January 27, 2009

Over this past weekend, I attended a two day seminar called "Walk Thru the Bible". In this particular seminar, it focused on memorization techniques highlighting the Old Testament. It's amazing how God can use situations to speak things to us that we had no idea that we would take away from it. One quick thing the man leading the seminar said was "I'm so glad that the Bible does not say that our sins have been removed as far as the north is from the south, because you can measure that. Have you ever tried to measure from east to west?" I have never thought of it that way before, and those are the things I love to learn. It's true, you can only go so far north before you reach the northern most point of the world, and then you start heading south. You can go forever east and it will always be east. So Psalm 103:12 means more to me now than it did before I realized this. Instances like this make me realize even more that the words of the Bible were not just randomly chosen, but intentional... meaningful.

Psalm 103:12

How far has the LORD taken

   our sins from us?

   Farther than the distance

   from east to west!

Do you know how fortunate we are that this is the case? Think for a second of all of the things in your life that you are not proud of. For most of us, it shouldn't take very long before something comes to mind. Imagine that the punishment for that one thing that you are thinking of is death. If anyone found out about it, you would be killed. Now, think of the person in your life that means the absolute most to you. Someone that you love more than anything. Now imagine that person says that they would be willing to take your punishment. They would be willing to die for you so that you could live without having to suffer the punishment. That is what Jesus did for me. He did it for you too. John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

I think we live in a day that we feel so much self entitlement. We have the right to do what makes us happy. If you believe in the Bible, it's all or nothing. You can't pick a part you agree with and live by it and disregard the parts you don't like. If you believe in Jesus Christ and Heaven, the part about Jesus returning to this earth again has to be true also. Which also means the part about hell has to be true as well. We can't disregard that because it's not a pleasant thought or we feel like if God was so loving, no one would go there. The reality is that if you believe in God's love demonstrated in the Bible, we should be thankful that He has also told us how to avoid hell. Every single person who has ever been created will stand before God one day. We will all give an account for the life we led here. This life is like a dress rehearsal. It's practice for eternity. Jesus died a brutal and painful death so that when we stand before God one day, we can know that if we have accepted that gift of life that covers our sins... all of those things we are not proud of... not just the "big" sins, but the jealousy and gossip... those things are not attached to our names anymore. They are separated as far as the east is from the west... something immeasurable. I am so glad that someone made sure that I knew this. I would be in a completely different place in my life if I had not known. That is why I am writing this. Maybe you are someone who needed to know how loved you are. God is not here to punish us and restrict us. He came to give us abundant life! Maybe you are someone who has been hurt in this life, maybe you've experienced loss. Maybe you have turned from God as a result. Maybe you blame Him. I am telling you that I know how it feels. But if I chose to turn my back on God, I would be giving in to the very one who caused that hurt. Satan does not want me to run to Jesus, which in itself, gives me more reason to want to run to Him. If you have never given Jesus Christ a fair shot, I am encouraging you in this new year to try. All you have to do is acknowledge that you have sin in your life. Things that you can't make right on your own and that you need that gift of forgiveness. It's not enough to just believe in God.  You have to be willing to put in your part, as it is with any relationship. Any relationship that you choose not to speak with that other person and listen too, well, you get what you put in. I promise that it will change you. It's a new year... a new beginning.

Speaking of a new year, I have just really been feeling like 2009 will be different for me. God has been confirming this to me so far. I am going to share a personal story that I originally did not want to post online for that very reason. However, I feel like it is just too neat not to share. I have always tried to be very open on this website, and I guess this won't be an exception. I think it was the night of January 6th that I had this dream. Mike and I went to a healing service at our church. We were sitting in folding chairs in the second row in a small room. Mike was to my left and he was crying, which for Mike is a rare thing. I can count on one hand the times I have seen Mike cry, so of course I remembered this. We were waiting in this room for our turn to be prayed with. A woman came up and sat to my left and asked me if we were planning on having children one day. I explained to her that I did not think it was possible for me to get pregnant. I had not had a period in over a year. (This is actually true. I was told years ago at the start of chemo that it could stop my ovaries from functioning. Mike and I went and saw a fertility specialist just before I started chemo in 2005. They told me it was not wise to delay chemotherapy. They would not be able to give me any type of hormones to stimulate my ovaries to produce multiple eggs so that they could be frozen for the future because my cancer was sensitive to these very hormones. Mike and I knew that it would have to be in God's hands. In that first year of my treatment, I was still functioning normally and I was thankful for that. When it was thought my cancer returned in 2007, there was talk about a mastectomy, etc instead of a biopsy at that time. My mom had asked a question regarding children in the future after surgeries, especially if this turned out to be something other than cancer. In my mom's eyes, children has always been more of a promise of a future for me. My oncologist at my local hospital told me very blatantly that I should never consider that. Now, I know that doctors are not trained in compassion, but here I was a 27 year old young woman who was being told that she was never going to have children, let alone survive this disease. My doctor told me that she never had children of her own, and I would be better of for not having them either. That sounds like an exaggeration, but I assure you, it's not. After I went out to CTCA, I talked to my doctor's assistant about this and she came over and hugged me. She said that there is not enough research out there to tell me one way or the other. I have always known it would be in God's hands. My main goal was to get better. During my treatments at CTCA, my periods did in fact stop. December of 2007 was the last one I had.) So, back to my dream. This woman put her hands on my belly and told me that in 20 months, I would get pregnant. In my dream, I calculated that this would mean August of 2010, I would be pregnant. When I woke up, I remember thinking "Okay, God... what was that about?" It seems crazy to even think about. The story in Genesis of Sarah comes to mind. She laughs when God tells Abraham that his wife will have a baby at age 90! Who wouldn't think that was crazy!? Now let me be very clear that my main goal is to get better and be healed of this disease. I am not trying or planning a child any time soon. Anyhow, I just really started thinking about how God spoke to people in the Bible through dreams. How did they know what was really a dream and what was from God? So I started praying that if God meant for me to take anything from that dream, for Him to let me know. Amazingly, two days later, I got the first period that I had in over a year. I decided to tell my mom this whole story, and she reminded me that 20 months from now would be September of 2010, not August. If you read my entries, you know that September has not always held the most positive things for me. I really felt like last September, God was starting to give me promises of healing and hope in that month to replace the hurt I have had. This dream, to me, represents a promise of a future for me. My mom used the verse Deuteronomy 30:19 a lot the last few years. I have felt like in the last couple of weeks, it has been meant for me too.
Deuteronomy 30:19 This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.

My mom and I got home last Tuesday from my 5th treatment in this cycle of chemo. The Thursday prior, I had to have part of a few of my toenails removed due to the chemo. (I know, gross!). They healed fine and I was able to still receive my scheduled chemo. I have my next one set for February 9th. The one following, March 2nd, I will have scans again so my doctor will know if they want to change any of my medications. Please be in prayer for my bones. They are going to look at the spot in my hip and this will be a major factor in how long I have to continue chemo. Also, my CEA tumor marker went from a 22 to a 23. When I asked about this, it was explained to me that this was not concerning as this marker fluctuates due to inflammation, and it was probably due to my feet. I asked if the reason it was a 95 after surgery could have been due to the surgery, and that was confirmed to me.  I wish I had known that sooner, but it also confirms to me that God does not want me worrying about those kinds of things. My breast cancer tumor marker is at a 7, and I believe normal range is between 0 and 30. So this is really good news.

Wow, this is a long entry! I guess I should not wait so long to update! Thank you so much for your faithful prayers!!

I want to leave you with a link to a song called "Let the Worshippers Arise". I have heard it on the radio. I can imagine the choirs in Heaven, and my brother is a part of them. I miss him so much but I am so so thankful that I know that he is literally standing in the presence of our Savior. I imagine this song being sung and literally every single person standing up at the part that says "Let the worshippers arise!", their voices giving me goose bumps. I imagine almost like a stadium filled with people, and it is so bright. How awesome would it be if we would stand and praise our Father the way that they are there... right now.

Click here to listen to Let the Worshippers Arise

Click here to go back to my updates