Something to hold on to...

"Today I am one day nearer home than ever before. One day nearer the dawning when the fog will lift, mysteries clear, and all question marks straighten up into exclamation points!
 I shall see the King!"     Vance Havner

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Amazing Weekend and Deep Thoughts

*** I hope you make it to the bottom of this post***

This was an amazing and refreshing weekend. It is so fun to go on vacation with 30 of your close friends! We traveled about 3 hours away for husband to participate in a Christian softball tournament. The team we went with this year is a mix of oldies (literally) and some young guns. As far as the tournament goes, I have no idea of where we placed. We won the first two games, then lost 2 in a row. That was it for us, as it is a double elimination tournament. After the first two games, we all enjoyed a picnic under a tree, which we all brought something and pooled it together. Later that evening we practically filled a restaurant, then we had church.

Let me tell you, my favorite thing about the weekend is really not softball. To be honest, half of the players would tell you the same thing. It is so much more than that. Our simple church service was probably one of the best we have all year. Something about a small group of friends joined in worship is really special. We all sat in our "bag" chairs, on the lawn of the hotel, and began by singing a couple of worship songs led by one of the guys on the team. The mood was immediately set to become real before God. Instead of a "sermon" one of the guys said that after the singing we would just open it up for anyone to speak whatever is on our minds. Another one of our guys got up immediately and posed a simple question, which he then gave his own answer . "How are you spiritually, how is your walk?" He was very open and honest with his own answer, and let us know that he was not where he should be. Then the first guy talked and after answering for himself, he turned the question directly to me. I knew already that I had to talk, because I had that jumpy, nervous feeling, where if you don't talk you will explode. I decided to stand and face everyone. Most of them knew that I have been diagnosed with cancer, not everyone knew that the summer began with me having a heart attack. I had to give a rundown on the summer and then get to the heart of the question.

How am I spiritually? I am still processing that one. I think that when my spiritual world and my physical world collided earlier this summer it definitely forced me to become more dependent on God. I know in a profound way that this life can be short, and that our very next breath is a gift from God. I pray more. Not only desperation prayers, but prayers of thanksgiving and many prayers of praise. Not only am I praying more, I am listening. That is probably one of the single, most important changes in my spiritual life. I am more in tune with what God is telling me than ever before. I never want that to change.

After I spoke, two of the guys spoke, and it was quite humbling. They very openly and honestly expressed that they were not at all where they wanted to be spiritually and that they desperately wanted to get their lives back on track and to put God where He needs to be . Their brokenness was beautiful because you could see their hearts. I thought later how I am in reality better off right now than many people in the world. I am physically sick. Spiritually I am getting stronger. As much as I do not like cancer, I do not EVER want to become spiritually sick.

Another thing has me thinking tonight. It was brought to my attention that I should not be using the phrase, "my cancer" because by saying that phrase I am taking ownership of "this thing".

Hmmm.

I have given that a lot of thought. I do not know the person who said that, it was reported to me by my sister-in-law. I do know though from her that the person who said it is a very sweet person and a mighty prayer warrior. I know her intentions are the best. I feel though that I might very well continue to phrase it that way, or perhaps I will not. I personally do not fear saying it. I know that the Apostle Paul spoke of his "thorn in the flesh" and in fact claimed ownership of whatever it was that troubled him. I know that Jesus mentioned "this cup" when He truly did not want to experience what God has planned for Him. I feel that by claiming it I am not approving of it, I am not really accepting it as anything I desire. I am simply accepting the fact that it is what it is, I KNOW that God can still change it if He chooses, I KNOW that this is not from God. This is from the world. I do not now, or will ever believe that God "gives" people cancer. I believe He allows us to walk through these trials, that He is right here with me, and that He will cause good to come from it. He did not however cause it.

There are many things in this life that we accept. Including the grace, love, mercy, and healing that God provides. I KNOW that God is bigger than "this thing".

Nicole Johnson from Women of Faith has put into words, and in a very dramatic way, what I have been feeling lately. She does a routine which is really about breast cancer, but the phrase she proclaims at the end sums up my feelings exactly.

"I have cancer, but cancer does not have me!"

1 comment:

3 boys and a girl said...

I think, at times, I feel as though MS DOES have me. But it only has me when I allow it to crawl in to the dark places in my brain...and it tries desperately to take over. It is then that I smack myself around and take claim of my brain again and realize the ONLY thing that should ever have a "HOLD" on me is Christ. Sometimes an illness DOES bring you closer to Christ...when you are knocked flat on your back, it's hard not to look up. I don't worry about my MS. I don't worry about calling it mine. It IS mine to deal with. But it ISN'T me. There are times I thank God for having it - it DOES keep me humble and thankful for the littlest of things. Do I wish I didn't have it? Well, yes. But, I am thankful for the insight and empathy that I wouldn't have had I never had MS. Funny thing is (or maybe NOT so funny) is that I remember consoling myself (and my mother) when I finally did get daignosed by telling her, "Well, mom...at least it isn't cancer..." Cancer is like the cussword of illnesses. NO one likes it. It sets people's teeth on edge. And I wish you didn't have it. But I thank God for the insight and tenderness He is giving you through it...
I am glad you had a wonderful weekend with wonderful friends. You and Steve BOTH needed it.