and then when they experience the shock of it coming out is almost too much to bear.

The men and women who face these challenges are truly courageous as they know that they are in danger of dying without treatment, so they fiercely cling to life and smile while having the horrible drugs pumped into their systems.

I had not realized until recently the affect that all of these things were taking on my emotional state, until I found myself feeling lost and sad and tearful and wanting to sit on the side of the road and not move another inch.

Whom am I to have such feelings, I was just the observer, I did not have my body hooked up to machines, IV’s and the like, I did not have to take handfuls of medications in order to not feel like throwing up, I did not have my hair fall out and my body racked with pain; but I was there to be with my husband every step of the way, to drive him, care for him, comfort him and console him when he needed it the most.

Now I can stand back and realize that it is ok to have these wild feelings for a little while, but the trick I believe to surviving these feelings and not allowing them to overwhelm me, I need to bring them to Jesus, they are real, they keep sneaking up on me when I least expect it, but I know that Jesus cares for me, and he wants to carry the burdens of my heart and bring me comfort and peace and joy, so that is where I will take my fears, sadness and despair and I know that without a doubt I will find hope, life, peace and joy in the presence of the Lord.

God cares for usPsalms 68:19

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.

 

imagesCA5MKIZDComing out of the Wilderness

Over the past few months my husband of 20 years has had to undergo chemo therapy treatments, and to tell you that it was a walk in the park would be a lie, so I will not say that.

At the very beginning of this journey when it was fresh and we were filled with fear of the unknown the Lord very graciously showed us some key scriptures that have helped put things into perspective along the way, today I would like to share some of these scriptures with you in the hopes that you will be encouraged in the journey that you are on.

Psalm 20:1-9

For the director of music. A psalm of David.

May the LORD answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.

May he send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion. May he remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings.

 May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the LORD grant all your requests.

Now this I know:

 The LORD gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand.  Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.

LORD, give victory to the king! Answer us when we call!

I believe that through this scripture the Lord gave me the direction that we needed to keep our hearts and our minds trained and that was on him, I felt like the was saying to me at the time, not only am I going to hear you and answer you in your distress, but I will also give you what you desire, and that is your husbands life, and that the plans that we had to follow with the doctors would succeed as well.

I also believe that God really emphasized for me in this verse that we were not to put our whole trust in the doctors and the medicines and their treatments, but we were to trust in Him!

We are now on the other side of treatment and my husband has been given a clean bill of health, Full Remission is the words that they used! To God be all of the Glory for the great things that he has done!

He also turned my attention to:

imagesCADSI1L6James 1:1-4

 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

What I believe the Lord was saying to me with this verse was that I should not be surprised by the trial that was set before us, and realize that it was not a form of punishment or anything like that, but when these trials come to us, that it will produce within us perseverance so that we may become complete and mature in Christ Jesus.

I can tell you that now that we are on the other side of this trial, that we have indeed experienced a maturing in our faith, a depth of understanding of God and his love and goodness towards us as well as his father heart of tenderness to us, as we sometimes really struggled through the harder days.

He would  send a friend, or reveal a verse in scripture or fill us with a peace that was not logical for that day and its circumstance and through it all we had the assurance that we were not walking through this trial alone.

The next important scripture that the Lord revealed to me was also found in the Psalms 84:1-12

Psalm    
  My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
    Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young— a place near your altar, LORD Almighty, my King and my God.
    Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you
    Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
    As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools
    They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
    Hear my prayer, LORD God Almighty; listen to me, God of Jacob.
    Look on our shield, O God; look with favor on your anointed one.
    Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
    For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.
    LORD Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you.

imagesCAEYL6A2I knew when the Lord brought me to this passage that even though I walk through valleys where weeping is the norm, even there new life will come through and I will go from strength to strength in the Lord!

I saw this play out daily in our 6 month ordeal, when we thought we could not take another step God would intervene and strengthen us and teach us another fruit of his spirit, like peace, or joy, or love, or long suffering, patience or even kindness.

As my husband and I have had time to sit and reflect on all that has transpired over the last 6 months, we both have agreed, that we would not have given up a moment of that trial, because the fruit that has blossomed in both of us has been invaluable.

It might sound strange to think that from something hard, something so good could come from it, but it has.

We both have learnt to trust the Lord with everything, even our next breath. We have learnt that God is truly working out all things even the bad for our good, for our growth and development in Jesus Christ. We have learnt that nothing is impossible for God and he will provide for our daily needs and even our wants.

We have learnt that at the beginning of this journey we could not see the end, but the bible teaches that we are to have faith in Christ even when we cannot see the end.

Hebrews  11:1  

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

I want to leave you with a parting thought, and that is this, YOU CAN TRUST GOD IN ALL AREAS OF YOUR LIFE AND HE WILL MOST DEFINITELY SEE YOU THROUGH

 

 

To God be The Glory For the Great Things He has Done

I feel like standing on the Rooftops and shouting aloud about the Goodness of our God. I want to share with the whole world about his great love and mercy for His people and how He has so gently led my family and I through one of the darkest periods of our lives.

It started almost 2 years ago with a diagnosis of Cancer, Non Hodgkins Lymphoma to be exact and it was terrifying, the questions, fears, tears all flowed freely for a while until the Lord finally got through to us that He would be with us throughout this ordeal.

We had a reprieve for about a year, and life went on as normal until I noticed the Lump on the side of my husband’s neck. It grew so fast and was getting bigger by the day. When I finally convinced him to go to the doctor and have it checked out, the results were worse than we originally thought. He would need the full chemotherapy treatments, immediately as it had become life threatening.

We were thrown into a world of appointments, doctors, endless tests and emergency room visits as well as many needles. Then came the time for the chemo drugs and it was brutal, the first treatment I thought to myself, there is no way that he would make it through this, this is so bad, he was so sick and miserable and I was a wreck.

Thankfully, the Lord had reminded me just before we started all of these treatments, that He would be with us, that He would not leave us therefore I could trust Him for the outcome, whatever that might be.

He graciously held off all of the horrific side effects that you hear about with patients on Chemotherapy, and even though my husband did feel nauseous on more than a few occasions, we learnt how to help him through it.

There were certainly other struggles along the way, like 2 hospital stays and countless restless nights, tingling of the feet and a loss of sensation in his hands and feet. He has also experienced the horror of his hair falling out in huge clumps, and I have to admit for me that was the worst, as it was a solid fact at that point that he indeed had Cancer.

But God!!!

He had set up beforehand a source of Provision for our family through my husband’s employer, who graciously agreed to pay him a management fee whether he could work much or not. That in my books is a miracle!!!!

He surrounded us with people who prayed a lot for us as sometimes to be honest, I had no words to pray, I was exhausted and I did not know how to pray for my husband or myself as we trudged along the road.

He motivated a friend of mine to faithfully bring a meal to us once a week, for a few months, that was incredible and such a blessing. He opened up the way for my youngest daughter to go to two summer camps that I did not have to pay for and then another friend took her with to an amusement park for the day.

When my little one could not get over a cold a friend took her in for 4 days so that we could protect my husband as his immune system was compromised due to the chemotherapy drugs.

Another blessing that came was in the form of telephone calls, drop in visits, tea with friends, and lots of love from all around us, sustained us in the moments where we thought we could not take another step!

Around the middle of all of this when I was feeling particularly down one day, I believe the Lord gave me a picture of a long distance race and that at that moment of our race we were at a pit stop. You see, marathon runners don’t run a whole long race without having any pit stops along the way, there are places of refreshment, where they can get water or whatever else they need. It refreshes them and then they are able to continue their race. That is what he was giving to me at that moment, a pit stop, a refueling for the Journey ahead. I was so excited, because the word of God started to come alive to me again, and I felt full of joy and able to keep going.

One of the phrases that the Lord brought my attention to at that time was what King David said, “He strengthened himself in the Lord” David’s men had turned against him and wanted to stone him but David turned to the Lord and because he did the Lord strengthened him.

So I asked the Lord to show me how he wanted to strengthen me at this time, and he took me to Psalm 84

Psalm 84:5-7

Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.

A long time ago I had set my heart on a pilgrimage to seek the Lord and to walk in his ways and so even when I walked through deep valleys with weeping, because  I had the Lord within my life I would go from strength to strength, not defeated and crushed, but actually able to thrive in a hard place. Thank you Lord!

Another verse that he led me to was found in Psalm 103

Psalm 103:13- 14

As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;              for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.

The Lord reminded me through this verse that he knew I was struggling at that time with my emotions and that the fear of my husband dying and the fear of being alone in this world were real to me, but he had compassion on me and was comforting me so that I could be strengthened and carryon. I felt so very grateful and so much stronger at that moment.

The last verse that he took me to at that time was;

 Psalm 116:5-7

The LORD is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The LORD protects the unwary; when I was brought low, he saved me.  Return to your rest, my soul, for the LORD has been good to you.

I realized at that Point how gracious the Lord had been to me already throughout the entire walk through this valley of Cancer and how he had brought encouragement and strength when I needed it and now I could confidently Rest in the Lord for he truly had been good to me.

I sighed a sigh of Relief when I realized that the Lord was indeed taking care of me in ways that went beyond my understanding at the time and I could trust him to see me and my family through it all.

By this time we still had 3 more chemo treatments to face but God remained faithful, with bringing more good news to our home and the good news was that after the did the fourth round of chemo the Doctor had ordered a CT Scan of my husband’s body they discovered that the Cancer was gone!!!!!

Yes you heard me right, it was gone, they wanted to complete the treatment regiment, which we agreed to do. We were ecstatic, but to be honest we did not understand the full ramifications of it all until later when we were referred to another doctor who would do a Bone Marrow Transplant on my husband.

It is a dangerous procedure as they completely destroy his immune system. I cannot tell you I was thrilled about this news and tried heard to encourage my husband but with my own concerns we really were no good for one another.

The great news is that the Transplant doctor told us that she was not prepared to do a transplant at this time due to the fact that he had responded so well to the chemotherapy. We danced a happy dance at that news. She told us the news that every cancer patients longs to hear, You are in Full Remission!

Friends, my husband is in full remission from this cancer and the long term diagnosis is good, and I know without a doubt that without God, leading us to the right doctors, getting the right drugs, setting up prayer teams for us and a myriad of other details that he orchestrated on our behalf we would not have come through this in the way we have.

God is our healer, and he heard the cries of his people on behalf of my husband and has brought healing to his body.

I am so very thankful and grateful to the Lord for all that he has done for us; I have not enough words to express how my heart truly feels.

We have one more step to go through with the doctors and that is for them to Harvest his stem cells and store them for future use, but I know even through that procedure God is with us and will see us through!

Therefore my heart soars and sings, TO GOD BE THE GLORY FOR THE GREAT THINGS HE HAS DONE!

I would like to leave you with this Psalm that aptly describes my desire to give praise to the Lord for his work on our behalf.

Psalm 100:1-5    A psalm. For giving grateful praise.

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.

 Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God.

 It is he who made us, and we are his we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.

For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

 

God is at Work

When all you see is destruction and carnage around you it is often hard to see and understand God’s miracle working power.

Walking through the valley of Cancer, I have discovered how vulnerable, helpless and desperate a person can be. I am watching my husband struggle with his body in ways I never desired nor thought I would see and through it all, he has not complained.

Don’t get me wrong, he is not enjoying the process by any stretch of the imagination, he hates feeling sick and vulnerable all of the time, weak and helpless and even at times depressed, wanting to give up and not take another step in the direction he is heading, yet he carries on with a quiet dignity.

I have to admit that if it was me, I would be crying and needy and helpless and wanting to be waited on constantly, like a two year old I am sure, but I see my husband get up and do the dishes for me if I have had a rough day, even though he is feeling sick.

I see him consider others around him and work hard at not being a burden to anyone. I see him fetch his own drinks and food and does not complain or demand. I am amazed!

I also have come to see the Holy Spirit rising up within him more and more, leading his thoughts, sustaining him and helping him not fall into pits of misery. I see how the Holy Spirit is transforming him, from the guy who was concerned about all things worldly to all things concerning God.

I am amazed at the powerful work of the Holy Spirit in our lives at this time and so very grateful as well. I could not imagine having to go through something as traumatic as this alone.

As I was reading my bible this morning the Lord highlighted a verse that I would like to share with you right now, it is found in;

2 Thessalonians 1:11

With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.

I realized once again how God is faithful as he works in and through us to make us worthy of his calling on our lives. He does this through his mighty working power and then he sets about bringing to fruition our every desire for goodness and says yes to every deed we do that is prompted by our faith in him.

Brothers and sisters, as my husband and I have walked this cancer journey, I have seen God’s mighty hand at work in our lives and our situation, I have seen him bring Joy, comfort, hope, provision, love and deliverance to us in very real and tangible ways.

This verse reminded me of the fact that God has plans and purposes for our lives, he desires that we learn to trust him, that we learn to know his character so that we can act out our faith and see him come through for us.

One attribute of God that I have seen come through clearly recently is that he is the God who hears and sees!!!!!!!

He hears me when I cry out with tears of frustration and fear, holding onto him with everything in me and he sets about bringing me comfort, whether it is something that I read, a phone call from a friend or a hug from my children.

He sees the whole situation that we find ourselves in and he knows his desired outcome and we have the privilege of walking it through with him, trusting him to lead us and show us his best for us along the way. I stand in awe of him!

I also realized that when I exercise my faith in the midst of this trial, God is right there, showing himself faithful, so that others may too experience his goodness and love for them.

I write these words today, with a fresh sense of faith and a renewed longing to hold even closer to God than I did before so that I may be a vessel to reveal his mighty working power to the world around me.

Thank you Lord!

I would like to encourage you today, to look around you at the situation that you find yourself in and ask the Lord to show you how and where he is at work, then start to praise him for his great presence in your life. Ask him to work out his perfect will for your life and start acting on the faith that he has placed within you.

You will be amazed at how much Joy you will start to experience and how much Love you will feel for him, when you start to surrender to his will for your life.

 

Persevering in the Tough Times

I just read a quote on my friends face book wall that mentioned the fact that people needed to hear about people persevering in their hardship, instead of the famous, I overcame the hardship and look I survived. What about the messy bits in between?

Well I am currently living in the messy bits in-between, my dear husband has recently under gone his third chemo therapy treatment for Non Hodgkins lymphoma, which got very aggressive and trust me this has not been a walk in the park.

I have found myself longing for it to be over, hoping that I have learnt all that I needed to learn so that I can just instantly get to the finish line of all of the treatments. My husband has had to endure countless doctors’ visits, tests, IV’s, medications, night sweats, nausea, emergency trips to the emergency clinics and other indignities that I am sure he would not like me discussing – The Messy Bits!

Our emotions have been all over the place, one minute we are flying high as we see how amazingly the Lord is coming through for us and bringing in provision as well as people to bring meals, love, friendship and of course prayer.

Then there have been the really low points, where we had both fooled ourselves into believing that his hair truly would not fall out, but then it started falling out by the fistful’s. That was devastating, as it makes that mark in the sand that says, look you truly are a cancer patient – The Messy Bits!

My husband asked me to shave his head as he truly only had strands left and I did not think at first that it was affecting me, but if I had to be honest, it was devastating. He had always had a head full of beautiful black hair, and now he was bald. I realize that many men are shaving their heads today because they are going bald; but to shave it, because the chemicals that are being put into your body makes your hair fall out, really plays havoc on your emotional state – The Messy bits!

The other very hard thing to watch has been to see how weak my husband has become, he can do things for a little while and then needs to go and lay down. To either sleep or just rest his body, you can see when he needs to because he loses all color in his face and is just dragging himself around – The Messy bits!

Another very hard thing has been to take this once extremely energetic man, who has never been afraid of hard work, to a store and when you are there you have to get a wheel chair, because he does not have the physical stamina any longer to walk around. That my friend is a very hard pill to swallow – The Messy bits!

He tends to have a problem with tremors in his legs at night time, which at time has forced me to sleep on a Mattress on the floor, or I would not have a good sleep at all – The Messy bits!

After he has a chemo treatment I am out of our bed for at least a week because he excretes the chemo through his skin and I don’t want to get sick – The Messy bits!

I have had moments of crying my heart out, not knowing if I can take another step on this hard journey because it feels like my heart is breaking within me as I watch the man that I love suffer so much – The messy bits!

I have had the privilege of being a stay home mom for all of my married life and one thing I hold dear to my heart is being there for my children in their celebration moments, learning to ride a bike for the first time, graduations, getting their first vehicles all of these things are important to them and they are important to me as well and recently I had to miss one such an event and to be honest it broke my heart. My dear friend rushed in to my rescue and participated in the event on my behalf, as I was at the emergency clinic with my husband. – The Messy bits!

I have had to learn how to give a needle to my husband so that his white blood count would go up sufficiently and I am generally a squeamish person but I managed to do it and did not feel like throwing up – The Messy bits!

Some people have asked me how am I managing to remain cheerful and positive through all of these traumatic events and to be honest the only way that it is happening is because of the Spirit of the Living God living within me, strengthening me and enabling me to get way out of my comfort zone and into a zone of complete dependence on him.

I am in awe myself that I have not fallen to pieces, but I know that it is God who is sustaining me, reassuring me that he is with me and that because of his mighty power at work in my life and in the life of my husband and children, all things will work together for our good in the end, because we love and serve him.

Romans 8:26-28

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.   And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. 

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 

God has reassured me that even when we go through trials that we do not think we will be able to survive he knows and sees our weaknesses and he prays for us and asks God for His mighty will to be done in our lives and then He promises that because we love Him all things, even hard things will work out for the good in the end.

This gives me peace, which also comes from God, to be able to handle these tough situations. I am so grateful to the Lord for the Joy he has given to me through His Spirit and for the assurance that even though some things I have to face I might not like and are hard, He will never leave nor forsake me!

Therefore, I can say thank you Lord, that even when I wanted to give up, God has given me the strength to put one foot in front of the other and not just walk but run and actually in some places enjoy the journey.

I would like to encourage you, if you are going through a tough situation right now and you don’t know how you are going to survive it, cry out to God and he will not only meet you where you are at, but allow you to actually thrive there too.

I might not think that I am always thriving where I am at in the midst of the journey but if I really look at the situation I am thriving as I am filled with a joy that is supernatural, a peace that passes all understanding, compassion that I never thought I had and a perseverance to keep going to the end because I know that the Lord holds me and I will be ok.

Call on Jesus today and allow him to come and help you in your situations and I promise that you will not be disappointed about how he gets to work on your behalf.

 

The Blessings of Miracles

As most of you know, my husband is battling cancer at the moment. It is a long hard road to walk and not all roses at all. Having said that I would like to share with you a few of the things that God has blessed us with in the past few weeks.

I had asked some of my friends if anyone had a bicycle that they would be willing to loan to me as I felt the need to use it for exercise but also for the pure enjoyment of riding a bike with the wind blowing in your hair.

A friend stepped up and said, yes as a matter of fact, you could loan mine as I am unable to use it at this time. I was so excited and raced over to get it. I had such fun riding it that I had asked the Lord for a bike of my own. Well after two weeks she needed the bike back and I was disappointed but I gave it back and asked the Lord again in a more of a whining tone for a bike of my own. I then forgot about my request as I had gotten busy with life.

Well, about a week ago, I was on the phone with a friend when the doorbell rang and when I went down to see who was there, I found a brand new bicycle on my deck with a Card attached to my window, with my name on it.

The giver had not put their name into the card, but had put the bike on my porch and left. To say that I was stunned, overwhelmed and completely excited would not even begin to describe my emotions at that time. I was ecstatic. I couldn’t believe my gift.

Then the lord reminded me that I had asked him for my own bike and he had now provided. It was not important who gave me the bike, but what was important was that, they obeyed and that I received what I had asked for from the Lord!

I was truly thankful and grateful and completely floored at the extravagant gift. I am still shaking my head at the whole thing.

I learnt another valuable lesson that day, God hears my prayers, even when I think he might not be listening, and not only does he hear my prayers, but he delights in answering them in the most unusual ways.

I am most humbled at the gift and so very thankful to whoever heard the Lord and spent their money to answer a prayer between God and myself. Wow!

Brothers and sisters in the Lord, God answers prayers, it is often not how you think that they should be answered or even how quickly they should be answered but he does answer them and for that I am truly thankful.

Psalm 145:18

The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

Call on him today, he does hear you, he never leaves nor forsakes you and he will answer you when you call to him.

 

Deliberately finding Joy

When someone in your family is suffering from a chronic illness it is easy to go down the road of despair, hopelessness, pity parties and depression but what if there was another path to take in the midst of all of that.

As I have walked beside my husband and seen his struggle with Lymphoma that has become aggressive, and having all of the doctors appointments, needles, hospital stays, more needles, tests and hours of waiting, I have become aware of a gift that the Lord has given to me in the midst of all of the gloom.

Joy!

Joy that has been bubbling up within me when I have no good reason to feel particularly joyful and the companion of the Joy has been Peace. A peace that actually defies all logic.

So how can a person seriously experience these two emotions when the storm of Cancer is literally raging around us? The answer has come slowly to me, but it is something that I have truly learned to be thankful for and hey I have learnt to rejoice in as well.

To answer this question we have to go back to the bible of course and discover the ways that Jesus brought peace to terrified people in the midst of the storms that they were in.

Matthew 8:24 -27

Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.   The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”  He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.   The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” 

In this particular example, the disciples were all in the boat with Jesus, he is having a great sleep because he has had a busy day and a storm comes and threatens the disciples very lives, but because Jesus is there and he is the creator of all things, he tells the wind and the waves to calm down, and at his command they obey. Just like that, this raging storm stops and the sea that they are crossing is as calm as if it was a clear and sunny day.

Jesus reminds them that if they had the faith they too could have told the winds and the rain to stop and it would have obeyed, he asks them this question, “why are you so afraid?” Fear seriously hinders our ability to stand up in faith and tell the storm around us to quiet down. Fear cripples and paralyses us and makes us ineffective and robs us of all Joy and Power and blinds us to the Power that is at work within us, through the Holy Spirit.

Therefore, I have found on this journey, that whenever I am feeling the panic of all of those crippling fears come near me and I feel like it is going to capsize the stability of the boat I am in, I am reminded by the lord all of the time, to tell the storm to Calm down in Jesus name! I then find myself with a peace that can only come through the Power of God who is at work within my life! This is something to stand up and Praise the Lord for, trust me!

Another verse that has brought about a freedom and joy into my life in the midst of these struggles has been;

Nehemiah 8:10

 Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

The Joy of the Lord is my strength! This is not something that I have to muster up within myself, but it is something that bubbles up from deep within me and strengthens my very core; I get to rejoice in the Lord in spite of the circumstances that I find myself in.

Another verse that the lord has used to encourage me is this;

Philippians 4:4

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Psalm 70:4

 But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who long for your saving help always say, “The LORD is great!”

You see, the Apostle Paul, when he wrote those words to the church in Philippi, was in prison, and up to that point, he had endured many severe floggings, stoning’s, ship wrecks, people angry at him for the message that he brought, he had been in prison, shackled, hungry and severely persecuted. All of this happens to him and he says to the church, “Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again, Rejoice!”

How was that possible? How could a human being endure such hardships without becoming a little bitter and resentful of what was happening to him?

The answer is simple, God’s Holy Spirit had filled him up and had given him Joy and Peace in spite of his circumstances, the Holy Spirit had filled him with Power to forgive the people and love them in spite of what they had done to him. The Holy Spirit had shown Paul, that he was never alone in these situations because God was always with him, to strengthen, lead and guide him.

This my friends I have found to be true in my own life, learning to walk with the Lord in the storm of circumstances can produce a harvest of Peace and Joy and Gratefulness that to the human thinking would be impossible, but to the person in Christ, completely possible.

I have learnt that to continue walking with the Lord in this attitude of Joy I needed to learn to cultivate an attitude of thankfulness as well, thanking him for the big and small blessings and miracles along the way. Therefore I can Rejoice in the day that he has given me, thank him for the breath in my lungs, for the ability for my eyes to see the beauty around me, to thank him that my husband is not sicker than he is, to rejoice that even though he is tired and feels week he is still with us. The more I have learnt to thank God for, the more I discover I can thank him for, this then produces a sense of contentment and joy in my spirit and drives away the fear, anxiety and hopelessness that would like to be my companions.

Now I can confidently say, “this is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice in it and be glad in it!”

As I have received Joy and Peace and comfort from the Lord I can share with you what he has done, my prayer for you is that you to will find that God truly is your comfort and strength and peace and source of joy when you face circumstances that are way beyond your control.

So as the Apostle Paul said, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice”

 

 

 

 

When I am weak, then God is surely strong

2 Corinthians 12:9 – 10

 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 

I have read this particular passage of scripture many times over the years not really understanding the full ramifications of all that this verse actually means. I do not even profess to understand it fully now, but recently I have learnt more about God grace and how in my weakness and deepest needs, God comes through for me and is strong when I honestly have nothing left of myself.

About eight years ago my precious mother was dying of lung cancer, she had smoked for many years and her body could no longer take the strain of all of that nicotine in her system. She lived in South Africa and I lived in Canada and so when I got the call, I dropped my life and flew over there.

I spent the next month by her side and in many ways it was a gift as I had spent many years abroad and had not had the privilege of day to day contact with her, on the other hand I remember it being one of the hardest things I ever had to do in my life.

I couldn’t think of anything worse than standing by helplessly and watching as someone that you hold very near and dear to you sliped away moment by moment. I had so many emotions rush through me as I watched my father frantically try to find any cure he could to prolong my mother’s life, he was desperate to have her stay longer as they had been married for about 34 years at that point and he was more in love with her than when they first began. It nearly ripped my heart right out of my chest!

As my father ran his own business he needed to be there for most of the day and therefore I became the primary care giver for that month. I want to say that up until this point, my experience of true care giving, was to my 3 children, changing diapers and caring for their every need. Now I was thrust into this role of primary care giver for my strong and independent mother who always took care of me and it terrified me.

Up to that point I had not truly learnt the meaning of allowing God’s grace to flow through me and even though I cared for my mom all during the day, and made sure my dad was fed and laundry was done, I often needed an attitude adjustment.

You see, when fear and hopelessness take up residence in your heart you open your heart up to all kinds of emotions that you would not have necessarily entertained before.

So my new bedfellows became resentment, anger, judgment and pure terror. Oh I took care of her, but I did nothing about guarding my heart enough to not allow these deadly emotions to take root and rule my experience there.

Over time the Lord showed me the destructive power that these emotions had had on my heart and even my relationship with my mom and the rest of my family while I was in South Africa and I did ask him to forgive me, but to be honest I decided that I never ever wanted to take care of sick people ever again. The trauma was still fresh, even 8 years later and I did not think I could handle it.

As the years went on the Lord had brought healing to many places in my heart concerning the death of my precious mother and then two years later my father, but I now held a badge of honor that said’ “I don’t take care of sick people”

Then just to prove my point, my son was diagnosed last November with a rupturing appendix and after his operation, even though I was concerned for him, I did my very best not to have to nurse him too much. Yes, I realize that after I write these words and he reads it I am going to have to ask him to forgive me.

Well a few months go by and we discover that my husband who had been diagnosed with non hodgkins lymphoma needs to have chemotherapy. To say that I was freaked out was an understatement. All of my old fears, dreads and night terrors were back; I would have to nurse him!

So I prayed, asking the lord for His grace, realizing that if I was going to be able to walk beside him in his time of need I was going to have to lay those fears at the feet of Jesus.

A month has since passed from his first chemo treatment and in-between we have had another chemo treatment, numerous emergency clinic visits, a two day stay in the hospital, other doctor visits, days in bed, tons of laundry, hair loss, emotions high one minute and very low the next and a host of other things; but I discovered that in the midst of it all, God’s grace has truly become sufficient for me. I have been able, with the help of God to lay down those fears and God has put his strength within me which has led to me being able to handle all that has come with love, kindness, compassion, mercy, peace, peace  and of course long suffering.

My friends, this is the transforming power of Jesus Christ, alive and active in my life. I would not have been able to do this without him, not a chance. I had already proven that the last time. I not only praise the Lord for working through me at this time in such a dramatic way, but for allowing me to become aware of what he has been doing.

I know that I have to continue to cling to him with everything in me in the months ahead but I also know that when I am weak He is strong and his power is most definitely made perfect in my weakness.

I truly am thankful to God for his grace in this very hard time of my life and I am thankful for his promise to us all, That He will never leave nor forsake us!

Therefore, if you find yourself in a place that is way over your head and you feel like you are possibly drowning, call out to God, he does indeed hear us and he answers in ways we often least expect.

I have thought to ask the Lord to take this from my husband so that it would be all back to normal just like it was before, but I have come to realize that sometimes God does indeed miraculously take things away from us, like a disease or an addiction or something of that sort, but when he chooses not to there are many wonderful treasures for us along the way that we would not have found had we just experienced the quick way that we wanted.

So in the midst of it all, I can say with the Apostle Paul, that I can boast all the more in my weakness as I can see and experience the great and mighty power of God in the midst of my weakened and distressed state.

Thank you Lord!

 

 

Chemotherapy without the side effects!

It is hard to even describe the feelings I have inside of me right now, except to say, To God be the Glory for the Good things He has done.

My husband had to start Chemotherapy a week ago, as the lymphoma in his body had become aggressive and taken off; causing multiple tumors to grow in various parts of his body. To say that we were apprehensive and even a little bit fearful about all of this would actually be an understatement, but obediently we went in to the Hospital where they administered the treatment.

A few days before treatment I was praying with my prayer group and the Lord showed my friend a picture of all the side effects that the Doctors would give us, (5 sheets of side effects to expect) and then He showed her as he wiped those side effects away and replaced them with his own. We also felt that it was very important to pray that the drugs would only attack the cancer cells and not affect the rest of his body, as those drugs can play havoc on a person’s system.

When he gave her this picture and she shared it with us, of course I was very thankful but to be honest, not having seen the list that the doctors would give us, I was not sure what to expect.

While at the clinic they gave us the list of possible side effects that we could expect and as I read through them I felt a peace, knowing what God had said about it all. I politely smiled at the nurse as she was giving it to us, thanked her, and tucked it away as I did not want my husband to even read the list of side effects as I felt that we needed to believe God instead of what the doctors said.

When the treatment was done, he felt pretty bad but that was to be expected as they had pumped about 16 different drugs into his system that day.

The next few days were really hard on his body, as the drugs spread out and attacked the cancer. I remembered what the Lord had us pray for him and I continued to ask that the drugs in his system would only be allowed to attack the cancer cells and not be allowed to damage anything else. I praise the Lord for the body of Christ at this time as our friends and their friends were also standing with us in agreement in Prayer for my husband.

After three days in bed, feeling like a truck had run over him, with only one bout of throwing up and a couple days of Nausea, he was out of bed and ready to tackle the world again.

Before this started, I have to admit that I feared the worse, and I was certain that it would be the end of his life, our life together, that I would soon be a widow and my life would be terrible, but God, in his great mercy has faithfully shown himself to us throughout all of this and if you had a look at my husband you would not say that he had chemotherapy a week ago.

He does get a bit tired and needs to rest, but mostly he is able to function very normally.

Friends, I know that without a shadow of a doubt it is God who has performed this great miracle for him, the drugs only do so much, but he looks and his acting healthier than he has in a few years!!!

Yes it is a miracle, and I say, Praise the lord O my soul and all that is within me, Praise His Holy Name!

Another miracle that has taken place is that God has not only been revealing himself to us through the gracious gift of bringing healing to my husband’s body, but he has also been revealing himself to him in all other aspects of his life as well, emotionally and spiritually, giving him insight and a revelation of himself as our father.

Miracles upon Miracles I tell you, it is so amazing to watch my once independent husband, truly bow his knee to God and then to see how God has revealed himself to him. Oh I am so very thankful.

Friends, I want to encourage you to know that you can cry out to God in your distress, regardless of the circumstance and he will answer you, he will meet you were you are at and he will work on your behalf.

At the beginning of this journey the Lord led us to Psalm 20 and I would like to share it with you once again. The essence of this Psalm is this, Trust in the Lord, not in man and when you cry out to God he will hear you and answer, I have found this to be true. God is trustworthy and fully able to work on our behalf.

Psalm 20:1-9

For the director of music. A psalm of David.

 May the LORD answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.  May he send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion.   May he remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings.  May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.   May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the LORD grant all your requests. 

Now this I know: The LORD gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand.

 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.   They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.   LORD, give victory to the king! Answer us when we call! 

When you call out to God he will answer you and you will not be disappointed, trust him today with all that troubles you, I know that you will be amazed at all that he will do on your behalf.