The Vision

And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, Acts 18:9

Do you believe in visions?  Throughout the last six months of my illness, God has presented Himself to me in all kinds of ways.  I’ve felt his soft touch and comforting presence in the middle of the long, dark nights, been encouraged by Him through other people, and heard from Him in His Word.  He has been my constant companion, never leaving my side.  But the other night at church, something really special happened.

Our church has a wonderful praise and worship team.  They are there to lead us in worship, giving us the opportunity to truly praise God.  It has been my life-blood these last six months.  Last Wednesday night, as I was praising God, I lifted both of my hands in worship.  I felt in my spirit that Jesus was standing right in front of me.  He grasped both my hands in the air and threaded his fingers through mine.  As we stood there, He leaned over and rested in forehead on mine.  I felt this amazing peace and power—and love.

The wonderful part about this night was that He was not just ministering to me, but to many other people there.  He is omnipresent and has the ability to love all who reach out to Him.  There is no doubt in my mind that many people felt his touch that night.

I can’t get this picture out of my head.  I wish that I could paint, and even contacted a lady about the possibility of painting it for me.  She told me that she was not comfortable painting Jesus.  But, even without this picture on paper, I have this vision of Jesus standing over me that I will cherish throughout the rest of my life.

 

Keeping My Eye On………..

Four more treatments—if I don’t count this week, then there’s really only three more weeks, thank you, God.  I started out with 20 weeks of treatments, and I only have four more left!  But, why is it that the last few miles of a trip or the last part of anything seem to drag!  Starting out on a journey, we are fresh and excited, full of strength and energy—time speeds by.  Let me be honest with you, it’s not that it’s difficult to keep my eye on the goal; it’s just taking so long!  So, I reach out to my God to give me the endurance and patience to reach out to the end.  Don’t get me wrong, I still have quite a lot ahead of me, surgery and possibly radiation treatment, but oh, brother, I will be so happy to be through with these healing drips!

So where do I turn when I get discouraged? I can always count on Paul to set me straight.

I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.

 So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.

Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal. There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them. I’ve warned you of them many times; sadly, I’m having to do it again. All they want is easy street.” Philippians 3:12-19  (Message)

So I reach out to Jesus because God is beckoning me onward to Him!  I keep my eye on Jesus because He is worthy to be my goal.  Healing, life, and health are all worthy goals, but all fall short of the Ultimate Goal. God will sustain me through this illness, and He will clear my blurred vision.  I’ve just got to keep my eye on Him. To God Be the Glory.

Joys

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”        John 15:11

This week was a week of joys; a week that lit up my soul and perked up my spirit.  Not only has He blessed me with personal joy, but He has also allowed me to experience other people’s joys.  Isn’t that just like God?

Her face was beaming.  She was standing at the check-in desk at the doctor’s office, proudly showing off a huge sheet cake.  It took me a minute to understand what was happening, until I realized that she was holding up a celebration cake for her daughter’s last chemo treatment.  Her 18-year-old daughter had just graduated from high school and chemo!  She is a beautiful, bright young lady, ready to start the next cancer-free phase of her life.  Oh, joy!

 Owen is a precious six-year-old boy who has spent the last two years of his life in and out of St. Jude’s hospital, enduring the rigors of chemo treatment.  This last week was supposed to be his last treatment ending with a “No-Mo Chemo” Party today.  At the beginning of the week, he started running a high fever, putting him back in the hospital one last time.  One night last week, the minister and others in his church came to his hospital room to anoint him with oil and pray for him.  The next day, all fever was gone, and Owen was back on track for his big party!  Oh, joy!


This weekend, a young friend played in a softball tournament. Gracie wore this ribbon in her hair in my honor as her team played in the Pitch For A Cure tournament in Springdale. Oh, joy!

Finally, my daughter and grandchildren were here with me this weekend.  Picking up another granddaughter and two grandsons to complete the mix, the weekend was a buzz of non-stopped fun-filled energy! Double joy! We played in the dirt, went swimming, and attended a “Princess Tea” at church.

There may have been some difficult moments these last five and a half months, but I can honestly say that God has infused my life with huge amounts of joy.

 

 

 

 

The Lighthouse

1—4—3, 1—4—3 …….. the lighthouse flashed silently in the distance. Two weeks ago, I sat by my window in the darkness at the St. Joseph Retreat Center and watched the “I—love—you” wink and beckon to me.  The Minot lighthouse is famous in many ways.  The 1—4—3 flashing signal was adopted in 1894 and is locally known as the “I—love—You” signal.  The lighthouse was originally built in a unique spider like design. The architect believed that the structure would survive the waves by causing the waves to crash right through the spider-like legs.  Unfortunately, on the night of April 17, 1851, the braces gave way and the lighthouse crashed into the sea, not before the keepers began pounding frantically on the lighthouse bell, heaving a note in a bottle out into the churning sea. A new lighthouse was rebuilt and finished in 1860, taking five long years to build.  This lighthouse has stayed the test of time; solid, strong and resilient to the most powerful hurricanes and storms.

Jesus says, “They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”  Luke 6:48, 49

Yesterday, I received an e-mail from a precious sister who is fighting cancer.  Even though her news was not good, she is like that lighthouse….solid, strong, and resilient.  She wrote, “I am getting through this by believing in His Word.  I don’t speak death, only living, and living for Him.” Fran has laid her foundation on the Rock…. she will not be shaken.

God has blessed me with people like Fran.  When my faith begins to wane a little, I think of those strong, faithful people; and I thank God for putting them across my path.  Thanks be to God.

Sitting With God

“Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits.”

Satchel Paige 1906-1982

            This last week, I have done a lot of sitting and a lot of sitting and thinking.  Spending a week in silence will do that to you.  It’s easy to sit perfectly still and gaze out over the beauty of the ocean.  Your mind just seems to go to a different place.  Sometimes it takes that to really—really listen to God.  We think that we listen, but in the busyness of our life, we tend to do a lot more talking to God than listening.

God had some things He needed to say to me, and I had some questions that I needed to ask.  It’s all kind of personal, so I won’t go into all the details, but suffice it to say—we had a heart to heart.  It is humbling and a privilege to be here in this beautiful place.  God knew last fall when I made the reservations that I would need this time with Him.  I’m grateful that He made it happen.

This scripture in Lamentations 3:28-33 (Msg) pretty well says it all:

When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face. The “worst” is never the worst.

Why? Because the Master won’t ever walk out and fail to return. If he works severely, he also works tenderly. His stockpiles of loyal love are immense. He takes no pleasure in making life hard, in throwing roadblocks in the way.

Coming out of the silence and back into the world of chemo treatments and reality, I feel more equipped to handle the next part of this journey.  There is a joy that has welled up inside of my soul.  Whatever I have to face, God will not forsake me.  He hasn’t failed me yet.  He never will.