Monday, September 26, 2016

The Day Purple Became My Favorite Color

My dad went to the hospital January 29th because he began throwing up blood.   Never in a million years did we think the doctor would come back and tell us he has pancreatic cancer.  Never!  We were told he would have 4-6 months with no chemotherapy; and 6-8 with chemotherapy.  However, his body would only be able to handle single agent chemotherapy, and even then his body probably wasn't going to be strong enough to tolerate the chemotherapy.  If you know my dad, you  know without a second to lose; he opted for chemo.   He started chemo; and seemed to be doing ok, just tired and weak.   Well, after a few rounds, we were told it wasn't working.  Again, my dad would not take that outcome; so he tried oral chemo.  He is such a fighter; and strong person to be able to endure what he has.  Oral chemo did not work either.  It is all in God's hands now; and I trust in Him always, even in such a time as this.

About the time he was diagnosed; I got a new grant portfolio at work.  The grant portfolio of one of the nations, and dare I say world's leading pancreatic cancer researchers.  Don't  you just love how God works?   This doctor agreed to meet with me right away; and told me what to expect in the coming months.   

What a gift God gave me; to have access to this kind of information.   To let me play a small part in the role to find a cure for pancreatic cancer.   I'm not stopping.  This is now my fight!

There is an organization I've come to know called the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.  I decided to register on their website to receive emails and info on the latest events and findings in the field.  I came upon an email that described one of their fundraising events; Purple Stride 2016.

So I decided to start a team; Team Lightning Spirit.  I set a small goal of $1,000, with the mindset it would never be reached.   Fast forward to Sunday.   My team raised almost $7,000 for pancreatic cancer research in my dad's honor.    I am so grateful to all who joined our team and donated.   Words cannot describe the joy and honor it was to have all of you come alongside my family during this terribly difficult time.

The ribbon that denotes pancreatic cancer is Purple.  The event was held in Forest Park on September 25.  Seeing all the set ups, thousands of people, and a sea of purple all to support the survivors and remember those that have been lost.   We laughed, we cried, we danced, and for a brief moment I forgot my dad was sick.  As the day drew to a close; the reality began to appear again.

To me, purple represents the hope I lost in January; and the hope I have found again.  Purple represents the broken hearts and tears of sadness for the lost and tears of joy for those living and continuing the fight. 

I don't understand sickness; or why people have to suffer, but I do  know that The Lord walks with them and my dad every single moment.  He knows what it is like to suffer. No one has suffered more than He has; so there is no better person to help my dad through this.   If we lean on the Lord, we will make it through, as well.  I will continue to trust and continue to pray, and when I see purple, I will be reminded that God understands our pain, hurts with us, loves us, and is with us ALWAYS.  Thanks to all who are loving on my family, and please continue to pray for my dad.  

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Oh the blood of Jesus....smells funny?

On Tuesday, November 26, 2013, our church held its annual "Night of Thanks".  I decided to take Colin with me.   It was my hope he would love singing and would listen to the message given about Paying it Backward.  A message about only one of the lepers returning to thank Jesus.  Before the message, communion was given.  Colin asked me what it was. I did my best to explain.  Before I took communion, he asked if he could smell it (juice/wine).  Once I was finished he took the cup from me, smelled it, and said, "It smells funny".  The innocence of a child warms my heart. If he only knew how much it glorified God that he, at age 4, wanted to know what it was, what it smelled like.  What it reminds me of is that Jesus was a baby.  A defenseless baby dependent on his mothers care.  This time every year makes me think of what Mary went through, being his mother.  Knowing what would happen to him; and the roles reversed, she, defenseless to help him.  It also brings up a painful memory for me; a pregnancy loss.  My second child was due on 12/24/10.  For 10 amazing weeks; I thought I was pregnant with my second child.  An empty ultrasound. I believe in life from the point of conception, so if there was a child, it was too small to be seen.  But though the sorrows may last through the night, Joy comes in the morning, because on 12/24/10, I was able to share with my family I was pregnant, again, with Nicholas.  Although I don't understand everything, I believe God is in control; and only good can come from that.   I didn't have Colin take communion.  I want him to truly understand what Jesus did for him, for all of us.  I can't wait for that day!  He did start to sing, "Bless the Lord, Oh my Soul, Bless the Lord, Oh my Soul, Let everything within me,  Let everything within me,  Let everything within me, Bless the Lord."  Thank you Jesus for the gentle reminders that we have nothing to fear.  Amen!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Come Rest

I know I'm not the only person to feel like they have to be everywhere all the time and get everything right the first time.  Can I get an Amen?  Well, today, I did my usual listening of talk radio and the gloom and doom that is to come.  I felt myself getting overwhelmed in trying to fix some problems. So I started to listen to my music.  Next thing I knew I was in a puddle of tears.  So I went to the restroom to wipe my tears and fix my Rudolph nose, to no avail.  It got me thinking of what I tell my son, Colin, when he gets overwhelmed.  I say "Breathe....Calm Down....Shhhh".   I have said this so many times to him, that he will now look at me, when feeling overwhelmed, crying hysterically, and say "I need to breathe".  I'm the only one who knows what he means.  It's how we communicate our sadness, and then take the steps to help one another.   Well, today, I need to breathe, and calm down.  I searched for this particular song including short message; and it was exactly what I needed to hear.
It's called Come Rest by Lindsey McCaul


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Matthew 18:20

I let things bother me.  Too much.  I know the bible says not to be anxious; but I find it so hard to apply to my life.  Why is that?  Why are some parts of scripture so easy to obey and others not?  I often allow the enemy to get into my head; to tell me I'm not worthy of God's love.  Why do I let him do that.  I obsess about certain decisions I have made in my life and how I went about them.  

 I remember very clearly the day I was baptized.  I had several conversations with a dear friend.  A friend who would sit with me for hours, if need be, to answer all my questions about God.  All the what-ifs.  His name is Mike Wallace, and I am forever grateful for his friendship.  I remember sitting at work; and just getting this feeling that it was time. Time for me to let go of control of my life and hand it over to the Lord. I called Mike. He called our pastor.  They met me for lunch; to make sure I was making a conscience decision.  We went to the church.  Another dear friend, Tyeece, brought her son.  I wanted her there, too.  She was also a dear friend, and my boss.  Mike baptized me.  I remember a feeling of peace come over me; a feeling much like I was standing in a pool of rubbing alcohol, and not water.  Like all the bad was fleeing from my body.  It was one of the most amazing feelings I had ever had.   

Since then, I have gone through good and bad times.  Times of distance and closeness to God.  I have often questioned myself if that was the right way to do it.  Should I have done it during a Sunday service?   I'm not sure.  But I think God is telling me it is fine.  He is telling me to stop obsessing.  I had been thinking about it on the way home today; and Matthew 18:20 popped in my head.

"For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst."

Well, there were 4!  I feel kind of silly that I obsessed for so many years. Not because there were 4, but because I doubted.   I just see him, much as my earthly father does, shaking his head at me, and telling me that is why he is losing hair.  And saying, "maybe one of these days, you'll listen to me".

I love you Lord Jesus!!

Amen.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Spiritual Time Out

Is there a "time-out" chair in heaven?  If so, it has Jaime written all over it.

Church was difficult tonight.  I started off in a good mood; and then, as happens a lot, Pastor Josiah says something or quotes scripture that just strikes me.   It's like the feeling of hitting  brick wall. What scripture was it?  I'm so glad you asked!

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

16 Be joyful always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

 As soon as I saw it; I began to cry. By the time he was done reading it; I was in a puddle of my own tears.  We took communion. Then I was in a bigger puddle of my own tears.   That verse is special to me because it's what got me through all the stress and worry of Colin's unexplained fevers between birth and two years of age.  Every time I would think this is the time they are going to tell us he has cancer; or some incurable condition.  His condition is incurable; unexplainable, but it won't take his life.   I'm thankful for that, but sometimes I forget whose in charge, and I forget to thank him.

 You see, Wednesday night is our prayer service.  My group was praying for people with cancer, people who didn't know Jesus; and broken marriages.

I realized I don't take the time I should to give thanks to God.  He has blessed me and my family in so many ways.  All my little worries seemed so petty tonight.  God, I thank you for the gentle reminder that I'm not the one in charge.   Sometimes I need to be reminded of that.   So I give it all to you.  I long to be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in ALL circumstances, for this is your will for all your children in Christ Jesus.

Friday, July 12, 2013

My Ministry - The Pregnancy Pantry

God keeps reminding me that I have a gift.  The gift of helping people.  I love to help people.  Even if it is helping someone out of a reckless situation they willing got themselves into.  If they need help; we should help.   While in the car, an idea popped into my head.  Why not start a ministry to help mothers with the essentials of having a baby.  I remember being very stressed about how we were going to afford a new car seat, crib, clothing, formula, etc..  You name it; I worried about it.  Would it affect a pregnant women's decision to keep her child, if she knew there was a place to get goods for her baby, that didn't have to do with government assistance, but rather, generosity from those who love Jesus.  People donate to food pantries.  Why not give items of necessity to new mothers?  For example, Breast pumps are so expensive; yet the idea is you will save money since you won't have to buy formula.  What about a new mom who doesn't have someone to throw her a shower; thus, doesn't have much, and can't afford a pump.  What if she works full time?   I'm not sure how I'm going to make this happen or if this is even possible, but I love this idea.  Anything that will glorify God is worth pursuing.  Maybe something like this already exists; but it would never hurt to have another one.   I have a lot of unanswered questions, so if you'd like to help, let me know.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Irene's Song



Putting some of my feelings on paper tonight while thinking of my grandma. I just wrote a song.  Here it is.  **One thing though, I want to point out that when I say "Wishing it all would end".  I'm not referring to anything bad, just another way I saying "why can't everything be perfect".  Happy reading or singing!!  Love you Grandma Gifford.  Everything is going to be OK!!!  Trust in God's perfect love, and know Gramps wouldn't want us to be sad all the time.

Irene's Song

Feeling overwhelmed I walk up to the alter
There’s always a first time for everything
I fall to me knees and lay my head in my hands
These days I am content about nothing

And just when I’m about to give up
I feel something on my shoulder

We are your church, we are your people
Broken and helpless, in need of a savior
Do with us what you will
As I lay here broken-hearted
Wishing it all would end
That’s when I feel a hand on my shoulder
That’s when I feel your hand

 I lie awake at night
Content about nothing
I have a wonderful husband, two babies, and a home
What is so wrong that I feel so empty sometimes?
With all the love that surrounds me

We are your church, we are your people
Broken and helpless, in need of a savior
Do with us what you will
As I lay here broken-hearted
Wishing it all would end
That’s when I feel a hand on my shoulder
That’s when I feel your hand

Be my comfort be my peace let me know you are there
Help me understand all I should be thankful for
Comfort me oh God in this time of despair
For all that I want is to know you more

We are your church, we are your people
Broken and helpless, in need of a savior
Do with us what you will
As I lay here broken-hearted
Wishing it all would end
That’s when I feel a hand on my shoulder
That’s when I feel your hand

I am your daughter
I am broken
Do with me what you will
As I lay here, I refuse to be broken-hearted anymore
I don’t want to wish for an end
For that is not what you would have for me
So instead I will raise my hands

Feeling overwhelmed I walk up to the alter
Seems like we meet here, again and again
I’ll give you all the glory; I will give you all the praise
And I'll show you by raising my hands
Jesus – I raise my hands.