Thursday, July 30, 2009

Double edged sword


On the one hand I am so glad to be able to not have cancer be what molds my life, on the other hand maybe it is supposed to- maybe I'm not letting it take over enough.
On the one hand I am so glad that it seems I am getting the study drug, on the other hand I want to complain about the side effects.
On the one hand I am so glad Abbi and Austin are back from camp, on the other hand- well man it was quiet.
On the one hand money is the root of all evil, on the other hand it gives opportunity for so many fun things to do.
On the one hand going on a make a wish trip sounds so great, on the other hand how can I even give it a thought when there are so many sick kids- I'm not sick.
On the one hand the gardens are beautiful, on the other hand they take so much work I am not sure they are worth it.
On the one hand I am eating better, on the other hand I'm not.
On the one hand I feel like I used to feel before cancer, on the other hand there is no more before.
On the one hand I really love how easy my hair is, on the other hand my curly hair was really easy, too.
On the one hand I want to continue to be strong and accepting of all the new things cancer has forced on me, on the other hand I want to swear and scream.
On the one hand I am so proud and excited for my friends who are doing the triathalon, on the other hand I feel incompetent- although I cannot run.
On the one hand I really want to go to Lifetime, on the other hand I just don't have time.
On the one hand I love babysitting, on the other hand- well I still love babysitting.
On the one hand I really love God, on the other hand I just cannot understand the pain and suffering of sick children.
On the one hand I loved being a teacher, on the other hand I love staying home.
On the one hand marriage is really great, on the other hand it is only great because of really hard work.
On the one hand I am healthy, on the other hand I never will be again.
On the one hand I am really happy and full of life and energy, on the other hand fear creeps in and robs my joy.
On the one hand I hate garage sales, on the other hand I love a garage you can put a car into.
On the one hand I love making new friendships and watching them grow, on the other hand good bye is just to hard.
On the one hand I love to laugh, on the other I think I'm getting too sassy and brash.
On the one hand family is sweet, on the other hand family is complicated.
On the one hand I didn't do anything wrong, on the other hand someone thinks I did.
On the one hand I love writing, on the other hand it feels imposed.
On the one hand I want to publish this, on the other hand it feels egotistical.
On the one hand I want to tell my God story, on the other hand I don't understand how anyone who didn't know me or go thru this with me could understand what these posts mean.
On the one hand there is always another....

Saturday, July 18, 2009

CIY a synopsis of each day

Take this life, make me take Your life
Take my time here on this earth and let it glorify all You are
I am nothing without you.
All my soul needs is all your love to cover me
There is nowhere I would rather be
than with you for all to see
You are all my soul needs
I am nothing without you.
No matter what path he has us on
No matter what paths we’ve chosen
Whether a wrong choice that becomes
an open gate to the forgiveness of God
Or an uncontrollable circumstance that becomes
an open gate to the heart of whom we are
We are HIS
He rules our paths, whether chosen or given
Whether wanted or despised
He knows the reason, He made the season
To prove to you that He is love
He is forgiveness
He is grace
He is all sufficient
He is our Savior
He is I am
I am HIS
Therefore He is mine
Open Gates
Open gates lead us to many different areas of our hearts. Some have to be explored because of our circumstance. Sometimes we are pushed into that position of having to figure out how God plays a role in the middle of our pain. Some pain is easy to identify, but some is not. Some areas of our hearts are easy to see, easy to understand, but many are not. When we are forced to look we are sometimes shocked at the truth we have let grow within us. Truth that is not. Truth that is a lie.
The truth is that we are loved and are to love no matter what. Doesn’t matter about the color of skin, doesn’t matter about our wealth. It doesn’t matter if we are a doctor or a hot dog vendor, God loves us all the same. We spend so much time comparing ourselves, lifting ourselves above others. And oh how much time we spend looking up to others. Others do have a place in our lives of course, but others will ALWAYS let you down. And that let down often is the reason so many of our hearts become filled with lies. The lies are that we are worthless, too bubbly, too serious, ineffective, ugly, have bad hair, our feet are ugly, our clothes are all wrong, we wear too much or too little makeup, our shoes are wrong. How about our clothes- my goodness the drama of not having Aeropostale or Holister or American eagle clothing. Heaven forbid we buy almost everything off of the sale rack at Kohls with the 15% off coupon. The games we play as teens. Do you really care if someone has a great shirt? Do you look at someone and say yeah, I can hang with them since they have…. Or how about this- man they are having so much fun dancing/jumping, but I feel foolish doing it. I have a hard time believing that from you. I’ve watched you , and I think that so much of who we dress to impress is really about us wanting to be accepted by others, not the other way around.
Now that is a heavy open gate. There are so many more. Illness causes a flood of gates to open- the ones where you question the validity of your life. You question the reason for the journey. You worry constantly, to the point of anxiousness and isolation. But there is so much more. As a bald person I noticed that people could not look me in the eyes when I felt good enough to go to the grocery store. You see, life doesn’t stop just because it sucks. In fact in continues on while it sucks. You either go with it and figure it out on the way, or you stay locked in a cave that only has room for one. One is not enough for me. I made a conscious, purposeful effort and decision to do what God led me to do. My job was to take those who wanted to come on the cancer journey with me. I wasn’t sure how to do that. Turned out it was thru writing, or posting. I wrote about my battle with cancer, my battle with fear, my battle with fear of dying, not from the standpoint of dying really as it was of leaving my children and husband. I wrote about each and every stinkin test, what they meant, what my prognosis was/is. Some gates are very scary to go thru.
But gates do not lead to a one way street. They lead to a divided highway. On one side you have the way to stay in the flesh. Continuously returning to the fear, anxiety, behavior, lust, doubt, disbelief, ego as the focus. On the other side, a light that leads you toward an end to it all- or at least the process of ending the fear, anxiety, behavior, lust, doubt, and ego and focusing on the only way to get past them. Trusting in the sufficiency of Gods grace and mercy. Trusting that he is true to his promises. Trusting in his ability to give the physical and emotional strength necessary to get thru. And with Him we will get thru. Thru does not mean an easy path, thru means knowing He is in control and with that your ability to let go and let God.
What God has begun in you he will see to completion. What completion looks like is different for each and every one of us and each and every one of our circumstances, but thru he will get you, if only you will let him thru, thru to control the gateway to your heart.
Jesus Key
There are many keys we can use to get us on different paths
So many to choose from it’s a wonder we can ever make a good choice.
But we have learned that God will get what he is after from you and your life.
We can either make it easy or difficult for Him to achieve.
We love to learn the difficult way for some reason. We continue to sin, we continue to behave or dress in a way not to uplifting to God. We continue because changing is so difficult.. We are drawn into the things that are easy, and being a sinner is so much easier than trying to change and to become more Christ like.
Freedom comes at a high price- the price of spilled blood, the price of a crucified savior. There is a light that only comes on the opposite side of obedience. A perfect lamb became the perfect lamb who became our perfect lamb, Jesus. That light is the blood of Jesus, a perfect sacrifice, the perfect sacrifice, our perfect sacrifice.
The keys to this life get us nowhere fast. But there is one key that can open up every door we want or need open. It’s the Jesus key, and we have unlimited use of it. When sin surrounds us, and it will, we can use that key to open a different gate. When sin surrounds us and we choose to accept it, to taste the sweetness of a moment on the wild side we must always remember to repent, confess so you have some accountability, and return to the Jesus key to set us free. There is NOTHING that we can do that takes away the privileged of that key except to choose to not believe.
Once we use the key, we begin the process. We must complete the process in order to claim our victory. And some issues take a lot of practice in following the process that leads to freedom. But we cannot forget that the process is messy. If you want to have the blood of Christ be your salvation, your forgiveness, then you will need to get messy. Nothing worth fixing is easy to do. Nothing worth doing is easy. Having children is not an easy process. It is humiliating in some respects and down right painful. But we know the process is worth it all because of that little child that has just come into this world. We would do anything for our children even before they are born.
We must cross the threshold of the Passover doorway. We must take on that blood of the lamb, the blood of our lamb, Jesus Christ in order to begin the process. Not all change is good, but all change is messy. If it a change for God, then it will be even messier. So put on your play clothes and go out and get really messy with your stuff. Name it, throw it, stomp on it, scream and yell at it and then be rid of it. When it creeps back in to try to take you thru that wrong gate- name it again and walk away. It does get easier each time you take it down. Persistence and patience are the key to letting God mess with your stuff. He is stronger than lust, addictions, anger, mediocrity, abuse, lies, that one mistake,
There are many keys to living, but only ONE key to LIFE- THE JESUS KEY.
Crossing
James’ shirt summed it up for me today. It said “I’m with stupid” and the arrow pointed to himself. An irony at its finest as we learned that God is the smart one. Now I am not saying James is stupid! I’m saying we all should have that shirt.
God is the smart one because he knows what we are going to do. He knows what decisions we are going to make before we even know what they are about. Before an issue surrounds us God has a plan to get us out. The plan comes designed by God in spite of our attempts at fixing it ourselves. He already knew we would try that. So he is so smart that he adjusts his path for us around our mistakes!
Take for example the mistake of prejudging. I choose that because it is a struggle I endure daily. While I tend to label people based on whatever notion, I still always leave room for the truth- meaning I judge but don’t necessarily believe that it is correct. And how wrong I often am. So I prejudge, based on an action I thought I saw. What I saw was hugging bordering on flirting, but what it actually was a hug designed to comfort and make the person feel protected from something. Not a huge pre-judgement, but still, wrong. So God already knew I would think that way and thankfully this time let me find out the truth quickly. (Actually, that one I made up so stop trying to figure it out)
God is so smart that he knows we sometimes want to create our own Red Seas. We go out looking for them instead of waiting to see what they are. Sometimes they are deep and scary, too murky to see thru. Sometimes they are a little easier to see, but scary to cross because we don’t know what is in the Sea that might bite. And excuses and whining will only make the journey thru the Sea longer. Had the Israelites stopped whining and complaining, if they had remembered that God was before them and behind them every step, their reward would have come to them sooner. Or since God already knew that the Israelites would act like that he planned the route to the Red Sea to be long and difficult so their reward would be all the sweeter. I’ve heard it said both ways and both make sense.
The point is, we don’t know if our Red Sea will be a short or a long journey. But what we do know is that we will have many seas to cross, some small and daily, some long and treacherous which leave us wondering what the purpose is. But there is always a purpose and it is to grow closer to the One who knows all of you- the GOOD, the BAD, and the UGLY.
Look at each Sea, listen to each word God brings to you and what it means in your life today, or the issue of the day. Each precious word that God wrote is for you and will seem different with each new Sea you add to your life experience. Never forget that no matter how large and deep and murky the water looks, God loves you enough to part it for you so you can get to the other side: fish bites, seaweed, jelly fish stings and all….. So choose to cross, with the power of the Cross in your hands.
Worship
We who have been saved have a crown with many jewels in it, each representing and idol. So many jewels we can scarcely identify them all.
Jesus is the heart shaped diamond in the front of our crown, the first thing people should see about us, who we should be worshipping. There are so many other jewels- the red ruby for our boy/girl friend, the green emerald for the love of self, the blue sapphire for our world of technology. The crown is full of jewels representing the idols of this world. Because we already love God we have the RIGHT jewel on our crown. We need only turn it to the front. Turn away our other jewels, turn away from these earthly idols. Purposely put the heart diamond in the front so all will know that God reigns over you. You are his, he is stronger, he loves more, so be glad and joyful.
Just like the Jesus key we can always turn our crown to the one and only jewel that matters, the Jesus diamond, the most precious and valuable jewel we can be given. A diamond given to us as a gift, bought by God thru the shed, spilled, gushing, dripping blood of our Savior and friend, Jesus.
So stop holding it in, start living out loud. Composure is no longer an option. Show people you worship the only God. Tell people thru words and actions that Jesus comes first. Love more, Love better, Love others, Love yourself. Pray for each other, hold each other accountable. Speak your ‘thing’ out loud to someone so that you must face the issue head on.
Most of all know that you worship the one and only God, who gave his only son so that you may live in eternity with Him.
You are loved.
Ichabod
Ichabod means the glories have parted
How is it so much different being an Icabod of today to that of the old testament? We learned that Moses even though he got to see God, could only go to the Holy of Holies when invited. Because of the death and resurrection of Jesus our Christ we have become the Holy of Holies- Our bodies are the dwelling place for the holy spirit, for our God. The Israelites had to follow a cloud, we follow the glory of God. The Israelites had the Temple and the Tent of Meeting, which because of Jesus is now us. The spirit of God that moved over the Israelites is what we have inside of us today. He resides in us. He is not a dark cloud following us around.
All we do is to be done for the glory of God. When the question is “Lord, what is your purpose for my life” we have to step back and see that our life is no longer our own. Life is not for our purpose but for his image to be multiplied all over the earth. The purpose is for God to use us for his glory. In Romans we learn that Jesus died for God’s glory first and foremost, for the glory of the Father. We are just the benefactor of Jesus death on the cross.
Our purpose is to amplify his name and glory among the nations, to preach the gospel to all nations for God’s Glory. He will not faint, he won’t grow weary. To live is to let God be a part of your new life.
Our Challenge:
  • recognize you need to spend time in the presence of God. You must daily read your bible.
  • Presence proceeded purpose- you have to have Him present in order to have a purpose.
  • Would you be willing to spend the rest of your life aligning yourself to Gods glory- to make HIS purpose known- The Glory Imparts?
  • Can you live a life to the Glory of God?
On this last day we spent a lot of our His Time talking about our envelopes, opening among our trusted friends. I did finally open mine just a few days ago and it is to teach a younger child something you do well (guitar, algebra) for free. That being said, I do know algebra if anyone needs help.
I have grown to love spending some time with you all. Thank you for accepting me. I believe I might want to join you guys for youth group and such. You are an awesome bunch of kids. My comment for many years has been how impressive our children’s groups seem to be. Now I know there is still plenty of crazy stuff going on, but you have your heads on straight, at least most of the time. I loved watching the bonding between such a large group. And I am most thankful that my kids get to experience it now, and then again in a few years. But for the record, I am a lot stronger than Eric made me out to be- FO SHO! So don’t think you can scare me. I’ve lived just a little myself and know many of the different things you guys are, will and must go thru.
I wrote this recap of each evening for me as much as for you. God speaks to me when I write, during songs, during teaching, and sometimes when I just sit and listen to what he wants me to type up. I hope these little synopsis’ will help to keep the teachings fresh. Keep growing with your Jesus. There is never an end to what he can teach us, on the pulpit, during a walk with friends, or while sitting and people watching. But be warned, when your red sea is directly in front of you and you know what it is- take the plunge- learn about what he has waiting for you on the other side. I may be rough but it will always be worth it. And besides, if you don’t jump in on your own, you will be forced into it, and into the deep end first. So go the right way, wade in then keep on walking thru. Thru brings you to that new beginning. The only way to the new beginning it thru.
Go thru.
I love you all very much,
Miss Vicki

Friday, July 17, 2009

One year ago...

So, yeah, it's really late, but my mind is stuck so I thought I'd give it a voice. Got stuck on one year ago today- Shelly came over at about 7:00 am with coffee, in her jammies to be with me until Tim got home from work. July 18th was my first chemo. Didn't sleep much that night. Think I might fast again tomorrow, just to remember all those who have and are suffering the madness of cancer. Man it messes with your head.
So at the first chemo treatment Shelly, my dad, and my sister came. We filled the place to be sure. I had my Jesus Juice cross to go with the medicine. Shelly brought a craft, but I was too scared to even move- my fingers just wouldn't move. Oh the tension, the reality that seemed to be not real, the slow motion of the whole day. But paper roses were made, laughs did happen, and the beginning of some great aquaintances started. Infusion rooms are a busy place- young people, old people, first timers, and people who were ready for their final treatment. A bond you don't want to have to share. I sure hope I am your 20% that gets cancer!
Today I will fast, in remembrance of my journey, and for those to follow, those who went before. I still have my list- a running list that grows monthly.
Cancer changes who you are- gives you this new beginning that you didn't ask for and don't exactly know what to do with. The forgetfulness, the appearance change, the confidence change, the inability to focus, to commit, to challenge too much. A limbo that just has a life of its own.
I am not that scared any more, but struggle with different issues now- like what is my body supposed to feel like and act like? How long do I have to look like a cancer patient? Am I survivor yet or is it called something else? Am I doing too much but being back to normal activity? It doesn't feel like it.
Current fears: well, that pesky 40% increased chance of breast cancer, my CA 125 coming up on Tuesday along with my treatment. Pit dwelling material.
Remember to talk to that bald person if you can. They could use a happy face- a normal conversation.
Remember to pray for us survivors, for strength and courage and the ability to know our bodies. Pray for the people receiving treatment- my sister's sister in law Donna being one of them.
Thank you for coming with me.
Much love,
Vicki