living and working in a new city for a portion of this summer sure has its perks: i park my car each day beside my favorite college football stadium; aspen coffee co. has three convenient locations in town for me to get my frozen hot chocolate fix; and i have become an honorary bennett girl with a few lovely ladies, some that i grew up with and some that i’ve gotten to know just recently. one such chick happens not only to be one of my closest friends, but also my co-worker and a superb photographer. after confirming my assignment in quebec this summer, i approached jessica about snapping some photos of me for a personalized prayer card to distribute to friends and family. from the beginning of my committment to ministry through missions, jessica has pledged to support me (and other missionaries she knows) prayerfully, and one day financially when she is equipped to do so. one way she is presently carrying out this ministry with me is by capturing these moments on film, helping me design a cute card, and contributing cheerfully with me to covering their printing costs! i love how her vision for supporting and encouraging those in missions is so much broader than most others’. she’s using her talents and passions, not just her checkbook. good stuff, y’all!
we ventured downtown yesterday to shoot some samples, and even tried out some areas of our backyard. she delivered, y’all! here are just a few:
we selected three shots to use in a template from tiny prints, and voila! here’s what my prayer cards will look like:
what do y’all think? a shipment of cards should be in by the first weekend of june, and i can’t wait to get them sent out. interested in having one for your fridge, bulletin board, dart board, or shooting target? shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your address, and i’ll make sure one lands your way. :) i leave in 30 days!
it’s been a little over a month since my sweet mama was diagnosed with breast cancer, which seems so much shorter than it should be. things have moved extremely quickly in terms of compiling her treatment plan, which i can only attribute to my God and my master mammographer of a sister, whose expertise in this field has been such a source of peace for me.
as of the wee hours of this morning, mom has spent the last five weeks going back and forth to dozens of appointments. a breast MRI and PET scan were performed to search for any more “hot spots” in her body where other tumors could be lurking. none could be found. :) the small tumor is located in one area only, which will be removed on december 22nd! mom will then have six consecutive weeks of radiation, beginning at the end of january and concluding in late spring. such therapy will require a daily, two-hour roundtrip commute during that time period, in addition to teaching those crazy fifth graders that she so dearly loves. this will be hard on her – but we am so pleased, elated, thankful, and awestruck that chemotherapy isn’t even deemed necessary for the time being by her oncologist and surgeon. what better news could we have gotten at this stage of the game? sometimes it gives me chills to think of how tenderly we’ve been cared for and how smooth of a road He seems to have paved for her. makes me wanna gush those happy tears that i usually roll my eyes at any other time.
shortly after mom’s diagnosis, one of my sweet girls from the youth ministry i volunteer at on wednesday nights created a facebook group to spread the word and gather the faithful to pray on her behalf. as of the wee hours of this morning, 380 people have committed to pray for my best friend – just through facebook alone. i can’t even begin to count how many more church prayer lists she appears on, or how many other prayer warriors may be interceeding for her even today! i know it’s corny, and i know i sometimes scoff at how frivolously this word is thrown around, but we are so, so blessed. it renders me speechless sometimes. and we all know how hard of an accomplishment that is. :)
so if you’re reading this and have or will speak to our Lord about my mama’s healing, thank you. it works. it is working. and it’s going to be the biggest source of healing for her following this surgery and into the months of treatment following. we love you.
to join the facebook group and receive more updates on how to pray for us, click here.
let all that i am praise the Lord; may i never forget the good things He does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
psalm 103: 2-4
oh hey, blog. my spontaneous absence from this little corner has made me antsy, and with so much going on this semester, i have more to say now than perhaps ever before. but one week ago today, things changed.
i learned my mom has breast cancer.
i swear, it was as if someone had hit me in the chest and taken the breath right out of me.
and then, i came to my senses.
this is no reason to begin doubting His sovereignty. this is no situation over which He is not already in control. and this is certainly no time to forget that He is a God of victory.
the odds are completely in our favor, both literally and figuratively. the cancer is limited to one area, and the fact that my sister is a top-notch mammographer has given us a distinct advantage in understanding which way to go next. :)
this is the beginning of the story: some days, i still get sad. i still want to cry alone in the shower some nights, and i have my moments where i feel alone and helpless. i would love nothing more than to be at all of my mom’s appointments and feel as if i’m making myself useful in her fight. i want to go home. i’m angry that her life is being disrupted and that she faces treatment options that are less than enjoyable.
this is the end of the story: next year, our family will run at race for the cure as we do every fall. this time, we’ll get to watch our mom walk the survivor’s lap.
to keep up with more specific ways you can pray for my sweet mama, click here.
and anyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return… // matthew 19:29
one of my most precious friends from back home will be spending two weeks in india next month, may 2nd through the 17th. few words could explain how proud of and thrilled for lindsey i am! i beg you to join me in prayer for the hearts of lindsey, the rest of her team, and the sweet faces of india to be prepared for how He will move among them. pray for divine opportunities to make themselves starkly known, for focus and safety, for flexibility and a cohesive team, and for the love of Christ to be made beautifully clear.
i am so excited. =)
it is hard to believe how quickly a year can pass, how four seasons can complete their cycle in what seems like a flash. it has been a year since brady passed away, a precious little boy who words cannot do justice. my first love’s baby cousin touched a multitude more than i can ever hope to touch, and on february 3rd – his sixth birthday – he was released from the pain and obstacles which had plagued him during his short time here. i attended his memorial service on my birthday last year, which i have often described as the most horrific and most precious day of my life. i dearly wish i could detail it much further than that, but his legacy really speaks the loudest. hundreds of friends, family members, nurses and doctors, even news anchors, were present to celebrate brady. the following night i posted this note, pleading for prayer for this wonderful family i came to love. tonight my plea is the same.
oh great God, be small enough to hear us now.
my heart has never ached so uncontrollably for another’s anguish, and i’m astonished at how unaware i once was of what it means to mourn with those who mourn.
it isn’t right to hear a mother and father wail for their child.
it isn’t right for this beautiful, brave woman to acknowledge my birthday on the very day she’s burying her youngest son.
yesterday was amazing, precious, and devestating.
i witnessed how one quiet but mighty soul touched thousands of individuals – something few of us will ever accomplish, but a feat brady conquered within six years.
i rejoiced for a boy who i only had the chance to be in the presence of for a handful of occasions, for a man among children who required only one brief encounter to make you fall in love with him.
i smiled at the thought of all the foods he is finally getting to taste, all of the songs and laughter he is finally getting to hear, all of the races he is finally getting to win.
and i continue to weep for the matchless family that had to give him up to Heaven.
they are all i see when i close my eyes at night. this heavy, horrible feeling consumes my chest when i even begin to think about it. i always thought there came a time when one was all cried out.
i now know that is only an awful myth.
i beg, i plead with you to pray for this group of people i love. if i could only ask you one thing for the rest of time, this would be it. pray for peace to be imparted tonight. pray for joy to show its face soon. pray for comfort to surround ripped and torn hearts. but i think this beautiful boy would also beg you to celebrate, celebrate all of the tiny things we so constantly fail to give a second glance. to celebrate the balloons and flowers he cherished in his tender hands, celebrate life and love itself.
the Father labored and toiled for six days to bless and cultivate everything that is around us, and rested when He saw His work was good.
brady labored and toiled for six years to the very day, blessing and cultivating everything that is around us. it was good. and he is finally resting.
someday all that’s crazy, all that’s unexplained will be beautiful, beautiful. someday all that’s hazy through a clouded glass will be clear at last. and sometimes we’re just waiting for someday. we’re just waiting.
now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. all that i know now is partial and incomplete, but then i will know everything completely… // 1 corinthians 13:12
i have so much to say and so little ability with which to articulate it all. amidst a busy weekend of studying for what just might be the death of me, a welcomed break came in the form of such a familiar routine today: church. [i know, routine is such an awful word to describe the assembly of His body, but don’t you agree that at times we allow it to get that way? i’ll add that to an ever-growing list of things to erradicate for 2009.] i love my church and have invested alot of time and effort into the goings-on there that i am passionate about. this particular morning evoked such a tidal wave of emotions that i certainly was not expecting, and i fear that if i do not take the time to record it all, it will soon become just another sunday that i pack away into a box. so, here goes.
the worship set was gorgeous-as always-with an unplugged version of some of my favorite christmas songs. i had almost forgotten this was the weekend for child dedications, though, and as the first noel began its first few chords, couples began assembling on the stage with their precious babies and toddlers in tow. the entire concept of dedicating one’s life to raising his or her child in the ways of God and making that commitment publically is so radically wonderful. i couldn’t stop smiling at the sweet baby girl who looked in kelly and i’s direction as her mom bounced her softly, and i almost thought happy tears were going to flow if i didn’t swallow that lump in my throat. but then i felt a twinge of sadness, envy even. i stared at all of the beautiful couples and their perfect gifts and wondered if i would ever get to stand in their shoes. this is a fear which plagues me almost daily, in which i picture myself perpetually unwed and, as surely will follow, alone. my joy for my siblings’ and friends’ families sometimes turns to an embarassing, private jealousy and sorrow for what i fear i may never get to experience.
the message, i then thought, would surely take my mind off of this little fear. we started our second week of a phenomenal series on prayer, and as i began circling the verses we referenced, God peeled back my blinders to new truths i needed to understand. craig told us that our relationships with others have a huge impact on our prayer life. simple, right? but i, presumed to be semi-mature in the realm of spiritual things, never before considered how my grudges effect my communication with God. mark 11:25 says, “but when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.” oh brother. so this means i have to let go of the things he did and said that continue to cause my heart so much hurt? will You empower me to release my bitterness for this heartache and forgive him? my mind raced and was, at the same time, filled with peace. the next part of the message led us to proverbs, where He confronted me with a verse that wasn’t even part of our study! proverbs 16:1 spoke directly to the fear i let steal my joy earlier during worship: “we can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer.” my plans of marriage and motherhood may or may not be in His framework for my life, and ultimately it is His answer to that prayer that is right. oh brother againnnnn.
next came fuse, the fifth and sixth grade ministry i and my college friends serve with after our own church experience. what was the message in there about? fear. that’s right. triple whammy. at the conclusion of the video teaching, brian asked if we would allow our fear to keep us from experiencing the adventures of life that are right before us. no, i thought, no they won’t. i still strongly desire to fall in love again and have it last forever, to bring children into a home of faith and love. but i also have to accept that whether or not that falls in line with God’s plan for my life, i will be okay.
so, while i may have a few tears in the shower tonight, i will eventually wipe them away and remember that God did not give me a spirit of fear or timidity. i will try my darndest to play with and love on my nieces without pausing to remind myself that i may never have a daughter of my own. i will go to my friends’ beautiful weddings and not feel heavy-hearted at the possibility i may never wear that dress. i will remember that i have an amazing circle of family and dear friends who give me constant laughter, and a future that will likely bring me more adventure than i can fathom now. and i will realize that the greatest Love of all has been mine all along.
Filed under authentic faith, church, college life, family, fear, fuse, love, pals, patience, prayer, scripture