This week has been one of feeling almost normal! I still get frustrated with not having quite the energy that I would like, but all in all the second ten days post chemo far surpassed the first ten days in feeling good. I think that maybe my course of treatment will be divided into “the chemo weeks” versus the “almost normal weeks”. But we never really know, do we?! Every time I try to figure things out for myself (thereby hanging on to that precious illusion of being in control of my life that I so cling to), God re-arranges things!
I want to share with you this evening one little piece of how I was prepared for this part of my journey. It began in early May when I celebrated my birthday. As is my custom, I asked the Lord if there was a particular word or verse that I could in a sense “take to the bank” as direction for the year ahead. I was impressed that this year would be year of joy (small “j”, not capital “j”!). I even wrote in my Bible that “joy” was my word for my sixty-sixth year. Not too many days later I joined a women’s Bible study on the book of James, and was soon looking closely at James 1:2-5 which says:
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God who gives to all liberally and without reproach and it will be given to him”.
The phrase “count it all joy” and “various trials” connected for me, and I believe I had my first inkling that this year might just be a year in which the “joy” that God was offering me around the time of my birthday could have a strong element of “trial” in it! By the time I received a cancer diagnosis, I was sure of it, and I was not unaware that God had been preparing me for what was to come. And, I knew that this diagnosis which so surprised me did in no way surprised God. He had in fact, in his mercy, let me know that He was in perfect control of what was happening. In addition, I saw that the wisdom that is promised in James 1:5 was directly related to having wisdom within a trial. When do we ever need it or seek it more? It is that kind of wisdom that for me has quelled the panic that wants to arise in me in relation to undergoing cancer treatment and allows me to think clearly.
I share this in order to encourage any of you who read it to be very sensitive to and aware of the fact that God is speaking individually into our lives, all the time. For the last several years He has been impressing this on me. We can usually accept that God speaks to us through His precious written word and at times does the same through a teacher or preacher who brings something to light for us. However, for me it has just been in the last few years that I have been able to accept that the God who created and runs the entire universe wants to be deeply and lovingly involved with me and speak to me as an individual by His Holy Spirit. I believe it is so important that in these days we attune our ears and listen carefully to what He is saying to each of us personally. If you have never done so, begin to ask Him to speak and to expect Him to speak, and you will hear Him. And it is so very life-giving when you do.
I just can’t sign off tonight without again thanking everyone who has in any way touched my life with their encouragement and caring in my illness. Every word and gesture that you have offered me has made the way easier, and I have been flat-out humbled to get word that so many people are praying for me. The presence of the Lord has been strong in this time and has buoyed me up like nothing else ever could. I know that every single prayer that you all have uttered has been turned int0 grace, peace and presence. It’s difficult to find the words to say how grateful I am for each of you.
Tomorrow is second chemo treatment day and I will be letting you know how it’s going just as soon as I can. Thanks for your being with me on my journey!
Love and Blessings, Joy