Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Thanksgiving "make-over"

"Believe ye that I am able to do this?" Matthew 9:28 Talk about being caught up in the cares of this is Thanksgiving, and I am stressed out of my mind. Instead of resting in the fact that we are here-at home-for a purpose, I am beyond stressed. Stressed over this turkey. Stressed over the money we spent for the meal. Stressed over the desire to create "holiday magic". I am tired, though I slept 8 hours. My joints ache. I feel like I'm 80 years old. I'm grouchy. I'm worried about money, about making time to pray today, about how much victory I have already given the enemy. These are small things in the scheme of this life. But God wants my small stuff too. Nothing is too hard for God. Not even the little impossible things. Like my mood. I have done my best to spread my stress and tension around. Can God take my mess and bring about an attitude change in me? "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.". That is a lot of power us mama's have. I want to use my power for good. Lord, I pray You would take this day and redeem it for your purposes. Take my worry, my stress, my regret (over not brining the turkey?!), my bossiness, etc., and transform it all. Save me from myself. Quiet me with Your love. (Zephaniah 3:17). Accomplish Your purposes in this home today. Help me keep my eyes on You. The author and perfecter of my faith. Lord, work Your beauty from ashes. May Your Spirit fill this place. Start the conversations that need to be started. Remove judgement and replace it with Love. Savior, like a shepherd lead us. "Roll on Jehovah, Thy way". Only You can bring the beauty You have planned. I surrender all. (now, if You'll just show me how;)

Saturday, March 31, 2012


P.U.S.H- Pray Until Something Happens

This morning, as I lay in bed, I felt a small sense that I should get up and pray for Tim (who had left early for a flight out of BWI, to do a gig in Cleveland). I didn't give it weight. I thought, I will pray for him when I get up...I have all day to pray for him. Again, I thought, maybe this would be a good day to fast and pray for Tim...but I already had a bite of banana maybe not.

Then, while studying the Bible, I got a call from Tim that his flight had been delayed-mechanical difficulties. That all the other flights to Cleveland had gone, and his had still not been re-scheduled. Immediately I remembered that "still small feeling" I'd had this morning. I felt so ashamed that I had not followed through with it. I told Tim, and he said he didn't think it would have made a difference. Right or wrong, I asked him what he thought prayer did do. He said he was just trying to make me feel better. Again-right or wrong-I told him I did not need to be made to feel better, but to grow and to learn. (why must I always assume the role of "teacher" with my husband, when God has convicted me that I should not? When will I learn to let the Spirit do that?)

I then went up to my prayer place, and proceeded to worship and to pray. I asked forgiveness for missing my earlier opportunity, and I truly prayed with the peace of forgiveness, and the peace that God was going to do something. I determined to be persistent in my prayer-until something happened. And I determined I would give thanks for whatever that something was.

About 45 min. Into my prayer time, the phone rang. It was Tim. The event was cancelled, due to his plane being delayed. I accepted this with a joyful heart. I know my God could do anything. I know His thoughts and ways are higher than mine. I know that I had not been obedient, and there are consequences to disobedience.

It reminded me of the persistent and humble prayer of King David as he begged for the life of his son, conceived in sin, with Bathsheba. Once he was brought the news that his child had died, he accepted it, washed his face and ate something. Our part is to pray. We do not have the wisdom or the responsibility for the outcome. This is one more facet of prayer. Pray until something happens-and when it does-trust that God is in it, even if you can't see Him. Your prayers were heard, the scripture prayed will bring a return, faith and trust are the required elements of the believer. "What is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

Trust Him for what you cannot see. And learn to listen and obey what you (ever so faintly) hear him say.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Persevering...through the Dog Days

I don't know what "the dog days" represents for you, but with my cancer, I always knew the dog days would come, and that they would be some of the hardest days for me.

I have 2 dogs, and when I look at what their day consists of, it goes a lot like this: bathroom break, couch. Food break, couch. Dreaming of food while on the couch. Bathroom break, couch. Being subject to whatever some human left on TV, as they lay on the couch.

I knew that the hardest days would be the days where I felt weak and worthless. Where I couldn't get up and do the many things I wanted to do-needed to do-because the energy and the brain power just weren't there.

Exactly one week after every chemo, comes three or four days where my activities mirror that of my dogs-thus the dog days. There's a lot of laying on couches, a lot of resisting to even get up to take that bathroom break; a lot of eating; a lot of dreaming of chocolate peanut butter Haagen-Dazs; and a lot of watching mindless TV.

The results are a draining of passion, a question of purpose, and a feeling (however unrealistic) that I will never be useful again. These, of course, are all lies of the enemy- lies that I am ineffective-which are-in fact-designed to make me ineffective. Never mind that just one day before the debilitating fatigue set in, I was having amazing opportunities to talk about Jesus, had begun writing a book, and was re-organizing my house. But everything comes into question after 2 or 3 dog days.

The Bible says: "We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised." (Hebrews 6:12 NIV84) I'm not calling you or me "lazy"-for whatever reason, the dog days come. But I do want us to have the antidote to the discouragement of the dog days. You'll find them tucked away in that verse, they are: faith and patience.

If you're like me, I don't find my weakened faith in the heat of the fire, but in the quietness of the cooling down stage. When nothing seems to be happening, and I'm not sure I am becoming like Jesus at all. I know I was-in the fire-but now that I can't see the heat and smoke, the enemy accuses that I haven't learned a thing and that there is no purpose for me-and there never was.

Step one in defeating the dog days: turn off the TV.
Step 2: turn off the incessant voice of the enemy, and counter it with God's word-the truth that produces faith. And be inspired by the timing of God, which requires patience.

This is exactly what Jeremiah did in Lamentations 3:20-21. He said:

" soul is downcast within me.

Yet this I call to mind

and therefore I have hope

Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed,

for his compassions never fail.

They are new every morning;

great is your faithfulness.

I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;

therefore I will wait for him.” (Lamentations 3:20-24 NIV84)

Jeremiah knew who God was, but it wasn't until he intentionally called to mind the character of God, that he overcame the debilitation of the dog days, and the lies of the enemy. When he fed his faith and patience, he was revived.

When the dog days come-and they will come-be ready to call to mind the word of God that will revive you. Too weak? Have a friend at the ready to remind you of the truth of Who God is, how in your weakness He is made His grace is sufficient for you. How He is the one that sustains you, the one who made you and will rescue you. If you do that, you will come out on the other side strengthened! And your enemy? Denied.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Lucky to have cancer

I don't mean to be offensive, or glib...I just have to tell you, that sometimes, I feel guilty that I have cancer. Cancer-the Boogeyman of disease and sickness. The one that commands respect-compassion-service-unconditional love. And, I am the recipient of all of these, because I-have cancer.

I can't help but think how different this experience would be if I had something else. Something less feared, and more loathed. Something less well known, and more inviting of skepticism. And what if I had something contagious?!

There's a sick woman in the Bible in The gospel of Mark, chapter 5. She did not have cancer. We know her as "the woman with an issue of blood", and she had it for 12 years! Furthermore, what she had made her "unclean". Someone to avoid, or your whole day was going to be spent in purification rites. Someone who-who knows?-might be contagious!

And if you know the story, you know that she secretly reached out and touched Jesus' clothes-believing it would be enough to heal her.

And it was! She was healed: "Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction." (Mark 5:29 NKJV)

Fantastic! Jesus didn't have to be bothered, and she could move on in relative anonymity.

But Jesus was bothered. He made a big deal out of it. "Who touched me?."

Why would Jesus embarrass her like this? And, furthermore, why should Jesus (Son of God) have to ask such a question?

You see, Jesus was bothered, not by the indignant act of someone touching Him-neither did He worry that His question would make Him seem more human and less deity-but, He simply couldn't let her leave with only a partial healing.

"But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. (Mark 5:33 NKJV)

Which He already knew. It was she-and everyone else that needed to know "the whole truth".

Which Jesus related perfectly, in His response to her:

He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” (Mark 5:34 NIV84)

Do you see what Jesus accomplished in 2 sentences? Look closely:

"Daughter"-He identified her with a term of endearment, effectively calling her family.

"your faith"-He commended her to others (who had looked sideways at her and her problems-that she'd most likely brought on herself).

"has healed you"-He proclaimed her well. So that everyone would know, and no one would be able to doubt. (And if they did, they would be doubting Jesus- not this "undesirable woman").

"Go in peace"-She could exhale now.

"and be freed"-No more restraints.

It wasn't enough for the woman to be physically healed. Jesus wanted to restore this "daughter" completely and unequivocally.

I have cancer. And as far as cancer's go, I have a very manageable one.

I am lucky.

Let's look around us for the women "with the issue of blood".

Let's touch them.

Let's call them daughter and sister.

Let's pray for their healing. Let's free them from their suffering at the hands of-not their diseases-but their fellow man.

We have such power: peace and freedom are ours to bestow.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, January 20, 2012

Worse than

Worse than not looking like me, is not feeling like me...(I think)

Here I am, theorizing again, but now that I have begun chemo, and before it has changed my outward appearance, it has changed the way I feel. Normally outgoing and friendly, ready to join in almost any conversation, I walk through masses of people, feeling fuzzy. The room almost "spinning" as the cliche goes. And just when you're not sure if anyone else can notice how you're feeling-so out of place-a total stranger walks up to you, in a place where you are a "regular", and utters these words: "Are you alright, ma'am?" Ugh.

I found myself identifying (some might say mellow dramatically) with the "Gadarene Demoniac", the man with the unclean spirit, of Mark 5, in the Bible. The story says of him:

"And always night and day he was in the mountains and the tombs, crying out, and cutting himself with stones."

Ok, now even I think that sounds a little mellow dramatic! I'm not saying I was sitting there contemplating injuring myself when the helpful young man came up...I'm saying that this Gadarene guy was not the one cutting himself either. He was merely the guy trapped in a situation where he had no control. Someone or something else was calling the shots. And that is miserable.

Cancer is-at the moment-my "someone or something else" calling the shots...what is it for you? What has you so turned around, that you don't know whether to worship Jesus, or to fear him? (Mark 5:6-7). Is He your cure, or your judge? That can be the question in your head, and like the Gadarene, it was put there by demons themselves. The demoniac (full of demons identified as "Legion") put his hope in Jesus-the demons themselves begged Him for mercy and received it! And what was the outcome? If you know the story, you know a herd of pigs took a demonic leap into the sea...their herdsmen got really freaked out and told everyone in town...they all came out and saw the Gadarene "former demoniac" sitting there dressed and fully looking and feeling like himself again.

Happy end of story, right? Not exactly. The townspeople were scared of the big giant change that had occurred. Sure they had been trying to contain the demon possessed guy for years, tried chaining him, maybe even praying for him...and now, clearly, something huge had broken through. But it wasn't something they felt comfortable with. It had cost them something. Pigs, maybe, or maybe just normalcy. Things should go back to a normal way. Their brilliant plan to regain normalcy? Beg Jesus to LEAVE.

Jesus did leave. But not in a huff. Not shaking the dust off his feet from the undeserving town. He left there, among them, one abruptly changed life. And this charge to the transformed man:

"Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you. And he departed and began to proclaim...all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled."

I don't know what you're going through...I don't know what stage it's in. Are people looking at you side ways, wondering if you're alright? Are they avoiding eye contact all together? Are they asking you how you're doing, and hearing what they want to hear? Are they uncomfortable with the way Jesus is delivering you? Too quick, too dramatic, too slow. Too untraditional? They love you, (or maybe they don't), they want to help you...(or, again, maybe they don't). Just remember, they can't. There is only one Who the winds and the waves and the demons and the substances obey. Put your hope in Him, and you will never be put to shame. And, eventually, all will marvel.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, January 16, 2012

If I don't look like me, then who am I?

If I don't look like me, then who am I?

I have looked like me all my life. I have had a love/hate relationship with me. But at the age of almost 50...for the most part I have accepted who I am. And I wouldn't even want to look like ...Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Aniston, or Scarlett Johansson-because then I wouldn't look like me. My hair is not terribly thick, but I like it-it suits me-and I get compliments on it. My body may not be as voluptuous as some, but I like it:) Clothes are my friend:) They cover over a multitude of sins.

But now, all the control I have-over what I look like-is about to go away. Because now, I have cancer. I have kept my hair long, because I feel better in long hair, my husband likes long hair. I have kept my weight under a certain standard (granted, easier for me than others), because I know I don't feel good about myself when I'm over a certain poundage, and my clothes don't fit right anymore. Sure, I am aging, and there are factors I can't control. But I have (subconsciously, I realize) held on very tightly to the ones I could.

Who knew I was such a control freak? (that's rhetorical, for those of you who really know me;). I had prepared myself as best I could, for losing my hair. I even took pictures of me in a head scarf, to try and simulate it. It wasn't so bad. Maybe I could "rock the scarf" after all. I had a friend who said she and her husband wanted to get me a wig, when the time came. It seemed all my bases were covered. But even I knew I could only be prepared in theory-not for the true physicality of it.

Now my treatment has a face. And it is promising to be bald, threatening to be haggard, and possibly, even to be overweight. And my treatment has a season...Valentines Day, Easter, my daughter's graduation from high school, my 50th birthday. It's not like other seasons, when you think..."If I just plan enough in advance, I can get on a regimen where I could be in my best physical shape ever! And I can plan my hair color appointment just so...and maybe a few more layers would be better...(or maybe a few less layers?)..."

No. Now it is truly out of my hands. And now is when theory has to put some clothes on and walk around...and everyone will know if I still know who I am, or if I'm just pretending to know.

I am Lisa Jones. A daughter of the King. A beauty to her Daddy-God. A sharer of the good news. A comforter of others. A woman who longs to be used mightily in the Kingdom, and who considers it an honor to be on the front lines. Even if that means suffering. Especially if that means suffering. I am all of that-in theory.

Time to let God make me more than theory.

Who am I? I am His. Period. And He is enough.