(Previously published July 31, 2010)
This is where I have chosen to spend many a quiet moment these last few days....lingering under the canopy of God's trees and surrounded by the sounds of His creation. I hear the songs that continually come from the voices of the birds.....songs that remind me that God made the bird to open its mouth and bring forth a symphony of praise and beauty with every utterance. How that speaks to my heart in what God desires for us. That we would be a sweet fragrance to all those around us, an offering to Him.
"God is my strength and my song." Exodus 15:2
This was the inscription on a bracelet that a woman gave to me on Saturday morning of our women's retreat back in April. I didn't know this woman, actually had never met her.
I had taught the night before and that morning, she approached me and gave me two small packages. She told me one was for my sister, Heather, who lives in Texas and has a marriage that has been very unstable for the last 18 months. On Friday night, I had shared a few words regarding my sister as an example of a women whose life was 'founded on the rock of Jesus Christ' and weathering a fierce storm with God's grace and mercy so profoundly evident. The other was for me.
After being overcome with this woman's generosity, compassion and heart for the Lord. I tucked the two packages in my purse, as the morning beckoned and the ladies were filing into the conference room. This was the morning, I had found the lump in my breast. This was the morning, a new journey for me was underway, and I didn't even know it yet.
The day was long and upon retiring to my room late into the evening, I forgot about those packages nestled into my purse. The next morning, as I awoke early to spend some time with the Lord, before the retreat was to end, God prompted me to pull out those two packages. I unwrapped them discovering the contents inside. There were two silver bracelets, one in each package. There was no marking on the package to determine which was for me and which was for my sister. I sat before the Lord, read the inscriptions: One from Isaiah (can't tell you now what) and the other from Exodus, "God is my strength and my song." I laid them on the coffee table before me and asked,
"God which would you have for me? And which for Heather?"
I looked at them again and read them ever so slowly.
And the verse in Exodus became a part of me.
I slipped it upon my wrist and spent some time before the Lord.
After the Sunday morning session ended, there was a scurry of activity as I met and prayed with individual ladies. As the tear down process began. But I knew I wanted to meet face to face with this new 'friend' and thank her.
I walked up to the foyer of the hotel, and there she was checking out. Our arms embraced and I touched her arm and thanked her. I truly was so overcome with this woman and her Godly radiance. She asked me, rather timidly...
"may I ask, which did you choose?"
I told her. And she smiled, as God had placed that verse and that bracelet before her for me. She didn't know that in 3 short days I was going to be face to face with me sister, Heather and that I would be giving her her present, from a distant, yet close sister in the Lord. A name and friend unknown to Heather, but known by the Lord.
I tell you this story because that bracelet has adorned my wrist to every doctor's appointment, every test, every part of my new breast cancer journey.
It is an altar, of sorts, for me. A reminder of God's faithfulness in our lives. A picture of His love. A symbol of the body of Christ working together, joined together through Jesus Christ and the blood that He shed on our behalf. A reminder, that even when we don't think He is working....oh He is and never stops. And how He weaves together the most beautiful tapestry.
And so, each morning, on my front porch, I linger.
It is often before the sun has completely risen, the children are still nestled in their beds....all is quiet. And I sit on the front porch with my Bible, cup of coffee and pen and notebook, linger...
in His Words and still small voice
in His comfort and conviction
in His Truth
in my doubts and fears, laying them down before Him
in my pain, asking Him to be the soothing balm
in my fragility as a wife, mother and woman walking the road of breast cancer
And every morning, we meet together.
God is my strength and my song.
As for the updates from the week....there are many.
Yes, drains were all removed on Wednesday....a new "free" woman I was.
I have a Mondar Cord inflammation under my right armpit where the lymph nodes were removed causing me extra pain. A physical therapist has been added to my appointments now.
Betties got their first filling, but only a half dose due to the muscle inflammation and spasms. That would be 30cc's instead of 60.
Love the wig salon, but so ever expensive! Going back next week for another appointment.
First radiation oncology appointment on Thursday sent me deep into the ocean as the waves of the next passage door to healing was presented. Radiation apparently is a given with my cancer. I had thought it might be a question mark. It is now an exclamation point!
Friday post op appointment with my breast surgeon, Dr. Susan Chang. I'll share more later, but the all in all is that after the team of doctor's, pathologists and surgeons met to discuss my cancer, they are going to go at this cancer strong and hard. They are recommending 18 weeks of chemo and 28 days of radiation following.
And so I linger in all of this with the Lord so ever close.
As much as I desire to sit on my front porch forever, I know I have to accept. I have to stand firmly again with open hands and allow God to walk these feet of mine down the path.
I am doing that, bit by bit, moment by moment.....by the grace of God. He is my strength. And I do have a song in my heart that only comes from Him.