A Refreshed Saint

Since ugly legalism comes so naturally for me, it’s quite an accomplishment for me to be a Bible study dropout. To actually give myself permission to quit Bible study was quite a feat – even though it directly conflicts with chemo these days. I have issues. But, despite being a Bible study dropout and missing my new and old friends on Wednesday morning, I’ve continued reading and studying the curriculum and have really loved the small letters Paul wrote. I think it was in recent weeks that I told y’all how much I was loving the passage in Titus 3 – and, before that, some great stuff in Timothy. And, this week, in the short 25-verse book of Philemon, there is a verse that jumped off the page because it so perfectly and beautifully describes my feelings as well as Paul’s …

Your LOVE has given me great joy and encouragement, because you brother [and I’ll add sisters], have refreshed the heart of the saints [specifically, this FBA Saint who, by grace, is also a child of God.]

I haven’t posted all week because there’s really nothing new to say … it’s the same … I am still marveling at how good I feel. We are so thankful, amazed, and reminded daily that He is good and sovereign. Oh, and that reminds me of another favorite verse in Psalm 119. You are good and you do good. Amen. And, tonight, it’s also the same song, different verse, about how blessed, cared for and carried along we’ve been by friends and family. As Paul said – your love has given me great joy and encouragement. And I am refreshed.

Refreshed is an interesting word in this passage because, literally 3 days before this whole wild ride began, I spoke with Judy Wimberly at our Watermark women’s retreat and the theme was: Renew. Refresh. Rejoice. In God’s grace, despite a drug trying to kill all fast-growing cells in my body, I feel renewed, refreshed, and am able to rejoice. He’s good like that. And so are y’all!

I feel refreshed and renewed because of so many of who have faithfully PRAYED and served us in that way. As Cynthia talked on the phone tonight, she and I lamented that our prayer lives aren’t what we wished they were – but this cancer journey is teaching me how powerful and effective prayer is. There’s truly no other explanation about how and why I feel so good going into my 6th week of chemotherapy and able to pretty easily continue relatively ‘normal’ in my life with Scott and Linc. Little Linc is now 10 months old as of Sunday. And, he met his first bunny on Monday…

That wasn’t really the point of this post but the picture was too cute not to share so I worked it in. Thanks for indulging me. My intention isn’t to write about us as much as y’all. The verse in Philemon just so perfectly and sweetly captured my heart and was a great explanation of the unexpected joy and peace. We have God. And we have His love through your love…

Just since I wrote last week while at chemo, we’ve been blessed with the gifts of meals, visits, fun worship cds, wig styling and delivery services (the wig has been named “Pinky” by her stylist, Missy), amazing-smelling lilies, babysitters, dinner at Houstons (one of our favs!), $100 worth of movie tickets (Scott was especially thrilled about that!), several sweet notes, and countless encouraging prayers and texts. So, thanks to the Coats’, B, Beth, Missy, Gigi, Mandy, Becky, the Breeden’s, Kelley, Ashley, Denny, Amy L, Melissa, Lane, Megan, Alyson, Zig, Amy M for all the love this past week. And, for so many others of you who have been just as generous, thoughtful, and prayerful in the many weeks prior. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement.

And, for the second part, about refreshing the Saints …

The FBA Saints to be more specific. My alma mater of First Baptist Academy has blown me away. The love from old friends and teachers has been nothing short of remarkable. I had a great experience while I was there – but who would have thought that the greatness continues into my 40s??! The list of folks is long but here are a few examples:

First, Mrs. Peterson. She was a 4th grade teacher – but I didn’t start at FBA until 6th grade. She only knows me through Jamie (aka B) and Amy who were my best friends through school – but also her students before I arrived. And she’s praying for me. Then, there’s Mrs. Kayse – and poor thing I’m sure she remembers me with both love and horror because B and I were a handful all through school. But, she cast me in my first and only play as Imogene in the Best Christmas Pageant Ever (and, by far, Imogene is the best role so thank you Mrs. Kayse) and though I haven’t really had much reason to be in contact with her since then (junior high!), she’s reached out as a fellow breast cancer survivor and cared about me. Mrs. Blount is another 6th grade teacher who wasn’t even my teacher – but sweetly has written and prayed. And, at the Arboretum on Friday, I saw the wives of 2 other dear friends from school. And, as I walked off from them, I saw Angie Melton – a year younger than me but the daughter of my basketball coach and she got tears in her eyes telling me she’d been praying for me and updating her dad. Then I got a hug from Kalen at church on Sunday which was just another reminder of the broad FBA network of friends who are praying for me. Thanks also Mrs. Merryman for your sweet note about my unedited blogs and just loving me despite being the handful and very-verbal student that I was. And, while I was at chemo my best friend from 6th grade through high school and college was keeping Linc (again!). I love my B. And Linc loves his Aunt B. And then there are the young Saints and one of those is Travis Shoemake – he and his brother Trey (not to mention his mom, Julia) have prayed for me during many a trip to Africa (fervently) and now through this cancer journey. Travis is a fellow Saint and a fellow infusor:) He has had weekly infusions almost all of his life for an immune disorder – his reality makes my 24 weeks of treatment seem far less difficult. He’s been my only invited guest to chemo so far. And what a great guest he was. In his Saints sweatshirt, of course. I love the Shoemake boys. And am thankful for their love for me.

I’m thankful that I’m a saint. First and foremost, as defined by the Lord’s Word through the gift of grace in His Son. And, also, as a Saint at a small downtown Baptist school with lots of heart and love and prayers.

Thanks to all of you for your love which has brought much joy and encouragement. And thanks to the Lord for answering your prayers as well as ours. He is showing Scott and I that, as His Word says, He is able to do abundantly above all that we ask or imagine. And, more evidence of that is the fact that I head back to chemo tomorrow without any fear and with minimal side effects.

He is good. All the time.

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4 thoughts on “A Refreshed Saint

  1. LOVE reading your blog… God is soooo good. It is crazy how I had just been talking about you that very morning…and then God put us right in front of each other by the afternoon! (and to have my sweet friend Tammy there- so yall could talk Dr’s…- only God could be that amazing!!!) Loved seeing your smiling face and your LAUGH ..the laugh that can be heard across the Arboretum…LOVE THAT JENNIFER LAUGH!!! THank you for allowing God to use you! I am praying for you Sista Saint!!!

  2. Praying for you and your family. My children graduated from FBA and I used to teach there. Thanks for sharing how the school affected your life.

  3. What an inspiring message. I to am a fellow Saint Cancer Fighter!!!! 2 year PETScan for throat cancer coming next week…prayers your way. My verse is Psalm 91: 14-16. Actually did a treatment side by side with Mrs. Kayse…Our God is an Awesome God!!!

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