Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Praying Surgeon, Angelic Nurses and Sheltered Wings

I wanted to share in detail my experiences on this journey because God has shown up in such amazing ways.  He is a God who sees us (El Roi) and a God who loves us.  Our Provider, Protector, and Healer.

We headed to the hospital before 7:30 last Wednesday morning.  Joel and I had spent the evening before visiting with two of our daughters who came for their mama's surgery.  It was a nice distraction.  Early that next morning we applied the numbing cream.  Liberally.  It would need close to 4 hours to take full affect and I wanted nothing less when they put 4 needles filled with nuclear radioactive dye into the most tender area of my breast.  Seriously.  This procedure was not fun to think about, along with the wire insertion so I had asked for specific prayers concerning both.

I was taken into the pre-surgery area where my nurse could get me ready for what was ahead.  She asked me specific questions, including the Lyme damage, etc.  It is written everywhere in my chart, and being the strange bird I am in the medical world...(I prefer the word unique) medical staff are curious.  She applied lidocaine to insert the catheter in my hand and checked vitals.  We talked about Joel's healing story and then briefly about mine.   She was very interested, it turns out she is a member of a church in a nearby town and we discussed how important our faith is.  She patted my arm and told me "Jesus is with you today."  Yes, God's presence came to me right away with an angelic nurse to prepare the way.

Soon I was on my way to the first procedure and after getting adjusted unto a table that had my body twisted and distorted,  the radiologist, who had done my first biopsy, came in to inject more lidocaine into my breast so he could put the wire in.  He told me it would prick and burn.  I waited and waited and then asked, "Have you done it yet?"  He replied....."Yeeeesssss.  Did you feel it?"  I said no.  Soon he put the wire in and said, "It went in perfect the very first time!!  Sometimes we get things perfect".   I said, "Yes, and prayer helps too!!"  I never felt a thing in there.  Nothing.  God showed up once again and guided the Dr.'s hands, and kept pain away.

On to the next procedure.....way early!  We sat and waited a while in a cold cold room but when I went in to lay down on yet another table, the nurse brought me warm blankets.  Nice.  The same doctor came in and I said to him, "We have got to stop meeting like this Dr. ____"!  He laughed.  The first injection burned a bit and hurt, but the other three did not and he kept me distracted with talking about  Lyme disease.  He treated for it twice when finding ticks attached.  After the procedure they talked to me more about it and later I realized it was to make sure I was not the 1 out of no one who reacted to the dye.  I did not.  Thank you Jesus!  When the Dr. left I told him I did not want to see him again, and he said, "Yes, unless it is at Target!"

**FYI:  I had lidocaine and prilocaine for the numbing cream....I had lidocaine when the catheter was put in and I had lidocaine for the first wire insertion procedure.  Joel noticed I was a bit "loopy" when waiting for the second procedure and I kept wanting to sleep while sitting up.  This relaxed state stayed with me until I went into surgery.  Five days later I googled it and discovered it is a reaction for some to when the lidocaine hits the brain.  It can be serious, like you can go into unconsciousness. I did not, of course, but was only sleepy and then just "laid back" before surgery.  It is something to remember if it ever happens to you because the report said to tell your nurse or doctor if you get drowsy.

While waiting for things to proceed, Joel opened a text for me from my friend Linny.  She prayed for us again, and shared all of Psalm 91 with me, which made us smile since we had been reading that aloud nearly every day since this journey began.  Another confirmation that God was in the midst of it all.

The doctor was an hour late for my surgery due to complications in the first he did, but soon enough he arrived and talked briefly to us.  Three of our kids and Joel were in the room with me.  As the Dr. was leaving I patted his arm and said, "God bless you Dr. ____" and he stopped and asked me if I would like him to pray!  I said, "Yes," and he prayed for the surgery and for my healing.  Then he was out the door to get ready and the nurse came to take me to the operating room.  It gave me such a sense of peace to have him pray.

A colleague of Joel's came up to see us before surgery and stuck around for part of it.  The lead pastor from Praise came to see me and pray with us on Thursday morning, and two other pastor friends came up on Thursday but I had already gone home.  Blessings from God.

Going into the OR would have been problematic for me in the past, but I had decided I was not going to live in fear but walk through it.  I got up on the table and laid down after saying hi to everyone, looked around at the sterile room, and then I was put immediately out, waking up in the recovery room.

God provided me with the best nurses while I was there.  Oh, one was a bit crass and rough, but I saw little of her.  I had a sweet angel of a nurse who chatted with me, cared for me, walked with me in the hallway that night and even mentioned to me that the best course of action in all circumstances is to pray.  Yes!

I was home the next day by noon.  I did sleep a lot the first three days, heading to bed by 8:30 pm the first night and sleeping 12 hours~  NO pain.  I felt no pain, never took any pain medicine or even ibuprofen because I did not feel any pain.  My sister Kay said it was the same for her a year earlier. No pain.

Recovery continues to go well.   Saturday night someone from Praise brought us a great meal which we ate for three meals!  The woman who came is an RN who also has bi-racial children like we do. She was fascinated with our healing journeys and made sure we met her family on Sunday.  Yes, Sunday I went to church and sat on a chair for worship and the sermon.....hitting the sofa for the rest of the day when we got home.  Monday the church brought us another meal which is still feeding us.   Today we went to the grocery store and then we walked 1/3 miles.  I get tired fast, but recover after.

It still amazes me how much God showed up and still is.  In calls from old friends, words of encouragement and love from our kids family and friends, cards in the mail, texts, prayers, and so much more.   He kept us in the shelter of His wings.  He showed up in the many people He has created, in a praying surgeon and angelic nurses.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Resting, Napping, and Giving Praise

I was thinking about how I let my Facebook buddies know I was home and doing well, but did not post it on my blog.  Thought I best write a bit of an update while I am actually upright and on the laptop.

Surgery went very well, there was no cancer found in the lymph nodes and after one night in the hospital I am home and resting, napping, doing all those post surgery things, and giving praise to God!

I plan to write more in a few days..........Thank you for your prayers~

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

No Ocean Can Hold It Back

Tomorrow I go in for surgery.  We are humbled and blessed to have so many praying over this journey with breast cancer.  People praying for me to be cancer free, for the procedures to go well with no reactions from my body, for the surgery to go well and all medical staff involved to make good decisions, etc., for Joel as he walks with me.  Yes, we are blessed to have so many praying across the country, around the world, in our community, in our family.  We want to thank you for your prayers.

We are a praying family.  Our extended families are praying people.  Our friends are grounded in prayer.  It is a core value of our faith.  Papa God holds us in the shelter of His wings.  Jesus died for us.  Holy Spirit lives in us and empowers us.  The angels guard over and fight for us.  Most importantly God fights for us.  Yes, we are blessed.

"Rejoice always, pray constantly...."
I Thess. 5:17

Soon after the diagnosis friends of our oldest son and his family, Godparents to three of our grandchildren, and people we are blessed to call friends, sent a beautiful card that has encouraged me along the way.  I wanted to share it with you today.  It reminds us of the power we have when we pray in the name of Jesus.  The power in prayer!

"  No ocean can hold it back......
    No river can overtake it....
    No whirlwind can go faster
    No army can defeat it, 
No law can stop it.
    No distance can slow it....
    No disease can cripple it
    No force on earth is more powerful or effective 
    Than the power of PRAYER. " 

Monday, September 21, 2015

His Wings, His Shelter

NOTE:  Pretty honest post here friends.  My goal as I heal in many ways and areas of my life is to openly share with you readers.  It may help someone else on their own journey.

 "He will cover you with his feathers. 

He will shelter you with his wings.

His faithful promises are your armor and protection."

Psalm 91:4

Since the call back for a biopsy and before the diagnosis, I have received verses about resting in the shelter of God's wings.....It began when I went into the garden of my heart where I go to visualize meeting with Jesus.  I sit back, close my eyes, pray protection over this anointed time, and ask Holy Spirit to control my thoughts.  One day as I meditating in the "garden" I decided I really needed to Sozo (an inner healing ministry) all the terrible things that have been spoken over my breasts over the years.  It sounds strange, but it really is not.  You see, I have never felt comfortable with them to be perfectly honest.  Nearly 40 years of doctors speaking negatively about them, 3 biopsies, endless mammograms, etc., and that all created fear.  I also went through intense sexual haraassment with a classmate while in Junior High and it affected me deeply.    I felt it was time to let go of all that and be at ease with how God had created me.  So, I visualized giving Jesus all that stuff that was said and done, I forgave those involved and myself for believing any lies.  It was a big bundle of stuff and when I handed it all to Jesus He acted like it was really heavy to hold all the weight of it....and then He smiled and chuckled.  Nothing is too big for Jesus.  I then visualized Jesus giving me a gift back (again, part of Sozo) and He handed me a feather.  My thought was, of course, a feather is light.  I am not carrying those burdens any longer, but then I heard the words   "Feather from God".

I immediately Googled it and up came an article about Bill Johnson, pastor at Bethel (who actually started Sozo miniistries) and in the article it talked about the "healing feathers of God".  I thought,
Yes, this is a healing feather."  The verse that was used came from Malachi 4:2.  The last part speaks of healing.  "with healing in His wings".  Yes!  This was a healing feather from God.  It truly gave me hope that I was cancer free.  I was not, but I still stand on His promise of finding healing in His wings.  Then we read Psalm 91 one morning and there it was again....the shelter of His wings.

Soon after the diagnosis I shared it on Facebook and a friend sent me a picture of a beautiful mama bird protecting her babies.  The same one I have here.  I printed it off along with portions of the verses and have it up in my bedroom and kitchen as a reminder of Who holds me close.  When I get something in threes I pay attention.  God was letting me know I could find peace, healing, and shelter under His wings.  It is a place of rest, isn't it.

So a couple of days ago I asked for a feather to appear.....I saw in my head the image of a white feather but would take any feather to confirm all God has been sharing with me.  While out walking I would look at times on the ground or even in the house, but no feather.  And then yesterday I went on Facebook and what popped up first was a picture of a white feather on a black background!  It was for a blog post of an online prophetic friend.  She was speaking about angels coming unaware into our lives and felt led by God to use this particular picture she found of the white feather.  Only God.  When I shared with her about what this meant to me, she wrote back how God had told her to use this feather, even though she was looking for something more angelic.  She said, "God really loves you!"  Yes he does.  He loves ALL of us.

It has not stopped.....the references to shelter, to healing.  God loves us so much and wants us to know we are never alone.  We are never without protection.  I love that scriptures say HIS PROMISES are our protection and armor.  And we find those promises in His Word.  What has He promised you?  Stand on it.  Remind Him of it.  Remind yourself. Grab hold of the truth we find in His Word.  The truth found in Psalm 91:4.  And stay in the shelter of His wings.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Saturday's Scribbles

It is another Saturday in our corner of the world and another nice fall day after a few more days of humidity and dew points in the 70's.  Trees are starting to grace their autumn colors, pumpkins are showing up and squash is back on the menu.  Geese are gathering and squirrels are starting to store up their winter stock.  More warm weather is forecast for next week, but for now I am embracing my favorite season.

As we walked along the river this week we have enjoyed seeing the changes.

Fall colors popping up

Along the river road

Mushrooms on a tree along the river

We have spent this past week going to appointments as I prepare for surgery next Wednesday
morning.  I was very happy with the radiology oncologist who will oversee my treatment afterwards. He came in the room and I immediately felt at ease.  He talked a bit, and I thought,, I can trust.  Thank you God.  I chuckle at the 4 physical exams I have had in the past 3 weeks.  The last one gave me good news....UTI is finally gone after 3 antibiotics and the natural D=Mannose.  I just don't tolerate them well after 5-6 days, or less.  It is gone now and we are so happy about that!

Last  Sunday we went to church and then over to the nearby lake town to purchase a feel mum plants and sit by the water awhile.  It was so windy and humid we did not last long.  Wednesday night we went to the class on healing and invited friends to go with us.   Friday we celebrated good news and getting through the week with lunch out and splitting a Cabin Coffee cinnamon roll.

Joel is now on day 14 in the garage.  When things feel out of his control he works using his hands. The garage looks great and he has put everything on wheels that can be except for me! Soon he will run out of things to do in there, buy hopefully by then surgery will be over and life will move forward into the next phase of this journey.  I just had to share a few of many photos of his latest work. There are a few more things on casters.  As you can tell he likes to build his own cabinets, etc. from left over wood.

this holds wood and ladders 

I have been re-reading Heidi Baker's book, "Birthing The Miraculous".  So powerful.  Also watching a few teachings and reruns to keep my mind busy.  Next week the fall TV schedule starts.  What is going on in your world?

Until next time...............

Thursday, September 17, 2015

How Deep and How Wide is His Love

For about two weeks before I started this journey with breast cancer I kept receiving emails, reading blog posts, quotes, verses in scripture, and listening to teachings online that all spoke about God's love.  I mentioned it to Joel.  "God really wants me to know how much He loves me right now."  I figured He would reveal to me why as time passed.  I guess I thought it was to help me through selling our home and the move from the Midwest to the Arizona desert.  I did not think it was preparation for the storm ahead.

God has been sending so many love taps to me before and during all this drama.  I have been storing these expressions of His love in my mind and heart and wanted to share some here.

Let me start with the church we are attending.   As you probably know, Joel finished up working at the little church with the big heart ~ Faith Lutheran~ in mid July so we no longer had a church home to worship in.  You just don't go back when a new pastor comes in.  Well, several weeks ago our repairman came to fix our oven and while he was here he mentioned the church he goes to, Praise Community. It was new to me, so I decided to look it up, and what I saw intrigued me.  It is a church started by an ex-Methodist pastor and it is a Spirit flowing church where you can hear the prophetic, speaking in tongues, praise music, and teachings on healing.  Because we had heard some negative rumblings about this church,  and how the pastor left the Methodist church to begin a new one, we went with caution, but as soon as we entered the building we felt welcome.  The presence of God was there, and the pastor could preach.  Having listened to Joel for so many years I am kind of biased when it comes to preachers.  We have been going back ever since that first week and as time passes we feel very much like God has provided us with this church during this season of our lives. How deep and how wide is His love for us.

I am going to jump ahead to last Wednesday night when we went to the class on Healing. (We have taught those classes ourselves, but felt we needed to sit under the teaching to glean even more and especially during this journey.  I immediately felt comfortable when the pastor said, "I believe totally that God wants us well.  Period.  But even though I believe this and have seen healing manifest in myself and others, I have also had surgery twice when healing did not come through prayer, but through the medical world".  Okay then.  He had us nodding in agreement.

Later that night I went up for prayer and one of the pastor's wives prayed for me.  She had just come back from Andrew Wommack's healing conference so we were smiling inside about that.  When I told her I had been diagnosed with breast cancer she laid her hand right on the spot ~ even when I had not told her which breast or where it was.  Then when Joel walked up to pray with us, she put her hand on Joel too and said, "The two of you are going to have a ministry together".  She did not know who Joel was and we had not said anything about our desire to have a new ministry.  She also gave me the verses in Hebrews 4 that speaks about resting in God, in the finished work of Christ. God has also been sending me scriptures and other inspirational thoughts on resting in Him.  Over and over.  I have this need to strive.....instead of resting. That Thursday night we went to a worship and prayer service at church and another woman, who we had talked to on Sunday, came up to me and said, "God woke me up with your face and name this morning and I have been praying for you ever since". ALL of this wrapped me in a warm blanket of God's love. How wide and how deep is His love for us..............

Now, going back to when I was diagnosed, I shared it on Facebook and with family and friends.  The outpouring of love was overwhelming.  So thankful for all those who are praying, sending encouraging words, and praying some more.  With Joel having served in so many of the churches in the area, prayers are coming in from many.  Thanks to email and texting, everyone stays connected which is another blessing at times like this.  My sister Jan has her church cousin in Oregon has hers praying.............friends across the world are praying.............the Knee Team is praying.  And there is power in prayer!

So many scriptures coming my way to hold on to.  More than Malachi 4: 2....with healing in His wings.  I will be writing a post about that soon.  His Word is living and powerful!

I mentioned before, the day I woke up angry and then ran into someone at the grocery store who has gone through breast cancer twice in 22 years.  She told me, "You can do this!" I had been wanting Joel to let a parish he served as an Interim at know so they could pray, and this woman was from there. She asked me as she was walking away if she could put my name on their prayer chain.  Only God.  How deep and how wide is His love for us..................

Our home not selling in the two weeks on the market?  Not even one person coming through the door to see it??? That was totally God preparing the way.

And connecting with old friends from our former parish and spending time together in prayer has been another love tap from God.  M. had been praying for me as soon as she found out and along with some personal convictions, God told her to "stand back and watch Me heal her"!  A colleague of Joel's and his wife called with encouragement and prayers offered.  A family member and friend came by that first week, driving from near by in MN to see us.  My sister Kay and BIL Dan coming over when our need was great to talk and pray together.  Another love tap from God.  Our friends from seminary have called and encouraged us with love and prayer. Two high school friends have called with love and support.  And my two precious prayer warriors who stand with me daily, Kerin from Canada and Katherine from New Hampshire.  So thankful.  Family has called.....texted......supported.....often when I am struggling.

It goes on and on. Today the woman who cuts my hair came and we talked at length.  She is from a former parish and I am blessed to call her friend.  She told me that the doctor I have for surgery goes to their church, is a strong Christian and even speaks at their church sometimes.  It just affirmed for me that he is the right one for me.  How deep and how wide is His love for us............

Even the movie War Room was a great reminder of the power of prayer.  Prayer is warfare and this is a war with the enemy we are engaged in.  He also has let me know that I can trust Him t fight for me. I need to hear that since I am too good at fighting and not so good at resting and trusting the most powerful Warrior of all.  I feel bathed in love.  How deep and how wide is His love for me...................

Isn't God good?  I know each of you can remember times in your lives when you felt His presence in such a deep and profound way.  I have heard some of those stories from you.  Our story.....HIStory.  We are so blessed to experience a taste of this deep and wide Papa love for us.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Just A Sentence...........

Recently I heard a teaching by Eric Johnson of Bethel Church that keeps echoing in my head.  "Whatever circumstance you are going through, whatever storm you are in, you need to remember that this is just a sentence in the story of your life.  Maybe a paragraph......but not the whole book." Don't get stuck here".

I have been trying to remember that as I face a week of more appointments and tests and so many unknowns.  I have been trying to see this journey as just a sentence in my life, but at times it has felt like so much more.  Three decades of fighting illness does that to a person.  Three years of freedom has given me a taste of the life I know Jesus has for me.

Yesterday I was feeling a bit sorry for myself.  I am on a third antibiotic for a UTI....I could not take the first one longer than 5 days, the second for more than 4, and now on day 4 of this one, I was having some pretty awful symptoms from it, including some brain stuff.  Joel noticed it and told me not to take it last night.  I did not, and by bed my head was a lot clearer.  These symptoms and fighting a persistent UTI have really ticked me off.  All I should be having to focus on is the surgery ahead.  Grrrrrr

Thinking about Eric's teaching, I realized I have two choices.  I can look at this season with medical challenges as a sentence or paragraph in my life, or I can look at it an endless novel with an unhappy ending.  If I look at it as a novel, it is dark and filled with despair, doctors, drugs, and pain, and I will lose in the end.  If I look at it as a paragraph or sentence  in the story of my life, there is so much more to focus on........

Today I woke up feeling pretty good and then while out walking we discussed the nuclear radioactive stuff that will go into my breast and I started to worry I would react to it like the old Renee  who had MCS might have.  Fear rose up again at what is ahead, and then I got really angry.  I am sick and tired of fear coming in and stealing my joy.  I am NOT that person any more. I recalled going to the dentist last week.  Four years ago I would have had throw up headaches for days after going to the dentist and spent a good week on the sofa.  Not this time.  I was just fine.  Yes, I will make the techs aware of the possibility with the injections, but I am expecting nothing to happen.  NO.  I refuse to partner with reactions anymore.  To the antibiotics, to the chemicals injected, to anything that goes into my body.  I refuse to partner with fear anymore over every test, every injection, words spoken to and over me, and the surgery.  PAPA GOD is in control and I am standing on HIS promises.  I am focusing on Him and the healing that has taken place in me.........

I am remembering the last 3 plus years of freedom and joy, the laughter, the trips, the hopes, the dreams.  Forty-seven years with my wonderful cowboy preacher with many more to come.  Our great kids, in-loves, and grands that grace our lives.  An end to all this and victory over cancer again. Healing and hope.  Always hope.

When I remember how much God loves me I smile inside.  When I think about my journey with Holy Spirit the past three years I smile even more.  When I focus on Jesus and what He has done for me I know without a doubt that this is just a sentence in my life.  Just one short sentence or paragraph in a life so blessed.

Just a sentence.............

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Saturday's Scribbles

Good Saturday to you from Iowa, where we are enjoying  a crisp fall day.    Our low last night was to be 39 and the high today 66.  Don't think we hit 66, though.  Definitely a long pants day.  Next week we head up to 80, but 80 in the fall is different than 80 in mid-July.

Recently I went for a walk past the field in our association, which was filled with geese.  Before long they started taking off flying just a few feet over my head!  That was a fun experience......and not one pooped on me either!  Ha.

On Labor Day Joel was outside when a police cruiser drove by.  He rolled down his window and asked Joel, "Ahhhh, have you seen a white goat?"  Joel said, "A what???"  The officer said, "A big white is white and it is big!"  Joel assured him he had not.  The officer thought it probably came through our backyard as that is the way the deer come up from the river too.  The officer then chuckled and said, "He is illusive, like Bigfoot.  First you see him and then you don't."  They both had a good laugh over that.  It must have been a slow day to send an officer out looking for a goat that had escaped the farm life!  We looked around that day as we walk along the river, but no luck.  We have lots of animals out here including the rare coyote, but this is the first goat that has been seen.   One friend said, "Well at least he did not say an old white Joel!"  Ha......

It has been a busy week of appointments, talking with doctors, the advocate from the breast center, and taking antibiotics (now a third) trying to find what I can tolerate longer than 5 days to rid me of the UTI.  Next week is much the same with more appointments and tests, before heading into surgery on September 23rd here in our home town.  I am very comfortable with the surgeon and having it here, and Joel is, too.

This week we went to church Sunday morning, Wednesday night, and Thursday night.  Loved the worship music and we heard some good teaching on healing.  I was prayed over twice, which was a great comfort.   We really like this church that is a combination of traditional, prophetic, charismatic, and Holy Spirit moving.  This church is filling a need for me right in this season of my life and is a gift from God.

Joel and I went to the movie "War Room" on Labor Day with my sister Kay and BIL, Dan.  First movie I have seen in a theater in 15 years we figured.  It was a great movie on the power of prayer.  I came home and spent time setting up our own War Room.  What a great idea!

Another 9-11 have come and gone.  Just like when JFK was assassinated, we remember where we were, what we were doing, and how we felt.  It is also our oldest grandson's birthday, so we have reason to rejoice and celebrate.  He turned 17.  Hard to believe he is so old.

I am listening to a few teachings and watching some light mindless TV while heading to bed early every night exhausted.  I am looking forward to the new fall schedule starting soon.

Until next time..............

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Surgeon, The Advocate, The Overwhelmed

Yesterday was my appointment with the surgeon.  Two and one half hours later we headed back home.  I spent most of that time with  the breast cancer advocate getting instructions, taking in way too much information, being given a list of appointments to go to before surgery, and being given a folder so full of info I asked Joel to carry it.  Too heavy! I did have a chest x-raY that came back great also.   One more test done.

Speaking of tests the Dr. confirmed all that I had been told, but also added one more test for me.  A MRI of both breasts which is on the schedule.  He called me a "strange bird" ........okay then.  Due to the Lyme and years of sickness, my body functioning so poorly, family history, having had other biopsies, blah blah blah.....he wants a MRI.  So, one more test.  He also told me probably I will be going in every six months for some test.  MRI, then six months later a mammogram, then six months later another MRI.  Sobering.

After yesterday's tsunami of information and appointments, including what will happen before surgery (yikes) and during, I crashed.  I could not take one more thing into this brain of mine.  So, we went to a worship and prayer service.  A good place to worship.

Today I talked to Mayo Clinic and did research on the savi catheter that we thought may be a better option for radiation.  We could not get in there, even with a referral, for 3 weeks, and the studies I read on the catheter made us wonder if I would qualify and did not make me feel positive about using it.  So we ruled that all out, and are staying here in our town.  I feel really good about it.  My surgeon has a very good reputation and also is a Christian which is a plus for me.  I've had surgery here before and they took good care of my special needs.......strange bird that I am!

Today I set up an appointment for a pre-op physical, the Physical therapist called to set up an appointment because of node removal ~ 2 or more depending ~ and my advocate set up appointments for the MRI and the consult with the radiology oncologist.  The surgery will be September 23rd.  I'll be home the next morning.

I am still writing about how God's love is showing up every day in so many ways.  So blessed.

The saga continues.  I am realizing I need to treat myself with TLC here.  I'm still on an antibiotic for UTI and having a few side effects.  Hanging in though.....hanging in.  So, plenty of time resting, praying, and laughing.  So important to laugh in the midst of the craziness we call life right now.  I am one of thousands on this journey.  How sad is that.  I am blessed to have a good surgeon, a sweet and smart advocate, and a place to turn when overwhelmed.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

In Quietness and Trust

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. 
 In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.  
Indeed, do not rely on your own wisdom, fear God, and stay away from evil.  
For then you will have health for your body 
and healing for your bones (and nerves.)"
Proverbs 3:5-8

Today I listened to a teaching by Bill Johnson that spoke about trusting God.  His grandmother lived with his family the whole time he grew up, and she would speak scriptures aloud to him every day. These verses were ingrained in his his heart.  As he spoke about not leaning on our own understanding my situation came to mind.  Joel and I have been struggling with what we understand. About healing, about hearing God's voice, about His promises.   Bill went on to say, if we think we have full understanding of God and how He works in our lives, then there is no mystery.  And if there is no mystery of God left, there is no need to trust Him.  And trusting God?  Yeah..... it is big in my life.  It is necessary for all our lives.

I am not saying He gave me cancer to get me to trust Him.  Nope. "The devil came to steal, kill and destroy, and I have come to give you life and give it to you more abundantly" Jesus said in 
John 10:10.  But this is no surprise to God.  This not moving and dealing with breast cancer has us going back to the Word and studying how we hear His voice, and once again reading what He says about healing.   It has us spending more time in prayer in this Warm Room we have created.  Prayer is warfare.  I think I will be saying that a lot.  Good is already coming from what the enemy has meant for harm.

So we sit in the mystery of unanswered questions here with the move to Arizona cut off, and a diagnosis of cancer that has us doing a 360 on our daily walk.  We can only trust God in the process. Even dealing with all new doctors right now (my primary is on medical leave herself) is difficult for me.  But as we go from appointment to appointment;, as we hear good news and bad, and make important decisions in the process, Jesus whispers in our Me in the midst of all you do not understand.  Trust Me.  

In my morning prayer and imaging time with Papa God and just  a few days before we knew the results of the biopsy, I sat with Jesus in the garden of my heart.  I was holding a small satchel which is often filled with things I need.  I took out a Bible and a couple of other things.  Then I reached in and out came a miniature of the wood and metal plaque that is on our living room wall.  It says one word in big letters.  T. R. U. S.T.  It is all about trust.

You don't understand?  Trust ME, because you know who I am.  I am El Roi, the God who sees you.
You don't know what the future holds?  Trust ME.  You feel confused and worried?  Trust ME

I ordered a bracelet 18 months ago from Ann Voskamp's blog site.  It is sterling silver and is engraved with the words "In quietness and trust is your strength".  The day after my first mammogram I lost the bracelet. I could not find it anywhere and it is almost always on my wrist.  I was heartbroken not to have this reminder to trust.  We asked Holy Spirit to put it somewhere we could easily find it, but after waiting for a few days I stopped looking.  Then today, after I listened to the teaching on trust, and after writing most of this post, I was in the bathroom and noticed the kleenix box was empty.  I picked it up to take to recycling and heard something rattle inside.  I shook it upside down and my bracelet fell out!!  I started praising God and weeping.  It is no accident that on the day I listen to Bill about trust, on the day I pray about trusting God in this process, on the day that I write a post to that affect, my bracelet shows up inside an empty kleenix box.  Only God!!!

I will trust in the Lord, my Papa God, with all my heart, and lean not on my own understanding in this diagnosis, this change of plans for moving.  I will try in all my ways to turn to Him and acknowledge Him as my Lord, my Papa, my Healer, my Provider.  My God who sees me and loves me.  I trust that He will make my/our path straight.  I won't rely on just my own wisdom and I will fear (live in awe) God.  I will stay away and rebuke the devils lies, and I will trust that I will see healing for my body and full health for my bones and nerves.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Our War Room

Last Friday I needed to go back to my regular doctor for a recheck for a UTI and another infection. One was gone but the UTI was not, and there was still blood in the urine along with the bacteria.  I had not been able to finish the last antibiotic because my body reacted to the medication.   It caused weak arms and legs and at times a racing heart.  I have been trying a new more powerful med that is considered the best treatment.

Unfortunately, the doctor I had for 18 years is on medical leave and the woman I saw spoke words over me that sent shock waves through my system. She said, if this blood does not go away you will need to see a urologist to rule out bladder cancer.  Really? You are telling me this today when I just told you I am fighting breast cancer?

I fell apart.  When I got out to the car I sobbed, fear gripped my soul, and I saw myself dying.  I spoke words aloud of fear, death and resignation.  Words questioning God's love for me.  Yeah, it was not my best moment.  I let the spirit of fear take over me.  And the hardest part was that I forgot how difficult this is for Joel, too. My plunge into despair and worst case scenarios sucked him into the abyss right along with me.  I know I am in a vulnerable place, but so is my rock, my encourager, my cowboy preacher, my everything.  It took all we had to keep any sense of balance as we worked through this.

At 3 the next morning Joel woke with a great deal of pain in his RIGHT arm.  He did not tell me but as the pain was there it also went numb.  I heard him at 5am when he went back to the recliner to sleep. I prayed over him but it did not change.  At 7am I gave him a Bayer to chew just in case.  Then we discussed whether he should go to ER.  We have been under a great deal of stress but it sounded like nerve pain?  I decided to pray again and spoke to the pain, the root cause, the numbness.  I spoke to any spirit that could be causing havoc within his body.  The pain went down and the numbness went away completely.  The pain soon left and then he noticed a small lump on his arm.  Was this the cause of the pain?  He remembered hurting his arm 2 days ago, but it shows up in the middle of the night 48 hours later?  We did not know what to do for sure,  but with no other symptoms of heart we were comfortable staying home.  He did promise me if it returned at all, he would go get it checked out.

After 4 days on the antibiotic, Cipro, I am having terrible pain.  Bone, joint, nerve, and tendons.  I finally did some research and discovered this medication can cause tendon ruptures and permanent damage to nerve endings....seriously?  I already deal with some neuropathy and so I have stopped taking this med too.  Why don't the doctors check these things out?  I know people who can take this med, but evidently I am not one.  Now I will need to start over with finding an antibiotic i can take. We are feeling pretty darn beat up.  I should be focusing on the cancer surgery ahead, not all this other crap.

So where is all this coming from?  Not. God.   The enemy is working overtime in our lives.  LOTS of stress.....loss.......grief.......fear......confusion.......weariness.  Emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual pain have distracted us from what we know.  So hard to keep the focus on what we know at times.

Several months ago I was walking with Joel along the river, speaking to God about what was going on in our lives.  I looked up and suddenly saw a battle going on before me.  Good verses evil.  The heavely realm fighting Satan's army.  It literally stopped me in my tracks and took my breath away.  Joel asked me what was wrong and I told him what I had just seen in front of me.  He said,  "I had a dream with a battle being waged....the same thing you saw, I saw in a dream just last night!"

Monday we went to see the movie, War Room.  It was about the power of prayer, and it was so good.  It had an impact on us as we struggle with what we know to be true and where we can turn in the midst of all this stuff being thrown at us.  Joel and I discussed it at length, and I have spent time trying to decide where to set up our own prayer room.  We finally came up with the best location, and I have started writing out needs for ourselves and others and spending time in our War Room.  Prayer is warfare.  Healing is warfare.  And we are in a war, folks.  A war against the enemy. That is why God tells us in Ephesians 6 to put on the full armor of God.  Satan and his crew are our enemies.  God shows us where to find what we need to fight them.  His Word, prayer, prayer warriors, knowing who we are and Whose we are, and keeping our eyes of Jesus are weapons we need in our arsenal.

God is using the thoughts and prayers of others to help sustain us too.  Last Friday my sister Janelle called and let me express all my feelings, sharing logic and love back.  Saturday a dear friend from high school called and did the same.  I got a card from my sister Jan in the mail that touched my heart and today friends sent me a card about the power of prayer that has me crying every time I read it.  God's love taps are part of the battle plan.

I truly recommend you see this movie.  Maybe you will want to create your own war room.  Maybe you already have!

Thursday, September 3, 2015


"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 
2 Corinthians 4: 7-9

Monday morning I received the call....."You have breast cancer".  By Monday night I was exhausted and weary. I could not begin to fathom how I was going to fight cancer for a second time.  I was so thankful my body had been healing more and more and was blown away by the knowledge that one more battle was ahead.

Our oldest son called that night for a second time and I know I sounded terrible.  He asked how I was doing and I said told him not so well.  I told him I was weary of fighting.  I just did not have it in me.

And then Matt spoke:

"It is okay tonight that you are feeling weary, Mom.  It is okay to let Jesus carry you tonight like in the poem, "Footprints".  But tomorrow when I call you, I want to hear a different story.  Tomorrow you need to get back up and fight.   Make a battle plan and fight.  You can do this, Mom.  This is just one more hurdle to get across, and you have crossed many and done well.  You can do this."

He did call the next day, and I was not great, but I was up and moving forward.  I had started making plans for how to take care of myself.  That same day I asked Joel to get out the framed family photos we had packed for the move.  I needed to have them around me.  I needed to SEE who I was fighting for.  I asked friends to come by this week to pray and visit.  I asked for prayers from our Facebook friends, family, and other friends and former church congregations.   I took a leave of absence from the prayer group I facilitate.  It requires several check-ins a day.  I looked into essential oils to help support my body during this process.  I am still eating healthy even though comfort food is calling my name.  I decided to write about this journey. I let the tears fall when and where they needed to, and  I asked for lots of hugs from Joel.  I kept him close.  I slowly, and periodically began to open my heart again to what Holy Spirit wanted to tell me.

Today we discussed the house and moving and made a decision to keep the house off the market indefinitely, and re-visit our move full time to AZ.  It was always hard to think about being far from family, and it was even more difficult after cancer came to call.  Right now we need to become as stress free as possible.  I also made the call to my breast cancer advocate and we both had a long talk even though fear wanted to stop me from hearing any more news.  It turns out she had only good news to share on the further testing they did.  It gave us more hope.  This is how I am fighting the battle.  It is a battle for not only my body, but for my soul.

This battling.  There are times it feels like it is all I have done since I was a child.  Certainly it has been constant with health issues for so many years.  It is what I am familiar with, which makes me wonder if I know how to rest.

I heard today that God has not asked us to live from battle to battle in our lives, but from glory to glory.  The battle to battle becomes the focus ~~all about the fight, not about Jesus;  There are definitely times to fight.  This is one of those times.  BUT it is also time to rest in what we know.  To rest in the victory that is ours even in death.  It is time to rest in the arms of Jesus, sheltered in His wings.  It is time to let myself be loved by those who love me/us.  This is Joel's journey, too, and today, we are in a better place as we remember all God has done for us.  As we remember we are loved.

Our oldest son and our daughters have called and been encouraging, along with some family, and just what did we do before texting?  Our other son and many others are texting encouraging words.  Oh my goodness it has been like love taps from God to hear from them.  I know I am not in this battle alone.  So, when I am weary, I am resting, and when I need to fight, I am.  Even when all I can hear around me are the sounds of the battle, I am not letting cancer's voice be bigger than the voice of my Savior, my Healer.  I am not letting fear consume me.  Well, at least I am not partnering with it!! And when this is over we are going to have a "count it all joy" party and you are all invited!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

I Woke Up Angry With God

I woke up angry today.  I went to bed fearful, but I woke up angry.  You see, after last week's maize through mammograms, ultrasounds, and an incision biopsy, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Everyone keeps telling me, it is very small, it is only one kind (who knew you could have 2 kinds at once) and it is caught early, but it is still breast cancer.  I have so many emotions that have surfaced the past two days, and so many thoughts, insights, and God's love taps that have come my way already that I have decided to journal here our walk through cancer.  It is not my first.  Nearly 5 years ago I had uterine cancer.

I woke up so angry......and not with Satan who comes to kill, steal, and destroy, but with God.  I am angry with God.  I feel like I have gone through enough already.  Decades of sickness and fighting the good fight and now yet one more.  I KNOW God could heal is nothing to Him.  I KNOW He wants us well and Satan wants us dead.  I KNOW He answers prayers.  He has used our hands and words to pray over people and we have seen them healed.  Why not heal me?  Really God?  And we also took our house off the market.  Our plans have been foiled by this.  Plans we thought were from God.  I was angry.

So we headed to Younkers today to look for some tennies I wanted for "house shoes".  I will definitely need these backless shoes to slip on and off now that we will be here yet another winter.  At the store they hardly had any shoes my size....really???  It is like that every time I go there.  It made more more angry.  I saw one pair on sale that I liked but it they had light blue and white flowers on them.  Not very practical.  And then I thought....hey, they made me smile and I need to smile now more than ever,  Like my hot pink tennies, they made me I bought them.  And got a really good price too.

We then headed to the grocery store and as we were walking down the aisle and I was crabbinig about everything, a woman from a former parish Joel served at as an Interim walked towards us.  Joel said hi to "S" and she asked, "Is your house sold?"  Joel told her no it was off the market due to me having breast cancer.  She was very compassionate and then said, "I had breast cancer twice in the past 22 years and have no breasts but I am here and doing well.  YOU will, too, Renee."  She talked a bit more about it and I told her my type and grade, etc. and then she said, "You can do this."  You will be fine."  I fell apart.  Tears rolling down my face in the grocery store.  We hugged.   As she left, she asked me if we wanted it on the church's prayer chain and I said yes.  I told her I KNEW God had put her in my path today.  We both were teary.

Even in my anger at God, His grace came down as He provided someone for me to be encouraged by.  I had been thinking about having my request put on this particular parish's prayer chain, but had not asked Joel yet.  God provided someone to do that for the grocery store and in spite of my anger at Him.  I cried off and on as we shopped.  I have been doing a lot of crying lately.  I also let go of a lot of the anger.  God does not put disease on us, Satan does.  I know that, but I am hurt.  God is okay with that.  He is more than okay.  He is blessing me along the way, letting me know how much He loves me.

And that love for me?  I will write about that soon.  I have so much to write about already!

Thanks for taking this journey with me.  I hope it blesses you as we watch God show up in every part of this walk through breast cancer.  Because if He shows up for me, He will show up for all of us.  He is "El Roi", the God who sees me (us).