Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Bouquet of Belief

I love flowers. Their imperfectly perfect petals and the pop of color they bring to a otherwise barren landscape make me smile contentedly, as I consider the Maker of this kind of extraordinary beauty.
This week I decided to sleep in flowers. ( No I promise, the pain meds have not gotten to me..:))
Since I am spending a lot of time resting in my bedroom, I replaced my old bedding with a vibrantly colorful comforter set just bursting with blooms of flowers in deep and rich saturated hues. I feel surrounded by comfort in my blanketed garden of security.

These past two weeks have been pretty difficult as I have been dealing with pain, pressure in my chest, difficulty eating and the flu like symptoms that come and go as a result of chemo and radiation.
After my hospital stay, they decided to start me on radiation to try to shrink back the tumors surrounding my esophagus. I started Oct.11 and go daily (except weekends) until Nov. 14th.
It seems as waves of discouraging info or symptoms come my way, I seek more fervently to try to find tangible lifelines of faith. Some beauty, security and comfort in the midst of a seemingly dreary landscape.

As a result, a few flowers have cropped up in the garden of my heart. Some blooms that can be put together to form a bouquet of belief.

1.Truth Rises
There is simply so much information that comes your way when encountering cancer and many other difficulties in life. Advice is given from many different and very well meaning sources. Decisions need to be made that can make it feel overwhelming to know which way to choose.
Your own thoughts begin to swirl about what is going on and the enemy definitely tries to discourage with his arsenal of lies about where God is in all of this. 

I have found that simple but powerful truths have provided the most strength, primarily that Jesus said, “I will never leave nor forsake you.” Heb. 13:5

He will never walk away or abandon us. In fact He says He will be with us. ”When you pass through the waters, I will be with you...” Is 43:2 
To me that is different then Him just being an onlooker, He is actually walking the path that we are on with us, side my side, hand in hand. Carrying, counseling and guiding.

The Old Testament man of suffering, Job after losing his property, his children and experiencing terribly painful boils from head toe, said two really profound nuggets of truth that provide great perspective when encountering trials

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked shall I return there.
The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the LORD.” Job 1:20

Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” Job 2:10

Difficulties will come and we may never know exactly why, but God is in control, He remains good, and He is with us.
Allow these truths to grow deep in the soil of your soul and pluck out any weeds that may try to choke them out!
Trust in the reality that the TRUTH is stronger than ANY lie and will always rise to the top of the flower bed as it stretches towards the Son.

2.Hope Anchors
Living without hope is like feeling adrift in a sea of crashing waves and crushing winds.
We must have something to hang onto lest we float about spiritually aimless.
Yesterday a hope sower gave me a long stem to add to my bouquet.

Because the symptoms can be so intense,f it is hard to not think that the cancer is growing at rapid rates to basketball size proportions. She informed me that sometimes the symptoms are a lot of what the treatment themselves are creating. 
She also reminded me to focus on what if anything might be getting better.

I paused and thought and have a list now:
I can breath
I can eat some real food ( this is HUGE!!!)
My pain is managed
I can eat as much ice cream as I want and am fact encouraged to!!

I encourage you to try this. Whatever that cloud of hopelessness looks like that is trying to darken your flower bed, think of 2- 3 things that are actually getting better in an aspect of your life. As your garden grows there will be blooms that fade, but others are just waiting to push through the soil and make their glorious appearance. Look for them.

3.Love will Save the Day

When I first met with the Radiation Oncologist to come up with a plan, because I was having such a hard time swallowing food, he suggested I have a PEG tube put in my stomach to receive nutrition through. Though definitely not thrilled with the prospect of this, I went forward with plans of having it done last Friday the 19th. As I lay in the pre-op, an interesting series of events occurred, My nurse, who was dealing with me and room full of other patients came to the foot of my bed and said ”you know this is a really painful procedure.” Never heard a nurse do that! Usually they are like “you are going o be fine.” :) She went on to tell me about a nurse there (a tough guy) who had had it and says it was really hard and that it definitely requires an overnight stay just to deal with pain. I guess that is manageable most of the time, but she went on to say that she could tell my pain was not managed and that this would be intense pain on top of intense pain. She called my doctor in and he agreed and set off on a plan to get my pain managed, saying if I did need the procedure I could do it in a couple of weeks and they could schedule it rather quickly.

I learned that I tend to try to tough out the pain and those around me are not completely aware at how bad it is, as I just kinda go inward.
I told the nurse thank you and she said ”I’ve been a nurse for 25 years and I know how to read people.”

I see this as a total Divine intervention.
I believe my Father’s hand was all over that incident and He stepped in knowing I could not handle it. It is so comforting to know that His hand is on the thermostat of our lives, not allowing things to get too hot for us to bear in the furnace of affliction.

“For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
 As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
 As a father pities his children,
So the LORD pities those who fear Him.
For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.” Psalm 103:11-14

A Father’s love is strong and secure, maybe not often not dealt with sappy emotion, but stable and protective. I love how He loves His children.

Truth, Hope and Love Divine. A beautiful bouquet I’d say. And the best thing? These flowers will never fade.

Current song in my head these days! Enjoy...:)
Rise by Shawn McDonald


  1. I love it! Our blooms in Christ never fade for he is the Eternal Sower. He has given me a beautiful bloom in you! Be so blessed in His sweet presence! Love love!

  2. Lisa, I'm so blessed reading your posts. Even through your trial and pain, you are still being a source of encouragement to a lot of people. Isn't it so refreshing when the Lord shows His face during our difficulties and pain to make us realize that He is watching closely and would never allow what we cannot bear, just as Malachi 3:3 says: "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." He never takes His eyes off us.
    I love this song by Cristy Lane "Footprints in the Sand." It always reminds me that the Lord is not only with His children always, but He is carrying us especially during times of trials and suffering. May you be blessed by this song and know that you and your family are being lifted up before the Lord's throne of grace.


  3. Absolutely Lisa. Job 13:15 is oft thought of too. Your portion on "Hope Anchors" is something to be remembered for the cancer challenge. Stones of remembrance need to be set up, recalling the awesome ways the Lord is continuing to show Himself strong in our lives. Praying for you....Cherrie

  4. I am always praying for you Lisa.I was on my walk the other day and was thinking of when my mother in law was going through chemo and how she loved me to make her bean soup.She found it comforting and full of protein.If you would ever want me to make some for you i would love it :)You have a beautiful garden full of hope.Sisters in Christ.Kimberly