Fun Finale

Well, as I wrote earlier, it was a pretty fun day just to celebrate the end of chemotherapy. My nurse, Ellen, who helped me today in chemo was real cute about being excited it was my last round, telling my 82-year-old chemo neighbor it was my last time, and playing ‘air confetti’ (kind of like air guitar but not really because it’s not an instrument and not so animated but she did ‘feaux throw’ confetti in the air in celebration) after she unhooked me. And, shortly thereafter, 3 very familiar faces walked in. And, not only was it a surprise to see 3 friends (there’s a one visitor rule that is actively enforced) but especially a surprise to they came bearing pink balloons and gifts. The edible kind. The cookie-cake-greatness-edible-kind. And, while they brought it for me too, it was actually even sweeter to me that it was for me to share with the nurses and staff who have loved and cared for me. So, we got to walk around giving cookie cake to receptionists, blood takers, my doctor, and nurses and hug them, introduce my friends, and share the greatness that is the cookie cake. Jenn and Kim had kids in tow – adorably accessorized in pink – so, after we did our tour of sweetness, we had our own little waiting room cookie-cake-eating time with their kids too.

And then I came home to find this greatness awaiting me…








In case you can’t read it’s cuteness, it says “So Long Chemo.” Precious! And so thoughtful. My new neighbor came over and she said it made her teary. You girls can even make strangers cry with your thoughtfulness. And, as if the precious outside wasn’t enough, another sweet friend sent flowers that awaited me on the inside.

I normally rest on chemo days but with Linc at Dede and Reco’s (my in-laws in Tyler) I went into productivity mode to get ready for our Colorado trip on Friday (more on that later this week). But, I had really wanted to rest so, late in the afternoon, I sat down to rest, read, and nap. But the reading was so sweet that I never got to nap. Ive been studying Nehemiah and the lesson was on Nehemiah 3 so I just re-read that section before looking at the questions. I’d read it the other night but it came sweetly alive today. In other time I read vs 16-32, I might have skimmed. It’s a list of names about who did what in rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem under Nehemiah’s leadership. But, the study guide author encouraged us to look at the repeated phrases “next to him” and/or “beside him” and count how many times we saw it in those 16 verses. 18 times it refers to someone working “next to him” or “beside him” and though their job was a much bigger one than the one I’m facing, I saw my story in their story. Or, better yet, His story in my story. To get the wall built it took a lot of folks working side by side. And there have been some amazing women who have walked and worked by my side. Who have done their part and, today, I couldn’t help but praise Him for those names in my story as I read the names in Nehemiah’s story. And, along those lines, I reflected on 1 Corinthians 12 and the roles within the body of Christ. Some wisdom. Some knowledge. Some faith. Some healing. And, in other passages, we see similar messages about different folks with different gifts. Some teachers. Some apostles. Some evangelists. And so on. But I really love the opening of that section which says, “4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.” Indeed, it’s been true for me. There are different kinds of gifts and service and working … but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. And, God made them differently but, like for Nehemiah, I’ve needed them all:) Some cooked. Some cleaned. Some bought sweet gift cards. Some called in or picked up my medicine. Some did laundry. Some delivered Starbucks. Some made house calls. Some bought or taught me scarves. Some wrote me notes. Some kept my little man. Some brought dinner. Some brought groceries. Some mow our yard. Some even planned Lincoln’s first birthday party. Some got the blog setup. Some text me Scriptures each morning. Some brought thoughtful gifts. Some even delivered books. Some coordinated meals or notes for chemo days or babysitting or chores. Some even had cancer so they could encourage me even more sweetly. Some helped financially. Some are even driving to Tyler for me to bring Linc home. In each of them, I saw the Lord working it altogether to give us what we needed for that day. And, He gifted and equipped each person uniquely to help us. One dear friend, early in my diagnosis, confessed that she was having self-described “friend insecurity” as she heard about what other friends were doing and she brought it up again this week. The first time, she cried. Now, we laugh. But, as she admitted, she started comparing what she was doing for me to what others had done for me (cooking and cleaning) and, since comparison steals our joy, it left her discouraged and with “friend insecurity.” And she would be the first to admit that she wouldn’t be good at cooking or cleaning. So I suggested she should continue with her amazing job of delivering Starbucks (which she doesn’t even like, drink, or know how to order but knows I love so she offered and suffered through the humiliation of first-time-ordering at Starbucks) or loving on my little man. Which she does beautifully. And they bless me! And, that day began my awarness to watch for how sweetly and uniquely and perfectly God provides different gifts for different needs and different people at different times.

This isn’t intended to be your morning devotional but my time in Nehemiah continued to be sweet today so I’ll continue to share:) In earlier verses in Nehemiah chapter 2, Nehemiah has come to Jerusalem to survey the damage with some men before communicating his plan publicly. Then, when he speaks before the Jews, he says, 17 Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace. ” 18 I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me. They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work. As I read today, I saw my own story in His words. It seems like Scott and I went to doctor’s appointments and “surveyed the damage” and then we communicated publicly. And, in our words, that would have read: You see the trouble we are in: I have cancer and it has spread to the lymph nodes. Come, please pray and may God be glorified. I also told them about the gracious hand of God and what the doctor had said to me. And they replied, “Let us start helping.” And, from that first email I sent in February, He has begun weaving my past and my present with old and new friends and He has woven our needs with offers for help. And He has strengthened us and brought glory to Himself just like Nehemiah and His people fortified the wall and brought glory to our God. Now, I want to be careful not to over-spiritual the the connections to my life (and really am not trying to preach!) but I do know that those walls that were fortified were gonna protect the people and the rebuilt temple where God dwelt among His people. And I know that this body of mine simply houses the Spirit of the living God that dwells within me. And, as He did with Nehemiah and the Israelites, He has used His people to strengthen this body and protect my heart from discouragement, doubt, weariness, or fear. And, as a result, I get to tell others about the gracious hand of God on me.

And, after all that, as if my day wasn’t sweet enough, I got to spend the night with a bunch of the girls that have been “beside me” or “next to me” so far and played a special role using “their different kinds of service” over the last 5 months. This is what greeted me when I got there. Pure creative sweetness.









Welcome back to my chemo-free world:) Thanks for reading as I tell of the gracious hand of God on me. It is evident in countless ways. And His mercies will be new again in the morning. Oh, wait, it’s already morning…

Goodnight. I’ll end my preachin’ and put my steroid-induced-insomnia-self to bed now.


9 thoughts on “Fun Finale

  1. You have some amazing friends and it must be because you are such an amazing person!! So happy you can close this chemo chapter and hope to see you at the gym again! I love the devotional too 😉

  2. Congratulations on being finished!!!! I can’t tell you enough how you inspire and TEACH…..thank you for your comparison of Nehemiah to your struggle!!!! I confess I am a skimmer when I see lists of names, but what an amazing visual of people working together, holding eachother up during hard times!!! God is so good:) I pray you recharge and will be refreshed in Colorado!! XOXO~stephanie

  3. I actually love the morning devo! Could you write one for me everyday, please? Actually, many days you HAVE done that. Love hearing all the ways God is working thru the people around you and will continue to! I’m so glad the chemo is over! WOOHOO!

  4. You are inspiring, and kind, and so very generous… The fact that you make time to share and teach us about the Lord and what He is doing in your life is truly priceless. You are such a blessing ~

    Love, Peace & Praise

  5. Your friends are precious and so dear. They have loved you well, and I am praying now with thankfulness that chemo is done. Jesus, we praise You and thank You that Jennifer has entered a chemo-free zone, has walked through a hard season with joy, has experienced You in so many ways, and has seen You provide, bless, encourage, empower, counsel, and comfort. We love you, Savior Jesus. Amen.

  6. The Clouse Family ………… The End of Chemo!!! Congrats, a family now much larger and much stronger than ever alone! Your family is blessed through your journey, its not done but has shown you much more of the world, “you will forever pay it forward now” and preach 🙂 Gods blessings!! I look forward to getting your updates each week. Love, The Kerrs

  7. OMG I just loved reading this! We just returned from a family reunion of sort (Mike’s family) so I was behind on emails but my heart fluttered when I saw this. I have such heartfelt joy for you and feel so honored that I could be a part of the blessings you continually bestowed on those sharing in your journey. Praise God in all He does!! I’m ever awed and you are so good at putting His goodness into words. Huge hugs to you sweet friend and continue recovery!!

  8. thinking of you this week, praying. So glad our Lord never slumbers or sleeps…while you were on vacation…..He has been preparing your way. all my love, mb

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