Faith Through Trials

WHETHER HE CHOOSES TO DELIVER YOU FROM, THROUGH OR BY THE FIRE HE WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU NOR FORSAKE YOU
BY NICOLE HENNEFORTH


About five months ago my mom called me to tell me she has some spots on her lung and the doctor thinks she has cancer. I don’t know if anyone can ever quite prepare you for that phone call. The feeling of being punched in the gut and heart all at the same time is not one I am looking forward to again any time soon. The rush of emotions ranging from shock and fear all the way to belief in the Lord and his ability to heal came in like the tide; each wave different and powerfully overwhelming. This was the beginning of a season of waiting for my family. One that has required us to reach deep into the caverns of our faith and declare that no matter what, our God is faithful. Nicole and Her mom.png

We went through months of different tests, a string of doctors saying different things and talk of possible treatments that included chemo and surgery. They even had an option for chemo that would have let my mom keep her hair. This brought some levity to the whole situation because if you know my mom, you know that her hair is very important to her. It was an overwhelming season that required a lot of waiting. The waiting was the hardest part. However, the unknown drove us to our knees and caused us to call upon the name that is above every other name, the powerful name of Jesus. 

Throughout this time I watched my mom cling to Jesus and watched Jesus overshadow her with His peace. I watched as he called her to journey with him into a place of deeper trust and dependence on him. I watched as my mom declared to every doctor and nurse that her God is mighty and that He is going to heal her body. I watched as the Lord began to shock doctors with His ability to heal. Test after test the doctors stood baffled, wondering why what they saw on the PET scan was not translating to the biopsies and blood work. It turns out the Lord exposed the tumors in my mom’s lung before they had metastasized into the rest of her body. They are stage one cancer tumors and would require surgery to remove them. She still has some spots on her lung that they will know more about after surgery, but we believe the Lord will fully heal my mom’s body. He who began a good work within my mom will be faithful to complete it. 

My mom is scheduled for surgery September 2, 2016. The goal is to remove the two tumors from her lung and to assess the other spots that are present. During her six to eight week recovery my family and I will join my parents to help them with the camp and my mom as she recovers. The Lord even worked out a preschool for Lincoln and Andrew’s job in Simi Valley was pushed back from July to exactly the week I need to be at my parent’s house. Just as Pastor Dan spoke about a few weeks ago, there are seasons that you just can’t miss and this is one of those seasons for us. We are grateful the Lord worked out this season so well. He cares about the details in our lives, He cares about our families, and He enables us to be present for the moments we just can’t miss. 

Even within this hopeful news for my mom I can’t help but wrestle with the reality that there are those within our church who are still waiting to be healed and those who have gone on to be with the Lord. I kept asking, “Lord, why don’t you always heal in the way we want you to?” During my processing with the Lord He reminded me of a message from Beth Moore on the book of Daniel. Beth was speaking on Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who were thrown into the fiery furnace because they refused to bow their knee to any other God but Yahweh and how the Lord miraculously delivered them. She concluded that the Lord would always deliver one of three ways:

  1. He will deliver FROM the fire, and our faith will be built.
  2. He will deliver THROUGH the fire, and our faith will be refined.
  3. He will deliver BY the fire into his loving arms, and our faith is perfected.

Our God is faithful even when He does not heal in the way or the timing we wish He would. I want to encourage you today that God is our great deliverer! Whether He chooses to deliver you from, through or by the fire He will never leave you nor forsake you.  That even if He chooses to deliver “by” the fire we have no need to fear. 1 Corinthians 15:54b-55 says, “Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” Jesus is our great victor and on the cross he conquered sin and death. I believe that Jesus desires to lift our eyes and expand our perspectives that we would live with eternity as our reality. Philippians 3:20-21 says, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” God is in the process of transforming us to be like him. I pray that through whatever trial you are facing you would allow the Lord to build up your faith and cause your roots of trust to go deep into Him.

Throughout this season the Lord has not only built up my mom’s faith but He has built up the faith of every person in our family. He has caused us to cling to Him as our rock. We can trust in Him because He is the unchanging, firm foundation upon which we can build our lives. Please continue to pray for our family in this season as we head up to support my mom and dad. We count it a blessing that God would free us up to bless them in this way.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nicole Henneforth

 

After graduating from Life Pacific College with her BA in Biblical Studies and Early Childhood Education, Nicole came on staff at The Father’s House as the Children’s Pastor. Nicole and her husband Andrew are currently assisting pastors at TFH and have been serving the church for the past seven years. Andrew and Nicole have been married for 5 years and have three children, Madeline (9), Lincoln (4), and Isla (1).

Envy and Jealousy

THEIR SNEAKY TACTICS AND THE BEST ANTIDOTE 
BY JAMIE HUMPHREY


“She has lost so much weight! I wonder what’s she’s doing? I bet she doesn’t eat. She’s almost TOO skinny. Someone give that girl a cupcake.”

“Did they get a new car? That’s a top of the line luxury vehicle. I mean my 2008 Kia works perfectly fine. It’s paid off so why would I even want a new car? They are being so flashy.”

“Their new house is massive! It’s literally 5 times the size of mine. What do they need all that square footage for? Their mortgage payment must be HUGE. I wouldn’t want that payment. AND they have a vacation home?! Excess!”

“Look at all the girls from church in this Instagram photo. I wasn’t invited to the girls’ night. I’m glad I’m at home binging on Cheetos while my family sleeps. Who needs those girls?”

“Can her husband PLEASE write one more gushy post about how much he adores her?! Do we really need to know how his world spins on the axis of her love?! No. We don’t. Get a room, people.” 

“She is so perfect. She walks, talks, smiles, responds perfectly. She always is kind and caring. No one can be that nice to their kids ALL the time. I bet she really yells at them when no one is around.”

I was at a baby shower about a month ago talking to Nicole Henneforth. Nicole has a way of pastoring me without even trying. She was telling me about a book she read written by R.T. Kendall, Jealousy: The Sin No One Talks About, How to Overcome Envy & Live a Life of Freedom. I heard myself say to her, “jealousy isn’t really something I deal with…” And of course gracious Nicole agreed, “I didn’t think I dealt with jealousy either. But the book shined a light on some areas I didn’t even know were in my life….” As she was sharing her revelations I had this sneaky feeling inside me this was a “Holy Spirit Shining” in my soul. I told Nicole, “Oh girl. I may need to buy that book.” So I went home and ordered the book off Amazon. 

I’ve always loved my life. When I’m home with my husband and my two precious kids I feel like everything is right with my world. I am at peace. I am joyful. I am happy. So when do the feelings of envy come at me? When I start looking around at other’s lives and scrutinize them to see if they have anything “better” than me. The core of my envy is my own insecurity. Instead of focusing on the goodness of God in my own life I get distracted by God’s goodness to someone else. 

Envy feels like tightness in my chest, a knot in my throat and a sinking feeling in my gut when I see something I don’t have and I want it. I looked up the definition of envy. Envy is “a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck.” R.T. Kendall explains that, “envy tends to focus on the other person’s things; jealousy includes animosity toward the person. … Envy is also coveting what others have; jealousy is the fear of losing what you have. Envy is natural and passive. Jealousy is vengeful and active.”

Proverbs 14:30 (NLT) says, “A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones.” Envy starts with a thought …“she is so skinny. I wish I were that skinny” and if I don’t take that thought captive it can start spiraling and lead to full blown evil jealousy. Evil jealousy would say, “I wish she’d get sick and fat.” Proverbs 27:4 NLT says, “Anger is cruel, and wrath is like a flood, but jealousy is even more dangerous.” I want no part of envy OR jealousy. I got stuck in a shame spiral as I was reading and researching. So I had to call on one of the Big Dogs. 

Blair Fabry is one of my respected mentors and friends. I was really wrestling with seeing myself as an envious and jealous person. I felt like a doomed sinner. I needed to talk this issue out with someone I trusted and who believes in the Bible as the Truth. She explained that there is a process between temptation and sin. She read James 1:14-15 NLT to me: “Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.” The moment a thought pops in my head, “Oh her new designer work-out clothes are amazing. My Target work-out clothes are ugly and awful!” I need to stop and name what I’m feeling. I am feeling insecure that I don’t have the budget to afford expensive work-out clothes. It is causing envy to enter my heart. I’m going to stop the process. “I’m so blessed to have the ability to work out. I am so blessed to be able to afford even Target work-out clothes.”  Blair explained that unnamed emotions can run amuck. Once an emotion is named it can be addressed and negotiated and sorted through. 1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT says, “God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” What Blair helped me see is a thought entering my brain and tempting me doesn’t mean I’m sinning. If I nurse and rehearse an envious thought it will entice me and drag me away … it can grow and give birth to death. 

What is the best antidote for envy and jealousy? I praise God and thank Him for all the goodness in my life. 

Every Vice has a Virtue. What could the virtue to envy be? Admiration. Inspiration. At a recent bridal shower (yes this church is filled with brides and babies!) as I was inhaling my 3rd mini bundt cake (I had to try all 3 flavors, right?!) I looked over and saw Marlen Luetwyler NOT eating a mini bundt cake and I had “that” feeling. She looked so great. Thin, fit, and using self-control. So instead of thinking a mean thought I went over to her and I asked her, “You look amazing! What are you doing to be in such great shape?” She explained the health and fitness journey she is on. I walked away flooded with inspiration for her self-control and determination to be a healthy and energetic mom to her 3 small children. I admire Marlen for making her health and wellness a priority. No envy and no jealousy allowed. I take her strength and use it as inspiration to follow her lead. 

1 Timothy 6:6-8: Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. *DROP MIC*


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

jamie2Jamie Humphrey is a 35-year-old native San Diegan. She has been united in wedded bliss to her soul mate, Eli, for almost 9 years. Together they have a beautiful 7-year-old daughter, Serenity and a handsome 5-year-old son, Justice. Jamie spends her days delighting in her children and her evenings joyfully making dinner, doing laundry and cleaning the house. What a wonderful life it is! 

TRANSLATION: Jamie is a stay at home mom that is always trying to find her purpose and worth in the mundane and repetitive tasks of homemaking. She never dreamed of not having a job outside the home but God’s grace is sufficient. His plan for her life is sanctifying and He always uses her to glorify His kingdom whether it is at the kid’s soccer practice or their school. God is good.

Challenges of Caring for Elder Parents

TRUSTING GOD’S PLAN AND HEART FOR THE CARE OF OUR PARENTS

BY LINDA THOMAS


Over the past eight years, due to my parent’s failing mental health, I have been going to Clovis every month. They now live apart because of their varying stages of dementia. My brother Bob lives near them and sees them five to six times a week. I know my visits are short, but even a few days a month gives him a break in the routine.

One of the most difficult weeks of my life was in August of 2013. My father’s Alzheimer’s had progressed to a stage that made it very difficult for my mother to care for him. We moved Dad into a memory care facility in Fresno. Watching him go through that transition still brings me to tears each time I think about it. Having to move him from his home to a facility he was not familiar with and people who didn’t know him like we did was heart wrenching to say the least. The guilt that accompanied that move can’t be explained. My heart said, “He’s my Daddy and I should be taking care of him.”

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But the reality is, Jesus has placed my life in Escondido with my husband. If He wanted me in Fresno He would open doors for that to happen. This past year we have had our house on the market twice. The Lord did not bring us a buyer so for now we will remain where we are planted. My heart was hoping that I would be able to have more freedom to spend time with my parents. I continue to believe that God’s timing will be perfect and He will direct us according to His will and purpose for our life and my parents. It’s possible the house didn’t sell because my daughter Victoria got married this year. I can’t imagine planning a wedding and trying to move!

In August of 2015 my brother Bob and I helped move my mother into a residential living facility due to her failing memory. She is able to take care of herself but it became evident that she should no longer drive or live alone. We sold her condo and she now has a very comfortable small apartment in a lovely setting that provides meals, cleaning and wonderful Christian friends. Every time I go for a visit we enjoy being together and daily going to see my father. Again, the Lord reminds me that He loves my parents and has provided the help and care they need.

Watching a parent you love decline physically and mentally is emotionally traumatic. If it were not for the promises of God’s Word, the presence of the Holy Spirit and a family of believers that surround you with prayer, hope and encouragement I would be undone. The Lord has supplied my every need as I have traveled this journey. He has given me wisdom, guidance, hope and comfort each time I needed His presence. He has constantly provided wonderful care for my parents when I couldn’t.

The most difficult battle for me regarding my parents care is feelings of guilt and believing I should be doing more for them. I moved away at 25 and now at the end of their life I have a deep longing to be closer to them whenever possible. These verses confirm to me that God is watching over them:

Deut 31:8 – The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Isaiah 65:24 – I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!

Romans 8:34 – Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

Isaiah 46:4 – Even to your old age, I am He, and even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; Even I will carry, and will deliver you.

Psalm 10:17 – You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry.

God’s plan for our life is customizedPsalm 139: 16 You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!

God’s plan for us is goodJeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

God’s plan for us is guaranteed1 Thessalonians 5:24 “The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.”

Romans 8:30-32“and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?…”

The Lord has shown me that everything about my life has been planned by Him. Fear and guilt is a scheme from the enemy that will take our eyes off who we are in Christ and hinder God’s wonderful plans for our future. In Romans 8:28 it says, “All things work together for the good for those that love God and are called according to His purpose.”

Since writing this blog we have sold our home. The Lord has not shown us where we will be planted next but I am thankful to have the ability to visit my parents more often. Truly I can say, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly more than all we ask or imagine, to Him be all the glory!” Ephesians 3:20 –21

 

 

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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My name is Linda Thomas. I am a wife, the mother of two lovely daughters in their thirties, a stepmother of three grown adults and a step-grandmother to seven amazing grandchildren, one of whom is a foster granddaughter.  In 2000,  our family quickly joined the excited group of people that helped our Pastors and others form “The Father’s House.” When the Lord brought Dan and Tracy to San Marcos we were thrilled to be a part of what God was doing. Currently I am on the Council, we are Elders, and I send out the Pastor’s prayer requests as they come to me. Last year I formed a luncheon group for ladies called “Ladies Out To Lunch.” We meet monthly at a different location and it has been such a wonderful way to connect, share and pray for one another. Being a part of this Body has been life changing and we are so blessed to be a part of it.

Forever Ours: One Family’s Adoption Journey

HOW GOD CONTINUALLY REVEALED HIS FAITHFULNESS IN THE ADOPTION OF OUR SON

BY BECKY BREWER


“A child born to another woman calls me ‘Mom.’ The magnitude of that tragedy and the depth of that privilege are not lost on me.” —Jody Landers

 

At the age of 18, I knew I would be a foster mom one day. I was a new preschool teacher, and one of our preschool families fostered little ones. I saw God’s heart for these children in their life, and I knew that would be me one day. After many years and one biological son, Lucas, my husband, Jeff, and I decided it was time to step out in faith and travel the road of foster care.

We picked up our first little guy from Polinsky Children’s Center (a 24-hour facility for the emergency shelter of children who must be separated from their families for their own safety, or when parents cannot provide care) at the age of 10 months old. He had been placed in the foster system after being physically hurt. He was scared, untrusting and dealing with deep trauma. We had no clue what the future held. His biological family was still very involved in the case, and navigating these unknown waters was overwhelming, to say the least. We didn’t know if he’d be with us weeks, months or a lifetime.

I wish I could say the middle of this story was filled with lots of joy and happiness. For me, it was filled with stress and fear. We were deep in the trenches with a biological family who couldn’t make things work to keep him safe. A year into the case, our little guy’s half-sister came to live with us as well. She was an infant, the dynamic shifted, and we now had the uncertainty again of how the story would end.

After more than two years in our care, we knew the Lord had brought us to the fight of our lives. But what could we do? Foster parents have very little to no say in the court system. In the height of court trial after court trial, and decisions about the future of our son’s life, we heard the voice of God say, “Be silent!” My first thought was, “You have to be kidding.” I was ticked off—I’d fought hard for this child to never have to endure a life of abuse, and now God wanted me to be silent? It was the hardest thing I have ever done. But I chose to be obedient, stand to the side, do my job to love and care for this sweet innocent life and waited on the Lord. We trusted Him. During that time, my fears turned to faith, and I had to believe His words were true—He loved this little boy more than I ever could.

There was a very critical time in the case when everything that could go crazy did go crazy—attorneys were being changed, people with power who had never met us or our son were making decisions about his future. During this scary time, we were prompted by God that now was the time to no longer be silent. And at that moment we began to see miracle after miracle in his court case. We were given money—with no expectation to pay it back—to get a lawyer to represent us. Our son was somehow assigned the best minors attorney in the county, after three previous attorneys. The Lord kept giving us stone after stone to build our testimony of His faithfulness.

Finally after several days of trials and almost three years in the foster system, a judgment was given that this little boy would be placed in adoptions, and that we would be the family blessed to adopt him and call him forever ours.

Adoption is not an easy task, whether overseas, traditional, open, closed or through the foster system. A child not with his or her biological family, no matter the reason, has endured trauma and hurts on some level. The daily and weekly navigation of questions and answers about their story is a tough part of this journey.

Although our son’s little sister went back home to her biological parents, we still have a relationship with her. It is difficult to see this family through the eyes of Jesus knowing what my son endured, yet I can use it as a chance to die to myself, my anger, sadness, fear and disappointment and to see what God sees. In the midst of brokenness, He sees redemption and hope. Some days I’m very successful, and other days I need His grace. He created this longing in my heart to love the orphan, and our first case was a doozy! After our first placement and adoption, we had a chance to walk away and never foster again. We know the need is so large, and the Lord asked us to continue. We have since fostered seven amazing bundles of joy! And we’ve spoken into the lives of these kiddos, their biological families, new adoptive families and our community. A season of silence has allowed the Lord’s voice to be heard loudly through our faithfulness.

Exodus 14:14 says, “The Lord will fight for you, you have only to be silent.” In my silence the Lord was able to work His good for our son. I often wonder where we would be if I had chosen to disobey in that moment and “fix” the problems myself. I am so thankful we were able to hear the voice of God above the chaos and trust that His word is true. I encourage you, in the stressful places or fearful places, seek God—wait for His voice to lead you. When He does, I believe He will create a story for you that is overflowing with miracles and redemption.

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

-1Becky Brewer became a stay-at-home mom after 13 years of teaching Montessori preschool. For the past five years, Becky and her husband, Jeff, have been advocates for foster children. She and Jeff have been married for 17 years, and have two sons, Lucas (15) and Adrian (5). Together their family has cared for seven babies in the foster system and hopes to adopt their current placement.

In Cathey’s Words Part II

As women from The Father’s House head out on the 2016 Freedom Challenge, Callie Carson will be sharing with us some of her mother’s words written on Caring Bridge during her cancer journey last year. We continue to remember and celebrate the life and legacy of Cathey Anderson.

BY CALLIE CARSON & CATHEY ANDERSON


 

From Callie: August 3, 2016. Today is Cathey Anderson’s 64th birthday. If she were still here on earth with us, she would be lifting her hands praising the Lord at the top of some mountain in the Grand Teton Mountains in Wyoming. Or better yet, she would most likely be carrying another woman’s pack and encouraging each of her teammates, telling them that they are strong; they are worthy; they are a light in the world; and they can do this! 

I chose this journal from last August for all of you to read because my mom became so keenly aware of her need for community, family, and friends at this point in time. It was after this journal update that she invited the women closest to her to come pray over her each and every day in her home. She asked her friends and family to carry her to the King when she was unable to do so. She pictured herself as the sick man on the mat that needed his friends to carry him to Jesus to be healed. That sick man could not get to Christ on his own. He physically needed his people to pick him up and carry him to the feet of the Savior. 

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It was in the last days of her life that my mom, broken and beat up, called upon her people and allowed the light of Christ in them to be her strength.

May I encourage all of you to read this and build your shelter of people who will carry you to the Lord whenever you need. And may you, if possible surround a friend when they are in need and carry them to the Lord of Lords. 

Your Light in the Darkness

August 26, 2015
I think I’m going to wipe August 4 off of my calendar. OR, be grateful for August 4 depending on my perspective! Mark keeps telling me it’s time for an update, so here goes. (Sorry, could be a tad bit long)

THE BACK STORY:
It was August 4, 2014 that I had my first bout of pancreatic cancer pain. It’s what drove me to the doctor for tests. This year on August 4, 2015, I started running fevers. These fevers eventually drove me to the hospital on Aug. 10, 2015.

Let’s go to July 16, 2015. We stepped out in faith and joined “The Freedom Climb: The Alps.” This trek took 28 women from the USA, Africa, Canada, Australia, and Europe from Chamonix to St. Nicklaus. We trekked for over 100 miles with significant elevation gain and loss each day. It was breathtaking, strenuous, and exhilarating. I was able to hike 6 out of the 8 days. We let two guys come with us as a Ground Ops team in case any of the ladies had to come off the mountain. Fortunately, Mark was one of those guys so he was able to be with me when I needed the 2 days to rest. The US team alone was able to raise $250,000 to continue funding Freedom Climb projects globally. We are so grateful and immensely thankful! And, so are the projects we fund!

At the end of the trek, I traveled with a group of 6 other gals to Moldova to visit a “vulnerable girls camp” funded by The Freedom Climb. There just aren’t words to express the amazement at what these camps can do for these girls. They teach them of their value and worth and allow them to be safe and loved upon. As camp ended, so many of the girls wept and many made decisions to follow Christ. Words fall inadequately short to describe the joy in knowing how The Freedom Climb is making a difference in the lives of these girls.

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We got home on August 1, and I was feeling fit, filled, and fabulous. In fact, on Sunday and Monday I declared, “There’s no way I have cancer! I just feel too good!” Oh, my, my, how quickly things can change. On August 4, I started running a fever and having chills. When you have cancer, if your fever goes over 100.5 there’s this rule that you have to go to the hospital and get your blood checked to make sure you don’t have bad stuff crawling around in your blood. So, on August 6, Mark and I trotted off to UCSD ER to get things checked out. Blood looked good but the white blood cells were a little elevated. The attending physician asked if I’d like a CT scan. Let me think……..let me think. No. Because if they found anything I’d be tied to the bed and our son was getting married on August 8! There was NO way I was missing that wedding! They sent me home with antibiotics which got me through the wedding, albeit, still having fevers and chills.

August 10—Fevers continue, so I drive myself back to UCSD ER. I tell Mark to stay home. While he has a strong respect for the purpose of hospitals, it’s just not his favorite place to be. And I was certain they wouldn’t find anything of consequence. Oh my, my, how wrong we can be! They did the CT scan and found that my gallbladder, yes my gallbladder, had a stone blocking the duct and that little virtually useless organ had filled to the point of bursting. It was inflamed, infected and very angry! In someone without pancreatic cancer they could just pluck out that little organ with a simple procedure. With my tumor so close to the source of the problem, well, that was a different story.

After much deliberation with several specialists, the only alternative was to stick a needle in and drain the beast. OK. I want you to hear me on this. There’s pain; and then there’s P.A.I.N!!! Writhing like a worm on wet pavement, I was begging for relief…….and more relief………and more relief which, of course, they obliged me until I was comfortable. I knew we may have a problem when I opened my eyes and saw Maren, Mark, and Callie standing at the foot of my bed. The looks on their faces spoke a thousand words. And, then Callie started sobbing……….Uh-oh. Momma may not be looking so good.

On Saturday, August 15, I was released, came home with a drain and a bag coming out of my side, had a shower, and slept in my own bed.

THE LESSONS:

The struggle was only just beginning……………..

First off, for those of you who have struggled with depression, anxiety and/or fear, I am so, so sorry. There was no way to know the depth of anguish that you’ve experienced. This was a whole new world of enlightenment for me. I am grateful to have deeper insight into what those of you may go through. At Church on Sunday, I asked for prayer from a woman who has been faithful in prayer for me. I did not know that she’d had a significant period of depression. As I poured out my heart, she voiced things I had felt. What reassurance to know I wasn’t crazy, weird, or unspiritual! I would implore you on this………use your battles and struggles to help others.

Next, what I didn’t realize at the time was how traumatic those 5 days in the hospital had been. I just wasn’t expecting it nor was I prepared for what had happened. Because of the pain meds, my mind was foggy and dull. My prayers seemed to go no further than my nose and scripture bounced around on the page. My frustration heightened as it seemed that the intimacy I love so much with our Lord was gone. I searched for the Lord, but I couldn’t seem to find Him. Darkness began to set in and anxiety and depression began to consume me. It was last weekend that I began to realize what was happening to me. He opened my eyes and in some very pointed, perfect, and personal ways He spoke directly to my despair.

But, there was one thing I was certain of and became desperate for. I needed my family and friends to carry me. In my extreme weakness, I needed them to pick up a corner of my “mat” and lay me at the feet of the King of Kings. I needed them to come into my home each day and pray over me. I needed them, and need them still, as the journey out of this valley continues. The battle is far from over. And, as each friend and loved one prays, the darkness lifts and the Light begins to shine in. I’ve cried a million tears and I know the Lord holds each one in His hand because He DOES love me so much. He has manifested Himself through my precious friends and loved ones. Oh, Lord. I could not do this alone. We’ve even been blessed with a friend who keeps meals in our refrigerator. How cool is that!

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I don’t believe He gave me this cancer or defunct gall bladder or shrunken emaciated body. Honestly, my skin hangs off my bones and my belly is all bloated! I’ve seen people in Africa who look just like this! But He walks with me closely. God created community for a purpose. We need it. I love the quote, “Don’t wait for the storm to come before you start building your storm shelter.” Surround yourself with people who would “carry your mat” when you need their help. I just can’t imagine doing this without them.

For now, I cling to this: Psalm 94:18-19: When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your love, O LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.”

My friends, I’m still processing and working through this. I wish I could say that I had it all figured out. I wish I could say the anxiety and fear are gone, but it’s a daily struggle. I’m tired, beaten up, broken, and bent out of shape! But, don’t we all know that it’s in the struggles that we gain the most? Can I hear a resounding AMEN! Please pray with me for a miracle of healing that He alone may receive all glory and honor. We’re pretty much at that point. Oh, and I’d truly love to get this drain out of my side! Not the constant companion I’d imagined J

Love and so much gratitude to each of you,
Cathey


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

IMG_2226Cathey Anderson is a lover of Jesus and all things outdoors. She was the visionary and founder of The Freedom Climb (now known as the Freedom Challenge), which raises awareness and funds for the fight against human trafficking and sexually exploited women and children. She has 4 adult children and 6 grandchildren. She passed away and met her Savior face to face on December 22, 2015 after a long battle against pancreatic cancer. She will forever be remembered for the smile on her face and shine in her eyes. She was an encourager, adventurer, hiker, farmer, teacher, mother, daughter, grandmother, friend. An extraordinary woman who will never be forgotten.

 

unspecifiedCallie Carson is Cathey’s youngest daughter. She is also a lover of Jesus and the outdoors. She loves hiking and fitness and empowers women to see their strength, value, worth, and beauty. She is often surrounded by 3 handsome men, her husband, Kirk, and 2 sons, Caleb and Connor.