I am in the middle of a storm. There are days the waves come crashing in and seem so high that I’m going to drown. And then there are days we get into a quiet cove and the storm doesn’t actually touch us.

But Christ is present in both places. He’s taking care of us in the midst of the stormy mess and he’s giving us rest in the quiet cove.

I know others who are in storms, or maybe just rainy spots and they turn to Christ even then for support and encouragement and peace. It’s scary to be in the middle of a storm sometimes. It’s exhilarating to be in the middle of a storm sometimes.

I entered a new phase of our storm when I shaved my head Friday night (well, Anthony did the actual shaving). I’m glad I gained some weight before I had to do that. I could handle the ghoul low weight look OR the balk look, but not sure how I’d feel about both together. :-)

A friend brought hats, another front bought more hats. Then another friend brought soft cotton caps that I can wear out of the house. And I spent money on a few more caps that I can wear around or outside the house. Partly to cover the baldness, but mostly to keep me warm. I don’t mind people seeing me bald, although I know it would be a shock to them to see it, because it’s still a shock to me every time I look in the mirror. But for weddings and church, I needed a scarf and hat to look good and not distract.

Although for the wedding I wore my ao dai so I was a bit of a distraction anyway, but in a good way. And the bride was still in white, so she still got the main attention.

Storms can be good. They can shake us out of our complacency or our comfort zone (the coach on Beach Body was talking about that today). We need that. How can we transform into the likeness of Christ if we stay the same all the time? We have to change. And He will change us, with our cooperation or not. So better to be open to those trials and count it all joy because it is God at work in my life to CHANGE ME! And boy do I need to be changed.

There are changes that scare us because we don’t know what is coming. And there are changes that annoy us because they get in our way while we’re trying to live life (think remodeling the kitchen). And there are changes we get excited about, a fun trip or a new class or skill.

We should approach God’s transformation of us through trials and storms, as the latter. I know we don’t know exactly what He’s doing, but we know the end goal is to make us like His Son. That is a good purpose and end goal. So we should be better at just trusting that He has it under control and go along with it.

Do we trust that God is sovereign – He has the power to actually do what He says He will do?

Do we believe that God is good. He will not be a tyrant or hurt us, but will only and always do things that are for our ultimate good, and good purpose of transforming us?

If we believe both of those, then we should joyfully jump into whatever He sends our way knowing it will change us for the better! We’ll learn something or change something that will make us a better person.

God is good, all the time.

And all the time, God is good.

And He is able to do what He has promised us He will do. Trust and rest in His plans for you. Count it all joy, even in the middle of a big nasty storm!

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What a great topic for a Sunday. I’m writing this on Saturday since I will be busy or resting on Sunday. Church, then a holy nap after lunch, then choir rehearsal makes for a full day.

Rest makes me think of the wilderness. Because God promised to bring His people in from the wilderness into His rest. At the time it was the land of Israel, with crops already planted and houses already built. And the people refused to go.

But eternally His rest is eternal life with Him. If we trust in Him, that is where we are going.

For today, it means we can rest in Him. We can turn to Him with all our questions and problems and He will listen and provide wisdom (James says so).

So, today and the rest of this week, Rest in Him. Turn to Him constantly (pray without ceasing, Paul says so) and He will hear you and be with you. That’s why the Holy Spirit is given to all believers, so God is present 24/7/365. There is no moment when God is not with you and taking care of all the little and big details of your life. Trust Him with all of it.

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Of course, this word makes me think of Paul’s advice to Timothy to be ready in season and out of season to share the truth of the gospel as he had learned it.

There is also being ready for life going sideways. I was reading Teach us to Want by Jen Michele Pollock and she referred to a book by Joan Didion (who I had vaguely heard of) about life going sideways the year her daughter was in a coma and then her husband died at the dinner table.  That is going sideways people, hard to top that one.

So I was reading this book Teach Us to Want and making note to pick up the book by Joan Didion from the library while I was waiting to have my CT scan done back in April. Which is when my life went sideways. As I’m driving home, my doctor calls me to tell me it’s cancer. He’s already getting an appointment scheduled with a gynecologic oncologist because it looks like ovarian cancer.

Only she gets in there and sees the cancer is everywhere in the abdominal area, the mass is actually pressing on the large intestine and the small intestine, and the test shows it’s a very rare cancer called signet ring cell carcinoma.

il_fullxfull.334990757This is a signet ring, so the cell is squashed a bit to form this kind of shape instead of the normal round shape. At least that’s what they tell me. Survival is median 4 years after diagnosis. I am pretty sure I had it 6 months before the diagnosis, so I’m already a year into that median.

That doesn’t mean we’re giving up, just that I’ll be on maintenance chemo for the rest of my life. And my life won’t be that long. My sister says 8 years was the longest she’s found on the internet. Or maybe signet ring cell folks don’t advertise.

Anyway, back to being ready. My faith was strong the day I got the diagnosis and the day I was told it was actually a rare and deadly (read terminal) type of cancer. I am ready to go Home if that’s what He plans. Or ready to stay here if that’s what He plans. When we decided to try chemo to see if I would respond and then I did respond really well with much of the tumor gone and other thickening gone, I kind of felt like I had traded in my “get out of jail free” card. But I am willing to leave the events to God and just focus on my duties.

To live is Christ and to die is gain. Paul follows that up with that it would be better for them if he stayed so he suspects he’ll be spared and get to stay. For now the only time I get sad is when I think of the people I’ll leave behind who will be hurt by my death. My husband, my aunt, my friends, my church.

But we are just taking one step after another and going ahead. We’ll let God worry about the actual timing. My faith is in Him and I know where I’m eternally headed and I like the thought of that. I still cry at the drop of a hat but not from sadness or depression. More from emotional release I guess. The story of Christ on the cross is so precious to me these days that it always brings tears to my eyes. Hearing people I love pray for me to be healed brings tears. Maybe that is God’s plan, but for now I have to assume He gave me a terminal cancer because He’s taking me home soon.

But I don’t worry about long term plans. I just keep walking one step in front of the other. He is a light until my feet and lamp to my way. He only gives me enough light for the next step, not for the next 60 steps, as much as I would like that assurance of what’s next.

Trying to say, that I hope that whatever comes, I’m ready!

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Friday freedom

No topic for today so I’ll do Tracie Miles blog prompts. Here are the 3 prompts:

Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.

Psalm 39:5-6

Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths,
and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath!
Surely a man goes about as a shadow!
Surely for nothing they are in turmoil;

And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest”

I totally agree with the first statement. And I am being sanctified in how I react to things. Especially at work, I tend to overreact, get frustrated, it’s not pretty. I am trying to not go back to work but my manager is dragging his feet on his part, so I may end up working some next week or doing something. I’m sure I have vacation days I can take and I have to get on my manager to do his part. Become a pain until doing the paperwork is easier than listening to me :-)

The verses from Psalm 39 are interesting. Teach us to number our days, we know they are really as nothing. Even if we live to be 109, it is still just a drop in the bucket and there is no lasting impact left behind.The last one is the kicker. We’re in turmoil, all upset and agitated, for nothing. A lot like the vanity of vanities of Ecclesiastes. Faith in God is the only thing that counts in the truly long run. When this life is over, and it will be over quickly for all of us, what do we have left? That is what counts. And eternal life with our Savior is the only good answer to that.

The third one is great. Of course here he’s speaking to the Israelites, not us. But there places in the Bible confirm that He is continually with us as well. We can rest in that, we can be assured by that. We can trust in that. No matter how dark it gets, the God of light is with us every step of the way. The Holy Spirit indwells us if we have confessed Christ sour Lord and Master. He is with us all the time. God is never far away.

Rest in the Lord today. Know that He is present. Be convicted as necessary and repent of sin as necessary. Rejoice and be assured by this fact. It is a beautiful thing.

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Hm…tough topic. But let’s go with purple being the color of royalty, which is what Christ is. The Son of the Almighty God, He is our King.

As the Westminster Shorter Catechism puts it:

Q. 23. What offices doth Christ execute as our Redeemer?
A. Christ, as our Redeemer, executeth the offices of a prophet, priest, and king.

Q. 26. How doth Christ execute the office of a king?

A. Christ executeth the office of a king, in subduing us to him- self, in ruling and defending us,y and in restraining and conquering all his and our enemies.z

Q. 27. Wherein did Christ’s humiliation consist?

A. Christ’s humiliation consisted in his being born, and that in a low condition, made under the law, undergoing the miseries of this death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.

Jesus Christ is our King, he subdues us to serve Him, that includes freedom from the sin that enslaves us before we know Him. He rules us – a benevolent ruler who is truly looking out for our best interests. And He restrains and conquers all of His and our enemies. All of them conquered, gone, done away with.  We can trust Him to rule us well, and to handle the enemies that attack us and Him. Our flesh, satan, the World.

Turn to Him, He is always present, always waiting for you to turn, and ready to welcome you as his subject and sibling. Granted all the inheritance that is ours, already here in the known world and even moreso in the world to come! Amen, and come Lord Jesus!

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