Nov 14

How Captain America Saved the Day for Me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see I met Captain America recently—he actually stopped by my house the other day for a few hours. The Captain, a.k.a. grandson Benny, wanted to show me his new shield (Mommy, a.k.a. Wonder Woman-Shopper, found it in the Target clearance bin) and the pint-sized super hero clearly explained to me that it was “made of indestructible vibranium.”

I was especially glad he brought the shield as he deftly used it to block the swinging plastic bat aimed at my face by his 1-year-old brother Jack. Both boys seemed to immensely enjoy this game of the little one taking aim at Grandma and the bigger one interjecting the vibranium shield at just the right moment.

I didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of Captain America by telling him I didn’t know what vibranium was, so after he left I Googled it. Turns out it’s only real in Marvel comic books, but on those pages it is able to absorb all the vibrations of anything that hits it. And I will attest that in my real life, it did absorb blows from a free-swinging toddler.

After the shield saved my face from being pummeled, it got me thinking about some 27 years ago when another friend held up a shield for me.

It was in 1990 just a few days after I came home from my colon cancer surgery that our dear friends Gene and Sheila Latta stopped by for a visited. I begged the usually jovial Gene not to say anything to try and make me laugh because my abdominal incision with 27 staples hurt way too much. He obliged and I began to pour out my fears and my tears to Sheila, my older and wiser friend.

“Everyone prayed for Ralph’s first wife and she still died,” I sobbed. “If God didn’t heal her, why would He heal me? I’m no better than she was.”

Thankfully, Sheila didn’t try to explain why one faithful follower doesn’t survive a life-threatening illness and why another does because there is no answer this side of eternity. But she did remind me of Truth.

“Your fight with cancer is a physical battle, but it also is a spiritual battle,” she gently explained. “You need to hold up your shield of faith.”

I knew the verse in Ephesians 6:16 to which she was referring: “Hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.” For me, those fiery arrows included depression, fear, anxiety and despair—all common for people facing life’s dark trials.

Sheila prayed for me and reminded me of what I knew in my head, but could not feel in my heart: God’s love and presence in our life are not based on whether we’re “good enough”—they are unconditional gifts from our heavenly Father. She promised to continually pray for me to have the strength to hold up my shield of faith in a God who has proved His love for me: “This is real love—not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” (I John 4:10)

Slowly, but surely that shield absorbed the lying arrows of the devil and I felt God’s love and experienced His peace even in the face of cancer.

How are you doing holding up your shield of faith? Are you listening to the lies of the enemy or the truth of the lover of your soul? Do you need to ask a trusted friend to help you hold up that shield? Do you need to ask a trusted friend to help you hold up that shield? No matter what you can see or not see, you can’t see it all. Have faith in the God who will never leave you nor forsake you.

I hope you are fortunate to have Captain America stop by your home and protect you with his vibranium shield, but I especially pray you hold up your shield of true faith: “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” (Hebrews 11:1)

(I am still experiencing major technical difficulties with my website, so i can’t upload the music video here. But please click on the link to enjoy “Give Me Faith'” by Elevation Worship) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMVvqI1-tM4 

Nov 01

Cancer Can’t Stop Her Joy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bunnie Gasperini's Profile Photo, Image may contain: 1 person

My friend Bunnie is a redheaded, retired heavy equipment operator with a delightful New England accent who loves to laugh. On weekends she “clowns” around at the local Dairy Queen as she whips up balloons and smiles for children, while sharing God’s love for them. On weekdays she takes off her clown make-up and cooks hot meals which she joyfully delivers to the homeless folks in a nearby neighborhood.

Did I mention that she has stage 4 tongue cancer, carries her portable oxygen tank everywhere and is on hospice?

“I’m a bulldog for the Lord!” she explains.

“When I make dog balloons for the children, I tell them ‘God wants us to be like dogs’—a dog is loving, faithful, obedient and always happy to see us!”

And with the tenacity of a bulldog, Bunnie has refused to allow a cancer diagnosis and multiple recurrences to change her goal of sharing the joy of Jesus with anyone she meets. Here’s a little of her inspiring story from my new book Peace in the Face of Cancer.

 

When Bunnie moved to Florida in 2011, she wondered what she would do in her post-retirement life.

I was laughing so much, I dreamt I should be a clown,” she recalls with a chuckle. On a whim she searched online for “clown schools” and found there was one only two hours from her new home. She took the courses, and since 2012 she has been a professional clown and member of the Fellowship of Christian Magicians.

She began volunteering at her local Dairy Queen, where she performed magic tricks and twisted balloons into animal shapes. While the children enjoyed their ice cream, she shared character-building stories and told them about God’s love for them.

But in August 2013 the shows stopped when Bunnie was diagnosed with inoperable tongue cancer. Doctors told her that without chemo and radiation, she probably had six months to live. She was devastated with that prognosis, but resolute in her faith: “You can even take my tongue, and I’ll still find a way to share the gospel,” she announced to her doctor.

Bunnie had thirty-five radiation and eight chemo treatments. After a two-week hiatus, she was back whipping up balloons and smiles at Dairy Queen.

When she read a copy of my first book, When God & Cancer Meet, Bunnie felt as if God were telling her to share her story by giving away copies of the book. (Why doesn’t He tell everyone to do that?J)

So she bought dozens of books and gave them away to cancer patients and their families at the cancer center. But in May 2015 a scan showed the cancer had spread to her lungs.

“I was really, really devastated for a little while—for maybe an hour or something,” she told me, chuckling on the phone, after we became Facebook friends. “The Lord said, ‘You’re still here for Me and I’m going to use you right here at the cancer center.’”

She headed back there for more treatment, armed with more books.

Her methods might be a little unorthodox, but they produced her desired results.

“I went to the chemo waiting room with twenty-six books,” she explains. “I stood up and said, ‘Excuse me, ladies and gentlemen, but two years ago I was right where you are, and the Lord gave me peace and brought me through. And my friend gave me a book that strengthened me so much.’”

Then she held up a copy of the book and announced, “If you’d like a free copy, just raise your hand.”

Within a few seconds nearly every book was taken, and that’s what happened every time she spoke.

 

I promise you that my purpose in sharing Bunnie’s story is not to draw attention to her giving away, by her count, 425 copies of my first book—as grateful as I am for that! What I want to highlight is her generous and bold spirit as she has learned not just to battle cancer, but to dance with it.

Think about it. She has every reason to be bitter—a devastating cancer diagnosis in a new state with no family nearby, just when she was ready to relax and enjoy retirement. Cancer of the tongue when she loves to talk fast and laugh often.

But Bunnie knows what I hope you do too—that your purpose in life never changes. It is the same whether you or your loved one has a lot of cancer, a little cancer, or even no cancer. Your purpose in life—and mine—is to know God and love Him more, and to help others know God and love Him more.

Bunnie says her life verse is the same one I have chosen in my retirement: “My life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the task assigned to me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.” (Acts 20:24 NLT)

As long as you have breath (even if it’s from an oxygen tank!), God is not finished with you.

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,

and he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the pit of despair,

out of the mud and the mire.

He set my feet on solid ground

and steadied me as I walked along.

He has given me a new song to sing,

a hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see what he has done and be amazed.

They will put their trust in the Lord.

Psalm 40:1-3

P.S. I’m having technical problems again and can’t load the music video here! So sorry! Here is the link to copy, paste and click. It;s Jason Davis, the pastor who lost part of his tongue to cancer singing his original song “These Walls.” Enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ga_m8wqg3us

 

Oct 25

“Mother, PLEASE, I’d rather do it myself!”

  Anybody else old like me and remember the 1965 Anacin pain reliever commercial shown  here?   I was a pre-teen when that commercial appeared on the screen of our little black-and-white TV (with the aluminum foil on the rabbit ears) and my mom and I thought it was hilarious. We would joke around and quote it to each other whenever one of us offered to do something for the other. But headache or not, I think most of us are I’d-rather-do-it-myself kind of people. That’s one of the reasons why it’s especially frustrating when serious or chronic illness hits us or those we care about. It’s not really in our nature to admit there’s something weighing us down and we can’t really fix it. How heavy is the load you are carrying these days? Are your arms weary from trying to hold up yourself or your loved one? Is your back breaking from the weight of medical bills piling up? Is your mind exhausted from trying to keep track of all the appointments and medications? Is your spirit feeling let down by the unfairness of life? Jesus has an exchange He’d like to make: your heavy burdens for His light one. Then Jesus said,”Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give  you rest, Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 NLT

Notice He doesn’t promise to just take everything away so that we have no burdens? It’s as if right now we’re plowing through life as a single ox Image result for photo double yoked oxenwith a heavy yoke on our necks. When we give that big burden to Jesus, He comes alongside us, attaches His double yoke, and plows right with us.

No wonder our burdens are so much lighter and we are so much less weary! You don’t have to carry this heavy load by yourself. Lay down your I-can-do-it-by-myself yoke and allow Jesus to lighten the load as you walk side by side through whatever lies ahead.   Please enjoy this “oldie but goodie” song from 1975 by Chuck Girard, whom I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing back in the ’90s when he sang at Houghton College (and yes, I still own and listen to this album!).    

Oct 17

“Don’t count the days; make the days count.”–Muhammad Ali

 

 

 

 

 

Would you believe I met, shook hands with, and received a mini-apology from Muhammad Ali, aka “the Greatest”? Image result for ali photos

In 1970, when I was a college freshman, my best friend, Jackie, and I went to hear Ali speak at our Mansfield branch campus of the Ohio State University. We were excited to see him, so we arrived early and sat in the front row. The person introducing the former heavyweight boxing champion of the world presented a very large original painting of Ali to him.

The Champ looked around to see where he could safely set down the portrait and motioned for me to come forward. I jumped up and took the huge painting from him as he loudly announced: “Thanks, I always wanted a white slave!”

I thought it was a hilarious comment, but after his speech, Ali sought me out, extended his right hand, and said, “You knew I was just kidding, right?” And then the hand that would punch the likes of Sonny Liston, George Foreman, and Joe Frazier warmly clasped mine.

True story.

In 1984 Ali announced he had Parkinson’s disease, and if you watched that incredible moment at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics when he shakily lit the torch, ( https://youtu.be/QEhNDUwksvU ) you could see what a painful turn the former gold medalist’s life had taken. No wonder he talked about making the days count before his death in June 2016.

Once we or someone we love has gotten a life-threatening diagnosis, we come face-to-face with our own mortality and often feel an urgency to make each day count.

 

 My longtime friend Georgia, a double-cancer survivor and a licensed psychologist, says cancer helped her answer the question “What do I care deeply about?” 

In 1989 she was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 38 and had surgery, chemo, and radiation. But six months later the cancer was back. After her doctors gave her only a 2 percent chance of still being alive in ten years, she decided to undergo a risky bone marrow transplant.

Georgia survived the transplant, but she still faced an uncertain future.

“At the time I was in the process of really learning to know Jesus,” she says. “And as I prayed about what I should do [after the transplant], the answer was ‘Do what you love, Georgia.’

“But I honestly didn’t know what I loved—what I cared deeply about—because I had focused on pleasing others,” she says. “So I had to start paying attention to my life.”

It wasn’t long before Georgia found her passion.

“For me it started in the garden—God’s creation,” she explains. “That’s where I really feel connected to and loved by God.”

So she decided to do what she loved: gardening. With more sweat equity than money, she and some friends turned her drought-damaged lawn into a garden and a small fishpond.

“As I watched my dead lawn being transformed into a beautiful sanctuary, seeds of hope grew in my heart,” she recalls. “Like my life, there was so much I could not control in the garden (i.e., the weather), yet beautiful things happened—I remember one plant that looked absolutely dead and it totally came back!”

That garden started with a little pack of morning glory seeds from her aunt and ended up inspiring Georgia to write a book about restoring your life after loss, A Gift of Mourning Glories.[1] A Gift of Mourning Glories

Then in the fall of 2013, Georgia received a second cancer diagnosis of stage 4 nonsmokers’ non-small cell lung cancer. Now a stunningly beautiful 67, Georgia continues to make every day count.

She has written several more books and become a credentialed life coach, and she speaks frequently around the country—all the while continuing on maintenance chemo and not canceling a single speaking engagement since her diagnosis.

“Life is a gift, so what am I going to do with it?” she says. “Live it purposefully and passionately, and make the time I do have count!”

 

If a physician has told you that your days or your loved one’s days are numbered, I hope you are not trying to count them. Do not embrace those longevity guesses and allow them to become self-fulfilling prophecies. I’ve lost count of the scores of cancer survivors I know who have outlasted medical predictions and aren’t “supposed to be here.”

And if you or your loved one is cured or expected to still live a long life, I hope you’ll ask yourself what you care deeply about and then allow that love to nurture your spirit and give you hope. If you have regrets, make amends where necessary and be thankful for the God of second chances. Seek out and enjoy the things that help you feel God’s peaceful presence.

The Bible doesn’t tell us to count our days, but it does say we ought to learn to “number” them. That doesn’t mean we should try to estimate how many we have left. Instead, we should realize that every person—sick or well—has a limited supply. Cancer or any life-threatening illness does us a favor when it reminds us that however long we live on earth, it’s a blink compared to eternity.

Eternal One, let me understand my end
and how brief my earthly existence is;
help me realize my life is fleeting.Psalm 39:4, The Voice

Teach us to number our days
so that we may truly live and achieve wisdom.–Psalm 90:12, The Voice

Nobody really knows how many rounds we have left in us, but as long as you have this day, there’s no reason to throw in the towel. Ask God how you can make this day count in your life, in the life of someone you love, and for eternity.

Peace will happen when we remember everyone’s days are numbered, but we don’t need to count them.

[1]For garden photos and info on her ministry, go to www.georgiashaffer.com.

(Excerpt from Peace in the Face of Cancer, Chapter 28, published 2017, Tyndale Momentum. Copyright by Lynn Eib)

 

Oct 11

Responding to life’s disappointments

          I’m trying to keep in mind a saying my good friend Doris Martin often would use after something went wrong: “Well. if that’s the worst thing that happens to me today, it will be a pretty good day.” And for many disappointments in life, that phrase works well. It fits my dilemma today–once again I am having technical problems with my blog and it is not posting correctly to Facebook. Last week it also did not email correctly the first time to all of you and I apologize if you got it twice–or not at all! I have someone younger, smarter and much more techy than I am working on it, but every time he thinks he has it fixed…it’s not. So because of that hassle AND the fact that our middle daughter Bethany and her three kids, 3, 5, and 6 1/2 are visiting from Indiana this week (and the rest of our local family have been coming over everyday!), I did not get a blog done. I am very sorry not to have a special word for you today and am praying that God brings encouragement to you from many other sources. And I also hope you might be able to agree with my friend Doris that if not getting my blog emailed is the worst thing that happens to you today…it will be a pretty good day! I am including a song  which I pray reminds you that even though friends like me may let you down, God always will be faithful!  

Oct 05

“SERENITY NOW!!!”

 

 

 

 

 

The world is so stressful right now, I thought I would post a little humor coupled with a little encouragement today.  Enjoy the hilarious Seinfeld clip, the challenging “revised” Serenity Prayer, the inspiring original version, the peaceful Serenity Prayer Project music video and experience some “Serenity Now!”

The Original Prayer as written by Reinhold Niebuhr 1892-1971
American theologian, pastor & political commentator

God, give us grace to accept with serenity 
the things that cannot be changed, 
Courage to change the things 
which should be changed, 
and the Wisdom to distinguish 
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time, 
Enjoying one moment at a time, 
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace, 
Taking, as Jesus did, 
This sinful world as it is, 
Not as I would have it, 
Trusting that You will make all things right, 
If I surrender to Your will, 
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life, 
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

Amen.

 

Sep 27

Are You Tired of All the Bad News?

 

 

 

 

 

Our world could sure use some good news, couldn’t it? In many ways it’s a frightening time in which to be living—wars, rumors of wars, the constant threat of terrorism, violence on the streets, political unrest, stress in the workplace, and so many friends and relatives with cancer.

Life is not only hard; it’s downright unfair, as some people seem to have more than their share of trouble. You or your loved one might even be one of those people.

You may feel like the middle-aged man I overheard remark: “Every time I think I have my life together, something happens and it’s falling apart again!”

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we lived in a world where everything was fair and people didn’t get sick and sad things didn’t happen and nobody had to die? Who wouldn’t want to call such a place their “home?”

Did you ever wonder why there’s such a long in each of us for just such a place? It’s a longing for home, you know.  A longing for our real home. You see, we weren’t created to live in Pennsylvania or New York or Florida or anywhere else on the face of this planet. We were created for our real home—Heaven.

The Bible describes Heaven in Revelations 21:4 as a place where God “will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain.”

And why won’t there be any more tears or death or sorrow or pain? Not because we’ll have all the money we ever wanted or all the fame or all the beauty or any other tangible item.

It’s because we’ll have God Himself.

In Revelation 21:3, the verse right before the one about no more tears, it says: “Look! God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them and they will be his people.”

That’s why there won’t be any more tears or pain or death. We’ll have what we always really needed to be whole—the constant presence of God Himself.

The great 17th-century philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal wrote that each of us has a “God-shaped vacuum” in us. There’s a hole, so to speak in our hearts that leaves us longing for something more than this world has to offer. It’s a hole and a longing that God put in us when He created us. He knows only He can fill that hole even though we try to fill it ourselves with all sorts of other things. Some of us try to fill it by buying “stuff” or with relationships or with work or sports or with learning or religious rituals. Some even try things like food or sex or drugs or alcohol. But none of these can fill the God-shaped vacuum in us…instead they only make it bigger.

The only thing that fills that hole and makes us whole is when God fills it with Himself by putting His very Spirit inside us, one life at a time. And when God’s Spirit lives inside us, we discover our purpose for living.

  It’s really quite simple. Do you know what it is?

We were created to praise God.

That’s right. We find true joy, true fulfillment, when we realize there’s Someone bigger than us. Someone greater than us. Someone worthy of every bit of praise we can give.

Our purpose in life is not about us. We were created to praise God with our lips…and our lives.

And when we do, a feeling of peace and power comes over us that reminds us this world is not our real home. If you’ve not really had praise for God well up in your heart lately (or ever!), I pray that you will today.

And if you’re still trying to fill that God-shaped vacuum with other things, I pray you’ll allow God’s to fill you with Himself and satisfy that longing for your real home. +++++++++++

(If the music video below doesn’t automatically load, please copy, paste and click this link to enjoy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbh43MGoigw )

Sep 20

Celebrating My 28th A.C. (After Cancer) Birthday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s blog is a little unusual, but my birthday is Sunday and once you’ve had cancer (especially at the age of 36) you look at birthdays differently. You give up complaining about getting older and instead, realize that aging is a privilege you almost didn’t get. Every A.C. birthday is a wonderful chance to celebrate and thank God for the gift of life..

So…this is my last birthday before Medicare and I know all of my 1,047 FB friends and hundreds of blog subscribers are wondering “What should I get Lynn Eib for her birthday? I mean she already has EVERYTHING a woman could want: Dashing, debonair husband with two brand new knees. Gorgeous daughters who only make fun of her in months with 28 days. The world’s most wonderful grandchildren who allow her to constantly hug and kiss them until they are old enough to run.“

I mean what could you possibly get me that I don’t already have? A new hairdo not from the ‘60s? Typing lessons so I write books with more than four fingers? A cat who doesn’t puke all over the house?

These are all great suggestions and I plan on starting Go Fund Me pages for each, but they’re not really what I want for my birthday. What I want…and really need…are Amazon.com reviews for my new book Peace in the Face of Cancer.  I know…you’re disappointed that this gift won’t cost you anything. It’s irritating that you don’t have to drive somewhere and wait in line to purchase it. And I’m sure you are really bummed that it’s only going to take about five minutes of your time to give me this gift. I’m sorry, but this is what I really want.

Just like the Jelly-of-the-Month Club, a review is the gift that keeps on giving. It helps other readers decide to buy the book, which in turn improves the book’s sales rank, which increases its visibility on Amazon.com. Once I sell a lot more books, I can afford a new hairdresser. I can pay for typing lessons. And I’ll have enough money to hire a hit-man to take out my cat. (BTW that’s a joke, I love my puking cat.)

Oh, and more cancer patients and their caregivers will discover how to foster peace in their own homes and lives, as well as how to find God’s supernatural peace in their hearts and minds regardless of the medical prognosis. Hurting people will feel peace in the face of cancer.

And maybe, just maybe, in God’s grace, lost people will find Jesus. That’s what I really want for my birthday.

P.S. Here’s the link, and remember, in case you’re in the witness protection program, you don’t have to post under your real name!  https://www.amazon.com/Peace-Face-Cancer-Lynn-Eib/dp/1496417984/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1501528971&sr=1-1&keywords=Lynn+Eib

(I’m pretty sure most of the people in this music video are 84, not 64, but enjoy it anyway!)

Sep 13

A Cheerful Heart Causes Good Healing

 

 

 

 

 

 

Done any “internal jogging” lately?

That’s the phrase some researchers use to describe the therapeutic benefit of laughter because it increases our heart rate much like physical exercise does. I don’t know about you, but I like the idea of “yucking” it up much better than the notion of taking a run.

When I was first diagnosed with cancer as a young wife and mother, I honestly wondered if I would ever really laugh again. Life felt so very serious and it was hard to imagine having a really good belly laugh over anything.

That’s why when I came home from the hospital; I sent my husband directly to the video store (remember them?) to get me every “Pink Panther” movie he could find. You may not enjoy Peter Seller’s slapstick comedy as the bumbling Inspector Clouseau, but I always have found it impossible to watch and not laugh.

So I watched them all. I laughed through them all. And it was very good medicine.

Now I am not one who believes laughter always can cure what ails you, but I definitely believe the proverb that tells us “a cheerful heart is good medicine.” My Bible footnotes say the literal translation is “a cheerful heart causes good healing.”

It is a real understatement to say that cancer (or any other serious illness) isn’t very funny. But it’s not an overstatement to say that we can find joy and even laughter in the midst of theses trials. You have to look for it and sometimes you have to even create it for yourself (go ahead and rent some funny movies!).

If you can’t think of anything funny or a reason to be cheerful, try this one from Psalm 118:24: This is the day the LORD has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it!”

Every day is a gift from God. The fact that you are alive is reason enough to rejoice. You can show love and be loved. No matter what else happens–or doesn’t happen–go ahead and be glad in today. It will be good medicine. And here’s a prayer you may want to pray today (based on Nehemiah 8:10 and Numbers 6:24-26):

Lord, I pray that You will give me a cheerful heart, in spite of all I’ve gone through and all that still is ahead. I know I don’t have to just smile, pretend I’m happy and that everything is all right. But I do want to feel Your quiet joy in me and even hear laughter from my lips. I want to remember that there is life after and even with a serious illness.

Please help me to heed Nehemiah’s words not to be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is my strength. And Holy Spirit, please develop in me the fruit of joy—a joy that’s not based on my circumstances, but on my relationship with my Father. Let it be a joy that is simply grateful for the gift of another day to love and be loved.

I pray, Lord, that You will bless me and protect me. That You will smile on me and be gracious to me. And that You will show me Your favor and give me Your peace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Today’s Tip: Remember it’s impossible to tickle yourself, so get some help to tickle your funny bone—watch a comedy, browse a store’s humorous greeting card section or hang out with a funny friend. Laughter, like yawning is contagious! (Check out today’s “Laughing Song”–no amazing lyrics, just puppets yucking it up 🙂 )

(This blog is adapted from a devotional I had published in the book Praying through Cancer:Set Your Heart Free from Fear, copyright 2006 Susan Sorensen and Laura Geist, W Publishing Co., a division of Thomas Nelson Inc.)

(If the music video doesn’t automatically load, please copy, paste and insert this link to enjoy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5V-I5Wy334&list=RDq5V-I5Wy334#t=1 )

 

Sep 06

Come sit in the E.R. with me

 

 

 

 

 

 

These halls are quiet on a Sunday morning with only the sound of monitors to echo in the silence of large emergency room.

Not this again. I am tired of this place.

It’s been a while since I’ve stood here, and yet it comes right back as if it were but a minute past. The too quiet of suppressed discomfort and fear, the too still of exhaustion, all mixed into the smell of sterility and latex.

“Are they going to do anything that hurts me, Mom?”

“No, son.” I hope not, son.

Chase is seven now. He’s five whole years past the first minute we heard the awful words “There’s a large mass”. He’s five whole years into his aggressive, malignant brain and spine tumors and his eye problems and his heart and hearing issues, and every other issue that seems to walk hand-in-hand with that cancer word.

Every time he is wheeled into the MRI, the news comes that his status remains “No Evidence of Disease”, but the magnetic resonance can’t quite pick up on the evidence of pain, suffering, brokenness, and exhaustion.

This Sunday morning, the rest of the family is at church and Chase and I, we sit in the darkened ER room not because he’s had a seizure, or a relapse, or even a headache. Oh no, we sit in this space because his face is swelling and it needs to be stopped. The doctor explains in matter-of-fact tones that the airways are crucial and swelling is sometimes bad for breathing.

And my balding boy’s face swells and grows some more against cheeks tinged pink with fevers because when you’ve had ten different chemotherapies and radiation and everything but the kitchen sink thrown at your body when you could barely walk, well, sometimes your immune system decides to go A.W.O.L. over a cavity. One little cavity that goes rogue and becomes an abscess and then suddenly we are sitting in the ER on a Sunday morning instead of going to church. Again.

I want to fight it. I don’t want this to be how the day goes.

And yet, isn’t this the way of it all too often when it comes to life and cancer? The big things are sometimes the easiest to accept because they just straight-up rob you of breath and heart beats and feel so inevitable in their “bigness”. It’s the little things like the port that occludes, the eyelashes that fall out, the random side effect or the ninety-seventh time to the ER that just wastes away at my patience and my faith. The little foxes in the vineyard of the faith marriage between my Savior and me [Song of Solomon 2:15] are beeping monitors, sticky IV needles, and the nurses who say “Okay, we just have one more set of questions for you here.” Make it stop, please Lord.

So many times I have prayed to be delivered from the awful repeat of the hospital day. So many times the answer is no. And quite a handful of times the answer is no and there’s more.

So many wild cards…

And yet, here’s the thing and don’t miss it…

Jesus is in charge of the wild cards. In truth, the wild is not wild to him. “To [God] the night shines bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you.” It only looks upside-down and inside-out to us.

So where do you go when it’s the ninety-seventh hit in a row on your patience and faith is feeling really thin and worn?

I’m so glad you asked. Come sit in the ER with me – in these uncomfortable chairs – and we will review what we know to be true. Because I need to hear it again…and maybe you do too?

God is good even when He doesn’t do what we ask: “Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness’.” [2 Corinthians 12:8-9a]

God sees things we cannot see: “Now we see things imperfectly like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely just as God now knows me completely.” [1 Corinthians 13:12]

God is for us: “The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” [Exodus 14:14]

And here’s why I lay these verses down again and again even though they hold no help for radiation-rotten teeth, and no cure for a 7-year-old desperately broken by a tragic disease. Here’s why: because I may never get the answers I want on this side of heaven. I may never see the healing I desire, the miracles I crave, and the next time I pray not to go to the ER, there’s a very real chance that I could end up with Chase admitted instead – because this is the way of the cancer world: two steps back for every one slow shuffle forward.

But this: God’s words are sharper than the sharpest scalpel and cleave through everything that holds us back from his love. And God’s promises are more tried and true than the best treatments the cutting edge of research has to offer. And sometime, someday, though the hair might fall, and the skin color fade, this word of the Lord is forever and ever, AMEN.

In Christ alone, our hope is found.

So wherever you are this week, whatever you’ve asked to be released from, whatever you just can’t possibly do one more time, actually, YOU CAN.

“For when I am weak, then I am strong”…IN CHRIST. [2 Corinthians 12:10]

Thank you so much for stepping into the ER room with me. Until we step into the throne room of our precious Jesus, and I get to meet you, we will take this life as it comes in grace… moment by moment.

 

TODAY’S GUEST BLOGGER is Ellie Poole Ewoldt, a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friendHer days are spent in the craziness of caring for four little kids, one of whom is a cancer survivor.  www.chaseawaycancer.com

 

 

 

 

 

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