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.