Celebrating Love, Life, & a Son, 20 Years Cancer-free

Celebrating Love, Life, & a Son, 20 Years Cancer-free

This month is a special month. This month I celebrate my darling son and his amazing, godly life that our sovereign Father God spared 20 years ago ... and not only spared, but brought to abundant fruitfulness inside and out! Can I tell you the story? 

Twenty years ago on February 13, 1998, my beautiful baby boy, Jeremy John Loyd, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.  OK, he wasn't a baby at the time...he was 20 years old and a sophomore at Grace College.  But as every one of you moms knows, your baby is always your baby.

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Joy for a Suffering Soul: Just Be Held!

Eighteen years ago ... right about now, our family began to walk through the trial of our lives. Our precious son Jeremy began to have obvious issues that led to a diagnosis of thyroid cancer on February 13, 1998.jeremy My goodness, he was only 20 years old, athletic, handsome, healthy (or so we thought). As his mom, I experienced pain that I had never felt before or since. I watched my gorgeous "baby boy" walk through the trial of his life with courage and grace, despite his normal fear.

As I now look back to that time, the one thing I always say is "God carried us!" And I guess that is all I can say ... we were held and carried! And there is a bittersweet joy in that kind of deep trial ... when all there is to make it through is HIM and His loving Presence.

Willam and me, baby

So here's another song to add to our "Joy in January" series. It's a song for seeming un-joyful situations and periods in life.

So if you are going through what seems to be the "perfect storm," pause here, let go, ... and let yourself be held!

[youtuber youtube='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIZitK6_IMQ']

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And now for a shameless advertisement at the request of my business manager (a.k.a. my husband John):

At the risk of appearing self-serving, I want to invite you to read my book, The With-ness of our God: Relationship in Every Dimension,...not because I wrote it but because it reveals a God who is intimately and securely united with us in every possible way.The-With-ness-of-our-God-cover-temp-3-210x300

If you are struggling to feel connected to the Lord, though you may know in your head you belong to Him, please consider this little volume. In it you will receive manna for your heart, not just your head. You will find not only simple, practical instruction, but also meditation, stories for application, questions for journaling and just pondering...and more.

Or maybe you aren't struggling but just want to go deeper...this is for you too. You can dive into the deep or stay on the surface...your choice.

And the book is very accessible and affordable. You can purchase on online (see links). Locally, volumes can be purchased at BellHOP Cafe for just $14.00. And I've priced the ebook at the lowest allowed, $3.99 or even less on some on-line sites.

So please take a look and consider walking with us on this journey into The With-ness of our God: Relationship in Every Dimension.

And thank you for your grace!

[youtuber youtube='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksDn82ujvc0']

Publisher website: www.janloyd.com

On my blog with links to Amazon etc, endorsements, outline, excerpt, pdfs of other resources and leaders guide: http://www.abranchinthevine.com/with-ness-of-our-god/

 

My Weakness, His Strength...nothing wasted!

Have you ever wondered what the key to life is? How do I live this life called "Christianity"? I know I'm saved by grace through faith so heaven is in the bag, so to speak. But what do I do in the meantime...just try my best with a bit of God's help? And what about all that suffering? What's that about?

I don't know about you but my trying and His help added in (if I pray correctly and don't mess up in the meantime...a.k.a. "sin") have never really worked for me.  There is no joy, no peace, no abundance, no rest...all that Jesus promised, right?

This is what I know: it's His strength in my weakness! His resurrection Life in my humanness! And it's in the deepest of trials, that we need to know this deeply and truly.

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"Never more than I can bear"-- Oh, really?

"God never gives us more than we can bear!" For some reason, I've been hearing that a lot lately, have you?

I don't know about you, but in my experience, it has been the opposite! God regularly gives me more than I can bear...and I'll tell you what I think is the reason.

As I now like to say, "I'm a tough nut to crack."  I'm a pretty strong personality! So for a lot of my Christian life, I've believed that it's my strength and know-how and abilities and wisdom, coupled with the blessing and help from Above, that will get the job done...successfully...even in the spiritual realm. I've eaten over and over again from the "Tree of knowledge of Good & Evil" thinking that was God's will and way!

But now I know differently. His way is His strength in my weakness! Not His help in my weakness! HIM doing it and being it!

Tears-300x198
Tears-300x198

Little by little I have been learning this, not just through Scripture, but through life experience. And the crowning lesson in it all wasn't my own mysterious anaphylactic reactions that lasted years, not the sudden deaths or disabilities of our parents within a 8 month period, not the everyday pressures of mothering, homeschooling, and Bible study teaching. No! It was the cancer of my beloved son and the health crisis of my darling daughter all within months of each other that truly brought me to the end of thinking I had anything to add to life.

When someone marveled at how we made it through, I replied, "The Lord carried us!"

And so little by little over the years, the truth of what I have been seeing in the Word has come to life:

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  Gal 2:20 NLT

It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God. He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit.  2 Cor 3:5-6a NLT

But we have this treasure [the indwelling Christ] in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you.  2 Cor 4:7-12 NASB

But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on me—and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace. 1 Cor 15:10 NLT

Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.  John 15:5 NLT

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  2 Cor 12:8-10 NLT

My weakness, His strength 2Cor 12
My weakness, His strength 2Cor 12

Even the following verse, which comes pretty close to our cliche, still says to me that it's not about my strength with His help.  The "way of escape" is HIM...otherwise I could never endure it:

No temptation [trial, testing] has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted [tried, tested] beyond what you are able, but with the temptation [trial, testing] will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. 1 Cor 10:13 NLT

What about you, dear friend?

Just when you start feeling like you have the parenting thing tied up, has a new phase begun that knocks you for a loop?

After doing all the healthy stuff for your family, even more than what others do for themselves and their kids...Bam! Does a serious diagnosis enter your lives?

Or what about just the everyday stuff -- frustrations, noise, dirty diapers, crying, calling for mama? Pressures from schedules, deadlines? Difficult relationships...irregular people in your life?

Or what about your own human weakness, lacks, frailness, handicaps? Do you continually fall into the trap of thinking you can handle it with some help from God?

Oh really?  How has that been working for you?

O suffering child of God, turn from your own will and your own way and surrender to HIM, your Way of Escape, the One who will carry you through, so that you can endure even the unendurable, the unthinkable:

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.Romans 12:1-2 NLT


trials
trials

What to do when the days are dark and there's no consolation...

Have you played the "waiting game"? Barely a month after our son's cancer surgery, while we were starting to breathe again and recover, our daughter came to me with a suspicious area in her body.  We went to Jeremy's cancer surgeon and, sure enough, a tumor...actually 2 tumors!

Since she was so young at the time and so as to not put her through what could be needless surgery, we played the "waiting game."  We waited to see if the tumors would shrink on their own, thus indicating them to be benign.

Those were a hard two months...waiting, dark, not knowing.

As I was struggling with the the horrific possibility of having two kids with cancer, I asked the Lord one dark, early morning,

"I know you are doing something, Lord, and I don't have to understand it all. But how, as Mom, do I make it through?"

Clear as a bell in the darkness of pre-dawn, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart,

Go to the place where you and I live together and nothing can touch.

That's the place of immunity..the place of peace and safety...though it seems all hell may be breaking loose all around.

It was months later, after Beth's surgery, that the Lord reminded me that there was another Gospel story that speaks to this "waiting game" we all eventually play.

So when your days of dark trial drag on...and there's no comfort...and the heavens are as brass...you've invited Jesus into "your boat" in prayer and so have your brothers and sisters...remember...there's another boat story...yes, there really is...

Another Boat Story

As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.”

So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed).

But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water.

Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”

Let's stop here for a moment.  Jesus was asleep at the stern (back) of the boat...now we are talking not down below, but at the surface of the boat...head on a cushion...sleeping as sound as could be...with a storm (a.k.a. windy, wild, dangerous) all around! The disciples are panicked and desperate!

Equally are we shocked and desperate when we are in the midst of the darkest of dark in our lives, and our Lord Christ is silent...asleep, as it were, to our panic and desperation...despite repeated cryings and prayers.

So we too join in,

Lord, don't you care that I'm drowning?

We might ask ourselves, how could Jesus, the man, sleep when all storm-hell was breaking loose all around Him?

Jesus lived in oneness with the Father, and He knew His Father was in control of all things.   So He could rest! He could live from His place of immunity...the place where He lived in union with His Father...and nothing and no one could touch!

And we can too...we can rest in the oneness we have in Christ our Lord.

That being said, let's go back to our story.  Let's see this One in whom we dwell and Who dwells in us...

When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!”

Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm.

A great calm! Peace!  What we need for our souls, is it not?  Did you notice what He did to bring everything to that state?  He rebuked the wind,

"Quit it, wind!"

And the wind stopped...

Then He said to the waves,

"Hush! Be quiet!"

Then the sea became as glass...

Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”

Mark 4:35-41 NLT

And we too often respond the same way, don't we?  As if we are unbelievers!  Where is our faith (Luke 8:25)?  Don't we have any?

Jesus had said just a mustard seed-size faith.

Why? Because it isn't about the size or strength of  our faith.  Rather it's about the Awesome Person, the divine Christ, Lord of heaven and earth and everything in between!

So join me in saying over and over...even out loud...

I rest in You, Jesus!  I rest in You! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, Lord!

I can cling to Him, cocoon IN Him, rest down in Him who dwells at total peace in me.

As long as He is in the boat, there is Peace, because He Himself is our Peace (Ephesians 2:14).

Thou art the Lord who slept upon the pillow,


Thou art the Lord who soothed the furious sea,


What matters beating wind and tossing billow

If only we are in the boat with Thee?

Hold us quiet through the age-long minute


While Thou art silent and the wind is shrill

Can the boat sink while Thou, dear Lord, are in it;

and the heart faint that waiteth on Thy will?

Amy Carmichael

Under His Wings...the place of Immunity

When in the deepest of troubles...when there is no consolation or comfort...go to the sacred place where you and the Lord live together and nothing can touch...the place of union with our God through Jesus Christ by faith (Colossians 2:9-10 ESV)...and rest in Him who rests in you (John 17:20-23 ESV)! Hide me in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 17:8b

How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 36:7

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by. Psalm 57:1

Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings!  Selah Psalm 61:4

He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark. Psalm 91:4

Jesus' desire:  ...How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! Matthew 23:37b