Life & Breath & Everything Else

FTI graphic Acts 17:25When I was young, I fell off of some contraption I was playing on and lost my ability to breathe. “I got the wind knocked out of me,” as they say. It probably only lasted for a few seconds but I remember it was a scary few seconds.

Getting told you have cancer is sort of like that, only scarier. And it lasts longer.

Our lives are filled with moments like this that seem to come out of nowhere and take us by surprise.

Like the day I learned my sister-in law had lymphoma.

And when I heard of our nephew and niece’s newborn who is currently in the hospital battling a heart condition.

Or when I found out last week that one of our good friends had been diagnosed with leukemia.

In these seconds that feel like hours, everything slows. The heart sinks and the air leaves our lungs as we struggle to make sense of it all.

Then, there are other moments. The ones that remind us of our loving Creator. Soul-transcending times when we are startled by grace. Caught off guard by something so wonderful that we have no choice but to pause and give thanks to the One who made us.

Like the day the Lord mercifully reached down, rescuing my heart and saving me.

And the moment me and my love shared our “I do’s”, becoming husband and wife.

Or all the times during my recent struggles that I’ve encountered the compassion of family, friends and even strangers and realized how truly blessed I am.

I’m reminded of that quote that says, Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Those breath-stealing moments, they can happen in good times or bad. Either way, they get our attention, opening our eyes to what’s truly important, making us aware that we are alive.

And we are alive because God breathed His very breath into us. So it’s fitting that we should pour out our praise to Him.

That’s what I’m doing now. Thanking God for life and breath and everything else He’s so graciously given. Want to join me?

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Psalm 150:6

Me and the Sparrows

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Matthew 6: 26-27

There’s been a lot going on at our house lately. A cancer diagnosis for me and, for both my husband and I, the inner turmoil and emotional strain that comes with it.

So, we find ourselves out on our back porch most evenings. Sometimes we talk. Sometimes we say nothing and just watch the birds and the bunnies that seem to enjoy hanging out in our yard lately.

It’s a bit of peace in the midst of our storm to watch these carefree little creatures at play.

I want to be like that. I pray for that.

“God, let fear fall away from me like rain off the feathers of a sparrow. Help me not to worry about the future. Help me to trust that, no matter what tomorrow holds, You will take care of me.”

Below is a song my sister-in-law introduced me to recently. It reminded me that I am secure in God’s loving hands. Part of the lyric says, “If He can hold the world, He can hold this moment.”

Maybe you’re going through a trial of your own. If so, this is song is for you too.

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29-31

Can We Trust God Enough to Say “Thy Will Be Done?”

Thy Will Be Done PicI hope what is written here and the song that follows will encourage you today.

 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4-7

That’s exactly what I need. Peace. A safeguard from dark, negative thoughts and a gateway to joy.

Matthew Henry, in his commentary of this passage, writes:

“Observe, It is our duty and privilege to rejoice in God, and to rejoice in him always; at all times, in all conditions; even when we suffer for him, or are afflicted by him. We must not think the worse of him or of his ways for the hardships we meet with in his service.”

I’ve been thinking about the statement at the end of that video I shared in my last post…the part about how if he loses his sister, he knows he will get angry with God, but that basically God would understand. (I’m very much paraphrasing and summarizing here.)

I think he is trying to express his belief in God’s relentless love for us in spite of our doubt-ridden hearts. I get that. At the same time, in case anyone is unclear, I think we all understand that turning away from God in our despair is never a real option, because He is our ONLY hope.

I’ve heard it said that our suffering does not nullify the goodness of God. He is unchanging, after all. So, may our grieving cause us to hold tight to Him, to the truth of His word and to the faith He has given us. May we trust Him enough to say, “Thy will be done,” just as Jesus taught us to pray.

This journey the Lord has me on right now is not easy. My surgery is scheduled for this week and It seems fear and anxiety are popping up at every turn. But Jesus promised that he would never leave me and, with His help, I can do this.

Rejoice. Pray. Ask. Give Thanks. Find Peace.

Life is hard but God is here and He is my hope. I’m thankful that, even when things look bad, I can choose to dwell on the good.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Philippians 4:8

I’m listening to and loving this new song by Hillary Scott! It’s a timely message for me and anyone else out there who is facing a challenge in their life. If that’s you, take a moment to watch this and be blessed!

Part of the lyric says this:

I know you see me;
I know you hear me, Lord.Your plans are for me;
Goodness you have in store.
So, Thy will be done…

Are you discouraged? I pray the Lord gives you the peace you are seeking right now. Reach out to Him. He sees you. He hears you. He loves you.

Finding God in the Ruins – A New Journey Begins

Psalm 121 FTI
I saw this video and wept. Maybe because the song is so beautiful.

Maybe because the sentiment is so honest and timely for me to hear since my own recent diagnosis of cancer.

Breast cancer.

It’s hard for me to type those words much less admit that this is really happening to me.

But it is.

And so begins a new journey for me, one I hope I will be able to walk through with grace so that God is glorified in the process.

At the moment, all I see is a body broken, the life I once knew crumbling around me. But I know there’s more to the story, that God has a plan to redeem this pain; and I pray a better me will emerge after finding Him in the ruins.

Be Kind To Yourself

“We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

I can’t remember where I first heard the phrase, “Hurting people hurt people.” But I know it’s true because I’ve been on both sides. The hurt-er and the hurt-ee. And judging by the level of hostility and violence in the world, I think there’s a whole lot of other hurting people out there too.

But things could be different. We could stop treating ourselves as our own worst enemy and start believing that the God who made us really and truly loves us.

We could listen as Andrew Peterson sings this song he wrote for his daughter and hear the voice of our Heavenly Father singing over us, assuring us of His love, comforting us in our weakness and healing our wounded hearts.

Lord, help us accept Your kindness so that we can learn to be kind to ourselves and in so doing extend that kindness to others along the way.