I woke up in the early hours of the morning and before I could blink, tears spilled out of my eyes. My waking thought: "I am a lousy Christian. I am fainting in the middle of the night and can't stop the fainting." Where did that thought come from? Not God.
I am going to put my prayer requests right here cause this post is way too long. I can type as fast as I think, sort of. I'll try to make them shorter in the future (lol---that may never happen.)
1. Pray Joshua 1:9 - Be strong and courageous in the midst of fainting and upcoming surgery May 14th. Don't be terrified for the LORD will be with you.
2. Pray Numbers 13:33. We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes. Pray I will be kind to myself, not beating myself up over what I have done or not done, said or not said.
I Sam 30:15 says David encouraged himself in the LORD. Being that there was no one awake to encourage me at 4:45am, I prayed and listened and wept. And my precious LORD said to me: Do you love Me? Do you love Me? Do you love Me? Yes I do!!!! And, all I want right now is to know Him better.
He didn't send cancer to teach me a lesson. I may learn a whole lot better how to love. But He just wants me. And He loves me so....whether I am unconscious or awake. It's not up to me how tight I am holding His Hand. HE is holding me so tight as He carries me through this. HE is holding me together - Col 1:17....and I can't be any more grateful to HIM and to each of you for bringing my God to me! Thank you so much for all your comments and texts and calls. EXCEPT, my cell phone has been broken all week. So I bought a new one but it doesn't work. Then I lost my computer yesterday! And we are down to one car----two cars broke....hmmm. No phone, no computer, no car----sounds like the 1800's.
Had 3 doctor appointments today. My surgeon dispersed the multitude of PEM images and mapped out my surgery and it is scheduled for Thursday May 14th. Lumpectomy and sentenal node dissection. Stage 1. Saw the Radiation Oncologist and he is hopeful they can get clear margins and no lymph node involvement. Radiation for 7 weeks or possibly I could be a candidate for MammoSite. All depends on pathology of tumor---I have two cancers in same quadrant. I did have a 30-second outburst of tears cause I wanted surgery SOONER. But, I'll trust His timing and wait. Radiation oncologist talked about putting gold seeds inside a balloon inside of me (MammoSite) to which Britt replies: "Gold! We can sell Mom on eBay." Oh the precious boy has entertaining wit! You just have to keep a sense of humor in the midst of going to three very serious doctors in one day---they are all my new bff's. My non-bff insurance company (I won't mention their name) has refused for 14 days to fill the control-released prescription the doctor ordered to help me sleep through the night. I've never taken anything before to help me sleep but I'm desperate. I can only sleep about 4 hours. It will cost the insurance group more if they continue to dig in their feet cause I have been instructed to go to the hospital the next time I faint. I have to see a cardiologist to get clearance for surgery. Also visited with the geneticist. My dad died of colon cancer on the morning that my mother went in for a mastectomy for breast cancer. I crawled in the bed with him and held him tight as he passed knowing his wife of 50 plus years would never hold him again.
God is so carrying me through this. All I can do is live for today----sufficient for today is the little troubles we have this day like lost computers and broken cell phones and much bigger issues of life. If I start thinking about tomorrow, God pulls me back to this moment. I need to take care of myself right now----less stress. So I'm off to bed. I'll read a little more of His Word. Read this morning about God parting the Jordan River for the people and in Joshua 4:10 how the people HURRIED to go back into that parted river and pick up some rocks to remember the faithfulness of their beautiful God. And so I'll pile high my rocks of remembrance of His faithfulness from days gone by to this very experience of cancer. I can't make it through this without HIM. Just can't do it. So, I'll enjoy this moment, this day as I encounter those who were in His mind before the beginning of the world. And I hope I treat them with dignity and grace even in our little controversies. All my new bff's that I'll be spending the next several months with battling cancer.
Still working fulltime. And remember, I have no phone and no computer and no car (it's in the shop). So if I don't respond, if I don't show up---you know why. And I will try to be a little kinder to myself and stop calling "me" names like lousy. I may be a mess at times but I am a glorious mess. Pray that I deal with my own heart like Caleb and Joshua did and let others have their own opinions and give them space. Deeply appreciate your prayers.
Bless you my friends. I'm scared facing surgery and the nighttime fainting is scary too. But HE knows. Yes, HE knows all of our suffering. Job 36:15 ---and HE is speaking to all of us in all our affliction.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
I woke up in the early hours of the morning and before I could blink, tears spilled out of my eyes. My waking thought: "I am a lousy Christian. I am fainting in the middle of the night and can't stop the fainting." Where did that thought come from? Not God.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Simply overwhelmed in Austin, Texas with beautiful texts, e-mails, and cards. My beautiful God is carrying me through the comfort you offer me----and it's cause you've been comforted by HIM. 2 Cor 1:4. It means so much. I wish I could respond individually but with working fulltime and multiple doctor visits, it's not possible. But know this, I read every word and thank God for each of you and all your kindnesses.
Lake Country sent the most beautiful arrangement of flowers and I wept. Kristen W's comments touch such deep places in my heart. Sue S. sent the most gripping letter! When I arrived home tonight from being out of town there was the most creative edible adorable fruit arrangement from my precious friend Deborah & Ken in FW. There's a blogger who has mailed me the sweetest cutest cards ever and I don't even know her. Annette dropped by from Houston to bring the best quiche and a casserole of courage that made me literally fall to the ground and sob. Shauna sent a mug of memories of how God healed us together. Janie and Staci came and cleaned my apartment while I was being radiated. A friend called tonight to help us try to get our car fixed. Cindy F. took me to her house with a dinner waiting for me. I'm being swept away...and it's your words that are sweeping me off my feet as I am so madly in love with the ONE Whom we all adore and live for. I deeply appreciate if you comment here----it really means a lot to me! Even if it's just a word or two. We are so new to Austin. In Fort Worth, we would know what doctors to go to and it would be a safe haven. But, I have to say, we know with all our heart God has called us to Southwest Hills Community Church and it's the best place we could be and one of the best things that has happened to us. Our church has so embraced us and we couldn't be more grateful for that!
I really am desperate for your prayers this Sunday evening:
1) Phil 4:11 - Contentment. "I've learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am in." I want to praise my beautiful God whether in plenty or in want. Whether it's good news or bad. Whether it's working for me or not.
2) Joshua 4:10 - Fear God. The Hand of our God is powerful and I must fear HIM and not fear for my health, fear for my life. Oh my soul---HURRY to remember all what my God has done for me!
It happened again on Friday night at 1:45a.m. I fainted in my sleep and then went into a panic attack or seizure. It happens like this....I am awakened and immediately feel a sinking terrifying feeling like my blood pressure has dropped considerably. It is horrifying and I faint right there in the bed. If I try to get up, I faint again. But I pray and my body settles down and I fall back asleep. It's actually the most horrible feeling I have ever experienced. It has happened to me 4 times since I have been diagnosed with cancer---only in the middle of the night. Please pray for me as I am seeing several doctors for the episodes and I believe it has to do with low blood pressure and stress. It's never happened in the daytime. Nine doctors so far haven't been able to help so I'm looking for a neurologist and a heart doctor.
The fainting episode happened Friday night while I was on a retreat with Austin Christian Fellowship. 18 women in my cabin offered me their love and compassion. Kind of hard fainting on your new friends. My new BFF Brooke graciously scooped me up to attend the most amazing weekend retreat. Let me end this post with telling you one special moment for me that happened there. On the way down there, God said to me: "I am the River." We had just passed LBJ lake and I didn't think too much about it again until Kay Morrison told about a dream that one of her staffers had that went something like this: He fell into a raging river---tumultuous torrents swept him helplessly downstream til he found a ladder much like a pool ladder that he viciously grabbed for dear life and climbed to safety---a dry land. He asked the LORD the next morning what HE was saying to Him. God said: I am the River. Kay asked us to take a walk with the LORD for 20 minutes and listen to what HE had to say. I walked down one of the Camp Buckner trails to a dried up creekbed and stood on the rocks where the water used to rush. I thought: it feels pretty safe on a dry river but it's not safe in the raging river I've been thrown in. And my beautiful God said to me: "I am your River." And HE will hold my hand and never let go in the river that rages around me. Fainting episodes. Bad news. Whatever life holds. He is a good God in that raging river. And NO ONE can snatch me out of His Hand---John 10:28--- whether the River rages or rises or recedes. If God is for us, who is against us? Rom 8:31. Height nor depth---nothing can separate us from His Love. Rom. 8:39.
I work fulltime this week but on Wednesday I have three doctor appointments. If any of you Austinites can take me to a 10:00am and/or 1:00pm and/or 3pm appointment, TEXT me and let me know. I'm without a car right now. You would need to pick me up, wait in the office, and drive me back home. We have been down to one car. On the day that I was diagnosed with cancer, our car broke down (so we have one car for 3 drivers) and I was also let go from my editorial part-time job due to the economy. I don't want to let my circumstances determine my enjoyment of my God and the life He gives each day. One thing that is changing for me is that I am living one day at a time, even one moment at a time.
So grateful to each of you for your prayers----you just have no idea!!! And to my husband and children---their prayers and support will carry me through this. I announced the big announcement on FACEBOOK that Barrett proposed to the love of his life, his sweet Lauren. And we are so excited to have a future daughter-in-law that is truly one of the sweetest girls you can ever know. I just hope I have hair for the wedding!
A Raging River. I am the River. I hold your Right Hand and you will not be shaken. He's a good God, but He's not safe---remember that quote from C. S. Lewis??
My love to each of you.
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 9:38 PM
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Carried on a Cloud...that's how I felt walking into the PEM Scan on Friday. Handed the doctor my left arm and they said: "Oh no, it must be in your right." And God spoke to me through the verses I had just read in my Quiet Time that morning...Psalm 16: 7,8 HE will counsel me. Even at night (when I have no control) my heart instructs me. Because HE is at my right Hand, I will not be shaken. And I can honestly say that the Presence of the beautiful God I so serve and love overwhelmed me in that scary I-V moment handing over my right arm. HE was there. I made it through 40 minutes in a mammogram machine without moving and that's a miracle in itself....I cranked up the IPOD real loud to drown out the noise and just randomly scanned through my playlist and up popped Beth Moore talking about how God says 365 times DO NOT BE AFRAID and she said there's a reason why He said it so many time. (hey, that's one for every day of the year!) Beth talked about how HE KNOWS the scary things we face. He spoke such peace to my claustrophobic soul in that mammogram machine, frozen for forty minutes. Then I listened to a Dan Allender sermon about embracing damage and harm in a fallen world and embracing our good God Who is inviting me to rest in His Love and Comfort. Then I rocked out on Chris Tomlin and David Crowder. The radiologist told me that as she put on her glove, she asked God's hand to be in her hand. And she gave me a good word---God wants you to know that HE used mud to heal the blind man----God used human agents so trust HIM through them. Whew! The PEM Scan was over but I had made one more choice to move to my beautiful God and not be in control of my own life. This "control issue" is big for me. And as I moved toward HIM, I so sensed His Presence right there at my right hand. The RESULTS of the PEM Scan came back this Monday. The tumor is 1.3cm but the larger mass that has metastasized is 1.2 X 1.3 X 1.2---little larger than I expected. Surgery was supposed to be May 3rd but my doctor is out of town and the nurse thinks she is booked through May 14th. And I think I can't wait that long!
Kid in a Candy Shop...that's how I feel sometimes. So many choices of what I "want." And the candy shopowner says "Which ONE do you want?" God, I "want" the best doctors. God, I "want" all the cancer to be ripped out of my body. God, I "want" friends to walk with me through this. God, I "want" to know the best plan to take care of my body. God, I "want" good news. So, I vacillate among my wants and it produces no inner peace if the wants are not met. I keep thinking about Francis Schaeffer's comment when his body was ridden with cancer and someone inquired about whether God was healing him. He responded that it was entirely unbecoming to demand anything in the face of God----I'm remembering that quote from reading "How Should We Then Live" in 1975 so I may have it wrong. Thirty four years I've held that quote in my memory bank. The key word is "DEMAND." God is not my Shopowner. God is not my Butler. God is not my Santa Claus. He's the Great "I AM." I am your peace. I am your joy. Way down deep, HE is stirring in me a deeper inner Joy, a deeper inner Peace----not based on my circumstances....not based on when the news is good, when the news is bad. And YES, we can ask HIM for anything. Lay all my requests on His Lap. Lay my head on that empty chair next to me. HE is here. HE is bending His ear. Oh my soul, don't linger on the list of wants, but find the Great I AM in the midst of this. Don't try to figure it all out. Move forward, oh my soul, to find that inner peace, inner joy that isn't ruffled by the news of the day. He Himself is our Peace. Ephesians 2:14.
Hamster in a Cage...Know how sometimes they just run around in circles? I'm trying to put together 9 doctors in one week on my cancer team. Some don't return your calls. Some look at you like you are crazy. I cross them off the list. I get down and pray some more that God leads me to the right ones. When I walked into the office of the medical oncologist on Monday, I was the first appointment of the day. There were 60 empty chairs on the 1st floor and 60 empty chairs on the 2nd floor. I wept over the stories that would sit in those soon-to-be-filled chairs that day. I had no idea so many people wrestle with cancer. No IDEA. I walked around touching the empty chairs and praying for HOPE to come through their veins, their minds, their hearts. And my mind raced ahead to the day that I will sit there waiting for my treatment of radiation or chemo wrestling not with cancer but wrestling with my beautiful God Who will carry me through as I face futile moments. The only real futility in life is a day without God. Futility may increase but His Joy will increase too. Chaos may come but His Peace will pervade---and a verse comes to mind Heb 10:23 - Let us hold unswervingly to the HOPE (future) we profess, for HE Who promised is faithful (just look at the past). I'll continue to move toward God and move toward those who are "missing" my heart and offer love. People have some really strange explanations of why we suffer and say some crazy things. We want to protect God's reputation---how ludicrous. Jesus Himself grappled with the agony of this life and how people treated him. But when we move toward Him and away from being in control and fixing our problems and solving every dilemma, then we move into LIGHT. I refuse to stay in the hamster trail even though the move ahead may be lonely.
So I'm still scared to pieces over here. And HE keeps sending people and verses and things to say "Fear Not." A siesta blogger from Houston drove to see me yesterday to bring me a homemade quiche and hope and courage. Guess Which Siesta? I'll blog about it next time as this is way too long. I can't thank you enough for all your cards and texts and e-mails and comments. God is using you to carry me through this. I am having to work full-time so I can't respond to every call, every message but I hear them and hold them close to my heavy heart. Can I ask you to pray two things for me?
1. Isaiah 40:2 that HE raise up my valleys (still can't sleep at night) and make my mountains low (still terrified of anesthesia) that HE may be glorified!
2. James 4:8 that I draw near to God and HE draws near to me. What do I want more than drawing near to my beautiful God? Do I want to be healed more than drawing near to HIM? Do I want what I want when I want it? May I want nothing more than drawing near to God.
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 4:55 AM
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Desperate for prayer this Thursday evening. Been dealing with crashing waves of overwhelming fear of the unknown. It's the evening watch that is getting to me. Nighttime terrors. I have no words to say how much your prayers have meant to me. I have no words to say how much your words sink deep into places in my heart and make me wrestle with the beautiful God I so worship.
TWO PRAYERS REQUESTS:
1.) MAY OUR PRAYERS MOVE THE HANDS OF GOD. Could God change HIS mind about this cancer stuff? Pray 2 Chron 33:12,13 - "And when Manasseh was in distress, he entreated the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before God. He prayed to HIM and God was moved by His prayer and heard his plea and brought him back. Would you pray that God bring me back to health again? I wonder if our prayers might change His mind? And I accept whatever way that HE will do just that. Human agents. Miraculous intervention.
2.) MAY GOD MAKE MY OFFERING GO REALLY FAR.....FIVE LOAVES AND TWO FISH - John 6:9. I have little to give to my Beautiful God. I can't even surrender right in my terror. Can't stop the panic attacks. My first procedure to prepare for surgery starts tomorrow and I am paralyzed in fear. I'm having a PET Scan and while it may be uneventful for most, I embrace overwhelming fear. Pray that the smallness of what I offer to my good God----pray HE will make it go so far.5:00 am this morning I was awakened in terror. Landed on the floor. Crying out to the beautiful God I so love. Waves of fear washed over me as I lay fainting. Seems so surreal that sweet slumber is stolen and traded for conscious chaos. I forced myself off the floor back into the bed and surrendered, trying to be still in a body that's not cooperating with me....but there was peace that moment (wondered if anyone was praying) and I fell back asleep. Night terrors.
The phone call came in another hour to substitute teach. "Would you give me the strength to do it today, God?" Yes... and I bounded out the bed and so loved every minute of looking into faces of beautiful teens who are searching for their God and finding HIM so real. One student today told me about how he broke up with his girlfriend whom he really liked cause it was interrupting his relationship with his God. I love being with these kids. A few of my son's friends knew I had cancer and privately expressed overwhelming love to me. It was a day of real joy for me.I had a moment of panic after lunch and I slipped into the bathroom to pray and there lay a hymnal on the counter. I opened it straight to the hymn "There is a Balm in Gilead" and the tears fell as a balm of peace literally poured over me, Jeremiah 8:22. Yes, there's a balm for the wounded soul. God knows my frame and the machine I've had to drive through this life. He's looking for my faith---and maybe my fledgling faith may be expressed a little different than your strong sure faith. Let me borrow a little from you.
When I went to leave school, overwhelming fears washed over me again, and I walked around the block straight into a secret garden I'd never seen before. Pristine and fragranced and intriguing, I lingered in the garden cause HE brought me there while fresh fallen rain shined on the roses. And I thought of a song from our childhood that Blair and I would sing when she was a preschooler---I went to the garden to pray...and the VOICE I hear falling on my ears, the Son of God....He was there. I could smell Him.
Tomorrow at 7:45 am, I will smooth out the sheets on a bed in a doctor's office on Mo-Pac. I'll invite my beautiful God to sit right there with me. I'll be alone with HIM for a few hours. No one can come in the room with me because of the radioactivity. The procedure is a PET (positron emission tomography) Scan which scans your body for the cancerous tumors and gives the surgeon a map for my upcoming surgery. It will confirm lumpectomy or mastectomy. I'll actually have a PET Scan--- the mammography instead of the full tomography. My surgeon has been the only one in the state that has had the PET Scan. Please pray that I can make it through this scary procedure for me without bolting. It will be through IV that they will inject radioactive compounds called a radiotracer into the cancerous tissue which will absorb and accumulate the tissue faster than healthy tissue----there will be the snapshot of the bad cellular activity on both breasts. PEM reveals size, shape, and location of cancer and it is 90% accurate. I am petrified to inject radioactive compounds into me---just my fears. They say there is not much to it----easy for them to say, ha! You just have to exit their office real quick by the back stairs cause you are RADIOACTIVE for 5 hours and don't stop to talk to women and children...and, uh oh, my blood pressure started rising---you mean I am radioactive? Yes. So you know what to pray ISAIAH 46:10 that I will lie still and be still for the hour by myself in the room with compound injected in me. My radioactive body cannot have anyone holding my hand. My fear is being alone in that room. But no, I'm not alone. So, pray I really know the ONE Who will be right there with me holding my hand! God is going to get me through this!
7:45 AM is IV injection on Friday April 17th. Whew!
Cannot thank you enough for walking through this journey with me. This is humbling for me to admit my weakness. But it's a beautiful God Who meets me in my weakness not in my strengths. You may be bothered because I admitted my fears. You may be bothered because I am having a PET scan to pursue surgery. I have to do what I believe my God is leading me to do. Five loaves and two fish in my hands this night. Not much. May HE make it go very far to feed many through all of us.
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 8:41 PM
Monday, April 13, 2009
I'll remember this glorious Easter for the rest of my life. Cancer diagnosis. Hands held high singing "Jesus Paid It All" and tears streaming down.
I hear the Savior say,
“Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness,
WATCH and PRAY,
Find in Me thine all in all.”
Here's two prayer requests:
I have very little strength within me to walk this road of cancer. I read Saturday on Beth's blog the quote from Melissa that means so much to me: "He knows it is scary to be me." I have been diagnosed with two different breast cancers and one is an aggressive, invasive one that goes into the bloodstream. Invasive ductal carcinoma. IDC. Don't know the stage or size yet. I do know that I also have Stage 1 DCIS Ductal Carcinoma in Situ. I've learned more in the past 72 hours about cancer than I ever wanted to know. It's overwhelming. You are your own manager of your care pulling together a team of doctors: breast surgeon, oncologist, radiologist oncologist, plastic surgeon (I'm a keloid former) and the list goes on. I'm in a new city, unfamiliar to the Austin medical world. Very familiar to the Great Physician though. I've talked at length with several survivors of breast cancer this weekend. Again, that's overwhelming. I'm on info overload but I am also ignorant in many ways of what this battle involves. All I can do is trust my good God to direct my steps. The battle is His. This morning I read in Psalm 62:11 God spoke one thing but I heard two things: HE is strong. HE is loving. That's what I keep hearing over and over in the cyclone of the past 72 hours. HE will meet me in my weakness. It's not about my strength in being an overcomer, a survivor---it's all about HIS Strength being perfected in weakness. I am so weak this morning. That's a good place to be.
So, my prayer requests for this Monday morning is twofold if God leads you to pray for me:
1. PRAY FOR A TEAM OF DOCTORS (Psalm 1---not the counsel of the wicked but delight in the law of the LORD). Pray for God to lead me to the team of physicians that would be best for me. I am going for second opinions on surgeons---I want to find a surgeon that only does breast surgery. When I learned that my surgeon does gallbladders, I just have to see if God will direct me to one who is only looking at cancer cells all day long.
2. PRAY FOR MY BODY TO BE ABLE TO SURRENDER TO SWEET SLEEP EACH NIGHT (Psalm 92:2). Pray 2Kings 6: 16, 17 that God would open my eyes to see that my beautiful God, my suffering Savior, and comforting Holy Spirit and His host of angels are greater within me than ALL that surrounds me. I need to be able to sleep at night and that's my battle.
I have had waves of debilitating panic come over me this weekend that I cannot even explain. I absolutely refuse to synchronize with anything that is not of my beautiful God Who loves me so. But how do I stop the panic? Friday morning I was awakened with fainting spells, vasovagal syncope. A familiar condition to me. Fainting happens to me in the middle of the night when I haven't been sleeping and/or eating right and am under stress and pain---I am awakened and begin fainting. It is so scary and when I am unconscious and wake up---it feels like I am dying. I spent Friday physically feeling like I had been hit by a Mack truck the entire day. It happened again Sunday afternoon as I slipped into depression. Three years ago when we went through a crisis, the fainting started happening all the time and I spiraled into a very deep depression. I am not willing to go there if I can do anything to help on my part by diet and sleeping right and letting God help me deal with this overwhelming stress of the unknown and what is known. We don't know the size of the tumor. Don't know the stage---it's an aggressive invasive type that goes to the bloodstream. Don't know the margins.
So, I'm walking two hours every day. Cancer does not live in oxygenated cells (I read that quote in Lance Armstrong's book "It's Not About the Bike" which I read when it first came out---and it stuck with me.) When I heard cancer, I knew I also needed to start eating right....no sugars, no fast food, no red meats, no artificial stuff, organic and lots of water. That's about all I can handle for right now. I just ate a bowl of boiled oats for breakfast with flaxseed and remarked to Bob: "You put way too much of this bird seed stuff in this---gag." I'll learn how to do this. Cancer feeds on sugar. In the past six months, I have CRAVED sugar for the first time in my life...I know why now.
We are still new to the Austin area but have been embraced by our awesome church body even in this news. It will be best for me to post on this blog, when I can, to ask those of you who want to help me through prayer and those of you who truly want to know about how I am doing---not to judge me but to walk alongside of me as a fellow struggler in life. I just won't be able to return all the e-mail's and texts and comments. In some ways I am by myself in dealing with this. I am open to friends calling and helping me---it will be hard for me to find you but you know where I am. If what I say bothers you, then don't read my blog. This is who I am. Maybe I am wrong in some of the things I write, I don't know. I am trying to find my beautiful God in the midst of my fears. I will listen to my loving LORD. I just know that I love my beautiful God with all my heart and am desperate for Him and His Glory in my life. We are connected to a lot of people and I don't know how else to do this. I have had over 100 phone calls and e-mail's and haven't been able to answer them all. Keep trying if you need to get to me. I was simply overwhelmed in gratitude with the response on my last post. Your comments meant so much to me and I will read them again and again. I had no idea so many people would respond and your words sink in my mind, my thoughts, my heart into deep parts! Psalm 51:6
After our Easter service yesterday, I felt led, actually really compelled, to go to Austin Stone Church. I'm listening to every prompting God says to me! The service ended with "cardboard testimonies" (google "cardboard testimony" if you've never seen it done---it's on Tangle.com, originating from Willow Creek). One breast cancer survivor spoke on this "cardboard testimony" video about being broken and her oncologist was on the video with her. I'm going to check him out. Never imagined that I'd find a doctor referral at an Easter service.
I am terrified at taking medicine, anesthesia, MRI's, surgery---again, if you think I am wrong in saying that, you certainly can tell me, but please be gentle with me---I'm a bruised and brutally honest person and your faith takes you so far. This is all about relationship with the ONE I adore---no fixes. The answer is not about slapping a Scripture verse on my problems. Nor is it about being positive and shoving everything down. I am going to wrestle and find the beautiful God I so love that seems so distant at times even in this, a very dark night of my soul and it's only been 72 hours. It's okay. He's a good God in all my horror, and He's not safe. But, this I know: Psalm 62:11 He is strong in all my weakness and fears and failures. He is loving. He's here. I deeply appreciate your prayers for me if God leads you that way.
WATCH and PRAY with me.
Find in HIM our all in all.
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 9:04 AM
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
“I would have despaired unless I had believed I would see the Goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” Psalm 27: 13, 14. This is a tough post to write but I would so love for you to walk with me on this journey of life... so here goes.
I went for a routine mammogram. Showed a suspicious tumor. They told me to find a surgeon. We don’t even have a regular doctor here in Austin, much less a surgeon as we have lived here such a short time.
Began asking several women who have dealt with breast cancer for recommendations. Five different women recommended the same surgeon with an unusually sophisticated name. Wondered if he took new patients?? Saturday night, Bob and I went to a reception. We were supposed to be at Table 28 but they moved us to Table 32---right next to this surgeon. I took ONE LOOK at his name tag and there was that sophisticated name. I gasped and blurted out: “Are you a surgeon? (Knowing that you don’t talk to doctors at parties about their work!) I thought---I can still encourage the doctor and call his office Monday morning. I told him that five women from five different walks of life had highly recommended him as a surgeon and that he must really honor his God as he so helped these five women and gave them hope. A nurse friend of mine was standing right there and she threw in: “And Bev needs you to be her surgeon.” This doctor graciously offered to serve me. Unbelievable. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I so experienced the presence of God in that moment for me.
Well, I don’t know what the next step is…but I know the One Who holds my hand this night. Today, God gave me the verse 2Chron 20:12 that says: We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on YOU. We were sitting at a banquet in Houston tonight --- Britt was a state finalist in the Prudential Spirit of Community Award and I felt well enough to drive with Bob and Britt to the awards dinner at the Junior League in Houston. (My biopsy was yesterday and it was terribly scary but went well---it was a Psalm 91:11 experience for me.)
Supposedly, we were going to receive the results from the surgeon on Thursday at 2pm. But as I sat watching my son, three different doctors called me during the banquet so I excused myself and took one of the calls. Malignant tumor. Carcinoma. Invasive cancer. Move aggressively. The words you hope you never hear stunned me as I stood in an unfamiliar Junior League hallway. Psalm 27: 13, 14 was one of the first thoughts that came to my mind. I believe I will see the Goodness of God even in this. Help my unbelief. And I thought about how God meets us in our weakness, not in our strength. This isn’t about how strong I can be for myself and for my kids and others. His Strength will be made perfect in all my weaknesses. I can't figure everything out. Some of you may be uncomfortable with what I share but this is who I am. I offer myself to you and I offer my pain to my LORD. No solutions...only a sovereign God Who lavishes Love on me incredibly in all my mess---oh, but what a glorious mess I am over here. His beloved. Marked. Taken. Held. Carried.
I’ve only thought about this for an hour or so. Maybe I'll take back some of these thoughts, maybe not. We are on the way home in the car driving back to Austin. It’s terribly scary. But I can say, Psalm 3:3, HE is the lifter of my head. I’m going to do what I know HE wants and that is remain dependent on HIM and do all I can to take care of this temple He invades. I’ll never drink another coke again. Smile. Small thing---but I sense a higher calling to take care of myself. A wake-up call to take better care. No other way to do this. Cause either I am depending on HIM to come through for me or on myself to be an overcomer, a survivor. And don’t get me wrong here, I’ll do everything I can nutrition and info and diet and exercise to beat it and maintain my health----but, my next breath is dependent on the ONE I so love and adore. No secret or surprise to Him.
So I ask you to pray for me and walk with me on this journey. You guys have meant so much to me. God has used so many of you to touch deep parts within. I welcome any e-mail’s. But more than anything, I’d so love your prayers for me as I face a very scary diagnosis and trust a very good God in the midst. I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of my beautiful God---even in this! And, I’ve already seen His Invisible Hand.
Posted by Bev Brandon @ The Fray at 8:35 PM