Floyd continues to remain at peace. I never take that for granted. I'm always grateful - and receive it as an answer to prayer.
He's had some quiet times with carers recently, and some very special animated, active times. This past week was lovely when the 3 McClung Sr. siblings were all together - Floyd Jr., Alan, and Judy. Jim, Judy's husband, was there too. The last time they were all together was right before Floyd's emergency surgery in March 2016. The family gathered around his bed and committed him to the Lord. The doctors didn't expect him to even survive the surgery. Instead, when they operated, they couldn't find what had shown up on the scans. It's amazing that Floyd is still with us 15 months later!
As for me, the surgeon is confident he got all the cancer. All that may be left is microscopic bits that the human eye can't see and now we need to let chemo do its part. He said with that - I should have another 35 good years ahead of me. I was encouraged by his strength of conviction. I know my times are in the Lord's hands, but it's nice to hear the surgeon speak with such assurance of all that I've just been through.
Through my whole stay in hospital over the weekend, I felt "carried" by the Lord. I sensed His closeness, His help, His grace, His healing, His sweet presence - I'm sure much of that is a result of all the wonderful prayers covering me and Floyd!
As I was getting ready for my surgery last week, one of my friends was encouraging me that he sees courage in me. His definition of courage is the God-given ability to face suffering without backing away. There are days when I feel courageous. And there are days when I feel weak. I don't think I've looked upon myself as being especially courageous. As I said in a recent update - I'm persistent. :) But that's not the same thing.
I'm grateful on this journey that, for the most part, God has protected me from fear. In spite of all the hard things that have happened in the last 15 months, I think I could probably count on one hand the times I've had moments of fear. God has always met me - they didn't last long. I'm so, so grateful that I've not had fear hanging over me like a cloud of doom.
Recently, during some of the hard days with chemo, I had heavy feelings of loneliness - even when I had people right with me. I wasn't alone! It felt like the enemy was trying to weigh me down with it - create something that wasn't true. I shared it with some friends who met to pray with me. And that broke it - it didn't happen again.
It reminded me that when we bring things "into the light," it breaks any power the enemy has over whatever it is that he is trying to discourage us with. Maybe that's a key to having courage too - walking in the light!
I couldn't have made it through all these months without sharing my heart, my needs with close friends and asking for their prayers. Their love and support have helped carry me. Sharing what I'm going through - bringing it into the light - has freed me from heavy weights. Perhaps it's made room for God to deposit courage in my heart too.
Even though I haven't had many moments of fear - I've had countless times when I've cried out "God help me." I've learned when I feel weak that that should be my first response. And - faithful God that He is - He always meets me when I pray that simple phrase. He has helped me!! Over and over and over again.
This past week when I got the news that my situation had worsened with the tumor growing and the chemo not being effective - for the rest of the day I cried out "God you'll have to help me. I can't do this alone." At one point I actually felt nauseous from the thoughts of what may be ahead. I sat down and cried out to God - and it all lifted. Trust rushed back in. Joy returned to my heart. Peace was restored. In an instant - as He lifted the weight and helped me.
I think the simple prayer - "God help me" - may be some of the most powerful words we can pray! We don't have to dress it up with lots of words. He hears the simplicity of the cry of our heart. He answers that heartfelt prayer!
And I'm grateful that, even though I may not be aware of it, He deposits courage in my heart. Thank you Lord!
"Be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the Lord." Psalm 31:24
"Be strong and courageous.....do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you." 1 Chronicles 28:20
"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong." 1 Corinthians 16:13
"For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, 'Do not fear; I will help you.' " Isaiah 41:13
I'm grateful that He is always strong and courageous, and He can give me strength and courage when I need it. He will help me. And He's always holding my right hand. What a faithful God!