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Monday, March 22, 2010

Little Pink Blessings: Part 4

(To visit other gals' safari adventures, click on the photo and to read parts 1-3 of Little Pink Blessings, click on the title of this post.)

This Daniel post is special. You see, we had two weeks to Safari through Daniel chapter 9. I have been toying with chapter 9 this whole time but it wasn’t until late last night that I really got the chance to dig deep. And boy, oh boy, was I in for a treat!

A verse that has especially ministered to me on this cancer journey is Jeremiah 17:14, “O Lord, if you heal me, I will be truly healed. If you save me, I will be truly saved. My praises are for you alone.” NLT

I had good friend give me a James Avery charm with this verse on it to add to my believe bracelet so I could be reminded of this promise everyday. You see, God showed me early on that my healing is a deeply personal thing. He showed me that it is ultimately between him and me. This verse reminds me of that and I love this visual reminder of it.

Upon hearing of my cancer diagnosis, there were a few well-meaning people who suggested that my cancer might be connected to some unforgiveness or bitterness issue in my heart. You see, some research has linked cancer to an increase in the stress hormone in our bodies for an extended period of high stress in the two years prior to being diagnosed with cancer. These insinuations actually infuriated me. I absolutely did not need the guilt of causing my own cancer on my shoulders on top of everything else! But, I would calmly tell them I’d consider it before the Lord and, I did. I have learned that pride can be my biggest hindrance to knowing God more intimately. And so I sought him on this.

I begged the Lord to show me if there was anything in my heart, anyone I needed to forgive, any thing to bring me closer to Him. I will do it to walk closer with the Lord. I will do it to heal my body.

After hours of prayer and self-examination, I got nothing.

You see, this diagnosis of cancer has had me baffled. About this time last year, I decided I needed to get serious about my body. I want to hit 40 healthy. I began to restrict my diet in a good way. I exchanged my existence on coffee, Diet Coke and Advil for that of fresh foods, organic when possible, no caffeine and a drastic reduction of sweets. I began to really train physically instead of just going through the motions of exercise. I started training for a marathon just to prove I could do it. In the process, I lost the excess 30 pounds I had been hanging onto since baby #4 arrived three years earlier. I was feeling better than I had in the last ten years and I was excited about it. I was not expecting cancer. I felt very healthy but my body was saying otherwise.

Nine months prior to my cancer diagnosis, I was soaring spiritually but crashing physically. I was tired all the time. I was burdened with the responsibilities in my life that were overwhelming me. I was learning that to those given much, much would be required and I was desperately asking the Lord to help my weak body submit to his strong Spirit.

I was trying to give much well but felt I was failing. All the hours in the day, literally, were not enough to drive children, do homework, fix nutritious meals, keep the house running smoothly, have a good workout regimen, spend time individually with all the folks in my home, volunteer, teach Bible study, write and soak in God’s word, grocery shop, do laundry, work for my husband and you get the idea. So, in exasperation, I decided that I would trim my schedule back to the very bare minimums. I had already given up activities that took away from productivity in my life like TV, long workouts and even household duties that weren’t as necessary. I gave up even more sleep at this point. I was totally maxed.

Let me clarify, any and all stress I was feeling was put on myself by myself. I spent a lot of time looking at the way others interpreted God’s commands and felt frustrated when my life didn’t “measure up.” In an effort to become more godly and more disciplined, I tried even harder thus harming my physical body which is why, upon doctor’s orders, I decided to change my lifestyle last year. In addition to the dietary and exercise changes, I gave up most volunteering and even serving at church to better serve at home while still finding time to care of my body. Maybe the damage was already done. I don’t know.

As I read Daniel’s story of repentance, I immediately thought of some verses in Jeremiah 17, verses that were the main text of the retreat I went to two weeks ago. I loved these verses but didn’t see the connection to healing until now. Last night I saw how I, like Daniel’s peers need repentance. I had been depending on myself way too much.

“Cursed is the strong one who depends on mere humans, who thinks he can make it on muscle alone…But blessed is…the woman who sticks with God…I get to the root of things. I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be…God, pick up the pieces. Put me back together again. You are my praise.” Jeremiah 17:5,7,10 & 14 The Message

As I read God’s word, I gave myself permission to forgive me. I finally can admit that I can’t be the perfect wife/ mom/ homemaker/ daughter/ friend/ writer/ speaker/ realtor/ fill-in-the-blank type person.

My life may not look like hers or yours of theirs but it looks like mine and it is His. And He has confirmed that with his great love.

I, (Lisa), was meditating on the Scriptures…I turned to Master God, asking for an answer—praying earnestly…I poured out my heart, baring my soul to God, my God…While pouring out my heart, baring my sins…praying my life out before my God…(the Holy Spirit) approached me….and said…”You are much loved!” Daniel 9:2-3, 20 & 23 Lisa's version


Gretchen said...

Oh, Girl...look at the freedom you just found. Wonderful! Sometimes when I'm trying to "be" that "perfect Proverbs 31 woman", I have to scold myself and remember that her success came from her relationship with God. She wasn't comparing herself to others, nor was she concerned about serving anyone except for those whom she served with God's direction. Lurve this post. Great food for meditative thought.

care-in said...

"My life may not look like hers or yours or theirs but it looks like mine and it is His."

I realized that when it came to my teaching now if I can just realize that in my daily life.

Melanie said...

Hi sweet Lisa,
We had some of the same messages "told" to us when Andrew was dx with cancer.
We searched our hearts, too, and very guardedly talked with him. NOTHING.

I am praying total healing for you. I am praying for your family.

Bernie said...

Lisa I was told that stress could be a cause of cancer......now I don't know about you but I don't know of anyone who doesn't have stress at some time in their life yet I know many people who don't have cancer, to me this is a very thoughtless remark.
None of us are perfect nor will be, just be honest to yourself and faithful to God and his word, he will see that all will be well for you and your family, I truly believe this.....:-) Hugs

Anita said...

I've heard the supposed biblical "interpretations" of why we are attacked by illness. I'm not a biblical scholar, but it never felt right to me, for example, to ask a woman if her miscarriages are caused by an un-Godly stress or unforgiveness.
But maybe when we hear these things, upsetting as it is, we speak to God about it - deeply - and He, wonderfully, speaks back...as in your case. :)

Joy Christine said...

My heart is full of joy for you. What more can I say. God speaks in such wonderful ways and will continue to do miracles in your life! I'm seeing it and know it!
Love you!Joy

Deborah said...

Dear Lisa, your post just gave my goose bumps. You know Penny thought that the stresses of her life brought on her cancer also. It did not. It was just bad cells in her case. That is all it is. Now she is worried about her daughters getting it because the HPV virus causes her type of cancer. Crazy. But you did nothing to deserve this. I am so glad the Holy Spirit spoke to you. God does love you.

sonja said...

One more time I'm reminded of what my mom used to say... "God is much kinder than His people sometimes are"... but good for you, for putting it before Him when those comments and 'suggestions' came! Lisa, all that is going on with you God has always known was coming, and HE is going to continue to guide you through, just exactly as He has to this point! YOU GO GIRL!!! Keep trusting... He loves it!

Hugs to such a special frined!


Denise said...

God bless you mightly my sister.

Cherie Hill said...

Sister...you need only to refer to John 9:1-7
As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him."

You are bringing God great glory through your faith on display for all the world to see. He's transforming your life into a story for His glory. Though we might be tempted to just end with Jesus' words...we can't overlook the verses that followed his answer...they tell us that Jesus healed the blind man!!!!!!!!
I'm believing God for your healing as well. When all hope is gone...there is faith. When we think it's "the end.." it is only "the beginning" in the hands of God.
Love, hugs, and prayers,

Patrina said...

Amen! Lisa. I love your 'voice'.

Patrina <")>><

Michele said...

I do not believe for one moment that your cancer is from something you did or did not do, nor do I believe that it is from God, though I KNOW He will work amazing things through it. I am so sorry for the words of those who have hurt you, however well intentioned they thought they were. Sometimes in our faulty humanness and desire to say SOMETHING, we open our mouths and say the wrong thing. May today bring you many blessings! Lifting you in prayer in WY!

Tiffani said...

I just don't know what I'm gonna do when this study is over...I am so encouraged by my Safari Sisters each week.

Thank you for sharing this Lisa..you encourage me and challenge me with your words.

I am praying for you, sweet girl.

Jen said...

Perfect. I love this Lisa. Honestly it speaks volumes to me, and I'd reckon to a lot of other women as well.
Love you, and continuing to pray for you and with you. xoxoxo

His Girl said...

I'm about ready to CHOP the next person who tries to tell you anything close to what sounds like this cancer was your fault.

I.will.chop. them.
this post is really a great reminder/eyeopener for me.

loooving having you on this ride. loooving it.

Shanda said...

There is so much in this post that resonates within me - as is the case with most of your posts...

People said similar things to my mom when she was diagnosed with cancer. None of us are perfect people; it always surprised me that they felt her possible sins would be worthy of cancer and theirs weren't? Then there were those that told her if she just "had enough faith..." God would heal her. Oh the joy that those comments robbed during those last couple of years of life she lived. I watched her struggle through resting in Him and striving to win God's favor through her faith in her vulnerable times.

I so agree with Cherie's comments. He has and continues to be glorified through all of this. "You are much loved."

Standing in prayer with you. Much love.

MyShilohRanch said...

Oh my dear Lisa, you have only to look at Job's naysayers to see the fallacy of their misguided suggestions!

Satan used Job's friends (even his wife!) to try to discourage him and get him to deny God! His very own loving spouse suggested, "why don't you just curse God and die? Can you imagine?! Pitiful.

Satan does NOT want you to see HOW Christ gets the VICTORY! He even admitted he was seeking whom he could devour ... when God suggested Job. However, he was NOT allowed to take Job's life!

Perhaps, just perhaps, God MIGHT have said, "Have you considered My servant Lisa?"

Cherie is exactly, perfectly correct on all points!

Our GOD reigns, He knows the end from the beginning ... and He has VERY SPECIAL plans for His sweet servant girl! Plans for a future and a hope ... for good and not for evil ...

We all love you, but He loves you MOST! Our grace-full, merciful, POWERFUL God!