Starting over

 

There is a time for “starting over.”

Even when a house is torn down, the foundation is left to build upon.

The foundation old and solid, the building all new. Gloriously new.

The past is the seasoned instruction manual. Not for dwelling deep, but for gleaning wisdom in the forward motions of hope and joy.

Starting over. With revelation of the preciousness of each breath.

I will write for my kids. Because the Lord told me so. Just as He said to Jeremiah so many years ago, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you. Jeremiah 30:2.

I frame words already written, tucked away under black leather covers. I bring out to light words in the old song books that are living through the ages of time.

I’m starting over, yet in reality, I’m continuing ahead.

So, I will write with each new day, what the Lord has shown me in His book. I will leave it at that and pray that God draws you near to Him with each moment of each day.

Matthew Henry in his commentary on Jeremiah 30:1-11 writes what I believe God wants to show me, and you, and all the children who take the time in God’s word and take note of what’s been heard:

Matthew Henry Commentary

30:1-11 Jeremiah is to write what God had spoken to him. The very words are such as the Holy Ghost teaches. These are the words God ordered to be written; and promises written by his order, are truly his word. He must write a description of the trouble the people were now in, and were likely to be in. A happy end should be put to these calamities . . .”

How glorious are the old words written! Does this not make our appetites yearn to taste and see the promises within?  Matthew Henry continues in his writings on Jeremiah 30, which encourage us today in the trials we endure:

“Though the afflictions of the church may last long, they shall not last always. The Jews shall be restored again. They shall obey, or hearken to the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of David, their King. The deliverance of the Jews from Babylon, is pointed out in the prophecy, but the restoration and happy state of Israel and Judah, when converted to Christ their King, are foretold; also the miseries of the nations before the coming of Christ. All men must honour the Son as they honour the Father, and come into the service and worship of God by him. Our gracious Lord pardons the sins of the believer, and breaks off the yoke of sin and Satan, that he may serve God without fear, in righteousness and true holiness before him all the remainder of his days, as the redeemed subject of Christ our King.”Jeremiah 30:2 Commentaries

This is it. This is why I write. I write for myself and perhaps someone else will benefit and grow in discovering treasured words under dusty covers.

I’m starting over, but I’m really just persevering on.

May we be faithful to take time to hear His voice. May we be faithful to talk to Him, to wrestle with Him. To seek Him evermore. Start over we will, with each new day.  Let us live the life He has for us.

God’s given us breath. Let us take the next breath He has given and read aloud God’s inspired wisdom:

Ecclesiastes 3:1-17.

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.

15 Whatever is has already been,
    and what will be has been before;
    and God will call the past to account.[b]

16 And I saw something else under the sun:

In the place of judgment—wickedness was there,
    in the place of justice—wickedness was there.

17 I said to myself,

“God will bring into judgment
    both the righteous and the wicked,
for there will be a time for every activity,
    a time to judge every deed.”

Read these words aloud. They are living: This is my comfort in my affliction, That Your word has revived me and given me life. (Psalm 119:50, Amplified).

 

“Tell me something good.”

“Tell me something good.”

“Are your ears open then? What’s the focus of your eyes? Take a minute to see into your heart, is it bleeding in pain from loss, or even shame? Or is your heart hardened by kicks and pushes and mean looks and lies?”

“I will tell you something good. In your sorrow, in your pain, in your brokenness and even in your  shame. God loves you. The true and living God, the One Who sent His Son, He loves with an everlasting love- and He is forever the same.”

“There is no shadow of turning with Him. He sees your doubts, he sees your fears, he knows the anger and the hurt. He even counts your tears.”

“He doesn’t give up on you. He is waiting… He ‘suffers long.’ He is able to accomplish all that concerns you today. But there is one requirement on your part – oh, not to ‘do good’ and ‘get your act together’, don’t you know the Power of His Spirit will do that in and through you all-together!  No, not that, those you will do in the Power of His name, –

but first, open your ears, and lift up your eyes, and hear and see the Love in His eyes. Can you see His hands reaching out to you? They are scarred just like your life, but they are healed  –  through and through! And if you cry out His name with your willing but broken heart, He will take hold of it and wash the doubt and fear and sin all away. He will comfort and mend and wrap you in compassion…

His name is Jesus. So you ask, “how do you know all this then?”

“Because, this is my story. I just tell you again, what God did  for me when I was broken and torn – even beyond what I thought, any remedy! But He came and He showed me His love, and yes… He reached out His hands-that I might see that ‘He knew’. So I tell you today, because I know deep in my heart – it doesn’t matter where you’ve been, what you’ve done or gone through – Jesus, He is the Good Shepherd after all,

and you His dear lamb, He is calling… you!”

“Can you hear His voice? Ask Him to Help! He will show you truly, that you are His love, and YOU are His choice!”

(“Where do I get all my information? Yes, the Good Word, the Bible! Read it aloud, it will give you great satisfaction!”)

Today, I tell part of my cancer story…

Why do I write the things I write? Why do I write at all?

Well, I didn’t begin to write until after the cancer. But there is purpose in the words, even if they are only for me. The words are written to point to the loving, gracious, all patient hand of God. To be reminded of His presence in everything.Even great darkness.

My life was rudely interrupted by this very large mass on my right breast that seemed to appear out of nowhere. Only to find out that this size tumor can take up to 10 years to get that big. Wow, I guess that took me out the the early detection category. Anyway, my church family, (I love the fact the the church is the people!) My church family from everywhere started praying for me and reaching out during this time.  I truly believe that I was carried by the prayers of the saints.

On a side note, I was feeling pains ‘in’ my pelvic bone weeks before the cancer diagnosis, and was not sure what that was all about. So after the diagnosis, I grew strong through the Word of God, but at night , fear would come rushing in to envelope me.  I literally recited the scriptures that I had memorized and prayed the name of Jesus. But one particular night I felt compelled to get out of bed, literally fall prostrate before the Lord, and I prayed- “Lord God, I am afraid this cancer has metastisized to my bones. Please heal me, heal my bones.” I went back to bed. Do you know that I felt the Lord wanted me to pray in this manner-7 times! That is what I felt He wanted me to do- so I prayed on my face that night 7 times! Praying for the mercy of the Lord and healing for my body.  My bone scans were clear(!) but the large tumor remained. I truly believed the Lord healed my bones-yeah, now I only had breast cancer!

Many of you know that I am an alternative medicine person through and through and petrified of doctors offices! My father was an oncologist/surgeon of all things, and all I remember is THAT is an office I never want to have to go to. As I grew up,  Poloroid pictures of tumors that  he had surgically removed  that day lay on our kitchen counter.  (This can be a great encouragement to take vitamins and take care of your health, which I tried to do, somewhat.)
Well what was crazy about this situation was that I had no time even to think- first the tests, then the diagnosis, then the Surgeon and Oncologist  visit practically the next day!  ‘Wow, this must be bad for things to move this quickly’, were my thoughts as we walked into the office. But the woman behind the counter to sign me in was a sister in Christ that I loved dearly! And  the next thing I realized as we sat down was Christian music was playing, (Only in South Carolina! ) And then the  coolest thing of all happened as we were walking toward the room to meet the surgeon. I heard a voice from behind saying, “This is the way, walk in it.”  This is the way; chemo, surgery, the medical way, “this is the way, walk in it.”

So I knew from that moment on, we were going through the chemo!

I am trying to keep this story short; remember in  teaching my kids, they give me 10 minutes max!, so I am the queen of the 5 – 7 minute devotion/story.

So part of the  chemo I had to endure was nicknamed, ‘the red devil’ because it was red and it kills everything in it’s path- the good, the bad, and it sure made me look ugly! Anyway, to make a long story short, I thought the chemo was going to kill me- it was the hardest thing I had ever done, (and I had birthed 11 children natural!)

But here is what happened after my third treatment, (this moment has forever changed my life, and I will never live my days that I have here on earth, the same).

My dear friend drove me home after I was loaded up with all that chemo that day. (The nurses  were always surprised that I was sick right away. Most people wait a day and a half to be sick, but not my body. Within an hour I was sick.) But I laid down after Andrea had prayed for me and reluctantly left me to have some rest while my sweet neighbor Estelle had the kids for a bit. With my eyes closed, I could FEEL the death in my bones, (for this stuff kills the red and the white blood of the cells in the bone marrow). Anyway, I started talking to God.  “Lord, I think that they misjudged the amount of the stuff- but aren’t I supposed to see lights when I’m dying?” (Yes, this is how I talked to God on that day. I truly thought I was going to die.) Anyway, that Presence that we sing about and read in the word-His Presence was there! And I saw darkness, but there was a door, and it was open, and there was light shining out of the door, and all I saw were His hands, palms side up. And the only words that I heard were from a little story I used to read to my kids, over and over again:”Not all know Me as their King.”

I knew right then that I was going to live and that He, God, wanted me to tell others about Him. You see, those hands still had the scars from the nails. Jesus knows all about scars… because He laid down His life for me. And, as best I can, being in this fleshy human body, with many weaknesses and temptations, I would like to lay down my life for Him.

So the battle began, emotionally, physically, spiritually. But God, He brought me to the hymns. I finally was ‘still’ enough to hear the words. the first Hymn that literally lifted me from the dust and changed me on the inside as ‘wings on eagles’ was the old 7th century Hymn: Be Thou My Vision. Meditating and singing this new song strengthened me everyday. This song became my story, then and even now:

Be Thou my vision, Lord of my heart. Not be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best thought by day or by night. Waking or sleeping, Thy presence, my light.

Be Thou my wisdom. thou my true Word. Thou ever with me and I with You Lord. Thou my great Father, and I Thy true son. Thou in me dwelling and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battleshield, sword for my fight. Be Thou my dignity, Thou my delight. thou my soul’s shelter, Thou my High Tower. Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise. Thou my inheritance Now and Always!  Thou and Thou only, first in my heart, High king of Heaven, My treasure thou art.

High King of heaven, My victory won. May I reach heaven’s joys, bright heavens sun, heart of my own heart, whatever befall,

still be my Vision, O Ruler of all!