​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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intentional Pain

Many of you know that 2 weeks ago I underwent my last breast cancer radiation treatment. Unfortunately, I recently had to return to my oncologist due to the excessive pain and burning of my skin.

The condition of my skin was worsening. I was told that it would get worse but in my mind, there was no way it should be this bad.

The oncologist said that yes my skin was worse than what most radiation patients experience but for my particular situation the condition of my skin was normal. He said that he intentionally wanted my skin to burn this bad and that I may be suffering now but I’d be thanking him later.

The statement my oncologist made really got me thinking about intentional suffering resulting in a better tomorrow for ourselves or for others. In particular, how God allows suffering for a greater purpose.

Noah endured over 100 years of hard work, ridicule, and opposition to build an ark that God told him to build in order to save himself, his family, and the animals from being destroyed in the flood [Genesis 6-8].

Through Noah’s intended suffering, God saved the human race and the animals and we are here today to read about Noah’s faith and be encouraged by it.

Joseph was hated by his brothers. They sold him as a slave and he was taken to Egypt. While there, he was falsely accused of rape and spent many years in prison. Later he found favor in the eyes of Pharaoh and was placed in charge of all of Egypt; saving the world from starvation [Genesis 37-41].

In Genesis 50:20 Joseph says to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

Ruth, a Moabite, married into a Jewish family. Her father-in-law died, her brother-in-law died, and her own husband died. She had a choice to make. Go back to her Moabite family or go with her mother-in-law, Naomi, to a foreign country to start over.

Ruth chose to stay with Naomi. In a foreign land, she worked hard gleaning grain so she and Naomi could eat. That’s when she met Boaz. They ended up getting married and having a son named Obed; the grandfather of David [Ruth 1-4].

God intentionally allowed Ruth’s suffering so that through her David would be born. We are still learning many lessons from the life and faith of both Ruth and David. Not to mention, Jesus is in their genealogy [Matthew 1:1-17].

Jesus was born to die. He left His place in heaven, came to earth, and was born of a virgin. He lived a life of obedience to His Heavenly Father. His life and death were a sacrifice for all of us. Because of His sacrificial death on the cross, we have forgiveness of sins and eternal life [Colossians 1:13-14].

Jesus rose from the dead, defeating death, hell, and the grave. Through Him, believers, also have victory over death, hell, and the grave [1 Corinthians 15:54-57, Revelation 1:18].

Oh, that’s not all, Jesus then ascended to the Father where He sits at His right hand forever living to make intercession for us [Romans 8:34].

And not only that, He sent His Holy Spirit to dwell within every believer; filling them with the Spirit of the Lord, wisdom, understanding, counsel, power, knowledge, and the fear of God [Isaiah 11:2].

God intentionally allowed Jesus to suffer for the benefit of the whole world.

Isaiah 53:10 But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands.

What pain are you currently going through? Maybe, like Noah, you are being ridiculed for your faith. Maybe people think you are foolish as you obey God and walk in His ways day after day.

Maybe, like Joseph, you are hated or have been betrayed by those closest to you. Maybe your own family. Maybe you’ve been wrongly accused of something and are being punished for something you didn’t do.

Maybe, like Ruth, you have lost a spouse and with them your provision or hope for starting your own family. Maybe you’ve had to move to a strange place with strange people and strange customs. Maybe you have to work a back-breaking job every day to feed yourself and a loved one.

Have you considered that God has intentionally allowed your suffering for a greater purpose?

What do Noah, Joseph, Ruth, and Jesus have in common? They all obeyed God and trusted Him and His plan. And that’s what we have to do.

We have to resist self-pity and stay focused on God and His word. We have to keep moving forward and never give up hope for a better tomorrow.

Romans 8:18, 28 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

~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/The End

Breast cancer radiation treatment is complete and I am officially cancer-free. I am thankful this journey is over. Now I move on to the process of healing and recovering from the damage radiation has caused to my skin.

Radiation treatment has left my skin red, irritated, and itchy. At times my left armpit feels as though it is literally on fire. Even though the treatments are over the radiation is still at work. Therefore my skin will get progressively worse for about a week.

Some of the radiation damage may be permanent. My skin, at the treatment site, may always be darkened. Also, some tightening of the skin and muscle may remain. I’m willing to live with that as long as the cancer is gone.

To me, the marks and scars left behind by radiation and the lumpectomy are a symbol of victory over cancer and a reminder of all the Lord has brought me through and taught me during a very difficult time in my life.

Some symbols of victory and remembrance are not pretty.

Jesus was beaten and scourged beyond recognition. He carried His own cross up a hill with a crown of thorns shoved onto His head. Once He reached the top of that hill, for all to see, He was stripped of His clothing and nailed through His hands and feet to the cross.

Jesus’ scars are a symbol of victory; victory over sin. Not only are they a symbol of victory but they are a reminder of what He did for us; paying our sin debt; a debt we could never pay.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Isaiah 53:4-5 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds, we are healed.

Our scars may be ugly but they can be a beautiful reminder of what God has done for us, in us, and through us. It all depends on our perspective.

It’s easy to be angry with God when we go through a life-disfiguring crisis. However, what if instead of being angry with God we allow Him to use the crisis to change us and make a difference in someone else’s life.

What if we look at our scars as a symbol of victory over that which was trying to destroy us? What if we looked at them as a reminder of what God brought us through and taught us along the way?

Maybe by looking at our scars from God’s perspective, we can change our world and those in our sphere of influence.

Changing our perspective can change our attitude. When we look at our crisis and the scars that it left behind we can go from being angry with God for allowing the crisis, to being thankful for what the crisis has done in us and through us. And we can do it with a good attitude.

Hebrews 12:2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer, and perfector of faith. For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Sure, life would have been much easier and more pleasant had I never experienced breast cancer but because of cancer, I have gained a greater knowledge of God, His sovereignty, mercy, and provision. I have experienced a deeper more intimate relationship with Him. I have been able to reach out to others that are suffering and able to do so with empathy that I never had before. I’m changed inside and out.

I’m so changed that I can’t say that I wish I would have never had cancer or that I didn’t have these scars. What the enemy intended for evil, God used for my good and the good of others and He was glorified in the process.

What scars do you bear due to a life-disfiguring crisis? Do you despise those scars? Do they remind you of a time in your life you would rather forget?

Would you consider looking at your scars from God’s perspective? Would you look at them as a reminder of how God changed you or someone else during that difficult time? Would you choose to see them as a victory instead of a defeat? Would you choose to see them as a reminder of God’s greater purpose for your pain?

God is good! He is always good! No matter what you are going through or have been through He can turn it around for your good, the good of others, and His glory.

Genesis 50:20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

I would like to thank all of my friends and family for all of their prayers, encouragement, and support during this health crisis. It means more to me than you will ever know. You have all made a difference in my life. God bless you.

~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 12

Week 3 of breast cancer radiation treatment is officially complete and I’m well into week 4. I’m in the home stretch of this journey. Yay! I’m definitely ready to move on to the next adventure God has for me. It’s been a long hard Summer.

Other than being extremely tired on a regular basis, I am also extremely thirsty on a regular basis. I once read that the first sign of dehydration is thirst.

I am a big advocate for drinking plenty of water. I drink a lot of it myself. The rule of thumb is to take your weight, divide it in half and drink that many ounces of water per day. I strictly adhere to that rule.

However, when I started radiation treatment that water drinking formula no longer worked for me. I found myself drying up. My mouth, skin, and eyes were all constantly dry. My throat was so dry it became hard to swallow at times. I was constantly needing moisture drops in my eyes and having to reapply lotion to my skin.

I don’t understand the science behind how radiation causes dryness but it does. My normal hydration routine was no longer working for me so I had to up my game. I have since significantly increased my water intake. Therefore, I have experienced little to no dry mouth, lubricated eyes, and less dry skin.

According to onemedical.com, the 6 benefits of staying hydrated are: prevents dry mouth, promotes cardiovascular health, keeps the body cool, helps muscles and joints work better, keeps skin supple, and cleanses the body – inside and out.

It’s just as important to keep our spirits hydrated as it is to keep our bodies hydrated. Without water, our bodies will dry up and fail to function properly. Likewise, without God’s word, our spirits will dry up becoming unable to function the way God intends. Several times in scripture, God’s word is referred to as water.

Ephesians 5:26-27 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

1 John 5:7-8 For there are three that testify: the Spirit, the water and the blood; and they three are in agreement.

The intake of God’s word, not just once a day but several times a day, by reading it, speaking it, and hearing it, will keep our spirits functioning properly and energized.

Drinking God’s word regularly will prevent our spirits from becoming a desert wasteland, keep our heart motives pure, our tempers from over-heating, and clean us and change us from the inside out; eliminating those things that are displeasing to the Lord.

When our spirits stay hydrated with God’s word, others will actually be able to see the results in our speech, attitudes, motives, and behavior.

Jeremiah 17:8 “They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

What fruit? The fruit that is the evidence that God’s word and His Spirit are working in us.

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

When our bodies are trying to heal we may need to increase our water intake. So it is with our spirits; when we are going through any type of crisis, we will most definitely need to increase our intake of God’s word. It’s essential to our survival and productivity.

Saturating myself with God’s word every morning and throughout every day has been extremely beneficial to me during radiation treatment. While laying on the treatment table, I have been able to recite scripture to myself quietly.

God’s word, in my heart and mind, flows out of my mouth, resulting in peace and increased faith. And it will do the same for you. All you have to do is drink it in.

So, lets not only keep our bodies hydrated but our spirits as well. Let’s be like a strong tree, planted beside constant flowing streams of God’s word; resulting in healthy roots that produce good fruit regardless of what comes our way.

~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 10

Week one of breast cancer radiation treatment is complete. A lot of you are wondering how I am feeling. Some of the side effects I have experienced this week are indigestion, dry mouth, tiredness, brain fog, and redness of the treatment area.

But in all of this, the most important thing to know is that God is working all things out for my good, the good of others, and for His glory [Romans 8:28].

The employees at the cancer treatment facility are very kind and friendly. Most of the other patients are also kind and friendly. However, some of them just want to sit, be quiet, and not be bothered, which is completely understandable.

I’m a pretty friendly person by nature. But believe me, it’s quite tempting to isolate yourself in this type of scenario. Sometimes misery doesn’t want company.

I’ve learned from experience that the only way to snap out of the self-isolation mentality is to put others before yourself. Which can be very hard to do when you are dealing with your own health crisis or any crisis for that matter.

Philippians 2:3b-4 Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Every patient in that cancer radiation treatment center is hurting; not just me. We are all fighting the same battle; some at different levels than others but a battle none the less.

There is a popular quote by Maclaren that is, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” That is so true!

We have no idea what people are going through. It’s so easy to make assumptions by what we see but in reality, we have no clue. That’s why it’s so important to be kind, no matter what we see. Yes, even when the other person is grumpy.

I think sometimes we take it personally and take offense when someone is unkind to us. Maybe instead, we should view it as an opportunity to show the love of Christ to them and pray for them. It’s all about perspective.

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

I went into breast cancer treatment wanting God to use me to be a blessing to others. I was and am determined to not let my pain be wasted.

My daily prayer is that my eyes, ears, and heart will be open to recognizing opportunities to encourage others in some way. Not just at the cancer treatment facility but everywhere I go.

There is one woman that I notice daily in the treatment waiting area. She always sits alone. She looks so sad and so sick. She doesn’t talk to anyone unless it’s one of the employees. My heart goes out to her.

No matter how bad you think you have it, there is always someone that has it worse than you.

The Lord has put it on my heart to reach out to her. So far I’ve been able to talk with her and try to gain her trust. She’s even allowed me to pray with her. I’ve made it my personal goal to make her smile. I think I may have my work cut out for me. However, with God, all things are possible [Mark 10:27].

I know breast cancer is a horrible situation for me to be in, but if God can use me to help one person to know Him and His love for them, it will all have been worth it.

Matthew 18:12-14 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way, your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.

The life God has given us is not about us. It’s about Him and it’s about others. We all have a purpose in this life. And our purpose may not be all sunshine and roses. It may mean going through tough times to get to the one who is lost so they can fulfill their God-given purpose.

God has a plan. Let’s trust His plan. Let’s allow God to use our difficult situation to make a difference in someone else’s life. Let’s put others before ourselves. Let’s be kind even when it’s hard.

One act of kindness can change someone’s life forever.

Titus 3:4-5 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy.

~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.