Houston, we have a problem 

It’s been an interesting week.  New president, marches, protests, a lot to process.  And as I process, I am less and less ok. I’ve tried to write this blog three times, and I don’t know what to say because my head starts swimming with images of the week and confusion about what is true and what isn’t. Which way is up? 

This week has more symptoms from treatment. (On a super positive note, possibly the only one in this entire blog, my cancer symptoms have mostly disappeared! Praise the Lord!) All the questions I’m asked on my weekly questionnaire are starting to make sense: My mouth throat dryness has a bad effect on tasting foods.  ✔️ I have a lack of energy. ✔️I think it was last Saturday that I woke up and my mouth quit producing spit. Monday I awoke, and my throat was so swollen that if I weren’t going through treatments I would have thought I needed a tonsillectomy. Thankfully, my burns are higher in my nasopharynx , and do not make it hurt to swallow, just a bit more difficult because everything is so dry. I cannot imagine what this would be like with traditional radiation, or being treated for throat cancer. I am thankful for donors who have funded building Proton Centers around the country. 

I awoke the morning of the inauguration or the morning after, it kind of all runs together.  I started talking to God, asked him what he wanted to do to spend time together.  I felt in my spirit 1 Peter 2:13.  I looked it up – 13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, 14 or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. 15 For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. 16 Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. 17 Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.-  Kind of timely, huh? See I don’t agree with everything our new president says he wants to do.  I’m holding out my final judgement on his immigration policy until I actually read a plan of some sort,  but the things he has said in sound bites concern me, and greatly effect people I care about.  I have other concerns as well, but I also disagreed with and had concerns with our former administration. So, in light of God’s leading, I am going to support our president.  I will pray for him, as I prayed for Mr. Obama, I am going to use my words and actions to build him up.

 The Girls… My daughter & niece visited this weekend! I needed to see them. This is the longest I’ve been away from my kids. I’m not a doting mom who can’t stand to be away, but three weeks is all I ever want.  I know it would be difficult to be home and manage life right now, but I miss them! And as tough as they are, this is hard on them too. It was an interesting week to have 14 & 21 year old women around. There were marches around the country for women’s equality (at least I think that was the point).   My first exposure to this was my friends who participated and posted on Facebook.  I have to say, I was a little confused by the concept of feeling that we aren’t equal based on gender, but that is my life experience. I remember sitting in my dad’s lap as a little girl and he told me I could do anything a boy could do.  I never doubted him. It didn’t cross my mind to think otherwise.  I work for a large company, and I have never felt looked over or inferior because of my gender.  In fact, my greatest advocate is male. 

I don’t want to make it sound like I have never faced sexism, certainly in sports.  Once, when my daughter was very small, we were with friends and the dads and kids were roughhousing. A father told her she couldn’t participate because she was a girl, and pushed her away.  That hurt, a lot, but that doesn’t make the world biased against her.  It makes one man, who had no sisters and no daughters unaware of how words can hurt. As a female pastor, I’ve had plenty of comments, but not as much as I expected, and I don’t consider that sexism in any way.

I have a professional organization I am involved in through work.  When I started attending, I was one of three woman at the meetings.  The older members used to make little comments that may have offended some (They are around Trump’s age), but it never bothered me, I just played dumb and went on with business.  They respected me and treated me as an equal in business, even if they noticed I was a girl.). Those men retired, and I miss them.  New people (male and female) are my peers, no comments get made, at least to my face.  Now, the men in the organization play golf together and fish once in awhile, and if I want to be in that networking environment I have to be present, so I am learning to golf without cursing or throwing clubs. I don’t see me ever learning to fish.

I realize my perspective comes with generations of sacrifice.  Woman have been treated as second class in our society, and I am so thankful for the men and women before me who fought for change.  I was raised by a strong woman, who was raised by a strong woman.  My mother golfs, and flys an airplane, directs the local health department, and went back to school with three kids to be one of the first generation of nurse practitioners.  She has biked 100 miles in a day, and she walked 200+ kilometers in 8 days with me just months ago.  She is an adventurer, and she taught me this along the way. She took my son to Washington DC to meet with her legislators about nurse practitioner issues they were making decisions about. I’ve seen her called,  “The son her father never had,” lovingly by her brother. I’ve seen her live a life of feminity and strength.  She has lived a life of equality because that’s what she chose to do, not because the rules were fair. However, her boldness, and that of women like her have paved the way for me to be me, and to live a life where I don’t feel discriminated against based on my gender.

Because I do not know what is true and what is not these days, I was researching a news post that led me to the White House website the day after Trump took office.  I was there to read the top issues on the page.  I was reflecting on how different Obama’s vision of what America should be is from Tump’s vision.  I had a passing thought that stuck with me, “They have each come to their vision from life experience.” And I have come to my vision/ perspective on women’s rights based on my life experience.  My experience doesn’t negate someone else’s, just as Obama’s doesn’t negate Trumps.  They are just different, so I decided I support the march. I am thankful we have a right to assemble, and I suport people in exercising that right, even if I don’t understand their perspective. And we need to take a moment to appreciate that many people came together for a purpose and didn’t destroy local businesses or riot or injur police.  Thank you for being that example. We need it.

That being said, if you wore a vagina costume or stood on a stage screaming obscenities, or threatened to blow up the White House, if you have used your influence in media for the past 20 years to make women sex objects by your behavior, then I am appalled by you, and the way you reflect on me as a woman.  Our battle, ladies, to be feminine equals with men in business and life is not against Washington, it’s against Hollywood and romance novels!  Wake up!

As I mentioned earlier, my first exposure to the march was from my friends on Facebook who participated or posted footage of some sort.  I am thankful for that first impression because I am grieved by what followed. I cannot get some of the images out of my head.  I keep telling myself that the outrageous is what makes news (why else would Joy Bahart and  Whoopie Goldberg have a daytime TV program?). Right now, I am spending 1/2 hour a day strapped to a table with the scent of burning flesh in my nose trying to think of anything else other than where I am, and I am tired, so I have a lot of time to sit around and think.  Monday on the table, I was processing these images. One in particular, of two women with a sign that read, If Mary had an abortion we wouldn’t be in this mess kept flashing in my head.  (I’m not inserting the picture because I don’t want to further the hype, and it turns out it wasn’t actually from the march.) Upon first seeing it, my response was, “I don’t even know what to say to that.” But, strapped to the table, I found the expression. I felt hopeless like my nation was turning from God and there was nothing I could do about it.  

Just in case you don’t know, I don’t do hopeless.  If you are ever feeling hopeless, you need to back up and recognize that the Enemy of your life is in your head lying to you.  Christ is hope! Hope is part of his character.  There are 3 (actually more than 3, but I grasp these three most fully) truths to living a Kingdom live, an abundant life with joy and peace and truth.  1. Confession 2. Repentance 3. Forgiveness will turn your life around and close access to the accuser to harass you!  So, I headed straight for repentance on that table, my heart full of grief and sorrow, I was reminded of Josiah, a king who did not know God’s ways because his nation was so corrupt, but who led his nation back to God through confession and repentance after hearing God’s word, and I started pleading with the Lord for mercy, that he would call us back to him and his truth. 
I’ve been ending up in scriptures I didn’t like for several months, and it affected me to the point that I didn’t read as much.  I kept landing in scripture about God’s judgement and I like to deny that part of things.  I just want his grace, his mercy, his kindness, but justice is equally part of his person. For me to ignore that is to make him small, and right now I don’t need a small god.  I need an all powerful God, one who comforts me in MRI machines, stills me when I am throwing up, and gives strength when I can’t face treatments on my own.  On the table I was also reminded that God is not to be mocked.  He is holy. His name is holy, and we are called to holiness as well.  I was reminded of Ananias and Sapphira.

Acts 5 But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2 and kept back some of the price for himself, with his wife’s full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? 4 While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” 5 And as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and breathed his last; and great fear came over all who heard of it. 6 The young men got up and covered him up, and after carrying him out, they buried him.  

7 Now there elapsed an interval of about three hours, and his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 And Peter responded to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for such and such a price?” And she said, “Yes, that was the price.” 9 Then Peter said to her, “Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out as well.” 10 And immediately she fell at his feet and breathed her last, and the young men came in and found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 And great fear came over the whole church, and over all who heard of these things.

Over and over in scripture that God comes to people and wins them to him with his kindness and grace, but if we continue to ignore him, he speaks with judgement to get our attention. Because he’s a good father. As parents, we try to correct our children gently when they are out of line, but when they don’t respond, we have to be more forceful to save their lives, to grow them into mature people.  Please, spend time with him this week.  Ask, “Lord, what do you want to say today?” Then listen.

Blessings!

#hashtags Matter and other thoughts

Can I be honest? I haven’t been to Sunday morning church since Christmas Day.  I can tell you that it is because I am avoiding germs, the stomach bug, bronchitis, and that is true.  More true is this: I’m intimidated by it.  The people we know in Houston who have ties to churches attend VERY LARGE churches, 10,000 member kind of churches.  My town has a population of 5,000. Not to mention that in a crowd, I feel like a middle school girl at a dance with a bad haircut and ugly dress…AWKWARD. So, I’ve worshipped in (if that’s a thing).  It’s easy to do, to watch Bethel or Grace Center, to interact with God, to ponder, to consider, to look at Facebook, all the things I do in church, right?  I’ve tried guilting myself with my standard thoughts, “Isn’t God worthy of your time?” “You’re a pastor for goodness sake!” Yet, I don’t go… I would make an excuse, but I would just be lying.  Yet I am experiencing the profound importance of the Church as I never have in my life.

We just watched This is Where I Leave You. I have watched so much TV because most other forms of entertainment make me car sick.  Anyway, there is a line in the movie after Jason Bateman explains that his wife has left him after having an affair with his boss, and his father died that his love interest responds, “You are having a profoundly bad year.” Cary looked at me and said, “Do you think we could say that?” I suppose we could (I won’t, because I refuse to have a bad year).  Last May Cary’s father passed.  It was the first time I knew the impact of visiting a funeral home.  We are overwhelmed by the people who stopped by to say goodbye, the line out the front door.  I just didn’t know how important the little things are: the cards that were sent, the little gifts and notes. It means something to know you are seen in a crisis, that other people realize that the world should stop for a bit because you have suffered a major loss.

This week, this month really, I have understood again how much little things matter. For some crazy reason, I thought it would be fun to have a hashtag contest.  Just for fun. So after three days of suggestions and voting #notmybattle (submitted by good friend Rachelle Boggess)  beat out #KatieAli (a nickname given to me by my grandfather when I got in a fight at 16 – I won, btw🥊) and #katenip (submitted by Ron Dockery) along with several other clever suggestions. Then my best friend for most of high school, Preston, sent out a request for people to send in pictures and scriptures and funny videos to lift us up, and boy did people get on board! My heart is overflowing with the scripture that showed up at the right moments, the crazy videos in Message, a vase of sunflowers on the table from ‘Team Katie’, a box of goodness, the precious faces of people I love & who love me on Facebook.  Sunday morning I sat at brunch with happy tears destroying my mascara because one of my schools posted a picture with their faculty to support us.  My pharmacy, both my sister in laws, friends from preschool, the list goes on and on, and it all is overwhelming! Today I had 5 greeting cards in the mailbox, and each touched a different part of my heart. (Can we just say that greeting cards trump bills any day!)

I didn’t know how much it all mattered. I’ve always thought no one noticed if I made it to an event, a birthday party, a graduation, a funeral because I was so lost in the crowd at those places.  So, if I have missed something that was important to you, I am so sorry.  I would like to blame it on my insecurity, but really I am just selfish and more worried about my feelings of loneliness than how my presence might support you.  I am changing… slowly.


 

So, back to church.  We were invited to a home church today.  We didn’t go.  I didn’t feel great at meeting time, but I was so much more comfortable with the idea of going there.  We have had home church at our house several times.  I like the freedom, that things are different every time.  My kids ask often if we can do it again. I think it’s their preferred worship setting. Our home church experience didn’t pan out, and I got a little gun shy, but I think maybe it is time to start it again.

Because, what if I hadn’t spent years in community with other people? So many people in so many different bodies of faith.  How lonely would this be? Who would text with a prayer when my faith is weak? Who would remind me that Psalm 91 is for me & that healing is coming? And how many people are in that boat?  Of the 5000 people in my little town, how many look at my tiny church and are just a intemidated as I am by the 10,000 member church? How many of them long for community, for people who will really be there, but they don’t know anything like that exists? They don’t know the importance of Christ’s body because they haven’t experienced Church, real church, in the trenches, people surrounding you, God speaking today Church & it’s sad!

You know what hurts my heart? The people at M.D. Anderson with kids. The ones with sick kids destroy me, but the couple last week in the waiting room with a 3 & 4 year old scaring the fish in the tank and yelling “Poppy! Poppy! We are going to daycare here!”made me happy, because I miss my kids, but sad because they looked tired, and I knew they probably didn’t have the support that we have. And it made me thankful for my family (like my sister who is spending a week at my house with her babies), and my extended family who ask what they can do, anything, and they mean it. 

So, I’m convinced scripture is true.  Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Here’s a little truth.  I wouldn’t have all these amazing people if my mom hadn’t brainwashed me into church.  When I complained about going as a kid, she made me go anyway. When we were in Owensboro for the weekend, we went to 1st Baptist.  She made being part of the body a habit in my life until I was old enough to fall in love with Christ and his church. At home, I church hop.  I’ve been a member of the same church for 19 years, but I find joy in a wider exposure to people who do things differently than GUMC.  

I took off the month of December from Shaver’s Chapel because my schedule was so unpredictable and we expected to start treatments weeks earlier than reality allowed. During my unexpected time in the ‘Berg, I visitied Living Word, a church God has given a unique vision to produce productions that draw a generation to him.  While there, a comment was made about me & friends with us, that we were people working to bring the churches together for Christ’s purposes in our region.  I was incredibly humbled.  This is my heart, but it isn’t a named, defined ministry, and to have someone recognize that was, well, humbling.  I visited ACC for the kicks off of their new college and up ministry, I got to see my friend C.B. lay his heart and testimony on the line to tell the greatness of God’s goodness and glory. 

Church doesn’t look like it used to.  God is doing a new thing (or an old thing, if you return to the first 100 years of the Way).  As the Church, we need to stop and think about some things.  1. A traditional church is super intimidating to someone who hasn’t attended before, or who has been hurt by church people. 2. New church expressions are going to be equally uncomfortable for people who have been raised in a church, any church, because it’s different, and change is hard. But we have to find a way to support one another in the ministry God has called us each to live out. 3. People still need Jesus and his Church because HE IS AWESOME! Jesus is so much more and so much bigger than the Bible Belt has allowed us to believe. Here’s the reality: the creator of everything, of time, of space, of air, of land, of cells, and protons, that Creator saw you and everyone you have ever met from the first beam of light breaking through darkness, and he loved. That’s what he did. He created us to love and to be loved and to know him, not just to know about him, but to KNOW him, to talk to him and to listen to him speak (do more listening, actually). That God, wants to have influence with you, like your best friend has influence with you, not like the president of the company has influence with you.  

Some day you are going to have a cancer diagnosis, or your spouse is going to have an affair with your boss, or your father will die, or some crisis will come that you can not control and your are going to need people and a God who is bigger than your problems. So, Go to church. Start building that support system now.  Make your kids go with you, especially the winey ones. For me, I’m going to a home meeting with people I’ve never met, in the 3rd largest city in the USA. I’m taking my daughter, because she’s coming to see me this weekend (so excited!).  If you don’t know where to go, say a little prayer, shut up, and go where you feel led.  God is bigger than your confusion and mine.
Blessings & love from Houston❤️

Chemo and Proton Therapy

Sorry I didn’t report in earlier, but chemo & social media go together like a good book and a curvy road. Actually, chemothreapy doesn’t go well with car rides, walking at a normal rate of speed, carpet with stripes, or being awake. It basically kicked my butt.

Here’s how it went, best I can remember, after two days of anti nausea medication and super weird sleep patterns.

My first chemo treatment was postponed until Wednesday because there was confusion about when my Proton therapy would start.  Chemo is a practice of patience.  My chemo treatment was scheduled for 3:00, so we got there at 2:15 to find the clinic was running two hours behind. It was packed. 

A woman sat across from us in the waiting room.  I tried not to stare, but had a hard time because it was obvious she was having a similar treatment to me.  I knew she shared my doctors because she was slathering Egyptian Magic on her face.  The center of her face was very red.  She had surgery.  About 2″ behind her hairline the doctors have inserted a thick strip of skin, almost like a two inch head band of calloused skin.  Her forehead was swollen on one side.  My thought,”This isn’t going to be pretty.” Thankfully, we ended up talking with her.  I wish I had gotten a name.  It’s amazing how knowing someone changes things.  It turns out she had been treated at another hospital for this cancer (in the sinuses on her forehead). The treatments did not go well, and something went wrong with spinal fluid.  I didn’t really catch all the details, but the skin headband was put there at MD Anderson to protect her brain during treatments. A plastic surgeon put it in, and will remove it after treatment when he repairs her hairline and forehead. Pretty cool, huh? As we talked, the scars and redness disappeared and a delightful person came to the forefront. Isn’t that the way in life? We spend time looking at people, their differences, we may be put off or scared, but when something happens and we get a chance to know them, they are just people, like us.

The process of chemo is pretty easy, at least for me.  Once called back, I was in a room with a bed and a tv.  I was hooked up to an IV, given a steroid and anti-nausea medication. That took about an hour, I think.  Then I waited another half hour for those to kick in before they gave me the actual chemo drug, Cisplatin. That took a couple of hours.  By the time they got me unhooked and on my way, it was 9:30. My first proton treatment starts at 10:00 PM, and that was a mile away.

This is how we found out about the Jetson Tubes.  These are the tubes where you sit in a seat, strap in, and then you are sucked up like the little pod at the bank window, and deposited gently at your destination.  When they first take off, your stomach jumps a bit like in elevator, I felt my hair bounce a little bit, but most of the ride is easy.  I did notice a breeze that would steer you when you changed direction.  These are normally saved for staff and extenuating circumstances.  Apparently, we are an extenuating circumstance… or we may have Ubered.

I think I’ve written about the Proton Therapy Center.  It’s a pretty amazing place.  The Jetson Tubes may not have made their way to MD Anderson yet, but sick bay from Star Trek is a real thing.  You get to pick your music for the treatments. Then it begins.  I layed down on the table.  They positioned me, and snapped my mask to the table.  The mask is too tight to open my eyes, so the rest of this is told by hearing.  Joey was great about walking me through what was going on.  He positioned a thick block of copper or brass with a horseshoe cut out of the middle to guide the proton beam where he wanted it, and lined things up.  Then I heard 3 beeps.  That means everyone else is out of the room. One of the technicians comes on a speaker and says, “beam on” or something like that.  Then you hear nothing.  It doesn’t make a noise, but depending on where they are shooting the beam from, you smell burning.  It’s inside your head.  It’s faint, almost like it’s filtering through water before you smell it.  The technicians come in and move me, the beam, the whole room I guess where they need it.  I think they do four different positions.  Then, you’re done.  They unstrap the mask, helped me off the table.  I put my shoes, shirt and jacket on and head out to Cary in the waiting room… until tomorrow when we do it all again.

Ok, truth, it really is that simple, but not in my head.  My claustrophobic self was still snapped down on a metal table thinking, “I CAN’T DO THIS! They are going to have to let me up! What was the signal again?” I tried singing songs in my head, not much luck.  Then I remembered I wasn’t alone.  I felt Jesus beside me.  Then, I saw the face of a friend I have felt I am to be interceding for.  So, I spent the 20 minutes praying for him, and the time flew by, distress free.  

Napping before treatment. The meds knocked me out!
Here’s the deal.  I have spent a lot of this weekend trying not to think about next week.  I’m done with this.  I don’t want to do it anymore.  Yesterday, every time I thought about getting strapped in for proton therapy or chemotherapy, I would want to puke.  I can’t even tell you why it bothers me.  The process isn’t that bad, but it’s taking away my freedom, my energy, my invincibility. I am having to talk about bowel movements.  I don’t do that!  I finally gave in to the emotions yesterday afternoon. I layed down in the closet floor and cried while my friends visiting for the weekend talked in the living room. Thankfully, Cary came in, layed down with me, his strong arms around me, and reminded me that this isn’t my battle, done on my strength.  This is God’s battle, His strength, His victory.  Now, I can face tomorrow. Now I can think about the treatments next week without getting sick.  The fear is gone, the reset button has been hit. God’s got this!

I woke up one morning with lots of energy.  As I was laying in bed, I asked God what he wanted to talk about.  I heard John 11:5  Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days,

Isn’t that weird.  Jesus loved them, so when he heard Lazarus was sick, he waited two days.  A week before I left for the Camino I walked to my friend Ann’s house.  While I was there a storm blew up.  Ann didn’t offer me a ride home. She shoved me out the door, into the rain.  Why? Because she knew I would have to walk in the rain in Spain & I needed the practice.  That’s what love looks like.  It doesn’t always give you a ride in the rain, sometimes it prepares you for what’s coming next because the journey is going to allow you to find out more about yourself and love.  Jesus waited for Lazarus to die so he could really know the glory of God, and His love, and to trust Him, so he could be part of making history.  I’m not dying, but I am going through tough stuff I don’t want to, but God speaks, and I am so comforted by his promise that healing is coming. I look forward to seeing him continue to show up.

Blessings… #notmybattle

Anxious

1/3/17 Today we begin, or end, depending on your point of view. It’s the beginning of treatments, prayerfully it’s the end of the insurance struggle. 

I’ve noticed I’m withdrawn. I need to process my emotions, and I’m a little irritable. So, I’ll write. It helps.

Father, speak to me so my reality aligns with your greater truth.

In late November we made plans to spend New Years Eve with friends in Galveston. That was when we thought this would be the 2nd or 3rd week of treatment. As of Friday 12/30, my treatment plans were still being denied as experimental and treatments were moved back to January 3rd. (I will save my rant of disgust for another day.  I am working on the forgiveness I need to be in a healthy place over it all.) I had two thoughts going through my head: 1. Getting on this plane is an act of faith that God is in control and will work all of this out. 2. A Chinese Proverb about luck.


1. Acts of Faith   I got on my phone to Uber to the airport. My email dinged that I had a message.  There was a notification to check my MDanderson app. When I popped it open, there were my treatment plans, starting January 10th!  12 days from now.  So what do we do? The answer: Freak out, make phone calls, and finally pray… Go home or go to Houston? I heard in my heart, Go to Houston, it’s a step of faith.  In truth, I felt irresponsible getting on a plane without a set plan.  I felt like I was abandoning my family without knowing where I would land.  I don’t do irresponsible. Yet, I kept hearing that this is a step of faith. And, we had friends waiting for us on the other end of the flight. We had, and I guess still have no promise that my insurance will pay for this treatment, but I have assurance that God is my provider.  When I started writing, I didn’t have anything  “spiritual ” or awe inspiring to say.  It is only now that I am reminded of Abraham in the desert who was told to strike a rock for the dehydrated Israelites, of Gideon who sent most of his soldiers home and fought with trumpets and jars of clay.  Steps of faith… I guess getting on a plane isn’t so crazy or brave.  It is now that I am reminded that faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1). (Thanks Papa for this reminder.)

So Monday, while I am spotting gators with lovely new friends in Missouri City, we get word that the saints at MD Anderson, who seem to always be working on my behalf, have worked it out to start Chemo Tuesday and Proton therapy on Wednesday night at 10:30 PM. This is when anxiety shows up.  The fight over insurance, Christmas, and life have kept me distracted, but now I am in Houston.  There are no kids to interrupt my thoughts.  I guess no one is going to call and say, We had this all wrong.  The tumor disappeared.  We couldn’t find it on the last MRI. (At least they haven’t called yet.)  This is just surreal, I mean really, there are moments that I just think, “This is crazy.  I’m not sick.  I run, I lift weights, my abs are flat for the first time in years… This is just so weird.” But, I guess this is happening. 

Here I am sitting in the waiting room to start chemo… 

okay, you aren’t going to believe this… I got a call from the guy sitting 20 feet away at the registration desk that I need to go to my Chemotherapy Oncologists office go sign papers.  After a nice little walk back through the skywalks to elevator A, floor 10, I meet with nurses who explained the process and possible side effects of chemo.  And they delay my treatment until tomorrow because it is more effective with the radiation.  And I am reminded again that I am allowing my perceived circumstances to dictate my mood.  And peace returns.

Reflections on the Chinese Proverb. I am continually being reminded that I am in the middle of the story.  It’s almost impossible to know where you are in the middle of a journey.  Getting frustrated with circumstances, specifically blaming God (or other people) for them, is like getting mad at the author of a book because the main character is in a bad way.  You only see the authors brilliance and creativity and know how good he or she is when you keep reading / keep living. We must, I must be, careful not to put the bookmark in the book and stop reading because we don’t like a particular chapter.

CRAP! I hate when I step on my own toes when I preach or write… so here we go.  Aetna, I forgive you for denying my treatments, repeatedly.  What I needed you to do was pay so I can get to the business of healing, and you let me down. Law makers, I forgive you for creating a system where companies cannot do the right thing for fear of being sued. I want you to fix this problem, but I doubt you are aware it exists, so I forgive you.  Katie, I forgive you for looking at the insurance company and lawmakers as your security.  Father, please forgive me for making these things and even the medical professionals taking care of me the sources of my security and mood.  I allowed these things to become idols.  You alone are my provider.  These things are just tools in your hands, as am I.  I am so sorry.  Help me to keep proper respective and to not make this mistake again.  Thank you for showing it to me.  

I plead the blood of Jesus over this sin.  I break every legal hold of the enemy in the name of Jesus.  I tell fear, doubt, and judgement to leave me now.  Do not return.  Holy Spirit, thank you for your cleansing grace and mercy.  Fill me again with more faith, love, and kindness.  I declare that God has made me a new creation through his son, Jesus, and he continues to make me into something more beautiful, more like him, and he will accomplish all his purposes in me.  That is his promise!! Whoo, my spirit is jumping in praise.  I love you, Lord.

In other news… I think Beautiful Surrender will be my theme album for this season. Jamming out to You Came right now.   The Things I Wish I Were Told When I Was Diagnosed With Cancer is a great article.  And I have got to write a blog about the many, many people who have showed up at just the right time in the last few weeks…