Wednesday, March 23, 2011

More Than I Can Handle

"Remember, God never gives you more than you can handle." You have probably heard someone say that or possibly even said it yourself. I know that I have had people say it to me these past several months. I would say the majority of them have been Christians offering me words of encouragement. If you have said this or thought it, then I am probably about to offend you, because I don't think this is true.

If God doesn't give me more than I can handle, then why do I have cancer? Just ask DeLayne; I am an absolute wimp when it comes to just having a cold. I don't like going to the doctor, much less having needles inserted in my hand and arms for blood draws and IVs. If DeLayne were not along to keep the ever-changing schedule straight and take care of all the insurance paperwork, I would be in one big mess. I cannot handle cancer by myself.

If God doesn't give me more than I can handle, then what is the role of the friends and family that have hoisted us on their shoulders while on their knees in prayer? If I could handle this on my own, there would not be any need for the people who have rallied around us to offer us support and food at home and in Houston. No, I can't handle cancer by myself.

If God doesn't give me more than I can handle, then what role is there for Jesus? If I were able to fix this on my own, exactly when would I learn to depend on Jesus? Jesus Himself said, "Come unto Me all of you who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest." (Matt. 11:28) I am so thankful for that invitation. There are days that cancer and all that goes with it just overwhelms me. No, I can't handle cancer by myself.

There is another saying that I have heard. "If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it." I have changed that to, "If God brings you to it, He can carry you through it."

No, I can't handle cancer by myself, but I don't have to.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Life Sentence

This is a blog post that I have been putting off for several days. I am afraid that people will take what I am about to write about as bragging or that I think I have it all figured out. I hope that you believe me that I have prayed about what to write and that it be read and accepted in the spirit that it is intended. Only God can make you see things the way I see them now.

I have heard multiple times from friends, co-workers, family, doctors and nurses about what a great positive attitude that I have. I think that it is the same attitude I have had my whole life. One co-worker told me that she is glad to see that cancer has not changed my attitude like she had seen it change other people she knew with cancer. I told her that I thought there was enough negative in the world without me adding to it.

The one thing that has helped me the most is that I do not see cancer as being a death sentence. I see cancer as being a life sentence. I firmly believe that God's will is for me to be completely healed from cancer and that it will never return. When that happens, I will live each day thankful for that day, loving my family and enjoying the days with them, and I will worship Jesus.

Because He lives
I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives
All fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future.
And life is worth the living
Just because He lives.


I know that there are some people that will ask, "What if God's will is for you not to be healed?" If the time should come that cancer takes my earthly body, then I know that because of my belief in Jesus Christ, when I take my last breath on earth, I will take my first breath in heaven. I will have two good lungs and there will be no more pain. I will see family and friends that have gone before me, and I will worship Jesus.

When we've been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we'd first begun.


Either way, I still live!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Prayers

I have never been very good at praying. I start, then lose my focus, and my mind begins to wander. Soon I forget what I am praying about, get frustrated, and give up. During radiation treatment, I remembered hearing a minister say that if you don't know what to pray for, pray the Bible. I thought that I could surely handle that and decided that I would start reading the Psalms, underline verses that ministered to me, and start using them as my morning prayers. I read ten Psalms a day for fifteen days, underlining and praying scripture back to God. After fifteen days, I felt that these had to have been some of the most heartfelt effective prayers of my life and decided that I would start over and each day pray back the underlined portions, ten Psalms a day. I have continued doing this and I am still amazed how the right verses come up on the days I need them most.

On day fifteen, when physically I was probably at my lowest point, I read Psalm 150. The last verse says:

"Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord!"


That is a tough pill to swallow for a lung cancer patient, but I still had breath, and so I praised the Lord.

The days leading up to the tests and treatments are the most anxious. There seemed to always be a lot of "what ifs" running through my mind. Every time I would get worried, Psalms would come up about God calming a situation. One of my favorites that came up during one of these times was Psalms 107. I have always had the vision that this cancer battle was like being in a boat tossed by the waves, so verses 25 to 29 touched me the most.

"For He spoke and raised up a stormy wind,
Which lifted up the waves of the sea.
They rose up to the heavens, they went down to the depths;
Their soul melted away in their misery.
They reeled and staggered like a drunken man,
And were at their wits' end.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
And he brought them out of their distresses.
He caused the storm to be still,
So that the waves of the sea were hushed."


Finally, after seven months, we heard the report we had been waiting to hear: The cancer had not spread to any new sites. The active sites seen in previous scans were now either inactive or decreased in activity. The primary lung tumor has shrunk by half and is possibly dead.

The next morning Psalm 81 was the first for my daily prayer. Here is what I had underlined some three months ago:

"Sing for joy to God our strength;
Shout joyfully to the God of Jacob.
You called in trouble and I rescued you;
I answered you in the hiding place of thunder."


I just can't add anything to that but "Amen!"