August 11, 2008

"Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy" - Psalm 107:2

Certain things in life trigger nostalgic feelings. ..certain smells or sounds or sights. As the heat from summer seems to be slowly turning into the crisp air of fall, I can't help but automatically remember certain things. When I was younger, this was the season for going back to school. With that came soccer practice and football games. Meeting up with old friends, and making new ones... and then there was my birthday on September 11...

I met my husband when the weather was like this... it was September 26th of 2001. Our first date together was on September 29. Mike and I were engaged less than 8 months later. We set our wedding date for September 27, 2003. Our rehearsal dinner was on the 26th, two years to the day we met. The way it feels outside it the way it was for our wedding. It was breezy, yet sunny. We moved into our apartment in September, and bought our first house in September of 2004. The windows in my house are open, and the smells are the same as they were back then...

Mike and I both love fall. It's our favorite season. We have had so many good things happen in the fall...

Then came the rest of fall 2004. Jeff was starting chemotherapy treatments, and our lives were turned up-side-down. I was diagnosed with breast cancer the following September in 2005. The weather was like this as I made numerous doctors appointments. I remember coming out of the doctors office as he gave me the results from my biopsy. Mike and I stood in the parking garage as I cried into his shirt. I can remember what I was wearing that day... jeans, a turquoise shirt and a flowered belt. On the drive home, I stared out the window and it looked so much like it did today. My family attended a football game together. I remember how the wind felt in my hair... I knew I would lose all of it soon. That breeze felt like it did today.

Then came 2006... we visited Jeff in Hospice a lot that summer and into fall. Looking out of his window there... the sun still shined like it did today. The night Jeff passed from here into Heaven was a day much like today. I cried more tears than I thought were possible. We went through old pictures and retold old stories. We had a beautiful memorial for Jeff and when we came out to join the procession to the cemetery, it felt a lot like this outside.

A year later, I was told that my fight with breast cancer would not only continue, but become more intense than before. I was given no hope from doctors. I went to visit my brother's grave for the first time since he was laid to rest there a year earlier. Fall was slowly producing less and less fond memories. The sun was still shining and the air still smelled crisp and clean, but I was becoming more and more numb to it.

However, in the fall of 2007, I also literally felt the touch of God as we prayed for healing in my body. We prayed for more of Him, and the more we prayed, the stronger I felt Him with me. What God did for me that day was evident on scans, as my bones were healing. Just recently, I have had a little more pain here and there. This time of year reminds me of that, and I know that Satan wants me to forget the good things and remember the scary feelings. At church yesterday, I witnessed one of the neatest sights I have ever seen in a church service before. I saw an entire church respond to God's awesome presence and wait in lines that filled the sanctuary to be annointed. I stood up during a time of intense prayer for healing, and I felt that same overwhelming presence of God as I did last September. I felt His touch again. Mike and I sat in our chairs after church was over, not wanting to leave. I felt God tell me to just be still. To be in His presence was such a calming place, and I could see no reason to rush away from it. As we were driving home, I just really felt God telling me that He is bringing restoration to my life. He is bringing a new season, not one of the old feelings, but that He wants to restore that love that I used to have for fall. That God would fill me up with so much of Him that the past years would fade and I would see the new things He is doing. 

 Isaiah 43:18-19a

"Forget the former things;
       do not dwell on the past.

 See, I am doing a new thing!"

Later that day, I was driving by myself and as I pulled into my driveway, a song came on the radio that I had never heard before. I felt my heart start to beat faster and faster. I stopped my car in my driveway, and just listened. I knew that God wanted me to listen to the words. If you click on the following link, you can hear the song "Feels like Redemption" by Michael English.

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