(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