Thursday, November 17, 2016

1,283 Reasons to Believe

Overwhelmed. I am overwhelmed. I am overwhelmed by a God who sees me, who heals me, who loves me. I am overwhelmed by family and friends who have spent four years praying for me, supporting me,  and at times carrying me. I am overwhelmed by doctors, nurses, technology, and medicine that God has used to diagnose me, treat me, heal me. I am overwhelmed by grace, mercy, and provision.

On the darkest days God has been good. His goodness on dark days is as bright as his goodness on days like today when I receive news that my scans are clear. I have learned more about God's goodness in the dark than I did in years of walking in the light. I have one thousand, two hundred and eighty-three reasons to believe! It has been that many days since I was declared NED-- No Evidence of Disease. Each new day is one more reminder of why I can believe in healing, why I can believe in second chances, why I can believe in a God who has a plan for my good.

Today is a joyful day. Not because I got a good medical report but because regardless of any report God is in control. Today is joyful not because of good news but because God uses ALL things for my good!  It is amazingly freeing to know that I can rely on that. This journey has taught me the difference between happiness and joy. I am happy I got good news today, but the real blessing is the joy I have even when bad news comes. I wouldn't trade that for anything. 

I have...
1,283 reasons to believe in hope,
1,283 reasons to believe in healing,
1,283 reasons to believe in God's power,
1,283 reasons to believe in the goodness of people,
1,283 reasons to believe in miracles,
1,283 reasons to believe in mercy,
1,283 reasons to believe in joy,
1,283 reasons to believe in kindness,
1,283 reasons to believe in tomorrow,
1,283 reasons to believe in love,
1,283 reasons to believe there is a God.

Tomorrow I will have 1,284...and then some!

Thank you, Father!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Wave on Wave

You know the last few years have been full of lessons for me. In January it will be 4 years that I have been making the journey to MD Anderson to deal with "The Nuisance". Parts of the process have become routine. In the beginning I could not have even imagined all the things that would one day become normal to me. The place, the procedures, the people, even the occasional pains are part of my tapestry. When we made our first trip in January 2013, we did many of the same things we are doing this week. Bloodwork,  CT scans, waiting, praying, waiting some more. As we wasted time on that first trip,  we slipped over to Galveston, a trip we have made many times since. My memories of that trip are crystal clear. You can read about them here. Today we returned once again. Something about being out of the city, out of the hospital, out of the hotel, helps me clear my head and find my hope. Today was no different. Each  wave reminds me of God's power and provision. The God who tells the waters where to stop is certainly big enough to handle me! Here is a little video of our day. I love the verse that he gave me as I stood by the water. I am in awe of him.

My mom always prays for my "appointments between the appointments"--chances to have divine opportunities to be ministered to or to minister to another. You can't come to Houston without being totally humbled. There are so many people in the hardest of situations yet the place truly is filled with a peace that passes understanding. God allows our lives and lessons to intermingle in the most amazing way. Today was no exception. As Rodney and I walked down the hall following my CT scans we passed a family headed in the other direction. As we passed by I heard someone say, "That was Anna Jackson." I turned to look to see who had spoken my name, but did not recognize them. As we approached one another she said, "You don't know me, I am here with my daughter for her treatments." I discovered we have a friend in common and connections through Lubbock . I am not sure how she recognized me, but I am so glad she did! To walk down the hall and hear my name was a reminder that God knew exactly where I was. He planted seeds long ago for us to be in that hall at that moment. They needed my prayers and I needed theirs. I think we each were reminded that we are not alone. God is good! Tonight I pray for Jordan and her family. Will you do the same?

Tomorrow I start getting test results. I have some bloodwork that we are having to investigate a little further. For all the things that have become routine there are always the unknowns. Life is just like that, but here is a known. The God that has provided for me all this time won't stop tomorrow. He knows where I am. He knows what I need.

Thank you for your ongoing prayers. Don't forget to add Jordan to your list. And don't forget that God sees you, too. You are loved!!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

A Matter of Perspective

I love taking the back roads to work in the morning. Having a chance to see wide-open spaces is good for my soul.  It seems that as my mind wanders on these treks that somehow my thoughts become organized into nice little lessons on life. Today was one of those mornings. I traveled in silence. No radio. No distractions. My thoughts drifted from prayers, to lists, to my calendar. It visited a hurting country,  a worried world and thoughts about my trip to MD Anderson next week. I glanced to the right. Outside my passenger window was a heavy, grey, dreary sky. I looked to the left. I drew a quick breath at the site of a beautiful sunrise. Warm colors burst across the horizon. I quickly grabbed my phone to snap the pictures above. The photos were taken within a second of one another, but one would never know for the contrast is amazing.

Life is like that. It is all a matter of perspective.  I snapped these two pictures from the same seat of the same car on the same road on the same day in the same circumstances, but my preview of the day looked very different depending on my choice of focus. Our perspective matters. We have the opportunity each and every day, hour, minute, second to CHOOSE how we view the world. We can focus on the clouds, on the haze, on the darkness. We can allow that to be our reality. We can live a dreary little life. Or maybe we look the other way. Maybe we seek the light, the brilliance, the warmth. Maybe we CHOOSE to see the good. Both exist, we choose which one we embrace.

I can't imagine a lesson being more timely. We are in a strange place politically, socially and spiritually right now. We don't agree. We are having a hard time understanding one another. What doesn't make sense is being labeled with dark words. Our national mood is heavy. Our future appears dreary. We have to make a decision. How will we view one another? How we will view our nation? How will we view our future? Will we continue to see the darkness or will we shift our focus and look for the light in one another? Will we choose to see our variations as parts of a beautiful future on the horizon? Will we see our shades of differences with hope and appreciation?

In my personal life I am headed back for some appointments that can be a little (a lot) unnerving. I can focus on dread, on fear, on worry, but why, oh why, would I want that? Why would I choose to see that when I can see promise, grace, hope and mercy?

Perspective becomes reality my sweet friends. Our journey through this life is a matter of perspective and our perspective matters! You must choose. I must choose. Do we look to the east or look to the west? Do we seek the grey or turn our face to the warmth of a new day? I won't live in the darkness. I don't have to. I won't wallow in worry and fear and hate. You and I can disagree and still have peace among us. As I travel down this road of life I have made my choice. I choose beauty. I choose warmth. I choose a new day. How about you? Do you need sunglasses or an umbrella for your journey?

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve... But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." Joshua 24:15

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5

"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12