One Simple Question

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Joyful September!

Each year as I turn the calendar to September, a sense of NEWNESS fills my soul.  New routines. New teachers. Newly sharpened pencils in new book bags, with a renewed dedication to staying more organized THIS school year.

Soon (I pray), cooler breezes will greet us as we greet the day, and the fallen leaves will create a colorful blanket on the lawn.

Oh how I love Fall!

This blog, “His Grace Abounds” has been quiet recently, but is it not due to lack of activity; rather MUCH activity has been happening behind the scenes.  This fall also brings a new project ~ a redesigned blog that I plan to re-launch in early October! I’ve been working hard with an excellent blog designer who is helping me to renew and expand my blog.

As I prayed for direction, I sensed God speaking to me that He has led me into a NEW season; a season of redemption.

I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for how far God has brought me and my family: through a cancer diagnosis, cancer treatments, restored health, and now a new home and replanted ministry.  HALLELUJAH!

Yes, He has redeemed my life, and I feel so called to continue to write, to be used by God to plant His truth and hope in the lives of more women.

So, how can you help?

I am writing today with ONE SIMPLE QUESTION.

“What are you struggling with most today in your relationship with God?”

You can answer me in one of four ways:

  • comment directly to this post
  • comment on the Facebook post
  • send me a private Facebook message
  • email me directly at bturnersc at gmail.com

Why am I asking this question?

My earnest prayer, and deepest desire is to serve you, my reader as I seek to follow God in using my words for Him.  By answering this question, you will help me to better serve you and the other readers in the type of content I offer.

I pray you sense God’s everyday renewal this September.  May your fall be full of His presence and many, many Pumpkin Spiced Lattes :)

Gratefully,

Brooke

PS – be among the first to get news on the new blog by subscribing!  It’s simple! Enter your name and email address in the sidebar to the right of this post.  I promise to never spam you (at least not on purpose!), but rather fill your inbox with hope and encouragement.

Sunrise Season

Two months have passed since I saw the familiar number appear on my iPhone.  It was a few days earlier than I expected, which I had been told wasn’t a good sign.  Hearing the news early usually means the radiologist saw something glaringly wrong; the oncologist needs to see you quickly.

I heard my voice quiver as I answered.  Myra, my dear chemo nurse delivered the news:  NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE!!

Those four words were the words I’d been longing to hear for the last thirteen long months since I got the OTHER call- the call on April 21 informing me of my disease.

Time marches on; we’re now in summer.  The days stretch out like an endless blanket- hot and sticky, smelling of sunscreen and sounding like children’s laughter.  One of the beautiful gifts of going through such a horrific year, is the hyper-gratitude that blows through my heart for normal, everyday life.

The quiet pockets of these summer days contain priceless treasures.  Time to sit with bible and journal before me, and let the Lord meander me through His Word with no agenda, and whisper His love-song to my soul.

 

His love song sings the song of sunrise.

The sunrise of a new season.

A season of redemption.

 

 

“Who am I, Sovereign LORD, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?” 2 Samuel 7:18

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The Winter Year

 

My one year cancer-versary has come and gone.

April 21, 2015 so many things changed.

Here we are, a  year later, and so many things are still so different.

But there is One who is unchanging- and He has taken my faith deeper.

He has answered my prayer:

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 would be made stronger,

in the presence of my Savior.

(Hillsong-Oceans)

God gave me a little “heaven kiss” yesterday in church.   I could hardly believe it when I heard the first few bars of that worship song quoted above, Oceans.   This song has been the continual song of my heart since 2014.

In 2014-2015, God took me on a journey of obedience and faith as He took me to the “deeper place” of a ministry calling I didn’t feel equipped to do.

In 2015- 2016, God took me on a journey of brokenness and surrender as He took me to the “deeper place” of the valley of cancer and suffering.

We pray for God to grow our faith; we just don’t get to choose how He will do it. 

But~ His plans are perfect, and He does all things well.  It’s not always easy, and we don’t always know all the reasons.  That’s where faith comes in…believing and trusting that God’s plans are better than MY plans.

 

This past year has felt like a Winter Year.  A year of dormancy, where God was preparing the soil of my heart for what He wants to grow in the future.

I am thankful that this Winter Year is behind me.

I’m praying ABOUNDING GRACE for the days ahead – in whatever season God has for me next.

This journey is not about me – it’s about the God of abounding grace who is the God of every journey; of every season.

He wants to use every single one of our life-journeys  to point to Himself – we are simply His instruments to play His music into the world.

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I am so grateful for every single prayer lifted for me over the past year!

I’m feeling better and stronger every single day. I’ve started to run again!  My hair is really growing back and I’m getting used to the new short look.

I have a PET scan on Saturday, May 7 to make sure there is no evidence of disease anywhere in my body.  I appreciate your bold prayers for CLEAR SCANS!

Pray for me to have faith and not fear as I think about the scans, and my mind wanders to the “what-ifs”.

Mostly pray “ABOUNDING GRACE” for whatever lies ahead~

Thank you so much for your love and support…you’ve loved my family and me so well!

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Gratitude as the Pathway to Joy

Tomorrow is my last radiation treatment.*  I am so excited to ring the bell tomorrow to mark this huge milestone in my journey.

and WOW what a journey this has been!

To be real-The last three weeks have been very difficult for me.  The fatigue has been crippling and has affected every area of my life.  Let’s just say I’ve been in survival mode.

I must admit I’ve struggled in these last few weeks to find joy.  Yesterday, I sat down in the kitchen, tired and frustrated at my weakened state, as I put my head in my hands and literally asked the Lord to HELP me have joy.  And right away He reminded me that JOY is a byproduct of GRATITUDE.  So I asked God to help me to have a heart of gratitude.

 

1 Thessalonians 5:18 says: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 

God’s will for my life is gratitude.  In every season. In every circumstance.

I’m reminded of a book I read several years ago which was life-changing for me.  I think I need to read it again.

Ann Voskamp says in “1000 Gifts”:

“A life contemplating the blessings of Christ becomes a life acting the love of Christ.”

I want to really live like this.  Not just talk about living like this.  I realize that I was allowing my fatigue to rob me of my grateful heart.

Yesterday on the kitchen floor reminded me that there is always, ALWAYS something to be thankful for.

And right then and there, I looked up and the first thing I saw was a basket of overflowing laundry.  Laundry that should have been folded and put away days ago.  I thanked God for the basket of overflowing laundry.   Instead of complaining in my heart about not having the energy to fold the clothes, my perspective to shifted to one of gratitude.  “Thank you, Lord, that we have baskets full of clothes to wear.  Thank you Lord for the family members that you’ve blessed me with that wear these clothes.  Thank You Lord for a washer and dryer.  Thank you, Lord, for the overflowing baskets of clothes.”

In 1000 Gifts, Ann Voskamp describes writing down 1000 blessings in a gratitude journal.  A couple of years ago when I had busy days of three littles at home, I realized I wanted to grow in the discipline of gratitude.

So I took a basic journal, opened it up and left it on the kitchen counter throughout the day.  I numbered God’s gifts- a funny comment from a child, a song that ministered to my heart, or simply the way the sunlight fell across the hardwood floor.

It takes practice to see things through different eyes.

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gratitude list circa 2014

 

As I look through this old journal from two years ago, I’m reminded of the importance of chronicling gratitude.

When I need the Lord to restore my joy, I will chronicle some things I am grateful for here. (I’m starting at # 89 because I left off at # 88 in my journal two years ago.)

Maybe soon I’ll have my own list of 1000 gifts.

Brooke’s 1000 Gifts (in no particular order)

88.  Grateful to have hair, and getting used to wearing the short new style out in public.

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89.  Beautiful flowers from friends today

90. My parents that help in so many big and little ways

91. The world’s best next-door neighbors; lazy afternoons talking with Lauren talking in my den while the kids are playing upstairs or taking the kids to the park. I cherish these days

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92.  My supportive and understanding husband who knew how much I needed to rest Saturday, so he took the children to the gym in the morning so I could rest and have quiet time with the Lord.

93.  thankful that we found the cancer before it had spread to other organs.  Even one month later could have a made a big difference

94. new mercies every day, like the beautiful sunrise I saw today as I took the children to school.  The sun looked like a huge bright orange ball in the sky.

95. encouragement from a woman at church who has walked through difficult physical suffering~ she listens and allows me to be real and conversations with her always uplift me

96. the girls singing “And Can it Be” tonight after bath time.  One of my favorite old hymns.

97. a phone call with my sister today

98. MY LAST DAY OF RADIATION TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!!!!

I could keep going……and I will in another post, or in my journal privately.

My joy has been restored, by opening my eyes to God’s gifts.

If you need your joy resurrected, why don’t you try it?  All it takes is a pen, journal, and eyes to see God’s gifts.

 

*I was initially scheduled to finish tomorrow, Maundy Thursday.  Then my final treatment got shifted to Monday.   I was bummed because I was looking forward to being finished by Easter.  Today at my appointment, my doctor said I could have two treatments in one day if they were 6 hours apart.  So tomorrow I’ll have a treatment at 9:30am, and my FINAL TREATMENT at 4:30pm tomorrow! I’m so excited!!  Thank you Lord for bringing me THIS FAR!!

 

 

 

Lessons from a Life Well Lived

One month ago today, Stacy Sawyer met her precious Savior and reunited with her beloved son.

A few days later, I sat in a familiar pew, in an overflowing Sanctuary to celebrate the life of a woman whose life taught me so much.

Left behind are so many who miss her; especially her family and closest friends.  I feel somewhat unqualified to write about this dear sister-in-Christ;  but I have felt so led to honor her by sharing a two lessons that I learned through Stacy’s life well lived.

1) Your influence extends beyond what you imagine.

A short four years ago is when my life first intersected with Stacy’s.  Our friendship grew, but our time together was usually in group settings.  I believe we only had two one-on-one conversations that lasted more than five minutes.  But over these last four years, I was watching her and learning from her, mostly from a distance.  She was the type of person that drew others in by her charismatic personality, and ability to make a friend wherever she went.

Sometimes I believe that in order to influence another person’s life, a great deal of one on one time must be invested.  God does call us to those types of relationships, of course, with our children, family, and specific people we are called to pour into.  However, I’m learning that my influence extends far beyond these people that I’m intentionally meeting with regularly or even leading in bible study groups.

I am reminded by Stacy’s life that people are watching and God can use your life and mine to touch others just by living a winsome life in Christ.

 

2)  Through Jesus, pain and suffering can transform a family and a community.

Stacy taught me that the most painful parts of life can be conduits of meaningful transformation.

About 11 years ago, Stacy and her husband, Scott suffered a devastating loss.  Their son Cole, at age 11 passed away after battling cancer.

Through the years of knowing Stacy, it became evident that Cole’s death, although devastating, changed their family for the better, as Stacy and the family drew strength from Jesus, and grew in their faith through the experience.  As I heard Stacy’s niece share at the memorial service, it was evident that Cole’s death had a beautiful ripple effect through their family, even through many tears.

God impressed a new truth on my heart at Stacy’s memorial service. I don’t believe I’m overstating this, but I believe that non only did Stacy Sawyer’s life, and the suffering she and her family endured change their family, but it also transformed the entire community.

Stacy not only beautifully poured out her life to serving her family.  Stacy reflected the character of Jesus as a steadfast pursuer of people.  She invited others into what was meaningful.  Stacy invited, invited, and invited to women’s bible studies and events.  Many women know Christ more because of her life.

Not only did she serve the local church, but sought out ways to bless the community.  She was a soccer mom who touched lives even on the sidelines of soccer games.  She served with great passion at Camp Kemo, an organization dedicated to serving children with cancer.

As I saw hundreds upon hundreds (maybe even close to a thousand) gather to remember Stacy’s life, I considered how many people each of those people intersected with in their daily life.   And it occurred to me that God provides people.. people like Stacy Sawyer… who are vessels of grace to change the landscape of a person’s heart; a family; and even a community.

Stacy’s influence will life on in the lives of those she touched, and I know that God will continue to water the seeds of grace she planted in many lives.

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Please join me in continuing to pray for Stacy’s family as they grieve the loss of this precious woman.

Also, if you feel led, please post here in the comments or in the Facebook post a lesson that Stacy taught you through her life.  I will compile these responses and share with her daughters.

Radiation~ The Daily Routine

Radiation is going great so far.  11 treatments down, 23 more to go!

I frequently get asked questions about radiation.  It seems a bit more mysterious than chemotherapy, and not as many people understand it.  I had no idea what to expect!

This post is to uncover some of the mystery behind radiation treatments.  Of course, I can only speak on my experience of chest/breast radiation for breast cancer.   I figured I would share a little about what it’s like on this post – both to educate you, the reader, and also to help someone who is going through cancer who may stumble upon this blog (or you may forward this to friends you know who have radiation in their future!)

First – what is radiation and why radiation?

Mayo clinic says: Radiation therapy for breast cancer uses high-powered X-rays to kill cancer cells. Rapidly growing cells, such as cancer cells, are more susceptible to the effects of radiation therapy than are normal cells. Radiation therapy may be used to treat breast cancer at almost every stage. It’s an effective way to reduce your risk of breast cancer recurring after surgery. It can also help control the spread of breast cancer .

I will have 34 total treatments.  I go every weekday, Monday through Friday.  My radiation treatments take place in the North Tower of Lexington Medical Center and my appointment time is 9:30 which works well with my schedule.  After getting the three children off to school (Samuel and Selah in Kindergarten and Hannah in preschool), I make the 30-40 min drive to LMC.

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Daily, I enter the radiation oncology area at LMC, and check in by entering my last 4 digits of my SSN into a computer.

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I go straight back to the female locker room and exchange my shirt for my beautiful (haha) pink gown.  Then I go sit in the female waiting area.  This is my favorite part, because I get to connect with other women who are going through radiation.  It’s a special sisterhood – as we all sit there in our pink gowns.

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I get to see mostly the same women each day, and we always catch up on how we’re doing, how many treatments we have left.    I usually only have to wait here 5-10 minutes at the most.

Then, it’s my turn.  One of the technicians comes to get me, and I follow her into the room with the radiation machine.  I take my right arm out of my gown, lay on a table with my arms above me, head turned to the left, and the technicians make adjustments.  The machine is a big cream/grey machine that rotates all around me. I must lie perfectly still.  I cannot feel anything, other than sometimes my right arm gets very sore in that position (they say it is due to the lymph node surgery on that side).

I’m usually only on the table 15-20 minutes.  I have come to really love the technicians also, as I usually see the same ones daily.  One in particualar I have connected with over our mutual love for New York City!

After my treatment is over, I go change back into my clothes, and apply a prescribed steroid cream over the treated area, that is supposed to help prevent burning.

As I make my way back to my car, I thank God for another one down and jump back into “life as usual”.  Ministry/work, pick up children from school, homework, family time, dinner, bedtime!

The side effects of radiation are most commonly fatigue and skin burns.  I have been struggling with fatigue since before radiation but thankfully I have not noticed that it is any worse since starting these treatments.  My skin is holding up well so far.  The side effects are cumulative, so I continue to pray that they will be minimal.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask! As you probably know by now, I’m pretty open to talking about any of my experiences.

I am so grateful for your prayers.   Please pray that the side effects would be minimal as I continue in these treatments.  Please continue to pray for “divine appointments” at my treatments.  And finally I could use prayers for balance in my life as I’m feeling very stretched thin in many areas these days, as radiation takes up about 2 hours each day (considering drive time).

I’m thankful that God continues to mold me, shape me, and refine me through this journey.  He has truly carried me.
Yesterday in church, our pastor referenced James 1:2-3 “ Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,  for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”

He said “you don’t count it joy because of the trial, but because of what the trial is doing”.  I think I even said “Amen” aloud because that is what this is all about!
His grace abounds through cancer…

through chemotherapy, hair loss, loss of strenth, surgery, another surgery, radiation, and everything in between…His grace abounds because this trial, this testing is DOING SOMETHING. The pain has a purpose.   That, my friends, gets me excited. (What the trial is doing, not the trial itself).

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So whatever you’re going through today, remember that there’s a God who cares, and He can give you hope in the hard.

If you know someone with a recent cancer diagnosis who is facing radiation treatments, maybe this post could help shed some light on what it’s like.

The Divine Romancer

Everyone loves a great love story.

In October 2003, a great love story began.

A clean cut young man at the office caught the attention of my dad.

At the time, love was the last thing on my mind.  I was living overseas, working on an acquisition integration team of a large corporation.  My weeks were full with work, my weekends full with travel.

In October I came back to the States for a visit, to take a class for work and see family.  It was during this visit that my dad decided to play matchmaker.   An invitation issued and accepted, and I found myself awkwardly introducing myself to a stranger on my parents porch.

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But it wasn’t awkward for long.

As the night progressed, my mind started running away from me.  I mentally put my first name with his last, and thought it sounded right.  Everything just clicked and I felt sure that he was feeling the same way…

Up until the time when we went to say goodbye.  No request for my phone number, or email, or even a hug. All I got was a handshake and a stand-offish “nice to meet you”.

The next day, I returned to Austria, confused.  Surely, I couldn’t have been THAT wrong about my feelings, or his, or how well the first date (a bind date, at my parents house), despite the unique circumstances, felt so right.

A couple of days later, he asked for my email address from my dad at work, and the rest, as they say, is history.  Come to find out, he was cautious about how a relationship would work between a gal living in Europe and a guy living in South Carolina.

I’m so glad this small town guy took a risk on this girl with a touch of wanderlust.

Over the next year, we got to know each other through countless emails and phone calls first, then weekend visits.  Eventually I moved from Austria to Atlanta, then ultimately back to Columbia. Nineteen months after that awkward first encounter, we were married.

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I’m so thankful for the gift of romantic love; for the gift of my husband.  The love we share points us to a Perfect Love from a Perfect Pursuer.

This Perfect Pursuer chased my own heart for years. Many many years before He captured it fully.  Many years I affirmed my love for Him, but it was artificial. Superficial.

 

But God didn’t give up. He kept pursuing.

And finally, in 2006 I surrendered to His pursuit, and fell deep into His oceans of grace.

I was His, and He was mine.

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This morning I was talking with a precious friend at church, and with tears in her eyes she shared how God was moving so much in her life.  It took me back to those early days when I first fully surrendered my life to the Lord.  I saw myself in her and could nearly feel how exciting and overwhelmed she was feeling.

Valentines Day is the perfect opportunity to consider God’s love.

God the Father is constantly pursuing us into a deeper love relationship with Him.

As God pursues our heart, we cannot remain indifferent.  His pursuit requires a response. The response of surrender is “Yes, Lord”.

Have you entered this love relationship with the Father?  Has there ever been a time in your life which you surrendered yourself fully to Him?  If you are unsure, I would love to talk with you or email with you about what this means.

If you sense His loving voice beckoning you to surrender your life, DON’T WAIT!Today can be the day of salvation~ the day you enter into the greatest love story of your life!

If you already have a relationship with the Lord, how is Christ pursuing your heart today?  How are you responding to His pursuit?

Something I’ve been pondering lately is that in everything ~ in the good of life, the hard, the painful, and the joyful~ in ALL things, the Divine Romancer is pursuing our heart.  His ultimate goal is to captivate more and more of our heart as we love him more. Many times he uses the sweetest parts of life to beckon us to Himself.  He also uses the difficult seasons to draw us closer, refine us and rid us from heart idols that rob our affection for Him.

It’s been helpful for me to ask myself this question when I have a difficult circumstance, or a trying time especially “How is the Divine Romancer pursuing me through this?  How can this circumstance serve to draw me nearer to Him?”

I recently read some writing from a twenty-somthething student at Fuller Seminary.  This stirred my soul~ may it stir yours today  “Seeking God means letting my yearning heart meet His yearning heart. It’s a beautiful interaction between two lovers. I don’t reach out to get His attention or win His affection. I reach out to meet His loving gaze. I don’t seek Him to stir His heart, I seek Him to encounter His passion for me that’s already burning in His heart.”

If you feel stagnant in your pursuit of God, remember back to a time in your Christian walk that you had a greater passion to know Him and love Him more.  Consider this question~ what are the things in life which stir my affections for HIm?  Is it nature? Is it solitude in His Word? Is it writing or music?  Is it spending time sharing with friends who love the Lord? Or maybe it is through serving those in need.

Ask yourself – what are the things in life which stir your affections for him?  He has made each of us perfectly unique, so what stirs your affection for Him is likely different from mine.  Make sure your daily schedule has margin to incorporate the things that stir your affection for the Lord.

Author AW Tozer says in “The Pursuit of God” (one of my favorite books, by the way) “To have found God and still to pursue Him is the soul’s paradox of love”   Ponder that for a bit in the quiet spaces in your afternoon.

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Today  is Valentine’s Day, and whether or not you have a “Valentine” to share this day with, if you have faith in Christ, you have a Divine Valentine.  Jesus is the lover of our soul; a Divine Romancer who pursues you with His love, grace, beauty, mercy, goodness, perfection.

Allow Him to stir your soul, and then, by His grace, actively listen to Him, overflow the truth of the Gospel, and continue to follow Him, wherever He leads.

 “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 8:38-39

5 down, 29 to go

A quick radiation update:

My first full week of radiation is complete!

Compared to chemo, radiation has been very easy to tolerate.   The treatments themselves are not painful.  It’s basically laying perfectly still on a big grey machine that rotates all around me.  I can’t feel anything while it’s happening.  I’m usually in and out in 20 minutes.

I have been more tired this week, and my skin is getting pink.  There is a lotion that I apply after each treatment.

My last day of radiation is Thursday, March 24.

 

5 down, 29 to go!

Thank you so much for your continued prayers.

Let’s continue to journey together…

April 21, 2015

It was a Tuesday.  The day before, I had a mammogram (my very first), then an ultrasound, then a biopsy of three areas of “concern” in my right breast.

Tuesday afternoon, I was in my car when I got “the call”.  I remember the call like it was yesterday.  The kind nurse on the other end of the phone said those words…”It’s cancer”.  She then shared that she had prayed for me before picking up the phone to make that call.  She didn’t have to say that.  As a matter of fact, she could probably get in trouble for saying that.  But she took the time to pray for me, at that time an unknown patient, and then had the guts to TELL me she prayed for me.

It was a kiss from heaven to remind me, as my world was shattering all around me, when life felt out of control, that there was someOne still in control.

I don’t remember much else from the phone call.  In the moments after I put the phone down, all I could think of was my three sweet children and husband.

In those moments, cancer went from a terrible disease that happened to other people, to a world-rocking diagnosis that could possibly leave my children motherless and my husband a single dad of three young children.

My emotions were all over the place in those first few days, but I remember so clearly feeling so called to walk this journey publicly.  I felt so called to write and share what God could do through cancer.  I clung to the promise that He could use it for good (Romans 8:28).

Throughout this entire journey, I’ve clung with all my might to the “story beneath the story”.   It’s the unseen story~ the story of FAITH that God is writing in my life and the lives of those I love.  Cancer is merely one of God’s instruments to write this “story beneath the story” in my life.

Cancer? That’s the seen story. It’s the temporal story. It’s real, but it’s not the most important story that God is writing here.  My God is using this terrible disease in so many amazing ways. Beauty from ashes.  I hope I’m clear in sharing those glimpses of His abounding grace.  The faith story is eternal. It’s what I want to focus  on – not just through cancer but through all of life.  I can so easily forget where to fix my eyes – and as soon as I start looking at my circumstances, I SINK!

By God’s grace, and Lord-willing, it appears that the final stretch of this seen story ~ my cancer journey~ is nearing an end.   Seven weeks of radiation, starting Monday, and every three week herceptin treatments till early May.  Then scans every so often, a daily pill for five years.  And this seen story draws to a close.

Copyright Becky Williamson Photography WEBSITE: www.beckywilliamsonphotography.com EMAIL: beckywilliamsonphotography@gmail.com

But as long as I’m drawing breath, the unseen story – the story of faith continues.  And I want to keep writing and sharing this.  Not to draw attention to ME, or MY story – but to the One who is writing ALL of our stories.

I have a passion to inspire and encourage women in the trenches of life~ whether it’s a woman feeling stretched thin in the grind of life; a friend whose heart is tender and vulnerable in a difficult season or waiting, a mother struggling to find her purpose, or a sister in Christ who is walking her own story of suffering.  I’ve been this woman and I long to listen, and say “yes, me too”.

I have a passion to remind my readers that through a relationship with Jesus there is purpose behind the pain, goodness in the grime of life, mission in motherhood, opportunities in the ordinary,  joy in the journey, a Savior in  your suffering.

Many days, I write simply to remind myself.

As the Lord closes the chapter entitled “cancer”, I will continue to write as the Lord continues to teach me, mold me, encourage me and draw me deeper into His loving arms.

My words, I pray, point to THE Word ~ Jesus, the Word made flesh. My words are just an expression of who He is to me….just one imperfect woman seeking to be an extravagant worshipper with my life…one woman, just like you, covered in His abounding grace seeking to Know the Grace-giver, and make Him known.

Will you read along, friends? Let’s continue to journey together.

(From Exodus 15~ portions from my chronological daily reading this morning)..My soul swells in worship to who God is!  He defeats all enemies~ Pharaoh’s army, cancer, and the ultimate enemy- satan!

2The Lord is my strength and my song,
    and he has become my salvation;
this is my God, and I will praise him,
    my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power,
    your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy.
In the greatness of your majesty you overthrow your adversaries;
    you send out your fury; it consumes them like stubble.

The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake,
    I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them.
    I will draw my sword; my hand shall destroy them.’
11 “Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods?
    Who is like you, majestic in holiness,
    awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?

13 “You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed;
    you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode.

17 You will bring them in and plant them on your own mountain,
    the place, O Lord, which you have made for your abode,
    the sanctuary, O Lord, which your hands have established.
18 The Lord will reign forever and ever.”

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yes.

Radiation Update

This week the radiation oncologist will finalize my radiation plan, and on Friday, February 5th I’ll go for my “trial run”.  This is where they get the machine lined up and I’ll get my permanent markings which is how they make sure the machine is in the right place each time.

I will have 34 treatments (not 35 as I thought). It will be just at 7 weeks, Monday through Friday.

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I’m told that my first radiation treatment will be on Monday, February 8.  I don’t have the time yet.  My daily radiation treatment will be at the same time each day, and I’ll choose my time based one what is available when I go in this Friday.

Starting on February 8th, puts me finishing on Maundy Thursday…the day before Good Friday! What a good Friday that will be for me! It’s such a sweet “kiss from Heaven” that the Lord scheduled it that way.

The most common side effects are fatigue and burning of the skin.  I already struggle with fatigue, especially in the late afternoons/evenings, so I will probably have to go to bed even earlier.  Even though I’m five months out from chemo, I find I still need much more sleep these days.  My body is still recovering from chemo and two surgeries.

I appreciate your prayers as I enter this final phase of treatment!

Here are my prayers:

~Many “divine appointments” at my radiation appointments….that I would get to know some of the other ladies in the waiting room who I will see every day

~That the side effects are minimal

~That the Lord helps me keep my eyes focused on Him

To close, a bit of encouragement, for whatever circumstances you are going through today.  “God’s plans for your life far exceed the circumstances of your day!” (Louie Giglio)

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