On Assignment

You gotta love Facebook’s “On This Day” app. If you don’t use it, you should. 

Let me give you an example. On this day in 2014, I posted this status update:

“‘The outcome of your life will be determined by your outlook on life.’ (Mark Batterson, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day)

Your perception becomes your reality. If you see yourself as a victim, you will live defeated. If you see yourself as a victor, you will live victoriously. Sounds almost too simple, doesn’t it?”

I still totally believe that, but I think I might even believe it more now than I did when I posted it. It’s almost like I said it and then God said, “Show me.” He does that sometimes. Not because He needs to know if we mean it. He knows our hearts. He does it so that we can see if we really mean it. He does it so that we can bring Him glory.
You see, a year after I posted that, I started chemo and if ever I was going to choose to be a victim or a victor, it was in that journey. There is nothing glorious about chemo or cancer. There is very little dignity when you are lying in a hospital bed in one of those stylish gowns, pusing the call button every time you neded to go to the bathroom. If I wanted to be a victim, I would have certainly been justified. 

Maybe you’re going through something right now and you feel like a victim. Maybe you’ve been cheated or hurt or you’re going through health issues. You feel like you’re justified in being a victim. Don’t stay there. Give yourself 24 hours to grieve and yell and whatever you need to do and then move out of the victim pit. Continuing to view yourself as a victim will cause the pit of bitterness and resentment to grow so deep that you cannot get out. “Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5). 

The morning is not a literal 24 hours, of course. It’s a figure of speech to describe when th darkness ends and the light shines through. On Morning is when you wake up and see yourself as a victor because when that happens, you invite God into that circumstance and allow Him to change you. To strengthen you. To be glorified through you. That is our assignment. That’s what we are here to do…to point to God. That is true worship. Don’t let what is wrong with you–your circumstances, your struggles, your pain–keep you from worshipping what is right with God. 

It’s human nature to ask why when we find ourselves facing difficulties. Some even say, “If God is good, why does He allow this to happen?” When I look at the circumstances in my life in terms of assignments God has given to me, my whole outlook changes. I’m here because this is where God wants me. I’m going through this because God has a grand plan for me. I’m here to point to God and bring Him glory. 

And when we’re finished with our assignments, He’ll say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”


Cancer, Survivorship, Uncategorized

The Finish Line

I crossed the finish line today. This past year’s journey has been a long, grueling marathon. There were hills and valleys, there was scorching heat and cold rains. The wind tried to knock me off course several times. But today I crossed the finish line.

I’m not a runner by any stretch of the imagination. I like the thought of it. I’ve started the couch to 5k plan a few times, but never gotten past the second week. So I don’t know what a runner feels when they cross the finish line in a long race. I imagine there is elation. I would think there would be a sense of accomplishment. Pride. A need to celebrate the victory. And then a crash from exhaustion. That’s exactly how I feel after finishing the year-long battle. I’m elated that I won. I feel proud that I made it through everything I’ve gone through this year. It is true that you don’t know how strong you are until you are tested.

There were so many times I wondered if I’d ever cross the finish line. There were nights when I wasn’t even sure the finish line was real. And then I could see the finish line, but didn’t seem to be moving toward it with any amount of speed at all. But I finally crossed it today.

And I feel tired. I feel like I can finally let my defenses down and just rest. Pretty sure I hear a beach somewhere calling my name….



Eyes Wide Open

I ran into an old friend at Wal-Mart today. I was there to get hamburger buns for the guys and some healthy stuff for me. As I was placing the things from my cart onto the belt, I heard someone say my name. So much for sneaking in and sneaking out of the store unnoticed. Side note, I am not that unsociable, but when you are a teacher who works and shops in the same town, someimtes going to Wal-Mart is a little like a rock star trying to leave a concert. Anyway, I turned to look and I saw a dear friend I had not seen in a couple of years. She keeps up with me on facebook so she knew all about my cancer journey and was supportive while I was in the middle of it. Today she told me that she was diagnosed with melanoma and that she had all of her lymph nodes removed. I felt sick to my stomach to hear her tell me the story. I hate cancer. I hate what it does to people. I hate the fear that it causes and the lives that it steals.

On the way home, I heard a man on the radio talking about being grateful and not taking things for granted. He said, “What we feel entitiled to, we do not feel grateful for.” It’s true. If we feel like life owes us a break, do we stop and say thank you when the break comes? If we feel like God owes us food or provision, do we stop and thank Him for the provision? Not hardly. We pray things like, “God, You said that You would supply all my needs and this is a need.” And then expect Him to do it. That’s not a bad thing. His Word does say that and what He says He will do, He does. And we are to expect in faith. Those are not bad things. But when He does supply that need, do we stop and thank Him for it? Better yet, do we thank Him for it before He supplies? Now that would be faith, wouldn’t it?

One thing I learned from cancer is that I am not entitled to anything. I am not even guaranteed my next breath. I learned not to take people and things as small as red blood cells for granted. The big and the little things in life, literally. I am not entitled to any of them, and I am grateful for all of them. Of course there were days when it was hard to find something to be thankful for. Those days when I couldn’t get out of bed, or the days in isolation in the hospital were dark and lonely. I still have days that are tough. But if I look long enough, I always find something.

Look around with eyes wide open for the blessieyes ngs. They are more in number than you think.



Ice Storm

Today is an “ice day” home from work. The company (and most schools in the area) called off yesterday afternoon in anticipation of the coming weather. It didn’t come. At least not here. There is no ice. There is barely even any rain. I wonder if there’s some sort of game the weather guys play…predicting and talking up the ice storm of the century, and then sitting back and laughing when everyone buys it. Possibility.
I’m amazed at how many people flock the stores when they hear of an impending storm. Bread, milk, and eggs fly off the shelves in record time. Pallets of ice melt are staged at the enterance of the store, right in front of the snow shovel display. Who needs to buy a snow shovel EVERY TIME it snows anyway? What happens to the ones we bought the last time it snowed???

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to predict and prepare for impending life storms? For instance, would I have done anything differently if I had known that cancer was in my future? What would you do if you knew a job loss was coming? Or a relationship fail? Or a car accident? Would you want to know the storm was coming, or would that cause anxiety and paralyzing fear? 

Proverbs 31:21 says this: “She has no fear of winter for her household, for everyone has warm clothes.” She’s wise. She knows that storms and seasons come and go. That’s life. But instead of dreading or fearing or freezing in hopelessness, she prepares not only herself, but her household. “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” In other words, she’s done everything she can do, and she trusts that God will do the rest. There is strength in the quiet trust we place in our Heavenly Father. Instead of waiting until the storm arrives and then running to God in desperation, there’s a peace in walking with Him and trusting Him with every moment of every single day.

Face the storms of life head-on with confidence that God’s in control. Unlike us, He knows the exact time and circumstances. Nothing surprises Him. Nothing sneaks past Him. When the storms of life come, we can rest in the knowledge that He has already prepared for it.