​A Thief and a Liar​

Great news! My radiation burned skin has nearly been completely replaced with brand new skin. I’m healing well and quickly. Yay!

I still deal with some tired spells but thankfully they aren’t every day. Also, my skin is very itchy at times. I’ve been told that the itching of a formally injured area is a sign of healing. If that’s the case, the itching is welcomed but not enjoyed.

Recently, on one of my not-so-tired days, I went for a walk with my husband on our property. As usual, we took our dog Autumn along and our cat Gabby followed.

We walk on a trail that loops through our mostly wooded 15 acres. Gabby frequently follows along on the trail with an occasional romp through the tall grass or woods. But this time something frightened her and she went into the woods and refused to come out.

I could see and hear Gabby but she was out of reach and wouldn’t be coaxed back onto the trail. Therefore, we reluctantly continued our walk hoping she would follow, stay put, or run home.

Once we looped back around to where Gabby had been too frightened to continue her walk, we called out to her but heard no response. So we went on toward the house but as we neared we realized she wasn’t there either.

My husband went back out onto the trail in search for Gabby. He eventually found her hiding in fear behind trees in the tall grass. I was very relieved to see her in his arms as they emerged from the woods.

Due to fear, Gabby was unable to enjoy her journey and unable to reach her goal of completing the walk.

Fear is a thief! It will rob us of joy and peace. It keeps us from enjoying our lives and fulfilling our purpose. In reality, a life of fear is not truly living.

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

I once read that fear is f-false e-evidence a-appearing r-real. Fear is not only a thief but is also deceptive!

As long as we are breathing, we will always have an opportunity to feel fear.

So what can we do about fear?

Pray!

Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.

What if our fear doesn’t go away?

Trust God!

Proverbs 3:5 Trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.

Fear is putting our faith in something other than God. But if we don’t know God then we can’t trust Him or put our faith in Him.

The only way to get to know anyone is to spend time with them and experience life with them. That’s what a relationship is all about.

Spending time with God looks like reading and studying His word. Talking to Him and listening to Him as He speaks to us through His word and His Holy Spirit.

When we get to know God, His love for us, and His power, we quickly realize there is nothing to fear.

1 John 4:18a There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.

Psalms 77:14 You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples.

The feeling of fear may not go away. But when you know God’s got you, you can move forward, doing what fear has been keeping you from accomplishing or experiencing.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Sometimes, when we step out in faith and do the thing we were afraid to do, it may not turn out the way we thought it should. But we can still trust that God is using the experience for our good and His glory. Nothing is wasted in God’s economy [Romans 8:28].

What is fear trying to steal from you? Your joy? Peace? Sanity? Your future? Your purpose, promotion, or potential?

How is fear deceiving you? Is it telling you there’s no use in trying because you’ll just fail or end up being rejected? Is it telling you to compromise so you can keep your job or a bad relationship?

Will you make a decision to get to know the all-powerful God who loves you and has a great plan for your life? Will you get to know Him so you can start enjoying your life and fulfilling your purpose?

2 Timothy 1:7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid but gives us power love and self-discipline.

Don’t waste another day existing in fear. Start truly living today!

~ Patrice Maguire

Prayer for salvation: Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Journey/Week 9

As of right now, starting this blog, all I know about breast cancer treatment is what I read or what other people that have “been there done that” tell me.

I’ve read books on traditional breast cancer treatment and books on alternative breast cancer treatment. I’ve listened to other people’s experiences with breast cancer. I’ve listened to what people think I should do and what they would do if they were in my shoes. I can wrap all of that up into one word, confusion.

At the end of last week, I was so confused that I nearly canceled my radiation treatments. The confusion led to the fear that I was making a mistake. Fear of making a mistake led to anxiety and panic. At that point, all of my peace was gone.

Confusion, fear, and anxiety are not God’s attributes. God is not in the midst of confusion and all that confusion brings.

I had to get back to peace; back to where God is. He hadn’t gone anywhere. I had wandered off away from Him.

So, what did I do? First I realized what was happening. I realized that the state I was in was not where I wanted to be or needed to be. I realized my peace was gone and I needed to get it back.

The first step to solving any problem is realizing you have a problem. Step one was complete; I realized I had a problem.

Next, I had to retrace my steps to discover where I lost my peace. This is how we find anything we lose, right? I retraced my steps all the way back to all of the confusing, contradicting information.

I’m all for knowledge, learning, and science but when it puts you into a state of confusion, it’s time to take a break.

Next, I went to the one true source of peace, God. I just got alone with Him in a quiet place and asked Him to help me. And He did.

He helped me by reminding me of who He is. Not just who He is in general but who He is to me. He reminded me of all the things He has been revealing to me during this difficult time about His love for me and that He is my shelter and my shield of protection.

1 John 4:18a There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.

Psalm 91:1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

Psalm 18:2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Once I shut out every voice except God’s voice, my peace returned.

Information, knowledge, and science are necessary and useful. However, it is most important to know who God is and what He is capable of.

God is in control and knows what’s best for us. No matter what doctors, professionals, or anyone else says; God is the final authority in every situation. And that alone gives me great peace!

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:7-8 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.

Have you lost your peace? Do you want it back? Retrace your steps to find out where you lost it.

Maybe you’re like me, losing your peace over confusing, contradicting voices. Maybe fear of making a mistake or fear of the consequences of making a mistake have caused you to lose your peace. The loss of peace could even be due to a job, health, or family crisis.

Our peace can be lost easily and quickly when we wander away from God.

Only the Lord can give us peace in the midst of every difficult situation. Will you go to Him with your confusion, fear, and anxiety? Will you ask Him to help you? Will you go to His word and ask Him to reveal to you who He is and what He is capable of.

Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.

Even when things don’t seem to be working out the way we would like them to, it’s comforting to know that God is in control, He knows what’s best, and He always has the last word. Stay close to Him; that’s where true peace is.

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

~Patrice Maguire

Prayer for salvation: Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Journey/Week 8

I’ve recently been contacted by the radiation oncologist’s office. My 1st appointment is set for this week. Part of me is ready to get radiation treatment over with. The other part of me doesn’t want to do it at all.

Yes, I’m still struggling with the thoughts of radiation side effects. But I’m also struggling with the idea of the return of breast cancer or possibly other cancers.

I notice that the more I focus on the negative circumstances or the “what ifs,” fear creeps in. But when I focus on the Lord, His power, and all that He has done, the light of faith disperses the darkness of fear.

There is a constant battle going on in our mouth, mind, emotions, and heart; it’s fear vs faith. The battle starts when we take our eyes off of the Lord and put them on our negative circumstances.

If you have a nice camera you may have a setting for blurred background. It’s called the aperture priority mode. You would set your camera to that mode, do some adjustments to the lens, then, keeping the subject closer to you than to the background, zoom in on your subject and take the photo.

When we stay close to the Lord and keep our focus on Him, zooming in on His character and His attributes, everything else will become blurred in the background.

Peter wanted to walk on the water with Jesus during a storm so Jesus invited him to do so. Peter, full of faith in Jesus and His abilities, got out of the boat and walked on the water. Then Peter became distracted by the storm and began to sink. He cried out to Jesus for help and Jesus rescued him. [Matthew 14:22-32]

As long as Peter kept his focus on Jesus, the storm was blurred in the background and was of no concern to him. But the instant Peter transferred his focus from Jesus to the storm, Jesus became blurred in the background. Peter went from faith to fear as soon as he took his eyes off of Jesus.

That’s exactly what I’ve been doing; focusing on the storm of breast cancer and all that comes with it. As a result, I’ve been sinking in fear and not walking in faith. The negative circumstances are in focus while Jesus is blurred in the background.

Keeping our focus on the Lord doesn’t come naturally. After all, the storm is loud, scary, and a natural attention-getter. We have to make a decision to focus on the Lord and then do all that it takes to stay focused on Him.

What does keeping our focus on the Lord look like? It looks like constantly putting God’s word in our eyes, mouth, ears, and heart.

Romans 10:17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.

Faith comes from hearing the message about Christ. What is the message about Christ?

He has forgiven our sins, He has made us righteous, He has set us free from a life of slavery to sin, He has given us eternal life, He has healed us; spirit, soul, and body, He is interceding for us, He has sent His Holy Spirit to reside within us. The list goes on and on. The good news is, all we have to do is accept all that Christ has done for us. It’s a gift!

We can hear this message spoken to us and we can speak it to ourselves. As we do the light of faith will disperse the darkness of fear.

What storm are you going through today? Are you sinking in fear or walking in faith? What are you focusing on? The storm or the one who can rescue you and calm the storm?

Get to know God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Get to know them,  their character, and their attributes. Your faith in them will grow. As you zoom in on them and their abilities, everything else will blur in the background.

Psalm 56:3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.

Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

~Patrice Maguire

Prayer for salvation: Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Me?

Wow! It’s been quite an emotional couple of weeks. Some moments have left me speechless. Others have left me angry. And still, others have left me in tears.

The expression, “When it rains it pours,” comes to mind.

Transparency isn’t always easy for me. Some may say it’s rooted in pride and they would probably be right. However, as I have been praying about whether or not to share my latest health issues with you, I sense the Lord prompting me to do so in the anticipation that my struggles will encourage and help someone else.

If I share my struggles with you, and you happen to be going through a similar situation or know someone who is, and what I share with you encourages you in some way or causes your faith in God to grow then my struggle and transparency will have all been worth it.

2 Corinthians 1:6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.

Most importantly God is glorified when we humbly admit that when we are weak, He is strong.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

So, it is by God’s grace, for His glory, and for the good of others I share this with you.

On Wednesday, May 22, 2019, I went to the hospital for a follow-up mammogram. Follow-up, because 6 months ago I had a surgical biopsy that turned out to be benign.

Leading up to and the day of the mammogram, I never once considered that there would be an issue. After all, I had just been there 6 months prior and all that had been determined to be cause for concern had been removed.

For one quick moment, while driving into the parking lot, a fleeting thought came to me about a possibility of an issue but I quickly dismissed that negative little thought and proceeded.

Once inside and all checked in, I didn’t have to wait long to begin the procedure. After the images were taken, I was directed to wait in the waiting area until further instruction was given.

I was sitting there interacting with the women around me, prepared for opportunities to be an encouragement to them or possibly pray with anyone who had received a negative diagnosis.

To my shock and amazement, the one receiving a negative diagnosis that day was me. As I was guided back into the imaging room and shown the images that had just been taken, I was numb and confused.

Many questions were going through my mind and my mouth was searching for words. How could this have happened in such a short amount of time? Why is this happening to Me? What is it? Is it cancer?

I was trying to trust God and resist the temptation to fear at the same time. I have to admit a little fear snuck in.

More images were taken and more waiting as instructed. All I could think was, “I have to tell my husband.” I went to my locker to find my phone.

While sending him a text, there was a woman standing beside me. She said something leading me to believe she may be a Christian. I asked her if she was a praying person and she responded that she was. She asked me if I was a Christian and I responded that I was.

As I cried, I told her about my situation and we prayed. She was done with her mammogram and was free to go but she wanted to stay with me as long as she could.

I had arrived there that morning prepared for God to use me to comfort someone in need and that person in need turned out to be me. He provided exactly what I needed at the exact time I needed it. He is our on-time God!

From there, I had a consultation with the radiologist about my area of concern and the need for a biopsy. I went upstairs to see my doctor and surgery was scheduled for the next week, Tuesday, May 28th.

In between that time and my surgery, I had many people praying for me. Everyone had encouraging and positive words for me.

To be honest, I was saying positive things and I was praying and asking God to cause this to all turn out to be nothing, as it had been before, but in the back of my mind, I sensed that this time may be different. But I was still hopeful.

I had the surgery and all went well. The area of concern had been sent off to the lab. I had no pain and no nausea. Glory to God! Post-surgery nausea has always been a problem for me in the past. Thankfully, not this time!

My surgery was on Tuesday the 28th. Thursday the 30th I received the call from my doctor with the lab results. I was hoping to hear, “I have good news, the area of concern is benign,” just as I had 6 months ago. To my dismay, that wasn’t the case this time.

Instead, he told me I have early-stage breast cancer. As the doctor informed me of my next steps, my head was spinning.

Honestly, I never thought that I would ever hear my name and the word cancer in the same sentence. I was shocked!

As I cried, I began to mentally review my “good deeds” resume’ with God. You know the one; I eat healthily, I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I go to church (even on Wednesdays), I volunteer at my church, I read and study the bible, I pray for others and share the gospel with others. I don’t deserve this! Why is this happening to me?

Then the Lord reminded me that He is love. He is good. And He is sovereign.

He doesn’t love me because I do good things. He isn’t good to me because I do good things. He loves me and is good to me because it’s who He is. I can’t earn His love and goodness.

He didn’t stop loving me that day. He didn’t stop being good to me that day. He didn’t leave me that day. He didn’t fall off of the throne that day.

Once all of that was settled in my spirit, the fear left and the peace of God came. 1 John 4:18a There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.

God allows suffering in the lives of believers. We can see it throughout the Bible. For example, look at the lives of Joseph, Job, Peter, John, Paul, and of course Jesus.

God allows suffering for His greater purpose, His greater plan, and His greater good; a purpose, a plan, and goodness we don’t always see or understand right away.

I heard Joyce Meyer say once, “We live life forward but we understand it backward.” That’s so true!

What should we do when we don’t understand?

Trust the One who does!

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.

I may not understand why or how this is happening to me, but I am determined, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to trust God and to submit to His will for me. I know He will lead me to victory; whatever that may look like.

I don’t know where this journey will take me but I’m honored and humbled to be able to share it with you. One thing I do know is that no matter what happens, God will be glorified. That, after all, is my purpose.

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forgetting What is Behind

For the past couple of months, we have had a lot of deer flies and horse flies on our property and around our house. Before that, our dog Autumn thoroughly enjoyed running around at the back of our fifteen acres. We would take her back there and she would run around and explore; smelling everything and just enjoying being free and enjoying life in general. When the flies arrived on the scene that all ended. She was even afraid to just go outside.

The flies are pretty much gone now. There may be a stray one here and there but nothing like it had been. However, Autumn is not convinced. Thankfully, she isn’t afraid to go outside anymore. It took her a while to trust that the flies were gone. But she still won’t go beyond the fence on her own.

Recently my husband wanted to prove to her that the flies were no longer at the back of the property either. He opened the gate and coaxed her beyond the fence. She reluctantly followed him. He kept encouraging her to go a little further and a little further. The whole while she would continually stop and look back at the house. They got more than halfway through the backyard and she had gone as far as she could go. She stopped, turned around and ran back home. She anxiously sat at the back door waiting for it to open to safety.

My husband wasn’t going to give up that easily so he put the leash on her and took her back out there. This time taking her all the way to the back of the fifteen mostly wooded acres. She was frightened the entire time and constantly wanted to go back to the house. My husband was certain she would begin to understand that the flies were gone and that she could go back to enjoying life and running free again. Unfortunately, she was never convinced. She was so happy to be back home once it was all over.

Isn’t that just like us? We want to hold on to what’s comfortable and safe even though it may be keeping us from something better. It’s just easier. God is calling us out of our comfort zones and out of our fears. He’s encouraging us to leave our disappointments, our discouragements, and our hurts behind. He’s saying “I have so much more for you. I have a life of peace, joy, and freedom for you. All you have to do is trust Me. I will be with you.”

Philippians 3:13-14  Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 

~Patrice Maguire