Sunday, July 26, 2009

Let the weak say, I am a warrior

Brooke is back. So grateful to our good God for giving her the best three years in Chiang-Mai Thailand. Jamie introduced Brooke to a world far away and a great God Who was so present for her there. Brooke sacrificed much to go, but received way more! And she left a big part of her heart there. Being with her this weekend has brought me great joy, way down deep. She's a Texan once again. My girl's back!

I thought Thursday was the worst radiation treatment ever but, no, Friday afternoon was indescribably horrific for me. I cry even writing this. I want to pretend nothing anymore. I panicked while in the machine and I don't know why. But I knew if I screamed, I would have to start over again. And if I moved, the radiation beam would radiate the wrong place. I lay silently still suffering. Maybe it's my own fault. All I know is this. God continues to expose areas in my heart and what is really happening inside of me as I lay it down before HIM to Whom we all give account.

I fear that moments like that is intolerable, simply overpowering. And I can't put it back together again either. Only the Great Physician can hold me together and sew me back with his surgery knife in His Hand. He can repair me and empower me to move back into my world, even powerless, to face and embrace what is happening inside of me as I lay still. One day, there will be no more tears. But this day, there are many.

But more than that physical stillness, as I lay still in my heart, I realize that nothing I can do will help me to recover the good life like it was in the Garden of Eden. I feel how desperately I long for God to let me find Him on that radiation table. And with a longing beyond words like in Romans 8:26, we all groan for Him. In that moment, I was afraid to look up for I wanted Him to leave me alone and make the panic stop but at the same second, I hoped against hope that HE would move and have mercy on me. It was a terrifying beyond imagination few minutes.

The therapists are aware when I'm really struggling as they see the tears spilling out of tightly closed eyes as they watch me on their video cam on the other side of the two-foot thick door. They bolted in to grab me and watch me sob. Paula kept saying over and over---"What can I do for you?" Nothing. And it's over...and a peace came over me as I exited the Friday afternoon machine that I can't explain. Always does, the minute I am out of it. The frantic pressure to handle a panic attack is relieved for I can't even do that--- and I am reduced to wanting my God more than ever whether in the machine or out---there is such Hope within me.

And my God began to speak to my heart. He spoke to me through the story of Gideon. Gideon was reduced to panic and fear yet God called him out of it. Brooke saw her mom's tears and looked with such compassion as we walked out. The battery was dead in our borrowed car so we had to wait a while for a "jump" and it was really okay. My car has been in the shop for 5 weeks now---can't seem to fix it. It's okay. God is doing a deep work in my life.

I read and re-read this weekend the story of Gideon in Judges 6: 12-24. "The LORD is with you, O mighty man of valour." And God said those words to a fearful, hiding Gideon, working hard to gather up food, and make his life bearable. Gideon's response is priceless for our day: If God is with with us, then why is all this stuff happening to me? We measure a good life by what? If everything is going smoothly and our family cooperating with God and our success in our ministry? "Peace be with you Gideon, do not fear." My peace comes from God not from the resolution of my problems. I have a tingling passion of anticipation that I will find Him again this week at 8:40am. He's a good God and I'm learning so much about myself and life. Still scared but surrendered. If you think about me at 8:40am---I have 3 more weeks to go in the machine. 4 weeks down. Joel 3:10 - "Let the weak say, I am a warrior." I'm in a battle and I won't give up. Be still and know that I am God!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My Brookie Flies Over the Ocean

Bring Back my Brookie to me...
Brooke arrives in about 10 hours from Chiang-Mai, Thailand. I'll be in the radiation machine when her sweet "old" college roommates pick her up at the Austin airport tomorrow morning. She's home for good, Lord willing. She spent the past three years of her life bringing good news and binding up the brokenhearted in a land that was foreign to her. Isaiah 61:1. Thailand became like home to her and she so loved those people.

Today marked the halfway mark for my radiation treatments. Being in the radiation machine today was another new startling experience for me. All I can say is that it was the hardest one yet. Wonder why. Is the absence of temptation victory? Is the absence of conquering my fear in the machine defeat? Hardly so. I must not measure maturity by performance. It's not when I get comfortable doing something so unnatural to us all. Because my beautiful God is doing such a good work in me as I wrestle with the question of whether I am "safe." Providential suffering is a paved pathway to a Person who safely holds us together. Col 1:17. That's it. Those Unseen Eyes are watching our every thought and tear... and holding us.

While Bob was in ICU last week, I received a document of foreclosure on our home in Fort Worth. Quite unexpected. Our mortgage was paid up and we had applied for a loan to pay our taxes when I was diagnosed with cancer April 1st. The loan was approved and we even made our first payment. Yet, the house was foreclosed. A computer glitch, they said. So, cancel the foreclosure! Crazy! Seems like the enemy of our soul wants to discourage us. But we look to Him Who is Unseen. This is not about how strong I am to do this either. We cry to Him and He bends His Ear right down to me. He's listening. He sees it all. He's working on our behalf.

Our outer self is wasting away every day, but our inner self is being renewed day by day by day. For our light momentary afflictions are preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the Things that are Unseen. 2 Cor 4:16. Somehow, in that radiation machine, I have to believe that there is much more going on in that Room than the unpredictable methodical clicking of that terrifying ton of a machine.

I don't know how I can endure 19 more treatments. All I know is the One Who promises to be there for me. And HE has to this day. People say you are a survivor if you pass a certain point. The word "survivor" means statistics to me. I've been thinking about Romans 8:37 that we are more than "conquerors" through Christ Who loves us so. I think every day that we live for HIM, we are more than a conqueror. And my Christ will help me go through the second half of this. "He helps us in our weakness..." Rom 8:26.

So, as I hit the halfway mark, I just want to say to each of you that read this blog that I am so grateful that God has brought you alongside of us to walk with us through this. I couldn't do it alone. From my brand new friend, Rose, to my lifelong friend Mindy, you all have touched deep places in my heart. Your words have given me hope. Your actions have given me love! Your friendship has given me courage! I cannot thank you enough!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Be Still...what do I need to "let go" of?

Bob was released from ICU tonight and is home resting well. After undergoing two days of tests in the critical care unit, all of his heart structures are in very good shape. While they are not sure what caused him to faint at the wheel, the diagnosis remains bradycardia---slow heart rate. Not that uncommon for athletes to have a really low heart rate. We are so grateful to God for His evident Hand on Bob during the accident.

Bob will wear a heart monitor throughout this weekend. He has recovered well from the surgical procedure he had this afternoon, an electrophysiological study. They couldn't sedate him cause he had just eaten so he thinks he was privileged to watch the Electrophysiologist do the cauterization procedure up us legs into his heart---ask him about it. Oh my. Not me!

And I just have to add that it looked completely impossible for me to do two radiation treatments today to stay on course. Some complications with my skin had come up. My oncologist is closed tomorrow. But I was so overwhelmed with the goodness of God this afternoon. God physically strengthened my weary body as I walked into the radiation oncologist's office again at 3pm to submit to the machine. A verse that meant much to me these 2 days was Exodus 14:14 that God will fight our battles, we just need to keep still. And the word "still" in the Hebrew meant to surrender, to let go---and know that He is God in the midst of our circumstances. Be still and know that I am God - Psalm 46:10.

Psalm147:10-11 God's delight is not in the legs of a man but the LORD delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His Unfailing Love, no matter what He sends our way. It has been an emotional two days for me and I have been spent in doing radiation and watching my husband in ICU. You know, our suffering is not a curse, but more like a mission to "let go" and honor a God Who has allowed things providentially and always for our good. We have to wrestle with Him until He changes our name. None of us want to suffer. Jesus asked for the cup to pass from Him. But, He also embraced his suffering and walked in it where His Heart brought Him to empty Himself. God is emptying us from things we've held onto that we need to "let go." Detaching us from dependence on anything that brings us Joy but HIM, even our health.

It's 8:30pm and we are on our way to bed. Good night sweet friends. HE has our attention. HE has our hearts. We don't have a definitive answer what went wrong. But we are seeing with eyes wide open precious ways to value learning to love more than resolution of our pain. Our problems are a pathway to our beautiful God. The back of the door of the wardrobe in Narnia opens and offers a journey to come alive in ways we know not.

God leads us into desert places and speaks tenderly there if we listen. Hosea 2:14. HE makes the valley of suffering, a Door of Hope. And it is our privilege to walk alongside of you and embrace those open doors of suffering and joy--- blindly & boldly and with fear & faith. Do I want to learn better to love my husband and my children and my world more than I want the pain to go away? Wondering what it looks like in our lives to open our hearts wider to love.

Our Sincere Gratitude for your Prayers and Love! Overwhelmed in Austin with His Kindness!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

please pray for my husband

My husband passed out this morning for a few minutes while he was driving my son Britt's Scout. He ran off the road and God really protected him. The paramedics took him by ambulance to the hospital and the ambulance broke down on the way to the hospital---they had to get another one. Oh! They took him to St. David's and he has been in ICU all afternoon. They just moved him to ICU to monitor his heart rate which has been in the 40's. Thank you so much for praying! Bev

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Billboard in China

A friend of Barrett's was visiting China and looked up and saw this billboard and e-mailed it to Barrett who had no idea he was on a billboard---he raced in China and Korea recently. He did Treasure Island this weekend and I think he did great---he's off to compete for France in three races, France's Grand Prix or something like that. It will be very surreal if Brooke sees her brother on a billboard in China. Brooke is in China---on her way back home to the States. Can't wait to see my girl again! Really!Here is a different billboard where you can see the writing a little more. Can anyone read Chines---what does it say? Did you read about the family whose Christmas card ended up as advertisement on a billboard in Prague?

Tomorrow, Monday morning, I have 2 radiation treatments. 8:40am and 3:10pm. Oh dear me. I am taking life moment by moment. And may I be more concerned about my unholiness than about my pain! There is something that happens to my body every time I go into that radiation machine. My mind is clear and I know that it will not collapse on me nor stab me nor snatch me. My body remembers what my mind does not. Brings me back to my rape. I was unconscious for over 24 hours from alcohol poisoning but was with 4 teen boys for those 24 hours. They laid me unconscious at my family's doorstep the next day and ran. Pretty horrific.

But there is a Great Physician Who is in that room with me continuing a surgery on my heart as I live in the present moment and deal with what is in my heart. And it has caught me off guard how radiation treatments make me want to give my life and energy and passion to pursuing God's purposes and watching out for the contrary agendas within me. And repent. LORD have mercy on me in that thing. God doesn't always give and guarantee us instant comfort but HE never means anything we go through except for my good. I was reading this afternoon: "Our agenda is to fix the world until it can properly take care of us. God's agenda is to bring all things together in Christ until every knee bows before Him." The book went on to say how people equate peace with pleasant circumstances. "God's peace belongs to those who have confidence in His Goodness even when life is tough and their self-esteem is low." "Whenever we place a higher priority on solving our problems than on pursuing God, we are immoral."

Before one of my radiation treatments last week, God placed on my heart to find a homeless person and give them something that day. I usually avoid them---thinking they need to find a job. They are prolific in Austin and the city takes care of them---boggles my mind. I also think they may pull me out of my car. I shared with a clean-cut attractive lady sitting next to me at my radiation oncologist's office that morning that I had been terrified to go in for my radiation treatment that day, but God had given me 2Cor 1:9 that I must rely not on myself and how strong I am but on God Who raises the dead. She began weeping uncontrollably and said that was what her pastor preached on last Sunday and she was struggling immensely because she was a homeless person, living in her car, for the past year---even though she had a full-time job. We talked for about an hour. God's Agenda: every knee shall bow before Him. This is not about solving all our problems but pursuing our beautiful God in the midst. He's good!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

8:40 AM - Safe in The Shadow

Groping for the light switch in the radiation prep room, I decided to pull the string. It was a shrieking strobe alarm that blasted into the darkness. Doctors and nurses came running. Week #2 started off with a stir. Tackling cancer diagnosis and treatments sometimes makes you feel like a junior college transfer student heading to an ivy league school.

I met with my radiation oncologist today to discuss the radiation treatments. I trust this guy with my life---I trust my God with my life. My radiation oncologist said to me that not having a 4th surgery was risky and he was going to make up for it by adding additional radiation treatments. He was stuck between the opinions of my other oncologists. "Caught in the middle." "Risky" was not the word I was hoping to hear today. You realize, in the still of the night, that we are all in His Hands.

Every morning, I jog about a mile or two or three around 6:30am and ask God what He is saying to me in all of this. He is "emptying spaces in my heart that I have filled up with myself" and other stuff. Detaching me from dependence on any source of Joy other than Him. Walking into the Radiation Room is a good thing for me to face. Embrace the suffering of cancer. It's not about finding relief from this Providential suffering. It's all about finding God in the midst. He is so showing up for me. Not because I am so strong. Quite the contrary. My body quakes when they put me through the treatment. I walk in to face this machine sobbing and walk out sobbing even harder. Then it's over for the day. Sometimes 8:40AM passes faster than others---not Wednesdays though. They need a new X-ray every Wednesday. I panicked about half way through this morning yet God so helped me push through. That's all I can say. "Be my Shepherd, carry me forever." Psalm 28:9. He is carrying me through this.

Every evening, I ask my beautiful God to give me His Word to face a new day. Not to claim a verse so everything will be okay... but to meet my God there, the Living Word. I don't want to use HIM to give me power and strength and victory and go on my way. I want to fall forward and find a rest, a peace in these circumstances that doesn't come from relief but relationship.

I read 2 Cor 1:9 where Paul talked about how he despaired of his life because of all the circumstances that happened to him. But Paul wrote that his experiences made him rely not on himself and how strong and positive he could be. What happened to him made him depend on a God Who raises the dead. That verse so spoke to me. What does it look like to depend on God's strength and not my own? Does it mean you just keep your mouth shut? Does it mean the absence of temptation? Does it mean I'll walk without fear? Does it mean I will find relief in all my problems? I don't think it means any of that. Not if I am living in the present moment and facing what is really in my heart. "Though the mountains shake and the hills be removed, My Unfailing Love will not be shaken. My Covenant of Peace to you will not be removed," says the God we so love and adore. The God Who has compassion on me and you.

I am finding a peace I know not. A rest I've not entered before. Small seismic shifts. A little more solid while a lot of chaos as traumas of my past enter my heart and overwhelm me in that machine where I am all alone behind massive sealed doors. But no, I'm never alone. I knew there was no one in the waiting room praying for me today, no one waiting for me. My car was broken and I had to be dropped off so my son could get to where he needed to be. God used that expereince to draw me closer. I had set up to listen to Paul Baloche during the treatment, but instead Darlene Zsech came on singing "He Has Made Me Glad." My Shield. My Strength. My Portion. My Deliverer. My Shelter. Strong Tower. A Very Present Help in Time of Need.

8:40AM Monday through Fridays. I am in a machine that I want to welcome as my friend where I face my fears and embrace the Providential suffering that my God is using to wake me up. 6 down and 31 to go and that makes me quiver---how will I make it? But it's a place where I am hidden in that Radiation Room and covered by His Hand. And I don't know how. But He is giving me courage to live my life truthfully and deal with my feelings of failure rising up. "I have put my words in your mouth and covered you in the shadow of My Hand." Isaiah 51;16.
If you remember around 8:40AM any day of the week, would you say a prayer for me that God keeps me safe in that Shadow. Love to each of you! Bev

Written at: 4:05:06 on 07.08.09

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

8:40am and 4:20pm ................................. A Double Dose of The Door

I walked a mile under sultry thunderclouds before my first day of radiation this morning. Listened over and over to Mercy Me's "Bring The Rain." Bring me Joy. Bring me Peace. Bring the chance to be Free. Bring me anything that brings you Glory. I know there will be days when life brings me pain and if that's what it takes: Jesus bring the Rain. And rain it did all over Austin and all over this little girl's heart as I faced my fears and traumas of days gone by and walked into that Radiation Room this morning. First, I had to have another CT Scan---you are kidding, right? I jumped on that CT scan table and said: "Let's embrace this fear and believe me---this is not about how strong I am."

As I passed the 2-foot walled Door to walk into the Radiation Room, I did sense the Presence of my very good God and his holiness. The Door freaked me out as it shut behind me. Alone. There is a sense that we walk alone with our God. He was there! It took about 15 minutes to take the x-rays and do the first radiation---- that seemed like an hour. The tech said "Close your eyes, really tight." My reply: "I'm even scared of the dark."

All I can say is that God has brought me to this place and He was good to me today even in my terror. I never dreamed I could even look at the 2-foot door but I actually patted it on the way out and said: "You have no power over me to wall me in." This experience is my new friend, James 1:3, and I count it joy to face this trial and ask my beautiful God to free me up in these fears that have gripped my life. No more! May I want His Glory more than my own comfort and sanity.

God was so good to me today. I sobbed as two techs rushed in to rescue me. I had already been rescued and was safe in His Hands. I'll have to take Radiation one day at a time. Tomorrow, July 2nd, is my son's birthday and I will choose to have two radiation treatments 8:40am and 4:20pm since they will be closed on Friday. I could have done just one. No, I will push through this and trust Him! I tried to go to a church staff luncheon after radiation this morning, and made it almost through. I turned to my husband and said: "you have to bring me home right now." I was so exhausted! And I went to sleep around 1pm and slept so sweetly for 4 hours. I cannot thank you enough for praying for me. This was one of the hardest days for me!

Happy Birthday to my precious boy, Britt. He will turn 18 tomorrow, July 2nd. He's at CONA this week, The Conference on National Affairs, with YMCA Youth & Government in Black Mountain, North Carolina having the time of his life. His proposal on Title IX Reform made it to 2nd committee. Woohoo!

Eighteen years ago, I lost three babies in one year. Two were ectopic pregnancies. The doctors said we could never get pregnant again after 7 years of infertility. The next month I became pregnant, my 4th pregnancy in one year, and it was another ectopic pregnancy. I begged the doctors to wait before they took this one. Had to stay close to a hospital cause you can literally bleed to death if they rupture. My friend, Kellie, asked me at our kindergarten class party if she could pray for me in the school hall. Kellie laid her hands on me and asked God to give this baby life. I felt heat come from her hands into my body. So surreal. I went back to my OB doctor the next day and asked for a sonogram to appease me cause we had prayed for this baby to move through the tubes. I'll never forget my OB's words as he scanned over the picture of what was inside of me. "Look at this heart beating. Your baby is safe. He is in no longer in the tubes." His name is Britt and he will be 18 tomorrow.

And the beat of Britt's heart is for his God whom he loves and wrestles with---a God that He is finding hopefully in places like Black Mountain and at his new home, Austin Texas. He has been the joy of my life as my older three left for college several years ago. Never complains. Loves life. Such a hard worker. And he honors this mom who prayed for him. I remember touching his long toes for the first time to see if he was really alive. So grateful to our amazing God for this little big miracle who has grown into a 6'4" frame of His power to save.

God is so working in my heart to free me up and help me live in this present moment. May I be much more concerned with my weak Christianity at times than over any harm that has been done to me. My God will never harm me---even this is for my good. He's a good God! Pray for a double dose of my good God tomorrow at 8:40am and again at 4:20pm. How in the world can I do it? IDK. All I know is that He helped me leap over that 2-foot thick door this morning. HE gave me Hope not Relief in the midst of all I carry in my heavy heart. Your prayers mean more to me than words I can find. I need Him so. Moment by Moment. Little by Little. Exodus 23:27-31.

As we celebrate our Independence Day, may we find our own freedom from fear and harm and life itself. Happy Fourth of July to you and your family. May you find a little more freedom in your heart, this weekend, than you have ever known.

Praying for Our Friend Joanne Psalm 131:3 Waiting on God. Hope Now. Hope Always.

House of Blessing Tribal Childrens Home

House of Blessing Tribal Childrens Home
"Whoever welcomes a little child in My Name, welcomes Me." Matthew 18:5 We have posted pictures of the orphans receiving their gifts from you. Scroll down to the post entitled "Today Was the Big Day." Many orphans didn't own anything of their own, but now do, because of you.

My Family

My Family
Britt, Blair, Bev, Bob, Brooke, Barrett


I've met some amazing women through blogging. I would love to hear from you. My personal e-mail is:
I have another blog where I blog daily as a small group of us read through the New Testament this year. It's called A String of Pearls. We carry each other on mats (when we just can't walk anymore) to Jesus and sweet things like that.


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