Thursday, September 10, 2015

Walking FAR with Matt and Crystal

Our dear friends Matt and Crystal Blake serve as missionaries with the Wesleyan Church in Brno, Czech Republic.  They are on our daily prayer list and have been for years. Crystal continues in her journey with cancer. A recent post on her Care-bridge page moved my heart. Though you may not know Crystal - I thought her words would bless you: 

I was reading lately in a Reader's Digest and it included an African proverb:      If you want to walk fast, walk alone, if you want to walk far, walk with others.  There are times when I prefer to walk fast in this cancer journey -- itching to get over it and on to total healing, to be done with the pain, loneliness, frustration, to be and have what I see and think of as normal.  However, that solitude of walking fast means that I don't take the time to learn, listen, and share.  I see the days fly by and wonder where did they go?  What have I done that has been important?  (As if doing something makes me important, right?  It's who I am on the inside that makes me important -- for me, it's knowing Jesus and becoming more like him) 

It's on the tough days when I walk slow, when I notice the many great people who are walking with me -- especially my family and close friends or others who continue to pray faithfully-- that I remember I am not alone.  I am learning from others -- their journeys, and sharing from mine.  After over 5 1/2 years of battling cancer, this is a long marathon and not a sprint.  This marathon has opened my eyes to how people care, especially when you care for them.      

Beginning 2015 School Year
10th grade, 8th grade and 4th grade!
So, I start off with a HUGE THANKS for loving, caring, praying, encouraging, and walking on this journey with our family.  We still have far to go, but it doesn't seem impossible because we walk together.

In April, Dr. Joanne Lyon, the head of the Wesleyan Church spoke at a conference I attended.  She said, "When your faith is small, go back and remember what God has done."  and "When you follow Jesus, you see the miracles of God."  and finally, "When we get to the point that we crave God more than anything, HE will be there."  There is so much I could expound on these -- how much God has helped me learn about him.  But this time, I leave these quotes to you -- to think about and figure out in your life what God is doing.  He is doing a lot -- can you see him?

It has been over a month now since I last wrote.  Cycle 3 of chemo was the best yet, and I enjoyed being out with people and getting all kinds of things done.  We took a quick vacation to Liberec, Czech and then went to Germany for conference.  I got to try out each of my wigs and enjoyed feeling strong and full of energy the whole time.  One day, I wore three different wigs at different times and won the jet set award at fun night -- wearing a Marilyn Monroe wig.  One of the fun blessings is learning to laugh with others.  Hearing a few good friends say they wished they could change their hair as much as I could mine because I looked good with each wig was fun this time.  They were sincere and I didn't feel a twinge of jealousy that they got to have real hair.  I think God is helping me love who I am rather than wishing I looked differently.  Hearing Matt tell me I am beautiful often -- also helps!  :)

I have had Cycle 4 of this chemo -- this one is similar to the first cycle in that I am tired all.the.time.   I find that I can do a little bit and then I have to rest.  It affects my thinking processes for a few days and then I am just tired.  Yesterday, I spent the whole day in bed watching Netflix and then couldn't keep my eyes open and fell asleep at 9:30 pm! Yikes!  Who am I?  :)  I have also learned that I only can write back to emails when my mind is clear.  It just takes too long to do it otherwise....and who knows what I will say. Ha.   So, now I have a week off.  I'm looking forward to feeling stronger and spending more time out of bed as the days go forward.

Since I have been on chemo so long (3 years 2 months--with a few breaks here and there), some people have started asking when I will be done....when can I go on to life without chemo.  The basic answer is this.  The cancer hanging out in my liver REALLY likes me.  The only thing that helps keep it shrinking or small is chemo.  So, unless God chooses to heal me completely, I will be on chemo indefinitely.  I finally likened chemo to my thyroid medicine -- meds that I will take it for the rest of my life.  Can God heal -- of course!  Will He heal?  On earth -- that's up to him.  In heaven -- most definitely!  If God is willing, I will be get to celebrate many decades more of marriage.  If God is willing, I will get to hold my grandchildren (much later in the future).  If God is willing, I will write a book someday.  If God is willing, I will get to go skydiving!  If God is willing, anything is possible!

Thinking about the quotes from Dr. Joanne Lyon, I constantly remember what God has done in my life and in the lives of others -- that builds up my faith.  I am following Jesus as close as I can -- and I DO see his miracles!  And, I do crave God more than anything else -- and HE IS WITH ME.  All the time. He is with me.

So thankful that you are walking FAR with me,


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