Life Happens

 

Crowds
Life happens !
We are all different and respond or react differently in different situations.
Living life gives us the opportunity to experience different situations,  some that we would never choose for ourselves.   And through these life situations we get to know ourselves a little better – and perhaps that is the crux of the matter of life, to get to know ourselves a little better, through the hard times and the good times.

Sprouting a little wisdom here then ?

Well, taking a small overview of the past twelve months, and in particular the last five months, has given me a glimpse into the way I respond to life situations, and so getting to know myself a little better.
Having been diagnosed with breast cancer and walking on the stepping stones of a new pathway I am a little surprised how the walk through the valley of the shadow of death has brought a subtle change in me.
A cancer diagnosis becomes a death sentence, well in my mind it was so.
First the symptom then the mammogram, then the visit to the surgeon, then the results of his biopsy, then its over.  Well so I thought, but discovered that it was not over, and that I did not die, but lived !

My demise was a mental address, real and sad to me that there was nothing beyond the final visit to the surgeon.   I was in a dead-end street.
I tried to tidy up my cupboards, throw out any excess so the family didn’t have much bother when I was gone.  Get my accounts in order.  Just generally tidying up my life, with no loose ends to tie up.   I made no commitments  so that I would have no obligations.  I had no desire to be creative or work on any project.   I only did what I had to do.   I kind of gave up on my life, after all there was no future.

I put on a strong face for the family, and was very positive in the beginning. I wanted them to ease into the reality of the death sentence, as I knew it is a personal blow to come to terms with losing a loved one.   They were all so very supportive, each in their own way, and the love they carried in their hearts were revealed to me in each one’s unique response to the situation.  They each grew in stature and grace at Life’s happenings.

The hormone therapy that the oncologist had put me on was easy, apart from the tiredness that went along with it.   The tumour had regressed and I was on my way to healing.   I became optimistic that things were working out  after all.   Somewhere along the way I lost the death sentence as I began to realise that there was much wisdom in ‘taking one day at a time’ and ‘to keep hope alive.’

Then the tumour started to grow again.   The oncologist suggested radiation therapy, and I was in a dilemma – to do, or not to do, was the decision I struggled with, until I finally made an appointment with the unknown – radiation treatment !

Radiation sign

The treatment itself was not to daunting.   “Its like having a chest ex-ray,” my oncologist said.   It is however the after effects that had to be walked through, with plenty of rest, as the treatment left me drained, physically emotionally and spiritually.  And rest I did, for the best part of six weeks.   My poor immune system had been rocked by radiation to destroy the enemy within, it deserved to rest and to be nurtured, –  so to my soul.

It was during this time that I realised I had to keep my mind busy.   I was not to let this situation, this ‘ life’s happenings’,  this malady with its tiredness dominate my thinking.  I had to bring in other thoughts, and good thoughts.  I had to focus my mind on something better, a bigger story than my own.
So I took to the Scriptures, and focused particularly on a project-read, and then bring it to a conclusion by writing a summary of it on my blog.    I chose to look at the great men in the Bible.   I wrote Minding Moses and Dancing with David, and am currently working on other Faith heroes.

The  radiation treatment is still doing its work, and the tumour is regressing.  Hallelujah ! And my oncologist is delighted with my physical progress.

crossing the bridge
Having said all that I must add, that emotionally it is quite a ride too, a lonely ride.  I regard myself as a fairly stable person, and was outwardly, and for the most part inwardly, calm through each step of the way.  Although open,  I’m a private person and like to handle my own “emotional stuff” my own way.  There were days when I felt very alone and very sad for myself.   And indeed I was alone, except when I drew my strength from the Scriptures.

Cancer has an ugly face, its not a nice companion, and I did not embrace it for one minute, but I had to surrender to God’s sovereignty in the situation.  Once I did that I was at peace with Him and with myself.

I am not only on hormone therapy, but on faith therapy too.     Its a therapy that has no bad side effects, and will in time manifest only the goodness of God.   Faith is spiritual, a heavenly thing,  and is another ball game, which I am slowly learning by His grace, and with expectation.

I am still on my pathway to healing, and calling on God to show me the way.
Perhaps there is new ground to break, I hope so.   I hope to see Him working in new ways in my life – help me to attain higher ground in faith and healing, and His way of doing things.

I keep in mind, that His grace is sufficient for a new day, for there is always faith, hope and love in, Life’s happenings !

The sun comes up

Dancing with David

Brass harp

I had time on my side, so decided to do a bit of drawing.   Only this time I didn’t use my pencils, I drew from the Scriptures and did a character sketch of David.
I wanted to know more of the constructs of the character of the man of whom it was said   ‘he was a man after God’s own heart.’

Perhaps there are some who don’t know David.     In short his life is a lovely story, so worth reading,  of a shepherd boy who became a king.   Set deep in the trenches of the history of Israel.   David seemed to be a well rounded human being.
He was king of Israel, a man among men, yet with a tender heart,  a victorious warring warrior, a psalmist, faithful, just and a worshipper of God.

As someone in the courts of king Saul described him
“…. a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite,  who is skilful in playing, a mighty man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a handsome person, and the LORD is with him”

David was at first a shepherd boy, and tendered his father’s sheep in the outback.  He must have been a boy of obedience and of courage, for in the wilderness, where lions and bears roamed he took care of the family’s flocks.   A boy of contentment, for in the places of solitude he spent his time playing his instruments of praise, and in his loneliness, he worshipped the God of Israel.
He was far removed from the political clamour of the day, and the threat of war with the Philistines.

Then on a day Samuel, the prophet, came looking for a son of Jesse.     Of all he found none were suitable, for  ‘the Lord does not see as a man sees: for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” – 1 Samuel 16:7
Then David was recalled from the sheepfold, and anointed as the new coming king of Israel.
David was drawn into the politics of the day.   He, against all odds, killed Goliath the Philistine giant, with the help of God, and five smooth pebbles and his slingshot.

david and Goliath

 

David respected the people, and their appointed leaders.    He served king Saul well, but the relationship turned at the jealousy of Saul.    David was hunted and persecuted by Saul, and ran for the caves of Adullam for safety.    Around him, gathered a mottled lot of distressed, indebted and discontented men.  So he became the captain over these 400 men – who would in time  become the mighty army of God.
David fought for Judah and won, and so his renown began.    And he was anointed by his elders, at Hebron, as king of Judah.

David was a brave-heart.  David’s conquests were many.  He was a victorious warrior.   Do not diminish the wars against his enemies.     These were not mere skirmishes in small numbers.   ‘David made a name for himself when he returned from killing 18,000 Syrians in the Valley of Salt.’  – 2 Samuel 8:13
Great battles, fought,  more often won, made David great and renowned in the region.   The enemies of his people were the peoples of Philistine, Moab and Syria.

David had a passionate heart, especially so for Jerusalem.   In history he took the stronghold of Mount Zion from the Jebusites.  It became known as the City of David,  – Jerusalem that has an integral part in the history and culture of God’s people to this very day.      And all this may well reflect on the New Jerusalem, the heavenly City to come.

David was explosively expressive, and jubilant when the Ark of the Covenant was brought back to Jerusalem, –  and David danced before the Lord.

David dancing

David, was tender-hearted, and loyal, and a mourner.   He mourned the death of Saul his king and  Jonathan his best friend, when they were killed.    At the time David too mourned Abner, the commander of Saul’s army when he was killed by Joab.

Is this were the tear in the nation began, for though they were divided they were of one people.
And it was when Abner made Ishboshebeth Saul’s son king of Israel, that the tear became a schism, and the civil war between the house of David and the house of Saul grew wider.
Eventually David became king over Judah and Israel.
David reigned over all Israel and administered judgement and justice to all his people. – 1 Chronicles 18-14

David knew of the treachery of men’s hearts.  At the death of Abner by Joab, his own army commander.    The treasonous behaviour of his own son Absalom, who rebelled against his father.   And even the treachery of his own heart when he conspired to have Uriah killed in battle, so that he could justify his adulterous affair with Bathsheba.
The son born to David and Bathsheba died, and David mourned.
But in comforting Bathsheba, Solomon was born.   He was the one who would build David’s heart’s desire, a temple for God.

David was kind-hearted, and sought out Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s crippled son, and provided a place at his table for him.

David readily shared and was generous.
When the ark of the Lord was set in its place in the tabernacle,  David ……  blessed the people in the name of the LORD of hosts.
Then he distributed among all the people, among the whole multitude of Israel, both women and men, to everyone a loaf of bread, a piece of meat, and a cake of raisins.  So all the people departed, everyone to his house. 
 –  2 Samuel 6: 19.
David shared the spoils of war.   1 Samuel 30:26
Now when David came to Ziklag, he sent some of the spoil to the elders of Judah, to his friends saying, “Here is a present for you from the spoil of the enemies of the LORD” ‘
And thirteen other regions …….  ‘and to all the places where David himself and his men were accustomed to rove.”  – 1 Sam 30:31

David was a man after God’s own heart.
God does not look at the outer but the inward heart of man.
God’s favour was with David, and he was victorious in many battles against his enemies.   God made a covenant with David – 2 Samuel 7:12
… I will set up your seed after you,  who will come from your body and I will establish his kingdom.    He shall build a house for My name and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.  I will be his Father, and he shall be My son.
16.  And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you.   Your

throne shall be established forever”

This amazing covenant may well be the hint of another coming kingdom, and Jesus the Son of God,  who would establish the kingdom of God, beginning its fulfilment in the New Testament.
Even here God was preparing His people among the nations for a future time to come.

David had a heart filled with thanksgiving,  and the writing of the Psalms reveals such a heart.   The Psalms are given for the  understanding of the emotional condition of the heart of man –  for all seasons, and in all generations.   Those who read the Psalms would have understanding and become wise.  David knew God intimately and wrote the psalms from his heart, and from his life experiences.

PSALM 23
The LORD is my shepherd
I shall not want
He makes me to lie down in green pastures
He leads me beside still waters
He restores my soul :
He leads me in the path of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the
valley of the shadow of death;
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies
You anoint my head with oil,
My cup runs over,
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me.
All the days of my life;
And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
Forever.

It was through David that Israel knew their golden years, when they were victorious in war, wealthy through the tributes brought to them, esteemed by the nations around them, were just and generous to their own people, and when their collective wisdom was captured in literature and songs and worship,  a great nation at its pinnacle,  was being forged through history, for a future story to yet unfold.

If you love stories, you will find many other stories intertwined in the life of David.  Stories that reveal people’s hearts and motives, the goodness of God and miracles.  His story is a rich tapestry of the human condition, and not much has changed since David’s time, except that everything is now perhaps a little more accelerated.

If I sit back and take a gentle look at David’s life I get the impression that there are far reaching effects of a simple life that worships God, a life that dances before God, can have such an influence on future times to come.

Never underestimate yourself, and the work that God does in your life, woven in  for His purposes and His ultimate story, even if it does not make sense at the time.

Like David, let our lives dance before the Lord, and know that He sees the end from the beginning, and that there is more goodness and glory yet to come.

 

Welcome to Time

 


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The welcoming mat is out for a new year.

Its  TIME  that has been given to us, and for some a nudge of encouragement might be needed to shine in on 2016.

Some people collect rings and things.  I like to collect strings of words, pearls of wisdom, if you like.   Not really a philosopher at heart, I tend to pick and gather the words and thoughts of other people who can more aptly express the heart of a matter with just the right line of thought or words for the occassion.

So here are some of my “pearls”  for you,  for the year ahead.

HEADS  UP  !
SMILES  WIDE  !

MINDS  OPEN  !

That is from Teacher Charne, who teaches pre primary kiddies.  Does it not create such a sense of happy expectancy ?  A call to attention.

I am reminded of a phrase that Dr Caroline Leaf said on a TV proramme that went something like this. ” when you pay attention, focus in on the matter at hand, when you expect things, your neurons in your brain go  Yay !  something is coming, and they get ready to receive new input. Amazing  !   So let us focus, and pay happy attention to what is important to us this year.

For the Dreamers out there, here are the words of a song that Teacher Charne, had to teach her little class for a year-end concert in 2011.  Being a Dreamer myself I just love this !

Anything can happen if you let it,
sometimes things are difficult
but you can bet it
doesn’t have to be so
changes can be made
you can move a mountain if you use a larger spade.

Anything can happen, its a marvel
you can be a butterfly or just stay larval,
stretch your mind beyond fantastic,
dreams are made from strong elastic
take some good advice and don’t forget it,
anything can happen if you let it !!

Out of the mouth of babes, yes ?  This is a faith song we should all sing.

Then recently from the WordPress Blogosphere I gleaned these words, that encouraged me,  to encourage you. From the blog of    lilyellyn.com
         Who I am today is shaped by what I did yesterday and last year and the years   before that.   But who I will be tomorrow depends on what I choose to do with today.   

Surra commented on the WordPress blog with these words that grabbed me :
” 2016 is the year… the year to stop living in the past… its the year to do everything you can today to create a better tomorrow... the year to act, and I am looking forward to it”
I looked up Surrah at  :   brighteyesandpinkskies.com/about/   to find more inspiration, and was humbled to discover that she has SMA – spinal muscular atrophy !!  What courage she has to be able to write these words.

Finally,  advice from the Scriptures, to walk in wisdom,  found in Ephesians 5:15,16
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,  redeeming the time
because the days are evil.
 
Time is a gift, time is for living our life to the best of our ability, and potential, to the fullest of our joy,  and to the glory of God.   Make Time count !
May we all have the sense, and the grace,  to make the most of the time that has been freely given to us.

To all, blessings and happiness for  2016.

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Heads up !   Smiles wide !     Minds open !