Let it Begin

It seems when a new year comes along I always make goals that never become reality. They can be crazy big (I’m going to lose 70lbs) or basically simple (I will wash my dishes every night); but sill, the next year comes around and sees them unfulfilled.

This year goals will be met.

What makes this year so different, you ask? I know I cannot do it by myself, and I know I’m going to have to rely on God, as well as the family and friends He has put in my life, to get through it. This really isn’t a new thought for me. I have known this for a while, but it’s the putting-it-into-practice part that trips me up. Every time.

Choices I have made and the road God put me on has taught me to be a fairly independent person. The only time I’ve lived close to family in the last 15 years was when I moved back in with my folks after I finished grad school and was job hunting. I’ve always made friends fairly easily, and do have those I confide in and rely on. But when it really comes down to it, more often than not, I don’t ask for help when I need it.

The same can be said when I approach my Lord. Yes, I have grown and matured, and I thank Him for that, but I still find myself not asking for His help first. I’m guilty of trying to work things out on my own and then (usually after failing) sheepishly turn to Him. I cannot help but picture Him looking down on me, shaking His head with a sigh, and saying, “My dear child, I might not have saved you that hurt, but I could have carried you through it, if only you had given it to Me.”

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7

Oh, I know I’m not the only one. Maybe in reading this, you come to realize that you do it, too. I have no real explanation for why I do this other than a simple issue of pride. I can do this on my ownI don’t need anyone’s help. Or, what gets me the most; I don’t want to bother anyone with my problems because they have their own to deal with. These, especially the last, are such blatant lies. We are to share our burdens. It was not intended for us to do this alone.

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.  – Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

I’ve touched on this before, which just goes to show how much I need to be reminded of it. And now comes the test. When I have to put it into practice. Relying on God to see me through & others to do that which I cannot do myself.

A few weeks ago I had a routine doctor’s visit. Which led to the scheduling of an ultrasound. Not two hours after which came a phone call and the words “large cystic mass” followed by “GYN oncologist.” My breath caught for a couple seconds. Did I just hear what I thought I did? Yes, I had.

The following week I had the appointment with the oncologist. I asked a friend to come with me, a dear Sister who had also been a nurse and just a great support to me all around – a mom when mine lives over 600 miles away. Surgery was scheduled and then came the news I was not fully expecting. The cyst is so large they cannot operate laparoscopically. The incision made will be about as big as the cyst to insure they can get it out without difficulty. Depending on where it is in relation to other things, I could most likely lose an ovary as well. If it is cancerous (which, from what they can tell of it short of a biopsy, they think not) I could be losing more than one ovary.

I don’t really think I need to tell anyone who knows me that it was at this point that I lost it. One of my greatest desires is to, one day, get married and have a family of my own. I know that adoption is a viable option, but still. The possibility of losing that ability myself scares me. And there it is again, my ability.

I do not doubt God has a great plan. I do not doubt that He is sovereign over all. Do I wonder about His methods? …….yes. Do I love HIm less or blame Him? Absolutely not. Am I leaning on Him to see me through? There’s no other way i could make it.

As for relying on others. There’s the fact that I’m going to be out of work for 4 weeks or so and my awesome coworkers stepped up to take care of my weekly programs so they wouldn’t have to be cancelled. My mom is coming out and staying with me for a couple weeks. Friends are going to be driving her and I to and from the hospital (which is not local). Many have offered help with the only condition that I ask, including one threatening a smack upside the head if I don’t ask when I need it – how well he knows me 🙂

So, after all that, you may think me crazy for this: with less than a week before surgery, I’m doing fine. My God is in control. The path He has before me will only bring me closer to Him when I reach the end. Yes, I will still get anxious. I do not doubt I will end up in tears at least a few more times. But above all else, I know He’s got it in His hands. And who am I to say He’s doing it wrong?

2Count it all joy, my brothers,b when you meet trials of various kinds, 3for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. – James 1:2-4

So, my goals for this year? They all stem from this main one:

5Trust in the LORD with all your heart
            And do not lean on your own understanding.

      6In all your ways acknowledge Him,
            And He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

What about you? Are you starting this year with plans to do it all on your own? Or are you, willingly and actively, leaning on Him with Whom all things are possible?

Love & Blessings,

KJ

An Answered Prayer

I have a horrible habit of hitting the snooze button in the morning. It’s become such a habit that there are mornings when I don’t even know I’ve been doing it until it’s 45 minutes past the time my alarm was set for (snooze only works up to 25 minutes past) and I have 30 minutes, or less, to get ready for work. Needless to say, this morning was a snooze morning (though I spent some of that time in bed thinking about taking the day off). In the end, I got up and started getting ready for work. As I did so, though, I just had this feeling of dread and just wanted the day to be over as soon as possible.

This is one of those things that happens for a few days, about once a month (thank you, Eve). My brain doesn’t think properly and my emotions run more rampant than usual (if you know me, you will understand). A time when I think of a year or so ago when a friend of mine reminded me that we are commanded to bear one another’s burdens in love.

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

And the law of Christ that Paul is referring to? You should find this at least somewhat familiar:

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:36-40

I will admit, I do not have too much of a problem when it comes to helping someone “carry their burden.” God has graciously given me a heart that longs to help and wants to feel needed. However; when it comes to asking someone to help me bear a burden, there are times I’d rather not. There are times when I am prideful and don’t want anyone else to know I can’t do something on my own (can we say sin?). There are times when I worry that I will just be slighted and will be no better off having asked for help (ummm, sin). And then there are the times when I want to wallow in my despair and hide away from everyone, even God (you got it, sin. Plus, that last part…not possible).

The discussion with my friend focused on the aspect that in order for others to share in bearing our burdens, we must first tell them what burdens we might be carrying. She also helped me see it from a different point of view; see if you can follow. When we are able to bless someone by helping them out it makes us feel good, right? We feel needed and are happy we were able to help, yes? How would you feel if your friend was going through a rough time, knew you could help, but never told you? Not so good, huh? And that’s exactly the point – when we do not ask for help with our burdens, we take away someone’s opportunity to be a blessing. So, in essence, when we keep to ourselves, we’re being selfish (you guessed it, sin).

So, for the past year or so, since I had that conversation, I’ve been working on this; telling others of my burdens so they can help bear them. And to their credit (but probably, mostly God’s), none of them have said, “Oh, no. Here comes Kellie. I wonder what’s wrong today?” (at least not to my face 🙂 ).

Today was a day I needed to do that; I needed to share. I drove to work feeling numb, despite the praise music flooding my speakers. I felt a weight bearing down on me and, even though it had hardly begun, I couldn’t wait for the day to end. I battled between asking for help and trying to pray, but my ind just wouldn’t stay focused. Though I had slept a little late I actually got to work a few minutes early. I knew what I had to do; I had to ask for help. I texted a friend, a dear Sister, asking for prayer. Before I even walked through the library doors I got a simple response, “Starting now.” I admit, my spirit lifted, just the slightest, knowing she was petitioning for me.

I headed in and started my day. Maybe 15 minutes after that, God answered her prayer in a very obvious fashion. A dear Brother, who just happened to be in the area, dropped in for a visit. He said he drove by the library and thought, “Kellie’s probably working. I should at least see if she is since I’m here.” We chatted and my mood did a 180, and I knew, as soon as I saw him, that it was the Lord’s provision that He sent to get me through my day. No words can really describe how I felt in that moment, how I feel now writing it all out, except to say that God is so good and I am so thankful that He uses His people to pass along His blessings.

If I had any doubt (or if you do) about sharing burdens in the future, it was driven away by the facebook status of Paul David Tripp that I saw when I got home from work today: “If you’re God’s child you must remind yourself today that your walk with God is designed to be a community project from beginning to end.” If you need further proof, how’s this?

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Ephesians 4:1-7

I pray we all will have the courage to share our burdens and also bless others by lending a hand to theirs as well. We are Family and it is what we are called to do.

Love & Blessings,

KJ