Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Just Say NO!

Levi our big golden retriever had just been neutered.  It was a bit more of an operation than normal for that procedure and so I was already concerned.  He was so drugged up he slept right through the first night. The next morning however, we soon realized he would need to wear the “cone of shame” so that he would not bother his stitches.   He was not allowed to run free in the backyard, as he is accustomed to doing.  I had to walk him around so that he could go to the bathroom. He seemed to be fine but then after about 10 hours I realized he hadn’t gone to the bathroom….at all.  He had been eating and drinking just fine. So I began fretting, praying.  What could be wrong? My mind started buzzing. I put a call into the vet but while I waited for their return call back I researched on the Internet all the scary results of not peeing and began worrying some more.  I walk him again and again. Nothing.  My mind was spinning by now. By the time Phil got home from work I could barely think straight! However, wise and patient man that he is, he clearly saw through all the muddle I had created.  Levi couldn’t properly smell with his cone on.  I had not even thought of this.  Of course! Dogs sniff around first to prompt them to do their business. Phil removed the cone, walked him, and after a while Tada! Pee!

OH HOW FOOLISH I FELT, AND HOW FOOLISH I WAS!  How much time had I spent unproductively worrying that Levi’s kidneys might burst or that something serious might be wrong.

I had just recently finished the bible study “Breathe” by one of my favorite teachers, Priscilla Shirer. Through the study she showed how the Sabbath principle should be a lifestyle that enables us to “steer clear of bondage.” The Hebrew word for Sabbath is Shabbat, which means to cease, to stop, to pause, to come to an end. God used the study to show me a few areas in my life that needed a Sabbath. Tendencies to take on too many things just because I couldn’t say “No”(been there?)  and being too much of a perfectionist on projects were just a few.  But now I believe I saw a greater and deeper area that needed Sabbath rest.  My mind.

I see it clearer now- the slave I can be to thoughts.  Bound by worry or indecision – how sad and unnecessary.  It is easy to revert to this unproductive way of thinking because I have allowed it for so long. But now I am determined with God’s grace and help to JUST SAY NO (to worrying). Take a Sabbath from over thinking everything.  ENOUGH IS ENOUGH (let it go -quit ruminating) I guess it really comes down to trust – if I really trust God then I will rest in him.

From decisions as simple as what to make for dinner or as complicated as what to do in this season of my life. When my mind starts spinning, I need to stop. Breathe! Just say No- I’m not going there. Enough is enough! Then I can pray and release my concern to God, who loves me in my muddling and ruminating, but who desires to see me living a life that is free- resting in Him.

 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Words of Life

I was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer in June 2012.  Besides being shocked, because I had felt fine until a few weeks earlier, I felt that I just wasn’t a strong enough person to go through what I knew was ahead.  My mother had passed away just 3 years earlier from uterine cancer and I knew some of what she went through.

I had seen God’s faithfulness many times before and knew he would be with me every step of the way on this cancer journey. His word had always been precious to me, but it became something that would truly be a lifeline. From the beginning and still today the following verses have given me courage.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philip. 4:13)

 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor.12: 9-10)

God’s word encourages us, and gives us peace.  As I laid in intensive care after surgery, still groggy from the drugs, barely able to talk or move, my sweet daughter Danielle read soothing words from the Psalms that calmed my spirit.

When I got home from the hospital my dear friend Dianne, along with bringing meals, brought me a blue notebook that I treasure to this day.  In it she wrote out bible verses and inserted my name in each of them.  I poured over those scriptures daily.  Along with my strong husband, the blue notebook became a faithful companion during my chemo sessions.

Words are powerful. Proverbs 18:21 says that Death and life are in the power of the tongue. God’s word brings life, but I would come to realize that negative words have power too.
 During my recovery, a well-meaning friend who had also had ovarian cancer called and relayed one negative thing after another that happened to her during her cancer journey.  When I hung up the phone I felt terrible! I felt bad for her, but I also started feeling terrible inside.  I knew right then that I could not let that negativity get into my spirit!  I needed to shift my thinking and as Philippians 4:8 instructs us: think on things that are pure, lovely and a good report.
 There are many ways to get God’s living word in your life; words that will encourage, bring peace and give life. Everyday open up the bible and read His precious promises. You may even want to start your own blue notebook.  Bible Gateway is a great place to search for scriptures on whatever you need. There are many great devotionals out there too.  A few that really spoke to me through the cancer journey were Jesus Calling and Jesus Today by Sarah Young and Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts Devotional. 
This month I am celebrating 3 years with NED – No Evidence of Disease- healed, as I like to say! I am so grateful to God and am thankful each day for life.

My daughter Danielle,  granddaughter Sophie and yours truly celebrating God's faithfulness!

Whatever struggle you are going through, let God’s word fill you.
His words bring life.

 He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave. Psalm 107:20