March 9, 2014

God Gives Me More Than I Can Handle...

We've all heard the line, "God doesn't give you more than you can handle." This phrase has been spoken to me many times since my diagnosis and it makes me cringe each time I hear it.  I know it's always spoken out of love and from a good heart, from people who want to say something to comfort but don't quite have the words.  

But I prefer to think about tough times from a different perspective.  Maybe it's true that God Himself doesn't necessarily send more than we can handle.  Only good things come from God.  I do believe, however, that God allows Satan to give us more than we can handle.  God allowed Jesus more than he could handle; all of our sins laid upon this perfect, sinless man. But Jesus knew he could get the strength to continue from God alone.  So why would we think that we are so special as to not have more than we can handle placed upon us?! 

God allows us to have more than we can handle so that we can learn turn to Him for strength and comfort and give Him the reins of our lives.  Only in our hardest, darkest moments do we really turn to God in such a way that we bow down at His throne and give all our hopes, dreams, and lives fully to Him.  So, I'm here to say, I'm so thankful that God has given me more than I can handle.  Through the messy, hard moments, I have learned that life is so much more manageable when He's fully in control. 

When I heard the diagnosis of brain cancer, my whole life as I knew it came crashing down.  All of my dreams were stopped dead in their tracks.  It changed the way I looked at every situation, every activity I was involved in, and the people around me.  This may sound crazy, but I truly am so thankful for this cancer.  I'm at peace knowing that I've learned to give control of my life to God.  I no longer take life for granted; I enjoy the people around me in new ways, I appreciate the little moments of joy more, I don't participate in things just because people want or expect me to but rather because I enjoy them, and I have learned to live each day with a passion and fire that I never had before.  I see each day as an opportunity to make a difference, rather than as a day to get through. 

Life is short and can be taken at any moment.  Our community learned this lesson this week, as a wonderful woman's life was cut short due to cancer.  Sharri understood the importance of loving her family and friends while she still had an opportunity to.  She remained joyful despite the Doctor's prognosis.  She cherished each moment that God gave her.  I was impacted by Sharri's life, as I know were many others.  We can only hope our lives are as fruitful! 

I challenge you to live this week in such a way that you appreciate and cherish each moment God gives you!!

March 6, 2014

Prayer for Our Husbands

I preference this blog post by stating that I indeed have my hubby's permission to share this story.  You see, my life is an open book on this blog.  I share my deepest emotions, moments of excruciating pain and of awe-inspiring joy, and photos of the ones I love the most.  I pray that through honestly sharing my life with you all, the tears, the joys, the anxious moments, and more, that I am able to make a positive impact in this dark world.  But if any of you know my wonderful husband, Travis, it's a bit of a different story.  He's a quiet guy who's just fine listening to conversations rather than joining in.  He's very reflective and likes to think things through before expressing his opinions.  He's the type who will answer questions honestly if you ask, but he won't necessarily just come out and start a conversation about too much, especially his emotions.  I wouldn't want Travis to be any other way, but I felt the need to let my readers know that he has given me permission to share this with you all.

Travis has been a Church attender since he was a little guy.  His Mom made sure that he knew Jesus, and I respect my Mother-in-law so much for the emphasis she placed on that as Travis grew up.  But he hasn't always been the most open about his walk with Christ.  I'm kind-of ashamed to say this, but we weren't the type of dating couple that did Bible Studies together and had deep conversations about God.  We've both had our individual relationships with Christ, but he's generally not too willing to talk about his faith, especially outside of Bible study or with his buddies. 

Travis is a servant, though, and has served communion for a couple years at our church and is always willing to help whenever needed.  This year, he was voted onto our church's Board as a Deacon.  He's only served a couple months in this way, but was asked to give the communion meditation this past Sunday.  The week before, he reminded me that he had to do it and I told him to let me know if he needed any help.  We didn't talk about it again until Saturday night, when I asked him if he had anything prepared.  He said "Yes, but you'll hear it when everyone else does."  I was nervous Sunday morning, as I didn't know what he had prepared.  All I could do was pray that God give him the words. 

As Travis walked up to the platform and took the covers off the communion trays, I was frozen in disbelieve that my husband was giving a meditation in front of people.  This is the man who a few years ago wouldn't even pray in Bible Study.  But there he was, standing at the front of the church.  He started off by preferencing that he's a little nervous because this is the first time he's given the meditation.  He went on to share the story of how he was talking to the guys at work about how he was asked to give the communion meditation at church.  A young co-worker of his, who's new to his faith and a baby in Christ, said he was surprised to discover that Travis was a believer.  He said that he would have never guessed that Travis went to Church.  Travis shared with the congregation how this really hit him and made him realize how little he shares his walk with Christ.  The men he spends 40+ hours with each week, some weeks more time with than his family, didn't even know that he was a Christ-follower.  Travis said he was really using this as a wake-up call, and challenged us to do so as well. 

Some of us live in such a way that those around us wouldn't separate us as Christians.  Some of us proclaim the name of Christ loudly, and then choose behaviors that make others question whether being a Christ-follower even matters.  I pray that his story makes as much of an impact on you as it did to me. 

My husband's words shook my core.  You see, I have been whispering quiet prayers to God for Travis for many years; prayers for his choices and actions, for his patience, for his career, and for his faith-walk.  I am overjoyed to see such honest and open words pour from his mouth.  And I pray that his faith in and relationship with Christ only continues to deepen.  Prayer matters, ladies, and I challenge you tonight to say a quick prayer for your husband.  Be his helper.  Forgive him.  Live in purity and faith so much that they are won over to Christ because of it (1 Peter 3:2). 

Wives, please join me tonight as we pray for our husbands:

Lord God, I come to you tonight in prayer for the man whom I was created for- as you said woman is made from the rib of the man.  I pray that I am the best helper I can be for him, as you created me to serve in this way.  I thank you for a husband who will love me even as Christ loved the church.  Father, you said that the head of every man is Christ, and tonight I pray that my husband give control of his life to you.  Lord, I pray that he be a godly leader in our family and lead our children to you.  I thank you for all the things my husband does to make our home stable and safe.  I pray that you give him knowledge, wisdom, and strength so that he can make godly choices in our home and in his workplace.  Silence all other voices in his mind, and his social circle that would tear him down and please give him confidence and boldness in you Lord. Let him be a man of influence for you, dear God.  Help him to be a light in this dark world.  Again, I thank you for my husband.  I ask all these things in Jesus' Holy name.  Amen.