Saturday, November 3, 2012

Beauty For Ashes

" give to them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified" Isaiah 61:13 AKJV

Cancer is many things. Yes it is ugly and difficult but it can also be beautiful and amazing. Cancer teaches you how to live, how to love and how to laugh. Cancer changes you inside and out. Yes my body is scared and rugged and its been through more than I ever thought it could handle but I'm proud of every scar and every imperfection. The following pictures were taken this summer just a couple of weeks before my port-a-cath was removed.

"...There was nothing attractive about him,
    nothing to cause us to take a second look.
He was looked down on and passed over,
    a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand.
One look at him and people turned away.
    We looked down on him, thought he was scum.
But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—
    our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us." 
From Isaiah 53 Msg

"There’s no need to fear for I’m your God.
I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you.
    I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you." 
Isaiah 41:10 

 If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken. What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives! Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus’ sake, which makes Jesus’ life all the more evident in us. While we’re going through the worst, you’re getting in on the best! 2 Corinthians 4:7-12  

“Still, if you set your heart on God
    and reach out to him,
If you scrub your hands of sin
    and refuse to entertain evil in your home,
You’ll be able to face the world unashamed
    and keep a firm grip on life, guiltless and fearless.
You’ll forget your troubles;
    they’ll be like old, faded photographs.
Your world will be washed in sunshine,
    every shadow dispersed by dayspring.
Full of hope, you’ll relax, confident again;
    you’ll look around, sit back, and take it easy.
Expansive, without a care in the world,
    you’ll be hunted out by many for your blessing.
But the wicked will see none of this.
    They’re headed down a dead-end road
    with nothing to look forward to—nothing.”
Job 11:13-20

And I’m going to keep that celebration going because I know how it’s going to turn out. Through your faithful prayers and the generous response of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, everything he wants to do in and through me will be done. I can hardly wait to continue on my course. I don’t expect to be embarrassed in the least. On the contrary, everything happening to me in this jail only serves to make Christ more accurately known, regardless of whether I live or die. They didn’t shut me up; they gave me a pulpit! Alive, I’m Christ’s messenger; dead, I’m his bounty. Life versus even more life! I can’t lose. 
Philippians 1:19-21 

As long as I’m alive in this body, there is good work for me to do. If I had to choose right now, I hardly know which I’d choose. Hard choice! The desire to break camp here and be with Christ is powerful. Some days I can think of nothing better. But most days, because of what you are going through, I am sure that it’s better for me to stick it out here. So I plan to be around awhile, companion to you as your growth and joy in this life of trusting God continues. You can start looking forward to a great reunion when I come visit you again. We’ll be praising Christ, enjoying each other. 
Philippians 1:22-26 

As thanksgiving is quickly approaching I have spent a lot of time reflecting already on what I'm thankful for. First of all I'm super thankful for the awesome God that I serve. He has held me in his arms and carried me through the mess of these last couple of years. I'm also thankful for my husband of 12 years who hasn't left my side even for a second. He is my rock and without him I don't know where I would be. I'm thankful for my three little girls who bring me laughter and joy each and every day. I'm thankful for life and as crazy as it sounds I'm thankful for cancer. Its been an awesome journey of self-discovery. Finally I'm thankful for all the amazing women I have met because of breast cancer. Some of my best friends now are survivors and knowing that I never would have met them without having been down this road makes it all the more worth it. Speaking of being thankful I'm also super thankful for my hubby for taking these photos for me. He did an amazing job on these photos.

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