Saturday, February 01, 2014

What a week . . .

Very early morning on Monday we were on the road to Jackson for a 7:30 appointment.  It was a little foggy, misting rain, we missed a turn which delayed us, made us encounter bad traffic right outside Jackson, thus making me an hour late getting started. I always dread the process, knowing that it never runs smoothly.  But, seeing the doctor, hearing his evaluation is usually worth the wait and the frustration.  Monday was no exception. He reported that the scans (PET/CAT) showed no evidence of disease.  He was also quick to say that seeing nothing does not mean there is no disease present, but that it has definitely responded to treatment.  We discussed the immediate future and I agreed to continue treatment, as is, for three more months.  Scans are scheduled for the end of April, he will re-evaluate, and determine further treatment.  Great news! I am so grateful!!!

By the time we were on the road again, the temperature was dropping and the winter storm which had been forecast to begin Tuesday midday was changed to begin about six in the morning.  We were a little concerned for our friends, Marge and Ken from Tennessee, who we were expecting to arrive Tuesday afternoon.  They were coming to see us on their way home from Florida, traveling in their motor home.  They called before we got home, inquiring about the forecast and we encouraged them to come on Monday night, which they did.  Good thing.  We awoke Tuesday morning to sleet and snow with a coat of ice forming on the roads.  I've seen worse in the South, but not this far south.  The snow was minimal and crunchy, not soft, but the children made the most of it and had great fun sliding down a hill on cardboard boxes.  Marge and I watched from inside, visited and knit, Ken entertained children in the motor home, did things on my "to do" list and helped Tommy with various projects.  It was both a terrible time and a wonderful time for them to be here.

Today begins the month that is characterized by special "beginning" events and the saddest one of all:  Tom and I married in February, Marty was born and he ended his earthly journey this month, three years ago.  The memories are sweet; they make me smile; they make me cry.  Most of all, they make me thankful that God brought us together, gave us two wonderful children and many years together.  They give me joy.

It seems appropriate that I read the book of Philippians this morning, a book that can be described as a book of joy.  Reading it makes me smile from the inside out.  Paul rejoices in the friendship of the Philippian church members.  I rejoice in friends who know me well, but love me all the same; friends who "stick closer than a brother." Paul tells of Jesus who became a man, who set aside his divinity, took on the burden of our sins so that we could become sons and daughters of God.  Knowing that makes my heart sing!  Many verses in Philippians are in my memory bank, but these two are sources of joy:  Phil. 3:10 and 4:13.  I had not thought of connecting them until this morning.  The King James says in 3:10 something  like ". . .. that I may know him and the power of his resurrection" and 4:13 is that familiar "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."  I was first introduced to 3:10 at a Westminster Fellowship retreat years ago in college.  Think about getting to know Christ, a resurrected Christ and the awesome, incredible power it took to raise him.  That same power that God used to raise Christ is the power Christ uses to strengthen us.  When you personalize those verses, the joy they bring is overwhelming.  I can really know Christ.  I can know the power of his resurrection.  My strength comes from that resurrection power!  Paul's joy did not come from his circumstances, nor does ours.  It comes from a vital relationship with God, through His Son. 

Honestly, I'm not too happy with some of my circumstances.  I hate this cancer and I surely hate life on earth without Tom.  Still there is joy because of the presence of God; there is joy in getting to know Christ more and more; there is joy that results from trusting in God's amazing power and joy, knowing I am strengthened by that same power. 

Pastor Margaret

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