I’m happy to report that today I checked off the first week of steroids for the pneumonitis (one week down, hopefully only 4 more to go)! I’ve felt good all things considered – the worst part has just been the cough that just doesn’t seem to want to go away. I know…….it just takes time. The cough seems to be more annoying first thing in the morning and then again late at night. Thankfully, I’m able to sleep now without having to take any cough medicine……so that’s a step in the right direction. This, too, shall pass!
I was at a meeting at church last night and of course, was coughing off and on. I know the first thing folks think when I start barking is “oh gosh, she’s contagious”. Fortunately – I can’t give you pneumonitis. But I totally get folks wanting to keep their distance!
I find myself celebrating the weeks when I don’t have to go to Duke for any doctor visits. It’s funny how sometimes even the smallest of victories are worth claiming! I do have to return to Durham tomorrow for an appointment – but this time it’s with the endodontist to complete the second and hopefully last part of my root canal. Praying the second part is as painless as the first. If you are ever in need of a great endodontist, check out Dr. Deborah Conner in Durham, NC. They have an awesome staff there!
So I’ve been asked over the past few weeks about updates to my recovery and I’ve enjoyed sharing my success/progress by this crazy yard stick:
BBC (Before Breast Cancer) – my friends made fun of me for going to the grocery store MULTIPLE times a week. I know…..kinda crazy but over the years I’ve tried meal planning for a week and it almost always ended up in wasted food. CC may call at 3:00 pm and say “I just had lunch, don’t worry about dinner” – or “I’m working late, you just get something for you and Hunter”………or we might get an invitation to meet friends for dinner or in the best cases – be invited by family for a real old fashioned home-cooked meal……and this crew REFUSES to turn down that kind of food. Anyway – weekly planning just doesn’t work for us – so the result of that is that I was typically at the grocery store 3-4 times a week.
Last week, as I stood in line at Food Lion waiting to check out – a friend was in line ahead of me. She turned around and asked me how I was doing…….and in that instant…….it suddenly hit me. I couldn’t help but stand there and chuckle to myself. This was the second day in a row that I was at Food Lion getting items for dinner and that hadn’t happened in a very long time! I laughed and told my friend that it appeared I was back to normal……given that I was finding myself back in my old habit of grocery shopping several times a week! It was crazy and cool all at the same time. As crazy as my grocery shopping habit is – it was pretty awesome to stand there and realize that – WOW – maybe my life is getting back to normal! So…..right there…….in the check out line at Food Lion – I felt like God was patting me on the back and saying “we are almost there, my friend”.
My energy level is increasing daily. I find that my stamina is also increasing. I still have a bit of a “sinking spell” each afternoon typically between 3-5pm – but I just try to stop and catch my breath……and take a power nap if need be. Baby steps. I’ll take them!
I feel like a spring flower…….pushing through the dirt…….a little bit at a time…….but eventually, all that pushing pays off and a beautiful flower emerges. Bring on the spring!
My heart is heavy tonight as I learned that a dear friend and fellow cancer warrior, Roger, went to be the with Lord today. He put up an amazing fight over the past three years. He and his wife were extra special to me……and I am truly a better person because I knew them. Roger definitely showed me how to fight with grace and dignity. While I will miss his big hugs when I walk into church on Sundays…….I celebrate that He has met our Lord and and Savior and his suffering is no more. My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife and children.
Last night at a meeting at church, my friend Lisa shared this devotion. It really spoke to me. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
“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
My wrinkled 92-year-old-mama looked up at me as I entered her cheery green bedroom.
“I’m looking forward to seeing him again.” She paused, “I miss him.”
“I do, too, Mom.”
“Him” is my dad. He’s been in heaven for almost five years now. The longer he’s gone, the more I appreciate him. If I could use one word to describe him, it would be passionate.
He was passionate about nature, about life, and about his Lord.
He took me poisonous snake hunting when I was a girl to show his Boy Scout troop our finds. (Our neighbors were not appreciative.) He filled out mammoth piles of paperwork to enroll me at Asbury University when I wasn’t sure I believed God’s Word, told him so, and lived like it. He stood by me when I rebelled, and opened his arms wide when I came back.
He made me laugh, and when something touched his heart, he cried. He showed me that it was okay for a man to cry. (Except in baseball.)
But the thing I love most about my dad is what he left me. It wasn’t money. That corrodes. He left me a legacy of following Christ–not perfectly—but passionately. Dad was fruity.
He and my mom were officers in The Salvation Army. Often, when my dad preached, he’d march across the stage, paying no attention to the podium. Sometimes, he’d grab the back of his collar, face the audience, look in an imaginary mirror, point his finger and say, “Ray Wert, what are you going to do for Jesus today?”
It’s a good question. A valid question.
I can know the Bible backwards and forwards, but if I don’t tell someone about Jesus, or better yet, show them, what good is it?
The book of James is all about that. Believing. Doing.
My dad did that. Today, as I knelt in prayer, I read from his Salvation Army Songbook. He put brackets around a verse written by Charles Wesley.
“Jesus, confirm my heart’s desire
To work and speak and think for thee;
Still let me guard the holy fire,
And still stir up thy gift in me.”
Before the verse, he wrote a place and a time, after the verse he wrote in his all caps, left-handed scrawl, “DON’T LET THE FIRE GO OUT.”
Jesus talked about bearing fruit in John 15:15-17, “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. 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.”
The passage says not only are we Christ’s friends, but we’re commanded to bear fruit. To tell others about Him. To let the Holy Spirit work in our lives so that others will ask about our Lord.
Dad did that. I’m looking at my life and desire the same thing. To leave a lasting legacy. To have a fruitful life.
Will you? Maybe you need to march yourself across the room by the scruff of the neck and say, “What are you going to do for Jesus, today?”
Ignite your fire for Jesus. Don’t be a burn-out.
What a powerful message! It really got my attention. What are YOU going to do for Jesus today? How awesome would it be if we all woke up each day with a desire to do even just ONE thing for Jesus each day. I challenge you to give it a shot. It doesn’t have to be HUGE……maybe it’s buying a meal for someone, or calling a shut-in, or sending a card of encouragement to a young teen, or running an errand for an elderly neighbor, paying for the person’s coffee in line behind you at the coffee shop, text a Bible verse to a friend who may be struggling. There are countless ways we can do something for Jesus and share His love with others. I’d LOVE to hear ideas you have of other awesome and creative things we could do for Jesus.
Wishing you a very blessed week.
Song of Songs 2:11-12 New International Version (NIV)
11 See! The winter is past;
the rains are over and gone.
12 Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
is heard in our land.