Monday, November 2, 2015

Transferring Blog!

You can find this blog on our new website, . Please take a second to hop over there, bookmark, and join it because the current one will close soon.
I am working on writing the story of my healing in book form, but it's taking longer than I hoped. So in the meantime I needed a new website and didn't want it to have "cancer" in the name. I prayed about how it could reflect what should be the focus of all our lives, and God reminded me about the crux of my message--Love. I used to think He gave me the message of hope, but then He reminded me that "faith, hope, and love remain, but the greatest of these is love" (1 Cor 13:13). He is love, and although people through time tend to alter the definition of the term, the true Word reflects its meaning in some way through every page of the Bible. Everyone knows love is patient and kind, doesn't envy or boast, etc. (1 Cor 13:4-8). But love also speaks truth and does not leave a thief to steal, but lets him labor and do honest work (Ephesians 4:25, 28). Walking in love means forgiving people who don't deserve it, the way Jesus forgives us Every.Single.Day...
So, on this journey to walk in His unceasing love, I have summarized the basics of what I know:
I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend.
I am messy, moody, short-sighted, forgetful, quick to anger, slow to listen.
But, I am the beloved daughter of royalty. My Father is the King of all Kings, the beginning and the end. He created me in His image, and finds me delightful.
And, I am just like you.
He knows every bad thing we have ever done, every dark thought to pass through our minds. There have been many.
He doesn't punish us for those things, although He could. Instead, His perfect Son willingly took every one of our sins and carried them to the cross, where He died so that we can live.
When I fell in love with Jesus and thanked Him for taking my punishment, He blessed me to spend eternal life in heaven, with Him. I look forward to worshipping Him forever. He does that for every person who accepts Him. We don't earn or deserve it, we just receive it upon request. No strings attached, no fine print.
I didn't deserve to be miraculously healed of terminal cancer, but He freely spoke the word and cast all the cancer out of my body. "But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift" Ephesians 4:7.
I transferred my old blog with lots of details from my family's journey with incurable cancer to this site. Please join it and spread the word of  

Friday, September 11, 2015

Rest in Peace

I've been trying to encourage a friend who the Lord is unveiling as an intercessor, while living out the hard consequences of interceding for people. The truth about intercession is that it's really depressing. And lonely. Disappointment abounds as we look for God's hand at work and can't see it, day after day.

I have this general policy that I can only take on a few prayer "projects" at a time. So many people need prayer, and I can't stand rattling off an impersonal list of needs to God. So I limit it to the people He really puts on my heart. Because, I want to really love Him enough to wholeheartedly seek healing for His people. I want to love His people enough to lose sleep over their condition. To lose my breath when their own breathing is restricted. To lose my appetite when theirs fails. The Lord inspired so many strangers to loved me like that when I was sick. Isn't that the least I can do for others?

I guess praying passionately for other people is my version of loving outrageously, even though they may never feel the effects of it. Because no matter how passionate our pleas are, we don't always see answers. Lately it feels like I rarely receive responses.

I posted about Lyn a time or two on here. She was diagnosed with breast cancer a little less than a year ago. She had a nice life and a loving family, and a strong desire for the Lord to heal her. But she went to heaven today. I recently heard a pastor mention with disdain that some well-meaning people pray others "out of heaven", by praying that they'd have more time on earth. I don't want to do that, although considering how many of our prayers go unanswered, I'm not convinced God keeps people around who don't belong here just because faithful people ask Him to.

I'm really sad that Lyn passed away. I only met her a few times, but prayed for her (along with many others) with passion and zeal, and can feel the disappointment she had to carry as her hopes were dashed, along with juggling the feelings of loved ones. I absolutely trust the Lord though, and believe today was the day she met Him and began that part of eternity. She told me how special it was to her that the Lord had me praying, and I know that part of my role with her was to share some of His love.

So, how can we not see big, juicy fruit from all of our prayers, yet keep praying? How can we juggle the knowledge that God is sovereign and always right, with the disappointment from some of His choices? How can we encourage others to intercede with passion when we suspect He won't answer?

I don't know.

I guess we persevere because God tells us to. Because with Him we are able, and if He enables us He has a reason. Because "we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed" (2 Cor 4:8-9). And because once in awhile His glory does fall on us, and we need to be ready for it. Make us ready, Lord!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Outrageous Love

The idea of "outrageous love" has followed me around for months now. It started when I heard a guy in a documentary mention that Christians are not known for their outrageous love. I was offended for a moment, before realizing he was right...

Given the timing of this post aligning with the recent Supreme Court ruling, I just have to clarify that I am not in any way talking about the world's definition of love. I wish that type had a different name so I could draw a better distinction. There are several types of love in the New Testament, but I'm reflecting on deep, heartfelt passion for God and for the people God created. That is not the same as giving people what they want to make them happy. If those things lead them to sin or there is a reason God wants to withhold those things from them, it's not at all loving to lead them astray in that way.

I think it's human nature to desire to be outrageously loved. Pretty much all the mainstream movies I can think of involve someone selflessly--courageously-- putting oneself at risk for the well-being of another. Yet I also remember the disillusionment I faced when I was younger, when I concluded that we all wish for others to take big risks for us, yet it's rare that we are willing to do it for others. In real life, we're afraid to fight for others, or sometimes don't love them enough to leave our comfort zones to do so.

We have a perfect example of one human who did love us outrageously. The work of the One we follow could be summed up with the term, "outrageous love". I daresay John 3:16 is one of the most famous truths from the Bible: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life". It's outrageous, but true. Maybe that's why it's so hard for some people to believe.

"You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:6-8.

So, if we were saved--delivered from the certainty of eternal damnation, and released from our chains of slavery--by an act of outrageous love, how could we consider not sharing that love in an outrageous way?

God plays the beautiful Veggie Tales version of "His Banner over Me is Love" through my mind frequently. The words are true, His banner over me IS love, and I have the precious memory of watching Abigail dance in her first recital to that song, right after I was healed. Everything about it casts the cares of this world away and reminds me of the truth of His outrageous love for me.

Some people go through life not experiencing or receiving the outrageous love of God or from His people, but it seems like time and time again God has called others to share His love for me in powerful ways. They aren't always huge gestures. Sometimes it's the little things, timed perfectly. And sometimes the experiences seem so minor that if we aren't paying attention we miss the magnitude. I usually am very general on here so I don't accidentally miss anyone and leave them feeling unappreciated. But, I will make an exception in this case. I have a friend who loved me really well through our journey with cancer, and I'm sad because she just moved away. So, I thought I'd give her the attention I should have given her while she lived in town.

As I type I recognize that these acts don't seem that significant, but they are and were very important to me. Something about this outrageous love is the personalized experience, knowing that God knows what we need and when we need it. It can also assure us that we don't need to sail around the world to love others well. Just stay close to the Lord and He will reveal the opportunities.

Shannon was the first non-relative to ever watch baby Naomi. She took her when I had surgical appointments two days in a row, and Naomi cried the whole time. Naomi was inconsolable (still hadn't taken a bottle or anything), but Shannon didn't act like it was any burden at all. She made it seem easy and I can't tell you the relief I felt with being able to leave her and not feel guilty about it. Better yet, while I was still in my "I won't let cancer break me!" phase, Shannon was the first person I saw shed a tear over it. I had known her less than a year and received her vulnerability as a precious gift that inspired me to embrace the broken heartedness I felt. It is okay to be sad, it's okay to care for others. In fact, Jesus wept for His friends, and that was the example Shannon followed. Lastly, when I started this blog I was literally terrified to be put to shame. Sharing my feelings in a public forum--literally inviting others to reject my innermost, hidden self--was indescribably frightening. Not only did she follow it immediately, but before I had even memorized the web address, she had shared it with everyone she saw. She followed the Holy Spirit to fight through outreach and prayer for my family and for me, and she does things like that for others every single day. Houston is so fortunate that she and her whole family are on their way to share God's love with them!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Trials of Terror

You might have seen that I dared to post good news about the Good News of Jesus on Wednesday. I spent a few minutes extolling the Lord and some of the great things He has done in supernaturally healing me of incurable cancer. So, of course, the following day it looked like everything had changed...

I went to my routine bi-annual appointment with Dr. Crooms, my awesome surgeon. I would remind you how completely amazing he is, but the best nurse in the world, Nurse Karen, asked that I stop advertising for them--the list of patients waiting to get in with him is just too long! Anyway, I had a lump of scar tissue that Dr. Rassam hasn't been concerned about, but Dr. Crooms was interested in it and wanted a closer look. He gave me an ultrasound then had me come back today for a biopsy. 

I don't know if this event arose from some sort of interchange between the devil and the Lord,  like what happened in Job. Maybe God wanted me to see what I would do in a situation like this. Either way, I've entitled it, "Trial of Terror: Will They or Won't They?" Because it was so clear that it was an opportunity to put our money where our mouths were--would we allow terror to set in, and embrace the panic of having the cancer return (or another cancer discovered)? Or would we stand firm in the faith of who God is? Yaacov told me a few times that it was our chance for a do-over from how we handled cancer the first time around. To which I (obviously) thought, "But I rocked the first diagnosis, no need for a do-over..."

But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 2 Cor 11:13

I think most cancer survivors have a bit of PTSD related to their diagnosis, and in my case, sometimes my world sort of revolves around the fact that God healed me of it when there was nothing else men could do to help me. Not only do I remember every detail of my original diagnosis, but so much of it was the same yesterday. He used the same ultrasound machine and gave me the same news, "I can do a biopsy today and get the permanent section results back in a few days, or you can come back in the morning and we could get the preliminary results in an hour". This is because it was after business hours both times he decided to give me a biopsy. The first time around we got a false negative result with the preliminary, frozen section, yet I went for that option again this time.

God gives me so much freedom that I could have reacted the same way I did three years ago and it would have been okay. Back then I clung to Jesus but was simultaneously completely panicked. My inner voice spoke as loudly and quickly as the real people I spoke to, resulting in an influx of turmoil and stress. My mind jumped rapidly between "what ifs", self-pity, and planning for the future. This time, though, my faith is stronger. Peace is more thorough, my foundation sturdier. This time, my heart didn't even skip a beat. God helped me control my thinking, and I slept soundly. He assured me that what He does is complete, nothing can be added or taken from it (Ecc 3:14). More importantly, He reminded me that I honestly prefer His plan to my own, and He will carry me wherever I need to go. There's no room for self-pity or doubts in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 12:20 Or how can someone enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house.

We have total peace in God's plan and I am certain that I am cancer-free. But mostly, I am encouraged to be able to see some of the tangible growth that both Yaacov and I have made in our walks with Christ over the past few years. The biopsy experiences were so similar they were like pre- and post- tests. Hopefully our scores improved! I had a pretty strong faith and a perfectly healthy, easy life at the time of the pre-test. But I am so grateful that in His sovereignty He had bigger plans for me--an intervention! He pre-planned the journey to make me a better person by teaching me about fear, healing, faith, prayer, compassion, perseverance, and love. He used suffering to enlighten me and I wouldn't reject that blessing if given the choice.

The frozen section biopsy came back negative, like we expected. We should get the permanent section results early next week. 

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. Romans 11:36

UPDATE: The permanent section biopsy came back negative, too! We are so thankful to this God we serve, through whom all things are possible!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

More answers to prayer

I've been healed for so long now that cancer is no longer a conscious part of each day. I remember before I was healed, recognizing how many people can't get "past" it. I saw how it really is impossible to not fear future recurrences, an underlying condition that might cause an ache or pain, or to blame all your problems on the trauma they went through with it. And that was just for people without a terminal diagnosis. For those of us with incurable cancer, just the physical healing is an intangible pipe dream, so we are more willing to leverage the standard of perfect future health with just not dying from the cancer. But there is one who has a long history of delivering His people. He breaks the ties we have to fear, physical and emotional diseases, and to all sin.

I have been cancer free for more than three years now. No one had any expectation of that except God and some of His faithful followers. There was no reason to hope for such a thing, other than for the hope we have in our Savior, who died for my own sins, and is able to do more than we could ever imagine (Eph 3:20). He did it. To Him be the glory! No matter how great doctors, medicine, and people are, their value could never compare to the One who "gives more grace" (James 4:6).

I saw Dr. Rassam on Monday, and he gave me the great news that he wants to take me off Xgeva, a bone density shot that I have received for the past 36 months. The drug doesn't have longterm studies for people like me because...people like me aren't supposed to be cancer-free. So, every month I've spent 1-2 hours, kids in tow, getting bloodwork taken, waiting on results, then getting the shot. He always told me I'd be on it forever, and it didn't occur to me until this week to pray to get off it. Within minutes of that prayer I found myself in his office, and he told me he wants to confirm with a bone scan (not until September), and then I'll go off that drug!

When we were praying for the first clear PET scans, I prayed specifically to be told one day that I have "no evidence of disease". I got the clear scan, which was better, but those weren't words I heard. For three years there have been no setbacks, no substantial hints of a problem. I forgot that prayer, because of the truth that there was no evidence. But on Monday as I was leaving, Dr. Rassam had a talk with the chemo nurse about stopping the Xgeva. That's when I heard those words I longed for--"She has no evidence of disease...there has been no evidence for several years...". Nothing could compare to the first time he told me I was healed, but it was an unexpected treasure to hear those words, and to remember the urgency with which I prayed it three years ago. His timing is perfect, His memory awesome. I was extraordinarily blessed by not having to wait the three years to be healed--I've been healthy for longer than I ever could deserve. But it's still a great reminder that He hears our prayers and He does answer. His timing is always better than ours. His word is true, the promises real, His love is thorough.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Say Something

I'm having trouble with Blogger and am ready to upgrade this blog, so please send me any suggestions (or sites/things to NOT do!)

I'm suddenly unable to respond to comments on here and there are a few I can't bear to ignore--the negative ones. People who send stuff like that probably don't expect an answer, or might think I'll argue. But I believe there are real inquiries hidden behind the sarcasm, and pain is also wrapped in there. So, I read through a comment left on a post called, "More" from before I was healed. Instead of feeling led to respond to the comment I have decided to add more detail...

It was when we were leaving Texas, completely broken and devastated. I had been told time after time that I was dying but there were always more experts to ask, more leads to follow. Until Texas. My throat is drying up now as I think back to that day. I feel dizzy and weak, and somehow filled with shame, just remembering. This is cheesy, but since then I've noticed this lovely song reminds me of that time. 

I have shared these details in public but not necessarily all on here: I was all alone at MD Anderson when the doctors dashed my hopes. It wasn't what they said, I'd heard that before. It was how they said it, like I was stupid for caring that I was about to die. That I was too dense to understand that my days were numbered, and that I was unworthy of the effort it would take them to try help me. Yaacov and the girls were waiting for me at an apartment we had rented, because it was just supposed to be the introductory meeting, the time set aside for paperwork and scheduling. Dr. Litton was literally my last earthly hope, and we were so sure that the Lord had sent us to her. So, not only were all my hopes dashed, but I also had to go tell Yaacov and my daughters that all our hopes were dashed. This time there was no silver lining to add a positive spin. I had yet to shed a tear in front of any of my doctors, but with the finality of this news I couldn't hold them back. I ran through the hospital, followed by a trail of tears...hunted for our rented minivan for what felt like hours, in the dark parking structure of the hospital. There was a huge thunderstorm blasting outside, and it echoed through my whole body. By the time I locked myself into the van I was convulsing with emotional agony. I screamed and sobbed to the Lord with desperation and loss until I was choking on my own vomit. I begged this God for help, for a lifeline...I listened for His voice but heard nothing but the deafening storm. I felt abandoned and alone, foolish and beaten. For me this was the most tragic of  days, the most hopeless of hours. 

The Lord did not answer me in a way that I could hear. 

Not only was my petition almost identical to the lyrics I have since heard of Say Something, but whenever I hear that song it brings me back to that moment. When I was searching for a link to it I stumbled across a solo saxophone version of it--where the video is staged in a dark parking structure like the one I cried to the Lord in. Finding that feels like an extra boost of affection from the Lord for me. He knows how I felt then, and how I feel now. He had mercy on me by healing me, which changes the outcome, but doesn't affect the memory. I thought I needed to hear from Him, but He had already equipped me with everything I needed.

Isaiah 49:23, "Those who wait for me shall not be put to shame."

Hebrews 13:20;21 May the God of peace...equip you with everything good that you may do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen!"

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Responding to The Resurrection

We went to a Third Day concert the other day and there was this awesome singer named Harvest Parker there who stole the show. She told a story about the Moravian missionaries (who were so awesome that this doesn't do them justice, btw) who sold themselves into slavery to reach a group in the West Indies who would not allow preachers or missionaries in. As they were heading out, with no hope to ever return, someone passionately yelled, "May the lamb receive the reward of His suffering", which seems to be a summation of Revelation 5 and is also the summation of our celebration of the resurrection, and of Jesus in general. We are unworthy to receive His sacrifice, but He gave it to us anyway. He did it because He loves us and it's the only way to cleanse us in preparation of eternal life with Him. But our job is not just to receive from Him. It's to glorify Him in all that we do! Here's a link to her song, which is very moving (the one in Tallahassee was even better but I didn't get the whole thing on my phone).

The Lord was already working on my boldness when I heard that, and it was reinforced there. This verse below was also so important to me that I couldn't let it go:

"My eager expectation and hope is that I will not be ashamed about anything, but that now as always, with all boldness, Christ will be highly honored in my body, whether by life or death." Phil 1:20

Lord, do not let us be put to shame. Our faith is weak, our evil desires are strong, and the pull of the world is powerful. But You are mighty. When we are yoked with you we can do all things through you, and we ask that you will show this to your enemies. Do not let our humanness put us to shame, but guide us and go before us so all men see your power through our testimonies.

Our pastor at Four Oaks, Paul Gilbert, said, "if your conscience isn't clear you don't make a good witness". Lord, thank-you for forgiving our sins, for dying on the cross, and for returning from the grave three days later--thereby fulfilling the prophesies and completing the transactions of submitting your righteousness and bearing our sin. By your stripes we are healed, we are fully forgiven, clear our consciences and guide our steps away from the sin we so readily return to. Help us to be bold for you, to be strong and courageous, and to share your love with meaning and truth!

Lord, help us to trust you with our lives, and with our deaths. Help us to recognize that we are not our own, and to earnestly desire to be used for your glory, whether your plan takes us to the cross or to the mall. Help us to be real, living sacrifices for you, and to go wherever you send us, with perfect peace and profound love. Your way is the only way we desire.

Because, "my eager expectation and hope is that I will not be ashamed about anything, but that now as always, with all boldness, Christ will be highly honored in my body, whether by life or death." 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Sin and Sovereignty

Well, the Holy Spirit has used this blog to share His story, His word, and His love to many people throughout the world. And in order to use me as the typist, He found me in my hard, roly poly shell and convinced me to uncurl it. It was scary to show my belly, but He brought so much love, joy, and encouragement from that exposure that I covet the memory as one of my lifelong bests. Yet, over time as the crises and attention were diverted; I rolled back up. Whether it was intentional or not, I have struggled with being open and vulnerable toward God, not just on the blog. I realize now that I blamed receiving the terminal diagnosis, especially that last time, from Dr. Litton, for killing off part of me. But now I recognize that it wasn't what was done to me--I'm not the victim, I'm the villain, but if I cling to Christ now, He will mold me into the victor.

It began a few years ago when I realized, and boasted, that everyone I had heartily prayed for had been healed. Please recognize that my stomach aches as I recognize the pride in that statement. I was on a faith "high", and all five of the terminal people I had prayed for had been healed. All cancer gone. No cancer here. Total remission. Cancer free. No evidence of disease. He healed those people! I should never have claimed some sort of credit for that by attaching my prayers to His work. I desperately want to defend my arrogance, to sugar-coat and explain it away. But, I belittled the God I serve when I took credit for such healings (He had me pray for them, He answered those prayers. It is about Him, not me.). Like when God told Moses to speak to the rock for it to yield water, and instead Moses (pasted below, Numbers 20:8-13) said to the congregation, "shall we bring water for you?" and struck the rock. Moses had the same end game as God's plan, which was to get the water to the people. But he took the credit with his statement and took the glory. For someone who desires to live in order to give God glory, stealing it from Him is the worst sin I can imagine. And, yup, I do believe He rescued me from certain death specifically so I can glorify Him in word and deed. In other words, Mission: Failed.

Proverbs 16:18 is true--pride and a haughty attitude come before a fall, and I guess that was where I tripped big time. I'm sure there were little things leading up to it that I've forgotten about. But after my boasting He stopped answering my prayers. People started suffering more and dying all around me. In fact, two of the people I had believed were healed have since passed away. Of course, my faith wavered, the truths He taught me seemed confounded, the deadness within me grew and I felt unable to control it, but too distracted to care.

Until yesterday that would have been the end of the story. I had deep questions for God and had been praying for Him to help me "feel" again, but I didn't think there was any unrecognized awesome thing He had done. But now He is showing me this and I'm really, really grateful that the Holy Spirit blocked me from trekking further down the dark road I was on... Proverbs 2:13 says wicked men "have left the straight paths to walk in dark ways". He saved me from straying toward a life away from Him, where I would lead His sheep astray. He cares so much for His flock that He protected them from me. And me from me!

God showed me all this in the last hour. It probably doesn't seem like a big deal to outsiders, but He has been preparing me, cultivating this revelation for a long time coming, yet I had no hint of what was going on. I never thought about my pride in that context, just felt like He had abandoned me. And since then I couldn't really "feel" anymore. And I didn't always mind. I was wrong. I was wrong to be prideful. Wrong to embrace the ensuing numbness. Wrong to refuse to face my feelings of abandonment. And in all those wrongs, there was One who was right. All along, God was right! How many times do we tell ourselves, "He has a reason for everything...maybe one day in heaven I'll understand", with no expectation of ever "getting" it? He reveals Himself to us on EARTH, if we just ask, and keep asking, and keep asking, then ask again! He did not abandon me, He protected me! He didn't do it just as a discipline or a test, but for the good of His people. Don't get me wrong, God didn't let sick people die to teach me a lesson, He aligned the timing of all that would happen for the sake of all those touched by it. Every one of us is learning, struggling, being challenged, and growing, simultaneously. He put those people into my life and heart to pray for so I could experience the blessings and lessons from unanswered prayers. And He blessed countless others in praying for the exact same people with the lessons and experiences individualized for them.

THAT is our God. He will not ever leave us nor forsake us. He is closer than a brother. He knows your name and the hairs on your head. He loves you. He loves me. Not in a distant, bored, "dead-inside" type of way. He loves you with the raw and jagged emotion that is sensitive enough to want better for you. And to not overlook your sins and struggles because it would be easier in the short run. Hallelujah to Jesus Christ, our Savior, who lived the perfect life, suffered more than we can ever understand, and carried our burdens and shame. He dragged my pride along with the cross and I was forgiven for it at Calvary. Because after He rose from the grave He ascended into heaven where He intercedes for me. He was already punished for every one of my sins, and loves me anyway! He accepts me, even though it's hard to accept myself these days. I am not worthy of His love, His sacrifice, His forgiveness, or His company. Even if I finally get it together and become closer to perfect, I will need a living sacrifice for when I fall short. Before Jesus came, the priests who atoned for the sins of the people walked back and forth all day, offering the sacrifices to the Lord, because the sins were endless. Jesus did it once, and nothing can be added or taken from that. All we can do is accept it. No matter how awful or great you are, you need a living sacrifice, and He is waiting for your prayer! The angels rejoice when a sinner turns to Him (Luke 15:10). If you aren't sure that you've ever made those angels sing, do it now--ask Him to be your true Lord and to dwell within you. And ask Him to alert the angels!

Numbers 20:8-13 (referenced in second paragraph)
“Take the staff, and assemble the congregation, you and Aaron your brother, and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water. So you shall bring water out of the rock for them and give drink to the congregation and their cattle.” And Moses took the staff from before the Lord, as he commanded him. Then Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock?”,  And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock.  And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.”  These are the waters of Meribah, where the people of Israel quarreled with the Lord, and through them he showed himself holy."

Friday, March 20, 2015

Heart of My Heart

The Lord is teaching me about my heart and Holy Spirit. The lesson is so deep, yet perfectly simple, and it touches me to the core. I've said many times that part of me has felt dead inside since my diagnosis. It's not a depression, just something I wrestle with, and sometimes it's helpful. In fact, Proverbs 4:23 says, "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life", and whatever I unconsciously do to keep from really feeling things can protect my heart. But, He has shown me how special it is to deeply care for people, which can't be done when we are too guarded. And when we're talking about letting our guards down to share God's love with them, we're really opening our hearts to Him. He is the only One it's totally safe to trust. He said, "My son, give me your heart and let your eyes keep my ways." Proverbs 23:26

There is so much pain in the world; brokenness underlies every sin, it's hidden behind welcoming smiles, exudes from those lying at the foot of the cross and also from the worshipping at the feet of idols. We have to harden our hearts sometimes just to make it through our own day, let alone to stay standing in the midst of so much sorrow. It's easier to put our heads down and keep trucking...the phrase "herd immunity" takes on another meaning to me upon this reflection.

I want to enjoy the life He has blessed me with, and to reserve the pain and misery for the sad parts of daily life. But, that's not His plan. And His plan is better. His plan includes opening our hearts for more risk, more pain, but more reward. He has aligned my heart with the hearts of others, and my spirit mourns and delights along with them. 

It's clear that He puts certain people and situations in our paths to pray for and meditate on more than others. I am so fortunate that He put my story on many of your hearts, and that you were obedient to pray for us. I've heard so many stories of how special it was to you all when I was healed, because it made it such a special answer to your own prayer to hear the news Dr. Rassam shared, "It's gone, your cancer is all gone! I have never seen anything like it!". 

When I prayed for Debora's healing, my spirit deeply interceded for her. It was hard and exhausting and terrifying. But when we received the confirmation of her healing it was the most special news I could imagine. In many ways I was more moved than with my own healing. The joy of the Lord was so powerful I couldn't sleep or even carry on a conversation about anything else. It is an incomparable memory of the Lord and me that I thoroughly cherish. Even in my guarded heart I would daresay that experience alone is worth being brokenhearted the rest of my days. I long for others to experience that, not to try to strongarm the Lord into doing more miracles, but to give all the chance to witness that side of Him. His love and power are incomprehensible, but more obvious when our hearts are open and watching for these things. 

"And these signs will accompany those who believe...they will lay their hands on the sic, and they will recover." Mark 16: 17;18

We all have many opportunities to pray and care for others every day. I don't know how or why He opens our hearts toward certain people and not others. I do know that He is the God of our hearts and opens and hardens them as He sees fit. So, I want to make sure to include some of the problems people contact me about on here, in case He opens your heart to pray for them. If you haven't had the blessing of interceding deeply for someone who sort of "shares" your heart, dare to ask for such an opportunity. Dare to care. 

Some of these people already share my own heart. I imagine I know the depth of their despair, but all I actually know is Ps 34:18, "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit".

Lyn received PET scan results, thanks to all for praying! Sadly, the scan showed no improvement with the medication she's been taking, and a slight increase in the spread stage 4 breast cancer. This is totally devastating and confusing, they don't know what treatment to do next, or what doctor's recommendations to follow. Let's pray that He shows Himself to be Lyn's Great Physician and reminds the whole family of His sovereignty. Pray boldly that He fully heals Lyn, so His great name will be exalted throughout the land, and that many come to faith because of it.
A friend is having a PET scan today. We are believing in and expecting a perfect report of no cancer at all. Pray for peace, love, joy, and truth to reign!!!
Julie, Karen, Mila and Kelly are all fighting breast cancer. Daniel has malignant mesothelioma and his sons are 1 and 3 years old. Amanda and Meredith are young and are bravely battling different cancers. Pray the Lord will be close to them and that they grow in their faith and assurance of who He is. Pray for their hearts, souls, and bodies!

Alison needs total and permanent physical relief from the severe facial pain she's been facing, it's torturous. My friends Betsy and Natalie have been struggling with lyme disease and all it's effects.  
Cheri needs prayer to be overcome by God's goodness, that He nourishes the parched land with His living water, and that her soul finds rest and peace in His arms.

I'm sorry for the lack of details with all of these, but God knows everything about each of these people. He knows His plans to bless them all with abundant, everlasting life, and to lead them beside still streams. Every one of them faces agony in different ways, and has done so for many days. I pray they would persevere and never lose hope. That the glory of God will fill their lives and that they would reflect it back to our Savior.

Matthew 4:23, "And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people."

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Faith for Glory

I've been treasuring something in my heart, I guess the way Mary did when Jesus delighted and surprised her--before He proved Himself to the world. It's a doozy to me, but part of that is the timeliness of the revelation amongst the general struggles I've had. So, over the past few years my faith peaked, and has since faltered a bit. The peak lasted between my own healing and Debora's, and I saw all things of God through a different lens--one I never knew existed. You know, faith is the "assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Heb 11:1)". When I was healed that took on new meaning, I discovered that God was so much bigger than the things we could see or understand, and that He would and does do more than we can see or understand. But, after the peak came the fall, where I witnessed less and less of His awesomeness and therefore have come to expect less and less of Him.

Some would say this lowered expectation of God is a more appropriate guideline. That it's arrogant or ignorant to expect more of Him in this day and age. It's certainly easier to fit that "God" into my schema and life. People don't need you to explain or convince them to have faith in a God who helps our but isn't a real Helper. That "God" is simple enough for humans without the Holy Spirit to understand. You don't get disappointed by the One who Can answer but choose not to. I don't cry as much this way. Don't feel the need to lie prostrate on the floor before the Almighty God and plead for the needs of the people He created...

The burden might seem lifted when the only real prayer you say in a day is, "Your will be done", right? Because it doesn't bind us with the desires of our hearts. It pawns off the responsibility of intercessory love so we can get back to the hard work He has called us to.

But...that's not real faith. That's trusting in ourselves and hoping in a god as powerful as a turbo boost of good luck.

That's not the God we serve.

We serve the One who created us. Who chose us, delights in us, rescues us, heals us, helps us, guides us, intercedes for us, who became flesh for us, who was cursed and hung on a tree for us, forgave us, and loves us. He loves us too well for us to overlook the hard parts of His calling and our faith. I will choose to be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:16), I will declare the works I have known Him to do, and I will not belittle Him by expecting things like that to end.

Jesus did many miracles and healed many in the gospels. Some say He doesn't do that stuff anymore, but I'm living proof that He does. He is glorified when people see His hand at work like that. And He was in the healing business before He became flesh. In Numbers 12, Miriam complained about her brother Miriam. That was particularly offensive to God because it was like grumbling against Him. He punished her with leprosy, which would get her put out of the camp and eventually would be the end of her. Moses did NOT say, "Oh gracious God, your will be done!", or, "Thank you for punishing her, she really hurt my feelings and obviously she deserved it." Nope. This man, who God had just said is "faithful in all my house...and he beholds the form of the Lord" (12:7) saw the leprosy and "cried out to the Lord, 'O God, please heal her--please". We know this is a foreshadowing of how Jesus would pray for the lost from His place on the cross. But it was literal in this case regarding physical healing as well--God answered Moses' prayer.

God didn't look down on Moses for praying that way, Later he is described as the most humble man who ever lived. So it's not prideful to pray like that. Not faithless to ask for miracles. He set a great example and it's our job to follow it.

With that said, please join me in praying in faith for total healing for Lyn, Julie, Karen, and another unnamed friend, all with stage 4 cancer. Lyn has a PET scan tomorrow (Monday), and expects to get the results Wednesday. I noticed that Moses and all the sick people who Jesus and the disciples healed were not expected to explain why they wanted the healing. Perhaps it's because the reasons don't matter That every person is equally valuable to the God who doesn't show favoritism. And because it doesn't matter how righteous we are, we don't deserve His salvation, healing, or anything else. But He blesses us with it anyway, because Jesus bore our sins. In Psalm 116:5, it says the death of every saint is precious to God. He cares about our lives and deaths! I'm not suggesting that life on earth is any better than eternity in heaven. But these ladies all have the desire to stay on earth longer, and I ask that we pray for His supernatural healing, not for the sake of their great doctors, but in spite of the doctors, for the sake of our precious, perfect father. May they be healed fully, in such a way that the One who does it receives the credit. To Him be the glory!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Healing Day!

We've always celebrated major holidays and birthdays. Yaacov and I started dating and were married in summertime. So why on earth did Groundhog's Day skyrocket to the top of my favorite days' list? It's the anniversary of the day we learned about my healing!!! The third anniversary, in fact! It was such a perfect reminder of the Lord's gracious, precious love for me! And of His love for Yaacov and our girls! 

Every thing about that day was perfect. I have goosebumps remembering when I got to call so many people to tell them I was healed. And to think how much I wanted to keep the whole illness a secret at the beginning. I don't even like talking on the phone, but God put it on my heart so I had prayed and begged for such an opportunity. It was hard to keep it together enough to get the words out. And the next day...the next day!!! I went to pick Abi's preschool, all the teachers and staff had heard the news and ran into the hallway to applaud. That was one of the first times anyone had ever clapped for me. It would normally be embarrassing, but it was joyous and precious. How many people have ever gotten a terminal diagnosis that resulted in an entire preschool cheering for God? How many people have ever been worthy of a blessing like that? Only Jesus. 

Revelation 5:12 Saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”

Sweet, sweet Jesus. The sinless lamb. The perfect one, who died for my sins and loves me anyway. He intercedes for me and has blessed me more than He was blessed on earth. Sure, He was loved deeply and worshipped, but He was still abandoned and betrayed without just cause. And I complain about a few unanswered prayers.

I spent the day with the girls, reminiscing about the highs and lows. This year felt extra meaningful because Naomi is the age now that Abi was when I was diagnosed. It's like I'm living it again, but with the joy flowing more easily this time around. There are other similarities, too. I remember how Naomi stopped sleeping through the night when I was diagnosed, and every day at 2 am she would cry until I rocked her. She would sleep on my shoulder while I cried. Every night. After cancer I got her to sleep through the night again, but now we are working on nighttime potty training. In the middle of each night I wake her up and carry her on that same shoulder to the bathroom. The conditions now are completely different, but every time she rests her sleepy head on my shoulder for the walk down the hall, all the emotions come flooding back. My cup overflows. My joy is complete.

Psalm 23:5-6
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

It seems like all my posts lately have been lamenting tragedy and heartache. My foolish flesh observes worldly devastation and wonders aloud where God is. Why He stopped caring. It's written evidence of my own short sighted selfishness. How quick I am to forget! How weak my faith is to wonder. And to wander. He hasn't left us. He doesn't change. He didn't reach His quota of miracles and move on to punishing the world. The same God who healed me is still alive. His word is true. And truth is in the word. Nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken from it. 

Ecclesiastes 3:14 I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him.

I'm including pictures this time around. The first is Abi and me when we found out I was healed, 2/2/12. I couldn't find the digital file so it's from our scrapbook:
We tried to re-create the 2012 pic today so I'm in the same outfit, and Naomi is wearing the shirt Abi had on that day. Clearly there are some other inconsistencies but it's still sweet:
The others are just fun:

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Keep on keeping on

Some traveling missionaries from a different religion just came by the house to "turn us" their way. Whenever that happens we offer the story of my supernatural healing as a testimony of our deep faith in the One True Son of God. And, whenever that happens, the missionaries smile, say a few nice words, then become awkwardly silent. Every time.

People of all faiths have praised the Lord for doing this work in me year after year, I witness it all the time. But there's something about people who show up at my house on mission to convert me from my "false doctrine" that keeps them from seeing His glory in it. I want to tell them that their lack of appreciation for what He's done is the single most telling sign that the Holy Spirit does not dwell within them. I will try harder to pray for their ears to be truly opened so that one day we can fully discuss it and praise the Lord the way He deserves.

Romans 5:2-5 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

He deserves praise for what He did for me when He cast the cancer out of my body. But He also deserves praise for making the sun rise today. For blessing me with children, no matter how frustrating they can be. For providing the money to buy food. For being there when no one else is. For forgiving every single sin I have ever committed. For knowing the bad, ugly, evil thoughts that fester within me, and the real condition of my heart, and loving me anyway. But as I get wrapped up in my minor problems and feel suffocated, angry, fearful, battered, or alone, I don't remember the sunrise. I am burdened by the kids. The bank account is too low. I don't recognize His presence. 

The gospel message is SO SIMPLE, why is it SO HARD to live out? Going back to the Old Testament, there were only 10 Commandments. Ten simple laws, that spawned numerous iterations because the people couldn't distinguish between the black and white. No matter how many experts weighed in on what the laws meant, people kept breaking them. Day after day. Finally, the Lord sent His only son, who was fully God and fully man, to live as a sinless, perfect sacrifice to atone for all the sins we would ever commit. Jesus abolished the law with His death on the cross. Now we have no law, and still we can't behave. I can't even make it through breakfast without feeling sorry for myself. By lunch I have judged everyone I've interacted with. By dinner I've spent more time complaining to or about God than praising and petitioning Him put together. And it isn't until after dinner that I really let loose. Right before bed the guilt sets in and I start confessing my sin and planning what a great person I'll be tomorrow.

1 Peter 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

This stuff isn't easy. If it was, we wouldn't need a thousand pages of the Bible. We wouldn't have to read, "do not be discouraged", because life would be so easy we wouldn't be tempted to lose heart. And we wouldn't dare to cast our cares on Him and receive the relief that comes from trusting in the Holy Spirit instead of ourselves. 

2 Corinthians 4:16-18  So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

If you're feeling like a failure, know that you aren't alone. If you can't think of anything to praise God for, thank Him that Swarna had been told her cancer returned, but she trusted in Him and the Pet scan came back clear. Praise Him for having mercy on Mindy, who did not know Him before her diagnosis, but proclaimed His name before she passed away. Praise Him because His promises are true and His mercies are new each day. He might not have answered you yesterday, but that doesn't mean He won't do it today. Keep praising, keep praying, keep reading His promises. 

Romans 15:13  May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Oceans and Agony

I wonder what Paul's third heaven is (2 Corinthians 12:2). I feel like I'm caught up between worlds myself. I'm looking out, not really part of this one, but the other one I'm floating in so vague and unclear. I'm pretty sure the other place I'm stuck in isn't a heaven of any sort though...

I talk and write about Him from my scarlet viewpoint. I'm a worthless, double-minded, forgetful sinner, looking up to the One who Knows. The One (the ONLY ONE) who sees my empty pockets and the filthy rags I cover myself with. But when I lift my eyes to Him He meets my gaze and smiles. He scoops me up with both arms, because it is not the things I can offer, but my self that He wants. He doesn't ask where I've been, but receives me with joy! 

His love is true. His Word is true. His Son is real and His testimony does not change. He made the heavens and the earth. He created life out of nothing, and continues to do that each day. He gives us days and numbers them. He gives and takes away, and He heals our broken hearts and our broken bodies. 

His love knows no bounds, so why does it tarry so? Three of our beloved sisters who were once healed are now suffering with their original disease. One is too many! Where is our Rescuer right now? The enemy wreaks havoc and evidence of his destruction is all around, like an untouchable villain on the war path... while the unanswered prayers of the saints plead in unison as a soundtrack of this tragic story. This is a great opportunity for them to grow in their faith, I know. It is a special privilege for us to persevere in prayer, yes. God will not allow anyone who trusts in Him to be put to shame (Ps 95:1-3), true. But it is impossible to go on with the same confidence when you were once testifying about His healing and then the cancer comes back. The natural thing for all of us to do when we are re-diagnosed (or it recurs/spreads, depending) is to quit. Quit boasting of the Holy Spirit's power. Don't dare to ask for and expect another miracle; We remember that God numbers our days and agree with the doctors that that number is small. It is easiest to accept it and thank Him for the good days we had. Because it took every fiber of our being to beg for healing, to believe it, to rejoice in it, to live life as a healed person, to testify about our healing, and then to get the bad news. How can we face the naysayers who never  believed in the first place? How do we quiet the mocking whispers that taunt, "It was all a sham. You were never healed. Your 'God' never healed you." Or, if we continue to stand strong with the truth of the original healing we remember, "I never knew anyone else who was healed even once, twice could never happen.". So we crawl under the covers. We hide our pain, embarrassment, and cover our shame with makeup and smiles. But our questions and doubts continually plague us until we water down our faith with weak, political sounding niceties that leave no doubt that the miracles we experienced will be rarely remembered, the once vibrant testimony and faith we had dissolve.

I think of the Tennyson quote, "'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." In my flesh I think the opposite is true for healing. It feels like it would be better for all of us to have never been healed at all than to go through the agony of having been healed and then "lose" it. But somewhere in the depths of my dark, wounded soul, as I struggle to crawl back to the foot of the cross, I find the truth: It is better for these ladies to have been healed, to experience the faith-building freedom from such a huge answered prayer, yet to struggle with the disease again, than it is to have never experienced that at all. It changes us. It's incomprehensible. It allows us to "know" Him in a way that we could never get to before. And it provides an incomparable testimony that glorifies Him and continues to spread long after we are around. Moreover, it is better to have been healed because it was His decision. He has the plan, He did it, and His way really is the best way. It will strengthen their faith in some way to deal with their new problems, whether it is to enjoy as He heals them again, or to be dealt with in other ways. And finally, it may be true that it is impossible to go on after a bombshell like this, but the truth will ALWAYS remain: "All things that are impossible with men are possible with God." (Luke 18:27, that was on the cake we ate to celebrate my own healing, by the way).

So, what more is there to say? John 10:27-28, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand." The Rescuer came before, and He will come again. We don't know when. Maybe it will be today. Please pray for the power of the perfect Holy Spirit to show Himself within these women's bodies. Pray for their faith, strength, and total healing.

I might have posted this before. It's my favorite song. I thought I was the only one who had discovered it, but I guess when I was in my lala land it was released to the rest of the world. Anyway, the hyperlink will take you to the song itself. I wonder if anyone could really hear this song and not be moved. Like, lock yourself in a dark room with no distractions, close your eyes and listen to it, and if you aren't moved, send me a detailed note so I can try to understand.

Oceans by Hillsong United

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise my soul will rest in your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and you won't start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your Name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine