Friday, April 12, 2013

Stream or River?

The season I am in right now is a season of surrender.  Now I say that with a half grin as it seems I am ALWAYS trying to surrender.  It has not been easy.  
There are things in my life, that I nurture my flesh with.  Things that feel good to engage in.  Oh, how my flesh loves to fill itself with food.  How it is a pacifier when I feel anxious or stressed.  And then when my binge is over, I am left feeling empty, and separated from God.  It has become an idol in my life.  It does not truly fill my life it robs me.  It is a thief that steals my peace, my focus, and it shows that I am not in full obedience to Him.  In the last few months I have been handing that over to God, but I find myself wavering back and forth, some, and I am frustrated with myself. 
Can you bear witness with that?  
I want to be a captive of the King of Freedom not a slave of emptiness and false idols. 
Today, He spoke to me.  He said, "Jennifer, I am Everlasting to Everlasting.  Therefore I have so much to fill you with.  I need your complete and total surrender.  There are things that you feel nurture your soul, but they don't.  They rob.  They rob the very essence of who I created you to be.  There is a Stream of my work, my anointing, that is flowing in your life, but if you lay those things down, it will open up the gates to a river.  Don't be satisfied with a stream.  Be engulfed in MY RIVER!"
Praise God!  Who doesn't want the fullness of the RIVER??
Think about this.  Everywhere there is a river, the vegetation is most abundant next to the river.  The soil is the most fertile.  Next to the river is where animals come to get refreshed and fed.  The nomads or wanderers would set up camp next to the rivers.  Life flows from the river.  
In Genesis 2:10 a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden.  Numbers 24:6 talks of gardens beside the river, and all throughout the Bible, and history, and even now, people DRAW from the river.  
Not only that, in scripture, God promises that He will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of valleys. Is.41:18  Do you feel like your in a valley?
I want to encourage you to open yourself up to the RIVER.  Yes, a stream is okay.  It travels from the rivers and it feeds the trees and animals.  A stream still provides and is still refreshing, but is that all you want?  If I am fed by only a stream then only a stream is what is flowing through me, and only a stream amount around me can be fed and nurtured.  BUT, if full Rivers of Living Water is flowing, the refreshing and feeding in my life is so much more abundant, therefore I can be a vessel to feed more and more!  The fruit and vegetation of the gardens around me will be more lush!  The wanderers in this world will find a home in Christ!  People will DRAW from the River of God because Life flows from the RIVER!
Ezekiel 47:3-12
 Going on eastward with a measuring line in his hand, the man measured a thousand cubits, and then led me through the water, and it was ankle-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water, and it was knee-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water, and it was waist-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and it was a river that I could not pass through, for the water had risen. It was deep enough to swim in, a river that could not be passed through. And he said to me, “Son of man, have you seen this?”
Then he led me back to the bank of the river. As I went back, I saw on the bank of the river very many trees on the one side and on the other. And he said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, and enters the sea; when the water flows into the sea, the water will become fresh. And wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish. For this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes. 10 Fishermen will stand beside the sea. From Engedi to Eneglaim it will be a place for the spreading of nets. Its fish will be of very many kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea. 11 But its swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they are to be left for salt. 12 And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither, nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.”
Bottom line...Stream or River?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Pit

The Pit

A man fell in a pit and couldn't get out.
SUBJECTIVE person came along and said:
"I FEEL for you down there!"
An OBJECTIVE person came along and said:
"It's logical that someone would fall down there."
CHRISTIAN SCIENTIST came by and said:
"You only think you are in the pit."
"Only bad people would fall in a pit."
calculated HOW he fell in the pit.
wanted the exclusive story on his pit.
"You deserve your pit."
"If you would have listened to me, you would not have fallen into that pit."
BUDDHA said:
"Your pit is only a state of mind."
"That's a pit."
calculated the pressure necessary (lbs./ to get him out of the pit.
told him to appreciate the rock strata in the pit.
"You are a rejected mutant destined to be removed from the evolutionary cycle."In other words, "He is going to die in the pit, so he can't produce any pit-falling offspring."
if he had a permit to dig the pit.
gave him a lecture on the elementary principles of the pit.
An EVASIVE person came along
and avoided the subject of pits all together.
SELF-PITYING person came along and said:
"You haven't seen anything till you've seen my pit."
"Just confess that you are not in the pit!"
"Things could be worse."
"Things are going to get worse."
JESUS, seeing the man
took him by the hand and lifted him out of the pit.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Where I am now.

It's been a long while.
I stopped.
I stopped sharing and I retreated.  I don't apologize.  I had to.  I had to heal.  I still have to heal.  I have been in a separate place with Healer.  He has been so precious and patient.  He has carefully and tenderly touched all of my wounds that are on the surface as well as the ones deep within.  I walk in a place where, to the outside world, everything looks better.  Everything looks healed.  I have my hair back.  My eyelashes are fuller.  My color is normal.  And I have more energy.  But, they can not see the tears behind the doors.  They can not understand that my husband, kids, and I are shell shocked.  We are in realization mode.  We realize we have come through the scariest battle of our lives and we made it.  We rejoice and we grieve.  We still deal with some fatigue.  We still deal with some problems brought on by chemo.  I still have some foggy thoughts and memory issues because of chemo.  I still have somewhat of a  hard time when it comes to fighting off illnesses.  I still have some pain in my joints and bones.  I still have some important decisions to be made over my health.  Scary things.  Hard things.
Oh, I am not complaining.  Really I am not.  I don't feel aggravated by those who don't understand why I can't sign up for this or that.  Or wonder why I am not doing the things they think I should or can.  I wouldn't understand either.  It's okay.  It is.  It is our journey.  Specific to us.
We take each day as it comes.  Every day is beautiful.  Every day is precious.  Every day is a step further away from the eye of the storm.  Every day we bask in the loving kindness of Father God.  The sovereignty of our Lord and King.
Cancer will always be a word that I am very familiar with, BUT more than that...way more... HEALER is a word that I have become deeply intimate with.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Fighting and Playing

Since chemo, I have been getting more energy back.  Although, surgery didn't help, and with me getting ready for radiation, I have been taking advantage of the small energy upswing.  I have been walking and riding bikes with my kids, everyday.  Some days are better than others.  It may be all I can do to get out and take a walk and short ride, but some days I surprise myself with how much I can do!  I am excited to be getting some life back.  The most wonderful thing about it is to be able to look over at my kids, peddling their bikes, with huge smiles looking back at me.  We are all so excited to be out with each other.  Before, my husband always took them while I stayed back, "fighting cancer".  Now, we all go.   

A couple of days ago, I had a visit with my plastic surgeon.  He had put fluid into my chest, and it was supposed to cause some discomfort.  It did, but I didn't want to miss our evening ride to the playground with the kids.  I went, with a loving warning from a concerned husband.  He didn't want me to over do it.  I am very good at over doing it, so I had to promise that if I started hurting I would tell him.  

Off we went.  

I was pretty uncomfortable in my back, because the muscles were pulling from the procedure that day, but as we peddled along I began to forget it.  By the time we got to the play ground it was just a faint reminder in the back of my mind that I was in pain.  The whole time my husband kept asking, "Are you okay?"  I would answer.  Then he would say, "Don't over do it.  Be careful.  We can go back anytime."  

After a while of watching the kids playing, I decided to get on a swing next to Seth, my 6 year old son.  My husband got real worried and kept telling me to be careful.  I started slowly swinging.  Then I got going more and more, until finally I was really flying!  All I could hear was the laughter of my little boy, trying to go higher than me, and the loud creaking of the swing.  It was loud enough that I could barely hear my sweet husband voicing concern.  It wasn't me rebelling against him, and he knew that.  He was really trying to let me go, but worried at the same time.  

As I got higher and higher, I began to get lost in the laughter, and the wind hitting my face.  I saw ground then clouds, ground then clouds.  I started feeling tears flowing down to the corners of the huge smile on my face. 

The feeling of this freedom was overwhelming!  I was swinging!  Like a little girl!  I was playing with my kids!  I was LIVING!  I mean really living!  I was tasting the salt of my tears and laughing, as I saw my feet reach for the clouds!  I began whispering, "Thank you.  Thank you." It got louder. "Thank you!  Thank you, Jesus!"

All of a sudden, Seth's voice broke through my euphoria, as he proclaimed loudly to one more attempt from my husband to get me to be careful.  "It's okay, dad!  Mama's fighting cancer!"  

The biggest smile came across my sweet man's face, and as his tense shoulders relaxed, he said in surrender, "Yes.  Yes, she is son."

Riding back to the house was quite satisfying.  I am no longer laying in bed or on the couch, fighting cancer.  I am no longer sitting in nausea on my bathroom floor, fighting cancer.  I am no longer listening to my husband and children outside, laughing with out me, fighting cancer.  No, I am LIVING, fighting cancer!  

Guess who's winning.

Thank you, Lord!  

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Update 7/20/11

I want to apologize for the long absence.  I had surgery three weeks ago today.  The first week after surgery I barely remember anything, and to be honest, I didn't want to be on the computer long enough to blog.

Surgery went well.  I found out that I still had small amounts of cancer left in my breast, and lymph nodes.  Plus, they found more pre-cancer.  All of that was taken out. Praise the Lord!  They also began my reconstruction, which is in phases, and that will not be finished until maybe October. I still have a ways to go, because in addition to all of that, I found out that I will indeed have to have radiation after hearing I wouldn't.

I didn't take hearing that very well.  It is a little like being on a very long and laborious journey, thinking that you only had a few more miles to go, only to discover you actually have a small state to drive through first. I was getting discouraged and very impatient.  I went to the Lord.  "Lord!  Seriously?!  I am so done with this!  I am tired!  I am weak!  I want this over!  I thought it was over, and now more?"  I struggled, a lot.  

We were going into meet with the radiation oncologist on Tuesday, in addition to two more doctor visits this week, so Sunday night I totally dreaded going to bed.  As, I was walking up the stairs, I looked at my phone and it said someone had written on my Facebook wall.  It was a verse that I hang on to, because God gave it to me directly, months before my cancer diagnosis.  It is, Judges 6:12 "The Lord is with you mighty warrior."  I hadn't thought of the verse in a few months and God had someone write it on my wall to remind me.  The moment I read it, I suddenly felt as if Father God stood to His feet and roared a battle cry out over me, and when He did, I felt armed with the power and might of my Father!  I clinched my teeth, AGAIN!  My hands formed fists, AGAIN!  Fire was in my eyes, AGAIN!  Only because He reminded me that, not by my might, nor by my power, but by His spirit (Zech. 4:6) could I do this!

I have to tell you that sometimes I feel like I write the same stuff to you all of the time.  I feel like I am taking you on the roller coaster with me.  I worry about belaboring all of this, but someone out there needs to hear He is still there, and so I will continue.

Gideon was hardly a mighty warrior.  He was the weakest one, in the weakest tribe of the Israelites.  He was threshing wheat, when the Angel of the Lord appeared to tell him that the Lord was with him and called him "mighty warrior".  God was calling him to defeat the Midianites, an army that was encamped around them.  An army that was so big that the Bible says looked more than the sands of the sea.  He only allowed Gideon to take 300 men to defeat them.  That, he did!  Gideon and his 300 men scared the enemy so bad, that the enemy turned on themselves and killed each other!  God took a weak man, and defeated an enormous army!  We are absolutely nothing and weak, but when the Lord is with us, we are mighty warriors!  We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength! (Phil. 4:13)      

I believe there are those that are reading this that are like Gideon.  You are going through situations that seem impossible.  You are walking in an anxious, defeated spirit.  You want to hide.  But God is telling you that "I am with you mighty warrior!  I am the fourth man in the fire! (Daniel 1-3)  I am closing the mouths of the lions! (Dan. 6:1-28)"

Because of Him, you are free; because of Him, you can walk; because of Him, you can run; because of Him, you can dance over your enemy; because of Him, you are victorious!  In Him, you will stand!  In Him, you are restored!  In Him, you live!  You will overcome!  You will come out of the fire and not even smell like smoke!  It is not what you do!  It is because of Him!

I came home from the radiation oncologist and sat down and cried my eyes out and wanted to get in bed.  But the Spirit of God overwhelmed me, and I got up and went outside and started walking.  I walked and cried.  I didn't feel like it, but He did it through me.  Yes, we are going to go through battles!  Yes, they are going to be hard!    Don't give up!  You don't have to fake a smile.  Cry if you must, but push!  Push while tears are running down your face!  Do it afraid!  Do it grieving!  Just don't give in to your flesh and hide!

Arise, believer!  Arise!  Cast all of your cares upon Him!  Open your ears to His voice!  Stop looking to the world to feed the lusts of your flesh and to soothe, and lick the wounds of your insecurities!  Surrender to the Most High God and allow the power of God to flow through you to feed the hungry, restore sight to the blind, and to set captives free!  I don't have time to sit around here sulking in my junk!  Every person I come across, in this battle of cancer, whether it be the clerk registering me for the next test, or the doctor that I see, will continue to hear me give glory to the One who has spared me from eternal death! This will be used for His glory!

Give in to Him and then you will defeat what ever comes your way!  Because HE IS WITH YOU MIGHTY WARRIOR!  

Now....Radiation...Here I come!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

When the Curtain Closes

Well, this is the week.  The big week.  The week that I have a double mastectomy and reconstruction.  The week that I loose a part of my body that held death, but to my babies fed life.  I have had some that tell me that it isn't a big deal to go through this, but it is coming from mouths that have never went through it.  Yes, I know I will do fine.  I am having reconstruction so I won't be dealing with having no chest at all.  I know all that.  But, no matter what, my body is forever going to be altered and it will forever remind me of the biggest fight I have ever dealt with.  It is like the closing ceremonies of the scariest, and hardest time of my life.  It is a seal being placed over that chapter in my life.  After that seal is placed, I will then turn around and embark on the healing.  The place where I get my strength spiritual strength, my emotional strength, and my physical strength.  

Days will pass, then weeks, then months.  Life will carry on.  And in my timeline there will always be that dot that marks,"I fought for my life and won".  

Have I done everything you have wanted me too, Father?  Have I obeyed you?  Have I been the vessel that you could flow through, sufficiently?  Is your glory what they see?  Have I wasted any part of this?  Has my life pleased you?  Have I learned what you want?    

This is my place right now.  It is a quiet, reflective place.  I am in the last act of this play and the curtain will soon close.  Have I put all I have into this part and allowed the Director to have His way in this beautiful production?  

I can only hope.  

For He is all I really care about.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


"Do not save your loving speeches
For your friends till they are dead;

Do not write them on their tombstones,
Speak them rather now instead.
- Anna Cummins

There are levels of friendship.  You have those friends that you are acquainted with, that you know their name and a little about them, but you probably wouldn't ask them to your party.  Then, there are the friends that you are fond of and would definitely ask to your party, but probably wouldn't go on vacation with.  Next, you have the friends you would definitely go on vacation with, but probably wouldn't call if you only had four tickets to a Broadway show in New York City.  That takes us to those friends that you would most assuredly  call to hand the other three tickets to, but you wouldn't let them in on your most intimate times.  No, those times are saved for your best friends.   

If you have close friends consider yourself completely blessed. They are the roots to your tree, therefore they keep you grounded.  

Tiffany and I have a relationship that is outside any friendship we have ever had.  Even though she is over ten years my junior, we are the best of friends.  Many times the question is asked if we are sisters and sometimes we simply say, yes.  My husband and I have known her husband and his family for 16 years and when he brought her home, and said this girl is the one, I was hooked.  So, she and I just simply believe we are sisters. 

We have gone through a lot together.  We have a relationship that is deeply intertwined and woven together.  In our friendship you will find 
sacrifice, unconditional love, and complete trust.  We have fought, traveled, cried, cooked, worked, played, and dreamed together. Crazy acts have occurred, that are far too embarrassing to mention, that have dubbed us "Lucy and Ethel". We have laughed until we have wet our pants, laid in bed and watched movies when we were sick, and challenged each other in our spiritual growth.  We have thrown surprise parties                                                                         
and showers in each others honor. Holidays and traditions, keys to our homes, food, money, cars and whatever else we have are shared.  Sleep overs happen when our husbands are gone, so we are safe.  We have inside jokes, and nicknames, and funny little symbols that no one gets.  We have our songs we sing, and she loves me enough to endure me trying to harmonize with her beautiful voice.  I was there when she said "I do" and there, holding her hand when her first child was born.  And, the day I heard, "It is malignant", she was sitting right there, because something told her to come, even though I had told her, "No, you don't need to come to the biopsy because I won't know results for three days."  

She knew.  

So, now it is added..we have mourned together.

There are still so many more adventures to take, and songs to sing, and days to live, and losses to mourn.  And, we will, Tiff and I.