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 6

Every summer I make a to-do list. I’m a planner and I’m task-oriented so to-do lists are a must for me.

My to-do list consists of things I’d like to accomplish between June and September. Needless to say, not many things on my list have been completed since I found out about my breast cancer on May 30, 2019.

Some of the things on my list are: paint the laundry room, launch new children’s book, relocate wall photos, and clean out files. Funny thing is, as many times as I look at that list, I can’t find breast cancer anywhere on it. Go figure!

No one plans a health crisis or any crisis. It’s as if the crisis has a mind of its own. It just pops into our lives unannounced and unwanted.

I’m in a healing/waiting period at this stage of my breast cancer journey. I don’t know when radiation treatment will begin. And from what I understand the worst side effect of radiation treatment is low energy. Great! More tiredness!

In preparation for the impending low energy, I would like to get as many things marked off my to-do list as possible before treatment begins. I realize I may not get the entire list completed by the time I’d like to, so I’ve added one more thing to my to-do list; stay calm and trust God.

Over the years, as I’ve experienced life with God, I’ve come to realize that He is in control and that His plan and timing is perfect. That realization is so freeing and gives me so much peace.

Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in You.

I wonder if Job was a list maker. He had a lot of responsibilities; a lot of things and people to keep up with. He may have had a daily to-do list lying around.

Job was just going about his daily life and tasks when out of nowhere crisis hit; unannounced and unwanted.

Job lost his livelihood, his servants, children, and his health. To make matters worse, he had no support from his wife and friends. He was going through a horrible crisis. I can’t even imagine what he must have suffered.

What Job does in the midst of his devastating health and life crisis is amazing. He trusts God! He realizes that God is in control and is sovereign. He refuses to turn his back on Him. As a matter of fact, his faith and knowledge of God grow.

Job 42:5 tells us what Job gained from his crisis; “My ears had heard of You but now my eyes have seen You.” For Job, God had gone from being “God” to “My God.” Job had come to know God on a much higher level than he had before.

I know that I am not going through anything close to what Job went through, but just the same, I want to gain from this health crisis the same thing Job did. I want to know God on a higher level as I trust Him in the midst of my crisis; I want my faith and knowledge of Him to grow.

Jeremiah 17:7 But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.

What unannounced and unwanted crisis has hit you or your family? God sees you! He cares about what you are going through. Will you cry out to Him for help?

Will you trust that He is in control of all things and that He is sovereign? Will you trust that His plan and timing is perfect?

While you are waiting for God to answer your prayers in His way and His timing, will you allow your crisis to take your relationship with Him to a whole new level; to a place where you can go from calling Him “God” to “My God?”

Psalm 31:14 But I trust in You, Lord; I say, “You are my God.”

~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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opinions of Others

I have struggled with the opinions of others for most of my life. I have made lots of decisions about my life based on what people will think of me. It has been crippling at times, but also so much a part of my life, that I didn’t even realize it had such a hold upon me. Recently the Lord has been revealing areas related to this in my life and I have been laying them down as they would arise. I would find myself so surprised at how bound I was to people’s potential judgments of me.

This past week my husband dyed my son Judah’s hair blue, without me knowing when I was not home. Judah wanted his hair blue, so Matt went to the store to buy supplies and dyed his hair blue. When I got home, I found Judah asleep and realized from the hall that his hair was blue. I was literally appalled. I was in tears because I was so upset. I was honestly very angry at Matt. We didn’t really talk about it much at that moment. Matt went to bed and I planned in my head what I would have to “tell people”. I immediately felt judged and no one had even seen it yet!! I was literally panicking inside. I was planning to place all the blame on my husband by throwing him “under the bus”. I had a mini conversation planned out in my head how it would all go. After about an hour of turmoil, I felt the Lord speak to me very clearly about the situation. I decided that I needed to forgive my husband and chill out. It’s JUST hair and WHO cares what others think. This was big for me because I don’t ever just not worry about what people think! I ALWAYS consider what others may think. It was honestly empowering at the moment. I then decided that my comment to others, if they asked what was up with his hair, would be, “Dads are way cooler than moms!” I felt a peace going to bed and it was such a change from all of the anger that I had built up just an hour prior to that moment.

The next morning I felt at peace. I apologized to Matt for being angry and I greeted Judah in his room. He had the BIGGEST smile on his face. He was so proud of his blue hair. I made sure to tell him it was a pretty shade of blue, just how he likes it! Judah is not typically a kid who would ever ask for blue hair. He’s a kid who doesn’t usually like change and isn’t very radical when it comes to such things. So the fact that he actually asked for blue hair is shocking to me. BUT this blue hair has been such a gift. I never thought I’d say that!

We went to Costco that first day, and I was prepared for the stares. I was surprised that several people commented on how much they loved his hair. One of the ladies passing out samples sang to him that he was “bad to the bone” or something along those lines. He was so excited that they loved his hair! I literally saw so much joy all over his face. With every compliment he received, he beamed with confidence that I’ve never seen him have before. Judah isn’t a super social kid and this blue hair has honestly brought him out of his comfort zone. He’s had conversations with strangers and he has rarely done that before.

This has been huge for Judah, but I’d go as far as saying that it has been even more huge for me. I am honestly THRILLED that Matt dyed Judah’s hair. It has provided me an opportunity to walk out this commitment to not worry about what others think of me. Will there be situations when I will be tempted to revert back to worrying about what others think of me? Absolutely, but I pray that I continue to stand firm on God’s opinions of me because those are the most important opinions. I don’t ever want to be bound by what others think of me again. It was impossible for me to live the free life that God intended for me to live.

If you made it all the way to the end of this, thanks for reading. I pray that you see yourself as God sees you and not how you anticipate that others will see you. So, if you see Judah’s blue hair, please tell him how cool it is so you can see the sweetest smile on his face.

Amanda Eastman

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