Friday, September 26, 2014

Will My Yes Ever Come?

Yes.  It's a word that we all long to hear at some time or another.  Many men have pondered over how to ask "Will you marry me?" in that perfect way to hear that perfect yes.  Parents love to hear it when their children obey by saying yes.  College students wait for that yes in an acceptance letter.  In so many situations, it's a word we can't wait to hear.

I've been waiting for a yes for over five years now.  It's a yes that once rang in my ears for a very short time in 2010.  It's a yes that my family longs to hear so we can have a normal life. We are waiting for a yes to the question, "Am I in remission."  Yet it never seems to come.  And since it never seems to come, a different battle starts.  Rather than being a battle against cancer, it becomes more of an emotional battle.

Most of you don't know this, but I have been in one of the toughest battles I have had since my diagnosis.  It's not a physical one, but a spiritual one.  Yes, I have been in a spiritual battle.  I have been fighting the devil who is trying to get me to question God's love for me.  I have been fighting the devil who is trying to get me to ask God if He hears me anymore.  It's a battle I have not enjoyed.

This battle started with something that for most people would be a huge blessing.  We have been trying to go to Disneyland since April.  We postponed it to August because of high prices.  We then postponed it to October because of hot weather I couldn't handle.  Everything was looking great until we got a call from our travel agent.  Disney wanted to move us because of baseball playoffs.  They were going to give us an extra day, a better hotel, and cover any cost overruns.  We would go in December on our anniversary and would be able to spend New Year's Eve in Disneyland.  Like I said, for most people this would be a huge blessing.  For me, it just brought some anxiousness.

We hadn't found out what my newest cancer number was before this.  One reason I was excited about October was because I knew I would be on a treatment that was easy on my body.  Now with our trip being postponed until December, I couldn't be so confident.  Through prayer Paul felt it was the way to go. 

Then we got the call.  My number had jumped significantly, from 178 to 242.  My oncologist wanted to know if I had been experiencing any symptoms.  I hadn't noticed any aside from being a little more tired, but with school starting that made a bit more sense.  She said that numbers can jump around quite a bit on this treatment, so we would keep the course for now and see what happened.

After the phone conversation, the tears fell.  What was going on?  Last time it dropped for the first time in a long time, and now it's jumped up again?  We just changed our trip.  Are we going to make it?  Will I be able to handle all the walking, or will I have to be pushed around in a wheel chair.  Will I be able to handle the crowds?

And of course, the devil really started working.  And then I realized why I hadn't been praying for myself anymore  -- I didn't know if God would ever answer yes to my prayers.  He seems to have been saying no or wait for so long, I just started figuring it would always be that way and I could just let others do the praying for me.  Understand, I could pray for everyone else knowing that God could and would answer those prayers with a yes.  What really hit me was when I was at urgent care with one of my boys and he needed me to pray with him. It took every ounce of will that I had to believe that God would answer the prayer for my son with a yes.  That's when I knew I was in a very big spiritual battle.

I'm still in it.  God's giving me things all around to remind me.  A sermon on Romans 8:26-27

A passage or two in my daily devotions:

And of course through many prayers, messages and encouragements of others.  Yet, the warfare continues.  And even though it seems to get better each day, it's still there.

The biggest part of my battle is wondering if that yes will ever come again.  But then today, God gave me what I really needed.  It came in the way of this devotion titled When God Says No. In this devotion Chyrstal Evans Hurst talked about changing our reaction when God says no.  It sunk in a little bit, but when I read this quote from her, the Holy Spirit really opened my eyes.

Once again I was reminded, in just a different way, that God knows my entire story where I don't.  God knows how to keep me close to Him where I don't.  God know His purpose for this trial where I don't.  And just because I don't know why He is choosing to answer no right now doesn't mean there will never be a yes.  There will be a yes and it will be better than I ever imagined.

Does this mean my spiritual warfare is over?  Not by any means.  The devil is working hard to get me to keep questioning God.  Yet I know that God is the one who is going to lead me through this.  I know the Holy Spirit will keep praying for me with stronger words and more emotion than I could ever muster.  And Jesus keeps interceding for me reminding God of all He did by dying on the cross for me.  One day my yes will come.  Until that day, I trust in Him.

Friday, September 5, 2014

What is Your Cause or Passion?

Unless you have no access to the internet or have been living in the wilderness the past month, you have seen the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Friends of ALS fighter Pete Frates really got everything going and it has brought in millions of dollars for ALS research.

September is Ovarian Cancer and Childhood Cancer Awareness month.  Those who have fought or are fighting find pride in this month not because they are suffering, but because they feel like they can bring some attention and awareness to the disease they have dealt with.  The hope is that people might listen a little more closely, especially as far as the symptoms are concerned.  But even more than that during this month people feel like their voice might be heard and some more connections can be made.

I know there are many causes out there that people talk about, donate to and deal with.  Some get more attention than others, which is why every cause tries to find that hook, that angle, that way to bring more attention to their cause.  Breast cancer benefited from Susan G. Komen and the 3 Day Walk.  ALS has benefited from the Ice Bucket Challenge.  Who knows what will be next.

Because today is Wear Teal Day, it would be very easy for me to blog about everything dealing with ovarian cancer - symptoms, how to help, where to donate.  Yet while this is important to me, it's not my most important cause, and I'm here to tell you that whatever cause you support it shouldn't be your most important one either.

Long before any of us were born or even thought of, there was a cause, a disease, that infected everyone.  Everyone was infected with it, and everyone would continue to infect the world.  There would be nothing to stop it.  It wasn't the black plague, the ebola virus or AIDS.  It was sin.  Nothing could stop it.  Nothing could take away it's effects, especially the effect of death.  Yet this cause was taken up the minute it started. God took up this cause and showed us there would be a cure.

God was speaking to the devil and told him that there was no way he was going to win the war.  The devil might win a few battles here and there, but sin was not going to take away eternal life from those who believed in Him.  He promised this when there were only two people in the world.  He kept His promise. He sent His Son, Jesus, as our substitute to live a perfect life, die on the cross and rise from the dead.  The cause that none of us could cure was cured, and will always be cured.  We are going to Heaven because of that.  What an amazing blessing!!

 Anyone who has been cured of any disease, or anyone who has lost someone to a disease knows that it's not easy to just sit by and do nothing.  There is always this need to do something.   So now that our biggest cause is taken care of, what do we do? 

Here is what we do:

We tell others about how we are forgiven.  We show them through our actions that God loved us more than we can imagine, so we want to show them a little taste of God's love.  And yes, we even give our money so this amazing news that our biggest cause is taken care of can be shared everywhere we can't go.  Everyone needs to know that we are forgiven, not just for a few of our sins, but for every single one of them.  This is our biggest cause.

Yesterday a friend/ family member wrote on Facebook asking people to support us on Wear Teal Day.  She said something so beautiful, it had to be shared.

As I sit watching two football teams battle & their fans putting energy & money into their passion, I sit here thinking of a dear friend/family member and her family who have been battling ovarian cancer for what seems like forever. But I also remember that our Savior has already battled for her, for her family, for us.
 No matter what we are fighting or dealing with, we don't have to worry.  Our biggest problem needs nothing from us because it's already taken care of.  Now we can let others know what is really important -- they are forgiven.  There is no greater cause than that.