Archive | March 2013

Face to face

Girlfriends ClipartThere’s something to be said about a face to face meeting, especially when it comes to friends.  It’s nice to get a phone call, or an email or a letter but there’s nothing like seeing someone in person.  I had the pleasure recently of a visit from an old friend.   Although we keep in touch we figured out that it had been two years since we had been together in person.  Even though our visit unfortunately could only be for an hour, this brief encounter was a gift and a bright spot to my day.

We quickly tried to run through updates, answer questions, share stories and pictures, and laugh.  Priceless was our “hello” and “good-bye” hugs.  She left me refreshed and blessed, feeling thankful for having such a good friend in my life, one where we can easily pick up where we left off the last time.  I also was left feeling challenged to make the most of every encounter after hearing some of her stories.

My beautiful roses from my friend.Joshua Siniscal photography

My beautiful roses from my friend.
Joshua Siniscal photography

The following day I had the pleasure of getting together with three other women from my graduate school cohort.  We were all part of a pilot program for career changers who had not been in college for quite some time.  It had  been a difficult 18 months and we all clung to each other as we navigated our way through.  That program ended almost two years ago and from time to time we get together.   We email occasionally but seeing each other in person is different, there’s more of a connection and bonding.  I had not seen them since before my cancer diagnosis and when we met for coffee one of the gals had a dozen roses for me!  It is so good to connect once in a while with people that you don’t want to lose in your life.  They have played a significant part of your past and face to face is a must.

During my break from work this week I had yet another opportunity to meet with another friend I had not seen in quite a while.  She treated me to lunch and we sat there until they were almost getting ready for the dinner crowd!  It was great to get caught up and share things with someone with a kindred spirit and be encouraged and refreshed.  Especially touching (and a little humorous) was when she shared that she prays for me daily when she is in the shower as part of her “routine.”  What a gift to a friend!  Again I was challenged in different areas and believe that God speaks through others to us.

I am looking forward to our annual women’s retreat next month.  I always enjoy the teaching sessions but just as rewarding is being able to spend time with women I love.  Sure, I “see” most of them on a weekly basis but don’t really get the opportunity to spend time with them and catch up on anything.  This will be quality “face to face”.

There’s only one person that I am aware of that had a “face to face” experience with God.  Moses was allowed this privilege.  Exodus 33:11 says, “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.” (NIV) Wow!  I think this might have been just a little bit scary for Moses.  On the other hand, get ready because one day WE will all get this chance; “Then, the Arrival of the Son of Man! It will fill the skies—no one will miss it. Unready people all over the world, outsiders to the splendor and power, will raise a huge lament as they watch the Son of Man blazing out of heaven. At that same moment, he’ll dispatch his angels with a trumpet-blast summons, pulling in God’s chosen from the four winds, from pole to pole,” Matthew 24:30-31 (The Message).

In 1 Corinthians 13:12 it says, “Now we see only a dim likeness of things. It is as if we were seeing them in a mirror. But someday we will see clearly. We will see face to face. What I know now is not complete. But someday I will know completely, just as God knows me completely.” (NIV)  We’ll get all our questions answered.

Like the apostle John, although I write to you with “pen and ink” in my blog, I look forward to the times when I can see you, my readers, face to face!  2 John 1:12 says, “Though I have many things to write to you, I do not want to do so with paper and ink; but I hope to come to you and speak face to face, so that your joy may be made full.” (NASB)

As we celebrate this holy week of Easter, remember what your best friend did for you, dying in your place for your sins so that you could spend eternity with Him.  Friendships are truly a blessing, but the relationship you have with Jesus should be golden.

One of my favorite songs about the return of Jesus, being able to finally see Him face to face, is “We shall behold Him” by Sandi Patty.  Here it is with a video portraying what this meeting may just look like.  Enjoy!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dadf7JHQmuw

Advertisements

Depressing Debt

The “price tag” on an expensive item can send us into sticker shock.  Some things we decide we can do without because it’s more than we would care to spend but sometimes it is not optional.  This is the case for necessary medical treatment and procedures, especially if it life threatening.  I don’t want to get into the whole health insurance debate because it turns my stomach but to make a long story short my health insurance switched as of the first of the year.  I am just now receiving bills through my new insurance.

Cancer treatment is very expensive.  Every treatment is thousands and thousands of dollars.  It can throw you into sticker shock when you start to scrutinize every statement and then the bills that follow.  It’s one of those items that you really can’t do without, can’t purchase second hand or find on Craig’s List, or  bid for on E bay.  I was trying to figure out how to pay the deductible that had been met and then got billed for the out-of-pocket max already for the year.  To add insult to injury next came the estimate and bills for my root canal, post and crown with my new dental insurance.

Going through treatments is bad enough but having to deal with the paperwork, billing and financial price tag on top of that can be very overwhelming.  I can easily let this eat away at me and get depressed which was starting OR I can choose to focus on the fact that my God has always provided.  He tells us not to worry, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own,'” Matthew 6:34 (NIV).  I can rest in the fact that HE has not changed.  He is faithful and has promised to provide for my needs.  “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus,” Philippians 4:19 (NIV).  Matthew 6:26, “ Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (RSV)  If He takes care of a little sparrow, how much more will He take care of my needs?

I was watching the new Bible mini-series on tv last week.  One of the scenes that always grabs me is where Abraham takes Jehovah Jireh 1his only son Isaac up the mountain to sacrifice him in obedience to God.  So many thoughts run through my own mind when I think of what must have been going on in both Abraham’s and Isaac’s minds.  To everyone’s relief, especially Abraham’s,  God comes through and provides a ram for the sacrifice.   Jehovah Jireh (YHWH Yireh), is one of the names of God.  It means the Lord who provides or sees (to it).  This is exactly what happened here in this account in Genesis 22.  WOW…The Lord will see to it that not only is my every need met but that it is met in just the right time, and not just financial needs either.  Check out this two minute video on Jehovah Jireh…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgU8re8b8aA

No one likes to have any debt, especially large financial ones.  The good news is that the BIGGEST DEBT any of us has ever had, has already been taken care of!  God has already provided the ultimate sacrifice through his son Jesus.  “God bought you with a great price,” 1 Corinthians 16:20a (NLB)  “Christ died for our sins, just as Scripture said he would,” 1 Corinthians 15:3b (NIRV)  That is one debt I could never repay even if I tried and am so thankful it was PAID IN FULL on the cross.

Words

Words… Words are a way we communicate with one another. They can be spoken or written but either way they can impact another person positively or negatively. It’s amazing to think that words are only something made up of speech sounds or written or printed characters but they have the power to change a life. They can make or break someone’s day or change a course of a lifetime.

Think about it; the power of even one or two words. “I do.” “Yes.” “No.” I had quite a number of medical appointments and tests done last week…thyroid biopsy, breast MRI, echo cardiogram, Pabst smear, infusion, bone density, root canal, etc. The results came back in drips and drabs over the course of the week. Each time it was a simple “normal” or “benign” and even a “beautiful” was thrown in there. Just one simple word told me all I needed to know or cared to know. I was thankful those were the words I was told, especially after what I went through medically in the last year.

Today, March 1st, is World Compliment Day.  Think about how something as simple as a compliment could put a smile on someone’s face or brighten their day.  You know the old adage, “Think before you speak” or “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say 560166_10151427374636530_552397826_nanything at all”? There’s a lot of wisdom in that. Proverbs 10:19, “The more talk, the less truth; the wise measure their words.” (Message) There’s a time and a place to say certain things as well. “The right word at the right time is like golden apples in silver jewelry.” Proverbs 25:11 (NIRV)

The third chapter in the book of James is about taming the tongue, or I should say our inability to do so. He alludes to the bit in the mouth of a horse and to a rudder on a large ship. It controls or steers it in the direction the rider or pilot wants to go. It is a small thing but it does a big job, good or bad, like a spark starting a forest fire. The tongue can be used to praise or to curse. Proverbs 12:25 says, “Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.” (NLT) At the same time, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.” (NASB)

When we read or hear the Word of God, it is soothing and satisfying to our whole being.  Psalm 119:103 says, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (NIV)  The Message translation puts it this way, “Your words are so choice, so tasty; I prefer them to the best home cooking.” Wow! These were especially prepared for us to devour and feast off of.  They are truth and show us how to live our lives not only here on earth but an eternal offer as well.

I really like a new song that has been played recently on a station I listen to. It’s simply called “Words” by Hawk Nelson and how words can build us up or break us down. Part of the chorus goes like this, “Let my words be life/Let my words be truth/I don’t wanna say a word/Unless it points the world back to You. This is exactly how I feel about this blog. Although I hope that it has been both informative and encouraging to others with breast cancer or anything else they may be going through, I cannot write a post unless my words are pointing back to God. This blog may be about my experiences but it’s purpose is not to point to me but to the Lord and what He is doing with a broken vessel. He gets the glory for everything and anything good in me or that may come from me.

Here is the official Youtube video of the song “Words.”  Check it out at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anVweXDcxhA