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 4

Last week I underwent a lumpectomy leaving me scarred and in pain. Just one more scar to add to my life-collection of scars.

I have acquired a lot of scars in my lifetime; as I’m sure most of you have. Some are a result of bringing life into the world and some to save my own life. Others are a result of repairing damaged body parts. And still, others are scars on my heart, emotions, and memory that only God can see.

Do you sometimes hear a song and think to yourself, “Wow! This really speaks to me and my current situation.” In this case, the song I am referring to is Scars, by I Am They.

One chorus goes like this: So I’m thankful for the scars – ‘Cause without them I wouldn’t know Your heart – And I know they’ll always tell of who You are – So forever I am thankful for the scars

It’s uncommon to be thankful for scars. They aren’t exactly a pretty sight. Being thankful for scars goes against all human logic. Plus, there is pain associated with scars. No one wants to be reminded of the pain.

Each seen or unseen scar is evidence that we have lived. The pain and scars are part of life. They come with the territory.

Hardships in this life will do one of two things; draw us closer to God or further away from Him.

I have learned from personal experience that when I view my painful circumstances and scars from a godly perspective my faith, joy, and character grows and I become a better person.

But when I blame God and become angry with Him for allowing the circumstances that result in pain; I become bitter and turn away from Him.

During difficult times, we have to remember that God is sovereign and that He knows what He is doing. He knows the end from the beginning. And He sees the positive results of our pain that we cannot yet see (Isaiah 46:10).

God allows our pain and suffering as an opportunity for us to run to Him, to know Him better, and to trust Him more. In reality, He is the only one that can help us get through it and make us better on the other side of it.

We can become better instead of bitter.

James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Though it’s hard to do, we can remain joyful as we look forward to the spiritual growth and maturity that results from pain and suffering.

It’s not if we suffer. We will all suffer in this life. But it’s about how we suffer that counts. That’s what makes all the difference in becoming better or bitter.

Back to the song I mentioned earlier. There is another chorus that goes like this: I’m thankful for Your scars – ‘Cause without them I wouldn’t know Your heart – And with my life, I’ll tell of who You are – So forever I am thankful

We will never know the suffering Jesus suffered. He still bears the scars of His suffering. He endured the pain of the scourging and the cross in our place. He did it all so we can be in relationship with Him for eternity.

Hebrews 12:2 Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer, and perfecter 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.

Jesus’ scars are a reminder of His love for us and the relationship He desires with us. Those scars reveal His heart for His Father and for us. And the only way we can say thank you for all that He has done for us is to live a life that glorifies Him.

When we embrace the pain and suffering God has allowed in our lives with a good attitude we are living a life of gratitude that glorifies Him and points others to Him.

Do you have scars that remind you of your suffering and pain? Have you allowed those scars to make you better or bitter? Do you blame God for your pain or do you run to Him for the help and the comfort that He alone provides in the midst of pain?

Will you allow your scars to be exposed in order to help others, encourage others, and glorify God?

Don’t allow your pain and scars to stay hidden. Put them in the Lord’s hands and watch Him do amazing things with them.

Isaiah 61:3 God will provide for those who grieve-to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.

~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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scars of Impatience

I’ve been wanting to write a blog all week. I’ve felt like a racehorse at a starting gate. I even tried to write one on Monday but ended up deleting it because it just didn’t feel right; it wasn’t coming together. The timing and content were all wrong. God was working on something in me and He wanted me to wait until I could share it with all of you. He loves for me to be transparent and tell on myself. That way He gets all of the glory. As it should be!

I’ve been a little impatient with God lately. Impatient to the point where I’ve actually become angry with Him. Have you ever had a situation where you were sure God told you to do something so you stepped out in faith and did what He told you to do but it didn’t turn out the way you thought it should? Or you were even right in the middle of doing what He told you to do but there seemed to be roadblocks everywhere? Well, that’s where I am. It’s left me asking questions like “why?” and “when?” Then the Lord reminded me of something this morning.

Once my mom shared a memory with me about something I did when I was a little girl. I don’t remember doing what she says I did but I know it’s true because I have a scar that proves it. One evening my mom had prepared dinner as she always had. The food was very hot. I was very hungry. My mom was trying to explain to me that the food was too hot to eat as she blew on it to try to cool it off. She didn’t want my mouth to be burned. I didn’t want to listen to her and I didn’t want to wait. I grew more and more impatient. Then I became very angry with her and threw a fit. I started crying and screaming and running around. Then it happened. I ran right into the corner of a brick wall. I was hurt very badly. I have a scar and a slight dent in my forehead due to the injury.

Isn’t that just like us with God? He’s prepared something so good for us and we can smell it. It smells amazing! It smells so good that it makes us more and more hungry for what He’s promised as the end result of our obedience. We want it now! But it’s not ready. He’s trying to encourage us through His word that it’s coming and He’s telling us to just be patient. But we want it now! And just like I got angry with my sweet mom, who only had my best interest at heart, we get angry with God and do something that causes ourselves pain and leaves a scar.

We all bare these scars. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some are the scars of giving up hope too soon when our breakthrough was just around the corner. Some are scars of taking control of the situation and doing things our way only to realize we made a mistake. No matter who we are our scars always look like regret. But thankfully that isn’t the end.

God wants to use those old scars of impatience to remind us of our past mistakes so that we won’t make the same mistakes again. He wants us to remember that we can trust Him in the waiting because He knows what’s best for us. It’s in the waiting that makes the fulfilled promise taste so much better than we could have ever imagined it would.

Psalm 34:8 Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.

Psalm 130:5 I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in His word, I put my hope.

Ecclesiastes 7:8 The end of a matter is better than it’s beginning, and patience is better than pride.

Colossians 1:11 Being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience.

~Patrice Maguire