Monday, May 28, 2012

Sitting With God

“Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits.”
Satchel Paige 1906-1982

            This last week, I have done a lot of sitting and a lot of sitting and thinking.  Spending a week in silence will do that to you.  It’s easy to sit perfectly still and gaze out over the beauty of the ocean.  Your mind just seems to go to a different place.  Sometimes it takes that to really—really listen to God.  We think that we listen, but in the busyness of our life, we tend to do a lot more talking to God than listening.
            God had some things He needed to say to me, and I had some questions that I needed to ask.  It’s all kind of personal, so I won’t go in to all the details, but suffice it to say—we had a heart to heart.  It is humbling and a privilege to be here in this beautiful place.  God knew last fall when I made the reservations that I would need this time with Him.  I’m grateful that He made it happen.

            This scripture in Deuteronomy 3:25-33 (Msg) pretty well says it all:

God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks. It's a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from God. It's a good thing when you're young to stick it out through the hard times.
When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don't ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Don't run from trouble. Take it full-face. The "worst" is never the worst.
Why? Because the Master won't ever walk out and fail to return. If he works severely, he also works tenderly. His stockpiles of loyal love are immense. He takes no pleasure in making life hard, in throwing roadblocks in the way.

Coming out of the silence and back into the world of chemo treatments and reality, I feel more equipped to handle the next part of this journey.  There is a joy that has welled up inside of my soul.  Whatever I have to face, God will not forsake me.  He hasn't failed me yet.  He never will.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Into The Silence

For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. Psalm 62:1

Four months ago, my friend, Charlene, dropped by my house after she heard about my breast cancer diagnosis.  I told her that I was feeling a peace from God and that it was going to be all right.  With tears in her eyes, she said, “Well, I don’t feel a peace about it because I just heard, and I’m trying to deal with it!” It was true.  God had been dealing with me, and I had time to come to terms with the diagnosis.  But, it was going to take some time for my friends and family to come to the same peace. 

Charlene and I have been friends for over thirty years.  She is a wonderful combination of Martha and Mary.   As the director of an assisted living facility, she has given and given…and given.  So, almost a year ago, I asked her if she wanted to go with me to Cohasset, MA for a silent retreat.  I attended by myself three years ago, immersing myself in the silence and my Lord.  It was experience that renewed and rejuvenated my relationship with God.  The retreat house is a beautiful, old early 1900’s summer home with a magnificent view of the ocean.  It really is heaven!  The days are full of, well, just about anything a person wants to do.  There’s time to pray, read, sleep, eat (the food is wonderful!), take walks along the beach, and just immerse oneself in the silence.  So, four months ago, I told Charlene that I was going to do everything I possibly could to go on this retreat, cancer or no cancer.  The time has come.  With my doctor’s blessing, we leave tomorrow for eight glorious days.

Mother Teresa said, In the silence of the heart God speaks. If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you. Then you will know that you are nothing. It is only when you realize your nothingness, your emptiness, which God can fill you with Himself. Souls of prayer are souls of great silence. “  Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness…in silence, only speaking when he jousted with the devil.  Samuel heard God speak in the silence of the night.  On the mountain, Elijah did not hear God in the wind, the earthquake or the fire, but rather in the quiet, still small voice of God.  In order to fellowship with God, we must spend time with Him……….just listening.  I’m not sure what God is going to tell Charlene or me, but we both have a very important appointment with Him.

Each day, I will be posting quiet scripture pictures on my blog.  I hope that you might enjoy a little taste of the silence along with us.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Bea, Edna, and Betty

She was sitting quietly in the waiting room when I arrived last Monday.  I smiled at her when I sat down. “How did you make it last week?” I asked.  She had sat beside me the previous week as she received her first chemo treatment.  “I made it OK—not too bad.”  She proceeded to tell me about a few of her aches and pains as if we had been friends forever.  Her tooth ached, and she didn’t know how to handle it.  “Probably because I’ve been chewing that nicotine gum in order to stop those cigarettes. “  Bea has lung cancer.  Chemo will do that to you.  We are thrown into a sisterhood whose membership is based on cancer and it’s antidotes—God and chemo.

An hour and a half later, I was situated in my recliner ready to receive my 8th Healing Drip.  Across from me, two ladies sat side by side.  One of them (Betty) was trying to cover the other one (Edna) up with her blanket.  Edna was this precious little black lady.  Her head was covered with a bright turquoise turban.  She was freezing.  “I’m always cold,” she explained as she peeked at me through her glasses behind the skimpy blanket.  Betty asked the nurse if she could get another blanket for Edna.  It seemed there was none available, so I asked Edna if she would like to use my shawl.  A friend had just given it to me. “It’s a prayer shawl,” I explained.  “My friend, Ginny, crocheted this shawl, praying with every stitch.  She would love for me to share the shawl and the prayers with you.” Both Edna’s and Betty’s faces lit up.  Betty said, “Isn’t that just like God, to sit all of us together!”  Betty was as enthusiastic and talkative as Edna was quiet.  She was bubbling with the need to talk about her God.  She would grasp her hands together and look up to heaven, telling us how good her God was to her.  She did not stop talking the entire hour and a half that I was there.  Cancer had not dulled her spirit or her enthusiasm for life.  “Isn’t it great that we can talk like this?” she said.  “It makes the time go by so much faster!” Betty was a hoot!

How grateful I am that God has given me these precious people!  We have unwittingly walked into each other’s lives for a reason.  We are strong—yet vulnerable, optimistic—yet cautious, fearful—yet fearless, normal—yet not.  God has thrown each one of us into another dimension, literally a paradigm shift of our lives.  We have each other, and we will never be the same again.

Please say a prayer for Bea, Edna, and Betty.

The mountains may shift, and the hills may be shaken, but my faithful love won’t shift from you, and my covenant of peace won’t be shaken, says the LORD, the one who pities you. Isaiah 54:10

Monday, May 7, 2012

It Is Written

It was sort of an epiphany for me.  Sitting in church last Wednesday evening, I listened to a good friend teach on Jesus’ priesthood and authority.  Jesus, the very Son of God, quoted the Word by saying “it is written”.  His infamous battle with Satan in the wilderness was fought with the Word of God.  As I sat there in church, the Holy Spirit helped me to see and understand how powerful His Word is in our lives.  If God spoke the world into being, how much more can he use that Word for our guidance and protection? It is written in the prophets, And they shall all be taught by God. Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.” (John 6:45) In explaining John the Baptist’s role, Jesus says “For this is he of whom it is written: ‘Behold, I send My messenger before your face, Who will prepare Your way before you.’” Jesus quotes Hosea 6:6 when he said, I desire mercy and not sacrifice.All throughout the gospels, Jesus quotes “God’s Word.”

Driving home from church that evening, I asked God what He was teaching me.  I believe that He wanted me to know that confessing the Word was powerful and effective—and real.  “If my Son confessed the Word, then I am telling you that you can confess the Word with authority and confidence.”

Fighting this battle with cancer, I need to believe in the power of God’s Word.  One thing I have right now is time—a lot of time.  I have spent many precious hours with God these last three months.  Everyday I have learned something new.  So, this is what God has told me to do: Each day, I will write down a scripture on healing.  Throughout the day, I pray this scripture not only for myself, but also for the many people who are on my prayer list, by saying “It is written” and then confess the scripture.  Here are the three that I have confessed over the last three days:

It is written, “He sent his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.” Psalm 107:20

It is written, “So, you shall serve the Lord your God, and He will bless your bread and your water. And I will take sickness away from the midst of you.’ Exodus 23:25

It is written, “For I will restore health to you, and I will heal your wounds says the Lord.”  Jeremiah 30:17

In 1 Peter 2:5, we are called a Holy Priesthood, offering up spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Christ Jesus.  We have the right to say, “It Is Written”.

Sunday, May 6, 2012