Posts tagged ‘Jesus’

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

April 19, 2013 at 10:28 am 3 comments

My Personal 9/11

Some days you never forget. Just about everyone can tell you where they were during 9/11. I distinctly remember Columbine. And my dad still tells stories of JFK’s shooting. Today is not a day that is remembered by our nation, but it is a day that’s significant for me and my family. It’s one of those days where no matter how many years go by, I will always remember where I was and what happened nine years ago.

My story actually begins at the library. I worked at the public library near my house as a “page” which meant I had the glorified job of arranging books on a cart and then reshelving them. It was a great job with flexible hours, decent pay and amazing coworkers. It was a Tuesday night. I was with my friends (we called ourselves “The A Team”, ) and we were excited this evening because we had the special job of  moving the tables and chairs in the childrens’ book area for a speaker. We loved when speakers came. We’d spend at least 30 minutes on unique arrangements for the chairs and table stacking patterns.  Anything that could take up extra time, we tried.

As much as I was trying to have fun with our furniture arranging on this evening, I wasn’t feeling it. I was expecting a phone call, and my mind couldn’t stay focused. I couldn’t shake a feeling that something was off. As we finished setting up for the program, I looked up to see my mom & dad coming through the doors. I was surprised to see them since I had two hours of work left. Something was strange though. Their faces verified my anxious feelings. Plus, they looked like death. They met me in the childrens’ area and began to deliver the news.

“We got a call from Dr. T’s office today,” my dad said. “Your mass they found was malignant.”

Dad and Mom looked at me with somber faces, pursed their lips, and anticipated my response. As they began to reach in for instant comfort, the reality that I was a little too young for the disease set in as I asked,

“Malignant? What does that mean?”

They got an even sadder look on their faces.

“It means it’s cancer honey,” Mom said. “Your tumor is cancerous.”

As soon as Mom explained that malignant meant cancer, I felt a heaviness that hasn’t ever completely lifted. I’m sure I began asking many questions they couldn’t answer. We made our way toward the front of the library for my coat and stopped by to tell my boss that I’d be gone for a while. She gave me a big hug and told me not to worry about a thing.

The rest of the evening is a blur, except I remember telling my brother, calling Mike who was at SBU, and having Nick come over to pray with my family that evening. I knew nothing about cancer, except that the only man I knew who had it, died.  I knew I should have felt scared, but didn’t fully understand. I wasn’t crying, I wasn’t sure I was upset. I was just numb and confused about what this all meant. At 17, I didn’t have a lot of experience with the disease, nor did I understand its repurcussions. All I knew was that life would be different.

One thing I remember telling Nick that evening was that I was thankful for the opportunity to spice up my testimony. I had always felt I had such a vanilla story of knowing Jesus. I was raised in the church, so my journey was so typical up until then, or so I felt. But this night, when the cancer bomb dropped, I knew my story had changed. While I was unaware of the physical and mental changes, I definitely knew that part of this new diagnosis was spiritual. And my teenage faith automatically put me into the “God’s got a purpose” for this mode that night.

Today I enter my ninth year as a cancer survivor, and I am reminded by my own words back then. No matter what comes – whether it’s a third diagnosis, a complete colon removal, a rough day with olive oil, losing a friend, or just a challenging emotional day, my prayer is that I forever hang on to my own teenage advice and remember God’s got a plan for all of this – and I have to trust that.

2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  James 1:2-4

January 23, 2010 at 9:58 pm 3 comments

The Greatest Gift

Merry Christmas from the semi-colon blog!

It was a year ago Christmas Eve when I received the call that set the direction of this past year. The colonoscopy reports were in, docs were concerned, surgery was recommended. I remember trying to set aside the flood of emotions as I rejoined the family for the gift opening parade. I kept trying to brush it off as we sat in the ER later that evening until about 6 am while Mike recovered from food poisoning. It was like a ton of bricks had just hit us on what should have been the most wonderful day of the year.

I’ve been reflecting over last year’s Christmas a lot the past few days. Even with this Christmas – plans have gone awry. Our “White Christmas” has left us canceling family events and services, and we’re freezing cold in this old house. It makes me really re-think what this time of year is all about.

Growing up a church kid, I’ve always known Christmas was about Jesus’ birth. “The Reason for the Season” and “Christmas is about Christ” were ingrained in my head at an early age. But as I’ve grown and been influenced by culture and life’s situations, it’s really made me dig deeper into those common cliches and figure out what I really believe. Is Christmas still all about Christ when I’m told I have to have surgery again? Can there be joy as you’re sitting in the ER on Christmas morning? Is Jesus really the reason for the season when I cannot make it to my family’s gathering because it’s sleeting outside? Can I still celebrate even though I can’t eat all of the food?

I’ve learned this year that the only thing I need to do to celebrate Christmas is thank Jesus for what He’s done for me. I understand the temptation of skipping over God, or even cutting him out completely, all too well. But I’ve learned that it is not the way to cope with pain and suffering (although it seems reasonable at times.) Jesus offers us hope and love. He’s the source of all good things that have been, and all good things to come. I know the feeling of not wanting to believe because your days are so dark, how could you trust a God that allowed it. And while that’s another post in itself, you’ve just got to trust that God loves you, He has a purpose for you, and that trusting Him is the way to get through life’s biggest disappointments. He came here for us. He came to give us hope in the midst of a crappy world and spoiled plans. He offers us the best gift we could possibly ask for.

This Christmas, I urge anyone who can relate to those of us in the semi-colon community to discover why we celebrate Christmas. Belonging to the cancer community makes for a rough, unfair and often heartbreaking life. It’s one of the hardest things to bear. But the good news is that we do not have to bear it alone. Jesus went through the roughest thing on earth and also died an early, unfair death. And His significance is that He was God, He knew it was all going to happen, and He did it anyway for you and me. No colon issues, ER visits, sleet or snow can take away this message of promise and hope for all of us.

I wish anyone who reads my blog a very Merry Christmas. If you’re a person of faith, I encourage you this year to dig deeper and get to new levels in your relationship with Jesus. If you’re a person who doesn’t consider themselves “religious,” I pray that you give it another chance. Get to know the real Jesus. Read about what he was like. Put aside your stereotypes of Christians (although they are probably very accurate unfortunately) that hinder you from getting to know Jesus and check it out. Give it a chance. It will save your life. It will set you free from your pain, hurts and confusion. It will be the greatest gift you’ve ever received.

December 26, 2009 at 8:14 pm Leave a comment


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