Posts tagged ‘faith’

Jesus Doesn’t Fix Everything

hope-and-faith-through-cancerI was “officially” diagnosed with Lynch Syndrome last week. At first, it didn’t phase me. But as the days went on and I took time to review the paperwork, it began to really sink in.

The implication of living with a known genetic disorder is enlightening yet heavy. It’s good on one hand – aggressive monitoring for me and preventing disease in family members is a plus.

But it’s also hard – loss of a ‘normal’ doctor-free life and a reminder of a journey paved with loss also knocks at my door.

I’ve taken the past week to let it all sink in. Rather than brushing it to the side as if it’s “no big deal” (my pattern in the past), I’ve really tried to be introspective with my feelings.

Especially my faith.

And then today, a sermon came along and stopped me in my tracks when the preacher said:

Jesus Doesn’t Fix Everything – But He Does Help us Through It.

Come to Me All Who Are Weary

I grew up in a Christian community that like it or not – carries unspoken rules on how we handle trials in our lives. It’s part of the gig – which I would never trade. But, there are a few things I would change.

It’s typical for us to respond to trials thinking if we pray hard enough or have enough faith, Jesus will take away our situation and fix everything. As Christians, we put a smile on our face and say we’re trusting God without really letting ourselves grieve.

Rejoicing, encouragement and joy through trial is certainly part of the journey. God meets us in our despair and provides hope – so I’m not saying this doesn’t happen.

All too often though, Christians spit out quick verses like nicotine patches, hoping they’ll take the deep grief away. But ask any smoker – those patches don’t always work. And sometimes, our loss or sorrow is so deep, we need more than a quick devotion or verse to get us through.

Jesus says, “Come who are weary…” not “Come … although you’ve got yourself already pulled together.

Struggling with Faith in the Midst of Trial

Jesus wasn’t immune to grief or sorrow – in fact he was surrounded by it. So while he might not “fix” everything, he does provide what we need to get through it.

A holy perspective on any trial will change everything.

Today, “Terror in Boston” is scrolling across my television screen. I have friends suffering from marriages falling apart, children getting sick, deep depression taking hold, and checkbooks bouncing.

Lots of tears. Lots of cancer. Lots of pain. Lots of fear.

Trial is something we will all deal with at some point.

If you’re looking for hope or guidance on how to get through trials, I suggest taking an hour and listening to the sermon below. There comes a point when reciting verses and plastering on a cheery smile won’t hold you through some of the darkest days.

And hearing that it’s OK – and how to still have faith in the midst of it – was a game changer for me today. I pray that others will also find this extremely encouraging and helpful.

No, Jesus doesn’t fix everything. But, he loves us and will help get us through.

Trial & Jesus
1 Peter 1:3-9
Mark Driscoll – Mars Hill Church
Listen to the audio here: http://marshill.com/media/trial/trial-and-jesus

Advertisements

April 19, 2013 at 10:28 am 3 comments

Wanting the miracle and preparing for the fight | Faith and Cancer

Long time no post. I know… I’ve been busy.

But today’s revelation is blog worthy.

For some of us, God miraculously removes our cancer. For others of us, we have to fight.

Both roads are equally part of His plan. 

Both roads are good.

Jerichos and Ais…

joshua-sermon-series-graphic

Graphic from The Avenue Church

We talked about Joshua of the Bible today at church.

Most of us know about Jericho – Joshua’s squad marched around the city and the walls fell down.

But just a few chapters later, there’s another city, Ai, which God also told Joshua to seize.

Except this city didn’t fall like Jericho. Joshua had to follow God’s strategic plan for Ai to conquer it.

As my pastor explained, “Sometimes God gives us “Jerichos” in our life – our challenges can be tackled with ease and creativity. Other times, God calls us to “Ai” – our challenges must be faced with strategy and toil.”

And then it hit me.

This can apply to the fight against cancer, too.

Two roads to the fight against cancer

For some of us – our cancer experience is a Jericho.

God miraculously takes away tumors and cancer cells. The cancer goes away. We are healed.

For others of us, the road is not so easy. Roadblocks. Recurrence. Treatment. We put things in place to help us survive… which is not even a guarantee.

Even if we do not get dealt the Jericho, it does not mean that God’s turned his back on us.

We have to remember what “victory” truly means.

Just take it from Joey…

fight-cancer-hospital-hallwayAs a youth, I remember Joey Butler’s loud voice echoing through the old chapels at youth camp. I was saddened today to read an article in the KC Star about his advanced disease.

But just like God used him to encourage my young faith as a teen, I was encouraged today by his words now as a fellow cancer survivor:

“This circumstance [cancer] is teaching my family and friends to trust God,” he says. “This is not all there is. You know there’s more to come after this life. … This is not our final destination.”

For Joey, it seems that he didn’t get the road to Jericho when it came to his cancer diagnosis.

His cancer journey is more like the conquest of Ai. Aggressive treatments to fight the cancer have failed. I’m humbled by his response:

“Here’s what belief means: It means I put all my belief, all my weight, on Christ. I’m all in,” he continued. “I’ve had no regrets.”

But Joey knows that the “victory” in cancer for us Christians is not that we defy death.

Instead, it’s that we let God use our cancer journeys to save lives.

Even if those roads to victory look more like Ai than Jericho.

March 10, 2013 at 11:22 pm 1 comment

A Third-World View of Survivorship

Over the past several days, I’ve had the opportunity to get together with Taylor. While unknown to most of the world, those who’ve seen the documentary Rainbow Town know who I’m talking about. Taylor is one of the children featured in a film about a Liberian orphanage and is currently traveling around the United States. My friend Amy hosted him over the weekend and today he spoke at our church. As I’ve gotten involved with Rainbow Town, my heart’s grown for this amazing group of people in West Africa. Not only are they beautiful, courageous and strong. I’m convinced they’re some of the most faithful individuals on the planet.

rainbow-town-taylor-avenue-church

Taylor hanging out with our life group from The Avenue Church!

Emotional roller coaster

I’ve experienced many emotions during the few interactions I’ve had with Taylor. I imagine this is common when you either travel to third-world countries or meet people from them. Guilt – I was born a “Westerner” and have “simple” privileges like cars and credit cards. Sadness – no child should have to live through war. Embarrassment – he must think we’re so lazy. (He walks 1 hr 45 min to school ONE WAY!) Excitement – his passion to be a pastor is contagious. Joy – God SAVED him! And most of all – humbled. Now that’s a survivor.

Defining Survivor

I am a survivor of cancer. And Taylor, he is a survivor of war. And while I certainly am not trying to liken our experiences – I do understand life-threatening situations that leave physical wounds, emotional scars and life-changing consequences. We both identify with the word “survive.”

danielle-burgess-taylor-rainbow-town

What an honor to meet this guy!

The thing about Taylor though is that he doesn’t find his identity in survivorship. He’ll openly talk about being orphaned at birth and tied naked to a tree as a 4-year-old when rebels overtook his country; however, Taylor always ends with the point that God saved him. God had mercy on him and rescued him. No calls for pity. No room for tears. He shares his story to share about Jesus.

Finding Purpose in our Pain

Taylor’s story isn’t about Taylor – it’s about Christ. And that’s the way it should be. This teen has already found the purpose for his difficult life circumstances. He has no question about why he survived war, and what he’s to do now. And I’m rapidly taking notes.

I live in America where we process our feelings and talk about what happened. In the midst of it, we also get a “free pass” when it comes to our faith. We often aren’t pushed to lay down the pride and selfishness that can come with surviving something so awful. (After all – we do get a lot of attention and free t-shirts.) Instead, we can fall into the trap of self-pity and let ourselves off the hook. We think we’re acting like the Psalmist when we question God and blame him. However, for many of us – we can stay camped out at that place way too long, or never fully let God back into our hearts to do His work.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to have met Taylor. He’s showed me once again that there is purpose in survival that is far beyond ourselves. God works for our good and He loves us. No, life’s not always easy. And things aren’t going to be fair. But that doesn’t take away the fact that we are to fear Him and that He wants to use us. If we will just open up our hearts to Him, the journey through survival will make so much more sense… from any part of the world.

July 8, 2012 at 9:52 pm 2 comments

Back Behind the Wheel

My hands gripped the steering wheel tightly, fingers fitting right back into the comfortable grooves.

Although it was the fourth time I’d experienced a “no driving allowed” season, finally getting behind the wheel once again never grew old. A rush of freedom and empowerment swept over me. The options of paved paths to follow felt too numerous to count.

behind-the-wheel-lessons-on-faith

I started the car and the engine hummed. I slowly pulled out and headed down the road on my four-mile journey toward the video store for the important task of returning a rental. My trip was short. The scar running the length of my abdomen, still covered by steri strips, couldn’t take more than a few minutes in the driver’s seat.

Although the initial independence felt great, I couldn’t stop the thoughts creeping in about the previous two weeks. Emotions came and went as the cars driving next to me. I felt stunned that surgery had become a way of life. Sad at the loss of future life. Thankful for the removal of cancer threats. Grateful the surgery went so well. Expectant to return to “normal” soon. Lured by feelings of victimization. Tempted to shut down and lose the faith.

I arrived at my destination, dropped off the movie and headed back to the car. It was amazing how wiped out I was just by the small trek to the store. Or maybe it wasn’t the trek at all but the reflections behind the wheel. God always had a way of getting my attention and making me think while driving.

With just a few yards to go, I stopped at the last stoplight before home only to see a woman and a teenage boy standing at the corner to my right. The boy was tightly holding a walking stick which he tapped all around the corner while the woman stood behind him and talked firmly. He was blind and she was helping him navigate his way through downtown. And then it hit me.

I worship a God who once made a boy just like that see. However, the boy to my right would probably never experience that same miracle of sight told in the Bible. Not to mention the freedom and independence I had just regained of driving a car. However, he wasn’t letting the disappointment of a “miracle life” stop him. He had chosen to learn to walk around the city despite his circumstances, despite the fact he may never “see.”

As the light turned green I drove away and couldn’t get the image of the blind boy and his walking stick out of my mind. I realized I too needed to press on despite my less-than-ideal circumstances and flood of emotions. Sure, life had thrown me curve balls. Sure, things were hard. However, to experience the life God intended for me, I needed to follow the boy’s example and pick up my head, hold firm to my guide and trust that the small voice behind me will carry me through.

March 13, 2012 at 6:22 am 3 comments

So I thought I would start a garden…

As most of you know, this was my big year: I was going to start a GARDEN! I come from a long line of green thumbs, and especially on my mom’s side. My grandma had a garden the size of Texas (kid-view of course) growing up, and my mom followed suit and planted one when we were kids as well.

I basically knew what to do. Thanks to a little help from Triscuit’s gardening site (which is fabulous by the way), I was for sure good to go. I even had a woman from church who is a Master Gardener come over and give me advice for the trek. I was excited, confident and excited to grow my own food!

The Beginnings of The Garden

It started off so well. To take it slow and ease myself into my new hobby, I decided I’d do a very small garden – a 4×4 bed. I bought a kit from the hardware store that even made assembly easy (no messing with the lumber yards of nails for me!) I knew I wanted to do green beans and zucchini – my favorites – and then decided to do a small pepper and tomato plant. I had marigolds to keep the rabbits out, and even cleaned out my hairbrush over the garden to make sure the bunnies and other animals for sure stayed out!

The Garden Grew

After a few weeks, and a few good rains, my garden began to grow. I was so excited as I saw success with my little plants emerging from the soil. I was particularly fond of “Bean” as I called him – my green bean plant that rose up from germination to make my gardening experience a success. “Zuc” soon began to steal the show as his leaves grew large and magnificent. And “Pep” and “Tom” held their own as they began to produce fruit before the other two. It was a harmonious symphony. At one point, I even had a salad thanks to Pep and Tom – with two of the veggies coming from my own hard work!

Little Bean

Mid-Bean

Big Bean

Zuc

Pep and Tom

First Fruits

Then One Day…

I feel like Shakespeare as I continue my story, because as he showed in his great writings – some amazing and beautiful stories end in tragedy. As the summer continued to grow hotter and hotter, I continued to water and watch over my little garden. A question I had been often asked as I shared my plans for gardening was that of my two dogs. Known for occasional mischief, and especially in (or getting out of) our backyard, others were concerned about the trouble they might cause to a delicate garden. I wasn’t worried about them, and the first two months had proven me right – the dogs hardly went near the garden. I assumed they knew how important it was to me, so they helped watch over it and keep the rabbits out.

Well, let’s just say I learned my lesson. One day I felt bad for the dogs because I was locking them up in their kennel so much. Mike had been gone for nearly 10 days, and I knew they were dreading the cage once again. I decided to “reward” them for good behavior and let them stay in the backyard for the day. It hadn’t crossed my mind that they might happen to take an interest in the garden that day, or that this would happen….

D-day

Not just tramped on, but DUG up

Yes, Joey’s still alive

Lindley is too

Lessons Learned

So, my first summer of gardening ended more abruptly than I thought it would. While I typically steer away from writing the tragedies, I realized that they are sometimes unavoidable. My garden had a sad, sudden ending. But I did learn several great lessons, even from year 1 and I was able to eat at least ONE salad from it.

Here are few of the nuggets I learned:

– Don’t feel bad for dogs. They’re animals. Lock them up, go with your better judgment. They’re just dogs.

– Gardening can easily be paralleled to a spiritual life in the sense that if I don’t watch over my faith, tend to it and keep out pride, unforgiveness, doubt, blame, etc – it will eventually erode away or have the tendency to be dug up.

– A garden is also like a body. It must be properly cared for, hydrated, and watched over. “Dogs” can also creep into the body and wreak havoc if it’s not well attended to.

– Don’t give up. Food is food, and try again next year. There’s always the farmer’s market.

…… until next year!

August 27, 2010 at 5:46 pm 3 comments

Yeah … and No

Yeah, having cancer is really hard.
Yeah, it’s also one of the most eye-opening experiences you will ever have.
No, it doesn’t always hurt.
Yeah, it often does. Or at least the tests for it are a huge pain and the stuff you drink tastes nasty. Colon surgery is no cake walk either.

Yeah, I’m usually feeling pretty good. I’m recovered from surgery.
Yeah, I’m still learning the ropes to life without much colon even 10 months later.
No, I would never ask for a double-colon surgery ever again.
Yeah, others have had worse than me, though.

Yeah, it’s hard to keep up morale sometimes.
Yeah, it’s way easier with good friends and family.
No, that doesn’t always cut it though.
Yeah, sometimes you do just need a day or night alone to take it all in.

Yeah, I think about cancer just about every day.
No, not because I’m directly fighting it right now or on chemo. But because its implications impact me each day.
Yeah, I’ve found a way to manage them.
No, I still don’t have it mastered, and I want my proverbial security blanket back.

Yeah, I still go poop and am one of the lucky ones. I can eat salad.
Yeah, I do wish I could have my colon back some days though.
No, I don’t regret having it removed. I’d rather have the least risk possible.
Yeah, that was probably me that farted.

No, I don’t like colonoscopies.
Yeah, I’m still going to tell you to get one until the day I die. You really need to get checked as you age or have problems.
No, they’re really NOT that bad.
Yeah, drinking that stuff and spending all night on the toilet is never fun for anyone. But suck it up and do it.

Yeah, I sometimes am saddened because I can’t have my own kids thanks to the surgeries and cancer treatments.
No, I don’t talk about it a lot.
Yeah, there is hope for us and adoption will be great one day.
No, we’re not ready for that yet.

Yeah, it’s frustrating to pay so much for medical care. Especially when other DINKS can do so much other fun stuff with their money.
Yeah, I struggle with that sometimes.
No, I don’t think we’ve got it as bad as so many others in the country.
Yeah, I feel blessed that we’ve been taken care of so far.

Yeah, I appreciate all of the comments about being strong and inspirational.
No, I don’t always know how to respond.
Yeah, I do feel like I’m still living in a fog sometimes. I don’t know if the impact of what I’ve gone through, what’s to come, or what’s looming over me some days really sinks in.
Yeah, the days that it does are hard. Thus, this post.

Yeah, I feel guilty sometimes when I see other survivors going through chemo or loosing their battles.
Yeah, I get jealous when others get clear results.
No, I would never wish sickness or this disease upon anyone. I truly rejoice at clear reports.
Yeah, I would trade it in myself if I could.

Yeah, I genuinely do still have hope most days.
Yeah, I think a long life ahead of me is definitely attainable.
No, my smile usually isn’t fake or fabricated.
Yeah, I’ve tried to find a way to embrace the aging effect and unique perspective all while acting my age.

Yeah, I’m typing this because today was a rough day.
Yeah, this blog helps and is therapeutic.
No, my day’s not all bathroom-related although maybe a little bit.
Yeah, it’s more about the emotional side of things tonight and what I have faced, and still face, hits me every now and then.

Yeah, I can’t do a post like this and not mention my faith.
Yeah, I think in the end, it’s what will really matter.
No, it’s not always easy for me to believe and trust that there’s a bigger plan and a greater world out there God’s created for us.
Yeah, I know it to be true though and that’s what gets me through.

May 4, 2010 at 9:52 pm Leave a comment


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,129 other followers

Danielle on Twitter

We're a hit!

  • 63,436 hits

%d bloggers like this: