The Prison as His Steadfast Love

This morning God has me in Genesis 39 & 40.  Although I’m suffering from a touch of “chemo brain” this morning, I just had to write about this impression the Holy Spirit gave me as I was reading His Word.

To catch you up, these two chapters recount the first part of the patriarch Joseph’s time in Egypt, after maliciously being sold into slavery by his brothers.  He begins to work for Potifar, an officer of Pharaoh, and God blessed the home of Potifar because of Joseph.  Things were going well, until Joseph was unjustly accused of rape by Potifar’s wife, and Joseph was thrown into prison.

Genesis 29:21 tells us that  “the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.”

The Lord gave Joseph steadfast love in prison.

This struck me because the prison seems like the opposite of steadfast love.

This phrase “steadfast love” in the original language (Hebrew) is the word “CHECED” which is translated goodness, mercy, faithfulness.

Could it be that the prison WAS God’s steadfast love in Joseph’s life?

Could it be that the prison was to prepare Joseph for all that God has ahead of him (go read the rest of the story!)

The prison is often a place of preparation.

Joesph’s prison made him into a man of humility and utter dependence on God.

Whatever prison of affliction you sit in today, in the path of obedience to the Lord, could be God’s very steadfast love to you.

Be encouraged today, friends.

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.”  Psalm 23:6



Living an “as you are going” Life

I want to share a story today that is a bit of a departure from all of this cancer talk.  I write today to remind you, and to remind me of three truths, so we can live in three ways:

Three Truths:

  1. God is ALWAYS working out His purposes in every single place our feet take us, every single day
  2. He asks us to participate in His purposes in the lives of others
  3. When we participate, the glory is His and the joy is ours

Matthew 28: 19-20 says “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

I heard a long time ago that this small word “GO” is actually better translated as “as you are going”.   Sometimes the Lord will call us to pick up and GO … to GO to an unreached people group – a mission trip, or to become a missionary, but often God’s heart for you, and for me is that we make disciples “as we are going”.   Please know my heart for foreign missions – God calls and equips incredible people to do that very hard work, which I commend.  What I’m speaking of today are people who are not called, at this time, to become a foreign missionary, but instead to live our their faith right where they are.

Matthew 5:16 instructs us to “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

Jesus calls us to be His light “as we are going”;  As we are going about our day to day lives, right where He has placed us.  As we are going to the workplace.  As we are going to play bunco …As we are going to the grocery store.  As we are going in our neighborhood.  As we are going to our hair appointments.


First let me share a story where I missed it.

December 2016

Justin and I sat in a waiting room before my very first appointment at MD Anderson Cancer Center.  You could cut the tension in the room with a knife, mostly because of one man.

His wife was being treated there, with breast cancer.  This couple did not want to be in Houston; they wanted to be home.  He could not figure out the “myMDAnderson” app.  The same tool which I had praised, and that had made my own life so easy, was a thorn in his side.  And he let the whole waiting room know, by way of loudly filling the ear of a compassionate nurse trying to help him.

In a way, I understood his frustration. None of us every want to be there, far away from home, sitting in a waiting room of a cancer center, having cancer intersect our lives.

I felt sad for him – that his perspective was negative, instead of grateful.  Personally, I was just so grateful to be sitting there at the world’s #1 cancer center.  I knew he needed hope.

In those moments, after they figured it out, the heated moments gave way to just a broken man, about the age of my dad, sitting scared in a waiting room; waiting for his bride who had cancer.

So what did I do?

I talked to Justin about him.  Praying quietly a grateful heart over him.  Wishing a thankful, hopeful spirit.

In those moments, I sensed the Holy Spirit prompt me to ask if I could quietly pray over him.  Give him hug, place a gentle hand on his forearm, and whisper prayers to the God of the universe for this broken man, as an act of love.  What’s the worst that could happen?

In the end, my fear of him fussing, or embarrassing Justin, or everyone looking at me overcame what could have been a blessing to Him from God, through me.

Unfortunately, I live a lot of my life in this way — self conscious, with eyes on myself (not others), and distracted.

But today I write to remind myself and to encourage you of three truths:

~God is ALWAYS working out His purposes in every single place our feet take us, every single day  

Jesus said in John 5:17 “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”

~He asks us to participate in His purposes in the lives of others

So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.  2 Corinthians 5:17-20

~When we participate, the glory is His and the joy is ours

Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.Psalm 126:2-3


I’d now like to share a time when I made a different choice – living tuned into God’s purposes, which in turn gave me a sweet gift.    I share not to bring glory to myself, but God alone – as HE is the one who orchestrated this.  I was just a willing instrument, along for his incredible ride.

September 2014

Have you ever had a “Divine Appointment”? You know, an experience when the Lord unexpectedly intersects your life with another persons life, and you know without a doubt the Lord orchestrated the encounter.

In September of 2014, the Lord arranged a “Divine Appointment” for me to meet a beautiful young woman, Sarah Cain.

In one day, the Lord intersected the lives of two strangers, and an hour later we were praying, embracing, praising God, and saying I love you to one another. I know, that’s a little weird!  I don’t make it a habit to say I love you to people I’ve only known for one hour, but this was just proof of how incredible our meeting was.   Before I share this story, I want you to know this story is only about GOD – and how GREAT HE is, and how much bigger He is than we could ever imagine!

The morning started off like any regular day; I had some sweet time in prayer and in the Word before the children woke up..and after the school morning shuffle (all you school moms know exactly what I am talking about); we were headed for preschool drop-off.

As I drove,  I was going through my mental checklist of all I needed to accomplish in the precious 3 hours my children were happily occupied at preschool.  At the top of the list was scheduling a much needed haircut, so I desperately starting calling local salons to see if by any long shot I could get an appointment that same day, like in 90 minutes.  I wasn’t having much luck, until finally, an appointment at 10:45am at a local salon, with a stylist I’d never met.

As I drove to this new salon, I missed the turn in and had to make a U Turn.  Just as I was making the U Turn, I heard the Lord speak to my heart “Brooke, I’m going to use you in there today.  You have an assignment”.  It wasn’t an audible voice, but an undeniable whisper in the deepest parts of my heart.  I’m ashamed to say my first thought was “Oh goodness, I’m going to have an atheist hair stylist and God’s going to ask me to witness to her.  This is going to get very uncomfortable awkward”.  I hadn’t signed up for this, I really just wanted an effortless chit chatty conversation as I got my hair cut. But as I parked I took a deep breath and said “Yes Lord, I’m here and ready to be used by you”

As I met my hairstylist, a cute blond named Sarah, and walked back to her booth, I was full of expectation. Almost immediately, God showed me exactly why I was there.  Her heart spilled forth, as she shared that she was going through a very difficult season.  I had those Holy Spirit goosebumps as I shared with her of how the Lord had spoken to me as I made my U-Turn, and that I was certain that God had sent me to her to tell her that He loved her, and God wanted her to be encouraged and have hope in Him. I told her that I had been there; I went through a similar season 5 years prior, and I knew right where she was.   With tears in her eyes, Sarah was in awe that God loved her so much that He would send me to encourage her.

As Sarah cut my hair, our conversation naturally flowed…we continued to be awestruck together as we realized how the threads of our stories were unusually similar.  She shared her testimony with me, and I shared mine. There were so many unbelievable parallels in our journeys.

It was truly a  beautiful time where two daughters of God shared our hearts and love for Him.  It was such a joy to share scripture that God brought to mind that had encouraged me in my difficult season. She finished my haircut (which by this point I had really forgotten about, and I just wanted to go to Starbucks and continue our conversation!).   I’m sure the other salon clients were thinking “what in the world is going on over there!? They’re laughing, they’re crying, they’re praying and embracing.”  This was just not normal! Those moments we shard were set apart, they were Holy, and we were two daughters in Christ rejoicing at the majesty of God!

As I checked out, I shared that I would love to walk alongside her in this difficult journey, and got her contact information.  I was so excited about how God had birthed this new friendship, and I just knew the Lord had brought us together for a very special relationship.  I felt led to hug her once more just before leaving, and that’s when I said it.  I said, “Sarah I know this sounds strange considering that we only met an hour ago, but I love you and our hearts are united in Christ.”


Psalm 16: 11 says “in His presence there is FULLNESS of JOY”.  God’s presence was so evident throughout my appointment, and both Sarah and I were overflowing with His fullness of joy.

So I returned home, and I was still overflowing with joy at how God had showed up in my day!  My prayer journal still laid  open from my morning time with Jesus.  I could hardly believe my eyes when I read the closing prayer that I had written in my journal that morning.  I had prayed a portion of a prayer from the “Valley of Vision”. The prayer read: “May my desires be enlarged and my hopes emboldened, that I may honor You by my entire dependency and the greatness of my expectation.”  WOW.  God answered that prayer beyond what I could have asked or imagined.

God is always moving..the power of the Gospel STILL continues to change lives.  And by His grace, He chooses us, broken and imperfect vessels, to play a part in His great redemption story in the lives of others.  This just gets me so fired up! Don’t YOU want to participate in the work that God is doing in the lives of others?

Let’s regain a sense of urgency and expectation of how God wants to use us! Let us together get a BIG vision for what God wants to do in our lives. “Let’s not be ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.”


How then, do we live this “as you are going” life?  I don’t want to miss it; I want the Lord to squeeze out every bit of goodness from my life.   Here are three ways we can live this “as you are going” life.

  1. Start our day, dedicating it to God, asking Him to order our steps
  2. When the Lord takes us somewhere new throughout the day, ask Him, “Lord, what do you want to do in this place”   Warning – you could find yourselves praying over a waiter, encouraging a sales clerk, or telling your stylist you love them after one hour
  3. Live a life poured for others (present not distracted; confident not self concious; and eyes on otherss, not on self)

The glory is His, the joy is ours….and sometimes He gives us one of the sweetest gifts along the way, just as a way to say “well done” this side of Heaven.

My gift – this precious friendship, which has only grown in the last two years.

January 2017


Weakness as a Divine Opportunity (On the Eve of Chemo)

Adapted from a devotional I shared with the NE Presbyterian Church Women’s Ministry Board of Directors Meeting 1/4/17, on the eve of my first chemo treatment of this second cancer diagnosis

From the start of this second cancer journey, I’ve called it our “divine adventure”.  This second diagnosis is not a surprise to God.  Before I was born, every day of my life was written before I lived even one day (Psalm 139:16).   He’s written this journey, and I am choosing the attitude that although I would never choose this, I’m going to believe that GOD IS IN IT.  I’m going to watch for Him; watch for those glimpses of His face through the valley.  Although I don’t believe He caused the cancer, He has allowed he cancer for His purposes—some of which we may never know, some He has been glad to reveal.

God is bigger than cancer, and my God is big enough to use cancer for His purpose.  What Satan means to steal, kill, and destroy, God will use it for my good and His glory. (Genesis 50:20)

Although there are difficult moments, even difficult days (and many difficult days ahead), God has, by His grace, allowed me to see these truths through eyes of faith.  He’s done it – He’s the hero, not me.

Tomorrow I start chemo again.

Weakness is something I became very well acquainted with during my last cancer journey.  Going through chemo took me to the end of myself in every way.  Although I know God could totally spare me from those horrific side effects this go-round, I’m praying both with faith and with open hands.  Often He does not deliver us from the worst, but gives us grace right through the middle of it.

This afternoon, in anticipation of a meeting with the Women’s Board of Directors (of which I feel COMPLETELY inadequate to lead at the moment), I spent some time in 2 Corinthians 12:9-11.

Here, Paul describes a weakness; a “thorn in his flesh”:

“But he (the Lord) said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

After praying through this verse, and unpacking it bit by bit, it occurred to me that what we (our family, our Women’s Ministry at NEPC, our church, myself) — what we are facing here is a


Let me explain by unpacking this scripture:

  1. In weakness, God’s grace is SUFFICIENT.  

This word “sufficient” means strong enough.  In our weakness, God’s grace is strong enough to accomplish whatever it is that He is calling us to accomplish that hour, that day, that year, and in our lives. 

2.  In weakness, God’s power is MADE PERFECT.

The word “made perfect” means accomplished.  His power becomes complete in OUR weakness.  Our weakness is necessary for His power to be accomplished.  

3.  In weakness we can BOAST.

The word boast is not one we use frequently.  This word means we can GLORY in our weakness, or we can rejoice in our weakness.  How? Why? ……..

4.  because In weakness the power of Christ may rest upon me.

This is they key — our weakness allows the power of Christ to rest upon us.

Our weakness doesn’t cancel His power – it is the CATALYST for His power.   

This is it –that in weakness, this is our divine opportunity to allow the power of the risen Christ to rest upon us all the more.

It’s the upside down method that God accomplishes His kingdom purposes.  Through the least likely, the least powerful; His unexpected way.

It reminds us that GOD is the hero.  Not us.

Are you feeling weak – physically, emotionally, mentally?

If you answered yes, what you have is a DIVINE OPPORTUNITY.

Let’s watch as His power rests on us, in our weakness and He gets the glory, as His purposes are accomplished in our lives, in our churches, in this generation.

To God be the glory, great things He has done….great things He will do!


In 2009 a sweet friend, and incredible artist, created a beautiful painting on canvas for our family of two.
At the time, Justin and I desperately longed for children, and although it was not a promise in scripture, I believed in faith that one day God would bless us with children; little “oaks of righteousness, for the display of His splendor” (Isaiah 61:3b).

The painting was my idea- I needed a tangible reminder of this verse. Not only would I pray this verse over our future children, I lived understanding that if anything was to become beautiful of my life, that I MUST be planted, rooted, grounded in the Lord; in Christ alone, in His Word.

And now, all these years later, we have our three little oaks, and I’m just as desperate; even MORE desperate to be planted, rooted, grounded in His Word, as I know with every fiber of my being that being rooted in the Lord is the only way to stand upright in the storms of life.

My story is so wrapped up in this scripture, which has become our family verse. Each word holds weight and meaning for me. For us.

And today, as I consider this next turn in our “divine adventure”, I look back for the first part of Isaiah 61:3— “to grant to those who mourn in Zion, to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of GLADNESS {joy!} instead of mourning; the garmet of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified”

Rooted– it all starts there In the hidden work of the Lord that no one but me + Jesus can see. Any good fruit starts at the ROOT. The hidden places. That’s how we trade the ashes for beauty; as our mind is transformed in HIS WORD. Exchanging the eyes of this world to seeing with the eternal perspective of our Lord through the washing of His Word.

Rooted — it’s my one word for 2017.

Do you need to exchange your ashes for His beauty? Start here. His Word, His truth, His character. Get rooted in Him, and He will grow you up into a mighty oak, unshakeable; immovable, no matter what storms of life for ahead in your life

No one has a life of complete ease.  Trouble looks different in al of our lives, but the common thread is that this life is broken  Suffering intersects all of our lives.  What Hope that we can live for something higher than this broken world

Here we are Jan 3, it’s not too late. Consider picking a bible reading plan. Get into His Word DAILY.  Let me challenge you–You do have time for what is important in your life. Set your alarm 20 minutes early, cut out one TV show, read on your lunch hour or the carpool line. Just get in His Word. Daily. Not to check a box but to get a new heart, deeper roots, a transformed perspective…. and therefore you WILL receive hope, peace, joy.

The FRUIT starts in the ROOT.

I am reading through a two year bible plan through The Gospel Coalition with some close to me. This is a wonderful plan which offers manageable readings each day.











12/28 Update

Thank you so much for your prayer! We have truly felt your prayers and sense God with us at every turn. We made it to Houston and are settled in. Tomorrow and Friday we have full days of meetings with doctors, tests, and scans. Here are some updates:
~Praise God for a special Christmas, with special memories made with family. Especially grateful that I was able to host Christmas in Columbia in our new home now that we have more space. (A dream come true!)
~Praise God that the bone scan from last Thursday indicated that there is no cancer in my bones!. Huge praise! (It was suspected in my sternum) At this time the only place it is confirmed is my right breast.
~Praise God for safe, uneventful travels to Houston and very comfortable accommodations
~Praise God for our incredible support system, including family and friends, and the kindness and generosity of many
~Praise God that He continues to remind me that He’s with me every step of the way, in sometimes very special ways.
Please Pray:
~wisdom for doctors to determine a clear diagnosis, with exactly what type of cancer this is and the extent of the cancer (Dr. Ross & Dr. Layman–changed doctors when appt got moved up)
~pray that the cancer is indeed confined to the right breast
~wisdom for doctors as they develop a treatment plan, and pray that I would be able to have most of my treatments in the Columbia area.
~pray for my children, for their hearts, that God’s grace would cover them in these days. They were sad for us to leave. Pray for my parents and Justin’s parents who are taking such great care of them.
~pray I remain DESPERATE for Jesus and continue to turn to His Word for comfort..not distracted by mindless activity or other things.
~pray for many divine appointments here in Houston – for people to encourage me and vice versa
Over the past week, I’ve been reading and reflecting a lot about prayer.
In his book, “Prayer”, Timothy Keller says: “Our prayers should arise out of immersion in the Scripture. [We] speak only to the degree we are spoken to. . . . The wedding of the Bible and prayer anchors your life down in the real God.” This resonated deeply with me.
My dear friend, Maria Currey, has offered to write a prayer guide: ACTS of Prayer, weekly on my blog, to guide you through Scripture saturated prayer. Her first entry is linked below. Use this as a resource to guide your time with the Lord. It points you to the Word, and guides you in prayer. I’ll continue to update prayer & praise here, and use my blog to share from my heart, as the words come.
We continue to feel wrapped in a cocoon of grace, and each one of you is a big part of that. I KNOW so many are praying for me, and each encouraging comment or note strengthens me! We are grateful.

Christmas Joy when the Heart isn’t Jolly



I’ve been thinking and praying about how to walk through Christmas when my heart is not holly or jolly. I’ve always heard that Christmas is the most difficult time of the year for many people. I can understand that now in a deeper way (which, in a way, is a gift because now I can approach this season with wider eyes of grace; with more compassion for the hurting). The first Christmas 2000+ years ago was not especially holly, or jolly…but it was joyFULL. Overflowing with joy unconfined by the seemingly imperfect circumstances of the manger birth.

Joy is deeper, richer, fuller than the saccharine sweet, plastic-y hollow Santa Christmas. Joy is setting our eyes on the redemption story ahead; a redemption story that is often through thorny paths. The redemption story of how God wants to turn the most evil to the most beautiful. Joy is being surrendered and willing to whatever purposes allow for God’s glory. “I am the Lord’s servant, may it be to me as He has said”. (Luke 1:38) This is where I’m desperately trying to fix my eyes. Through God’s grace, many moments I am able….and when I do, joy is there. When my eyes look down, I always get a text, or an encouraging message, or a phone call to remind me that THERE IS A BIGGER picture here. To “Lift up my eyes to the hills”…that’s where all of you come in.

God inhabits this story, but my story is NOT unique. God inhabits your story, too, as messy and hard as it is. Jesus longs to reveal Himself in whatever brings you heartache this Christmas. Redemption is always coming…fix your eyes there, and the truest joy of Christmas will be full in you, too.


Here are some scriptures and quotes…some “Christmas Comforts”,  that establish my heart in the face of suffering


Philippians  2:7-8

Jesus “emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

John 1:10-13

“He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”

Hebrews 12:1-2

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Romans 8:38-39

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.”

Corrie ten Boom, who survived a Nazi death camp, said “Every experience God gives us…is the perfect preparation for the future only He can see.”


Philippians 3:8, 10-11 (Amplified)

I count everything as loss compared to the priceless privilege and supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord [and of growing more deeply and thoroughly acquainted with Him—a joy unequaled]. For His sake I have lost everything, and I consider it all garbage, so that I may gain Christ,  And this, so that I may know Him [experientially, becoming more thoroughly acquainted with Him, understanding the remarkable wonders of His Person more completely] and [in that same way experience] the power of His resurrection [which overflows and is active in believers], and [that I may share] the fellowship of His sufferings, by being continually conformed [inwardly into His likeness even] to His death [dying as He did]; so that I may attain to the resurrection [that will raise me] from the dead.

John Piper:

When we have little and have lost much, Christ comes and reveals himself as more valuable than what we have lost. And when we have much and are overflowing in abundance, Christ comes and he shows that he is far superior to everything we have.

Just Enough Light for the Step We’re On

Our family continues to be overwhelmed with gratitude for the love and support we have received since receiving news of my second breast cancer diagnosis.  It is still difficult to believe that there were only 7 short months since we heard “No Evidence of Disease”.  Cancer is evil and cancer is sneaky.

This new “divine adventure” continues to be a twisty journey.

I’ve felt, once more, like I’m in a waiting room; unable to DO anything (tempering my passion) and unable to FIGURE IT OUT (tempering my desire to analyze).  As uncomfortable as it is, God is teaching me, once more, in the waiting room to “Be still and know that He is God” (Psalm 46:10).  My prayer has been “just enough light for the step that I’m on”, and He has answered by shedding enough light to make it through the next hour; the next day.

God is answering prayers!  In a New Years blog post in 2013, Pastor John Piper has said “God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, and you may be aware of three of them.  Not only may you see a tiny fraction of what God is doing in your life; the part you do see may make no sense to you. There are three granite foundation stones under this confidence: God’s love. God’s sovereignty. God’s wisdom.”

I’ll be sharing how God is working and moving, so we can all give Him, and Him alone, all the glory!  I also want to share these so that YOU can be encouraged that God hears your prayers, and you are a part of the story that He’s writing here!  I believe God wants us to pray SPECIFICALLY and BOLDLY, so we can marvel at the ways He is working through this terrible disease.

An interesting twist — Dr. Stillwell & the folks at MD Anderson do NOT believe I have Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC) after all.  I may not have Triple Negative either.  The twist is that we don’t know what I DO have yet.  (I definitely have cancer — believe me, I asked!)  The pathology is being sent off to another lab to “dig deeper” on what the exact biology of this cancer is.  That is critical information which will determine the treatment.  There are parts of this cancer that are baffling to the pathologist at Lexington Medical and Dr. Stillwell.  (Something they have “never seen”).  This confirmed our desire to be seen at MD Anderson, who is on the cutting edge of cancer research.    I don’t know if my treatments will be local or out of town yet.  It does seem pretty evident that chemo will be the first weapon we will use against this disease.


~I have an appointment at MD Anderson!!  Monday, January 9 at 1pm with Dr. Chavez Macgregor

~As much as we would have liked for the appointment to be sooner, it is a blessing because our Christmas plans will stay the same.  We are on a cancellation list in the case we can get in sooner.

~Confirmation in our desire to be seen at MD Anderson

~We were able to reserve rooms at the Rotary House hotel attached to the medical buildings, which will be nice for convenience for this first visit.  It books up quickly so I”m thankful God is working out the logistics

~My repeat scan was Saturday, and the technician said the pictures looked more clear.  The problem was something to do with how my body metabolized the radioactive glucose, which they said sometimes happens with smaller, younger people.  The radiologist will read them early this week and I will get results sometime in the next several days.

~We shared the news with my precious children about a week ago, and although they are very sad it has given us, once more, another beautiful opportunity to rally together as a family.

New Prayer Requests:

~that God alone gets all the Glory through this trial (that people “see through” me to Jesus)

~that God would use cancer to cause His church to ARISE, in Scripture-saturated prayer (more on this to come)

~That the physicians, pathologists at MD Anderson are able to figure out the biology of this cancer and develop a treatment plan to eradicate it

Please continue to pray:
~For sweet memories with loved ones at Christmas; that Satan would not steal any of my JOY at Christmas or in the weeks ahead
~For God’s miraculous healing of my body
~Pray for Dr. Chavez Macgregor  (my new oncologist), that she would be a Christian; who seeks and knows God and prays with me; also praying BOLDLY that the oncologist would be one that supports fighting cancer with nutrition in addition to the “medical weapons”
~proper diagnosis & effective treatment plan
~pray for continued self control in my new “battle diet”
~Hope, Peace, & Joy in the midst for our family (“Team Turner” and my parents, sister, aunts, grandmother, in laws, etc) as we continue to process this news
~That my children – Samuel (age 6), Selah (age 6) and Hannah (age 4) are wrapped in a cocoon of grace and they would not feel the harmful effects of this journey; but only see the good that is coming out of it
~pray for Justin, my husband, for perseverance as my closest companion and “earthly rock” on this journey
~To glorify God through this trial
~praying for people to come to know Jesus through this; beauty from ashes

I don’t think I could ever say it enough, but THANK YOU for your prayers, love, and words of encouragement.  Although I have not been able to respond to each one, I have read every single text, comment, and message on social media.  Each one encourages my heart and God uses those words to give me strength.

I recognize that I’m not the only one walking through a season of suffering right now.  I pray that whatever you’re walking through, remember that God is using suffering to do 10,000 things in it, and through it, in your life, too.

More Questions; God knows the Answers

“Team Turner”, Thanksgiving 2016


THANK YOU, for following my “divine adventure” through breast cancer again. {CLICK HERE to read about my divine adventure through breast cancer a second time} I continue to draw much strength from your words of encouragement. I must say, and will continue to say — all glory to God. This is HIS story, and the prayer of my heart is that you would “see through” me and see Him. I’m simply His chosen instrument.
Yesterday was a day of twists and turns, as I met with my current oncologist, Dr. Stilwell at Lexington Oncology.   I returned home and my head was spinning with all that we heard, which only produced more questions than answers.  I had to fight for joy last night, but after a good night’s rest (thank you Lord), His mercies are new this morning. 
What we learned yesterday:
ANSWERED PRAYER– there is no concern of “distant disease” (not in distant organs).
There is one area that is inconclusive so I am repeating the PET scan on Saturday at 10am.
As Dr. Stillwell went through the pathology of this disease line by line with me, it was evident that it completely BAFFLED both her and the pathologist. She suggested a research hospital, and that confirmed our leading to begin the process to get into MD Anderson from the first day of diagnosis.
ANSWERED PRAYER– That God led us in that direction and the ball is already rolling; confirmation in that decision
My dear friend/mentor/sister-in-Christ Maria Currey will be helping by getting the prayer requests and answers to prayer out quickly. We are figuring out the best way to do that. For now, here are the prayer requests.  I’ll write posts on some of these to elaborate more.  


My sweet sister Liz (I call her “Elizabeth”) 🙂 had a very profound thought she shared with me this morning.  I’ll copy and paste it here: “I think it is no coincidence that what you are facing may not be able to be explained by doctors or science as it is a battle that is happening also outside of the flesh.  The beautiful thing is that we know how that battle ends every time.  God wins!”


I’ve asked the Lord whether He wants me to take this journey publicly, as I did the last journey.   One night I  prayed and placed even this at His feet, as I did not want to assume that He wanted me to write through this.  I sensed Him shouting YES.


As I said before – I believe this is a call for prevailing prayer.  I need as many people praying for me as possible.  There is POWER in PRAYER.  If you’ve walked with Jesus for any time, you’ve experienced this.  We need to pray boldly and specifically, and then marvel at His marvelous works.  Let’s open our eyes to see the miracles all along the way, as God and God alone gets all the glory!


If you are interested in learning more about prayer, I suggest two great books~ “Prayer” by Timothy Keller and “A Praying Life” by Paul Miller.


THANK YOU again, for praying, for writing, and for caring.  You’re a part of what God is doing here….thank you for being my traveling companions on this divine adventure.  God is good, He has a plan.

Yes, there are more questions than answers at this point.  If I let my mind run away with me, I would get so overwhelmed.  I remind myself of the truth (and others remind me) that GOD knows the answers.  He’s a good good Father.

My job: TRUST HIM.  

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.” Psalm 20:7

~that we get an appt with MD Anderson soon (still waiting)
~God to go before us for logistics of our travel and stay in Houston, whenever it happens
~God’s perfect timing of our travel to Houston (especially around Christmas)
-crystal clear scan on Saturday
~For sweet memories with loved ones at Christmas; that Satan would not steal any of my JOY at Christmas or in the weeks ahead
~For God’s miraculous healing of my body
~Wisdom, clarity, open doors for where to be treated; if it be God’s will that we would get an appointment at MD Anderson very soon
~If I am assigned to a new oncologist, that he/she would be a Christian; who seeks and knows God and prays with me; also praying BOLDLY that the oncologist would be one that supports fighting cancer with nutrition in addition to the “medical weapons” 
~proper diagnosis & effective treatment plan
~pray for continued self control in my new “battle diet”
~Hope, Peace, & Joy in the midst for our family (“Team Turner” and my parents, sister, aunts, grandmother, in laws, etc) as we continue to process this news
~That my children – Samuel (age 6), Selah (age 6) and Hannah (age 4) are wrapped in a cocoon of grace and they would not feel the harmful effects of this journey; but only see the good that is coming out of it
~pray for Justin, my husband, for perseverance as my closest companion and “earthly rock” on this journey
~To glorify God through this trial
~praying for people to come to know Jesus through this; beauty from ashes

Prayers to Date

December 14, 2016 (5:45 PM):

It’s been a day of twists and turns. The good news is there is no concern of “distant disease” (not in distant organs). There is one area that is inconclusive so I am repeating the PET scan on Saturday at 10am. Still waiting, more questions than answers … keep praying:

-proper diagnosis

-that we get an appt with MD Anderson soon (still waiting)

-crystal clear scan on Saturday

Earliest Prayer Requests:

~For God’s miraculous healing of my body

~Wisdom, clarity, open doors for where to be treated; if it be God’s will that we would get an appointment at MD Anderson very soon

~If I am assigned to a new oncologist, that he/she would be a Christian; who seeks and knows God and prays with me

~Hope, Peace, & Joy in the midst for our family as we continue to process this news

~To glorify God through this trial

~praying for people to come to know Jesus through this; beauty from ashes


Another Divine Adventure


I’ve always loved an adventure; especially adventures while traveling.  Justin and I were married five years before we had children, and any extra time and money we mostly used for to see new places; experience new things.

As a child, my parents took my sister and me on many incredible trips, even at young ages.  We were not wealthy, but instead of getting new furniture or driving the nicest cars, my parents chose to use anything extra to show us that this world was bigger than Columbia, SC.   I am grateful for these opportunities, and think on the memories with a smile.  Every trip was an adventure, although very well planned by my “expert planner” dad, there were unexpected twists and turns that took us by surprise.

Adventure is defined by Merriam-Webster as: “an exciting or remarkable experience, or an undertaking usually involving unknown risks”.  As we traveled together as a family, without fail we would experience unexpected thrills; unexpected frustrations, surprising joys and difficulties.  Missing trains, getting lost, communicating in a foreign land~ all part of the adventure, unplanned; and although sometimes frustrating in the moment, a source of laughter, memories, and bonding among our family.

As I’ve grown and matured in my faith, since 2006 God has taken me on several divine adventures, including following a call to walk away from a successful corporate career to start my own business, infertility, three children under two, calling me into a ministry position that I felt inadequate for, and breast cancer.  It’s been an adventurous decade, not without difficulty, but full of joy.

The most recent divine adventure God led me on was breast cancer.  In April 2015, I was diagnosed at the age of 35 with an aggressive form of breast cancer  (Her2+). {Read about my cancer journey here.}  The first several weeks were very overwhelming, as I processed the shocking news, and was immediately thrown into a tail-spin of activity with scans and doctor’s appointments.

In the midst of this tornado of activity, I remember one day of quiet retreat.  A precious sister-in-Christ whom I had connected with at a Christian conference a couple  years prior, and a two time breast cancer survivor invited me over for lunch at her lovely home.   Her back porch a haven in the middle of the storm.

We shared lunch as she shared about HER divine adventure through the valley of breast cancer…..twice.  As I was leaving, she placed a journal in my hands, with words from her heart and scripture.    In the journal she wrote “You are embarking on a “divine adventure with the Lord that will forever change you in such wonderful ways…..enjoy Him on this trip of a lifetime!”    I was encouraged to see a woman who walked through breast cancer while maintaining JOY.  I knew I wanted to walk in her lovely footprints.

I learned last week that God will be taking me on another divine adventure.

Although recent scans and mammograms were completely clear (as recent as August),  I have been diagnosed with a new type of cancer: triple negative inflammatory breast cancer (IBC).   IBC is very rare – only representing 2-4% of breast cancers diagnosed each year.

Our family has been processing this shocking news, and clinging tightly to one another.   We are moving in the direction of an appointment at MD Anderson, home of the first (maybe only?) IBC Specialty Clinic.    There are more questions than answers at this point in time.

It’s no accident that I’ve been studying the book of Romans in depth this Fall.

Romans 5:1-5 “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  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.Not only that, but 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.”

This is where my heart is in these moments:

I have peace WITH God through Jesus Christ, and I have the peace OF God which passes all understanding.   I’m standing right now ONLY because of His grace in which I stand.  And somehow, in a way I do not understand, I do “rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.”  I have joy.

In my times of prayer, I have questioned- “Lord am I deluding myself? How is this possible, in these moments?  What is this that I’m feeling?” He speaks to me, “my daughter, this is JOY; the purest joy because it is not circumstantial.”

Friends that is ONLY through my relationship with God through Jesus Christ, who came to earth as a baby born to die.  For ME; for YOU.

Cancer is EVIL.  I do not want to gloss over the fact that there have been many, many tears in processing this news.  I want to be sensitive to everyone whose lives have been tragically intersected with this terrible disease.  Nearly everyone loves someone who has or has had cancer.  Cancer is not of God, but I know my God is big enough to use Cancer for His purposes.

That’s where, once more, I am placing my Hope.  My eyes of faith see an unseen story of grace woven through my life, through these divine adventures.

Christmas reminds me that I have the best Shepherd ~ the perfect guide who will both navigate and provide for every twist and turn ahead.  Jesus put on human flesh so that He could walk among us.  He was a baby born to die; living poured out among the people who despised Him, ultimately to the point of death.  He died so that I may be reconciled to God the Father.  He promises throughout His Word that He will never leave nor forsake me.

There will be many more words from me, as He has once more called me, for whatever reason, to walk this journey through words.  Some of these words I will share with you, some will remain private, forever between me and my Guide.

I am no longer naive to believe that this journey will be easy.  Not all days will be like today, where I feel enveloped in a cocoon of grace.   I’ve been through this once before, and I remember some very dark days.  More than ever, I am desperate for your prayers.  Thank you, in advance, for lifting me before the Father.  

If you feel so led, please share my story with anyone in your life who prays.  I believe God wants to grow us all in our prayer life through this trial.   If He can use cancer in that way in my life and the lives of those who read this blog, I say “Yes Lord”.

How to pray:
~For God’s miraculous healing of my body
~Wisdom, clarity, open doors for where to be treated; if it be God’s will that we would get an appointment at MD Anderson very soon
~If I am assigned to a new oncologist, that he/she would be a Christian; who seeks and knows God and prays with me
~for my PET scan today at 11am~pray the cancer has not spread to other organs
~Hope, Peace, & Joy in the midst for our family as we continue to process this news
~To glorify God through this trial
~praying for people to come to know Jesus through this; beauty from ashes


I’m well loved, by my family, church family, friends, co-workers, and blog readers who so faithfully journeyed with me during my first cancer adventure.  I am grateful beyond words for the love and support we are already experiencing on this second divine adventure through the valley of breast cancer.

I’m packing up for this trip of a lifetime.  I pray that I can steward this journey well.