Our Unexpected Journey

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Floyd has had a good week.  He's at peace, attentive with the carers, smiling - everything is just holding steady.  No big ups or downs.  He seems a bit quieter these days, but he's not upset in any way.  This week when I went to see him, I took him a small wooden tree that they make here locally with colorful ribbons tied on it.  We can't take plants or flowers.  I wanted him to have something festive for Christmas.  He smiled real big when he saw it.  Christmas was always a special family holiday season for us.  I miss him more profoundly during these weeks.

I feel so blessed that the nurses told one of the carers this week that they are making plans for Christmas.  They will sing to him and read from the Bible.  I plan to visit him on Christmas too. 

Some days for us are hard.  Oh how I wish they weren't, but they are.  Floyd still faces all the "big" conditions in his life - he can't speak, he can't swallow fully, one side of his body is immobilized, his awareness isn't one hundred percent......and as time goes by, other complications arise.

I also don't know what's ahead for me in my battle with ovarian cancer.  At the moment I'm feeling good, I'm regaining strength, and I'm initiating ongoing treatments.  But those nasty cancer critters may be growing even as I'm typing this.  We'll know more with tests we'll be doing in the new year.

The thoughts of all these things are often in my mind.  I was committing them to the Lord recently when I read this verse:  "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own."  Matthew 6:34

How very true that is!  Some days the "trouble" of that day feels like too much.  And if you add in possible future trouble, it really gets overwhelming!

I am learning, and relearning, and learning yet again - that I must fully keep my focus on HIM......not the troubles.  He is sufficient for the troubles, but I must stay in the present and keep my eyes on His goodness, His grace, and His sufficiency.  I can't allow my mind to wander into the "what ifs" of the days to come.

It seems so simple, and yet I find it a challenging, daily battle in the mind.  Thankfully God is patient, and He brings me back again and again to what I'm dealing with today.  He helps me get through one-day-at-a-time!  He's so faithful.

He also graciously adds in special "gifts" that warm my heart and remind me of His love for me in knowing what I enjoy.  Things like the beautiful rainbow I shared about last week.  And a few days ago there was a whole pod of whales in our bay.  It was hard to count them as they went up and down enjoying their tasty meal - but there must have been 20-30 of them.  I marveled at their magnificent beauty and graceful movements.  It's late in the season for whales, so that made it even more special.

As I give my "troubles," my cares to Him - He carries them for me......and He gives me little joys that bring a smile and help lighten the load.  How can you not love a God like that and be in sweet awe of Him?  He is so good!

"When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul."  Psalm 94:19

"Praise be to the Lord.....who daily bears our burdens."  Psalm 68:19

"Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken."  Psalm 55:22

"The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles."  Psalm 34:17

Faithful, faithful God that He is.......He carries our heavy loads.  Thank you Lord!

I have gotten lots of information about possible ongoing treatment for me over these past weeks.  I will be praying and seeking the Lord about all this over the next couple of weeks.  I'm so grateful for all the prayer the Lord has surrounded me with from many around the world as I make these descisions.  

When the angel came to Mary, to Joseph, and to the shepherds - the common theme was "do not fear, do not be afraid."  It's a good thing they said that because, well.....angels!  You might be a little nervous!  I'm so glad that God knew they would need to hear those simple words - "do not fear."  

In fact "do not fear, do not be afraid" are instructions mentioned more than any other command in the Bible.  One study I looked at said it's mentioned over 365 times in the Word.  God knew we'd need to be reminded of this simple instruction over and over, even daily, as we face situations in our lives.

On this unexpected journey we've been on, I've heard God whisper it to my heart many times.  And I remind myself repeatedly that I don't need to be afraid.  With God holding my right hand, walking with me, carrying me - I don't need to fear anything that comes our way.

But sometimes it's easier said than done.  I have had to face so many HUGE issues on this journey.  I can say I don't need to fear, but it's much harder to get rid of very normal, human fears that pop up.  A key for me has been bringing my fear into the light, into the truth of God's word.  Fear tends to thrive in the dark and in the mind.  By speaking out my fear, the Lord can help me in both areas.

When I speak my fear to the Lord, it allows Him to lift it from my mind and my heart.  He can then carry the "burden" of that fear.  He is able to pour His peace into my soul.  He is able to shed truth and revelation into the fear so that it loses its power.

I'm so grateful for God's clear instruction to us to "fear not."

"Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."  Isaiah 41:10

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me."  Psalm 23:4

"Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you."  Deuteronomy 31:6

"The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.....The Lord is with me; He is my helper."  Psalm 118:6,7

"When I am afraid, I put my trust in You."  Psalm 56:3

God isn't saying there's nothing to be afraid of.  Life is scary - there are frightening things that come.  But He's saying we don't need to fear - because of who HE is in the scary things of life!  And often when He gives the command to not fear (it's a command, not a suggestion!) - it's followed by His action, His response, His help.

Like Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds in the Christmas story - we don't need to fear!  God is with us!  As you reflect on our Savior over this Christmas time may you be blessed with joy!