Saturday, July 31, 2010

Lingering......

This is where I have chosen to spend many a quiet moment these last few days....lingering under the canopy of God's trees and surrounded by the sounds of His creation. I hear the songs that continually come from the voices of the birds.....songs that remind me that God made the bird to open its mouth and bring forth a symphony of praise and beauty with every utterance. How that speaks to my heart in what God desires for us. That we would be a sweet fragrance to all those around us, an offering to Him.

"God is my strength and my song." Exodus 15:2

This was the inscription on a bracelet that a woman gave to me on Saturday morning of our women's retreat back in April. I didn't know this woman, actually had never met her.

I had taught the night before and that morning, she approached me and gave me two small packages. She told me one was for my sister, Heather, who lives in Texas and has a marriage that has been very unstable for the last 18 months. On Friday night, I had shared a few words regarding my sister as an example of a women whose life was 'founded on the rock of Jesus Christ' and weathering a fierce storm with God's grace and mercy so profoundly evident. The other was for me.

After being overcome with this woman's generosity, compassion and heart for the Lord. I tucked the two packages in my purse, as the morning beckoned and the ladies were filing into the conference room. This was the morning, I had found the lump in my breast. This was the morning, a new journey for me was underway, and I didn't even know it yet.

The day was long and upon retiring to my room late into the evening, I forgot about those packages nestled into my purse. The next morning, as I awoke early to spend some time with the Lord, before the retreat was to end, God prompted me to pull out those two packages. I unwrapped them discovering the contents inside. There were two silver bracelets, one in each package. There was no marking on the package to determine which was for me and which was for my sister. I sat before the Lord, read the inscriptions: One from Isaiah (can't tell you now what) and the other from Exodus, "God is my strength and my song." I laid them on the coffee table before me and asked,

"God which would you have for me? And which for Heather?"

I waited.

I looked at them again and read them ever so slowly.

I waited.

And the verse in Exodus became a part of me.

I slipped it upon my wrist and spent some time before the Lord.

After the Sunday morning session ended, there was a scurry of activity as I met and prayed with individual ladies. As the tear down process began. But I knew I wanted to meet face to face with this new 'friend' and thank her.

I walked up to the foyer of the hotel, and there she was checking out. Our arms embraced and I touched her arm and thanked her. I truly was so overcome with this woman and her Godly radiance. She asked me, rather timidly...

"may I ask, which did you choose?"

I told her. And she smiled, as God had placed that verse and that bracelet before her for me. She didn't know that in 3 short days I was going to be face to face with me sister, Heather and that I would be giving her her present, from a distant, yet close sister in the Lord. A name and friend unknown to Heather, but known by the Lord.

I tell you this story because that bracelet has adorned my wrist to every doctor's appointment, every test, every part of my new breast cancer journey.

God knew.

It is an altar, of sorts, for me. A reminder of God's faithfulness in our lives. A picture of His love. A symbol of the body of Christ working together, joined together through Jesus Christ and the blood that He shed on our behalf. A reminder, that even when we don't think He is working....oh He is and never stops. And how He weaves together the most beautiful tapestry.

And so, each morning, on my front porch, I linger.

It is often before the sun has completely risen, the children are still nestled in their beds....all is quiet. And I sit on the front porch with my Bible, cup of coffee and pen and notebook, linger...

in Him

in His Words and still small voice

in His comfort and conviction

in His Truth

in my doubts and fears, laying them down before Him

in my pain, asking Him to be the soothing balm

in my fragility as a wife, mother and woman walking the road of breast cancer

And every morning, we meet together.

God is my strength and my song.

As for the updates from the week....there are many.

Yes, drains were all removed on Wednesday....a new "free" woman I was.

I have a Mondar Cord inflammation under my right armpit where the lymph nodes were removed causing me extra pain. A physical therapist has been added to my appointments now.

Betties got their first filling, but only a half dose due to the muscle inflammation and spasms. That would be 30cc's instead of 60.

Love the wig salon, but so ever expensive! Going back next week for another appointment.

First radiation oncology appointment on Thursday sent me deep into the ocean as the waves of the next passage door to healing was presented. Radiation apparently is a given with my cancer. I had thought it might be a question mark. It is now an exclamation point!

Friday post op appointment with my breast surgeon, Dr. Susan Chang. I'll share more later, but the all in all is that after the team of doctor's, pathologists and surgeons met to discuss my cancer, they are going to go at this cancer strong and hard. They are recommending 18 weeks of chemo and 28 days of radiation following.

And so I linger in all of this with the Lord so ever close.

As much as I desire to sit on my front porch forever, I know I have to accept. I have to stand firmly again with open hands and allow God to walk these feet of mine down the path.

I am doing that, bit by bit, moment by moment.....by the grace of God. He is my strength. And I do have a song in my heart that only comes from Him.

Much love,
Stacy


8 comments:

Mom to 9 Blessings! said...

I loved spending our quiet time together on the porch yesterday! I loved seeing the radiance of joy of the Lord in every smile we shared!

I loved holding your hand and praying together!

I love you and thankful to be able to walk this journey with you!

Hugs sweet one - God is your strength and He will NEVER forsake you!
Jill

Kelly said...

Hello Friend,

Your words flow so beautifully... and they soak deep into our heart and mind each and every time.

Your front porch is so lovely - what a perfect place to sit and soak up the SON!

We will continue to pray as you walk this journey - please remember you are not alone. The Lord is with you every single step of the way and your bloggin' sisters are with you in heart every single day.

In His Love,
Kelly

Barbara Bartlett said...

Hi Stacy,
I love seeing that picture of your porch! You actually showed us that as your favorite 'Holy' place, and I can just picture you there in the quiet morning hour! Isn't our Lord so sweet and tender as we sit at with Him! A Pastor out here in California has a daughter that has cancer, and he gave a wonderful message called "Struck down but not Destroyed". I know it would bless you. It is about 40 min. you can find it on prayfordaisy.com
Love and hugs and kisses to YOU and your sweet family.
We are praying in the West!

stephannee said...

Sitting at my kitchen table reading your blog as casting crowns sings softly from the radio. Your words, their words, touch me in such a way...and I know they are actually HIS words. Thank you for sharing them here in this moment, in this place. I am not on the same journey as you, and my feet have not walked your path...but your story, and your faith is example for me during my journey. Please know that you are in my prayers and in my heart.
Blessings Steph

Kari said...

My goodness - the Lord is so alive in you in every way possible. As I read your written words, it is so apparent that He is in your thoughts, your words, your heart and your actions! He has you in the palm of His hand. You are surely a treasured daughter of His.

Thank you for all your beautiful sharing. I feel so blessed to have found your blog. I am keeping you and your family in my prayers as you continue this journey that you are so gracefully accepting.

He & Me + 3 said...

It is easy to linger in His presence...you have a beautiful quiet place to linger. He is the strength of your heart and your portion forever. I love that song & that verse. So true. He will sustain you my friend.
Praying with you!
Hugs,
Mimi

babyrndeb said...

continuing to pray for you...
Your porch is just lovely - what a nice place to go and reflect and just listen to God.
Thank you again for sharing your feelings and letting us get a glimpse of not only who you are but who the God you serve is. You are touching many!

tab said...

That porch spot has morphed into such a tranquil spot. Mom's trunk looks like it was designed for that spot!

Your story touches my heart in ways I can't even explain- when I miscarried after Ellie, a friend gave me a bracelt like the one you described. It carried me through those difficult days of waiting and learning that the baby was to go to the Lord, rather than to me. With each day, I would look to my wrist and be reminded to go to HIM for strength. I love that you have that reminder and love that you reminded me of that time. That bracelet is now tucked into my jewlery box and I pick it up and touch it frequently as a reminder of my journey. Today, as I hear of your bracelet, I anticipate months and years from now when yours will be a reminder of this journey you have behind you. It will be behind you at one point. But for now, I stand strong in prayer for you, dear sister. I praise God for carrying you these past few months, weeks, today... and stand confident that he will continue to hold you in His sweet palm.

Love you!