Friday, July 29, 2011

The Word is Alive

The Lord has given me a new piece of Scripture for this season of my life. He is so faithful to do that because He knows exactly what we need to cling to at the exact time that we need it. That just goes to prove that His Word is alive!!! So a few months ago I had a crazy dream (pretty sure I blogged it already) that I had to stand in front of a camera for a music video and recite Ephesians 3:20. It was so clear to me that the second I woke up I grabbed my Bible and opened it to see what exactly God was showing me. Here is what my Bible says: Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 
I asked David if he would mind if I shared  a bit of our story on here as I totally believe in bragging on God in the most true and detailed way that I can while still respecting the wishes of my family. Of course he was fine with me sharing it with my blog family because honestly if it changes the kingdom for just one person, then it's worth it!!!! Have I mentioned just how much I really do love this husband of mine? Anyways, here is the back story...when I was diagnosed with cancer, David was put on the back burner. He never complained about it, and kept all of his feelings to himself. He thought he was doing the right thing because everyone he came into contact with would ask how I was doing and then follow it up with "just be strong for her." That meant don't talk about the "what-ifs..." Just stay positive even when she isn't you have to be. Well, that turned into emotional turmoil that no one knew anything about. It kept building and building until one day he told me how he was feeling and just let it all out. I was SHOCKED! I guess I naievely thought that he was doing just fine since he never indicated otherwise, but I learned in that instance that what he needed was to feel like God had not abandoned him. That God still loved him more than anything on earth, and that he still had a purpose. He needed for our friends to understand what he was going through yet none of our friends had been down our exact road...especially in regards to him being a business owner, having an infant and toddler, and a young wife with aggressive cancer. He had a lot on his plate...running his business, taking me to surgeries and caring for me afterwards, chemos, taking care of the kids, home needs etc... To him, it felt like God was there a little, but just in the background watching it all happen. Watching his internal thermometer get ready to combust. At that point, I started praying and asking God to please send David a strong mentor who could speak truths into his life, I prayed for his relationship with Christ to return to the state it had been and then be multiplied 10 times over. I prayed for him to just be able to be broken when he needed to and let God show him His perfect love and comfort. I prayed these prayers for over a year. I knew that I was praying God's will because everything I prayed was scriptural so it was just a matter of waiting for God to answer.
During that year of praying, we did have some rough patches. Upon the advice of our pastor at church, we sought out counseling to help us both work through our feelings. I was still angry that my reconstruction didn't work, that I had been put through 7 surgeries over a 2 year time frame, that I was still suffering effects from chemo and radiation and that my body image had changed majorly making a whole new set of issues. I was angry that 3 friends in chemo at the same time I was had died, and one of those was my best friend Kate. And then I was angry because I felt angry. I wanted nothing more than to feel blessed and thankful for the miracles God had already performed in my life. It was a constant battle. Do you know that 70% of couples who face cancer will have their marriage end in divorce? So, we knew that couldn't be us and opted to start counseling! What a blessing that was.
But then the counseling ended and we were still trying to adjust to the new norm in our lives. Our babies were now toddlers, my check-ups were stretched to every 4- 6 months with scans and blood work, we went through some difficulties with some "friends" of ours, and had to start making choices - real life choices in regards to our priorities. Those were tough and we felt the effects of those choices negatively from a world standpoint, but ever so positive from the Kingdom standpoint.
Anyways, this whole time I could see David teetering on the edge of going full force with Jesus and being crazy in love with Him and many many times I thought he was there. That my one more prayer would be the one to knock him over to the other side of the fence (is that pride?). And then something would happen and I would get frustrated and tell God I was done asking. But by His grace, the next day or week, there David was...closer than ever! It went like this for a while.
Then...one morning I was walking with my friend KB and I mentioned that I had been praying for a mentor to come into David's life and she said her husband was looking for someone to mentor. WOW!!!! So, we kind of planned it and set them two up on a coffee "man-date" and what was originally going to just be one day has turned into a set time and day to meet, have coffee, and talk life. David loves knowing that he has that guy to go to and run things by and just confide in. And he knows JB will shoot straight with him too...just like KB does with me :)
Anyways, the week after the mentoring started, JB casually mentioned Ethiopia to David and he was 100% fully on board to go on the mission trip. He took a few days to pray about it and then KNEW that God was calling him to go. So without really having any details, he committed to going and I knew God was up to something big!
Since committing, we have been fundraising for the money to be able to go. The trip costs $3100, vaccines are $250, and then whatever money he will need for food, etc... We prayed about how to get this much money in such a short time frame, did what we could, and literally sat back and let God do the rest. May I just say that He has provided almost every single dollar of this trip so far?!? I think we are just about $500 away from the final goal. And the final payment isn't due until August 20th.
And, without any detail really, I will say that I feel like God is impressing something on my heart as well right now and He has shown me so far how each step along the journey has been all orchestrated by him. I'm just praying my Ephesians 3:20 and am going to watch him do more than I could ever imagine.
Be bold in your prayers. Be confident in the Lord. Ask expectantly! He is our father who loves us perfectly and He wants to give us the desires of our hearts.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What's Been Happening Here

Well, to start off with, LOTS has been going on with Team Blevins. So much so that I have been blogging it mostly on the family blog and have neglected this one. Sorry! I will try to catch up on things here though and share a few new things that are going on too.
I guess the most exciting thing health-wise is that I had my 6 month MRI scan last week...this one was to check on the lymph node that was growing behind my sternum. Other than the 5 IV sticks and massive bruising from them (I still have them and one is about the size of a tennis ball), everything went great! I assumed I would not hear from the doctor until the end of the week so when the phone rang I was a little nervous...you know the saying, no news is good news. So for the call to come less than 24 hours after I was scanned was alarming. However, the nurse on the phone said that the MRI showed no growth in that lymph node and it had actually shrunken since the last one. THEREFORE...I need no more breast MRI's unless something comes up that is odd and needs to be checked. YAY!!!! And because some people have questioned whether it is okay to not be checked anymore since I had breast cancer, let me explain the reason. Breast MRI's are mostly done on women who have had reconstruction surgery or only a lumpectomy. I have no breast tissue left, no reconstruction and therefore no reason to scan. If any changes occur, I will be able to feel them in the chest wall when I do a self exam. So, yes, I still have to do those. Also for the next 3 years I will still be seeing my oncologist for a check up and blood work every 4-6 months, so she will be keeping a close eye on me.
As for my other bit of health news...yesterday I did have another type of scan. A bone scan. No worries though. I think my doc was just being precautious. I started running again about 10-11 weeks ago and forgot that my body just doesn't do as well as it did pre-cancer. I got what we thought was shin splints so bad that I could hardly walk, but with the standard RICE treatment they were still not healed. Well, they were better as long as I stayed off of them. And my mistake was doing a 6 miler a week ago because I really thought they were healed enough. So, given that the pain is still there my doctor wanted a scan to see if there is a fracture. I'll get results Friday...oh, and that was another 3 needle sticks because of the tracer they had to inject. My poor veins just will not cooperate so for both scans I ended up with needles to my feet. OUCH!

And I have more to update on but it is time for laundry to be switched over and the kids to be put to bed so I will save it for tomorrow. It's exciting GOD stuff!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Africa Bound...

 I seriously doubt that what I am about to write could be any more exciting than this: David is going to Africa...in approximately 50 days!!! At the end of August,  he will go with 9 other people (mostly from Clarksville) to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to love on some sweet little orphans, help rebuild a boarding school, and spend time investing in the lives of adults and children who live in a trash dump (more on that in a minute). 

This has literally been the most unexpected thing to happen to our family in 2 years! We would have NEVER thought that this would be happening, but when Jesus calls, you either obey or you wind up in the belly of a whale (you remember what happened to Jonah!). So, we are stepping out in faith and just trusting Jesus. I say "we" but truly it's David as I will be staying behind on this trip and praying fervently for David, the other team members, and the people of Ethiopia who they will meet (and selfishly that the Lord calls me to go one day also).
 Anyways, while they are there, the team will do 3 projects as I briefly mentioned earlier. They will work on a project at Resurrection Orphanage where our dear friends met their beautiful daughter (they brought her home 6 months ago). They will also travel to a place called Korah, a literal trash dump where an entire community lives off of the trash brought there. It is painfully heart-wrenching to know that these people have to go through trash to find food for themselves and their children. Can you even begin to imagine that being your life?!?  In Korah they will partner with an organization called Project 61 to help them with whatever they need. Finally, they will complete a project at the boarding school where children from Korah are able to attend by sponsorship through Project 61. 
 The trip will be 10 days long and costs $3000. That price includes everything except a few meals and any souvenirs that David may want to purchase to help stimulate their economy. We have prayerfully considered how to get this much money is such a short time frame and honestly, I have had some anxiety over it. HOWEVER, I KNOW that Jesus has specifically called David to this mission and that He will provide exactly what we need. He always does. Thankfully, the organization that this trip is through - Ordinary Hero - has a great fundraising program. If you will check out their website store by clicking on this link Ordinary Hero Store, you will see many amazing items that you can purchase and 40% of your cost will go directly to David's account! All you have to do at checkout is click on David's name in the "Affiliate" box and it's done. Simple! I have already chosen 3 T-shirts for me and the kids to wear and I'm telling you they are absolutely adorable! They also have jewelry, accessories, etc... Just go check it out for yourselves though and see. AND...if by some chance you don't see anything that appeals to you, but you want to help us out, then you can click on the button on the side of my blog that says OH and donate to David that way, or you can donate directly to him. If you choose a direct donation though, the check will need to be made out to Ordinary Hero. And if you are unable to help out financially, then we ask that you would PLEASE help out by praying for David and the entire Ethiopia team. Pray that they will have safe travels, have the physical and mental strength that they will need while they are there, and that they will come back shining the light of Jesus even more than they already do. Pray that the Ethiopians that they will come into contact with will see that they are loved and cared for. Pray for their health, security, and salvation. And pray for those sweet little orphans to find forever families.
Thanks for reading this entirely long and informative post. I will post periodic updates as to where we are with our fundraising efforts mainly so you can see how Jesus is providing and how you can still help if you feel you are called to do so. Feel free to copy, paste, and forward this blog link to anyone you know who may want to help change a life and become an "ordinary hero."
Oh, I almost forgot to mention the timelines for funds being due which is where some of my anxiety lies...EEEK! July 20th is the first due date for $1400 and August 20th is the final payment due date of $1500. Whew...typing that just increased my heart rate...trust Jesus, trust Jesus, trust Jesus is my new mantra!!!
Hugs to each of you!