Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Persistence - Part 2

OK, so a couple of days late but nonetheless, I am here now and am going to catch you all up on the story of the persistent widow from Luke chapter 18. I'm sure that every single one of you have read this story, know this story, etc...but somehow, I either had really never heard it or read it, or if I did had forgotten all about it. So, the story goes that there was a widow in desperate need for help. She had no husband, no sons, no brothers, no men in her life (or family for that matter) who could help her so she was desperate. REALLY desperate. So, she went to the judge of her city to help her resolve her problem. This judge was not a godly man at all and he certainly did not care about people - at all! However, the widow went to him relentlessly every single day asking for his help. Eventually, he was tired of getting nagged and finally gave in to the widow - basically to shut her up. Want to know the "moral of the story?" It's found in verse 6 - Then the Lord said, "Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don't you think that God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?"
God asks us to pray without ceasing - with persistence. If we do that, often times God allows us to see the fruit of the prayer. He hears us and wants to answer us. He wants us to persistently ask and he wants us to have that desperate faith where we soley rely on Him. We should have prayers that are "impossible" and require a radical faith.
You see many times in my prayers, I always tell God, "I KNOW that you can do this Lord because it says in scripture.... But you see, there is a difference in saying "can" and "will." Theology tells us that God can, but faith tells us that God will!!!
So, I have revamped my certain prayer as far as I am going to be persistent just like that widow but I won't stop there. Nope, I'm gonna keep asking and keep believing that God is going to answer that prayer in the PERFECT time.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Persistence - Part 1

I just have to share with all of you how amazingly clear God spoke to me this week. I am so in awe of how He works and so incredibly humbled that I get to have a father/daughter relationship with Him. I am growing more in love with Him every day and desperately hope that each of you are doing the same. If not, you really have no idea what you are missing.
So, I guess I will move on with my cool God story now. There is something that I have been specifically praying for over the past year that STILL has not been answered. Now, before you think that maybe the prayer has been answered as a "no", I know without a doubt that my prayer totally aligns with what God himself wants so I KNOW that I am praying God's will. It's just that the timing is not right...yet. And that's where part of my problem lies. But I think that maybe the biggest issue is that I have not been persistent in my prayers. I have become frustrated, irritated, mad, and have even given up hope and as a result I would just stop asking God to answer. Then, I would become encouraged and/or desperate again and would pick back up the prayers. It truly has been that type of cycle for over a year, and can I just say how exhausting that has been?!?
Anyways, this week, I received a phone call from a dear friend whom I hadn't spoken to in a long time. When the phone first rang, I really didn't want to answer it. I had just put the kids down and wanted to just lay down myself and do nothing, say nothing, hear nothing, etc... But, when I looked at caller ID and saw who it was, I knew I had to answer. As the conversation went on, I started sharing with her what I had been praying about and she really encouraged me to keep praying and then advised me to continue drawing nearer and nearer to Him during this time of waiting. It was really a beautiful conversation and a much needed one. You see, she wasn't just giving advice about something she knew nothing about. She too had prayed about the same thing for a long time and it was FINALLY answered about a year ago or so.
So the next morning for my quiet time I had no idea what I was going to do. As a general rule, I line up my stuff the night before so that when the alarm goes off, I KNOW what I am going to be studying and can get right to it. However, I had not done that so to make it easy on myself, I grabbed my iPod to listen to a sermon. I randomly chose Francis Chan and the sermon titled "A Desperate Faith." Now based on the title, I assumed it would be about someone from the Hebrews 11 Hall of Faith, but it SOOOO was not. Get this...it was about being persistent in prayer and he spoke of the persistent widow from the book of Luke. Ummm...WOW!!! That sermon was SOOOO for me. God spoke directly to me through the "random sermon" and my friend 2 days in a row.
So, the challenge now will be to NOT focus on how long I have been asking, or my emotions that come with the waiting, but instead to focus on being persistent with my prayer and KNOW that God is going to answer it.

And, because it's getting so late and I'm already up past my normal bedtime, I'm going to end this post and do an entirely seperate post tomorrow sharing the story of the persistent widow and the incredible lessons that all of us can learn from it. Trust me, you will want to read part 2!!! It may just change your life...at least it may change your prayer life.
Hugs to each of you.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Most Awesome, Amazing, Fantabulous News EVER!

I had a mammogram and breast MRI done on Tuesday. This was the first one that I have had since diagnosis 16 months ago. To say I was anxious would be a slight understatement. However, to say that I was trusting and believing God for a great result would totally be true. So why would I be so surprised and excited when I heard the final word today that both tests came back normal?!?!? I feel like I really am cancer free now and I have the MRI to prove it!! Not that God has not already confirmed that to me through this very personal and exact word to me one night..."This sickness will not end in death. Instead, it will be used to show God's glory by glorifying his Son" John 11:4.
Aaaahhh (that's me letting out what feels like the longest breath ever held)! All day long I have just praised and praised and praised His name. I cannot stop thanking Him and I hope he's not getting tired of me doing so through song, worship, and some very bad dancing (hey, there is only room for 1 dancer in the family and Chloe has claimed that spot). I'm just doing what Psalm 100 tells me to..."On your feet now - applaud God! Bring a gift of laughter, sing yourselves into His presence!" I am telling you that I feel totally freed from cancer...Psalm 103 "He forgives your sins - every one. He heals your diseases - every one.
I could seriously go on and on with this post, but if God is NOT getting tired of hearing all of this, then surely you are by this point. So I will leave you with this wonderful word that God has given to me today...
Psalm 118: 17-20...I didn't die - I lived! And now I'm telling the world what God did. God tested me- He pushed me hard, but he didn't hand me over to death. Swing wide the city gates - the righteous gates! I'll walk right through and thank God. This Temple Gate belongs to God so the victors can enter and praise. Thank you for responding to me; you've truly become my salvation!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

He's Done It Again...

He's done it again...The Lord has yet again provided me with a word of scripture that spoke directly to my coming tests.
Monday and Tuesday are big days for me. I will have my ECHO to check my heart function (my last one was back to normal), an MRI to check for any cancer recurrence, labwork, and oncology appointment to get all of my results. The closer it has gotten, the more nervous I have gotten and the more nervous I have gotten, the more the devil has filled my head with negativity. So, during my quiet time this morning, the Lord spoke this to me...
Psalm 112:7 - They do not fear bad news, they confidently trust the Lord to care for them.

So, anytime a negative thought enters my mind, I immediately start speaking this verse and I start to focus on the fact that the Lord has told me that I am healed and that these tests will all be perfectly fine.

Keep me in your prayers and I will certainly keep you all updated of my test results. Love and hugs to each of you!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Food - You Know You Love It!

For the past 6 weeks, my family has been doing things a bit different in regards to food. I have adopted a new way of eating for myself, but my family also experiences this with me at dinner times. I think I have already blogged about it so I will just get down to business with the real purpose of this post...RECIPES!!! Quite a few of you have asked for recipes and I have promised them to be coming "soon." So, without furthur ado...
Oh, and a side note...all of these have been made by me and they are YUMMY GOOD!!!

GINGER HONEY CHICKEN:
* olive oil cooking spray
* 2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
* 1 Tbsp lime juice
* 1 Tbsp raw honey
* 2 Tbsp grated ginger (I omitted this because I HATE ginger)
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1/4 tsp hot pepper sauce
* 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a baking sheet with a thin layer of cooking spray.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the next six ingredients.
3. Put chicken into the baking sheet and brush it with the marinade. Bake chicken for about 30 minutes.
4. Serve with brown rice and steamed veggies.


PASTA ROLL-UPS WITH TURKEY AND SPINACH:
* 1 tsp EVOO
* 1 small onion - chopped finely
* 1 clove garlic - minced
* 1 pound ground turkey breast
* 1 28oz can of whole tomatoes in their juice
* 1 tsp of salt
* 8 sheets of dried whole wheat lasagna
* 1 100z box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
* 15oz container of non-fat ricotta cheese
* 1 egg
* 3/4 cup shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese

1. In a large skillet, heat EVOO over medium heat. Add onion and cook for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 more minute. Turn heat up to med-high and add ground turkey. When meat is no longer pink, add tomatoes and salt. Now turn heat back down to med-low, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally and break up tomatoes as you do.
2. While that cooks, boil the lasagna noodles then drain, rinse, and let cool.
3. Preheat oven to 400. Squeeze all moisture from the thawed spinach and place in a big bowl. Add ricotta cheese, egg, and 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese. Stir until combined.
4. Spread 1 cup of the cooked tomato sauce in the bottom of a casserole dish. Lay a cooked lasagna noodle flat and use your fingers to spread 1/8 of ricotta mixture across it. Next, roll it up and place the seam side down. Repeat with all of the noodles. Spread the remaining tomato sauce over the roll-ups, then top with the rest of the shredded cheese.
5. Bake covered with foil for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and let cook for 5 more minutes or until roll-ups are brown and bubbly.

Seriously, these recipes are so good! I know the second one seems like a lot of work, but it's really not. The thing I like about it too is that while the sauce is simmering and noodles cooking, I was able to clean up the kitchen mess I had made. Then when it was time to eat, there was NO MESS except the baking sheet to clean.

OK - I have one more but it's getting late and I'm tired so it will be in a seperate post probably with a few more. I'm going to start putting pictures that I take while cooking with my recipes too to make things a bit more "interesting."
I would love feedback as to whether I should do a seperate blog for just my recipes, or keep it on this one. Originally this blog was just going to be about my walk through cancer and the continued encouragement that I receive through friends, sermons that I listen to, books that I read, and words that the Lord directly speaks to me. However, food is definitely a part of my cancer experience as I have learned so much about what foods help prevent cancer and other diseases, and how foods affect different systems in our bodies. Hmmm, thinking about it now, I most likely will do a seperate blog and put a link in the sidebar under the link to my family blog. Still, comments/opinions welcome!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Fight Like A Girl!


Exodus 14:13-14...But Moses told the people, "Do not be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The enemy you see today will never be seen again. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."


My sweet friend and forever sister in Christ...Kate!
2 Timothy 4:7...I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me - the crown of righteousness, which the Lord will give me on the day of His return.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Friends

A few weeks ago, I got the shocking and heartbreaking news that my friend, Roben, has been diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. Very briefly, here is her story. A year ago she found a small lump and had a mammogram done to check it out. The doctor told her it was of no concern and to come back in a year. No ultrasound or biopsy was done at that time. Fast forward to now and the tumor is softball sized and diagnosed as stage 3...due to size and lymph node involvement. She is 35 years old, is married to a very supportive and loving man, has 2 young children, and a strong strong faith. Needless to say though, she is scared as to what this could mean for her family and her. She has started chemo to shrink the tumor first, will have surgery, do more chemo, and then radiation. Tomorrow is her second round of chemo out of 16. She is going to Vanderbilt for her medical care and is doing to same chemos that I did. The only difference in our cancers is that hers is triple negative and mine was HER2 and ER positive. Please pray for her complete healing and pray for her family as they navigate through these murky waters called cancer.

Secondly, my younger brother called the other day to tell me about a colleague of his in the army whose wife, also in her early 30s, has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. He didn't have any details but said that she may be calling me. I do not know anything except that her name is Melissa and she too has 2 young children. However, God knows every detail so please lift this sweet girl and her family up to Him.

I will keep you all posted as details come in on both of these girls so we can know specifically how to pray for my new "sisters" through this crappy disease. Love and hugs to each of you!