Be Patient!

Today I have been meditating on Romans 12:12. It says, Be joyful in hope, PATIENT in affliction and faithful in prayer.

Being patient is not one of my best qualities. So today has been extra challenging as I am still waiting to find out test results that will determine my treatment plan. This result was supposed to be revealed on Friday but there was a delay so we had to push back my treatment start date till tomorrow. However, if I don’t hear something soon, I’m wondering if there will be another delay. So, I continue to TRY and patiently wait for the results to come in.

Romans 12:12 says to be joyful in hope. This weekend I was filled with so much joy and hope! My breathing has been improving. My coughing fits have been happening less. I had the energy to put some dishes away. Imagine that bringing me joy, but it did.

On Saturday, we have some friends we had not seen in over 30 years. they were here in Hawaii and we really wanted to get together with them. Since we were not sure how I’d be feeling, we asked them to stop by our home early in the day. I can’t believe how great I felt while they were there. It was so good to talk story and visit with the Barkema’s. We met them when we were a part of an organization called Youth With A Mission in the late 80’s. We all lived in Manoa Valley at the time where Dave, Gina and Derek were a part of the staff. I am thankful to God that he filled me with strength so that we were able to have a really nice time catching up with our friends from so long ago.

Visit with the Barkema’s

Visit with the Barkema’s

Later that day Derek and I went to visit the Cancer Center that I will be going to. I had an appointment to meet with a nurse to go over what treatment would be like. The Cancer Center was really nice. Everyone we met there was so kind. I felt peaceful and comfortable and READY to begin my treatment. Since we don’t know my plan yet, we went over both scenarios of what would happen regarding my treatment. I enjoyed the meeting and it was really helpful to get some questions answered and to see what it is going to be like when I begin treatment. I am thankful that I will be able to be in such a beautiful place surrounded by some very kind people.

On Sunday morning I came downstairs to find my family watching three different football games. Brett loves Green Bay and we love the SeaHawks. I love watching football and the fall season!!!

My favorite player of all time is SeaHawk Quarterback Russell Wilson whom I’ve thought of a lot as I’ve battled cancer because of his work with the Strong Against Cancer Organization. He visits the Seattle Children’s Hospital weekly to lift the spirits of the children hospitalized there. I can’t even imagine going through what I am going through as a child or being the parent of a child who has cancer. Praise God for people like Russell who give so much of themselves to make a difference.

Football Loving Family

Football Loving Family

Well, I am thankful that Russell and the SeaHawks won this weekend are are now 2-0 to begin the season. The Packers won too and have had a great start to their season as well. So, our football loving family had much to celebrate in our home that day!!!

Just after the game a group of our close family friends came by. Unbeknownst to me, a family meeting had organized that I was not allowed to attend. I went upstairs until they called me down to pray over me. I don’t really know what they talked about but it sounded like they were creating a plan to support me during treatment. I can’t tell you how wonderful it feels to be surrounded by so much love and aloha.

Before she left my house, my friend Cindy gave me the most precious drawing that her son Andrew made for me. Andrew is 7 and when he was younger he used to love coming to my stamp studio to play with my punches. He is super smart and knew the name of every shape. The front of his drawing made me smile as I remembered that special season I shared with him punching shapes.

Andrew’s Shapes

Andrew’s Shapes

When I turned the paper over, Andrew had drawn me the Solar System (something this little 7 year old is passionate about) and it was surrounded by some very sweet and encouraging words. I loved his picture so much that I put it in the front of a binder that I will keep all my treatment information in. I’ll carry it with me to encourage me and give me hope!

Andrews Encouragement

Andrews Encouragement

After the meeting, Derek had to go to work, so I spent the afternoon and evening with Brett and Jess. In the early evening, we decided to borrow my Dad’s small wheelchair and go over to the Lagoons for a walk. It rarely rains in Kapolei but wouldn’t you know as soon as we picked up the chair it started to pour!!!

Rainy Walk at Koolina

Rainy Walk at Koolina

We didn’t let the rain dampen our spirits. We waited till it let up a little and then Brett pushed me through a couple of puddles and we had fun. It felt good to be outside and enjoy some fresh air. Also, it is so beautiful there as it was close to sunset.

Koolina Sunset

Koolina Sunset

Today, I woke up again without a lot of breathing problems. My breath is still short but I have been able to move around more without any major coughing fits. I’m still tired so I still spent most of my time sitting or laying down but I am so grateful because I know so many people are praying and I am feeling strengthend by those prayers.

I have kept my phone close to me all day, anticipating the phone call that will determine what my life will look like over the next few months. As the hours went by I grew more and more anxious. In times like these I knew I needed to get into God’s Word and take my mind off my circumstances. So I was led to read Romans 12:12.

Let me share it with you again but this time the Passion Bible Version.

Let this hope burst forth within you, releasing continual joy! Don’t give up in a time of trouble but commune with God at all times. Romans 12:12 (TPT)

As I reflected on this verse, I’ve focused on the joy I felt over the weekend as I’ve experienced the blessing of being able to breathe better and the joy of being surrounded by loved ones who are doing so much to care for me during this battle.

I’ve tried very hard to not grow impatient, to not complain, but to continue to put my hope in God knowing that his timing is perfect and I just needed to talk with him and tell him how I was feeling The more I grow closer to him, the more peace I feel. I trust that he has a plan so I just prayed that he would reveal it and then did my best to leave it in his hands.

I wanted to blog today but I thoughts I’d wait until I had an answer. However, as I prayed I felt God tell me to just start to write and share honestly how I was feeling. To let you know that I struggle with patience but that I also trust in God’s timing. God is so faithful, do you know what happened? Just minutes ago, in the midst of writing this post, I got the phone call. I have the answer and now I can share it with you.

Are you ready? Drum Roll please……. our prayers were answered. I do not have the gene so I can begin OUT PATIENT treatments starting tomorrow. This is what we hoped for as doing the more aggressive IN PATIENT treatments would have meant being hospitalized 6 different times over the next couple of months. Thank you, thank you, thank you to all who prayed and believed with us for this result. We are rejoicing in this miracle and excited to get the party started tomorrow.

We don’t always understand God’s timing but that’s ok. All that matters is that we trust in His perfect plan and in Him. Since I struggle with being patient, being in this position gave me the opportunity to grow a little more in learning to be patient. This delay also gave me the opportunity to share with any of you who may also struggle with patience! That way, we can learn and grow together and encourage one another to never give up but to continually commune with God who is our every present help in time of need.

Thank you for your prayers. I hope you know that as I go in to begin my treatment I carry with me all of the love, support and prayers you have been sending my way. I feel joyful, strong and ready to take on this next step in my journey knowing God is with me and so are you!

With much love and a heart filled with gratitude,

Cindy

One Step At A Time

On Tuesday, May 23, 2017,  I officially began my battle with breast cancer.   Tuesday morning, I had surgery and now the waiting period beings to see if they got it all.  Once I learn the results, I will know what the next steps are.  I am someone who likes to know the plan.  Someone who wants to know what is going to happen on the road ahead but I am starting to learn that God desires for me to rest in Him trusting Him to lead and guide me through each day, one step at time.  No fear, no anxiousness, just an awareness of His presence and a heart filled with gratitude and love.  

One of the big lesson I have learned is that God prepares us for things.  Sometimes the challenges we face are actually God preparing us for something that we will soon face.   He is doing something in us to make us stronger, ready to battle what is ahead.  

I woke up a few days ago thinking about the Tour Du Mont Blanc hike that I did last July.  Then a few minutes later I got an email from a friend who said, "do you remember that hike you did last summer, don't you see how God was preparing you for what you are going through now?"  As I sit back and think about it,   I see that He was.

Tour Du Mont Blanc (Chamonix, France) Day 1

Tour Du Mont Blanc (Chamonix, France) Day 1

I remember this day vividly.  It was day one and we weren't that far into the trek and I was already feeling overwhelmed.  I felt like there was no way I was going to keep up.  As you can see the others are way ahead of me and I felt bad like I was slowing everyone down.  The weather was not good. We'd pass places where we were supposed to see something incredible, but all we saw was fog.  We climbed up to the snow and then a really steep decent brought us to a new town and hotel where we'd be staying the night.  Although that day was AMAZING it was also one of the most difficult struggles I've ever been through.  Although I felt a great sense of accomplishment, I had tears in my eyes thinking this was just day one and we had several more days to complete the over 80 mile hike.

My husband hugged me and encouraged me.  I knew he was in pain too.  It was clear that we were in this battle together.   So before we went to dinner,  I took some time to rest and grabbed my favorite devotional book called Jesus Calling.  It was July 14th, 2016 and this is what it said:

  "Keep walking with Me along the path I have chosen for you.  Your desire to live close to Me is a delight to my heart.  I could instantly grant you the spiritual riches you desire, but that is not My way for you.  Together we will forge a pathway up the high mountain.  The journey is arduous at times, and you are weak.  Someday you will dance light footed on the high peak; but for now your walk is often plodding and heavy.  All I require of you is to take the next step, clinging to My hand for strength and direction.  Though the path is difficult and the scenery dull at the moment, there are sparkling surprises just around the bend.  Stay on the path I have selected for you, It is truly the path of Life.  

Day two of the hike began with a lot of love and encouragement from my friend Lynsay who was the one responsible for inviting me on a "little hike" where I would enjoy drinking espresso and cappuccino's, eating gelato, sleeping in hotels, enjoying delicious French and Italian foods, etc.  She is a great sales person not only in the Stampin' Up! world but also on adventures, but this trip didn't turn out exactly as she proposed.  She left out all the hard parts and in hindsight I learned that she didn't realize how difficult this journey was going to be.  But it was worth the pain.

Lynsay and Cindy - Day 2 Tour Du Mont Blanc - July 2016

Lynsay and Cindy - Day 2 Tour Du Mont Blanc - July 2016

Derek was by my side every step of the way.  There were times I would say to him, "go on without me" and he would calmly say, "I'm not going to leave you".  He'd speak words of love and encouragement to me every step of the way.  He would affirm me and tell me "where almost there, you are doing amazing".  He is such a gift from God.  We made so many lasting memories on this amazing journey together.  

Derek and Cindy Day 2 Tour Du Mont Blanc - July 2016

Derek and Cindy Day 2 Tour Du Mont Blanc - July 2016

The next day felt so much better.  Although we had another day of not so perfect weather my attitude about the challenge was different and I was ready for battle.  I knew that although it would be hard, I could make it.  I just needed to take it one step at a time and not worry about what was around the corner.  If I focused on the fact that around the corner was another steep path I would get discouraged and feel like giving up.  So I learned to pace myself and focus on continuing to move forward focused on just competing the battle no matter how long it took me.  I felt blessed to have such love and encouragement all around me, all along the journey.  

Day 2 Tour Du Mont Blanc - July 2016

Day 2 Tour Du Mont Blanc - July 2016

One of the things that helped me a lot is that I would pray as I walked and I felt like God gently whispered to me and said, "I want to remind you of how much I love you".  So when things got hard, which was most of the time, I would look down at the ground and focus on finding heart shaped stones.  Each time I would see one I would be reminded of God's love and the fact that He was walking with me.  

Heart Shaped Reminders - Tour Du Mont Blanc - July 2016

Heart Shaped Reminders - Tour Du Mont Blanc - July 2016

I was not alone on this journey, each day I would pass many people who were enduring the same pain but finding the peace and joy in it.   It makes me think that every day I pass people who I don't even realize are experiencing struggles in their own life.  Just as I greeted and encouraged those on the hike that I encountered, so I should be more aware of those God brings across my path today to speak words of life, hope and encouragement because they too could be experiencing difficulties.

Tour Du Mont Blan - July 2016

Tour Du Mont Blan - July 2016

This journey was a beautiful opportunity for me to set aside time to not worry about anything (which I tend to do quite often) but to take life one step at a time enjoying the journey.  It was an opportunity for me to learn that often things that are the hardest offer up the greatest rewards.

Final Day- Tour Du Mont Blanc - July 2016

Final Day- Tour Du Mont Blanc - July 2016

As I turned the corner on the last day at one of the highest most picturesque parts of the hike I was reminded of those words I read in my devotion book on day one.   "Though the path is difficult and the scenery dull at the moment, there are sparkling surprises just around the bend.  Stay on the path I have selected for you, It is truly the path of Life."   

Celebrating completing the Tour Du Mont Blanc - www.stampedwithaloha.com

Celebrating completing the Tour Du Mont Blanc - www.stampedwithaloha.com

I was so glad I didn't give up.  I was so glad that I stayed on the path and kept walking, one step at a time.

In the same way we celebrated God's faithfulness to bring us to bring us to this point in a difficult journey, so we celebrate today.  We recognize that God has a plan that can be trusted and we know that in the end we will find victory in Him.

 Today I am on another journey.  This one is also difficult.  This one is also one I need to take one step at a time, not worrying about tomorrow but focusing on what I need to do today.   I can remember my hike and the lessons I learned and apply them to what I am going through now.  I see that God was preparing me as He so faithfully does.

I am encouraged to know that I am not alone.  God is with me and so are so many others.  More people than I ever could imagine have showered me with Facebook messages, texts, phone calls, flowers, gifts and cards.  I have witnessed people shedding tears upon hearing about my diagnosis, people who I don't even know that well and it made me feel so humbled to realize how much they loved and cared for me.  I was so blessed to hear friends say things like "WE are going to do this, and WE are going to do that" in helping me formulate a battle plan reminding me that I had a support system ready to battle with me.  They were reminding me that just like this hike, I was not doing it alone.  To say that I am glad that this happened to me seems kind of harsh but I can already see the good that is coming from it.  I can see how God is using it to draw me closer to Him.  I can see how God is showing me areas of my own life where I needed to slow down and learn the importance of rest and finding peace in His presence.  I am reminded of His great love for me and the importance of me sharing that love daily.

I know that there are those of you reading this who understand the battle you have been there and so bravely fought it or you know someone dear to you who has.  Thank you to so many of you who have shared your own journey as a way to encourage me.  To everyone else who is out there, your battle may not be cancer but it may be something else, relationship issues, the passing of a loved one, addiction, financial problems, etc.  Whatever it is know that God has not abandoned you and you are not alone.  He promises that when you seek Him with your whole heart you will find Him.  He is faithful.  As you allow Him to take control he will bless you with joy and a peace that passes all understanding.

Let me conclude todays post by sharing today's Jesus Calling devotion from today.  Once again it is a very timely message:

"The peace that I give you transcends your intellect.  When most of your mental energy goes into efforts to figure things out, you are unable to receive this glorious gift.  I look into your mind and see thoughts spinning around and round; going nowhere, accomplishing nothing.  All the while, My Peace hovers over you, searching for a place to land.  Be still in My Presence, inviting Me to control your thoughts.  Let My Light soak into your mind and heart until you are aglow with My very Being.  This is the most effective way to receive My Peace."  "Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way.  The Lord be with all of you".  II Thessalonians 3:16.

Thank you for standing with me and allowing me to share my journey with you.  May God bless you with a greater awareness of His presence and peace with each step that you take today.

Source: www.stampedwithaloha.com