Tag Archives: One Little Word 2018

Perfect Love

Fear has been my life-long arch nemesis. I fight it daily. It’s my kryptonite. Something the enemy tries to use to get me down and hold power over me. Something I have tried to fight with bravery and courage. Yet, recently it’s become clear to me that bravery and courage will not overcome fear. Courage is defined as the ability to do something that frightens one or strength in the face of pain or grief. Bravery is defined as courageous behavior or character. Courage and bravery rely on our own strength to do something or go through something we fear or is painful. It does not rid me of my fear. 1 John 4:18 says that perfect love casts out fear. Perfect love. The only perfect love there is, is the love we receive from God. Love we don’t deserve. Love we cannot buy or earn. A love that is freely given to us. A love we have the choice to receive. It is only that love that can completely cast out fear.

One of my biggest causes of fear began about 20 years ago today. Do you know what you ate for supper 20 years ago today? February 12, 1998? I do. I was a third year university student, 1 1/2 years away from graduating with my Bachelor of Education. I was at my apartment eating supper. I had treated myself with a box of Kraft Dinner for supper and was eating it out of a margarine or yogurt container (why? I don’t know, but it’s a vivid memory). Only one of my roomates and I were home when the phone rang. It was the doctor who I had finally found after 1 1/2 years, who was willing to do a simple biopsy on a strange lump I had had for at least 18 months. I had begged my family doctor for at least a year, to have it checked out, but she continually refused, until she finally gave in to my demands and referred me to the local surgeon in my home town. He had performed the biopsy at the end of January and I had recently gone in to receive the results that revealed that the tumor was benign, so when the phone rang and it was this doctor, I was concerned. For good reason. For whatever reason, my biopsy results had been mixed up with someone else’s and my biopsy did in fact come back as cancerous!

With those words, fear took a grip of me. 
I was 21 years old. Cancer? People died of cancer.
I was never going to get married. 
I’d never have kids.
What was it like to die? Was I going to die?
What was this Dermatofibrosarcoma anyhow?
Can I trust doctors who don’t listen to me and make mistakes?

I don’t remember very much about the next few days. In fact, I don’t have many memories of that whole next year. Shock? Trauma? All of the above? Probably. The vignettes I do have are crystal clear. I remember getting off the phone, calling my parents to come and pick me up because I needed to be home. I remember being desperate to know what Dermatofibrosarcoma was. Remember, this is 1998, when the internet world was just beginning. Dial up internet was rare and high speed and wifi weren’t a thing. Information on the internet was also limited, so asking Dr. Google, wasn’t an option. Monique, one of my dear roommates, happened to be home and she was a nursing student, so we scoured her nursing text books to see what this cancer was. What was the prognosis? What was the treatment? All questions I didn’t think to ask the doctor on the phone. I’d have to wait until my upcoming appointment with him.

A big part of the next year was a wait and see scenario. The type of cancer I had was extremely rare and didn’t respond to chemo or radiation. Surgery was my only option. Insert more fear. What if the surgery wasn’t enough and it metastasized? All of these unknowns grew a huge sense of fear in me, that I struggled with for several years. I looked at everything through cynical eyes and the enemy was having a heyday with me.

Yet, God loved me. He put people in my life who spoke words of love and healing. People who wouldn’t put up with my excuses of I’m just having a cancer day. (Remember those, Sunny? Bahh!!) I wallowed in cancer days. Pitty parties. God took people out of my life who weighed me down and put people in my life who expected better of me. People who spoke His promises over me and expected me to battle.  I am ever so grateful.

20 years ago today I was diagnosed with cancer. I do not wish cancer on anyone. It is a hard journey. I do know, that I am grateful for all that has happened through that journey. I would not be who I am, or have overcome the inner battles I was fighting, had I not received that phone call 20 years ago today.

Yes, I still battle fear in some areas of my life. I work on those daily. I do not battle fear in the area of my health though. I don’t battle fear of dying. I don’t battle cancer days. I don’t battle a fear of the future. It was a journey to get to this point–perfect love casts out fear.

Trust: Wisdom from Proverbs

Our impatience can really cause a lot of grief. Sometimes, in waiting on the Lord we start to make things happen on our own and this most often does not work out well. Different versions of this scripture verse use words like covetous, arrogant, proud heart, puffed up, in the place of greedy. Why is it that we have such a difficult time waiting on God’s perfect timing? Is it our pride? I think often it is. We get stuck on the what will other people think? I deserve better, now. I’ve waited long enough excuses. And the thing is, it never brings peace. It only brings grief.

When I think of situations where pride causes a barrier in relationships, whether with others or with God, I have never found a sense of peace in the situation. There is always conflict, strife, dissension, and contention in these situations, as it says in this Proverb. If, however we place our trust in the Lord we will prosper. Whether this promise of prospering is in a peace that surpasses our understanding or something more, that peace in itself is priceless.

Trust in Others

I think it’s safe to say that most of us have a difficult time trusting people who have betrayed us. It can be as simple as someone coming to us with stories of others that shed a negative light on them. It’s a pretty safe bet that if they share stories that shed a negative light about others, they are apt to reveal our secrets too.

Years ago I was part of a Ladies Morning Out group and I have always hesitated joining these groups, because I have had a few experiences where prayer requests were disguised as gossip, making the whole experience feel unsafe. The heart behind the ‘prayer request’ wasn’t pure or honorable. It was to spread a negative light on someone. This has always bothered me. These groups are supposed to be a safe place to do life together, to share and build each other and others up. So, when joining this Ladies Morning Out group, I was really hesitant until the facilitator of the group laid down a couple of ground rules including the fact that there is zero tolerance for gossip in any and all forms. Wow! This was a game changer. It felt like we had just entered a ‘safe zone’. A zone of trust.

It’s a good reminder to me, to remember how important it is to me to be able to trust others. I also need to make sure that I am being a trustworthy person.  One of the people that I trust the most in this world feels so incredibly trustworthy to me because, when I have asked questions they know the answer to but can’t tell me because it might break someone else’s confidence, I know without a doubt that I can trust them with my deepest thoughts. To hear the words Yes, I know more about this, but I can’t talk about it because I don’t have permission to, says so much about someone and the trust you can have in them. That is something for us to look up to; something to strive towards. Those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence.

When it’s Time to Give Yourself a Pep Talk

What I love about David the Psalmist is that he is the real deal. He just says what he is going through without holding back. If he’s filled with joy and praise, he shouts it. If he’s filled with sadness and grief, we can feel the depths of it. In Psalm 42 he’s giving himself a little pep talk. He’s going through a lot of hard stuff. He’s longing for God. His heart is breaking. He’s discouraged. He’s asking God why all this horrible stuff is happening to him. He bares his soul and then basically gives himself a kick in the behind because no matter what is going on, we can put our hope in God and praise Him again.

So that’s what I’ve been thinking about today and you know, God, He’s so amazing. I’m driving home from restocking wool products at a local vendor shop and this song comes on the radio and it’s written around Psalm 42:11. As I am belting out the lyrics, pounding my hands on the steering wheel, tears streaming down my face in complete surrender, I wondered, Can you get a distracted driving ticket for crying? Hahaha

Here’s the song and the lyrics. Turn up the volume and let the lyrics become the words of your heart as you surrender your trust over to Him.

Trusting When You’re in The Waiting

For the past number of days, the devotional Jason and I read, has had to do with doing what God has told you. They have been really great reminders, but I have been a bit frustrated with them because I have no idea what God is telling us to do. What if you want to do God’s will, but you are just waiting? I’ll do it God, but I don’t know what it is! One day it even left me in a bit of a panic because what if it’s me? What if I am the problem? What if I’m not listening? Maybe I’m not reading the Bible enough. What am I missing? What am I not seeing? These questions I am now seeing as the enemy’s lies, planting doubt in my soul. Panic does not come from God.

Maybe, sometimes, we are right where we are supposed to be. Maybe being in the waiting, is God’s will. Hebrews 10:35-36 says,

So, do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. 
Remember the great reward it brings to you. 
Patient endurance is what you need now, 
so that you will continue to do God’s will
Then you will receive all that He has promised.

With those lies I was allowing into my  mind, I was starting to throw away this confident trust. We are called to patient endurance.  Maybe, just maybe, God is sometimes telling us that He is in the waiting. That being in the waiting is His purpose for us at this particular moment. That maybe, that is what God is telling us to do right now: Trust and wait!

I know what you’re thinking: But waiting is BORING! Okay, maybe I was the one who was thinking that. What if we change our view of waiting from being in-active to active?  What if while we wait, we act:
-the act of remembering who God is. His promises.
-the act of worship who God is. Praising Him.
-the act of praying. Sharing our struggles with Him. Seeking His wisdom. Praising Him.
-the act of healing. Healing takes hard conscious work and it takes time.
-the act of serving. Looking beyond ourselves and helping others, even if we are in the dark right now. That shouldn’t stop us.

Moses waited for 40 years as he wandered in the desert.
Joseph waited in prison for 10 years.
Abraham waited for a family for 100 years.
David was on the run for 15 years.

Why did God have these people wait for so long? Maybe to build their faith and dependence on Him. Sometimes the purpose is right there in the waiting. There is hope in the waiting. The question is, can we muster up the trust we need as we wait for what God has prepared for us? God came through for Moses, Joseph, Abraham and David and He will come through for us too.