Friday, July 20, 2012

Dear Body

This letter is written in response to the invitation by She Loves Magazine, Stories of Sisterhood to write a letter to my body. To read more letters, written by women around the world, click here:  or visit shelovesmagazine on Facebook.

Dear Body,

We’ve spent forty-nine good years together.  We’ve traveled the world and had the joy of laughing with friends across the globe.   We’ve always had a good relationship.  I have always been grateful that you seemed to maintain your health and your form without any effort on my part.  I have depended you and found you to be faithful.

That is until May 27, 2009.  Imagine my shock when I was told that you had stage 3 rectal cancer.  The doctors told me that I had a 50/50 chance of maintaining my relationship with you for five more years.  I had always known that my days with you were numbered, but it was stunning to hear that number may be much smaller than I had imagined. 

I immediately felt betrayed!  How could you let this happen? You had no history of this disease!  You are never sick!  And so began my personal battle to prolong your life.  We partnered together, garnered all our strength, and stepped into the war. 

And you were phenomenal!  You took everything that came your way with amazing strength and dignity.  You stood up to repeated radiation, the burning of your cells,; and diligently discarded the refuse. You miraculously rebuilt damaged tissues even as you cried out for rest and relief from the onslaught.  You even gave birth to brand new cells in spite of the biological warfare of chemotherapy.  You endured multiple surgeries, each time producing beautiful scar tissue to remind me of your victories.  You fought through diarrhea, dehydration, exhaustion, electrolyte imbalance, secondary infections, constant nausea, emotional upheaval, pain, grief, fear, and despair.  You endured countless medical procedures, and torturous medical exams. You persevered through it all.

After endless months in the fray, you rang the bell, signaling your personal victory. You are amazing! You are strong! You are “beautifully and wonderfully made.”  I have never been more proud to call you mine!  Thank you for fighting for me!  I can’t live without you!


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Open My Eyes

Have you ever had one of those moments when your own sinfulness reared its ugly head, and for a brief instant you saw things clearly - the way God does - the total depravity of the human condition; and of MY condition without the grace of God?

Maybe a moment when the ugliness of pride showed its true colors in you...
Or a moment when a lack of compassion was all that was reflected...
Maybe the heat of judgement poured out on someone you love...
Or angry words spewed before you had the wisdom to silence your mouth...

That happened to me this week.

Sneak Peak:  I was walking into the office the other day at the same time that a woman got out of her car and headed into the building. I didn't recognize her. She looked a little haggard. I assumed that maybe she was a part of the cleaning crew that works at the church.  I didn't say hello to her. I barely even looked at her. I walked inside without even smiling. Wow. Who was that person?  Not her, but ME!!??  Why so impersonal and cold?  Was I really so busy that I couldn't be kind, or even polite?

Her Story:  Kristy and Mark had conversations with this woman and discovered that she was in need of help.  She came to Houston from Michigan to bury her ex-husband, the father of her 10 year old son, who had been found in Buffalo Bayou.  She didn't have enough money to get to the bus station to catch her bus home. She just needed a little help; she was willing to work for the day. I know we are all cynical about these types of stories and requests, but her need seemed genuine.  Mark bought a tank of gas so her friend could drive her to the bus station.

Full Disclosure:  Then Mark called me and said, "Let's go to Wallmart and buy them a gift card so they can have food to eat on the bus. It's a two day trip."  And I replied, "You go ahead. I don't want to ride in the car with them, they don't smell good."

Immediately I am convicted and ashamed. Appalled at my lack of love. Did I just say that?  Did I really have that thought?  Seriously? That's going to be the determining factor in whether I demonstrate Christ's love to someone or not?  I am sickened by my sin.

Redemption:  As it turned out, God gave me the opportunity to go with Mark to Wallmart to purchase the gift card anyway. Thank you, God, that in this moment when all I had to offer you was the stench of selfishness that you didn't respond in kind.  I am humbled by your mercy and grateful for your patience. Thank you for opening my eyes today.  Please continue your work of transformation in my life!  I obviously desperately need you...