Thankful during the tough times

The July 5th Jesus Calling devotional speaks of things I need to remember. “Draw near to me with a thankful heart. Gratitude enables you to perceive Me more clearly and to rejoice in our Love-relationship.” I am blessed immensely but sometimes I like to come to God with only grumbling or requests. Please help me with this…..please help me with that. Not that God doesn’t want to hear everything; of course He does, but He also wants us to thank Him in all circumstances. Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” This also means thanking God for the difficult things in our lives. God is the only one who knows how everything is going to turn out. I think this act of thanking Him is also letting God know we trust Him. Trust is the essence of any healthy relationship.

Lord, thank you for every challenge, every happy day, every unpleasant day and above all thank you for giving your life for us. In Jesus name. Amen

Kindness

The Lord said, “I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3. We all appreciate love and kindness from others. It can make a dull day brighter. As I reflect back on the time I was a cancer patient one thing that stands out was the overflowing amount of love and kindness others gave me. I really don’t think I could have made it through without it. From people sending me cards, making me homemade blankets, giving me scarfs and hats; to countless numbers of people praying for me, these things lifted me up. They helped me fight the fight! As I think of the YANA ministry, I think of kindness; God’s people helping lift up a cancer patient. This is our job, this is our gift, and this is God’s spirit helping others.

I’m blessed to be a part of this ministry and I thank God for His kindness.

Colossians 3:12 “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

YANA Tribute Celebration

The YANA Tribute Celebration Service was a day of reflecting on all YANA has become and on all the people who have been touched through receiving care packages. For me it is summed up in two words: Hands and Hearts.

I was desperate and I needed a hand, lots of hands and prayers to lift me up when I was battling cancer. This is how I see the YANA ministry and all of you who help make blankets, scarfs, caps, cards. You’re helping give a hand to those who are battling cancer. It means so much. But the deeper beauty of this ministry is that it’s not just us who are helping, God is orchestrating it and bringing all of you to us. More hands and more hearts to love those battling cancer.

Isaiah 41:13 “For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Do not fear, I will help you.”

Cancer patients need love, a tremendous amount of hope and faith. All the volunteers who are contributing your gifts and talents you are creating a message from the heart with their hands. We are so thankful for this!

As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55: 9-11

I want to thank each of you for your love, prayers and contributions to the YANA ministry. Your hands and hearts are being greatly used.

Cancer Survivor,
Christine Magnus Moore

YANA celebration: Picture of blanket cutting

Photography by: Cyndi Golden

YANA celebration: picture of girl

Photography by: Cyndi Golden

Strength in Stillness

“Thank Me for the conditions that are requiring you to be still. Do not spoil these quiet hours by wishing them away, waiting impatiently to be active again.” This is a quote from Sarah Young, author of the Jesus Calling book.

This quote is so powerful to me and reminds me of how God’s thoughts are so different than are thoughts. When I was going through cancer treatment, there was so much time I had to be still. I was on disability, unable to work. Many of my hours were spent sleeping, lying on the couch with no energy, lying on the couch fighting the nausea monster, or feeling so weak I could barely get off the couch. I never thought of these time of stillness as my most powerful growth times with God. “Instead of resenting the limitations of a weakened body, search for My way in the midst of these very circumstances. Limitations can be liberating when your strongest desire is living close to Me.”

It’s amazing what can go on in a quiet mind and a quiet spirit. We invite God to do His work. Instead of thinking of worry, or what we are not able to do, He invites us to reap the benefits of stillness-His strength in us. 2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Wow! Made perfect? Yes, it says made perfect. God wants us to trust Him in the uncomfortable quiet times, in the sick times, in all times. God has many good gifts to give us if we just listen and trust. Isaiah 30:15 says, “…in quietness and trust is your strength.”

Thank you God for being with us always!

What challenges do you find sitting in stillness? In the difficulty how has God spoken to you?

Christine Magnus Moore

Life’s Messy Days: Where’s the Fruit?

The Fruit of the Spirit’s not a banana (nana). The Fruit of the Spirit’s not a banana (nana). If you want to be a banana, you might as well hear it. You can’t be a Fruit of the Spirit.” *

As I lay in bed, the song that I hoped to teach my preschoolers swirled through my head. “’Cause the Fruit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. ‘Cause the Fruit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

I wanted to add a new verse, “The fruit of the spirit is not ME (owie)!”

Just the day before, I had prayed with my husband to surrender a problem near to my heart. Together we prayed to trust his love and sovereign power to work together for good, no matter what. That afternoon I prayed again before starting a difficult conversation, then proceeded to move like a high-performance race car, revving up my anger from 0 to 60 in record speed. No love. No joy. No peace… Definitely no self-control. I had marched out of the room defeated, my prayer now, “Where are you Lord when I’m stuck in the messiness of life!”

I opened up my “Jesus Calling“ devotional for January 28 and read the opening words, “I am with you always.” It was God’s answer: I’m right here, right now. Preparing you for much greater challenges to come, and preparing you to walk through them in trust and strength.

What I view as failure God views as a training ground, inviting me to start fresh and be transformed by the renewing of my mind.

And so I’ll sing my children’s song today, even as I take another step towards putting behind childish ways and letting God prepare me to meet my future challenges filled with the fruits of the spirit.

Where are you today? Enjoying the fruits or wondering how to find God in your own messiness? Join in the discussion on this week’s blog post. – Noelle

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. “ Romans 12:2

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.” 1 Corinthians 13:11

* “Fruit of the Spirit” song lyrics by Paula Harrington

Prayers of Thanks

Colossians 4:2 “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”

A simple prayer of “Help God.” How often do we do this? For me it’s often. When I was going through cancer my prayer was for healing. Now, I say prayers of help for others battling cancer and for my continued health. After a check-up or a scan I thank God for a good result, but I never thank Him after I say the prayer for whatever the answer will be. Only once I get the answer to my prayer do I thank Him.

The Jesus Calling devotional and the verse in Colossians make me see things differently. The author of Jesus Calling writes, “When you bring Me prayer requests, lay out your concerns before Me. Then thank Me for the answers that I have set into motion long before you can discern results.” What a different way to look at prayer. You mean I have to trust that God will give me the answer and thank Him for it sight unseen? Yes, that is what it means. Jesus wants us to walk by faith and not by sight.

Thank you God for the answers to my prayers!

Trusting … God Has a Plan for Me …

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jer 29:11

Plans… especially this time of year we think about our plans, we make resolutions, sometimes look back at our past plans. It can be a time of great hope…

I’m reminded of this time last year, I had many resolutions for 2013. I had grand plans for cooking new recipes, exercising and health, more patience and organization at home and work.

Then, I had cancer. At age 43, with no risk factors and “good” health, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My world was turned upside down. My days were filled with tests and results, appointments and medical plans. I was treated with chemotherapy, a bilateral mastectomy, and 25 rounds of radiation.

My year was not anything like I had planned. I had set aside many of my original resolutions, forgotten others. My new plan was simply to make it through the year. My task was to fight cancer. There were countless appointments and tests, treatments that caused my hair and eyelashes to fall out, burned my skin and knocked me out. Some days and weeks were so dark, it was hard to find hope in this new plan.

Life usually isn’t what we’ve planned, often it is difficult and heartbreaking. But every step is an opportunity to step closer to God. To believe, to hope, sometimes to fall apart and know where to turn to be put back together. I did this one day at a time, sometimes one minute at a time.

So, my resolutions from last year were almost ridiculous; instead of cooking healthy new meals, I went months avoiding the kitchen. Instead of increasing my health and running new races, my runs turned to walks. My patience nearly disappeared, my organization system was completely overwhelmed. But one step after another, one day after another I moved forward with hope. Slowly, my health is returning. Once again I can run, some days even with ease. I recently baked for the first time in nearly a year. My patience and organization are still works in need of much progress :).

I would never have guessed this plan, never have chosen it, but I’m hopeful for this new year. I don’t have grand plans or resolutions this year. But I know that I will keep moving forward trusting that God has a plan for me, one with hope and a future… :)

My prayer for you is that you too will find hope in God’s plan for you.

Care and Thankgiving

As I reflect on Thanksgiving, I am reminded of another major thing I experienced going through cancer. Someone was there for me. People prayed for me, sent me cards, left messages of good cheer, took me to appointments, and most importantly-they cared. We all share this journey of life with others. Heartfelt gestures can touch us deeply. The Bible says God is love. The image of God as our shepherd is endearing to me. I think Isaiah 40:11 speaks about God’s care for us the best. “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart.”

In what ways do you feel the care from others? Do you believe God cares for you?

Creating An Island Of Pain: Does Our Weakness Repel Others?

It was such a simple question:  “How are you doing?”

My body shook as the tears flowed down in waves.  I was scared.  I felt helpless.  I was in pain.  And I felt so alone.

My girlfriend wrapped her arms around me and prayed out loud for God’s comfort.  I’d been asked that question so many times lately and I had at least four different versions of the same answer: “Fine.”  That means, fine – I know you’re just politely asking.  Fine – If I tell you how I really feel you’ll avoid me next time.  Fine – I don’t have the strength to open myself up to you.  Fine – I want to hide and not talk to anyone.

But this question was real, and I knew my answer would bring prayer right then, and prayers that would continue.

As I cried and she prayed I felt some of the pain lift, and a touch of God’s peace fill and calm me.

The memory came back to me as I read Sarah Young’s Devotional Jesus Calling for November 2.  She wrote,  “Grow Strong in the Light of My Presence.  Your weakness does not repel Me.  In the contrary, it attracts My Power, which is always available to flow into a yielded heart.  Do not condemn yourself for your constant need of help.  Instead, come to Me with your gaping neediness; let the Light of My Love fill you.”

Looking back I will tell you that 2011 was the worst year and the best year of my life.  It taught me that to be poor in spirit is to be utterly and completely available to be filled with God’s presence.  It taught me that God wills us to let others into our lives to help bear our burdens…our “gaping neediness.”  Indeed, my gaping neediness allows God’s people to respond to his words, “Now that you have purified yourself by obeying the truth so you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.” 1 Peter 1:22

Have you experienced the blessing of your empty spirit being filled with God’s peace? How have you responded to others who have tried to give comfort?

The Lord is Close to the Brokenhearted …

I remember sitting in church sometime after my first chemo treatment. I listened as the pastor said, “I don’t know what you’re going through but God knows. He can bring good out of all circumstances.” These words made a torrent of tears pour from my eyes. My body, emotions, mind and soul were suffering. My cancer diagnosis was devastating, my life turned upside down. The October 14th Jesus Calling devotional says, “When suffering strikes, remember that I am sovereign and that I can bring good out of everything.” Stuffing wet tear-filled tissues into my purse, I was confused, sad and lonely. But after I had shed my tears and heard more of the message, the Holy Spirit brought a peace into my soul. God’s love washed over me. In the midst of my turmoil, joy emerged.

Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

How do you think God is changing you in the midst of your trial? Have you brought your crushed spirit to Him? In what ways have you seen Him bring good out of a tragedy in your life?