Thursday, March 22, 2012

 2/18/12      What am I to do with this new place I have landed in emotionally? This place of fear, anger, pity, and jealousy? How am I going to live with the knowledge of this disease that could take my life at any time? - and not let it "take" my life?  Living in fear, anger, pity and jealousy is not living. It is barely surviving. It is destructive and it takes away my peace and my joy. Is this learning to walk in faith?  Perhaps it is the walk for me. I struggle with faith. I struggle with understanding that God really knows me, is not judging me, loves me implicitly. I struggle with understanding how we cannot earn God's love...  How is that possible? I have spent my life trying to earn others' love and acceptance, it has become a way of life, I am good at it! It is how I have survived up to now. I am an expert 'people pleaser', I'm great at caring for and nurturing others, I know how to do those things.     Yet, as I struggle to walk closer with the Lord, I'm beginning to realize that if I had to earn His love I'd be out of luck! Daily I become more and more aware of my sins - impatience, criticism, gossip, judging others, taking instead of giving. And what am I doing to bring others to Christ? - for that matter, I don't even know what God wants me to do with this life of mine.
     Everything I read and my fellow Christ followers say "just open your heart and receive, you cannot earn it, you must just believe and accept". How exactly do you do that? Why does that seem easy for some and so difficult for others? Just imagining God holding me in his arms brings tears to my eyes. How can He love me like that?
     So this is where I am, and I am hoping others' prayers will help me work this out in my heart and mind. I do believe somewhere deep inside me that God will use this season in my life to bring much growth, maturity, peace and eventually great joy. I just wish I could fast forward to that season...  :0)

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      And now here it is 3/18/12. Slowly, an understanding has evolved from that place of pain and doubt. As I struggled with my faith, hope, understanding and acceptance, I wondered where God was leading me. I have wondered how God would again use my weakness to help me grow--  in faith, hope, understanding and acceptance.
My heart and mind have battled with this new reality of mine - this reality that I have had cancer - and this cancer could return. And that this new reality will be with me for the rest of my life, every day. Of course, none of us knows when our life will end... We say -
" I could get hit by a car tomorrow!"  But that is too easy to say, just as it is also easily pushed to the back of our minds, to not really believe it. We live safe in our ignorance, dulled by the fact that we don't know when our lives will end, beckoned by more 'concrete' and 'realistic' worries.
I no longer have that luxury. Living with this new reality - is a forever changer. It grabs and keeps my attention, it demands exploration. Yet somehow, this realization, this exploration, has brought me full circle. Back to the simple beginning that I now know I did not truly understand...

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this not from yourselves, it is a gift from God- not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9.

     It is simple. I am living in His grace. Every day, every moment - in and by His grace.  I never really understood grace... what is it exactly? how do you get it? what does it do?   It is so hard to put into words. The dictionary's definition of grace reads: the unmerited love and favor of God toward mankind; divine influence acting in a person to make him/her pure and morally strong.    Unmerited love and favor, divine influence.  Yes.
For me it is also Acceptance - Release - Peace.  For I cannot walk a life of peace alone, I cannot make my life better of my own works, I cannot fight this cancer of my own strength.   I can only relax and depend on Him, lean on Him, knowing that however long or short my life may be, it is only by relying on Him can I truly live, truly know joy and peace. It is so simple. It is the beginning and the end, all at once:   His love for me is His grace.

"For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height - to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God"  Ephesians 3:14-19.

So here is my final reality: Loving each day that is given to me. Soaring with God. Existing, breathing, in His grace. And grateful-  so grateful, so very grateful.