Floyd is doing good at the moment. Some warm spring days have appeared this past week. That makes us all feel better! We continue to pray for ministering angels to keep him company too!
I will start the new cancer treatment in a few days. I’m praying that my body can tolerate it easily, that there will be no side effects, and that it will be effective.
I've mentioned a number of times that our unexpected journey has felt like a roller coaster ride much of the time - regular ups and downs. Recently, the battle over my energy levels has definitely been part of that. Recovering from the winter bugs I had, and a side effect of the treatment I'm on have kept my energy levels low for quite some time now. It's rather frustrating for me. I've always been such a go-getter, accomplishing long lists of things each day. I don't like being slowed down! My family does remind me that I'm getting older too. :)
The neuropathy (numbness) in my feet, that came from my first time of chemo, is also still a battle. It seems to be getting worse these days. As I was moving slowly through my chores, and being careful to make sure my steps were secure from my numb feet - I was talking to the Lord about all this. I'm still following the one-day-at-a-time guideline in trying to persevere on this unexpected journey, so I was asking Him how to make it through the day ahead.
When I sat down to have a quiet time, I came upon a verse that I've not noticed before. "You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way." Psalm 18:36 One person said "so that my ankles do not turn." Another version says "so that my feet did not slip."
I began to ponder that. I think it particularly caught my attention because I worry about slipping/falling because of my numb feet. I've had one or two close calls. As I thought about this verse I was overwhelmed with how God would speak to such a specific thing in His word - and how meaningful and personal it would be to me in this season. I was so encouraged and strengthened.
I also thought of how God has kept me from slipping in so many other ways on this journey. There are too many to mention, but a few came to mind. He has comforted my heart on hard and lonely days - through His presence, and also through the dear friends He has placed around me.......and through the Care Team who love and support Floyd. I am so grateful for each one that loves and cares for us.
He has reminded me on days when I'm almost too weary to pray, that He has given me dear ones around the world who are lifting up my weak arms in prayer. It helps me relax when I can't pray as much as I'd like.
He has provided for our needs during this unusual season. I have not had even one moment of feeling "in want" in any way. I tell Floyd each time I see him of how good God has been to us. I tell him not to worry about me - that everything is okay.
God has spoken love, strength, and encouragement to me is so many ways through His creation. Oh how I love that! It's happened so often that now I look for it with fresh eyes to see and ears to hear Him.
He has drawn me close to His heart, and taught me so many precious things that I know can only come through walking through "the valley of the shadow of death." There is no question that it's worth going through the hard times because of the treasures that come out of those trials. I've learned that there is a sweetness of His tender love that can only come in the hard moments. It's in the dark moments that the light of His presence suddenly pierces through the clouds of trials.
"He makes my feet like the feet of a deer and stations me upon the heights." Psalm 18:33
"When you walk, your steps will not be impeded; when you run, you will not stumble." Proverbs 4:12
"My steps have clung to your paths; my feet have not slipped." Psalm 17:5
"He preserves our lives and keeps our feet from slipping." Psalm 66:9
"He will not let your foot slip - He who watches over you will not slumber." Psalm 121:3
"I cried out, 'I am slipping!' but your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me." Psalm 94:18
In one way or another, trials and hardships come our way. But God can lovingly, wonderfully keep our ankles from giving way as we walk through these trials. I am so grateful for that.
Some days with all that I'm facing, I just need a little fun and lightness in my life. I had an unusual fun thing happen this week. Here is South Africa we have birds called guinea fowl. They are strange birds. They have big bodies, tiny, tiny heads, and even tinier brains! See the birds in the picture above. They are not the smartest creatures that God made! :)
I had one on my front deck this week. It had managed to get there, but it couldn't figure out how to get back to where it came from. It would go over to one possible exit, look at it, and run away. Then it would go to another possible way to return to where it came from, and look puzzled. It ran back and forth. It ran in circles. It ran around so much I thought it might die of exhaustion. I finally took pity on it - after watching and laughing for a while - and went out to chase it the right way. Then away it happily went, probably very relieved.
I was still chuckling from the whole episode when I thought of the lesson that was coming from it for my life. I'm sure I've been like that guinea fowl at times. I've gotten myself into a predicament, and I don't know how to get out. I try one thing, and it's not right. I try another, and it doesn't work......until finally the Holy Spirit comes along and guides me the right way. I know I'm very relieved when that happens to me. And I was grateful for the "fun" event in my day with the guinea fowl.
But my mind kept coming back to the lesson! It started a flow of remembrance in my heart of how good and faithful the Lord has been the last few years to guide me the right way. I have faced so, so, so many situations where I truly had no idea which way to go or what to do. I've shared very openly, but I've probably only shared about a third of the things I've walked through. I honestly can't believe all that has happened in our lives on this unexpected journey.
The biggest decisions I've faced have been about treatment and care for both Floyd and myself. Those have been huge! But I've also faced decisions about finances - about home maintenance and upkeep - about ministry situations - about the best use of my limited energy - about legal questions that have huge implications - and so, so many more things. Normally Floyd would be the one I'd process with. I've missed him immensely.
But the truly beautiful thing is that God has guided me question by question, step by step, decision by decision. I have earnestly cried out to Him asking for help and direction. My family and friends have been a great support. I'm so grateful for them! But many times they didn't have the answers either. God has graciously intervened and given me the wisdom I've needed time and time again - and confirmed those decisions with a sweet "peace that passes understanding."
I've said it before and I'll say it a thousand times more - I can't conceive of how anyone can make it through trials like this without the Lord. He has been my guide.....counselling and directing me each step of the way. He has been my strength in every moment of weakness. He has been my sufficiency when I didn't think I could keep going. He has been my comfort in lonely, tear-filled moments.
He has given me practical wisdom in dealing with things that I have no experience with. He has been enough - more than enough! He has never failed me, always been on time, and has lovingly encouraged me that I'll make it through every twist and turn and every rise and fall of the dreaded roller coaster on this long journey. How immeasurably faithful He has been!
Thomas Jefferson once said, "Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom." As we humbly, honestly ask God for help and wisdom - He comes in with the fullness of who He is to meet us as we cry out for His help.
"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." James 1:5
"Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding." Proverbs 3:13
"The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere." James 3:17
"The Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding." Proverbs 2:6
I don't think I'm quite as dumb as that guinea fowl (at least I hope not!), but I've certainly needed a lot of help. God has wonderfully directed me where I've needed to go each time I've called upon Him. He has been kind and generous with His wisdom. We are never alone! He is always available to hear us and to meet us in our need for His grace and wisdom. How awesome He is!