The Tale of Two Towers

Two “tower” options…which would you prefer?


An 11-day visit to Paris, including the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Notre Dame, Sainte-Chapelle and all-you-can-eat meals on a week-long riverboat cruise up the Seine.

Or a 12-day stay at Pottstown Hospital-Tower Health, including 10 days without eating or drinking, an NG tube, a PICC line and a bowel resection.

Is your choice made? Yeah, I thought mine was, too. But that was before the worst pain and nausea of my life convinced me to go to the ER late on the night of Aug. 12.

A CT scan showed a small bowel obstruction and I was admitted the next morning.

Did I mention that our suitcases were packed for our nonstop Paris flight leaving that night with traveling companions Bud and Carol Russell?  Oh, and by the way, this was to be an early celebration of our 50th wedding anniversary coming in December!

Doctors and we decided to wait-and-see if the twisted loops would untangle themselves. We enlisted family and friends to pray and I changed our departing flight from Sunday to Wednesday night, in hopes we could still make the cruise which began Thursday afternoon.

Meanwhile, a thin, flexible plastic nasogastric tube was inserted in my nose, down my throat and esophagus, and into my stomach to suction out its contents.  A few ice chips became the only item on my daily menu.

By Tuesday afternoon it seemed obvious that the bowel was not going to untwist itself in time and I canceled our Paris flight, notified the cruise ship and the travel insurance companies. On Friday, I was in the operating room having a bowel resection–eerily reminiscent of 33 years ago when I had a colon resection, but thankfully, this time without a cancer diagnosis.

I stayed in the hospital another week post-surgery, while my seven grandkids all prayed for Grandma to pass gas (marching and shouting “Fart! Fart!”). 

I’ve been home a little over two weeks now and am trying to build up my stamina, find food that tastes good, gain weight, and get my digestive system settled into another new normal.

Homecoming day–exhausted, but had to wash my hair!

I debated about whether to even write about this ordeal, but I’ve tried to be so honest and transparent in my books and blogs that it just didn’t feel right not letting people know.  Still, I worried about sharing my story when so many of you have tons of stress in your life already. And  besides, I know that missing out on an amazing trip is nothing compared to so many other losses.  I also thought perhaps I should wait to write until I had some profound piece of wisdom or spiritual gem learned from all this, but nothing materialized.

(Of course, I’m thankful that God didn’t allow this to happen on the 7-hour flight or after we arrived in a foreign country. But if I’m honest, I wish He would have delayed it until after we got back home!)

 

Last week a question posed in a Rick Warren devotion got me thinking: “What about the problems you’re going through right now–they’re a test of your faithfulness. Will you continue to serve God even when life stinks?”

So here’s my “wisdom”: life STINKS, but I will serve God no matter what.

I make this choice because I agree with Babbie Mason “When you don’t understand. When you can’t see His plan. When you can’t trace His hand, trust His heart.”

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Open in your browser to hear Babbie Mason sing this beautiful song “Trust His Heart.”

 

 

 

 

 

What Happened when I Didn’t Feel Thankful

Photo by Alexas_Fotos on Unsplash

Struggles and afflictions in life produce an assortment of emotions…thankfulness is not usually one of them. In 1990 when I found out my cells had gone awry and allowed cancer to grow inside me, gratefulness was about the last thing I felt.

But I kept thinking about the Bible verse to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). I knew it didn’t mean I had to praise God for ­every­ awful thing, but instead, that I could have a thankful heart even in the midst of awful things.

So a few weeks after my diagnosis, I looked for something for which to be thankful.

Summer 1989

Let’s see . . . I have cancer at the age of 36 after taking good care of myself. No…can’t think of anything worthy of thanks there.

My three little girls may have to grow up without a mother. Nope, that ­doesn’t work either.

My husband already has buried one wife and now I have a  60-percent chance of dying soon. Naw, that isn’t inspiring any words of praise.

­I’m going to have to take toxic chemotherapy, when I ­don’t even like to take an aspirin. Not much there to feel grateful about.

Finally, it came to me.

Dr.  Marc Hirsh! I have a Messianic ­Jewish oncologist—who knows, maybe the world’s ­only Messianic ­Jewish oncologist—who last year began practicing medicine just seven miles from my home.

For the first time since hearing the words “you have cancer,” I thanked God in the midst of my devastation.

Father, you know I ­don’t feel any thankfulness, but I want to thank You for leading Dr. Marc Hirsh here to be my doctor.

I can ­only imagine God smiling and saying, “Now you’re getting it. Just wait and see how ­really thankful you’re going to be when I use this doctor to bless and change your life.”

©Kevin Glibert, “Physician” Magazine

The short story of what happened with our “doctor-patient relationship” is that our families became close friends and in 1996, Marc and his wife offered me a position as a patient advocate providing emotional and spiritual care to his cancer patients and their caregivers.

I ­can’t imagine what my life would have been like without being a patient advocate for nearly 20 years. It’s incredible to me what one small prayer of thankfulness set in motion.

Dear friend, I don’t know what trial or heartache you’re facing, but I’m wondering if you have found anything for which to be thankful in the midst of your circumstances?

The Old Testament prophet Habakkuk penned a wonderful example of thankfulness even when everything around him was going wrong:

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
And though there are no grapes on the vines;
Even though the olive crop fails,
And the fields lie empty and barren;
Even though the flocks die in the fields,
And the cattle barns are empty,

Yet I will rejoice in the LORD!

I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! Habakkuk 3:17,18

Go ahead, be thankful in all things—even when the chemo hair follicles have no “blossoms,” even though your strength “fails”” and even though your dreams “lie empty and barren.” Go ahead and rejoice in the Lord because a prayer of thanksgiving can unleash the power of God in truly amazing ways.
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Be sure to open in your browser to hear “Good God Almighty” by Crowder ©2021.

“Poop Happens!”

When our oldest daughter was six months old, we took her on a two-week car trip out West with my parents and she was a model passenger…well, almost.

I had just finished nursing Danielle while riding in the backseat (back before that was deemed unsafe!) and was holding her in my lap when she let loose with more than her disposable diaper could contain. (Did I mention I was wearing white slacks because we were going to eat at the Officers’ Club when we reached our destination?)

My dad pulled on to a sideroad so I could change Danielle’s diaper, her outfit and wipe off my no-longer-white slacks. And that’s when he noticed the sign: Sore Finger Road.

It seemed like such a funny name out in the middle of the desert that we all just started laughing. From them on, every blowout was judged by whether or not it was “Sore Finger Road” worthy.

Poop happens.

At predictable times, at inconvenient times, sometimes too many times, occasionally not enough times…but it happens.

As a 33-year colorectal cancer survivor, I’m probably a little more obsessed with this topic than most people. But I got the idea to blog about it when I heard songwriter-musician Tim Timmons https://www.timtimmonsmusic.com give a talk on “Poop Happens” at the Bob Goff retreat where we both spoke last month.

Tim explained (and I, of course, verified at https://www.epa.gov/sites/default/files/2015-08/documents/beneficial_uses_of_manure_final_aug2015_1.pdf ) that manure is actually extremely beneficial.

It  loosens (softens) compacted soil.

When soil absorbs manure, helpful nutrients are released, contributing to overall soil health.

It produces oxygen which helps soil breathe.

Runoff is reduced by adding manure, which as Tim explained “holds together the good stuff and lets the bad stuff go.”

It improves crop yield.

No wonder that driving by farmland in the spring assaults our noses with odoriferous country air!

But poop doesn’t just happen literally. It happens figuratively too, doesn’t it?

Something occurs in our life–or the life of someone we care about–and it really stinks! As NY Times bestselling author Rick Warren puts it, “Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you’re just coming out of one, or you’re getting ready to go into another one.”

So true!  And if you’re like me, your first response is to want the “stink” gone…and fast!

But since hearing Tim’s message, I’ve been trying to view the “manure” getting dumped on me as a way God can soften my heart, increase my spiritual growth, and help me let go of the bad stuff while hanging on to the really important, good stuff.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.
And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.
Romans 5:3-4

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.
For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.
–James 1:2-3

Tim Timmons

“I lived most of my life trying to stop manure,” Tim says. “I was trying to keep my comfort…but now I ask ‘What’s it revealing about the condition of my heart?'”

In my next blog, I’ll share Tim’s amazing 22-year journey with chronic cancer, but in the meantime, poop is going to happen to you and me. Let’s allow it soften our hearts to the goodness of the Lord and in Him find our joy.

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Be sure to open in your browser to hear “This is the Day,” a very short, upbeat, encouraging song by Tim Timmons © 2021 Integrity Music . (It’s a perfect song to sing any day when poop happens!)

What’s Distracting You?

Photo by Sherise Van Dyk on Unsplash

So, do you ever get distracted…or is it just me?

The other day while mulling the idea of blogging about “distractions,” I headed toward my bathroom (to pee), but I got so distracted by taking care of other things that I left the bathroom without ever doing what I went in there to do!

But that’s not even my best (worst?) distraction story.

That one happened decades ago so I can’t blame it on aging. I put six eggs in a covered pan with cold water to hard-boil them. I knew it would take a few moments for the water to come to a boil so I headed downstairs to take care of some laundry in the basement.

I passed by the answering machine (remember those?), noticed the blinking light, so I listened to and wrote down several messages. I also saw that someone had carried down the recyclables from the kitchen, but not taken them out to the garage…so I did.

Then I went into the laundry room, started a load of wash and emptied the dryer. Because the room doubled as my office, I glanced at my desk and decided to check my (dial-up!) email. I got thoroughly engrossed in emails and in writing an article for the local newspaper where I worked.

Eventually I heard a loud POP, but had no thought of what it could be.

 Upstairs I discovered that the noise came from the saucepan which had boiled dry and flown off the stove on to the floor, scorching the linoleum. There were no eggs in the pan nor on the stove, but when I looked up, there were tiny, yellow egg bits clinging all over the textured ceiling.

I was so distracted I could have burned down the house!

 

But it’s not just my everyday life where I get distracted, it’s my spiritual life, as well.

My mind wanders when I’m praying and I fail to listen for the Father’s voice.

I get busy playing word games, skip reading my Bible and the message there for me from the Lord.

I’m preoccupied with my to-do list and miss Spirit-led opportunities to love like Jesus.

I let worries and fears fill my thoughts and steal my peace.

My friend, what distracts your heart from God’s presence and His gifts? Health concerns? Money matters? Marital strife? Controlling addictions? Heavy grief? Wayward sons or daughters?

Or maybe it’s not “bad” things,  but good things– like the tasks that distracted me during the egg-explosion-event. But they still divert your heart from the best things God has for you.

I don’t know the answer for how you personally can be less distracted by the weariness of life and more focused on the Lord, but the song below has become my prayer.  Perhaps it will be yours, too.

In the morning, You have my attention
In the evening, You have my attention
Every season, the laughing, the breaking
The dancing, the waiting
You have my attention

So, I’ll place no other gods before You
No other gods before You
I know they don’t work
So, I’ll place no other one above You
No other thing beside You
You are God alone

You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.
— Deuteronomy 6:5

You must not have any other god but Me.
–Exodus 20:3

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Open in your browser to hear the powerful music video “No Other Gods” by Tim Timmons with whom I recently had the privilege of ministering alongside at the Bob Goff cancer survivor retreat.

The Healing Power of Your Mind

So, who do you think you talk most to every day?

I know who that person is for me and although I can’t prove it, I bet it’s the same for you.

I don’t usually speak out loud to this person although once in awhile I have been known to blurt out a few words.

I don’t often engage in long conversations with this person, but during the night when I’d rather be sleeping they occasionally drag on.  Sometimes when I talk to this person it’s encouraging, but other times I feel worse when I hear this person speaking.

Can you guess who it is?

Well…the person with whom I converse the most each day is me! And I betting the one with whom you talk most is you.

So if we all talk that much to ourselves, what we tell ourselves becomes really important, doesn’t it?

Especially because our mind’s influence on our body can be positive as well as negative!

And while I don’t believe our thoughts can guarantee completely restored physical, emotional and mental health, I do believe they can influence all of these. Christian psychologist, the late Dr. William Backus says we need to remember three facts:

Your beliefs create your thoughts.

Your thoughts generate feelings.

Your feelings affect your body’s healing systems.

Dr. Backus advocates not just positive-thinking, but telling ourselves the truth about our situation. He has gathered many examples of truthful healing beliefs embraced by those who have survived life-threatening illnesses. Here are a few—I hope you add them to your mind’s “pharmacy” or share them with someone else who needs a healing touch:

  • “I refuse to believe my diagnosis is an automatic death sentence.
  • I believe treatment is effective against this illness, especially the skillful efforts of scientific medicine combined with my strategies for replacing lying thoughts with the truth.
  • I believe my hormones and immune system were created to be on the side of my healing and can work to overcome this illness.
  • I believe God is on the side of my healing because His unbreakable Word says so.
  • I believe I am personally responsible for my treatment and for managing it.
  • I believe hope is a choice. I choose hope, not hopelessness.
  • I believe I’m on earth to share hope, and joy with others. I’m here to love others, regardless of my physical condition.
  • I believe that God’s will is good. I believe that He loves me and wants only the best for me—no matter what He is allowing me to experience right now.
  • I can recover from this illness and live a rich, productive life. But whether I recover or not, I am going to leave this life someday regardless. Until then I can live a full life of service every day for as long as I am given.” *

You don’t just honor God when you speak pleasing words to Him, but you also honor Him when you speak pleasing words to yourself.

Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.
–Proverbs 15:4

Kind words are like honey—
sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.–Proverbs 16:24

 

*William Backus, The Healing Power of the Christian Mind (Minneapolis: Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group, 1996) 96.
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Open in your browser to hear “Let the Words of My Mouth” by Fernando Ortega.

Are you telling yourself the truth?

Do you remember the old game show “To Tell the Truth”?

My mother and I enjoyed watching that daytime show in the ’60s, but if you’re not familiar with it then or the later remakes, here’s the gist.

Three people introduce themselves as the same person–a real individual  who has an incredible story to tell. Of course, only one is telling the truth. Four celebrity panelists ask the contestants questions to try and determine whom they believe.

Sometimes my mom and I spotted the truth-teller, but other times we totally believed the convincing, but wrong person.

As a trained journalist, I like to think of myself as a diehard truth-teller. But while my writing facts are accurate, I know some of the things I tell myself (and believe) are not truth-filled. Especially when I’m physically tired and emotionally overwhelmed, my self-talk can sink into lies or at least half-truths. (I don’t know about you, but those old, discouraging “tapes” in my brain can really take over!)

Christian psychologist, the late Dr. William Backus defines self-talk as “the words we tell ourselves about people, self, experiences, life in general, God, the future, the past…all the words you say to yourself all the time.

Dr. Backus further explains that “In emotional and mental health, what you believe is all important…Other people, circumstances, events and material things are not what make you happy. What you believe about these things is what makes you happy or unhappy.”

That’s why if you don’t want to be fooled by untruths, Dr.Backus says you need to do three things:

  1. Locate your misbeliefs
  2. Remove them.
  3. Replace the misbeliefs with truth.

Here are just a few truths Dr. Backus recommends we tell ourselves:

  • Even if the thing I’m worrying about happens, I can face it without falling apart because God’s Word says my strength is made perfect in weakness.
  • I am not responsible for providing the solutions to everyone’s problems because others can minister as well.
  • God has created me as an emotional being so I can expect to have emotions. But God also has given me the fruit of the Spirit: self-control. I will control my feelings so they can’t control me.

Jesus explained the real source of lies is Satan himself: “He has always hated the truth because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

In contrast, one of the phrases Jesus often spoke was “I tell you the truth” or “Verily, verily” as the KJV translates it. He is the ultimate truth-teller and can be trusted.

Does anyone want to live a life that is long and prosperous?
Then keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. –Psalm 34:12-13

The psalmist might have been thinking about not lying to others, but I believe that spiritual truth applies also to what we tell ourselves.

So what are you facing that needs some truth-telling?  Illness? A chronic health condition?  Divorce? Financial struggles? A wayward child? Grief? Loneliness?

Whatever it is, dear friend, please tell yourself and believe this truth from Dr. Backus: “My circumstances don’t have to be pleasant or happy because my joy comes from my relationship with God and His unchanging faithfulness.”

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise…Then the God of peace will be with you. –Philippians 4:8-9

NEXT BLOG: THE HEALING POWER OF A CHRISTIAN MIND
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Open in your browser to hear the powerful song “Voice of Truth”  © 2003 by Casting Crowns. 

Why We Don’t Lose Heart

A few years ago when my grandson Ben was only 3, we chatted while browsing my wedding album from 1973.

My engagement photo

ME: Do you know who that is?

BEN: Grandma.

ME: That’s right. Grandma when I was young.

BEN: Why you turn out not young anymore?

ME: That’s the same thing I’ve been wondering.

 

“Where has the time gone?” is just one of the many things I wonder about these days as my 70th birthday nears.

I wonder, too, about scientific things, because despite my father teaching high school biology, I find much of science mind-boggling—especially the fact that most of this world is invisible to us.

The only portion of the electromagnet spectrum that the human eye can detect is visible light, but we sure depend on the rest of those electromagnetic waves to get us through the day. Very long radio waves allow us not only to listen to the radio, but also watch TV, use the microwave, and talk on cell phones. And at the other end of the spectrum, short X-rays give us useful information about our health, while even shorter gamma rays make possible specialized radiation treatment.

And much of the world isn’t just invisible, it’s inaudible, too. The human ear only can hear a portion of sounds—those in the 2-20 kilohertz range. Dogs can hear much higher frequencies (up to 60KHz,) as can cats, who always pretend they can’t.

A 2016 CNN report described a dog named Lucy, who was kicked out of guide dog school because she was too distracted by odors. So her owners decided to take advantage of her sniffing prowess and train her to find malignancies. Lucy was reported to correctly sniff out cancer 95-percent of the time over a seven-year period. 

Other dogs have accurately identified melanoma by sniffing moles and prostate cancer by taking a whiff of urine. (We already have CAT scans, why not DOG sniffs?)

And if you really want to blow your mind about the invisibility of our world, check out all the scientists and science writers who say what we can see is only a fraction of the whole universe. Most of them say the stars, planets and galaxies that can be seen make up only 2- to 4-percent of the universe. The remaining 96- to 98-percent can’t be seen, detected or even comprehended by astronomers!

Nature reminds us that what we see is not all there is.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away,  yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.   For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18

All of us truly are visibly “wasting away”—either from the effects of disease, or because you, like me, inevitably are closer to “turn out not young anymore.” Yet deep inside our invisible souls, God is able to renew and refresh.

And when we see Him one day face-to-face, the incredible joy, love, peace and glory awaiting all Christ-followers will make cancer and every one of earth’s trials seem like “light and momentary troubles.”

Don’t fix your eyes on what is seen. Don’t fix them on pathology reports, news headlines, statistics or anything else you can see. No matter what this life brings, fix your eyes on what is unseen

Now may the LORD of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation.
The LORD be with you all.
2 Thessalonians 3:16 

Excerpted from Peace in the Face of Cancer, Lynn Eib ©2017.
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Open in your browser to enjoy  “God of Wonders” with Third Day.

The Goodness of God and the “Badness” of Life

The other morning as I listened to CeCe Winans belt out the song “The Goodness of God,” I suddenly had flashbacks of “bad” things I’ve experienced in my nearly seven decades of living.

A Mother’s Day miscarriage.

A life-threatening cancer diagnosis.

Untimely deaths of dear friends.

Painful turmoil in churches.

Addiction crises ending in suicides.

Heartbreaking marriage problems in friends and families.

Heartfelt prayers without the hoped-for answer.

I began to feel an overwhelming sadness and asked myself: How can I sing the words “all my life You have been faithful; all my life You have been so, so good” when I know I have seen a lot of so, so bad?

How about you? Have you ever asked the question “God, if you’re so good, why has this happened?” Or ” Lord, why hasn’t this happened?”

I sure have.

Why now, Lord?

Why them, Father?

Why, again, God?

Why didn’t You do what I know You have the power to do?

I don’t think the Creator of the Universe is dismayed at all by our honest questions. Just read through the Psalms and you will hear the writers pleading with God.

Some want Him to hurry up…

Lord, hear my prayer! Listen to my plea!
Don’t turn away from me in my time of distress.
Bend down to listen, and answer me quickly when I call to you. Psalm 102:1-2

Some feel incredibly discouraged…

Save me, O God, for the floodwaters are up to my neck.
 Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire; I can’t find a foothold.
I am in deep water, and the floods overwhelm me.
 I am exhausted from crying for help; my throat is parched.
My eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to help me. Psalm 69:1-3

During that recent morning of listening to “the goodness of God,” while visualizing the “badness” of life, the explanation came to me.

All of life is not good, but all of God is.

“The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abounding in goodness and truth “is how God described Himself to Moses.

Yes, God is good…all the time. He is good in the good times and He is good in the bad times. He doesn’t prove His goodness by making life easy or fair or happy. We can trust that His goodness is simply His character and cannot be changed.

As author Chris Tiegreen explains it: “Real faith recognizes God’s nature against all visible circumstances and says ‘I know who You are, I know You’re good, even if I can’t see Your goodness right now’.”

And as Psalm 23 promises “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Won’t you join CeCe Winans today and sing about “The Goodness of God”?

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(Be sure to open this blog in your browser to hear the music video.)

Incredible Getaway for Cancer Journeyers (at a very reduced price)!

Walking through cancer is a journey…so whether you’re 20 days in or 20+ years out of treatment (or anywhere in between), this incredible getaway is just for YOU! (And if you haven’t been diagnosed personally, please share this great opportunity with your family and friends who have.)

The 240-acre Oaks Retreat Center near San Diego, CA is the perfect place to find the restoration and rejuvenation we all need – mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Join NY Times bestselling author BOB GOFF,  musician-cancer survivor TIM TIMMONS, comedian-magician TAYLOR HUGHES, and the person-with-the most-cancer-survivor-friends, ME  🙂  as we offer hope, humor, and healing for the journey…unlocking what’s inside and releasing the YOU the world still needs! (And God wants to use!)

At this getaway, you will be poured into and surrounded by inspirational people in a safe environment with others on a cancer journey–who understand your journey like few rarely do. You will have plenty of opportunities to connect with one another or simply to be alone.

There are stunning views to enjoy, hiking trails, pickle ball courts, a swimming pool, cozy nooks in the cafe (complete with a fireplace), rocking chairs throughout the campus, and carefully crafted experiences to help you unlock where you are on your journey and what you need to thrive along the way. (Horseback riding and massage therapy are available for an additional charge.)

The cost includes two nights’ lodging, meals, snacks, and all the retreat sessions. Thanks to special funding, those costs are one-third to one-half of the usual price for a three-day Oaks Retreat with Bob Goff! (A few scholarships also are available for those with financial needs.)

It’s been almost 33 years since my cancer diagnosis and I still consider myself a cancer journeyer living in its shadow. But I’m  so grateful to be finding God’s light to lead me on the way. I would love to meet or reconnect with you June 5-7 at The Oaks Retreat Center and walk some of your journey with you.

Space is limited, so sign up today using this link:  Unlocking YOU

Blessings of HOPE,
Lynn

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Please open in your browser to enjoy the song “Cast My Cares” by Tim Timmons, diagnosed in 2001 with inoperable liver cancer and given a life expectancy of only five years.

 

Are you in control or out of it?

For me, the best part of playing FreeCell Solitaire is that every single game is winnable because I can use CRTL-Z!Image result

You know what CTRL stands for, right? CONTROL! I’m in control and if the game gets out-of-control and I might lose, I simply undo some of my moves until  everything turns out the way I wanted. (Current win streak is 1,147!) It’s the perfect game for a perfectionist like me who loves to be in control and who hates to lose!

Don’t you wish life had a CTRL-Z button? You could hit it and delete the circumstances that broke your heart. Or you could tap it and erase all the anxiety and the worry. Or you could strike those keys and stop the very first cells from becoming cancerous.  Or at the very least, you could type that command and undo all the treatment side effects. Somehow, some way, you could control a situation until everything turned out just the way you wanted.

Mary, a longtime member of my morning cancer support group, never forgot the out-of-control feeling brought on by her diagnosis of non-small cell lung cancer, just 19 months after she was widowed. Not only did Mary feel out-of-control, but the cancer looked out-of-control, as it already had spread to her liver and bones.

However, within a few months of starting chemo and radiation, scans showed the disease was responding. The liver spots disappeared, the bone lesions stabilized and the lung tumor shrunk by half.

“I could just squeal, I’m so happy,” she told me. “I’m so grateful to God every day.

“I have my moments when it’s hard,” she acknowledged. “But my peace comes from knowing God has a plan and He’s way smarter than I am. If I don’t understand it now, I will later.

“We all pray that we get our own way and we think we know what’s best, but He is the one who does,” Mary said. “I know that’s easy to say, but it’s not always so easy to do.

“I find myself asking God: ‘Could I just have a little control? I want your will, but could I have just a little of mine?’” she added with a laugh.

I really appreciate Mary’s honesty and the fact she recognized the humor in desiring God’s will, but on her own terms. *

If like Mary and me, your anxiety comes not from just thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it, I have some good advice for us from Proverbs 3:5-6. Here’s how The Message Bible paraphrases it:

Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all.

Quit searching for life’s CRTL-Z button and stop fooling yourself that you can be in charge of it all. We never really were in control, so we might as well get “out” of control by doing just as this beautiful song below says:

I lift my hands to heavenHear my heart surrenderI tell my soul againYou are Lord of all
And though the seas are ragingYou will speak and tame themIn You I find my restYou are in control

Adapted from Peace in the Face of Cancer, ©2017 by Lynn Eib

*My dear friend Mary passed away peacefully more than seven happy years after the first doctor told her there was “no hope.”
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Please enjoy the short music video “In Control”  ©2016 Hillsong Music Publishing.