Brad’s Goliath, Our Cancer Heebie-jeebies

Brad’s Goliath, Our Cancer Heebie-jeebies

For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do Not Fear; I Will Help You. Isaiah 41:13 NIV

My husband, Brad has battled thyroid cancer since he was 29 years old. Thyroid cancer that spread to his lymph nodes and resulted in several surgeries, radiation treatments, countless biopsies, numerous scans and ultrasounds, and teams of radiologists, doctors, and surgeons to visit. The battle was long. For the past sevenish years he has had clean reports. We have had scares that were biopsied and found benign. But no new cancer has been found. Praise God! We are once again facing the cancer “heebie-jeebies.” It has been six years since his last CT scan and it was time. As the inconclusive blood work results in a CT scan, and the inconclusive CT scan results in an ultrasound, fear of the battle that MIGHT be coming begins to paralyze me. We wait while the ultrasound is compared to the CT scan and they both are compared to past scans and ultrasounds. Will they want to biopsy more lymph glands? Probably. Then we wait more. Readying for a battle that may or may not come.

I know this is a story that many people share. Is there going to be a battle? What is that battle going to look like? How will this battle end? What will we do? How will our children be? What do we tell them and when? Do we even have anything to tell them? What do we know? NOTHING! Lord Jesus! Help me!

And…that is exactly where I think He wants me to be. He wants me to cry out to Him. He wants to do this with us. He has never once asked us to battle on our own. He will not start now.

In Matthew 14 when the disciples are in the boat in the middle of the lake and Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. Of course they were terrified! They thought He was a ghost! But then…
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately, Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

I, like Peter, am in a constant seesaw state of total confidence in Jesus when he says to me “Come.” Then “seeing the wind,” I am afraid and begin to sink. Once again I have to cry out, “Lord, save me!”

And He does! Every time I ask! Every time I cry out to him He reaches out His hand and comforts me. He reminds me that He IS in control and that no matter what this battle is going to look like, we will be ok because we have already reached out to Him for our salvation. He will always be there to reach out His strong hand when I cry out to him. Even when it is every minute of every day. He NEVER gets tired of me wanting Him to hold my hand. And He never gets angry with me when I let go and think, “I got this now!” He knows I will be crying out to Him again. He knows this battle is unknown to us, it is scary, it is painful, and it is ugly. He knows all of these things!

Over and over in the Bible, Jesus asks his disciples why they doubt. Then he proceeds to teach them a new lesson, continues to show them perfect, unconditional love, and walk with them. Even in the Great Commission in Matthew 28:16-20…

16Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17When they saw him, the worshipped him; but some doubted. 18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Verse 17 says “but some doubted!” What?!?! How could any of them doubt at this point! But I do the same thing. He has been faithful to me over and over and over again. He has done things that only God could do. Yet, I sit here and write a confession that I am afraid, and that there is a piece inside me that is not sure I will be ok no matter how this battle turns out. But Jesus….then says in verse 20 “And surely I am with you ALWAYS, to the very end of the age.”

Jesus asks me, “Why do you doubt?” I don’t know why. All I do know is that He will reach out, pull me up, and love me even when I doubt.

Dear Jesus, thank you for forgiving me when I doubt, and when I am afraid. Thank you for reaching out your hand every time I begin to sink and I cry out to you, “Lord, save me!” Thank you for continually teaching me new things and walking with me ALWAYS, to the very end of the age. Help me not to fear the battle that might be coming. Instead, help me to lean on you in this moment, the moment you have given me today. Thank you for your peace and strength for now and the moments that will come. I will cry out when I am sinking and you will reach out your hand. I praise you in everything. Amen

 

Who Will Roll The Stone Away?

Who Will Roll The Stone Away?

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” Mark 16:1-3

I, like Mary and the women with her, often wonder how on earth am I actually going to accomplish this task that I know God wants me to do. “Who will roll the stone away?”

They wondered how but that did not stop them from continuing on to do what was right in the eyes of the Lord. They wondered “Who will roll the stone away?” But instead of that stopping them from going to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body, they pressed on. When they arrived at the tomb, not only was there no need to worry about the stone at the entrance of the tomb, but the greatest miracle in all of history had just been accomplished!

These women were being obedient despite their questions of “How will we accomplish this task?” In their faithful obedience God appeared to them in a BIG WAY! The job they thought they were there to do just dramatically changed when the angel of the Lord told them in Mark 16:6-7 “He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ ”

On the way to the tomb, the women had each other to bear the weight of their grief together. They had each other to ask the questions like “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” They had each other for encouragement to press forward even though they did not have all of the answers. They had each other to cling to when they were “alarmed” and to rejoice with when they were told by an angel that Jesus had risen. They had each other for support as they were sent to tell others that He Is Risen!

I wonder if Mary Magdalene had gone to the tomb alone, would she have talked herself out of going because she couldn’t see a way for the stone to be moved. If she did have the faith to go, she would have had the task of telling others what she had seen. Knowing that she would be telling men an unbelievable story and had no one to back her up, she might have kept it to herself out of fear.

I must admit that I would probably be paralyzed with grief, questions, doubt, and fear if I were alone on that journey. Without my supportive husband, Brad and the faithful women I walk through life with, I would constantly talk myself out of stepping out in faith. I wish I could say I would be brave enough to do anything on my own but I would be lying. I am constantly bouncing ideas off of the people I trust and asking for their advice. They encourage me to press on when the time is right to move, guide me to stay on His path, and remind me to be still and wait for God when I want to jump ahead of Him (Brad is especially good at that one.)

God knows that we are stronger, braver, and smarter together. He chose to reveal this miracle to a group of women so that one woman would not be overcome with doubt and fear. He chose a group of women so they could support each other.

I am so thankful He intended for us to go through life supported by sisters in Christ, the body of Christ!

Dear Lord Jesus, Thank you for the loving people you surround me with. I do not deserve them, but in your grace, you give me friends and family anyway. You are such a gracious and merciful God! I pray that every woman who reads this has encouraging and transparent women in her life. If even one woman does not Lord, please open the doors to deep and loving friendships for her. Lord Jesus, help me to always be the kind of wife, mother, and friend you designed me to be: fearless, encouraging, gracious, loving, and truthful. Amen

Why the Extra Stones?

Why the Extra Stones?

Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine. 1 Samuel 17:40

Why “five smooth stones?” What were the extra stones for?

David chose five smooth stones from the stream. From the scripture it is clear that David has complete faith in God that he will defeat Goliath with one stone. In verse 40, after he chose the stones he approached the Philistine. Verse 41 tells us that Goliath kept coming closer to David and got close enough to see that he was little more than a boy, glowing with health and handsome, and he despised him.That is pretty close! But that’s not all! Goliath cursed David by his gods and tells him he will give his flesh to the birds and wild animals. That is terrifying! But David proceeds to make it very clear he KNOWS he will only need one shot to bring down Goliath.

Verse 45-49 says: David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it this not by the sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s and he will give all of you into our hands.”

48 As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. 49 Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell face down on the ground.

This scripture tells us that David knew he would need one stone. He ran quickly to the battle line to meet him. David was so close that if the first stone had not killed this extremely well armored giant (who also happened to have a shield bearer in front of him), the next strike would be Goliath’s. What are the chances Goliath’s attack wouldn’t be fatal?

The text tells us that David reached into his bag and took out stone. Just one stone! That one stone is all we need to defeat our giants, to win our battles. That is our one ROCK we truly need to be victorious. That rock is Jesus!

But! When David reaches into his bag to grab that stone, he feels the other smooth stones with it. Those stones are reassurance, those stones empower him, those stones give him the courage to go to battle against the giant with only one stone in his hand.

Like David, I know I only need my one rock to do battle against the giants I am up against. But I absolutely lean on the living water washed and shaped, smooth stones in my bag to reassure me, empower me, encourage me and pray for me as I run quickly toward the battle line to meet my giant.

The women I gather with every week teach me, love me, guide me, encourage me, and love me through every battle. They are there for me and I for them. We need the extra stones in our bag. But only living water washed and smoothed stones will do! The more of these beautiful stones I add to my bag, the lighter my load becomes! In a way that only Jesus can, he makes my smooth stones of encouragement light so that I can have them with me every time He and I go to battle together.

Dear Jesus, Thank you so much for the beautiful, smooth stones you have provided. They are constant reminders of you, the one Rock I need. They reassure me, empower me, and encourage me every time I run to the battle line with You. Forgive me when I forget that the battle is Yours and I try to go to battle without you. Help me to always remember you are my Rock, my Redeemer, and I walk in victory only because of You. I love you, Jesus. Thank you for loving me.