Ember of Hope

At the beginning of the year the pastor at my church challenged the congregation to come up with a word for the year 2013. This word would be something to hold onto throughout the year as a source of encouragement and to challenge personal growth.
I thought that sounded like a great idea so, as Mike and I drove home from church that afternoon, I asked God the quick question of :
“ Lord, what is my word for 2013?”
Nothing came to my mind or heart immediately so I left it at that. As the days went on and I thought about it more and more, I found the word that was constantly popping up in my mind was “ Purposeful”
That sounded like a good word to me and even though I knew I had a fairly good idea of what the definition was, I figured I should look it up in the dictionary just in case there was something I was missing.

pur·pose·ful [pur-puhs-fuhl]
adjective
1.
having a purpose.
2.
determined; resolute.
3.
full of meaning; significant.

When I first read “having a purpose” I couldn’t help but roll my eyes and think:
“Thank you CAPTAIN OBVIOUS!”.
I was slightly irritated by the fact that having a purpose was exactly what I have been trying to do and thought “How can you be purposeful if you don’t know what your purpose is!!!?”
Like, you know those people you meet or see who are EXACTLY where they need to be, and doing EXACTLY what they should be doing, because they are SO incredible at it? I have this desire to be like such a person, and yet realize that maybe not everyone can or is supposed to have that. Maybe some people are called to be good at a whole bunch of little things.
So as I mulled this over, I concluded that even if I didn’t have or know my exact “PURPOSE” that I would just try to be purposeful in all that I do.
I would be determined, and try to have things be significant… I also threw in my own little definitions of “moving forward”, “putting in a conscience effort”, and “living with intention.”

So, with my new word in my heart and mind: I tried to put it into action for the simple every day things in my life.

For Example:
When driving home late at night I notice that my gas tank is almost empty. I hate the thought of taking any longer to get home because I just want to get into bed, but I know that we have an appointment early in the morning and it would be best to get gas now. ( See, I said simple)
OR
In the past there were many times when I would think about Mike and how much I appreciated him but never really let it be more than a passing thought. Or sometimes I would plan on telling him when I saw him next, but then he would do something to tick me off, so then I wouldn’t feel like saying anything at all.
(oh, I’m the only one who does that?)…
Well, now if Mike is doing something simple that can easily be interrupted I like to get his attention, look him in the eye, and tell him “ I love you, appreciate you, and respect you” or whatever loving/ positive feelings I have for him are at the time. I even try to make an effort to say them after a little fight- Those words shouldn’t just be left for special occasions or cards!
OR
Taking time to get down and play with the boys: getting messy with play-doh, reading as many books as they want, painting, going outside….rather than just putting Treehouse on.
( oh…. I’m the only one who does that too?- this is starting to get embarrassing)

For me, the word “ purposeful” has been a good reminder to do the things that I would usually just shrug off, or be lazy about.
However sometimes I find that just applying it to the everyday doesn’t seem to satisfy me. Anyone who really knows me, knows that I am a DREAMER! So when I was initially given the word purposeful I instantly thought ”CHANGE THE WORLD!” which was quickly followed by the thought of “ …but how??”
And thus, I decided to apply it to the everyday, until I could apply to my life in a greater way.

And then on Friday February 15th while I was waiting for my tea at the Starbucks in West Edmonton Mall, this caught my eye:

IMG_3560

This is a picture of the Hair Massacure.
As I watched all of these kids and adults come together for this incredible cause, I couldn’t help but think of the fact that the whole event had flourished from probably 1 or 2 individuals. Just an idea, an ember if you will.

I found it very profound and as I watched I felt it bring a little bit of life to my ( at the time) very downcast feeling heart.
You see, I had been going through a … “ Lull” if you will. Nothing crazy, but just the feeling that I am SO TIRED of this journey. Even though physically I have a lot of energy, and have been getting stronger and stronger…even gaining weight- yay!!( ok now I’m sure I really am the only one saying that)
I could still smile throughout the day…but I constantly felt like the cancer “ball and chain” was getting heavier, I just want to get rid of it!! Some new lumps appear, while others go away, it’s like I’m stuck on a never ending roller coaster.
I would read my bible, but the words would just be mush. I would pray, but it seemed as if those prayers didn’t get higher than the ceiling. I even had my moments of telling God that I was gonna give it all up…but I realized, I couldn’t.
My Faith in Christ, is my Hope. My ember.

A few weeks ago I was expressing my frustrations and feelings to a friend over text message, and during our conversation she asked me: ”How is your spirit feeling??”
My response: “Hopeful. Somehow, always hopeful.”

And just earlier this week I explained it to another friend like this:
“The hope I feel reminds me of the wood burning fireplace Mike and I have in our home. At night, before we go to bed, Mike will load that thing up and it will burn all night long, and in the morning the fire is out. You look inside and all you see is a heap of ashes, and spiritually I felt like that heap of ashes. Frustration, Anger, Fear, Worry, the hardships of the journey, had burnt me out.
Then one morning, after the fire had gone out, I decided I wanted another fire so I began to stir those ashes and dig a little bit, and there in the very middle, was a tiny ember. Hope. I quickly recalled that conversation: “…somehow, always hopeful.”
That morning I started a whole new fire with that little ember and was reminded – it only takes a tiny ember to start a blazing fire.

This theme seemed to pop again this past Wednesday (Feb 20th) when I found myself sitting amongst 26 (myself included making the total 27) recipients to receive the Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal. As I listened to each of the bio’s being read, I couldn’t help but be moved by the people who surrounded me and the INCREDIBLE things they had done for their communities, and how they represent Canadians.
Mike Love was honored for the work he does with youth all over the world and the hundreds of thousands of youth and young adults he brings together in Edmonton alone to discover their God given dreams. One Lady had served the girl scouts for 30+ years, and another man was recognized for his breakthrough research in autism.
All of these people, had an ember within them that grew into a fire to change the lives of many.
How amazing.
I’d be lying if I said I couldn’t help but think “man, I feel kind of puny around these people- I haven’t served for 30 years, and never done breakthrough research…”
And yet the very next day, in the simplest way, the Lord showed me it isn’t about how big or small.

The morning after the Diamond Jubilee presentation Mike and I decided to drive into Leduc to visit my sister Kennedy and her class at the school she works in. I thought it would be fun to bring her a coffee, and some flowers, and Kennedy knew her kids would just love visiting with the boys.
Just as Kennedy expected, her grade 3’s loved the boys, and being the amazing teacher she is Kennedy quickly incorporated the boys into the lesson, with story time.
When the story was finished Kennedy asked the kids to guess what Mike did for a living – and after a few guesses of “Teacher, Dad, Farmer…someone finally guessed Firefighter.”
This opened the opportunity for the kids to ask Mike all kinds of questions regarding his job.
As I sat at Kennedy’s desk in the corner of the room just watching and listening to these kids excitedly ask Mike questions, I was overwhelmed by the thought of:
“ Mike sharing his love for his Job, and the excitement and dangers that are involved with firefighting COULD be shaping one of these kids lives”
Of course we may never know for sure, but as we drove home I shared my thoughts with Mike. I said:
“ What seemed to be like a fun little visit to Kennedy’s class room to bring her coffee and flowers, could have turned into YOU shaping the future of one of those kids…without even knowing it”
I could just imagine a grown up girl or boy from that class years down the road saying:
“ In Grade 3 this man came into my class, and his job as a firefighter sounded exciting, from then on I knew that’s what I wanted to be.”
Mike didn’t have his uniform on, or any of his gear. He looked like an ordinary guy wearing his jeans and a t-shirt, drinking a coffee…but to one of those kids, Mike could have been the ember (no pun intended) needed to inspire them to become a firefighter. All because in his ordinary day he took the TIME to answer their questions.

For me and my journey, and for the rest of my life…my ember (whether big or small), will be my Faith in Christ. It is only by his grace that I am here, and just as Isaiah 26:12 says “… all I have accomplished really is from Him”

And in an ordinary day, by words of kindness & gentleness, or acts of love, graciousness and compassion, the encounters YOU with have with people (friends, loved ones, or the cashier at the grocery store ) could be the ember of hope THEY need to flame into their future or… they may be, an ember of hope, for you.


Defying All Odds

MRI & CT Scan results = cancer progressing.

Closing remarks of my conversation on the phone with my Doctor:

“Kristen, Every Doctor that looks at your scans and then looks at you is baffled, your scans reflect someone who is VERY ILL, but you are showing no signs of it….you are defying all odds”

No. I am doing nothing. However,

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
(Philippians 4:13)

Including defying all odds.

I believe it is through Christ, and your prayers that I am as well as I am. Be encouraged, He hears you, He hears us. Prayer moves mountains – HE does the moving, Let our faith continue to rise up.
Thank you for battling with me, standing with me, and please rejoice with me in this pretty awesome victory.
WE have defied all odds by faith.
Please continue to persevere with me, the battle is not over… I read 2 Corinthians 1: 8b-11 and it seems to fit perfectly…

….We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.

Love you All

K


The Tip of The Iceberg

It’s been an interesting few weeks…Where do I begin?
I started my first of ten rounds of radiation on June 21 at 8:30am…I didn’t know what to expect…I went in, laid on the table, they put my mask on, I heard some machines buzz every now and then for about 10 minutes and then that was it.
Pretty harmless.
It worked out good to start on a thursday, because then I had weekends off and I felt like it gave my body some time to adjust and recoup.
Anyways, we entered into the next week week of radiation and sailed through it with ease, I felt a little tired at times, but that was it.

On June 29th I posted on Facebook asking for my friends and family to hold me up in prayer as I had a Doctors appointment that morning that I wasn’t looking forward to.
It was a Neurologist appointment. Brain Doctor….Sounds serious.

Back in May when they tried to remove this tumour, and then discovered they couldn’t because it was eroded into my skull that is what had me sitting in that doctors office.

The Doctor looked at Mike and I and asked how old I was as he proceeded to type on the computer in the room, suddenly up popped an image.

“Holy !*@*$&)!!!!!” is all I think.
I’m sure I had some sick smirk on my face which was reflecting my “You’ve got to be kidding me…” thoughts.

“So this is you?” The Doctor asks me while looking at the MRI image on his computer screen.

“uh, yup, guess so” I say.

He went on to ask me if I had been feeling any side affects at all from it, headaches, vomiting, dizziness….

“No” I say

I stare at the image of my brain and what the MRI had revealed in a little bit of awe. When they had said this tumour had eroded into my skull…that isn’t what they meant at all.
This tumour on the outside of my head, is literally the tip of an iceberg. You see, the tumour actually STARTED in my skull and grew outwards (causing a bump on my head), but it also grew a tumour inwards and it’s pressing into my brain. The one on the inside, is the biggest.

“Well” he says, “I certainly can’t cure your disease, but my job is to not have people walking around with large tumours like that on or in their heads, and the solution to that is we can do surgery. All we would have to do is remove the portion of the skull where the tumor originated, replace it with a metal plate, and do a skin graft. You would be in the hospital for 3-5 days, we could do it in August.”

“hmm” I think to myself “sounds do-able…I always did want to do that half shaved head look…and having a metal plate in your head does sound kinda tough..”

We discussed a few things that needed to happen before surgery but Mike and I walked out of there feeling considerably good…it seemed like it was one of the few doctors we talked to who said ‘I can fix that”

That being said I still have to have another MRI and CT scan to see what else may be going on before anything can happen…they may do a CT and say “you have WAY too much going on everywhere else..we’re sorry, we can’t do anything”

The July long weekend was filled with family and friends and we had people over to our place every day of the weekend, it was great.
I had 3 rounds left of my radiation when I started to “feel things”…it was nothing major…just the side of my face was a little swollen, and the tumor they had been radiating on my had been bleeding quite a bit and was swelling as well which was causing some problems with the proper fitting of my radiation mask, so we had to talk to my Doctor.
She looked me over, and was quite surprised and please to see how well I was doing…I asked “when will the side affects hit?” and she looked at me and said ” Oh you would of been feeling them already, you are breezing through this”

SWEET! I thought! Praise The Lord!!!
I mean, I HAD been feeling a little nausea, and was a little more tired than usual, but nothing major…nothing like my brain swelling and giving me massive headaches & vomiting (which was my biggest fear going into it)

My last round of Radiation was July 5th and I walked out of there feeling pretty dang good, and then… I got
BLINDSIDED.
Man have I been sick since then! Sheesh!
I didn’t eat for like 3 days – which trust me, I ain’t got no reserve to be not eating, and I’m down to looking WAY TOO THIN…
Those 3 days were the worst but each day now I am getting stronger and stronger and am able to eat and do a little more.

My MRI is this monday- July 16 12:30 ( I also have an appointment with the plastics Doctor who would be doing the skin graft of the procedure if surgery is a go)

How do I feel about it?

Fine.

Before I had gotten sick I had been reading in Isaiah and kept reading things like:

(chapter 60:20-22)
“The Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow all end…”
“They are the shoot I have planted, the work of my hands, for the display of my splendour…”
“I am the Lord; in it’s time I will do this swiftly”..

(chapter 66:14)
When you see this your heart will rejoice and you will flourish like grass; The hand of the Lord will be made known to it’s servants…”

(chapter 66:9)
“Do I bring the moment of birth and not give delivery?” says the Lord.

I felt like He was confirming the things I had been feeling in my heart, and reading the above verses just added to the already existing sense of peace I had, and maybe even heightened it to a sense of excitement of what God is going to do…it just so happens I am in the thick of it, and I am the one God needs to do a work in.
I feel more frustrated than fearful most of the time. Frustrated because I KNOW this is such a simple fix for God, and yet in the physical sense. No change. Nothing…WORSE and WORSE always.
But I’m here. Maybe not doing the things I usually would, but I can count blessings abundant even in the place I’m at, and that I am beyond grateful for.
I was voicing concerns and opinions to the Lord, just talking really…I was going on and on, and finally at the end of my prayer I remember saying ” Well…clearly you know more then I do, and I don’t understand, but I trust you. Your ways and thoughts are higher then mine…just speak to me Father, bring me comfort”
And grabbed my bible, opened it up to
Isaiah 55 8:13

8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
12 You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper,
and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the Lord’s renown,
for an everlasting sign,
that will endure forever.”

I trust and believe what the Lord has told me…and I believe that it will not return to him empty and it will accomplish what He desires.
His thoughts and ways are higher then mine. He Knows All, He Sees All. This sense of peace that I have had from the beginning… this feeling that I know i’m gonna make it through…it’s not normal, but it is what has made me believe that this whole thing, this whole journey that I’ve been on…We are only seeing a small portion of the story, we truly are only seeing The Tip of the Iceberg.

Please pray for my MRI on Monday…and then my CT scan is on Friday the 20th.
Thanks for fighting with me & believing with me… The prayers of the righteous prevail…we are Gods army…I found this verse in Isaiah a while back and loved it.
(chapter 13:3-4)
I have commanded those I prepared for battle;
I have summoned my warriors to carry out my wrath —
those who rejoice in my triumph.
4 Listen, a noise on the mountains,
like that of a great multitude!
Listen, an uproar among the kingdoms,
like nations massing together!
The Lord Almighty is mustering
an army for war.

Love You

~K~


Gonna Get There.

My heart was pounding as we drove to the Cross Cancer to our appointment to hear the information the radiation specialist would tell us.I think I even sent a text message to my pastor saying I think I might barf because I was so nervous (classy I know)

It was a roller coaster of confidence, and freak outs …every time I felt anxious I would open my bible…I couldn’t even tell you what verses or how many I read…or if they even registered, It was like I was trying so hard for them to take root and yet nothing stuck.

I didn’t want to go into the appointment with any preconceived ideas, just neutral.
We didn’t have to wait long, and then she was there, sitting across from me explaining that the treatment is a minimal treatment because I’m palliative. It isn’t actually going to cure or take anything away complete, it just should help with this thing not getting any worse.
She also explained that what we see of this tumour on my head is really the tip of the iceberg, she was quite shocked when she saw the scans of it, because “it’s pretty ugly”.
She explained, how many rounds, and that it would be fairly low radiation (certainly not as high as what could be done) and she also explained what the side affects might be…in all honesty when we left, I felt pretty good. I was like… that sounds very do-able.
I didn’t end up having to commit right there on the spot, and was given time to think it over.
We went home, and neither Mike and I said a word to each other, I think we didn’t want to sway the others opinion before we had really prayed about it ourselves.
For me, I honestly didn’t care what God wanted me to do…radiation or not, I just want to be obedient.
I was constantly in a place of prayer and searching and asking, and eventually was feeling pulled more to one side as the day went on.
I talked to my pastor, and explained my thoughts and reasons for what I was feeling and why….in the middle of my conversation with him I had a doctor phone me, and tell me what I should do – in his very strong opinion…because “he wants to see me stick around for a while” (bless his heart)
So then I felt like I was back at square one… I talked to my parents, we talked in circles…my head felt numb I had to go to bed, and just be.

So there I lay, just thinking and thinking and thinking, and I had to stop myself.
“What am I scared of?”…. I asked myself
“That I’m going to pick the wrong thing, that somehow everything God has shown me and taught me would be lost, and that somehow he would be mad, and disappointed…maybe I don’t have enough faith – which is stupid, God uses Doctors and medicine as his servants in healing ALL THE TIME….”
…I took a big breath…
“Kristen” I thought to myself ” What does Gods word say?…”
I thought about it, and recalled: “The LORD is COMPASSIONATE and GRACIOUS, SLOW TO ANGER, ABOUNDING IN LOVE….” ( Psalms 103:8)

And I just thought about that for a while….

Slow to anger… Ok I realize I am no where near perfect, or no where near having it all figured out…But I know that I am purposefully trying to LOVE the lord with all of my heart, and my soul and my strength. He knows my hearts desire to be obedient in whatever he asks, even if it’s terrifying, and or that i’ll fall short…but he isn’t going pour out his wrath on me if I pick wrong…right!?

…I Just don’t want to disappoint him!!!!

I closed my eyes just pondering all those characteristics listed in psalms until they settled in my heart..and as I lay there thinking, a picture or I guess a scene came to my mind…

I was a little girl (pigtails and all, say 4 ish) and there I was holding Jesus’ hand, and we were walking on a HUGE bible…and he was just guiding me, pointing out things in his word as if to say ” Look what I did here…and Kristen look over here what I did…” and we just walked all over that bible as he showed me things.

Then I saw another scene in my minds eye:
Again, I was a little girl, and Jesus was kneeling next to me with his hand around my waist, I stood next to him and then it was like he gave me a gentle little push, as if to say “Go”…I took a few steps ahead and then stopped – as many children do when they are prompted to do something on their own, I stopped and looked back with hesitation…Jesus smiled, and gave me a little “Go on” kind of look… but I didn’t, I went running back and could see I was telling him all my worries and concerns (although I could not hear words) and he just looked at me with that loving smile on his face as he patiently listened….

And as I opened my eyes and thought about these scenes…
The first part struck me as a summary of the last 9 months of my life. God has just been taking me through his word and teaching me and showing me his ways, and all the incredible things he did (and still does)

The second part reminded me of my boys and I:
I teach them the things they need to know, show them what needs to be done and the tools they will need to accomplish whatever it is.
But I don’t DO it for them, I show them, and then let them go on their own.
I also liked the knowing look on Jesus’ face when “Little Girl Kristen” was telling him her concerns…It’s like when the boys come and tell me things that I already know…I look at them with a smile on my face, and give them my best “Oh!? Really!? WOW…” just to humour them.

Gods word has EVERYTHING I need to know, and holds power to have it be accomplished.

God KNOWS all of my concerns with this whole decision, and listens patiently when I pour out my heart to him.

I got up and got myself ready for bed, still thinking these things over, and feeling a sense of peace and relief.
God isn’t going to get mad at me…Just like I don’t get mad at my boys when they make a choice…ok yes they obviously make choices that aren’t ideal, but I don’t feel that is the case here.
The last 10 months Jesus has shown me through his word, that he heals. And from the beginning I’ve had that sense of peace that I’m gonna make it through this…don’t ask me how, I just feel it, and that peace makes me feel like I can face anything. Don’t get me wrong, I have my moments of being SCARED…but I have come to a place where I just believe what Gods word says, It is truth, and it says God saves, redeems, restores, heals… Nothing is impossible for him….and obviously so so much more.

As I crawled into bed that night, still in think mode, God brought my tattoo to mind ( Mike and I have matching tattoo’s that say “NEVER FORSAKEN”) …and God was like “Kristen, what does your side say?”
“Never Forsaken” I replied in my heart
“Right, Never will I leave you, Never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5 & Deuteronomy. 31:6)
Then I heard him say…
” What does MY side say?…”

As I lay there thinking about it, my eyes welled up with tears…

“But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)

By HIS WOUNDS…by HIS SIDE….I AM HEALED.

I believe that God works miracles, everyday. I believe he moves mountains that we don’t even realize. I believe that somehow, I’m going to be ok. It may be a tough go, it might get ugly, or hard, but He’s got me…he DIED for me…by his wounds, I am healed.

My prayer was that if I didn’t see the physical signs of healing before I was to start radiation, then I would know radiation was the way to go. So, unless something miraculous happens tonight (which hey…do not count it out) I start radiation tomorrow morning 8:30 am, first round of 10.
Like I’ve said before, I know he could heal RIGHT NOW, completely…but God has brought the verse from Ecclesiastes 8 to my mind many times (usually in my times of ” SERIOUSLY WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!!!??” prayers)
For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter,
though a person may be weighed down by misery.”

I believe he has a proper time and procedure in this whole thing, and if radiation is part of it. He’ll be there. Pray that this would be radiation that is infused with Jesus :)…that it would do abundantly more than expected or hoped for.

I believe He’s Got this.

I certainly don’t have all the answers, I don’t even know what the next hour holds…but I know that from the beginning of this I’ve had a crazy sense of peace in me saying “You’re gonna make it, You’re gonna be ok and come out on the other side of this”
I don’t know how…and truth be told, sometimes I just sound crazy to myself…but I just believe by Gods Grace, I’m gonna get there. All Glory and Honour to the King of Kings!


Do Not Give Up. Jesus Saves.

I sit here in my parents bed at MY house (since they live with us) with aches and pains… with anxiety trying to press it’s way into my heart and mind while I listen to the sound of my husband and sweet boys playing downstairs.
I am tired of this journey.
I am tired of every negative appointment.
I am tired of Gerson.
There are times when I have felt embarrassed or ashamed that I have been hit with cancer because that just means in a world where we strive for our lives to be perfect it means I have failed.
Doesn’t that wound ridiculous!? I know it does, and yet the feelings of shame or embarrassment have been there.
What lies from the enemy.
He tells me that even though there are many I have met who have been healed….that it won’t happen for me. It’s for everyone but me, I have to catch myself from getting sucked in, and have learnt in those moments to run to the word of God
“…By His wounds we are healed”
“With man these things are impossible, but nothing is impossible with God”

My MRI yesterday showed that this tumour that has eroded into my skull…has pretty much made it’s way through my ENTIRE skull..meaning almost to my brain.
Doctors want me to do something about it…possibly radiation, but I don’t have enough information regarding that to make an educated decision.
They want to know by today.

It seems we are at the impossible.

I was talking to my sister in law Danica yesterday..ok I was venting…specifically about Gerson.

“..It hasn’t done anything…it’s been pointless, no scans have shown me any good progress!…other than for the most part I FEEL ok…” I say in a strained, loud-ish voice.

She stares at me from across the island in the kitchen…

“but Kristen…if you had done anything else other than Gerson…would you of had as much time to focus on God?…you essentially have been fasting for 8 months (sure you may have cheated every once and a while) but every juice or every meal you couldn’t partake of and enjoy with your family you were reminded that you felt God asked you to do it…even if you didn’t know why. Or every moment of downtime you had through out the day you read your bible. Do you think if you had done anything other than Gerson you would have been doing that? would you be as close to God as you are now??….”

My eyes downcast and I’m playing with a crumb on the counter I let out a slightly convicted…. “No…I wouldn’t be”

“So then wasn’t Gerson worth it?”

I hadn’t thought of it like that…and of course the answer is yes, it has been worth it…I have never known the word of God like I do now, I have been transformed and renewed by the word of God and as a results I know God in a deeper way.

Danica left for the day, but I kept thinking about our conversation. I thought about the decisions that needed to be made in the next 24 hours and the miracle that needs to happen and as I stood on my deck looking at the rain I came to the conclusion that maybe, the last 8 months of discipline through doing Gerson and seeking God has been a School of sorts, and now it’s time to take all those lessons that I have been taught, those promises I have been told, and put them to use, and practice.

Because the impossible seems to of approached.

Jesus worked miracles on the earth. 100’s…1000’s and 1000’s if not 10,000’s…if not millions…and the bible says that
“Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever”

So that means Jesus works miracles today.

This morning as I still lay in bed trying to wake up I reached over to my nightstand and grabbed my bible.
I opened my bible to Luke 18:1
“….To show them that they should always pray and not give up.”

Ok Lord I will keep pressing in….

I was feeling anxious at the time and as I began to pray I felt better, more peaceful, knowing my God and my angels were covering me. Watching me, keeping me and sustaining me.

I got up and started my morning, continuously praying continuously praising…I eventually made my way upstairs to my parents room.
I crawled into my parents bed with my bible in hand and opened it up…
Jeremiah chapters 30 & 31 stared me in the face..and I read these highlighted words….

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness; I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt”

“I will lead them beside streams of water on a level path where they will not stumble”

“restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears; for your work will be rewarded”

“So there is hope for your future”

“But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds” declares the lord

“So you will be my people, and I will be your God”

God is real guys, Jesus is Real. His power is real…you may not think you see that or know that…but look in the mirror, look at the wonder of every organ and vessel in your body working and functioning in complete unity, look at how the sun rises everyday, you just assume that it’s going to be there…but it’s by Gods grace that the sun rises each morning on us, even though we rarely look at it in the wonder that it deserves
God is BIG. Bigger then anything that would try to overcome you, or your family.
I have come to know God as a provider, sustainer, giver of Joy, and peace and so much more…and I am currently on a journey that is leading me to know him as my healer.
but lets say I didn’t get healed what if I died? would that mean that he wasn’t God? No not at all. We all are going to die, we are not invincible, we are human, we all make mistakes, we all fall short, we all do things we shouldn’t. But there is a God of Grace and mercy who made you…so he could love you. He loved you so much that he sent his son Jesus to die for you. For me.
My life is preserved by Jesus, because he died for me, because I accepted him as my Lord and Savior. He is the giver of life…ETERNAL Life…so when my time here on earth is done – when i’m 93 – 🙂 – I get to live in eternity with God.
THAT is what gets me through each day. That is what sustains, and brings peace and joy.

I KNOW the promises God has spoken to my heart throughout this journey, life tries to throw it’s curve balls and fear tries to creep in, but Gods word continues to show me life & health. And so I choose to believe that.

I feel as if things are coming to a head.
I feel like I am on the edge of a bridge with nothing attached to me, and I all have is my teacher saying…I promise I am the net that will catch you…but you gotta jump.

He is asking us to trust him. With ALL of our lives. I believe he can do all he promises in his word.
He is the only Hope there is.
If you have ever read this and wondered “how can she be so strong?” trust me….it isn’t me…it’s the Hope of Jesus in me.
I recommend it, it will change your life and your perspective.
If you have no idea how to do that…you can message me or e mail.
Thank you for your prayers. Please continue to pray that Gods glory would be revealed in this, that his healing mercies would fall.
I believe that there is a serious spiritual battle going on, and I am depending on the prayers of the saints to uphold me and keep me and my family. As the Body of Christ please continue to storm the gates of heaven for us and with us. As Luke 1:18 said…keep praying, Do NOT GIVE UP.

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful
Hebrews 10:23


Bumps. Love. God Rules.

I started writing this blog yesterday, and had intended on posting it then, but It didn’t get finished…

Yesterday I also post on my Facebook wall requesting that you pray for a minor surgery I was undergoing to remove a lump on my head, the next day (Today).
Well the lump is gone…but the experience was interesting.

The nurse who was assisting the Dr today recognized me from singing in The Singing Christmas Tree.
So during the procedure we talked about that, and she told me she really enjoyed the show 🙂 She was so cute.
Anyways it was all finished and the Doctor looked at me and said:
“It’s for sure cancer….and I couldn’t get it all…some of it has eroded into your skull. We will order CT scans possibly an MRI and I need to call a neurosurgeon and see what he says.”

“…you’re pretty concerned then?” I say

“Yes, I am”

I grabbed his hands…looked him straight in the eye and said
“I’m going to be fine…I just know I’m going to be ok”
Then I gave him a big hug. This Doctor is amazing, One of the best I’ve encountered, He treated me like a human being, and acted like one to. I loved that he was REAL with me, so refreshing.
Anyways…
He left to make a phone call and came back about 3 minutes later and said

“Ok First and foremost…you’re gonna be ok!… second we’re sending you to CT right now, we’ll get an MRI and send everything to neuro. They may only be able to do radiation on that one spot, but we’ll see what they say.”

So off to CT I went…ended up talking to the Nurse doing my IV for the contrast and she recognized me from The Journal newspaper article they had done on me back at Christmas.

So funny how God works, and plans the people you are to meet within a day.
This bugger on my head hurts though! you don’t realize how even the movement of your jaw, or moving eyebrows is actually connected to your scalp.
They weren’t kidding when they wrote the song ” The Hip bones connected to the Leg bone, the Leg Bones Connected to the….”
Haha!!! It really is all connected!!!

Anyways,So….
This is supposed to be the blog where I tell you about all the incredible “God Experiences” I’ve had and how his Love has just come alive to me, and everything is rainbows, puppies & butterflies……well.
Not so much.
BUT, on the plus, I think what I have learnt may be even better…no rainbows and butterflies…but that’s ok, I’m not really that kind of girl anyways.

Where do I begin?
Well, in a nutshell I started my pursuit of discovering Gods Love for me and realized that I didn’t have to look very far.
It’s always been there, It is everywhere! and when you open the word (the bible), that’s all you see. Over and Over again Gods Love for his people.
My problem was I’ve been wanting it in a specific package and to experience it in a certain way, and wasn’t getting it – and truth be told still haven’t gotten it… but it doesn’t matter, because He Loves me. It’s what the Bible says. God IS LOVE. It’s who is is, it’s what he does.

So, over the past few months, especially the last one, the focus has been Love and I’ve been trying to transform my mind with what Love REALLY is. I think the world has made the word Love too common…we use it so flippantly, and to me in the depths of my heart I’ve thought Love is CONDITIONAL…but it shouldn’t be.

I’ve had numerous conversations with friends and family regarding the subject, but there are 2 conversations specifically that stick out in my mind.
Both regarding dating, one from a boys perspective and the other from a girls. Two completely different relationships.
Both conversations were basically talking about “chivalry”.

The Guy Conversation:
” UGH! It’s so much work!!!…”

and weeks later The Girl Conversation:

” Really, is it too much to ask for a $10 bouquet!? Hell even a bouquet of lilacs – which can be stollen from any local shrub that supplies them – with a note saying ” I think your rad” …is that too much…it’s not work!! when you really love someone you WANT to do those things for them! Right!!!??”

Eventually our conversation went on to other subjects, but kept within the realm of relationships & Love. The conversation with my girlfriend shifted from relationships with people to our relationships with God. We bounced all kinds of theories, opinions, and frustrations off of each other. We both expressed how it’s hard to serve God,… “It takes work” we said.
And after she had left to go home in the wee hours of the morning …ok, it was around midnight…come on, I’m a parent of 3 boys, that is wee hours!!…No?, Fine…
After she had left AT MIDNIGHT, and I replayed bits of our conversation in my head as I got ready for bed, the thought occurred to me…
“It’s not work when you really love that person…. hey wait! that’s how it’s supposed to be with God…It’s not work to serve him, when you TRUELY love him”

It was then I think the tables had turned, the question at hand was never does God really love me…it’s the other way around… DO I REALLY LOVE GOD?

No, I haven’t had the Gods Love experience the way I WANT it, as a matter a fact, I haven’t really FELT much of him lately…which before made me sad, but now I feel like Gods saying…
“Will you still search for me, even if you feel nothing? Will you still Trust me, even if your prayers aren’t answered when you want, or how you want?”

I’ve also come to realize that the way I love my sons, is how the Father Loves me.
For instance when my son Tayven doesn’t get what he wants, he throws this hilarious tantrum, he starts by throwing his head back and crying…sometimes he flops to the ground and kicks his feet
and when he does…I just smile because it’s like “Oh Tayven if only you know that putting that giant piece of wood in your mouth is not good for you…”
…and looking back on moments of this journey I have actually thrown my on tantrum when I don’t get what I want, or what I expected and I think God looks down at me in the same loving way ” Oh Kristen, if only you know how I am helping you, and teaching you, and growing you…”

I remember praying and saying “Lord When will I be healed? How?”
and then hit me…
When? It’s done, thousands of years ago.
How? On a Cross.

Ok…well then, that’s settled.
I also have discovered that when God is teaching you, and growing you..and you search for him and the more and more you get of him, the less and less you want of your own self.
It’s like, through this journey of searching, the searching has really turned itself on me. What I mean is…I’ve discovered things about me, that…aren’t so nice. You know, the things that you wouldn’t want to introduce yourself with:
“Hi I’m Kristen!… I’m Selfish and rude, sometimes mean, often impatient, ignorant, judgemental, can swear like a sailor, and have been envious of numerous things, sometimes nothing seems to please me even though I have MORE than enough….” …the list could go on and on.

And when you see yourself in this light…it’s not so pretty. It makes me feel like a bad person, So I wonder, is that what makes it hard to serve God?
Is it the more we have of God the more we realize that we ourselves aren’t that great?
He asks us to do all this stuff…I mean he gives us the 10 commandments and sure, most of them are fairly easy to follow…
Don’t kill anyone
Don’t steal,
Don’t commit adultery…those are the easy-ish ones…

but what about some of the other ones that are harder?
Honour your mother and father…What if your parents aren’t nice people or are down right horrible?…

But Really…I think the hardest is the one that Jesus said is the Greatest Commandment of all

(Matthew 22:36-39)
“Teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.

Well loving my neighbour the way I love myself goes against every selfish motive I have.
We are such a world of ME, MY, & I…
and I discovered that I’ve been living like that my whole life. I don’t walk around thinking “what can I do for others today?” …I mean yes I do stuff all the time for my family, my boys, my friends…but that’s not what he’s talking about…he’s talking about the people who are hard to love.
You don’t grow when you Love in easy circumstances, that requires no effort on your part.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

This is what I am called to-
FIRST to Love the Lord.
and Second to Love others.

When you strive to know and walk in this kind of love, you realize some stuff about you that you wish you didn’t know. And maybe that’s hard…but I’m so glad I’m finding these things and asking God to help me with them.
Maybe you hold unforgiveness in your heart, maybe you are envious of others, maybe you house pride…It may be easier to ignore them than go through the potential pain of change…but i’ve come to the place where I think I would rather acknowledge my downfalls (which are many…and will probably always be, and always need to be worked on), and ask the Lord for help and renewal then slowly have them eat away at my spirit like a spiritual cancer.
Those ugly things in our lives may start out small, but they can grow and grow and get out of control.
When you come to a place of saying…ok God…let’s work on this…I surrender to you, Transform me, Renew my mind, Show me your Love… I don’t know how or where to begin, help me.
Things change.
I know this because it’s been happening over the last month.

He has been renewing my mind, renewing my spirit, and I believe he is renewing my body.
By his Stripes…by His Love…I am healed.

And because he died for me, the very least I can do is following his greatest commandment, To Love him with my ENTIRE BEING, and to Love others.

So that’s where I’m at. That’s what I’ve learnt thus far…Sometimes I feel silly sharing this stuff with you, I hope it’s ok. I hope it doesn’t seem weird, or lame or over the top.

Thank you for praying with me.

Oh…and as I was trying to finish this blog this afternoon, in the middle I just stopped and was thinking… I didn’t know what to do with my thoughts of the days events so I just grabbed my bible…Opened it up…and there highlighted smack dab in the middle of the page.

I Will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done.
(Psalms 118:17)

🙂
See. God Rules.


Let Faith Arise.

If this were the opening scene of a movie, at first the screen would be black…then, head shots of 3 people (2 Men, 1 Woman) would flash onto the screen, one after the other. During the duration of each screen shot you would hear each of them quoting something that was profound to me.

Scene 1

Man 1 – ” The only different between me and you, is that someone has TOLD you when they THINK you’re going to die. No one has told me that…but that doesn’t give me any more guarantees than you. You just have more more information, but no more guarantees”

Man 2 – ” The only guarantee of life you have is the breathe you JUST TOOK…”

Woman 1- ” We only have today. We are to take things Day by Day, not worry about tomorrow. So that just means you get to prove your doctors wrong one day at a time”

My appointment for my scan results didn’t go EXACTLY how I had hoped.
I felt so confident that Good News was coming that I refused to give into fear ( it kept trying to nudge it’s way in)
My prayer leading up to the appointment was that positive words would actually come out of the doctors mouth (because for the last 2 years not once have I had positive news)

Scene 2 – Doctors office

” Things have progressed” Said the man in the white coat.
He went on to show Mike and I the scans showing where new spots have shown up in my bones.
He looked at me after and said ” I’m really amazed you are feeling as well as you are.”

“There it is” I think to myself… “Really?…that’s it!? THOSE are the positive words out of the Doctors mouth??… I think I need to be a little more specific about what TYPE of positive words i’m expecting when I’m praying….”

The doctor turns to me and says he doesn’t… “want you to miss your window for treatment…eventually things would get so bad for you that we couldn’t do anything at all…but if you started treatment now it would still hopefully prolong your life”

(This is the moment you would continue to see the doctor speaking but hear nothing he was saying – and the dialog would cut into my thoughts)
” He is treating me like a palliative care patient…He still thinks I’m dying!…Stop treating me like I’m dying!!! I’M NOT!!!!”

I heard nothing in the rest of the appointment, at the end I smiled, stood up, shook the Doctors hand…I think I even did a little jig in an effort to show him how alive and well I’m feeling ” COME ON!..” I said to him with a big smile on my face ” It’s gotta count for something!!”…

Mike and I walk the twist and turns of the Cross Cancer institute hallways heading towards the underground parking lot.
We say nothing.

Scene 3

-I’m in the passengers seat of the car, looking out the window, tears streaming down my face.
-I’m at home sitting on the couch just staring…thinking.
-Laying in bed staring at the ceiling…thinking.
– Talking to my mom on the phone…dialog cuts in….

Mom: ” I was listening to Beth Moore on the way home today”
Me: ” Oh Yeah….”
Mom: “She always says things that are so challenging!! Today she was talking about how we are to love God through our circumstances…You know…like even though our circumstances are crappy…do we still love God?…”
Me: ” Well…obviously…I haven’t had the best circumstances in the last few years, and I still Love him so I guess I’m ok there….”
Mom: “Right. But what if our circumstances never change?…”
(My heart starts pounding at the thought)
Mom continues : “…Like, What if Beckett never walked…or you never got healed?….would you still love him?…

Her words start to jumble together as my heart is pounding and my mind is reeling trying to process what she has said…I felt panicked.

Would I still love God if things never changed?…

Of course you want to be that person who is like ” YES!!! OF COURSE!”
but in the deepest part of me…I had a second of….” I dunno…….” and my mind just was going and going.
…it was like hundreds of scenarios and circumstances of my life as well as the floods of emotions that go along with life came rushing at me. Moments from when I was a child up until that very phone conversation, and my final thought stopped me in my tracks.

At some point I ended my phone conversation with my mom…

I was walking around like a zombie completely lost in thought when Mike finally said ” Are you ok?”
“No, I don’t think so.”
“What’s wrong?”
“….I’m not sure I want to say…I…”
“Well…whenever you are ready”
I stood there for a while trying to muster up the confidence to say what I needed and to say it right, instead I burst out a
” I DON’T THINK I BELIEVE!!!”
“What!?!? Kristen!? You don’t believe in God!??!” (slight panic in his voice)
“No!…I definitely believe in God and who he is…but I came to the horrifying realization that I don’t believe…that he Loves me.”

There it was…out loud.
The thought that stopped me in my tracks.

I didn’t know what to do with it. What have I been doing the last 23 years of my “CHRISTIAN WALK!!!??”
It was an embarrassing realization to say the least.
Like, the bible says “God is Love”, “For God so Loved the world…”, “…the greatest of these is Love…”
It is the basis of this whole thing!!…and I’ve missing it!?…
No. I knew that. I knew all of that stuff…
I KNEW it. In my head. I have it high lighted, underlined & circled in my bible.
But problem was, I never made it personal.
Out of the hundreds of times I have sang ” Jesus loves me”…I realized that I was just singing words…I never actually thought of it as being FOR ME.
God Loves ME.

And so…I am excited.
I am entering into a new chapter of getting to know who God REALLY is. A season of renewing my mind (Romans 12:2 (NIV)- Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will)
this is a time where I am walking away from the – God is a stern authoritarian just waiting for me to screw up so he can rub it in my face – kind of view.
God IS LOVE.
He created us to Love us… and when we screwed it up by letting Sin enter the world (Eve & the apple) he STILL figured out a way to fix it…because he wanted us that bad.
He sent is Son. To DIE for us.
For me. For You. So we could be with God FOREVER.

I know God is healing me, and like I said, yes the process is taking a little longer than I would like…but since this Love Journey has started I find I don’t pray for my healing as much as i used to…and maybe it’s because I KNOW he is working on it…I don’t need to keep asking and asking and asking, he’s got it…and I’m thanking him for my healing. My prayer now, is that he would reveal his love to me, and open my heart, ears, eyes, mind and soul to see it, because to me not knowing the love of the father is worse than having cancer.
I know many of you are praying for my healing and believing for it as well. I am confident we will see the goodness of the Lord on this side of heaven, but maybe there is more to this than what meets the eye, maybe it isn’t about me being miraculously healed in an instant.
Maybe He’s calling us to KNOW who He is…not just what he does.
Maybe we need to pray that our Faith would Arise, that it would be stirred up in a way like never before.
There is a song by Chris Tomlin that I sang about 6 months ago called “Let Faith Arise” and even now the lyrics mean something different then when I sang it.
But it is my prayer, and this Easter weekend is the perfect time to make this song your prayer, take a listen.
Let my Faith Arise Lord!