Corrie Ten Boom once said, "Let God's promises shine on your problems."  And also, "Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God."  I would have loved to have met this woman in person.  When things start to weigh me down and the future looks unclear she comes to my remembrance and I realize that I have never endured anything like she has.  From there the mind might wander to others that have gone before me and I eventually end up in Hebrews 11.  Hebrews 11:38 says this, "of whom the world was not worthy".   Back up a couple of verses and you will find that their lives consisted of hardships and trouble.  Many stories in the Bible are just that ~ hard.  But if one is to look closely we can see this thread of the Almighty interweaving a theme of redemption and restoration.

"The Lord has promised good to me, His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be, As long as life endures."                  

Verse 3 of the hymn Amazing Grace encapsulates many promises given to us in the Bible.  Now, I'm not going to say that everything is sunshine and lollipops.  But if Christ is Savior and Lord it puts a whole new color and depth to the circumstances that come to us.  It is a matter of perspective.   Corrie Ten Boom endured life in a concentration camp and still saw evidences of God's grace even there.  So, it's not so much what we go through or what happens in our life but whether we can see God in the midst and thank Him for His providences.  There are always mini miracles happening if there are eyes to see it.  Believing in the promises of God is foolish and simplistic to some.  But to those who trust it is the bed rock and foundation of who we are.

"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)  "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."  (Jeremiah 29:11)  We can't predict the future and at this moment the scenario of our lives might not look too great.  But through the lenses of eternity and God's promises there is hope for tomorrow.  I believe it!

Since I have last written on this blog I have had a PET scan that has come back clear (praise God!).  However, I am still scheduled to start chemotherapy on the 8th of May.  Another doctor's visit next week, wig shopping with my sister-in-law and hopefully much grandkid time.  Much to do and life to live.  I trust that God will give me and those around me what is needed for the days ahead because He has promised.  And there it is.


Rain and the Fight for Joy

It is another rainy day here in the Pacific NW.  This isn't an uncommon reality for those of us who live here.  For the most part,  we don't realize how dreary it is until the sun comes out to remind us how wonderful it can be.  It is very green here in the spring time with other colors mixed in.  And when the sun does shine the colors seem to become even more vibrant.  Green happens to be my favorite color and I wait to see the trees leaf out in the various shades of perfection.  I thought at one time of trying to count the different shades of green that I saw but gave up as there were too many.

It has been said that here in the PNW depression for many is a problem.  Too much gray and not enough vitamin D that comes naturally from the yellow orb in the sky.  And yet we stay here in this soggy climate for reasons known to ourselves.  When we lived in Maryland I had a friend ask me what it was like to live on the other side of the continent.  My reply was, "When it is good there is no place like it, absolutely breathtakingly beautiful.  The downside is that it rains a lot." In truth, that really isn't so bad when you consider that other parts of the United States have some major things happening that bring such devastation (although we do have Mt. St. Helens in our back yard).  I suppose that one tends to love and appreciate where they are planted.  We can complain about it but outsiders better beware as we will defend this region of our abode like a she-bear does her cubs.

What does any of this have to do with joy?  Well, one might consider that it takes effort to wake up on a gray day with a spring in your step and a song in your heart.  That might be why we in the Pacific NW are such coffee snobs.  We love our cup of liquid sunshine.  Just give us a few and soon we will be smiling and ready for the day.  But seriously, for some, it does take great effort to find that joy that will get you through the bad news that you receive on a rainy day.  This is why finding joy needs to come from something other than one's surroundings or what we can conjure up inside ourselves.  Ultimate joy comes from a Person and not from the warmth of the sun's ray.  Maybe this is one of the perks in living in such a soggy place.  On those rainy days we are forced to find joy in something other than our surroundings and how we feel.  But make no mistake ~ this can be a battle.

Yesterday Dan took me to my appointment with the gynecology oncologist.  The sun was kind of shining when we went in.  On our way out of the appointment it started to rain.  Although, not terrible news (it always can be worse) it wasn't the news that we had hoped for.  It turns out that there were cancer cells in the margins of the colon that was removed.  So, the next step is to get a PET scan to see if there are any other cancer cells present.  Either way the doctor is recommending chemotherapy just to be sure.  Like I said ~ not the news I wanted to hear.  So,  on this gray rainy day in April I am fighting for joy and looking to the One who gives generously.  Psalm 16:11 says, "You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."  Everything that is needful He has already given in Christ.  This brings great joy and peace recognizing that He is before all things, and in Him all things are held together (Colossians 1:17).

I'll leave off with a hymn that has meant much to me through the years.  Here it is:

Whate'er my God ordains is right: his holy will abideth;
I will be still whate'er he doth, and follow where he guideth.
He is my God; though dark my road, he holds me that I shall not fall:
wherefore to him I leave it all.

Whate'er my God ordains is right, he never will deceive me;
he leads me by the proper path; I know he will not leave me.
I take, content, what he hath sent; his hand can turn my grief away,
and patiently I wait his day.

Whate'er my God ordains is right: though now this cup, in drinking,
may bitter seem to my faint heart, I take it, all unshrinking,
My God is true; each morn anew sweet comfort yet shall fill my heart,
and pain and sorrow shall depart.

Whate'er my God ordains is right: here shall my stand be taken;
though sorrow, need, or death be mine, yet am I not forsaken.
My Father's care is round me there; he holds me that I shall not fall:
and so to him I leave it all.



"Come unto me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."  ~ Matthew 11:28-30

For those of you who haven't received the updates from Dan via Facebook here it is in a nutshell (sorta).  Surgery, on the 22nd of March, went well although longer than the surgeon anticipated.  My recovery from surgery also took longer (3 hours) as my blood pressure was too low.  The surgeon was able to remove the cancer that was attached to my colon and put me back together.  We were later to find out from the pathology report that the cancer was indeed ovarian.  Monday, Dan will take me back to the surgeon for a check up.  From there we are assuming we will meet with an oncologist to determine further course of action.  The hope from here is that surgery took care of the problem and no further course of action will be required (except for me to heal).  This might be somewhat Pollyanish on my part so we will just have to wait and see.

I was able to come home on the 28th.  My family had been so busy cleaning, organizing most everything that pertains to our household and property that it was such a delight to arrive at home and see all that was accomplished.  And the food ~ oh my!  So coming home has been a particular joy for me as I watch all the beehive activity from the lazy-boy recliner.  I continue to heal and wait for the body to kick into normal mode (seriously ~ surgery gas pain has got to be the worst!).  I'm also supposed to rest which I do think that I'm doing relatively well.

But . . . I was caught doing the laundry.  Just a little bit and really the clothes were already in the washer.  I just had to push the buttons.  Well, I guess that I did fold some of the clothes in the dryer too.  I think that I might have also put some dish cloths away.   To rest is not as easy as one would imagine.  The mind is always going and the eyes are always seeing something.  What does it mean to really rest?

Dan left this morning for Sunday worship.  I cried just a bit as I knew that I needed to stay home and rest.  But I longed to go with him.  This is one of the few times that I have not been there to hear my husband preach.  I love to hear him preach God's Word.  I feel like I become more alive, more of who I am supposed to be.  There is the realization that it isn't the man so much (although I would rather listen to him than any other) but the message.  It is the Word that brings me life and causes me to change.

Considering Matthew 11 this morning I was once again reminded that it isn't the "what" we rest from but the "who" we rest in.  That's why I can be down hearted on my way to church for any number of things only to find rest for my soul as I have had my focus turned to Christ sitting in Lord's Day worship.  His yoke truly is easier than resting in a lounge chair.  As the focus is turned away from me and toward my Savior all the pain of surgery and the uncertainty of the future comes in line with a yoke that is easy.

God, grant me the grace to turn to Christ when I am feeling a heavy yoke.  Help me to exchange the yoke that I produce for the One you gave me.  Then, and then only, will I be at rest.