March 30, 2013

Meeting the Supernatural

I didn't know whether I believed in this before it happened to me.  After telling my Pastor, who called it an epiphany event, he gently said some people may not believe me and may even think I'm crazy.  I'm willing to risk that, if telling my story leads even one person to Christ. 

Let me set the stage; I had brain surgery on Wednesday, February 27th.  I was in ICU overnight and on Thursday was transferred to the neurological recovery unit.  I hadn't slept well on Wednesday night and was very tired and droggy, so decided I needed a nap.  Travis needed a break, so Danielle came in to sit with me.  She said I was asleep only about 15 minutes, but let me tell you, this was the best sleep of my life! 

I met the supernatural, right there in my hospital room!  I can visualize it like it was today; I was sitting there with an image, a lighted being.  I can't describe it to you any other way.  This creation was just simply a bright light.  I'm not sure if this was an angel or Jesus, but no matter which, he was sent to my room from God.  He reached out with his hand and firmly grabbed my hand in comfort and gently whispered, "Alicia, go back."

I quickly rose from my sleep and all I could do was smile and stare at my hand.  Danielle was alarmed and asked if I was alright.  All I could do was say "I just met Jesus" and smile.  She just sat there and listened as I shared with her what had just occurred. 

Then, she shared how the night before my surgery, she had done some meditating in God's Word in order to have some verses to share with me.  Our plan had been for me to call her that evening if I needed encouragement or for her to pray with me.  The verse that God kept placing on her heart was Isaiah 41:13; "For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you." 

God works in amazing ways.  He shows us His power and strength through every opportunity.  He uses everything in believer's lives- and often the difficult things- to remake them, to transform them into being more like Jesus.  Everything that happens to us-the good, the easy, the difficult, the grief, the joy, the pain- has one purpose and that's to shape us into being more like Christ! 

I am absolutely sure that God was showing me through this meeting with the supernatural that He needs me down here on earth; to show more people His love and to teach people that this life isn't all there is.  And He will walk with me, holding my hand as I go.  Because of that meeting, I am more on fire than ever. 

My prayer now is that of Paul, when he asked the church in Ephesians 6 to pray that his words may be from God and bold.  I pray that God gives me boldness and His words, as I go out and speak as an ambassador for Christ!  Please pray this prayer for me as well.  Thank you, friends.

God bless,

March 27, 2013

He is my potter, I am his masterpiece

Romans 8:28 says "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."

God uses everything in his followers lives, very often the difficult things, to remake them, to transform them into being more like Jesus.  Everything that happens to us; the good, the easy, the difficult, the grief, the joy, the pain; it all has one purpose and that's to shape us into being more like Christ! 

That's what God is doing in me through all of this.  He's shaping and molding me.  He is my potter and I am his masterpiece.  He's transforming me and working on my heart, making me more like Jesus each day.  I will never be able to successfully be just like Christ; I am a sinner.  But through prayer and study, I can try my hardest to live as he lived his life. 

And again, that takes me back to Galatians 5:22, the fruits of the spirit. 

Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-control

God is moving in my heart and shaping me into a more Christ-like woman.  I pray that I can show each of these fruits in my life each day.  I am so thankful for Jesus' willingness to come show us how to live our lives and for dying and taking my sin, so that I am hopeful of meeting my Creator one day.  He did this for you, as well. You just need to accept him as the Lord of your life and you can also look forward to the beauty of our Creator! 

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for giving me life.  Thank you for sending your only son, so precious and perfect, to die and take my sin.  As I live my life, I pray that I don't allow things of this Earth to get in the way of my relationship with you.  I pray for you to speak through me and that I can speak with boldness all the days of my life.  Please keep Satan away from me.  I feel the spiritual battle around me, but with your strength, he cannot touch me.  His negative words cannot discourage me because you are mightier!  Thank you Lord for listening to my pleas. 

March 26, 2013


We decided that since it's been almost a month (a month tomorrow actually) since my surgery, I should be fine not having someone with me all the time.  Our community and church has been amazing, in providing all of our meals since we have been home.  Danielle, my super amazing best friend, also worked out a schedule so that I had people sitting with me and helping me with things around the house until I felt strong enough to be home by myself.  I have honestly been going stir-crazy not being out and about and working!  My radiation nurse encouraged me to be as active as I feel I can be and I will know my limit.  So, this week I have been working from home lots and I have even gone in a couple times to work! I'm so excited!  I really missed my Oaklane family!! 

Just so you are aware, I made my decision on chemotherapy.  It really wasn't too difficult of a decision, after I started researching and praying about it.  I figure let's tackle this with all the resources we have available to us.  Yes, I may have days where I don't feel well and we will have to be slightly more conscious of the people I'm exposed to.  But in all honesty, like the nurse said, we are fortunate that it's getting to be Springtime and flu season has passed; all in God's timing! 

So, we go up on Friday for a radiation "verification" session, where they make sure the mask and mouth piece fit and are all aligned properly with the radiation beams.  And my first actual day of both radiation and chemotherapy is Monday, April 1st! 

Tonight, Danielle is hosting the first planning meeting for my benefit that her and my family and friends are throwing, in order to raise funds for my medical bills.  It's strange, but I have no doubt that all will work out financially.  I was nervous about it all right after we got home from the hospital; you see, we haven't gotten all that far in the Dave Ramsey baby steps.  Even though we were working hard to pay off debt, we still have quite a bit left to pay down.  And after I logged into my online health insurance claims website and saw that many of the amounts billed to my insurance were posted, totally over $80,000, I honestly started to get a little worried.  But all Travis could do was laugh.  He just kept telling me that "God will provide." After lots of prayer and my husband holding me accountable, we both feel at such peace with the bills.  If I've learned anything from this experience, it's that I'm not in control, God is.  And I need to trust in his provision for us. 

Matthew 6:26-27 says, "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" 

I hope you have a wonderful last week of March, friends!  Remember to live your life for Christ and that you are not in control.  :-) 

God bless,

God will provide us all our needs! 

March 16, 2013

Big Decision

We went to Iowa City yesterday to meet with our team of specialists.  I love my radiation doctor!  He explained the process so clearly and answered all of my questions.  I will start radiation probably the last week Monday of March.  It will last 7 weeks and I will go Monday-Friday to Iowa City.  I choose to complete this at Iowa City instead of Burlington, because the machines are much different; the one in Iowa City is more precise and targeted, hopefully causing less damage to healthy cells.  My Grandpa and Grandma Phillips, who have experience with the Iowa City Cancer Center due to her having cancer, have offered to take me to treatments 2-3 days per week.  This takes a large burden off of us, because it is going to get expensive to drive to Iowa City each day.  I'm super excited that they will be taking me some, too, because growing up we weren't all that close.  This will be such a wonderful opportunity to get closer to them!  So, I will work on getting a schedule made up, with who will fill in the gaps on the other days of the week.  I'm hoping we can find friends and family to drive me up in my vehicle the other days. 

After that wonderful appointment with radiation, we met with an older doctor in Chemotherapy.  With my type of brain cancer (anaplastic astrocytoma grade 3), there is not a great deal of research that's been done in the field.  For a grade 4 cancer of the same type, doctors have a very clear cut action plan, but not so much with my grade 3.  After the doctor tried explaining the cancer and the research (in a way that was way above our heads), we almost left the appointment more confused than we entered.  But we asked to talk to the nurse and she really cleared up lots of our fears and questions.  The downfalls to doing them simultaneously is that it may lower my immune system, so we would need to be more careful about keeping me healthy and it may cause some issues with low blood platelet counts.  The main reason to do chemo, in conjunction with radiation is: They were able to remove 95% of the tumor during surgery, but there is around 5% left and the cells may choose to divide quickly, causing another tumor to form.  The chemo may help kill these extra cancer cells before they split.  If I choose to go the chemo route, as well, I would start on the first day of radiation.  It involves just taking one chemo pill per night before bed, at the same time.  I would do chemo all throughout radiation, so for 7 weeks.  And then for another 6 months after radiation. 

This chemotherapy plan is better than some, in my opinion, because at least I get to take it at home and if I start feeling bad, at least I would be home and comfortable.  The more I think and pray about it and do my own research, the more I lean towards just doing it and tackling this cancer with everything we've got! 

Have a wonderful weekend, friends!  Please continue to pray for God to be glorified through this situation! 

March 9, 2013


I came upon this peom today and it touched me, so I thought I would share with you.  Have a wonderful day, dear friends!  God bless you today! 
A simple peom by Charles Swindoll

"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think, say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play the one string we have, and that is our attitude... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.
And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes”

March 8, 2013

Take My Life And Let It Be

Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in endless praise.
Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee.
Take my voice and let me sing,
Always, only for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold,
Not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
Every pow’r as Thou shalt choose.
Take my will and make it Thine,
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own,
It shall be Thy royal throne.Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee.

March 7, 2013

God's Not Finished With Me Yet

Last night, I went to sleep meditating on Galatians 5:22: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." 

This verse hit me in a deep and sincere way last night.  How many people do you think that we come into contact with each day take the time to dig into their Bibles, to really know and appreciate the man of Christ, to learn who He was and what seperated Him from everyone else?!  Most people may think they understand who Christ was; Maybe he was a nice man who walked this earth and did some amazing miracles and gave his time to widows and sick people.  They might see him as a "Mother Teresa" type figure; a do-gooder, a Saint and a prophet.

But Jesus was so much Greater!    He was so much greater than a good man, a man of healing, forgiveness, and compassion.  We're talking about the Ultimate SON of GOD here!!  Jesus Christ was absolutely perfect- he sat at the right hand of God in Heaven!  He had the perfect body and lived in a perfect world with no sin or sickness and was able to worship our Creator all day long.  How absolutely amazing is that visual?! 

Because of sin brought into this world, Christ willingly gave it all up, though.  God gave Him the Ultimate Mission and Jesus took it on humbly and with 100% fervant and fire. 

You see, we have all sinned.  We all deserve to die and live forever in Hell.  Having decent morals, trying to be good, and keeping the 10 commandments does not excuse our sin.  No one has been able to fully uphold all of God's Will, except Christ Jesus himself.  But our Creator deeply desires a personal relationship with us.

Jesus, being fully God, came to this earth to serve as a replacement for us.   He knew that He had to send the Perfect sacrifice, in His Son.  "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.  God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.  He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished- he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus." (Romans 3:23-24).  Since no human being is inherently righteous, no one can enter into fellowship with God on his or her own.  A person's most basic spiritual need is to be reconciled to God, to be made right and whole before God.  The sole answer to our dilemma is found in Christ, who justifies us in God's sight through our faith in Him. 

John 3:16-17 clearly states that: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."  Through Jesus Christ's death and burial, we have the hope of meeting our Creator one day!  We must commit to follow him completely, though!  That is my challenge to you today, as well as myself. 

I woke up this morning with these words on my heart: "I'm not finished with you yet."  I know that we have a great battle ahead of us right now.  Yes, I have cancer; big deal.  The important thing is this: God has a huge voice for me to speak up for Him, right now, in the present!  He's not finished with me yet and has super extradordinary things in my future!  He is bigger than this! 

I meditated on those fruits of the spirit last night from Galatians, and know that I personally will live each day in such a way that those around me see Christ.  I commit today to live a full life of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Will you take this challenge with me today?!  Will you live your life from this point forward in such a way that those around you actually SEE Jesus in you!?!

I hope you are challenged today and get some inspiration from this song, as I do: Wait and See by Brandon Heath.  This song is wonderful to just listen to when it seems like your life isn't what you thought it would be... But to remember that God is in control and He does have a plan, even if we can't see what it is right now. 
God bless you all,