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Remission—a Time to Rest

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken (Psalms 62:5-6)

 

Rest, Dream, Refresh

I’ve been in remission for nine months. Seems odd to say. I’m still having trouble wrapping my mind around having been diagnosed with cancer. It’s weird really. I have no pain, other than the neuropathy I acquired from treatment. I don’t feel sick. I have no restrictions.

I do tire easily. I’m told my body is still recovering from the chemo. I am also getting older. So who’s knows if my mild fatigue is from chemo or aging?

All I know is being in remission doesn’t feel much different than not having cancer.

There’s one small difference. I have a lot more appointments to contend with now. Every six weeks, my medi-port needs flushed. Every three months, blood work, a CT or PET scan, and a nice chat with my oncologist fills my calendar.

Wow! I never thought any of those terms would be part of my norm, especially an oncologist. But here it is. And I’m adjusting. I’m in remissions. I’m at rest.

On Wednesday, I go for another CT scan. The following week, I visit the oncologist for the results. Am I a little nervous? Yes.

Every time I go through the process, my nerves rattle a little bit. Will something show up this time? What treatments will they recommend? How long will the treatments last? How will my system react this time? Will the neuropathy worsen? And on and on my mind whirls with concerns. There’s always the possibility cancer will show up somewhere else, sending me back to the clinic as a regular.

Those thoughts might disrupt my rest, but they never jerk me out of God’s arms and the true rest He gives.
I hope the cancer never rears its ugly face in my body or in anyone else’s body for the remainder of my life. But the doctors can’t guarantee it won’t. That’s okay. My hope doesn’t rest on the doctors’ word. My hope rests in God. Even if the disease returns, my hope rests in God. He never fails, nor does He sleep. He took me by the hand and led me this far. He promised to stay with me, protect me, provide for me, and comfort me. He was proven faithful.

How about you? How has God proven faithful to you?

See you in a twinkling,
Brenda K. Hendricks

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Give Me an Inch

And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? (Luke 12:25-26)

Exchange Wishful ThinkingMeasuring in at five feet, three and a half inches tall, I was not only the youngest in my family, but the shortest—not by much mind you, but still the shortest. My next-to-the-oldest sister towered over me by two whole inches, while our older sister beat me by a mere quarter of an inch. Our brother, nearly six-feet tall, looked down on all of us.

Wish as I may I never could grow that extra quarter inch to match my older sister.

Then we entered the mysterious land called the Change of Life where women grow chin hairs and skin tags. We learn to tan one pixel at a time. (Some call these tanning marks age spots.) And, we shrink! Thus, my sisters began their slow decline in stature, each losing three or four inches of their adult height.

Now, I tower over them. I can’t begin to explain how weird this feels to me. You see, I haven’t lost so much as a quarter inch yet. In fact when the nurse measures me at the doctor’s office, she tells me I’m now five feet, four inches tall … in my stocking feet, no less. What? How did that happen? A delayed answer to prayer? No one grows in the Land of Change. And I’m not claiming the extra half inch. Something’s amiss in the equipment is my guess.

I firmly believe God assigned to each of us a body code in our DNA the moment of conception, which no one can alter. It regulates our bone structure including our height.

Here’s the thing:

We must embrace many things in this life, whether we like them or not. We grow to a predesignated height. People cut us to the core with unkind remarks during our greatest need for encouragement. And our bodies fail us.

Jesus confirms this assessment with these words, “In the world ye shall have tribulation. But He didn’t stop there. He added the most encouraging words ever spoken, “but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

If I am to be of good cheer and stand with Jesus as an overcomer, I have to embrace my current health issues. The oncologist said I’ve done nothing wrong. Nothing could’ve prevented me from getting cancer.

Perhaps it was written in my DNA. I don’t know. But here it is. I have to accept it and learn to deal with whatever that may entail. It’s my new norm, part of my new territory, and definitely a piece of something bigger than I understand.

Nevertheless, I’m holding the hand of the One who wrote my DNA, knows the plans He has for me, and promised to give me a future and a hope.

How about you? How have you accepted your current troubles?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

T is for Trust

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

fall-path-4-web Please forgive me for skipping out on you the past two weeks thereby, dropping the ball on our P.A.T.H acronym. My mother has had some serious mishaps and is now in special care at the local hospital. We covet your prayers for her and the rest of our family.

If you’ve read any of my posts over the past several months, you know our family has been hit pretty hard with health issues this year. And it doesn’t look like the struggles are ending as the year comes to a close.

Nevertheless, we have hope in Jesus Christ, which brings me to today’s letter in our acronym. T is for trust. As we praise God for who He is, we learn to appreciate His attributes in new and higher ways. Praise unfolds adoration. Adoration opens the door to trust.

Trust is a key element in any relationship. But with God, it’s essential. It’s living and growing in us. And like every other living organism, trust must be exercised. We exercise our trust muscles in various ways. However, we reap the greater benefits through trials. When we stand at the edge of the Grand Canyon, facing a momma grizzly bear with three hungry cubs to feed, we either have to trust our parachute and jump or lie down and say, “Dinner is served.”

Sometimes on this path we call life, we have no choice but to trust and jump. Come to think of it, we have to trust God for every breath every day. He supplies our needs. He is the sustainer of the universe. He never fails, is always faithful, and completes the work He has begun in us.

Trials are part of God’s work. As He creates the image of Christ in us, He uses trials, calamities, and yes, health issues to chisel away at our pride, arrogance, and self-centeredness. With those same tools, He softens our hearts, develops compassion, and gives us a testimony of His mercy, grace, and abounding love.

God uses all things for our good to bring about good things for those who love Him and are called to His purpose (Romans 8:28 paraphrased).

It’s difficult to live by that verse at times. But God sends reminders to help us keep our faith as we exercise our trust in Him. Today, He graciously sent me one of those much-needed reminders while I read my devotions. We are able to confidently say, “this day” – with all its troubles – “is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalms 118:24) – The Storytelling God: Seeing the Glory of Jesus in His Parables by Jared C. Wilson.

Mr. Wilson’s words lifted my spirit. With that reminder, I realized the path God has prepared for me is straight and smooth. However, this physical path is full of twists, bumps, and roadblocks. But let’s not be perplexed by the physical, the more important path is the spiritual path that leads to our eternal home. Jesus said He is the way and He knows the way … follow Him. He straightens the path, smooths the bumps, and removes the roadblocks. We can trust Him to lead us to His kingdom.

How about you? How has God reminded you to trust Him more today?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Tiger

Tiger

Trust

Trust

 

A tiger has never stalked me. In fact, I have never been in a country where that’s a real threat, have you?

Nevertheless, troubles seem to follow me and attack me unexpectedly like a ravenous tiger. I buckle under the assault. I scream. I cry. I feel torn. I crawl to a corner and lick my wounds, praying the “tiger” never returns.

As I recover, I seek a better way of surviving in this jungle we call life. And sure enough, after much thought and prayer, the answer comes—in the form of an acronym using the word TIGER. Ironic? Perhaps. But God uses our greatest struggles to teach us His precepts, His faithfulness, and His loving kindness.

Here’s the acronym He gave me this morning to share with you and for you to share with those you know who wrestle “tigers” in their world.

 

Turn your concerns over to God (Psalm 34:14)

Invest time in Bible study and prayer (Philippians 4:6-7)

Guard your thoughts (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Endure all hardships (2 Timothy 4:5)

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)

Next time a “tiger” leaps at me, I’m going to fight back with words of truth and trust. How about you? What Scripture do you use to ward off the beast?

Prayer:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 4:5).

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

 

Generational Curses—Stop the Slavery

And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews. And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying. (Acts 12:11-12)

Anger Paints an Ugly Portrait colorGenerational curses come in many forms from drug and food addictions to anger induced rage. Not every obese person, tyrant, or pedophile can claim their conduct stems from a generational curse. We all have a sin nature and basically choose the path we travel. But some of our characteristics are passed down from generation to generation as the Bible says, “The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation” (Numbers 14:18). We learn and repeat the behavior patterns of those around us—good and bad. But generational curses go deeper into the soul than learned behavior.

How to recognize a generational curse:

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Next Week:

We’ll discuss Being Set Free through Recognizing Our Needs. Prepare by studying Luke 18:35-43.

See you in a twinkling,
Brenda K. Hendricks

Good Works–Spiritual Weapons?

Jesus answered, “It is written …” (Luke 4:4, 8, and 12)

On the wings of opportunity

On the wings of opportunity

 

I was recently offered a ministry. Totally unexpected. Totally worthwhile. Totally out of my comfort zone. But God often does that, right. He wants us to spread our wings, share His goodness, experience new realms of His glory. And I’ve been pleading with Him to use me in whatever capacity that pleases Him.

So what’s the problem? Why didn’t I immediately jump at the opportunity? It’s an answer to prayer, right?

Here’s the thing:

Satan knows how much I want to be used by God. The enemy also knows how to sidetrack all of us from our calling. One of the diversions he uses to lure us away from God’s intended work is to offer another form of good work.

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Next week, we’ll take a look at the fear factor. Is fear a spiritual weapon used by God or the enemy? Prepare by studying Psalm 27.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

The Gift of Promise

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

He's Coming Soon!

He’s Coming Soon!

My father was a man of integrity. If I learned anything from him, I learned to never make a promise I couldn’t keep. He made few promises. But when he did, Daddy stood by his word. As intent as he was at not making promises to his family he couldn’t keep, he was even more concerned with making vows before God. Daddy understood the displeasure God takes in unfulfilled vows and thought it better not to make vows than to break them. My dad was a simple man and took Jesus’ words to heart:

“Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all …  All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one (Matthew 5:33-37).

Because of Daddy’s integrity, I trusted his word. When he said he’d do something, I knew he’d make every effort to do it. Although I don’t remember him breaking a promise, I’m sure he did. He wasn’t infallible. Perhaps the essence of his promises came with these words, “I’ll do what I can.”

On the other hand, my heavenly Father never says, “I’ll do what I can.”

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Next time, we’ll look at the gift of victory via the video, which shows the completed picture I’ve been developing since the beginning of December. Prepare by studying 1 John 5:1-12.

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks