Set Up NOT Set Back

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Matthew 11:28

Not another set back but a set up for His Glory.

Reconstruction challenges continue for me with one week in the hospital in late March facing the unknown, followed with an unexpected surgery April 9th to remove the tissue expander and replace it with a new one in hopes of complete healing. Eleven days after that surgery we are/were greatly encouraged when my final drain tube was removed Monday afternoon.  By Tuesday evening drainage presented itself again. The additional fluid is finding a way out through the weakest possible point..the same point of origin as before. Wednesday my physician evaluates, sews me up again and schedules me for surgery for Thursday, April 23rd. This out patient surgery leaves me with one drain tube that appears to be responding well. The true test is and will be what happens when it is removed. The rough expanders were replaced with soft implants placing me into phase II. The hope is that the implants will produce far less fluid and result in complete healing. It is my deepest desire, hope and prayer that I look and feel whole and equally critical that complete healing of my right side is secure. Two surgeries in two weeks. Whatever the will of God dictates, that is what I want but I can’t lie, I am worn down and worn out.

Above all, I am grateful for everyone who has dropped everything to drive me to the hospital and many doctors appointments, the all night nurse care making sure I stay on my medication, drain my drains, provide groceries, bring meals, those financially generous, friends who just sit and visit with me and most especially those who are praying for me. Whether I see your face or not I know you are there. You love me unconditionally and expect nothing in return. Those of you who know me best know how hard it is for me not to give back even in a small way. Thank you for loving me.

If you do not stand firm in your faith, then you will not stand at all.

Isaiah 7:9 (HCSB)

There are times I miss the truth of scripture by 12 inches, the distance between my mind and my heart. My mind knows the truth but my heart has difficulty receiving it. This happens in my down times. These are the times where your prayers are carrying me over the next thirty foot wave.  The last few days have been another bump in the road. I know this is temporary but it has been my commitment since the beginning of my breast cancer diagnosis to be honest with each emotion I am feeling. Never to dwell on it but not ignoring it or pretending it does not exist either. To build an image of something I am not is not who I am nor is it what God expects of us.

I am…

Tired of not feeling like a complete woman yet grateful I have my life.

Tired of surgery yet grateful for my surgeon and insurance.

Tired of being stuck many, many times just to get one good vein for an IV.

Tired of not being or feeling at 100% yet grateful for my employer who cares about me and provides great insurance.

Tired of being hooked to tubes, drains, having holes in me requiring maintenance yet grateful I don’t require chemo or radiation.

Tired of not feeling like a woman.

Tired of my inability to do many of the things I loved to do and even things I didn’t love to do yet grateful I have my life.

Tired of not being able to attend church and worship with my church family yet grateful I can watch online.

Come back to the place of safety, all you prisoners who still have hope!

I promise this very day that I will repay two blessings for each of your troubles. Zachariah 9:12

My reconstruction complications place me in a season of refining. The complications can be considered as set backs. With a healthy perspective and an eternal focus on Jesus I choose to see them as a set up for God’s best not only to transform my body but to transform my life. His set up requires more patience, determination, perseverance, tenacity, fortitude and persistence like I have never had before. I am running a marathon that I didn’t sign up for. In fact, if you had invited me to run this race I would have politely and persuasively declined. Thankfully, God does not give us a choice for He has equipped us completely to run the race. Whatever race He has called us to. It is up to me to completely allow the Holy Spirit to assess my strength in the light of God’s Word. I must push forward and allow my hardship become the necessary training session allowing me to rise up in and through Christ and be fearless and strong.

Stay Close To The Source

 VINE

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5 (NIV)

Through my refining, many parts of me have been cut away both literally and figuratively. Much like the cutting away of the grapevines.  If the branches of any living thing are dead there is no hope for new life. They also pose a great threat to the entire living vine. The day Jesus died on Golgotha He ensured we, who believe in Him, would have eternal life. He paid the ultimate price. He gave His life to save ours. Apart from Him we can do nothing.

The Vine and the Branches

15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

John 15 (NIV)

In some respects it may seem counterproductive to cut off branches that make the appearance of the vine significant in size. However, the less significant branches that produce little to no fruit, or substandard fruit eventually compromises the entire vine which can ultimately lead to death. Fruit will cease forever. Not with Jesus. He is the Master. He is the Vine. His Father is the Gardner.

Pruning, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is to trim (a tree, shrub, or bush) by cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems, especially to increase fruitfulness and growth. synonyms: cut back, trim, thin, pinch back, clip, shear, top, dock

I’ll be honest, in the upfront the thought of pruning does not sound worth it to me especially if it is going to hurt, hurt a lot. The thought that potentially pieces of yourself will be amputated, cut away from you leaving you forever changed, never to be the same again. God’s wisdom is far too sovereign for us to begin to process even one small aspect of His thoughts, His plan, His perfect will. There is no way we have the capacity on the human level to see or begin to comprehend God’s will, let alone to be on board 100% with His best for us. If we could handle it He would gift us all with His wisdom, discernment, vision and ability to see ALL things and be in agreement with them. Chances are we would doubt and disagree with His plan much as the people of the bible did.

God is the author of hope. Rather than resisting the difficult trial you are in, lay your head back and float on top of the waves allowing God to carry you quicker to His perfect plan and glory for your life. Seeing the beauty in the trial and through the journey is the miracle for only Jesus Christ can see you through ALL things.  I understand more than anyone that this isn’t always easy to do. I too get tired. I am tired now.

…I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works…

Psalm 139:14 NKJV

With every fiber of my being I keep pushing toward the goal with Christ and choose to stay filled with hope in order to draw the miracle working power of God into my life. I do know there is not one bad situation that God cannot turnaround for good as long as I am focused on His truth and His promises through scripture.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 (NIV)

Just as new life and new fruit comes from cutting away dead vines, it is also through a raging and devastating forest fire God provides a new, rapid and healthy growth on the forest floor. Unimaginable, so it would seem, that through the charred vertical structures that were once an alive canopy of trees that our God begins to reveal His spectacular plan. If we resist His will all we see is black smoldering and dead remains. Tearing the veil away we will see with the perspective of Christ. We will see the hope, and the future in the new, tender and promising growth.

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. Jeremiah 29:11

God has something miraculous for you and me. Here is the crazy part. He will not force it on us.  God has, through the force of His Spirit in you something that you could never dream up for yourself. If we decide to receive all He has to offer, (what we are called to do, the person we are called to be) our Spirit will provide all we need. Nobody can do for us what the Holy Spirit can.

To guarantee an abundant harvest we must trust our Master Grower, our Savior, this includes the complete removal of any and all withered branches He deems necessary. He is all knowing, omnipotent, and omnipresent. Trust Him to prune you and allow those withered branches to be tossed into the fire. Before you know it new growth will present itself at a rapid pace. You are whole in Christ.

“Letting Go” by Steffany Gretzinger

You’ve brought me to the end of myself

And this has been the longest road

Just when my hallelujah was tired

You gave me a new song

Now I’m letting go

I’m letting go

I’m letting go

Falling into You

And I confess, I still get scared sometimes

But perfect love comes rushing in

And all the lies that screamed inside go silent

The moment You begin

Now I’m letting go

I’m letting go

I’m letting go

Falling into You

(x2)

And You remind me of things forgotten

You unwind me until I’m totally undone

And with Your arms around me

Fear was no match for Your love

And now You’ve won me

(x2)

And if I lived a thousand lifetimes and wrote a song for everyday

Still there would be no way to say how You have loved me

(x2)

Oh how You love me

Oh how You love me

And that’s how You won me

Oh it’s how You won me I welcome you to leave a comment. It’s always nice to hear from you.

May God continue to bless you and your family! Mxo

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