He’s big—I’m small

I had the wonderful blessing of spending a couple of days with a dear friend and her daughter in Monterey last weekend. Having grown up in Southern California, I have always loved the beach. It is a special place of peace for me. Now that I live a couple of hours from the coast, I don’t get as many opportunities to dig my toes in the sand, but when I do they are always glorious.

The ocean reminds me of just how big our God is and just how small I am in comparison. The strength of my problems pale in light of the power and might of the waves. The thing that always gets me is the God of the universe, the creator of the seas, with all His glory and majesty, loves me!

“You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.” Nehemiah 9:6

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.” Psalm 24:1-2

“You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds, God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas, who formed the mountains by your power, having armed yourself with strength, who stilled the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, and the turmoil of the nations. The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy.” Psalm 65:5-8

I will remember the morning mist and the cool salt air, the laughter of good friends, and meditate on these verses today as I sit once again today in the chemo chair—and the God who created the oceans will bring me comfort.

“A friend loves at all times,
    and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” Proverbs 17:17

“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:32


New Challenges = New Blessings

When I wrote my last post I was about to start a new chemotherapy regimen and didn’t know what to expect. I had heard from other women who have braved this road before me that it should be easier. I can now say with much gratitude that they were correct. With this new “chemo cocktail” come new and different challenges. But more importantly I am learning that with each new challenge, God is faithful to show me new blessings.

Taxol, my new chemo drug, has the unfortunate side effect of bone pain. I have felt it most in my legs. A few days I was unable to move much from my couch and needed support just to cross the room. I say all this to highlight the difference between the first few days after chemo and the glorious blessing of God’s strength in the days that followed. While on the couch, I had the opportunity to pray more, to praise more, to dig deeply into God’s word, and seek His face. This is blessing in and of itself. Had I my normal strong legs, I may have missed this precious time. As the pain lessened and my strength grew I was happy to walk my dog and once again enjoy time outside in the warm Sacramento sunshine. 🙂

What came next was an unexpected blessing for which I will forever be thankful. My daughter and her boyfriend had signed up for a trail race in Lake Tahoe to benefit the Tahoe Cancer Center. (We all love Lake Tahoe and are avid skiers in the wintertime!) When my daughter’s boyfriend was unable to attend due to work constraints, Kate asked me to go with her to and spend the day at Squaw Valley, I could ride the tram to the top and wait for her to finish the 3 ½ mike trek from the base to high camp. It seemed like a lovely way to spend the day and I gratefully accepted the invitation. But by the morning of the race, my leg pain was gone and God had renewed my strength. So instead of sitting on the sidelines waiting for Kate, we walked the race together! 3 ½ miles straight up!! It was the most beautiful and challenging hike I have ever experienced! So thankful for time with my daughter, so thankful for God’s strength in getting me through this difficult time in my life and showing me every day that HE has I all I need, so thankful for the beauty of His creation. So thankful, just so very thankful.

The beauty of God's creation

I have chemo again today. I know what is ahead: more challenges, more blessings.

“I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.”  Psalm 18:1-2

We made it to the top!

Blessings, blessings, blessings

Lately I have been thinking—I am incredibly blessed. While from the outset a cancer diagnosis is not welcome news, it has been an eye opener for me. I am seeing with much more clarity the many blessings that have been there all along in my life but have been unnoticed or at very least not fully appreciated by me.

I have good health insurance. I am able to receive treatment with very few hassles. My doctor is local so my travel time to receive treatment is minimal. The facility where I receive treatment is clean and professionally staffed. Having visited other parts of the world, I know that in some areas people must travel several days by train to the nearest medical facility and even then it may not be adequately staffed or clean. It takes me less than an hour by air conditioned car to get to my appointments—such a blessing!

I am able to read my bible openly while having chemotherapy. God’s Word is a great comfort to me but in some parts of the world owning a bible is illegal. I am so blessed to have freedom of religion and to own not just one but several bibles!

I have choices for my meals. While chemo leaves the unfortunate side effect of nausea, my pantry is stocked with things I can tolerate, I have a dear friend who has filled my freezer with home cooked comfort food, and the grocery store, which is less than 5 minutes away, never runs out of food. The food supply in many parts of the world is not only inadequate but certainly does not allow options. I am so blessed.

My office has a couch. As a therapist my work space is quite comfy and created especially to be a place of peace and tranquility. I am able to take a short nap between seeing clients on the days I need a little more rest. Another blessing!

Of course the biggest blessing for me at this point in my life is God and his faithfulness which is ever present and giving me strength for each day. I went on a hike with my daughter on Sunday. We laughed and enjoyed the beauty of foothills. I breathed in the fresh air, soaked up the sunshine, and tried to capture the feeling of strength and vitality so I can carry it with me to chemotherapy tomorrow. But even if it begins to wane in the days to come, I know God is lifting me up and is strong enough for the task.

Kate in the blackberry bushes

I will extol the Lord at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.
 I will glory in the Lord;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the Lord with me;
let us exalt his name together.  Psalm 34:1-3

View from the trail in Auburn

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