Monthly Archives: June 2010

Day after Day

I used to run cross-country in high school.  I wasn’t very good, but there weren’t many sports options for a girl with no hand/eye coordination.  And since I went to a high school with about 300 students our sports selection was limited as well.  So I was a cheerleader (woohoo) and ran. 

Oh the stories I can tell of running track and cross-country.  The funny thing about most of my stories is they involve “cheating” of some sort.  Thankfully Jesus saw me as a work in progress when it came to my leadership skills, because I certainly led a few astray when it came to running. 

Like the days during pre-season training when we were really out of shape and the coaches sent us out on a long “there and back” run and we stuffed money in our shoes and stopped at the local “small-town” gas station for a candy bar and mountain dew.  Seriously, who were we kidding.  Not only were we not running but we were eating 800 calories to boot.

Or the time we were running on those old country roads in October and it occurred to me that we should take a short-cut across the corn-field since the corn stalks had recently been cut down.  It seemed like such a sensible “cheating” option.  So off we went across the field.  It never occurred to us that it rains a lot in the Fall, or that we might find mud in the middle of the field, or maybe even a small lake.  Or that the field was extremely uneven and we were practically falling down as we tried to cross it.  No, none of that occurred to a group of sophomore and junior girls.  And if anyone knows how Michigan is laid out, our roads run in squares in the country.  They are usually one mile blocks.  So this meant, it was one mile across that dang field.

So when we got back, we tried to act like everything was really cool, but we were covered from head to toe in mud.  I think we probably looked like we had been rolling in it.  And I’m pretty sure we were way more tired than if we had run the entire training route. (I’m thinking this may be why I was not team “captain” that year as well.)

And we were totally busted.  Our coach had gone out looking for us and didn’t find us, which isn’t very cool when it’s a pack of 5-6 girls we’re talking about.  Needless to say, we ran extra the next day….and the next, and the next. (Not only that but we had to face our mother’s and explain the mud.  I’m not sure which was worse!)

Last summer I started running again after an almost 10 year hiatus.  I keep waiting for it to get easier, but it doesn’t.  My mind tries to convince my body I should stop and walk.  Lately I’ve been running 3-4 miles every day so that 3-4 miles won’t seem so difficult, but I’m beginning to think I’ll never get there, which is a real bummer because I really want to run a half-marathon in October.  Somehow I need to go from 3 miles to 13, and I feel like I can barely get to 4.

Discipline is tough.  I remember a few years back telling a friend something to the effect that everyone has different spiritual gifts, so aren’t some of us better at some disciplines than others.  She nailed me on that one….and rightly so.  She said “Jen, if it was easy it wouldn’t be called DISCIPLINE!”  And she was absolutely right. 

Hebrews 12:1-2 talks a little about running and discipline:

“Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!”

I don’t know what discipline you struggle with.  Maybe it’s an addiction.  Maybe it’s taking care of your body and finding value in how God made you.  Maybe it’s really taking time to decide what you believe and why?  Discipline is never easy.  Even if I do get to running 13 miles, I’m sure there are days when 3 miles will feel like 500 and some days it won’t be so bad.

But get on with it.  Quit carrying around the baggage, make the choice and go for it.

And the great thing is, every morning is new.  God’s not keeping track and neither should you.  If you’ve set a goal and you get off track, start again.  And again, and again. 

Cheating never felt good.  I either felt guilty, or I would totally “bonk” during the race.   

But what really did feel good was crossing the finish line strong, knowing that I had not only run the best race possible for me, but I had trained the best I could for that race.

I like finishing a race with no regrets.

How about you?

(Here’s a great song about “starting over” from Addison Road.  This is your last day to make a comment on my blog.  I’ll be announcing the winners tomorrow!) 

 

 

 

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Transparency in Blogging

Transparency.  How much is too much when it comes to blogging?  I was thinking about this yesterday after stopping by to visit little Gideon who has just been diagnosed with Leukemia.  His mom, Amanda, has been blogging and I mentioned to her that I was enjoying reading the updates through the blog.  In an apologetic tone she said something to the effect that she was too transparent.  Like she had given too much information.

I felt just the contrary about her blogging.  I was thankful she was so transparent.  I really want to know how Gideon is doing and how Tom and Amanda are holding up especially in these initial days of diagnosis. 

But even now I look back at my own blogging I worry that at times I was too transparent.  Like maybe I lacked an appropriate filter.

But every time I start thinking I’m writing nonsense, I get another email telling me how much I’ve helped someone, how much they enjoy my blog, and I keep writing.  And I keep trying to be transparent.

Here’s why I think it’s so important for Amanda to be real with us.  A few things I’ve learned along the blogging/cancer journey and how blogging benefits everyone.

1.  We want to know.  Our heart hurts for Gid right now.  He is such a sweet precious boy and we want to know how we can pray, and we desperately want to know how we can help ease the burden they carry right now.  

2.  It puts life in perspective.  It reminds us that life is short and precious.  It softens our hearts.  It helps us evaluate our priorities and put life in perspective. 

3.  It’s good for the soul I’m an extrovert.  There’s no denying I like to talk.  But even I had difficulty keeping up after diagnosis.  There were times I didn’t know what to say in person.  But I could be real with the computer screen for some reason.  I learned I could let my feelings flow and my friends were reading and responding.  We’ve been trained to answer the question “How are you,” with the proverbial answer “good.”  In person, for some reason, either I was afraid of seeing their reaction when I told them the truth, or I hit 10 birds with one stone, blogging fit for me, and it made me feel better.

4.  You never know who you might be helping by blogging.  Next week, somewhere, some mama is going to start her day, and by the end of the day she’s going to find out that her son/daughter has leukemia.  Reading blogs helps her know what to expect.  I think in some way, feeling like I was helping someone else with their diagnosis helped me get through mine.

So where do you set the filter with “too transparent?”

Here are some of my thoughts on that, because I’m of the generation that thinks “real” is good, and I’ve learned a few lessons along the blogging journey.

1.  If it will make you blush later on, you might not want to write it.  From experience I have a few of those.  But my blog dealt with breasts.  I think sometimes I wrote too much when I was on my pain meds. 

2.  If it will hurt someone, bite your tongue.  I think openness is a good thing.  But blog about yourself and be very cautious about picking out a person or group if you are angry.  Walk away from blogging for a few days if you’re tempted to vomit your disgust.  Be careful about writing about a doctor you weren’t happy with.  They are real people and they can make mistakes.  The best way to get even with a doctor is to simply find another one, not ruin their career by writing about it in open cyber-space.

So here’s the question of the day.  What attracts you to blogs?  Why do you read specific blogs?  Information, transparency, obligation?  Any suggestions I missed in this post?

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Viva La Femme Friday Pick: Jenny Simmons (Give-away too!)

I don’t buy many CD’s.  There’s a story behind that statement, and so, of course, I’ll tell it.

When I was in college I bought CD’s, because, well, frankly, I only really had me to worry about.  For the most part my spending money went to entertainment and clothing.  Then I went to seminary.  I didn’t have as much spare change, but that was alright because shortly after I arrived I landed a really cool job as a Christian music festival director.  Every week I was sent, not one, but several CD’s in the mail.  I was newly married and Jeremy and I spent weekends tooling around Kentucky getting front seat and back stage passes to any concert we wanted.   It was a very fun job.  

After leaving seminary and my cush gig with the festival, I had to wise up.  Shortly after that we started a family and the extra spending money was cut drastically.  Sometimes I’ll hear a song I really like on Home FM, my favorite radio station, and I’ll try to sing it to Jeremy.  I’m not sure why this is but he knows virtually every song ever played.  He usually can’t figure it out, not because he doesn’t know it but because he can’t figure out the tune from my singing.  So then we’ll be riding around town and I’ll hear it come on the radio and I’ll scream, “that’s it,” and he’ll go “oh, yeah, that’s such-n-such.”  And that’s how it is.  Me, tracking down my favorite tunes.

But thanks to this article in Christianity Today I was introduced to a great band that I’ve fallen in love with.  Addison Road.  So today, for my “Viva La Femme Friday,” I’m going to feature Jenny Simmons from Addison Road.  After hearing about some of her experiences in the CT article I decided to poke around and see what I could find about her that would make her a good choice as a woman doing good things for Jesus.

I didn’t need to look far.

I went to her blog.  You might want to check it out for yourself.  A blog post in particular really stood out to me.  You’ll need to read it for yourself.   But get ready.  Once I started reading, I wanted to keep reading.  At some point I may need to pop a bag of popcorn and curl up in front of the computer to re-read all of her old posts.  I appreciate her heart and her sincerity.   Her compassion for young women.  I’m not sure, how she possibly see’s the details in life, with her busy schedule, but she does.  And I appreciate the thoughtful reflections in her blog and in her music.

So I’ve downloaded Jenny Simmons with Addison Road on to my iphone and they are my new running companions.  Here’s where you can listen to some of their music if you’d like.  Their latest CD, titled “Stories,” was released just recently on June 22.

And BTW, if you are one of my Michigan readers, Addison Road just so happens to be playing in Graying at the Big Ticket Festival TONIGHT at 5 pm, so you might want to check it out!

So for a little fun, I thought I’d give-away 2 of the new “Stories” CD’s by Addison Road.  Here’s how you can be entered in the drawing.  You just need to comment on ONE of my blog posts between now (today’s post) and next Wednesday’s post (June 30th) at midnight and you will be entered.  You can comment on each of my posts (there will be three….Monday and Wednesday too) but you will only be entered once per post (up to three times). 

Good-luck!  And thanks Jenny for your heart and ministry!

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“Thing-finding”

“Then he told them this story: “The farm of a certain rich man produced a terrific crop. He talked to himself: ‘What can I do? My barn isn’t big enough for this harvest.’ Then he said, ‘Here’s what I’ll do: I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll gather in all my grain and goods, and I’ll say to myself, Self, you’ve done well! You’ve got it made and can now retire. Take it easy and have the time of your life!’

Just then God showed up and said, ‘Fool! Tonight you die. And your barnful of goods—who gets it?’

That’s what happens when you fill your barn with Self and not with God.” (Luke 12:13-21)

One of my favorite memories of elementary school was when they had special assemblies. It was at one of these assemblies that I fell completely in love with a girl named Pippi Longstocking. Not the newer Pippi movies, but the older ones where they do the voice over because it’s in Norwegien. The Pippi that knew no boundaries, did her own hair, ate what she pleased, and followed her own set of social boundaries. That Pippi. I fell madly in love with her. I wanted to be just like her.

So a few years ago, I found the Pippi movies on Netflix for my girls. And of course, they too fell in love with her wacky and wonderful free spirit. So then I got the books to read. One chapter stood out to me because, in reality, Charis is really Pippi. Seriously, the girl is a free spirit. Social boundaries, what social boundaries? She would wear a bathing suit to school if I didn’t set out her clothes. And she would eventually make it down to school if I let her walk, but the five minute walk would take her several hours because something would interest her along the way and completely distract her.

But in this particular chapter, Pippi invites her friends to go “thing-finding” with her. She talks about all the little nick-nacks you can find when you go looking.

The interesting thing about this chapter is that this “thing-finding” past-time is also Charis’ favorite past time. Every few months Charis’ teachers send a bag home full of the treasures Charis has found on the floor of the school, out on the playground, etc. If the teacher is throwing it away, Charis will regularly retrieve it from the garbage to bring home.

Now Meleah does this too. I’m not sure if Charis has taught her this past-time or If most children do this. But Meleah has taken to getting on her hands and knees to look for “gems” on the floor at the dollar store. Once, Charis was digging under the shelves and cut her finger. The manager got us a band-aid, and I loved it when she told the girls….”anything on the floor is yours.” Lovely, like I don’t find enough treasures in the laundry already?

What is it about “stuff?” From an early age we are smitten with the accumulation of stuff. The girls just love anything that’s glittery or bright. Even Elijah loves to find money on the floor.

I heard someone describe their future plans for retirement like this “we plan to live high on the hog.”

I’m not bashing planning for retirement. That’s a sensible thing to do. But what good are we doing hoarding things?

John Wesley once said “make all you can, save all you can, give all you can.” I think that was the order anyway.

We try to fill our desires with things that make us happy. We become treasure hunters rather than God Hunters.

What are you filling your self with today? Is it little treasures that don’t add up to much or are you filling the void with more of God.

Pippi was fun. But the sad thing really, about Pippi, was that she had lots of fun, lots of treasures, lots of great treasures, but no mom and dad. Her dad was a sailor at Sea and she had no supervision. That sounds really fun as a kid, but in reality, it’s sad and scary to be alone in the world.

What “things” or “treasures” are you filling up in your life today that only God can fill?

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Viva La Femme Friday

I stumbled across this article last week on Twitter.  Of course I read it with pure fascination.  You should read it too. 

If you’re not interested in reading the article.  Maybe I can entice you. 

Does it matter to you that when your daughters grow up, they are allowed to reach their full potential?  Is your daughter gifted in music or art?  Is she gifted speaking in front of others or in leadership? 

Or maybe YOU (speaking to women here) have thought yourself gifted in music, yet never given the opportunity to lead worship?  Have you always been a back-up singer, told you had a strong voice and stage presence, hinted around at trying to lead worship, but you’ve never been asked?  And to be honest, it doesn’t really make sense does it.  The fact that you can be on stage or you can teach a Sunday School class, but you can’t officially lead worship.  Or speaking, or preaching.  Why is it that you are a gifted teacher but never asked to preach?  Is it interesting that most denominations will allow women to preach in front of men in other countries but not here in America?

Many of you know this dilemma has been a struggle for me.  Most recently I was hired at my church as a pastor.  I was interviewed as a pastor.  I was introduced to the church as a pastor.  But some people complained I suppose.  And I spent several months trying to figure out why, even though I’m an ordained elder like the other two pastors and I was introduced as a pastor, I was not given the title of pastor publically in writing.  My door just said Jen, while the other doors said Pastor (man’s name).  Craziness.  I am in a denomination that publically supports women in ministry.  Our founder, B.T Roberts, wrote a book called “Ordaining Women.”  This shouldn’t be happening in 2010 right?  Well, it did.  I suppose after the announcement was made at the church, some people had issues.  When I asked my superintendent about it, he came to chat with me.  I wasn’t pushy about the issue.  But if I went to medical school, I wouldn’t be hired as a doctor and not be called a doctor?  Right?  I did spend 3 years getting an MDiv and 5 years in ministry (like a residency) to be ordained in my denomination.  But the leadership at the church caught wind of my meeting with conference leadership and I was fired a few weeks later.  

I’m sure if you’ve read my blog you sensed my frustrations, but I’ve never come out and told the story because it has been raw and painful for me.  I was fired because I was “la femme.” 

For a long time I have thought that staying silent would somehow make me look more “ministry-minded” I guess.  That I had “the betterment of the whole” in mind.  I decided I might never get a job if I’m pushy.  But I suppose this tactic hasn’t worked either since I’m still jobless.  So is it really any better to remain quiet and humble?  And in naivety as a young woman, I really thought that doing my job well, would mean I would get job offers.  But that hasn’t been the case.  I won’t go in to details, but I also planted a church and after giving two years of my life to planting that church, going from a team of 8 to a congregation of 52, I was replaced with a man, not because I had a choice.  So as of late I’ve had the quote from abolitionist Frederick Douglas in my mind.  He said about social justice: “Agitate, agitate, agitate.”  His feeling was that persistent agitation would result in response. 

If you’ve ever read the book “Blink” in the last chapter of the book it describes how classical music only allowed men to audition and perform before the 60’s.  It took drastic changes from within the classical music industry to change that.  It took men with power to say “let’s change this.”  It took men with power, seeking justice and saying “let the best PERSON win.”  And not being threatened by that.  So at some point, every person auditioning had to be behind a screen.  No one could see them.  They only heard them play. 

And now, classical music is both men and women playing music together, and it’s beautiful. 

We don’t have to worry that our daughters won’t have a future in classical music.

But we do if she shows signs of being a good singer with a passion for Jesus.  We do if she is gifted in leading ministries.  I showed signs of giftedness when I was a teenager and my pastor invited me to preach and teach and encouraged me at a young age to consider ministry.

So then, why is it that women aren’t being appointed to evangelical churches in anything other than children’s ministries (not that this is bad, I’m glad women are working with children, but what if a woman doesn’t feel called to work with kids)?   Why is it that there have been ZERO women in the top 10 Christian songs in the past 10 years. 

Thank-goodness I’m not the only one alarmed by these statistics in the Christian world.  Here are some great blog posts you should read as well:

Her-Menuetics on “Becky,” and Randy Elrod who has also written a book on my list to read called “Sex, Lies and Religion.”

If you read the above blog post from Her-Menuetics you know they refer to “Becky.”  She’s basically the demographic who buy’s the most Christian music.  She’s the 30-40 something year old woman. 

She’s also probably the biggest instigator of families attending church on a regular basis.  So “Becky” sits in our pews every Sunday.

I AM BECKY!  And “Becky,” from what they’re saying is jealous of “Becky.”  Are you “Becky?”

Why is this happening?  Why can’t we support other women?  I don’t think it’s because we all want to be singers or speakers?  Maybe it’s because many of us stay at home and have un-met career goals.  Or maybe we have to work in a mindless job and we hate it because at one time we had dreams and the thought of listening to “Becky” singing sweet melodies and fulfilling her dreams while we drive our commute home makes us want to gag.  So instead we listen to Joe. 

There is a constant tension between those women that work and those that don’t.  The grass is greener on the other side, so maybe this is why “Becky” can’t listen to “Becky?”

All I know, is that I want this undercurrent of socially acceptable gender prejudice to STOP.  I know, there are a handful of you that may read me and you don’t agree with women in positions of leadership.  And that’s fine.  You probably won’t like this thread of blog posts every Friday.  But do me a huge favor.  Please.  Read this book and then decide. (It’s four views on women in ministry written from 4 different perspectives.)

I want my daughters to live fully this passage in Galations 3:28-29: “In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal. That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ. Also, since you are Christ’s family, then you are Abraham’s famous “descendant,” heirs according to the covenant promises.”

And I NEED Christian women in music and ministry as role-models for my girls.

So from here on out I’m calling my Friday posts “Viva La Femme Friday.”  I’m going to write about gifted women every Friday.  Musicians, writers, pastors, bloggers, survivors, whatever.  I’m going to find serious speakers, not the “fru-fru, throw a feather boa around my neck while I break out in show tune hymns, kind of speaker,” or the latest Christian Miss America, but the serious, theologically trained or relevant speakers like Anne Jackson or Beth Jones.  That’s my plan.  It’s the best way I know how to change this crazy anti-women trend in the church.  I need a positive outlet.  So it’s all woman, every Friday.  Women who God has gifted and how they are making a positive difference. 

And here’s how you can help me.  Make comments!  If you have a great new female author or musician you think others would like, please share it!  Let us know, give us links, so we can purchase and support other women!

Let’s stop being  jealous of “Becky” and start cheering “Becky” on.  This is for our daughters ladies.  This is for my Charis and Meleah.  So that someday they won’t ever have to think twice about following their calling.  That we won’t limit their potential for good.

What do you think?  What do you think can be done to change this issue in the church?  Can we change things like the classical music industry did?

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Gideon: “The Lord is With You Mighty Warrior”

On Saturday, a dear sweet little boy at our church was diagnosed with leukemia.   He’s the same age as Elijah.  Just three.  (And as I wrote that I remembered that Elijah and Gideon were dedicated on the same Sunday as well!) I feel like so many of you were my prayer warriors.  You prayed me to complete healing, you drove out the cancer with your persistent prayers.  So I want to ask if you’d pray little Gideon to full and complete healing as well.  His mommy and daddy are Tom and Amanda and he has a big brother named Brody who all need prayers too.   They are tired and scared and in shock.  My thoughts are never far away from this family as I re-live those initial days of my own cancer diagnosis and my heart aches for them.

In the next 24 hours they will be finding out what type of leukemia Gideon has.  There is one type that has better outcomes, so please pray that, after such a big blow to their little family, they can see a little bit of light in this journey.

Go here to follow updates on this sweet little boy.

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Because I’m Worth It

What can I say.  I’m a slacker.  How will I ever make it in the blogging world if I disappear for weeks at a time.  Somehow, a few of you stick with me.  Thank-you.

Last time I wrote I told you about my surgery.  Since then I’ve organized a “Give a Tent” drive for Haiti, had a mild case of lymphedema,  painted 1/3 of my house yellow, which meant 3….yes 3 coats of paint to cover the green and brown “dark” phase I went through a few years back.   I should have painted before the surgery, but there always needs to be a deadline for me.  That deadline is my dear college friends coming to visit next weekend.   Not that they would have minded the nasty paint job I did a few years ago, but this yellow and newly painted trim looks better.  There were many sick days during chemo on a dreary day in Michigan that I thought “why the h-e-double hockey sticks” did I paint my walls brown. 

Now my house looks like an Easter egg.  One light blue room, one light green kitchen and the main living are is called “hunny butter.”   Either that or this house belongs in Florida.

So one of my adventures over the past few weeks was filling in for the 2’s and 3-year-old class at church.  I love my kids, but here’s the truth:  It’s  not that I don’t like teaching other people’s kid’s, it actually that I’m scared to teach a class full of other people’s 2 and 3 year olds.  I mean, seriously, so much can happen.  They could cry the whole time, they could yell “you’re dumb” which is unfortunately Elijah’s new favorite word.  They could run around yelling and screaming and never listen to me.  I could make a total fool of myself trying to explain the concept of Jesus.  And my number one fear…..a happy little guy who bursts in to tears the minute mom or dad arrives for pick-up.

Seriously, I am afraid of kids.

So I was telling a dear lady at our church about filling in as a sub the day before during our tents for Haiti event, and she was this awesome 2nd grade teach for many years in the community.  Well, wouldn’t you know who would show up to help me.  Now, it was really sweet of her to show up, but now I’ve got 16 little eyes looking at me, including my own son who won’t listen to anything I say, and a professional child “whisperer” in my midst.  “I am going to look like a fool” I thought.

But dear Joyce filled in where I missed cues.  And I managed to teach those little munchkins something.  Here was out Bible verse.  It’s so easy, even you can remember it!

“I am wonderfully made.”  from Psalm 139:14

The actual verse is a bit longer.  It says this:  “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful.”

But it seems to be that those 4 words is the limit for 3 year olds when it comes to memorization.  And you need to spend several weeks saying it over and over again to them, and even sometimes they don’t get it.  I say Elijah….”what was your verse today?”  And he yells “Jesus”  which we all know is the universal right answer, and then I give him a few words and it registers to him finally what the verse actually is.

So, of course, this got me thinking, because I think a lot, about this little inconspicuous verse in the Bible.  It’s one I’ve heard for years, since I was a little whippersnapper in my own 2’s and 3’s Sunday School class with Mrs. Lee.

And I was thinking how forgetful I am, just like a 3 year old and a memory verse.  How through my teenage years I forgot that I didn’t need to be a size 6 to be special.  How I didn’t need to get the best grades to be important to someone.  That I could be really miserable at Math and really good at Art or Science and that was OK.  It made me unique.

I’m not sure what I did with the knowledge and wisdom of this verse but I’m pretty sure I packaged it up in the back of my mind and left it there to gather dust or mold. 

Because at some point during my cancer journey, it has dawned on me, since sometimes I miss the details, that I am, actually, in fact, important.  And, not only that, I am worth living for (if that makes sense).  What a novel idea.  I know, you guys, it’s the simple things that stump me.  But seriously.  It took cancer for me to realize my life is worth living.  That I am important to my kids.  I’m important to my husband, and my parents and my sister and my friends.  I wanted to live.  I wanted to beat cancer.  Why?  Because I was worth living for.  Because I am wonderfully made.  I have a purpose here on earth to love and be loved.  God knew this before I was even a tadpole. 

So I’m doing the best to not beat up on myself.  I try to remind myself that I don’t have to be a size 6 to be important.  That I may never understand physics or why x=y.  But I am important none-the-less. 

You may have had different reasons for fighting cancer.  You may have never fought anything in your life other than low self-esteem.  Don’t let it be cancer, like me, to wake you up to your own value and self-worth.

Jesus said this to us in Matthew 22

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it.  Love your neighbor as yourself.”  All of the law and prophets hang on this.”

So whatever we do glean from the Old Testament law and prophet’s,  and what seems like a bunch of rules and regulations, Jesus came and said THIS my friends:  Love your neighbor as yourselfThis is the most important.  

Cling to this dear ones.

You are wonderfully made.

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