Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The scary thing about fear

     The scary thing about fear is that it can attack out of nowhere. I've been feeling more peaceful these days-hubby has recently landed a good job, kids are happy and settled, I am exactly a full year (today!) post cancer treatment and starting to feel pretty 'normal'. But all of those good feelings were gone in an instant several days ago. I had a health scare related to last year's cancer that really rocked me to my core and made me fear my 'tomorrows'. I quickly realized that, although I carry a confidence in Christ, my feelings of security or fear are so often purely situational. Things are going well, I am peaceful. Things are uncertain, I am anxious. You may be thinking that is just a part of being human. Well, shouldn't we want more than just being like the rest of the world? I want the peace of Christ to truly replace my worries about tomorrow. This is not, mind you, a drive of myself to be "Super Christian!!!" (cue the super hero music).  It is actually quite the opposite. It's a willingness to put myself and my pride in submission to God.
     Interestingly enough, I recently watched a session of Beth Moore, in which she said that "Feeling anxious or worried about how I will handle a situation is just another form of pride." Honestly, when I heard that, I thought, "Well, sister, you and I are going to have to agree to disagree on that one!" But then I took a moment to step outside of my prickly defenses and saw the truth. Here is what God revealed to me: If I am worrying, I am saying that 1. I'm in charge and 2. The outcome is up to me. In other words, the more I worry and fret the more I feel like I can work out a solution to the problem in front of me.  If I am trying to hold onto that control, there is no way that I am allowing God to work in me. I can't have it both ways-praying for God to work the situation out and trying to do it on my own.  Ok. Wow. I gotcha, God.
     God's clearly been working on me for a while now but I have many miles to go on my journey. Oh, and never think you have something "handled" because something will happen that will show you just how susceptible you are to falling into old thought patterns. So, I'm back at it. Praying about and working out my fear issues again. But by the grace and love of my God, He just keeps lifting me up and carrying me through.

     We did receive a great report from the doctor this week regarding my concerns. I am thankful and humbled by His continued faithfulness. My prayer is that the next time I face uncertainty (and I most certainly will!) that I can take it to God and God alone. I have learned much from this, though. I am most definitely a faulty, but grateful, child of my Abba.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. 
John 16:33



Sunday, July 7, 2013

Thankful for cancer

     Ah, do I have your attention?  I have said up until recently (even a couple of weeks ago in a conversation with my mom) that I didn't think that I would ever be thankful for my cancer diagnosis. I can, however, examine the last year and see how God was timely and abundantly providing for our needs. But not thankful for cancer. Not. Thankful. Not appreciative of surgery, chemo, fear and worry. Nope. Not thankful.
     Well, as is generally my story, God used my belligerent little stomping foot to reveal Himself to me through His Word.
     I've naturally been drawn to the Psalms throughout this year. I am bolstered by the despair, hope, hopelessness, and ultimate reliance on God even when the path is dimly lit. I am amazed by the Psalmists' ability to not only question God's presence but also passionately praise a God that doesn't always reveal Himself in our timing. 

     Sometimes I read Psalms with a strategy but more often I pick a passage and start reading. That is what I did last night, looking for some encouragement and clarity. I started around chapter 117 and moved through several chapters. I reached Psalm 119:71 and this is what I read:

"It was good for me to be afflicted so that I could learn Your statutes." (Psalm 119:71)

     Well, that is pretty clear. I began thinking and praying about our present circumstances and those of the past year. If this is your first time reading my blog or "meeting" me, I will sum it up chronologically: started writing "A Year of No Fear" (Nov 25 2011), tornado hit our property (Dec 2011),  I was diagnosed with very aggressive breast cancer (Feb 2012), hubby lost his job (April 2012), we lost our home and a car (August 2012), and hubby was unemployed for 14 months. When I began this blog, my goal was to become more disciplined in the scriptures, specifically as it relates to the effect that fear has on our lives. I had no idea that I was being prepared for a battle. I periodically look back at earlier entries and see God all over them, readying me for the coming months. 
     So, back to being thankful for cancer. This disease, this evidence of a fallen world, afforded me two pathways. I could either crawl into bed for 6 months until it was over, or I could ask God to carry me, teach me, guide me. I did have plenty of "crawl into bed" moments. I had some "poor me" days. I had many times that my crying out to God and my just plain old crying were virtually indistinguishable. But mostly I chose. Chose to worship and chose to understand that God would use this one day. And I read scriptures. Poured over them in a desperate attempt to make sense of our "today". Searched for answers and encouragement. Looked for the superstars of the bible that so often felt hopeless. And you know what happened? These truths, these statutes, took root in my heart. Gave me permission to cry, doubt, question, and rage. But then something interesting happened. I began to accept, bless, praise, and hope. 
     Cancer, my affliction, reminded me that although this earthly life can be so very heartbreaking, I have a Savior who loves me, weeps with me, carries me, and understands any emotion I bring to His feet. 
     I was wrong. I am thankful for my cancer.