be strengthened by grace.

What did I do this weekend?
I was strengthened by His grace.

I swear, I could feel it in that moment right before I was praying, a literal well-spring that started to gurgle and move upwards from my heart to my soul, from the pit of my soul to now words out of my mouth then and now.

It was refreshing.
It was revuenating.
It was a divine reminder that I wish I could explain to you in the clearest of ways so that you too could feel it, experience it for yourself.

Such a quiet and powerful exchange from Him to His Holy Spirit within me, conversing on my behalf while I am eavesdropping and benefitting and learning from them.

I can tell you this though: the stregthening starts from the reflecting.

As I choose to reflect on His Word, the Holy Spirit starts to assemble pieces of wood for the fire in my heart. Here are the matches that appear. Here is the newspaper. As I read, He strikes match and blows on it. Each verse/log increasing the fire, the heat, the energy there warming me, fueling me, lighting the way in my dark fears, worries, despair. Here is the light I’ve been longing to see.

the log-verses of my heart.

romans 5

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

I’ve noticed these logs on the ground before, looked at them but briefly multiple times on the side of the path, but I only recently picked them up and used them.

As we choose to undergo trials (and yes, it is a choice to actively engage in them instead of passively be in despair) we are simultaneously perservering. To work through, to at times work against the trials, requires slow, steady day-by-day prodding, day-by-day chooseing that yes, I am going to move and live life in this moment. Each day you must choose between the two: are you going to fight or are you going to succumb? And the more times you choose yes to fight, to live, then there, there is where the character lies. Yes, whittle down my wooden heart into His Heart. With each yes you say, this is now a notch whittled into who you are—permanenty—proven character. The character of someone who will consistently say Yes to Him in these difficult moments and then also into the moments of everyday life once the suffering has ceased. (How much more will you say Yes to him then in the “good” times as you see Him come through during the difficult yes times? Oh yes!) And not that there won’t be days where you say no (oh, I wish I could admit that I say Yes more than No, but that is not the case) but the consistency of the yes is where the character lies. He knows how hard the wood is to whittle and submit to do so and gives us grace in that.

And why do you choose to consistently say yes here in these moments more and more? HOPE. Only hope is the answer—because you know you can say yes and its not just the situation you are saying yes to but to Him who is acting and moving and strengthening you on His behalf. Who is giving you vision and reminders of who He has that He personally gives you in your times of need. Who shows you of the future that this will all one day cease both the good of life as well as the bad and tumble-turn into the Supreme Good of all Eternity. That is where the Hope lies.

And yet, that Eternity is so distant and unfathonable, a surreal reminder and giver of Hope that I am still trying to understand and absorb in like the vitamins I take. But today’s Yes is the important foundation to get there and all I need to be concerned for.

I see a counselor at my church about once a month and have been since starting chemotherapy up again. Today, she reminded me of the Yes moments of present life. Today, God used her to help strengthen me in His grace (oh how often and how much He loves to use His people to do so!)

I know He used Katey today to directly speak to me encouragement and affirm that God sees I’m trying to say yes to Him often and frequently. That I am right where He wants me to be and is calling me to be. That He has not left me and is using me for His purposes in this moment.

Thanks Katey for letting the Spirit use your mouth this morning.

And not only did He use here to strengthen me in grace today, but others as well. As I leave the office, I run into others who directly tell me, “My friends and I were just praying for you the other day, and now here you are!” (No joke, this happened twice, word for word.) Wow, what a mutual strengthening for us both! And how good is it that His people are willing to actively remember me and my life, even when I don’t see them often, to think and pray for me? And I don’t even know it, but friends, how I do feel it! I feel it as I’m becoming more like myself quicker, recovering from the chemo weeks faster. From receiving energy. Oh yes, your prayers are supernatural medicine that is being slipped into the water that I drink unknowingly. Thank you, thank you.

And yet also, its amazing how quickly I forget this is happening, that I am receiving supernatural strength and energy all the time.

Holy Spirit is finding and picking up the log-verses again:

2 corinthians 12

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

How I hate to be weak and admit that I am weak! I am weak, truly, all of the time, chemotherapy or not, just as you are weak too. And yet, I’m seeing and comparing myself to others in treatment and seeing what I think is weakness in my bones, and realizing I could be much, much worse. There is a supernatural strength I am seeing that I have. There is nothing I am doing to muster up my body to fight harder, do better, recover faster. That is simply science. And then His supernatural hand comes in to lift me up and bring me others, to his people and those steps I take are because he’s carrying me. I’m seeing that more and more, and that I am foolish to think that its coming from my own small strength of being simply stubborn. It is so much greater than my own personality. How I would (and do) completely fail when I rely on myself, my fleeting moments of strength from health and personality, and how much more sustained energy that I receive from his strong grace and people.

Another strengthening grace-moment: I’m receiving more of His thoughts, Christ’s mind as Katey pointed out to me today. (2 corinthians 2:9-16)

Only He would tell me this, because who else in their mind would ever think this way??

He’s been showing me that every time I go to chemotherapy, it’s as if I’m on a short-term missions trip. And mind you, I have never been on a missions trip, but I am seeing the similarities from Him.

I’m physically dislocated to somewhere else for a period of time (the hospital.)
I have to think about what’s going on, the people around me, my treatment, while I am there. And because of that I
leave the thoughts of home, friends there, my homechurch behind me, and not because I don’t love them but the people and things in front of me are of the moment the more important.

You see, I feel saddened when I’m not around my friends, or can’t see them or feel guilty when I don’t have the mental capacity to think about them. Which happens every 3 weeks with chemo. But God is showing me that He is taking care of them while I am gone, that I will return to them soon again, and that chemo-mission has so many people he wants me to contact and connect with there that it requires all of my attention. And that is the best place to be because that is where he wants me in that moment. Where else could I find joy but in the places and spaces where he wants me to be?

This mindset is strenghening to keep moving, keep going for this second half of chemotherapy. Which now I can look at with greater hope and drive and vision instead of dreading how my body will respond, how much more energy might be lost.

Remember: he gives us the grace we need in the moment.

Be strengthened by His grace daily, daily.

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