Thursday, October 13, 2011

Blessings in the Raindrops (Part 1)

I've been thinking lately that I should write "my story" down somewhere. So, this is my attempt to share some of the things the Lord has done on my life journey. I hope and pray you are encouraged by them and that it spurs you towards the heart of our great God!! :)

"You have cancer."

Those were the words that came out of my dad's mouth on March 4, 2003, as tears strewn down his face. I can't imagine that was easy for him- in fact I know it wasn't. Now that I'm a parent, I can't even fathom being in my parent's shoes and having to watch, in horror, as my child suffered through a horrible and possibly terminal disease. I now know that it was harder on them than I ever realized.

About 3 weeks before, I had noticed a "knot" on the front side of my right shoulder. Now I didn't really think anything of it, mainly because of the fact that I have a tendency to be clumsy. I had previously injured that same shoulder about a half a dozen times before. I hadn't remember hurting it lately, but I literally thought to myself,

 "Great...I've gotten to the point where I don't even KNOW I've hurt it. How much more accident-prone can I get?!?"

So because I thought it was nothing, I did what most teenagers would do. I ignored it. Heaven forbid it should interfere with my social agenda! The following week I left to go on our youth group's annual ski winter retreat. I had a blast and really felt rejuvenated and even higher on my mountaintop with God! Life was so good! I got home and the next morning came out of the shower, puzzled. The knot had grown--- significantly. My friends had even noticed it protruding through my shirt over the weekend. So I finally decided that maybe I should mention it to my parents. That was the beginning of the whirlwind that consumed my life for the next 3 months.

My parents thought we should consult the doctor, so off we went to see our family practitioner. With sparing a lot of details, we finally ended up at a surgeon's office, who happened to be a family friend. He wasn't sure what it was either. He ordered more tests and said we would go from there. I will never forget the day I went in for the ultrasound. They scanned both shoulders. The left shoulder showed bright healthy muscle tissue and looked normal. But when the tech began to look at my right shoulder, all we could see was black. My heart sank to the pit of my stomach and I almost became ill. Even though the tech said nothing, I knew in my heart that this was more than a simple injury. This was going to be bad--- really bad. I ended up in surgery a few days later thinking and hoping that this would all be over soon and I could get back to life as usual.

Boy, was I wrong.

I came out of surgery late that night, so my parents thought it best that I not have visitors until the next day. I remember waking up the next morning and hearing the nurse having a conversation with my dad outside of my room.

"Have you told her yet?"

"(Sigh) No...I'm going to now."

My dad came into my room, pulled a chair up next to my bed, and sat down. As he grabbed my hand, I could feel the heaviness of his heart as if it were the walls of the room caving in under pressure. His shoulders slumped and then the tears began to fall. But as sorrow seemed to consume him, peace was washing over me. It was the strangest calm that I had ever had.

" have cancer."

BAM. Those words should have shook me to the core. I should have been beside myself with grief! No one would have blamed me. In fact, I know that my dad was expecting me to react that way. He was probably bracing himself for the floodgates to open and the "WHY ME?!?" to be thrown in his face. But the peace took over and all I said was...

"Its ok Dad. I know."

Now, my parents had purposely kept visitors from seeing me until they were able to talk to me (even though 2 of my friends snuck up the night before- but hadn't said anything). So you can imagine the shock that came over my dad when I said that. He began to get a bit frustrated and angry that someone had "slipped". But I reassured him that no such thing had happened. I couldn't explain how I knew. I just did. Well, I didn't know I had cancer. I just knew that it was going to be big and bad. I even surprised myself. I kept waiting for the reality of it all to sink in, but it never did really- at least not then.

I took on the attitude of, "how do we beat this?". And I rolled up my sleeves and prepared to wage war on cancer. Little did I know, at that time, what a war it would be.

I'm going to be writing this in pieces for several reasons. First of all, this is a bit emotional for me at times. I don't often think about the journey from the beginning. I've been so consumed with the daily journey, that some of this has fallen in the cobwebs of my memory. I'm excited though, to be able to share what God has done in my life with you all. Its been quite a journey! Plus, it has been a long journey. Too much for me to write in one setting! And finally, I really want the Lord to be glorified in this. So I want Him to be writing this. Not me. Thanks for reliving this with me!

Monday, October 3, 2011

No Matter What

I'm currently listening to the song "No Matter What" by Kerrie Roberts. I love this song! (Again with my love of music:)) It talks about loving God "no matter what". This song is especially meaningful to me today because I have my next CT scan and visit with the doc on Wednesday. I always tend to get a little anxious during the days before my scans. It's not that I fear another hiccup in the road, its always the not knowing that makes my anxiety go nuts sometimes! But this time, I'm trying to shift my focus onto the one who makes all things new. Because, in Him I trust. In Him my hope is renewed every morning. In Him, I place my life and I know that I am safe in my creator's arms- no matter what.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


This past weekend, I had the awesome privilege to attend the Women of Faith conference "Imagine", in Milwaukee, WI. "Wow" is all I can say! What an incredible weekend filled with laughter, tears of joy, tears of sorrow, great friends, and incredible worship at the throne of our Almighty God!! I wanted to highlight a few things that really spoke to me. First of all, I am a music lover! I always have been and always will be. I love that the Lord created music! It is the best way, for me, to really feel close to the Almighty. There are certain songs that really bring that home for me too. One of those is "Worthy is the Lamb". As we were singing together, in a room filled with 7,500 women, it hit me that this was a tiny glimpse of how incredible it will be to worship our God all together in heaven- with Him literally so close we can touch the hem of his garment. What an INCREDIBLE day that will be!! I got goosebumps as we all sang that song and as the power of the words struck me.
"Worth is the lamb who was slain. Holy Holy is he. Sing a new Him who sits on heaven's mercy seat. Holy holy holy, is the Lord God Almighty- who was and is and is to come. With all creation I sing, praise to the King of Kings. You are my everything and I will adore you."
I've sang that song many times before. But what struck me for the first time, was the line "...with all creation I sing praise to the King of Kings...". With ALL creation! How awesome will that be to be praising our great God with ALL creation?!? I love the passage in Luke where Jesus says that the rocks will cry out in praise if we didn't!

"Right at the crest, where Mount Olives begins its descent, the whole crowd of disciples burst into enthusiastic praise over all the mighty works they had witnessed:

   Blessed is he who comes,
      the king in God's name!
   All's well in heaven!
      Glory in the high places!

 39Some Pharisees from the crowd told him, "Teacher, get your disciples under control!"
 40But he said, "If they kept quiet, the stones would do it for them, shouting praise." Luke 19:38-40 (The Message)

Can you imagine worshiping God with the rocks?? I certainly can't. But I do know that it would be incredible! That song literally brought me to the feet of Jesus yesterday! I would've fell to my knees in worship if I could have. (Being in stadium seating and cramped quarters made it a little difficult! Ha!) I was so moved that I had tears of joy streaming down my face. I love it when God reaches down and allows us to really feel him, if even for a brief moment. What an incredible glimpse into eternity that was for me! It was a great reminder of what is to come- when all creation will worship the Creator together! Holy holy holy IS the Lord God Almighty!!