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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

School's Out

My friend Lysa is challenging bloggers to read a chapter a day with her. This week we are in Colossians. I didn’t make it to yesterday’s reading so I combined chapters one and two this morning and this is what I got:

“I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ…Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught and you will overflow with thankfulness.” Colossians 1:24 & 2:7

Honestly, most days I feel so very thankful to be me. The kindness you all have bestowed on me is very humbling. I feel like one thing the Lord is definitely doing inside me during this is to once and for all, let me know how genuinely loved I am, not only by him but by you. To be loved and accepted by my friends has always been huge in my life. I’ve felt rejected and alone for many seasons of life. Too many. I’ve believed too many lies for way too long. Too many. I’ve lived alone in a dark place for far too many nights. Too many. So, giving you all a reason to collectively tell me you love me has been a blessing. It’s been a blessing that has touched me far deeper than words can ever convey.

Also, I would tell you that the only bad thing in all of this is the cancer. Everything else we are experiencing is so good. Every day good things, no great things, happen. All.day.long. We are taking less for granted. We are appreciating each other more. We have gained perspective in an instant. When the doctor called and said, “It’s cancer, “ my life instantly changed. Things I’ve been begging God for over and over for years instantly were released. Things like patience and gentleness with the children, submission and unconditional love toward my husband and the ability to place daily stresses where they properly belong (ie not to worry or be anxious about bills, chores, etc.)

Now, the one place I am right now, today, is that I am finding it harder and harder to be “thankful” I am suffering through cancer. The longer the waiting becomes and the less likely there ever is to be an ending point to “living with cancer, “ the less joyful I’ve been in the presence of my enemy, cancer. I hate that! I want to laugh in its face, take it down with a mighty shout and faithful prayer and well, what I really want to do is live long enough to die of natural causes and shake my fist in its face!

So earlier today when I received a boost of courage I was definitely strengthened for this fight. And I realized it will take courage, lots and lots of courage (lots and lots of unfurling flags and waving banners) to radiate thankfulness in the midst of this suffering. But I also realized I am determined to find the courage to produce the thankfulness by rooting myself in Christ. The truth here is I need Jesus more than ever. I do.

My husband says something that I like so much. Whenever I tell him how proud I am of how he’s handling all of this he has a standard reply he has developed.

And let me just say that I think the stress of a cancer diagnosis and impending treatment coupled with outrageous medical expenses and insurance battles is much harder on the family of the patient. My husband is facing far greater stresses and anxieties than I think I am. I would not love being in his shoes. My parents have it far worse than I do. I can not imagine going through this with a child. Of any age. I just can't imagine being in their shoes. His shoes.

When complimented, Andrew replies, “I don’t have any choice.”

You see, this is it. This is the place in our life where what we believe intersects with what we do. We live our faith because you see, faith is a verb. You either do or you don’t.

The Message says this, “I experienced this suffering as a sheer gift…You received Jesus Christ the Master, now live him…Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving.” Colossians 1:25 & 2:7

11 comments:

Lysa TerKeurst said...

Sweet Friend...

I love, love, love your husband's response. "Faith is a verb."

Amen and amen.

I hate cancer. But I really love your outlook. Many of us are learning from you sister... and praying for you.

Ms. Understood said...

What an awesome post. I identify with everything you've said.
Praying for you.

Lisa Fitch said...

Being glad when you suffer happens because you know that it will be for God's glory. But it is okay to cry. It is also okay to yell at God and tell Him how much it sucks and you want it to just go away. He has big shoulders and feels this pain deeper than you can imagine. HE knows where you are coming from and can take the anger at the situation. Just remember to thank Him for the growth this is giving you and the opportunities that other people are getting to grow because of this nasty phase in your life. And then thank Him for loving you through the pain.

It takes faith to know that someone who loves you will not run away just because you, or they, don't like the situation. And it is okay to not like this part.

I have never met you in person but you are my sister-in-Christ and I don't like this situation either. How's that for never being alone again? Imagine how many sisters and brothers you have out there that would just as soon have this go away too! You are NOT alone. And you are loved... even through the grumpy, smelly, nasty, and any other times. (I just wish my magic wand was working! lol)

Queenmothermamaw said...

You are right Lisa. School is out. Now is the time to live with Jesus what we were taught.
QMM

Andrea said...

Love you...hugs and prayers, andrea

Sarah Soon-to-be Langhoff said...

Lisa, I love you so dearly, cancer or no cancer! You have been such a role model as a woman of God, a mother, and a wife! Thank you!

Denise said...

Amen, school is out.

Bernie said...

WOW....this is powerful....you have been taught, you have learned now it is time to go and live it.

Yes your family, your husband, in fact all those who know and love you are feeling the stresses right now but they are feeling the love they have for you even more and the faith in your healing even more again.

All will be well, always in my heart and prayers......:-) Hugs

Donna said...

Lisa,

What a great post! Thank you for always sharing your heart with us and thank you for sharing your journey with us. I have learned so much from you in your sharing. Be reminded that God is our Jehovah-Rohi, our Shepherd. As our Shepherd, He leads us, He goes before us. Continue to rest in knowing that no matter what you and your family face, He has gone before you and knows what lies ahead. Continue to be strengthened and encouraged by His hand. Know that you are in our prayers!

Gigi said...

I went through cancer (pancreatic) with my Sweet Hubby. My feeling, my response was, "HIS cancer is MY cancer." We were in the battle (and it was a battle) TOGETHER.

And oh yes...faith is most definitely a verb!

<3

Sandy at God Speaks Today said...

I simply stand amazed at your insight and perspective during this battle. You inspire me to be a better person, on all levels.

I love you!!!
Sandy