Friday, April 18, 2014

Today is Opposite Day

"Today is Opposite Day." Do you remember that game as a child? Once we began playing opposite day everything meant exactly the opposite of what was stated. "I hate ice cream." "I wish I could take a nap." "I don't want to play anymore." "I wish my mom would make me clean my room." Does that jog your memory?

In the last year I have played a lot of Opposite Day. I have stood amazed as bad news came to mean something good. I have been shocked as things that were meant to harm healed and things that were meant to heal harmed. I have been astounded as things that should have caused fear brought peace and things that were intended to bring death brought life. How does one explain how something that should bring despair brings hope? There is no other explanation; it must be Opposite Day.

Today is Opposite Day. We call it Good Friday, yet it wasn't a good day at all! Today is the reminder of  the day that Jesus Christ was crucified and died a terrible death. How can that be good? Regardless of who you believe Jesus Christ to be, he was a man of flesh and blood who suffered intense abuse, ridicule and ultimately death. You don't have to believe in his resurrection to agree that there is nothing good about a death like that. It is the ugliest of human nature exposed on a cross for all to see. How can that possibly be good? While you do not have to believe in Jesus Christ's resurrection to agree that a death like that is terrible, you do have to believe to understand how Christian's can call today Good Friday. We can declare it good because the story didn't end on Friday. Three days later, Jesus rose again. For you. For me. What was intended to harm healed; what should have brought death brought life; that which should have brought despair brought hope.

You see, God is the originator of Opposite Day. The bible is filled with Opposite Day examples.

 “Blessed are those who are spiritually needy.
    The kingdom of heaven belongs to them.
Blessed are those who are sad.
    They will be comforted.
Blessed are those who are free of pride.
    They will be given the earth.
Blessed are those who are hungry and thirsty for what is right.
    They will be filled.
Blessed are those who show mercy.
    They will be shown mercy.
Blessed are those whose hearts are pure.
    They will see God.
Blessed are those who make peace.
    They will be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who suffer for doing what is right.
    The kingdom of heaven belongs to them.
11 “Blessed are you when people make fun of you and hurt you because of me. You are also blessed when they tell all kinds of evil lies about you because of me. 12 Be joyful and glad. Your reward in heaven is great." Matthew 5:3-12.
"So the last will be first, and the first will be last." Matthew 20:16.
"You planned to harm me. But God planned it for good. He planned to do what is now being done. He wanted to save many lives." Genesis 50:20

And my favorite, "It is finished." John 19:30.  It is my favorite, because when he says it is finished it really meant life was just beginning for us!

On and on there are examples of God's love for a good game of Opposite Day and I am so grateful for it! Throughout the last year and a half of trials, I have been blessed to see that He still plays! Over and over He has taken bad and turned it to good in my life. Over and over I have seen how he uses all things for our good. Today I celebrate Good Friday and I am grateful for Opposite Day. You see today is Good because God is Good! My life is Good because God is Good. Today is Opposite Day!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

I Can't Wait Syndrome

I think most of you know by now that we got great news when we went to MD Anderson last week. Scans revealed that there are no new growths, the spot on my diaphragm hasn't grown, and the spot on the left side of my chest appeared smaller! What amazing news. I cannot begin to tell you how our hearts danced when we heard that report! God is so good! We go back in July to go through the process all over again. It looks like life will be lived in chapters of waiting, so the question stands, how do we live in the periods of waiting?

I've been thinking about that and realize that we are all really playing a waiting game. We can't wait until we get out of high school, then we can't wait to get out of college. We can't wait until we get a new job and we can't wait until we get married. We can't wait to have children and we can't wait until they get out of diapers. And on and on we live, waiting for the next big life change and slowly (or sometimes way too fast) life slips through our fingers, while we "can't wait". I have to tell you my perspective on "can't wait" has been sharply twisted into "oh yes I can" this past year. I have learned to keep my eyes on today and not stay frantically focused on the things that I "can't wait" for! (My daddy would tell you that that is a pretty big lesson for this little impatient girl!)

When all of this first began, waiting an for the next doctor appointment, a week for lab results, two weeks for biopsies was brutal. I would cry and ache over the waiting, honestly feeling as though the waiting was killing me. Waiting rooms made me bounce my leg anxiously and wiggle in my chair, constantly looking at my watch and wishing they'd go ahead and call me back. I had to have answers. I couldn't wait. Then one day I looked down and realized that I had stopped wearing a watch. I didn't even notice it happen, but somewhere along the way I relaxed into the waiting. The meaning of time changed and it was no longer something I strained against, but something that I eased into with a recognition that it just is as it is so I might as well stop trying to push it. I learned that rushing it was making me lose it and time is way to precious to lose. I  learned that the moment is what matters and how we use them, but that lesson only came when I shifted my focus from my problems to my deliverer.  So now I wait on one thing, "We wait in hope for the Lord. He helps us. He is like a shield that keeps us safe. Our hearts are full of joy because of him. We trust in him, because he is holy. Lord, may your faithful love rest on us. We put our hope in you." Psalm 33:20-22 (NIRV). When we stop saying, "I can't wait until...." and start saying, "I am just waiting in hope for the LORD" we can trust he will help us. We can live lives of joy. We get to have his faithful love. How much better is that?!?

What are you missing because you can't wait? What is happening around you right this minute that you aren't noticing because you are anxiously awaiting something in the future? What anxiety are you experiencing because you are problem solving something that hasn't happened yet? I Can't Wait Syndrome may be robbing you of the joy and faithful love of today. It may be time to take off your watch.