Thursday, March 31, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
It had been several years since we had experienced the blessing of God that I have written about in the first two posts of post #200. I had not, and will not, ever forget those blessings of God, but we had long since spent that money and only thought of that time in our lives from time to time.
Then the dreadful "c" word entered our world and we were in for the fight of our lives... The fight for our life.
I'll never forget the night we told the girls and Aaron I had cancer. We had waited until we had no choice but to tell them. I couldn't stand the thought of them worrying over me one second longer than they would have to. It was a difficult time. We told Josh and Stephanie and the rest of our family the next day, which was Sunday. It was hard watching them hurt, not knowing what the outcome would be. I wanted them to understand that God was in control and He had a reason for everything that happens and as long as we had His Grace we would be able to deal with whatever was to come. I wanted them to understand that the cancer was not in control...God was...if He wanted me to live 10 more minutes, 10 more seconds, or 10 more years, that was how long I would live. We had to trust Him.I remember being so sick while going through the surgeries, radiation and chemotherapy. During this time we were receiving medical bills that our insurance was not paying anything on. I would spend countless hours on the phone and on hold with a representative from our insurance. Every time I would talk to them they would tell me some requirement that I had failed to meet. I would only learn of these new requirements each time I would call. I would get off the phone and start the process of meeting each new requirement. I remember thinking how something needed to be done with our health care system. It was a terrible feeling to be so sick, actually feeling as if you may be on deaths doorstep, and having to argue with your insurance company who you had paid a large premium to, on time, every month, to get them to live up to their end of the deal and pay the bills!!!! I would be so sick and so fatigued and would still have to deal with this. By this time I was getting threats to be turned over to collection agencies. There was no way we could pay the mounting bills. It took about eight months and me finally getting ugly with a supervisors supervisor to finally get them to start paying their portion of my medical bills that had piled up and where over one hundred and sixty thousand dollars. During this time so many people were helping us in so many ways, including financially. People would hand Wendell money and tell him they wanted to pay for our gas to get to Nashville. People would give him money wanting to buy his food and what ever he would need while staying in the hospital with me. People would hand us cards that when we opened them contained money to help with our struggles. Churches that we have attended and some we have never attended wanted to help and would send us love gifts, time and again. I can't control the tears now as I think of the goodness of the people God has created!!! I don't think anything we could do or say could ever convey how blessed we were during this time!!! God is soooo good!!!! People with their own struggles would want to help us and would give us what I know they could have used for their own needs. Oh how I pray God has paid them back tenfold!!!! Once again ....The story could end here, where the blessings were more than I could ever deserve. But it didn't.....God was not through....
Monday, March 28, 2011
It was almost Christmas...almost time for Wendell's annual Christmas bonus....almost time for our annual "crack of dawn" shopping trip.....
Wendell had received a bonus at Christmas every year, since he had been working for the company he was working for. It was always somewhere between $2,500.00 - $3,000.00. We always looked forward to getting this check and considered it a huge blessing. We would spend some of it on Christmas shopping, some on paying off bills, and we would always try to use some of it to be a blessing to someone else who was having a more difficult time. Well, this year when he received his check we couldn't believe the amount!!! Yeah, I know what your thinking....the Lord had provided...and your right.... only ......the Lord had provided over and above what He had asked for!!! Wendell had done some additional work that they wanted to reward him for. His check was for $15,000.00!!!! The Lord had not only provided the amount He had asked of Wendell, but he had also blessed us with $5,000.00 to do with as we wanted!!!!! We had never had that much money in our lives. At the time we received this money there was a lot of things we could have done if we had viewed it differently. The $15,000.00 would have paid off a HUGE portion of the bills we owed at the time and could have made a big difference in our living pay check to pay check. But we never viewed it that way. We know the Lord gave us that money to give to the Fellowship Tract League. We were just the middle men that God blessed with the opportunity to receive the tremendous blessing that comes from being willing to be used of God, and from being willing to give. Wow, you can only imagine the joy that filled our hearts when Wendell was able to write that check and put it in the offering plate!!!! You can only imagine the joy, and I must admit, pride, I felt in knowing Wendell was open to listening when the Lord speaks to him and obedient in heeding the Will of God. Wow, it's so amazing to see the way God works!!! He had asked for something that within Wendell and my own means would have been impossible to accomplish. But God had not ever intended on Wendell or I accomplishing this on our own. He was just letting Wendell know He was going to use him to get this needed money to the tract league. When you begin to think even farther back...I wonder how God must have spoke to, or placed it on the heart, of the one who was making the decisions about bonus amounts!!!!
We didn't tell everyone about this, then, because it was not something we wanted to brag within ourselves of, but we did share it with our kids as a lesson to how if your willing God can use you, and what He asks for, He can and will provide!!!
Well, this part of the story could end here, but it didn't. There is more to tell of this awesome, amazing God we serve!!!
That next year life continued on as usual. At the end of that next year I gathered all our tax records together and took them to our accountant to prepare our income tax return. We had NEVER got back more than $3000.00, even when everyone we knew was getting back 6 & 8 thousand, even when all our kids were "countable." That next year when we got our return back from the accountant we were astonished to see we were going to receive a return in the amount of $10,400.00!!!! The first thing I thought of was Wendell being obedient to giving what the Lord had asked and provided, I knew in my heart that this was the Lord's way of rewarding Wendell for his faithfulness and willingness to serve God. I don't know if this seems like much to others but to us it was Wonderful!!!! We have both worked hard for what we have. The Lord has always provided, and we have always been able to find jobs and have had the health and strength to work hard. We both started working at young ages, I was 15 when I got my first job and up until the cancer had always worked. We don't have college educations, so up until Wendell got the job he was working at this time, we had both always worked, first in the fast food industry when we were young, and then in factories. So to receive that amount of money to us was like winning the lottery!!!! We were able to put a down payment on a camper we had been dreaming of, pay off some additional bills, and, as we had always tried to do, give a portion to someone having a rough time. Boy!!! God was sooo good to us!!!!! I know in my heart that God told Wendell to do something, give the money He was providing, to the Tract League, Wendell heeded the voice of God, and God has rewarded our family again and again for Wendell's obedience. Wendell could have second guessed everything, deciding that maybe he just "thought" God was speaking to him. That huge amout of money could have really advanced our family financialy. But he didn't. Everyone has always said "You can't out give God". We have had our financial struggles over the years just like most normal people. We have never had a large savings account but God has always provided our needs. I am in awe of the goodness of God, each time I think about these events...God speaking, Wendell obeying, God being Faithful. This Holy and Faithful God owes us nothing but through His goodness has time and again rewarded our family for Wendell's obedience.
This story could end here....but it doesn't......I got cancer...our lives began to change...Part 3 of Post #200 to continue telling of one of the biggest blessings God provided on our journey....coming soon....
Saturday, March 26, 2011
When thinking of Post #200 one thinks "Wow!!! that's kind of a milestone." One that should possibly be celebrated with an awesome, heartfelt, deep thinking, entry!!! LOL!!! I mentioned in the last post how God had blessed Wendell and I and our family in ways that I have not spoke of here but would when I felt the Lord was leading me to. In this post I am going to share one of the biggest blessings the Lord allowed us to experience on this journey. I have quite frankly not shared it openly for fear the devil would use it to spawn some since of hurt or jealousy in someone who has gone through a similar trial in their lives and God did not "show up" with this blessing for them. I don't understand why God has chosen to be sooo good to me, I just know I praise His name for His Goodness, Grace and Mercy to me and my little family.
Well, before we continue you may want to fix your coffee and grab a sandwich because to relate how awesome God is, I can't bring myself to leave out one minor detail, so this may be a long one!!! You see to relate this story we have to go back several years....long before the ugly "C" word became a member of our little family....we have to go back to a time when we were just ordinary people... living un-extraordinary lives...working hard to make ends meet.....OK maybe that's a little too dramatic!!!LOL!!! But here we go...............................
Several years back, Bro. Jones, our pastor, started announcing in Church, that in a few weeks he would be taking up a special offering to help with the purchase of a new printing press for the Fellowship Tract League, (a mission work that our church faithfully supports.) For those who may not know, us saved, independent baptist, use little pamphlets called "tracts" to help spread the wonderful gospel of our Savior Jesus Christ. These tracts are printed and given to us at no cost, the Fellowship Tract League and others like them are non profit and operate on donations and by great Faith!!! We are able to either hand these tracts directly to others or leave them places where they will be read, such as on the tables in our dining room at the store. They are also shipped to missionaries all over the world to be used as an additional aid in telling others, who may have never even heard of Jesus Christ, about the wonderful gift of God's son. We feel as if by contributing to this wonderful work, we, in a round about way, have a part in the extraordinary blessing of spreading the gospel around the world and of hopefully contributing to leading others to Christ!!!! I am not sure how much this printing press was going to cost, but I do remember that Bro. Jones' goal was for our church to contribute $100,000.00.
Wendell never does anything in a small way...he goes about everything he does with a huge heart and GREAT ambition. So, after Bro. Jones' announcement one day, Wendell asked me if I had been thinking about it. I replied that I had and he then asked me what I thought we should contribute. I said I didn't know, but secretly I was thinking $1000.00 would be wonderful, but we would really, really, have to cut back and save every penny we could get, and even then I wasn't sure it was a goal we could obtain. I then asked him, somewhat hesitantly, what he was thinking. I say hesitantly, because his over ambitious nature can be financially frightening at times!!!! Well, he was not going to disappoint me this time!!!LOL!!! He started out by saying, "Don't freak out. But the Lord has laid an amount on my heart that I know we are suppose to give." I said ok, just tell me. His reply was .....$10,000.00. Well needless to say I didn't freak out, after all you can't give what you don't have. I just kind of smiled at what I thought to be the ludicrousy of that amount. We didn't even have a tenth of that in our savings and there was just no way!!!! He might as well have said a million dollars, it would have made just as much sense!!! I did, however, feel the need to ask, so I asked him how in the world he thought we were suppose to do that? I mean, I love to give too, but we had to be realistic here!!! To this he replied he didn't know, he just knew that was the amount the Lord had laid on his heart and he KNEW that was what we were suppose to give. Needless to say, I didn't loose any sleep over this, I just thought he had to be somehow mistaken in the direction the Lord was leading and if by some weird chance he was right, then the Lord would provide.
Well, I see now that this story is way to long for one blog entry or to even write or read in one sitting, so I will pause here. Kind of like where I am leaving off.... we just continued to live our uneventful lives and I tried to, as hard as it was, to start putting back a few dollars here and there on my own, (notice the key words, on my Own, I was definately not trusting in the fact that the Lord could actualy provide what Wendell said He had placed on his heart.) Anyway...Part 2 to blog #200 coming soon...after a shower, some laundry, house cleaning........
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
My Mom had suddenly and unexpectedly passed, on Monday night at about 7:00 p.m. We spent that entire day at St. Mary's Hospital in Knoxville, hoping for a miracle, but it was not the Lord's will. He was ready for her and called her home that evening.
Wendell and I left the hospital in Knoxville, drove home to Oakdale, packed our bags and headed out to Nashville. I'll never forget that drive. So many emotions, yet feeling so numb.
We spent the night in a hotel, rose early, and arrived at Vanderbilt at about 6:00 am. We had checked, under the circumstances, on postponing my surgery. The cancer had already grown quite a lot and if I postponed, it would be another month before they would be able to reschedule me. The family insisted I go ahead with the surgery and we had Mom's funeral that weekend when I got out of the hospital.
That was the beginning of our journey and what I think of as "our cancer year". Pretty much everything in our lives, that year, 2009, revolved around fighting my cancer. It was a hard year and one I hope to never repeat, but God was faithful and merciful to my little family and we came through it all with a stronger love and bond. He taught me many lessons that year. When I was going through the radiation and chemo I was so fatigued and sick quite often, that I had plenty of time to "Be Still And Know That He Is God!!!" He brought me quickly to the point of relying solely on Him and knowing He is in control. I realized more than ever before how He is ALL and I am nothing. I know to some it may sound crazy, but if I could have changed the year of cancer, I would not. The closeness and communion that came from relying every minute on His Grace, brought unimaginable Peace to my heart and soul. That experience was heart changing and one I would NEVER change if I could. The guidance He provided was, I know, a direct result of all the prayers that were going up on my behalf from all of you. Some, I still to this day, do not know personally, but took the time to think and pray for me. I am forever humbled and grateful for that. There were so many times when God made the direction I was to take crystal clear. There was one time, I will forever regret, that He made His will clear to me, yet I did not heed His will and went the way my Doctors were suggesting. I know, for that, I suffered things I would not if I had had the courage to stand my ground. Anyway, there are some things that the Lord has done for me and my family through this experience that I have yet to tell here, but plan on sharing when I feel it is His will that I do so.
2010 I feel was my "year of recovery". I spent most of 2010 recovering from all the treatments and gaining some energy back. 2010 was filled with many Doctor visits and several scares. I began, once again, to live my life.
Now, here I am, two years later!!! Still living my life and loving my little family. God has been sooo good to me. So many others with my diagnosis, have not had the same outcome. I am definitely not the same person I was prior to two years ago and hearing those words "You have cancer." I have definitely changed mentally and physically. I deal daily with health issues I didn't have before. I have to admit, it is not always easy to deal with these symptoms and I am still trying to investigate and get to the bottom of what my body is trying to tell me. But I am soo grateful to be here, and know that it is a direct response to those prayers that went up for me.
I thank-you for helping me to have life and to live.
P.S. I was always so proud of her beauty!!! She was 66 years old but did not look or act old. She use to ask my advice on her wardrobe and what she was wearing. She was always a very stylish lady. She would always ask me "Do you think I look like I am trying to dress too young?" My reply to her was always the same.."NO Mom, you look great!" (I don't understand these women, who, when they reach a certain age, think they have to start wearing elastic waist, polyester, with large designs,). So my answer was always the same to her ..."Mom you look beautiful!! When you get to that age where you feel the need to start wearing what looks like your kitchen curtains or table cloth we will need to talk!!!" LOL!!!!
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Monday, March 14, 2011
Monday, March 7, 2011
The joy in our lives these days is babysitting my great nephew, who has Wendell, Punky, Kiah and I, wrapped around his tiny little fingers!!! I have babysat him off and on since he was about four months old, he is 17 months now. He is one of ten, of my sisters grand babies. She keeps him while his mother works and I keep him while she works. He has brought JOY back into our household!!! He lights up our home!!! I kept him everyday last week, which is a little unusual, I am feeling as if I have lost my right arm today!!!