No Where He Can’t Reach

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I was listening to a worship song the other day on my walk, and one of the verses said,”There’s no place, that His love can’t reach”, and it reminded my of my mom’s cancer. Her tumours are deep within her body, places that may make them inoperable. The surgeon’s can’t reach them, the imaging the radiologists uses can barely figure them out. It would seem they are impossible to reach, but then I hear, “There’s no place that His love can’t reach”, and I realize that only He can remove them. God’s love is infinite, His power infinite, His control infinite. My faith tells me my Father can do things that no one else can do. If it is healing that you require look towards Heaven. For it is with Him and Him alone that healing comes from.

The very first thing my Mom did when she found out her lumps were cancerous was to have her old root canals removed. The proof that root canals can increase your risk of cancer is anecdotal, but when she had hers out it was apparent that they were infected and had been for some time. Her immune system would have been impaired from the infections, and the root canals were at least 15 years old. root canals
The next thing she did was she began juicing all her vegetables and fruit. Part of this was because of necessity (she has no teeth after having the root canals removed and her denture isn’t ready yet). There is also evidence, anecdotal, that carrot juice in large doses can help the body fight cancer. carrot juice
We are looking into other therapy’s currently that she can do in Canada, and then we are looking at clinics in Germany and Mexico that offer treatment not yet recognized by our FDA nor offered in private clinics nearby. These can be expensive so that is why what we can do here, we are. One therapy is hyperbaric oxygen chamber (HBOT).

These are just a few of the things we are trying. Mom is also taking a variety of herbs and supplements. We are working with surgeons, medical doctors, naturopaths and chiropractors. If you or a family member are struggling with this monster AKA cancer, my prayers are with you. I’d encourage you to take an active role in the battle. If someone tells you all hope is lost then find someone else who is on your side. The last word will never come from a medical professional, but from God. Only He says when it is done. Therefore let you fear rest with Him, and never be afraid of what a doctor tells you (alternative or conventional). Probably the best advice someone gave me was to make sure mom is laughing every day. All of this can seem so overwhelming, that we often forgot that laughter is indeed the best medicine of all.

Take care and God bless.

Unequally Yoked

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2 Corinthians 6:14 “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”

I write this to encourage others who are in relationships with spouses who are not yet Christians. The Bible warns against this, calling it being “unequally yoked”. So how do we know if God wants us to stay in a relationship that is “unequally yoked” or if we should leave? I think that answer is complicated and a highly personal one, what He would tell one person to do will be way different than what He tells me to do. But I will tell you my experience with this thus far. I grew up in a Christian home, so I knew as I went into adulthood that God would play some sort of role in my life, but I was not yet sure what role that would be. I was asking God to follow me, instead of me following Him. I met my husband in my late teens, and he was not a Christian. We had our son before we were married and it was during our premarital classes with my pastor that he gave his life to Christ. I thought from then on it would get easier, we were finally spiritually on the same path and I was about to put that issue behind us. Unfortunately it wasn’t that easy. My husband puts things in this order, work first, others second, then himself and then God. God teaches us it should be Him first and foremost as the cornerstone in our life, followed by the needs of others, then ourselves lastly. Probably the best example that I have come across of this is Luke 14: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters–yes, even life itself–such a person cannot be my disciple.” Which means to me to put aside everything in life you love and hold dear, pick up your cross and follow The Lord.

With my husband putting work first, that is where come Sunday morning you will find him. He is a great provider for our family and his work ethic is unparalleled, but I have learned I have to be patient for him to get to a point in life where God is first. I often have felt discouraged, that he will never love God like he should and have the deep, rewarding, relationship that I have with my Father, and then he surprises me. He will say a Bible verse or story he had read when I have never seen him pick up his Bible. Or he will tell my what he prayed for and how God had answered it for him. And this man, who I pray for and long for to have a personal walk with Christ, is further along then any of my expectations had led to believe.

I pray for my husband often, and one day my husband confirmed for me about how faithful our God is and how concerned He is for every detail of our lives. He started to tell me about a truck driver that often comes into his place of work, and would talk to him and only liked it when my husband helped him, he would request my husband personally if he was on shift. Later I came to find out that this trucker was indeed a pastor at a church in another community, and was hauling to help pay off his mortgage. Sometimes he would give my husband pamphlets to read about God and what Christianity was, and he would answer questions for him. I often think that undoubtably this man was also praying for my husband as I was. I say that this confirmed how faithful our God is because I often prayed for him to come to church, and when he wouldn’t or couldn’t, God would bring the church to him.

Now my husband isn’t where I want him to be spiritually, but he is exactly where God has put him. It is a continual walk and like any meaningful relationship it can take years and years to build. My hope for you is to encourage to you to continue to pray for your spouses’ salvation, and I bet with certainty that He will show up in the most unexpected ways in the life of your spouse. Remember for my husband it was in form of a truck-driving pastor.

Live in Spite Of

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What I wish people knew about people fighting cancer (or any deadly/life altering disease) is that the people in this battle, are still the same as we were the day before you knew about the battle we are facing. What I mean is, I am not living in denial of this disease that has drastically affected my life and may take my mom, I am instead living in spite of it.

We live in a small town and my family has been here for forty years, so we have a lot of friends. The news of my moms cancer travelled quickly and what has shocked me is the way people have changed almost overnight. People who would once come up to and ask you how you were and what’s new, are instead completely avoiding you, even walking across the street to get away from you.

I understand that it is normal that people don’t know how to handle the sad news about my mom, and if I am being honest I have done exactly what they’re doing. When my neighbour lost his mom I avoided him, unsure of what to say or do. I had “nudges” to make him meals, ask him how he’s doing, but I ignored them. Same when another neighbour lost his wife to cancer, I avoided eye contact, until months had past and I felt better about talking to him. I now understand that the awkward conversations that I were trying to avoid, are exactly the opposite of what I should have done. My mom’s diagnosis has taught me to be kinder, more empathetic, and bolder in the face of adversity. Those “nudges” that I felt are what I believe is God teaching me what I should do, to better love thy neighbour, and I ignored Him. It saddens me to realize that it took my own awareness of my family’s mortality to soften my heart to those dealing with illnesses or loss.

So what should you do? If you are privileged enough to have yet personally experience pain from cancer, disease, or loss, then I urge to be kinder to those around who are battling with it. By being kinder I mean to not shy away from asking how we are doing, or be afraid to reach out when you hear the news of a friend with a family member who is ill. Don’t ignore those feelings telling you what you should do in favour of something that is more comfortable to you.

I want nothing more to come out of this than for someone to treat me as they did before. Like I said previously, I am not living in denial, if you see me cheerful or if you ask me how I am doing and I tell you “good”, it isn’t because I am ignorant. I continue to live positively and happily because it is good for my soul, and I’d love to tell you about it if you would just ask.

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Slinging Stones at Cancer

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My mom has metastatic breast cancer. It has spread to her spine already, and they are searching for other areas it may have seeded. When we first found out, I was angry at God. How could he do this to our family? My mom was getting ready to retire, and she and my dad were moving to their lake house to enjoy the fruits of all their labor. So why would this happen, why would God allow this to happen? She has been a faithful Christian almost her entire life, a tither, and she has been Christlike and wise. She’s the matriarch of our blended family, I can’t possibly imagine her being gone. Not yet anyway, I’m not ready.
At first I was so angry I couldn’t even pray. Then I had peace, I knew that whatever happened I have the promise of seeing her again to look forward to. We met with our elders and pastor and they did an atonement and laid their hands on her, but what my pastor told me is difficult and I still mull over it. He said, “Our God is sovereign. We can pray for Him to heal her but their are a few ways He can answer, yes–instantaneous healing, yes–not yet though, or simply no–her healing will come in heaven. The last one is incredibly difficult, why wouldn’t He heal her?
I am reminded often of the parable of the persistent widow (Luke 18:1-8), and how Jesus spoke of fervent prayer. This is what I hope for, that our God, as sovereign as He is, can be persuaded to heal my mom from this incredibly difficult disease, which doctors say is incurable. Everyday I am searching for alternative therapies that we haven’t considered yet, or sound promising, and my mom is doing everything she can, both with conventional medicine and alternative. We must beat this disease because, as she said, “I’m not ready to go yet.”
I will keep you updated on her progress, and if anyone is interested I will post what therapies she is doing and how they are working. I’ve learned that I have no fear of doctors, and what they say “might” happen, but instead my fear lies in The Lord. Ultimately he is the one who heals, the one who giveths, and the one who takes away.
God Bless those of you in the battle against cancer along side me. There are many stories of healing in the Bible, for those of you looking for hope to cling to.
Luke 4:38
Luke 5:17-26
Luke 6:17-19
Luke 8:40-56
Luke 9:37-42
A note on persistent prayer: Luke 11:9-13 and Luke 18: 1-8
And this is just a few!

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Walking the Crooked Path

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I have been pretty angry at God the last few months. We are struggling financially, my husband started a new business so he drastically cut back on his hours at his regular job. He hasn’t received a cheque from his business yet, and has been putting a lot of hours in that aren’t “billable”. I understand that this is normal when you start any entrepreneurial venture, but the strain has been hard on our family, in our finances and in his increasing absence. I’ve been asking God to help me be content with what we have so I don’t miss the things we are lacking, and remain patient with our children during this stressful time, but our income is at it’s lowest in our nine years together and we have two kids with demanding schedules.

Our Pastor talked about discipleship this last Sunday, and what that looks like. How Jesus told his disciples that in order to follow Him, they had to give up everything–family, friends, possessions, and even prepare to give their life up. And this morning I heard in my mind as I was trying to put on a happy face, get the kids ready for school, the house tidied, “Are you prepared to give everything up for Me?”. My initial response is, “Yes!” of course I would! And I feel like I already have, we still tithe on our little income and give when we are able to give any extra, and I find myself saying, “isn’t that enough God? Don’t you see how sarcificial I am being?” But the truth is I am not cutting deep enough. Ten percent doesn’t belong to God, it all belongs to God.

I felt encouraged last night to read the book of Ruth. The story is one of my favourites. I love Ruth, she is loyal, patient, and obedient, three virtues that I strive to have. She left her homeland and her family for her mother-in-law, how many people today would or could do the same? I find myself today though not reflecting on Ruth’s sacrifice, but Naomi’s loss. Naomi lost her sons and her husband, and even says, “…the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but The Lord has brought me back empty…” Ruth 1: 20-22. I too, feel empty. I feel as though I have done everything I am supposed yet still The Lord hasn’t answered, the way I want him too. This morning my daughter brought me a card that had a lion on it and said simply, “Strength”. I have no idea where she found it, but The Lord speaks to us in mysterious ways. Sometimes through a child picking up garbage. I was reminded of a verse from a song we sing in church, “Strength will rise as we wait upon The Lord”. So that’s what I am doing, waiting on The Lord.

Naomi losing her sons and husband isn’t the end of the story for her, through her loyal and faithful daughter-in-law, she is eventually given a “grandchild”, Obed, and a women who is without name says to Naomi, “…Praise be to The Lord, who this day has not left you without a family guardian….He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age.” Ruth 4: 14-16. Make no mistake, this isn’t a better ending for Naomi, it’s just different than the one she thought she would have.

My life isn’t in the sweet perfection I imagined it to be. Our extended family is struggling with Faith and health issues, we are burdened with financial issues, and my children are often robbed of their dad because he is busy trying to make things better for us. In all our struggles one thing has remained constant, I still chose God. Even though he doesn’t always make things “easy” and “perfect” I do know for sure, that a perfect life without God is far worse than an imperfect walk with Him. Strength will rise as I wait upon The Lord, so I will be encouraged and wait.

The Tithe

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Luke 6:38 “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

Tithing is a part of Christianity that most Christians, myself included, have difficulty with. In order to tithe, we must fully understand and commit to the reality that our income isn’t ours, but it belongs to The Lord because he allows us to have it, and when we tithe we are in truth only giving back to The Lord a portion of what is already His.

My church recently built a new building, and we are suffering financially because we followed an old model of building churches, collecting pledges from congregation members for a third of the cost and getting a mortgage for the other two thirds. Guess what happened when the church was built? People left, moved away, or didn’t follow through on what was pledged and now we have this debt. We also don’t push tithing, money is a hard subject and it is a sensitive area for the church to teach about. We are an increasingly suspicious society, so when someone comes to us with their hand out, we clam up, even though it was our Lord is commanding us to. We readily accept advice from our Pastor on our marriage, our children, our personal walk with Christ, but if he starts asking us for money then we are OUT. This then goes back to the first point I made, the money really isn’t ours to begin with.

Money is finite. You only get so much on payday and once it is dispersed it is gone. There isn’t anymore once it is all used up. Our God is infinite. He is unwavering, unchanging, always loving. We don’t say, “Well I prayed once already today and that was my limit, so I have to wait until tomorrow to pray again.” That’s ridiculous! He is always available, unlimited, like the limit on your account is nil. The reason I point out our God’s infinite reach, is because I experience it with my tithing. I often don’t tithe. I think, “there just isn’t enough money and God says to take care of our household or we are foolish.” (“If anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. ” 1 Timothy 5:8) Just recently I was doing our family’s budget and I could not make the math work. I spent days trying to allocate enough funds to every category but there were more categories than there was money. Finally I gave up, and since it had been two months since I last gave an offering, I tithed. The next morning I got up and looked at my budget. I thought it would be another long unproductive day of trying to make the math work. But guess what? It worked. All the numbers fit in and there was even money left over. I was left not wanting anything and feeling our needs were met entirely. I told this to my mom and she told me, “You just were adding the numbers wrong”, but I disagree. I was trying to make the budget work from my limited Earthly perspective, God stepped in worked it from his heavenly perspective, and made an, albeit small, miracle happen. I truly and honestly feel that it was divine, by tithing I invited God into my finances and He not only stepped up to the plate, but knocked the ball out of the park. Tithing is a habit I will take more seriously, and I strongly encourage you do the same.

Forgiven

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Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Forgiveness. I have been forgiven therefore I shall forgive, right? I sometimes struggle with forgiving people. Usually for me it is easy to forgive, but a few times I have had to pray and pray for God’s grace and help me to let go and forgive. I do not forgive because it is good for the other person, they may not even know I had a grievance about them, it is for the health of my own soul that I must forgive. I always think of it in terms of gunk, filth, or garbage that litters my heart and soul. The anger, hurt, frustration, that tends to build up and we carry it around. It is weighing you down, you may not notice, but when you let go of it for good you feel a breath of fresh air in your soul. It’ll be like someone opened the window and let out all the stale air. You do not forgive for the sake of the other person, you forgive for the sake of your own survival.

I recently saw someone that inspired me to write about forgiveness. Many years ago, his father came to my father for help. My dad was reluctant to help him because he was very busy, but the man insisted so he eventually did. Things did not go according to how the man had wanted, so he threatened to sue my dad. My dad sought legal counsel and learned the other man had no basis, or evidence, that would warrant a law suit. It was all gossip and empty threats. My dads business was hurt for a while, but eventually it picked back up to the pace it was at originally. This other man had been damaged, but it would seem he has recovered since his business appears to once again be thriving. This was a dark and terrible time for my family. For my dad, who had been doing his job for 30 years at that point, without any incident, it made him reconsider his faith in the gift he has. I got tired of the endless gossip, people prying and asking questions. I was angry, but not as much as my older sister. She would go on a rampage defending my father and tarnishing the other mans name, which was what that man was doing to my father. So I prayed. My mom prayed, and probably countless others who relied on my dad and trusted him. After the dust settled, my dads business started to get vandalized. I often suspected the other man’s children as he had two sons, that were the same age as me. I don’t have any proof, but it was what I felt in my heart.
I don’t think about this other man any more, and I don’t know if my sister does, but I do know that I have forgiven what was done and I no longer have to spend any time on it. It doesn’t concern me at all. It occurred to me the other day though, that he doesn’t feel the same. I ran into one of his sons and he shot me a terribly awful look. This isn’t the first encounter I have had with him, and it is usually the same. He still hates me and my family, and the emotion raw as if it happened yesterday. Instead of being angry at him, which would start the cycle over, I feel sad for him. The hurt and anger has rusted his soul. He blames me and my family still to this day for what happened to his dad, and I can’t do anything to rectify it or make it better, but I do prayfor him. He has no idea the freedom he would feel if he could just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, especially if forgiveness isn’t a muscle you have used before. But like any muscle, you practise, start with a smaller weight, and once it easy for you to lift the smaller weight you go up in size until you finally have reached your goal. It’ll take patience, and transgressions you thought you let go of will surface again, and you will have to pray about it and forgive them all over again. But I promise you this, it is worth it. If you feel bitterness remember, you aren’t forgiving for the good of the other person’s involved, you are forgiving because it is good FOR YOU.