Just like fall brings the warmth of summer temps to a close; the fall colors in nature warm our hearts; seasons in our lives are ever changing.
For the past 5 months, I’ve been in a season of uncertainty and rest. Uncertainty of what medical testing would reveal but a season of rest and assurance that God loves me and knows every single detail of my life.
I’ve wanted to write and share my stories with you but God has shown me that rest requires more than just sleeping; it also requires my mind to be still and wait for Him. Being still has always been challenging for me. If anything needs done, I would figure a way to do it; even if it caused pain.
I’m no quitter.
In my Season of Rest, Jesus has taught me to rely on others, accepting help from people who genuinely care for me and want nothing in return. I am good at nurturing others, but have found it hard to accept that love from other people until recently.
Upon finding out I actually did have Endometrial cancer, part of me was relieved and part of me concerned. I’ve left it in God’s hands and am trusting He will continue to carry me and hold me always.
As Friday approaches, I will admit I’m.a little nervous. This IS major surgery. I will be intubated and I keep praying my lungs and their capacity to work correctly will not be hindered by my weight. If I was laying flat and not head angled down, I wouldn’t be as concerned. As always I am choosing to trust the Lord to be my strength thru it all.
Every medical obstacle that Satan has thrown at me; The Great Physician and Healer, Jesus Christ our Lord has seen me thru. Now will be no different.
I always remember the verse about even if my faith is the size of a mustard seed and I believe, it’s enough. My faith is much bigger than that because of all the things God has brought me thru, but even in the times in my life when my faith could be called mustard seed faith, it still carried me.
I guess what I am really trying to express is hold onto your faith, trust in the Hope Jesus can bring. Allow Him into your heart and life and He will take your messiness and turn it into a message and testimony giving Him all glory and honor and praise!
Jesus can turn any mess into a message and any test, trial and temptation into a testimony.
13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
For the past year, I have not been as intentional in my prayer life as I should have been. It’s not that I don’t believe in the power of prayer, because I absolutely do and am in fact a person that was delivered through prayer to be cancer free.
As this year began, my church, as always does a series called 21 Days of Fasting and Prayer. You can choose to fast anything, in order to draw closer to God and grow spiritually. We are living expectantly this year, choosing to watch God move thru and in our lives. God can do anything for anyone.
I have decided to lean in to what God has for me. I am fasting mobile games. Little did I know that those mobile games that took up way too much time in my life, was holding me back from spending time with God. Being intentional has helped me to come back to Jesus and truly walk with Him daily. We started on January 2nd and six days in, I can already see how the 21 Days of Fasting and Prayer are changing me. It’s not about me, or my life, it’s all about Jesus.
I know from past experience, the more I lean into God and His Word, the better off life is for me. Jesus is my redeemer and my sustainer. He is my Peace. He can be yours too.
Getting up at 6:00 a.m.to join in morning devotions, sounded crazy, but it is wonderful! The short devotions and scripture shared with all of us daily through our online platform starts my day off just right. As I sit and follow along in the Bible or listen to it read to me, along with commentary, reminds me nothing is hopeless in this life. The scripture reminds me that God has always been for us; He will look for the one, and leave the 99, so no one will perish (see Matthew 18:10-14).
I want to be like Paul, forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. And do this, we must live expectantly in all we do. Many times this may require us to wait, to be still, to hold unswervingly to our faith. To trust in the Father.
My new year looks promising as I press into the Lord. I spend time with Him reading my own devotions, praying and journaling. Every year, I start a journal, but never seem to keep it up. This time I am praying that when I come back to this post a year from now, my journal will be full of the wonders God has done in and thru my life and those I love.
So, I ask you, what are you leaning into this year?
Jesus can turn any mess in you life into a message. And any test in your life to a testimony! Jesus is our Hope. #HopeAlwaysHaveFaith
I encourage you to share what God is doing in your life. Let me know. I would love to pray with you!
Father in Heaven,
Today I give you all that I am. I invite you into the weak places in my life, so that you can turn them into strengths. I invite you into my heart and life, use me Lord to show others Who you are and give me eyes to see others as You see them and lead them to You. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen
Thanks for following along, much love and blessings~Carlene
5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6 so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15:5-6 NIV
It is so important to find your tribe. The people you depend on in life when you need extra encouragement, a shoulder to lean on and a friend that is there through the good and bad times. When God created us, His hope was that we would have many healthy relationships, none of us were created to do life alone or lonely.
Life is hard. Choices must be made daily. Choosing your tribe is just as important. You need people that you can laugh and cry with. People that may not understand what you are going through, but are empathetic enough to be there to help you get through to the other side of sadness and sorrow, to the place where your heart feels at peace. In my opinion, some tribes change over the years, as people move away or grow and others last forever, no matter what. Some may change because there is a toxic friend, who is always negative, is afraid to change and grow, and may impede your progress to do the same.
I look for people that love Jesus Christ. I want to know that if the only thing we have in common is our love for the Lord, that is enough. God has a purpose for all of us. However, I have some friends that do not believe in Jesus, some are atheist, and while that is troubling to my spirit, I still love them. And I pray for them, for their health, relationships, things that may be afflicting them, because I know my God is bigger than anything, any of us will face. I search for people that aren’t afraid to tell it like it is. People that can be brutally honest without being mean-spirited. People that make me laugh, at myself and them too. Honesty, integrity, kindness, a loving spirit, are traits I admire.
I thank God for every person he places in my path. The journey called life can be a lonely one, or you can be open to what God does in you and through you. Some of these people have taught me that having a tribe is more important that we think, until we need each other. Community and fellowship with one another are key to building your tribe.
If you are dealing with emotional hurt, than it’s difficult some times to find your tribe. It’s hard to know who to trust and exactly what someone’s intentions are, but taking one tiny step is a start. Try joining a Bible Study, attend a church, take a cooking class, a bowling league, something that interests you and put yourself out there. God knows who your tribe is, trust Him to lead you.
When you finally find your tribe, don’t let them go. Stay connected. Check on one another. Be there for each other. Life is so much better with friends.
Jesus can turn any mess into a message and any test into a testimony.#HopeAlwaysHaveFaith
27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
In three days my life will change as I know it. I am ready for it. I am looing forward to it. I looking forward to the time I don’t have to use my walker to get around. I am looking forward to being able to walk and breathe without calculating every step and wondering if I will need to sit down and take a break because I’m out of breath or feeling like my legs are going to collapse and my back is going to give out. I have been anxiously awaiting this day, for many reasons.
When I started on this journey to have bariatric gastric sleeve surgery, I had one goal in mind; lose enough weight to begin radiation treatments for the cancer that invaded my body. Now I have many goals. Getting the treatments are still at the top of my list, but other things are starting to come into play that I never even considered. I will be able to walk better, taking the weight off my arthritic spine and joints, being able to leave the portable oxygen concentrator behind and truly enjoy life.
It has been 10 months since I started this journey. Changing the way I eat and incorporating exercise into my life, something I once thought I couldn’t do, because of so many health problems. I have lost almost 40 pounds on my own, which doesn’t seem like very much when you have over 100+ pounds to lose, but I have done it! I am proud of myself, not in a boastful way, but in a very thankful way that Jesus has been with me through every single step.
I know it won’t be easy. Nothing worth having ever is, but I have learned when you set your mind to it and are determined to follow through, nothing is impossible. Nothing is impossible with God on our side. Nothing. Eventually, my goal is to lose 279 pounds. It will take years, but I know I can do it. I have an amazing medical team, support from family and friends and most of all I have Jesus.
The cancer is not spreading, so I am very thankful for that blessing. I am thankful for all the people in my life that continue to encourage me and cheer me on, when I wonder if my goals will become reality.
Life is ever changing. We can learn to embrace it or we can stay stuck. I was stuck long enough. It took me having cancer invade my body and normal treatments to get rid of it, not working, as we had hoped, to realize that if I kept going at the rate I was, I might die of obesity. So, I bit the bullet, and started working toward the goal of this upcoming surgery and life change. For years, I had medical professionals and family suggest this type of surgery, but I was stubborn and didn’t want to do it, didn’t want to give up foods that were ultimately killing me, slowly. Not anymore.
No matter what type of change you are facing in your life today, know that Jesus is right there with you, in every little detail. He will get you through anything, if you just trust Him. He loves you. He doesn’t want to see you remain stuck, he wants to push you and grow you into the person He created you to be. It’s never too late.
Remember that every mess you go through in life is a message that Jesus can use to encourage others, and every test you face, can be a testimony to the goodness of God. He is always listening, always available and He will never leave you, ever. #HopeAlwaysHaveFaith
My faith may falter from time to time, but Jesus never fails. I may not see Him working all things out for my good, but He always is. That’s a promise you can bank on.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 NIV
I am called to be a light to others, and shine for the world to see Jesus in and through me. Being a light should be the easiest thing to do. His Holy Spirit dwells within me, but many times the dark times of life try to choke out that light to barely a flicker. This is when we MUST stand firm in our faith and trust that just like yesterday, today and tomorrow God IS in control.
You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl, instead they put it on its stand and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16 NIV
Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love. 1 Corinthians 16:13-14NIV
I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. John 12:46NIV
Everyday has challenges or opportunities; how you respond will determine what they are. There is always a reason to be thankful, even when life is hard, even when you want to quit or give up; life isn’t always “fair”. We are called to be thankful in all circumstances, not some but ALL. I look at it this way, if I am awake and alive, I have very much to be thankful for. God has a purpose for each of us. Maybe you don’t know exactly what that is yet, but trust me He will show you. Be open to listening to Him and remember to do everything in love.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1Thessalonians 5:18 NIV
Jesus can turn any mess in your life into a message and any test you face into a testimony! He loves you so much. Talk to Him, He is always available and will always listen. #HopeAlwaysHaveFaith
It is so easy in our lives to become discouraged, but this is one thing the Lord has shared in his Word, we do not have to be discouraged. Even when you get a diagnosis no one wants to hear, even when the messiness of every day life feels like you will be swallowed whole, even when addiction is hard to beat and sobriety seems just out of reach, even then, “do not be discouraged”. I have found several Bible verses that tell us specifically “do not be discouraged” and to trust the Lord, He will be with us always, especially when we may feel lost and alone. We are not. But it’s not always easy to remember that, in the throes of chaos and uncertainty.
Joshua 1:9New International Version Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
There have been many times in recent days, weeks, months that I too have faced discouragement and dismay and the only thing that has carried me through each and every moment has been Jesus and my faith in Him. How do you hold onto the God’s promises and how do they speak to you when you feel all hope is lost? Do you turn to Him in prayer and praise? Do you sink into despair? Do you have a friend you can reach out to? Jesus wants to be your friend. Your best friend. You would be amazed how clearly He speaks when you take time to listen and follow His lead.
It is so easy to think and succumb to the thoughts of the world and non believers. It can be as easy believing something to be true for so long, it actually becomes your belief and those beliefs are skewed by misperception or lies that are not of God, our Savior. Always check what you believe against the Word of God. If it is from Him, it will always line up with scripture.
In today’s age, it is easier than ever to access The Holy Bible, and read what God says about being discouraged. You no longer need a printed version to carry, because with the world wide web there are many reputable Bible sites you can search. I use Bible Gateway and the You Version app most. On my Digging Deeper page, you will find many more resources.
I will admit though, while apps on our phones, tablets and online are a great resource, there is nothing as great, for me, as having the Word of God planted firmly in my heart and on my lap as I read. For years, I wouldn’t think of writing inside book, let alone my Bible, but I have found over the years, I take notes in the margins, or highlight passages I want to stand out to me; I don’t have to worry about losing my notes, because I still have my Bible.
Here are a few more passages that talk about being discouraged. I recommend reading the full chapter surrounding the verse, so you understand the context of the scripture referenced. Knowing the context can help you to understand each verse better.
If you are discouraged, how can I help? May I pray for you?
Deuteronomy 1:21New International Version
21 See, the Lord your God has given you the land. Go up and take possession of it as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, told you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Deuteronomy 31:8New International Version
8 The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Joshua 8:1New International Version
8 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Take the whole army with you, and go up and attack Ai. For I have delivered into your hands the king of Ai, his people, his city and his land.
1 Chronicles 22:13 New International Version
13 Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the Lord gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.
1 Chronicles 28:20 New International Version
20 David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.
2 Chronicles 32:7 New International Version
7 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him.
That greater power still lives within us today, The Holy Spirit. If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior, God the Father gives The Holy Spirit to come make his home in our hearts. Jesus truly is with you every minute of the day, and as you learn to hear and listen, Holy Spirit will guide you in life.
Jesus loves you so much! Whether you know Him personally or not, He is always available to you. Jesus can turn any mess in our lives, to a message and He can turn any test, you face, into a testimony!
For the past 55 days, or 7 weeks and 6 days, or 1 month and 24 days….we have been forced to slow down. Spend time with our loved ones. Isolate ourselves from the world. And while, it may not seem like a lot of time; trust me it is when you have a child with special needs and the only way they cope and function is with structured routines daily.
Hebrews 13:8 New Life Version (NLV)
8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Shelter in place, stay at home, flatten the curve, pandemic are all terms of the new normal time we are living in. Respirator masks, face masks, quarantine, outbreaks…none of this was on my radar or in my mind, much before March 12 or 13th. The only worry and concern I had back then was what in the world were we as a family going to do to keep our autistic grandson entertained for a whole week while his school was on Spring Break. And we are still working to figure that out.
I was reading the other day that January 30, 2020 was when the WHO (World Health Organization) declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern for the novel coronavirus,( named on February 20, 2020) Covid-19.