Our message at church this morning was on “Created for Community”. Pastor Karl reminded us that Jesus created us for community and that God has said for us to be alone is NOT a good thing. He wants us to be one with Him and one with each other.
This message was especially meaningful for me today. Since my cancer diagnosis, I’ve experienced the love and blessings of “community” from my church, my family, my friends, even from random strangers. I’ve “heard” about community and thought I understood the impact of community – but honestly, I don’t think I ever truly “got” it until now. I understood it from the “giving” end, but being on the receiving end of so many acts of love, kindness and compassion has been overwhelming, but very humbling. It has shown me a real glimpse of what being the hands and feet of Jesus truly is about. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is how important it is to be honest when folks ask you “what do you need” or “what can i do for you”? They are being sincere in asking – and it’s important that I be honest in my response. So often we just brush things off and say, “oh, I’m fine, I don’t need anything” when in fact there very well may be something we do need, and when we don’t express that need to others, we are robbing them of THEIR blessing. Think about that for a minute. They are asking because they truly want to give and truly want to show us love in ways big and small. It would be such a shame for us to rob them of their ability to BLESS us when we are in need.
So this week, when I had friends ask what they could do for me or bring me – I simply said “soup”. Soup has consistently been the one thing that seems to always taste good. So this week I was blessed immensely by my “community” with chicken ‘n dumplings, vegetable soup, wonton soup, chicken and rice soup and good ole’ potato soup. They asked – I gave them an honest answer – and we ALL were blessed. That wasn’t so difficult, was it?
Well, sometimes it can seem difficult to “ask” for help – but it gets easier – I promise. When you realize it is a win-win for you and the person offering the help – it makes it so much easier to put yourself out there. Go on, give it a try! I know you will be blessed! 🙂
Pastor Karl also reminded us to share with those in need and to practice hospitality. I can honestly say that I have been blessed immensely by my “community” sharing with me and showing me so much hospitality. It’s been nothing short of amazing.
Last night I got a text from a college roommate asking me what would be a good day for her to come and visit and bring me her famous sesame chicken potato salad. I quickly responded what days were available. While I’m sure her dish will be delicious – I’m even more excited that she’s willing to drive 3 hours to see me and just come and lift my spirits. What a “joy bomb”.
Today, riding home from church, I got a message from a friend just saying she was praying for me and that God would get me through this and offered support whether I needed to laugh, cry or just vent! Another “joy bomb”! God keeps continuing to bless me and my family in ways I could never have imagined.
My son asked me a few minutes ago if we had any plans for next week because he had a sweet friend who had texted to say she wanted to take him out to lunch one day just to get him out of the house. I CANNOT tell you how much that meant to me. God uses the young and old alike. How awesome that this young girl felt compelled to reach out to my kid! My heart was about to explode. Trying to give him as much normalcy as possible during all of this has been my biggest concern. I can’t take this cancer away, but he sure deserves to “get away” from this cancer from time to time! What may have seemed like just a small gesture to this young friend, was a HUGE blessing to this mama bear.
And I’ve gotta say – I’m embracing this whole “bald” thing. Lawd – it is so “freeing”. No hair to wash, dry, style……no hair products to purchase. I never imagined I’d embrace it this much. So much so that I entertained visitors yesterday in my baldness. It is what it is. Be prepared – if you stop by, you are likely to catch me without a cap or scarf on. The only thing that would make it better is if I had a bit of “color” on my noggin. It’s pretty dang pasty white!
I purchased a wig a few weeks ago. I decided I needed to “name” it. I opted for “Stella” (from the movie Stella Got Her Groove Back). Yeah – this cancer may have got me sidetracked for a bit – but just you wait – I’m gonna get my groove back too! Each day that passes is one day closer to me being done with this treatment and crossing the finish line with a happy, healthy future. Just you wait!
I admit I’m stealing my “verse of the day” today from Pastor Karl’s sermon. But it truly says it all.
Romans 12:9-15New International Version (NIV)
Love in Action
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need.Practice hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.