The Face of Courage


A few weeks ago a friend was diagnosed with stage four cancer. She was devastated to hear this news and became sad and depressed.

After many more tests and appointments, she began to hope that with the right treatment, perhaps it wouldn’t be as bad as it sounded.

And then the other shoe dropped. Terminal. The prognosis is a few weeks, perhaps months.

This lady picked up the pieces of what life she has left and began preparing to die. Her affairs are in order and her family, while being heartbroken, is comfortingly close and supportive.

In conversation with her, I am overwhelmed by a sense of respect, admiration, and inspiration.

Her family, friends and church family are praying earnestly for a miracle.

As she faces her second chemo treatment today, which will hopefully prolong her life beyond the prognosis, I am praying for her, and hope whoever reads this, wherever in the world, will also offer prayer for this courageous lady.

 

 

 

 

 

Do Not Be Afraid


I know of a few people who have been recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, including Alex Trebek, well known host of the TV game show, Jeopardy. This is a very frightening diagnosis and these people need our prayers. An extremely appropriate scripture appeared to me in my quiet time yesterday and I thought of all of these people. As much as it is possible for some, and to all others, happy Sunday.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified…for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV

God Took Her Soul


She was stunningly beautiful with a healthy body, luxurious hair, a quick smile, and gentle, friendly manner. She worked where I did in 2005 and was always a pleasure to be around.

Then, in 2008, cancer struck. As it so often does, it played havoc with her life. A bony body, hairless head, and quietude were the new norm. It was almost as hard on those of us who worked with her as it was on her family to see this dramatic change in such a short time.

And then she died…at the tender age of fifty years. This vibrant, vivacious young woman was no longer with us. Her bright smile and happy face were now only a memory…a haunting, lovely memory.

My only consolation was that though cancer took her beautiful hair and body, God took her soul.

 

What About Cain and Abel?


Sometimes I wish I had studied theology instead of bookkeeping. There are so many Bible stories that confuse me, like the one a friend reminded me of this morning… the biblical brothers, Cain and Abel in Genesis 4. These boys were the first fruits of Adam and Eve, their parents.

The scripture says the Lord looked with favor upon Abel but not on Cain, and this made Cain angry; angry enough to kill his brother. It was the first murder ever committed on earth.

My friend posed the question, “If God looked with favor upon Abel, why did God let Cain kill him?”

My question is, if God looks upon us with favor…and we’re told he does…why does he allow bad things to happen to good people?

We have a dear friend and church member whose cancer is spreading even though we took the advice of James 5:14 and had the elders pray over her and anoint her with oil. Instead of getting better, her condition deteriorated to the point where the cancer has reached her brain.

“The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” Psalms 119:130

I am a simple person, Lord, and need understanding of James 5:14; and while you are at it, what about Cain and Abel?

The Double Rainbow


My best friend and her sister had never lived apart in their lives except for a brief period when one of them was first married. Their lives were intertwined through childhood, early adulthood, middle years and elder age.

Tanya died first in 2008 after a battle with lung cancer. She was seventy-one years old, and her passing had left her sister alone for the first time in her life.

In 2014 Virginia, in her seventy-fifth year, succumbed to life-threatening injuries after being struck by a bus one sunny September morning.

The “ladies”, as they were lovingly referred to by family and friends, were together once again as the urns containing their ashes sat side by side in the final home they had shared, awaiting an appropriate burial location to be mutually decided upon by the family.

It seems that whenever a rainbow was sighted after the ladies had left earth, it was a promising reminder that they were united again, because the rainbow is a sign of promise.

Their memorial was held just last week and they were interred together in their final resting place. It drizzled rain during the committal but when it was time to honor their lives with celebration, a beautiful double rainbow appeared in the heavens over the site.

What a wonderful sign of promise that my best friend and her sister will never be apart again.

 

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I Can’t Take It Anymore!


The fourth prayer in Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To is, “God, Get Me Through This Suffering.” Here is an excerpt from this chapter, I Can’t Take It Anymore:

Now, there are many kinds of suffering we have to get through in this world. Some suffering is big and some suffering is small. But every kind can be tortuous in its own way–from toothaches to kidney stones; from migraine headaches to bouts of depression; from frustration at work to anxiety at home; from the sad, deteriorating death of the elderly to the sudden, shocking death of the young; from the grief that every son goes through when his mother dies to the unspeakable agony of two parents mourning the loss of their child. God says yes to all who come to him for help and comfort when they are in the midst of such trials. Notice I did not say that he promises to stop the suffering, or prevent if from happening in the first place, or alleviate it in any way. This may be one of the biggest stumbling blocks to faith, but we have to face it, head-on: God allows a lot of terrible things to happen.

It has been my experience that crying out to God in the midst of hurt and suffering, (especially childbirth!) that strength and peace are the almost immediate relief. However, having said that, most of my suffering comes from watching the suffering of others. When I see people bearing unbearable pain, enduring endless rounds of chemotherapy and radiation before surgery can be performed, being housebound due to physical conditions beyond their control, or hear the dastardly news of someone being beheaded because of another’s beliefs…my cry is then, “God, get them through their suffering!” Does he say yes to these prayers also? I do hope so!

Tomorrow: Am I A Terrible Person?…God Forgive Me

His Name is Jason


“His name is Jason. He is fifteen years old and has been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.”

This came through our prayer chain last night.

He is someone’s son, grandson, brother, nephew, friend…someone who needs our prayers. Jason.

I don’t know this boy, nor do most of you, but I do know that most of the people I do know, and the many bloggers I have met in the past few months are empathetic, compassionate, praying people.

His name is Jason. Please pray for him.

Thank you for reading and caring. Thank you for praying. His name is Jason.

 

 

What Would You Say?


This will be a series of short posts tying in with everyday life.

A guest Pastor at our church, on Sunday, asked this interesting question. He was relating the story of how blind Bartimaeus received his sight in Mark 10:46.

Rev. Livingstone then asked us this question, “If Jesus asked you ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ (verse 51), what would your answer be?”

A question well worth pondering, would you say?

My immediate answer was, “Please heal my friend of her cancer.”

What would you say?

 

Who Am I to Cry?


It is so easy to throw a pity party…just invite me, myself, and I, a few bad memories, a couple of hurtful comments, a large box of super soft tissues for the tears and you’re off to the doldrums!

And then some uninvited guests show up. People who actually care about you; who are ready to cry with you, if needed, but more importantly, are there to let you know you’re not alone in sadness.

One such guest showed up this morning, online, and shared with me the story of her cousins who were momentarily about to lose their precious seven-year-old son to cancer. This dear little boy is losing, or has lost, as I write, his battle with that demon disease. I’m crying for this friend and her cousins.

A similar story came my way a couple of years ago, via another friend who witnessed almost the exact same scenario with friends of hers and their seven year old grandson.

A fellow blogger reminded me of the story she posted of her mother succumbing to cancer’s clutches, and the crushing feeling of helplessness she experienced at that time.

And then there was Kristiana, a dear little member of our church, whose face I can see to this day, who also left her family and friends in a state of sadness for her loss, but also a state of happiness for Christ’s gain. She was thirteen and had fought her battle for nine years.

 

And so I’m reminded, although we don’t expect to be hurt by the ones we love, it happens: whether by death-which is out of our hands-or unkind remarks, which are also out of our hands, we are, if we are caring people, going to be hurt. Guaranteed. It goes without saying, if we don’t care we won’t hurt.

As always, God has a way of catching me off-guard and causing me to smile through my tears. It happened at nine o’clock this morning, when the child in me began to sing “Jesus loves me, this I know…” and that’s all I needed to know. Everything else is secondary.

So, who am I to cry? Just another person who bleeds when cut, and thankful for those who come by with bandages.

May God bless all those who stand by with those boxes of tissues. I love you.

 

 

 

Dying to Live


A dear friend told me yesterday that her oncologist and other doctors have told her “there’s nothing more we can do for you.” And so sent her home to die. She is a beautiful, vibrant woman between middle age and the “golden years”, and in my opinion, too young to have that prognosis.

And so I began to think about this thing called death: how it comes to every single one of us. No one can escape life without experiencing it, and no one can do anything about it. It is our final act of living. What comes afterwards depends totally on what we believe. I choose to believe that although it is our final act on earth, it is not our final act. The curtain may come down, but is drawn up again–for the encore, if you will. (John 3:16) And to me that is super exciting and worth a round of applause.

What we can do something about is the way we live our lives before the final curtain.

Is there some good we can do? Let’s do it.

Is there some habit to break? Let’s break it.

Is there some wrong we have done? Let’s right it.

Is there animosity to be dealt with? Let’s deal with it.

Is jealousy hurting relationships? Let’s trade it for trust.

Is selfishness a problem? Let’s give until it hurts.

Is a dark mood plaguing our happiness? Let’s try to work through it.

Is someone being hurt by our behaviour? Let’s change our behaviour.

Is our life reflecting true love? Let’s make sure it does.

In all life we should try to remember what is commonly known as “the golden rule”:  So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you…Matthew 7:12. (KJV ) It is so important to remember this.

There are those of us who will do some soul searching, and those who won’t. How will you pave your road to death, and your path to Heaven?

To get back to my friend, she is in fact, dying with dignity, yet still searching for life through alternative ways to kill the cancer that is killing her.

She has discovered the truth of true friendship through the generosity of those who care so much about her, that they are doing everything to help her really live her life to the end.

She is one of the bravest women I know: while facing her own mortality, she is thinking of others, and laying the groundwork for their wellbeing after she is gone.

I’m hoping she will tell her own story on my blog in a few days, if she’s up to it, but in the meantime, may I ask for world-wide prayers for this dear soul who is dying to live?