Saturday, March 24, 2012

Scarred & Saved.

From the Heart of Abigail Joy...

Ugh. Every bone inside of my body is anxious and eager to jump up and run and never stop…I need to move...Need to get out. The band Switchfoot has a song…Dare you to move. Well I’m being triple-dog-dared to move because I’m yearning to jump up and out of here. To live my life with purpose...

Each morning when I get up and get dressed I am reminded that I was saved. Physically saved. A six inch scar across your stomach will do that. Being a cancer survivor will do that.

I was born with hemi-hypertrophy. That is a long medical term meaning I am an alien. Not really…but my family teases me and calls me an love…for my condition. The right side of my body is bigger than the left. Children born with this condition have a higher risk of getting a kidney cancer called Wilm’s tumor. Well long story short…when I was little my mother was tickling me on the floor and she felt something unusual in my stomach…which turned out to be a large tumor overtaking my right kidney. So I live with one kidney and a 6 inch scar where the right one used to live.

When people discover the fact that I had cancer, their eyes usually widen with concern & curiosity. 5 out of 10 times, they ask me if I am ok. I gladly assure them that I am in the clear. And then I tell them that this all happened when I was 3-4 years old. I’m not blind…I didn’t have cancer in my eyes…I see facial expressions change when they discover just how young I was. I see their doubtful glances when I say I remember most of it.
I remember smells. I remember faces. I remember being in a hospital and doing crafts, puzzles, the toys in the play room. I remember the food. I remember the movies I used to watch over and over as I lay in bed. I remember conversations with the doctors. I am still this way today…before anything was done I have to know exactly what was going to be done, what instruments they were going to use, and how long it was going to take…I remember picking out a prize from the cardboard box that sat under the doctor’s chair after needles. I remember seeing my best friend’s mom after my surgery and her grabbing my hand as they wheeled me back to my room. I remember losing my hair. I remember the large selection of hats I acquired but always choosing the same one to wear. I remember the balloons and get well cards. I remember the visiting people. I remember going to birthday parties but having to sit inside out of the sun while the other kids ran outside to play games because of the medicine I was taking.
I remember sitting on the bed with my mom and asking Jesus to come live in my heart and my mom telling me Jesus was celebrating because I chose to follow Him (and to me…I was sure this meant Jesus was throwing a party in Heaven that included hats, balloons, and an invitation list that included Mary, Joseph, Moses, and all of the famous Bible characters we learned about in Sunday school.)

I learned early how fragile life really is…I am truly thankful God saved me.

But I do question. Why me? I remember the other children that were in the hospital at the same time as me but they didn’t survive. Why did God choose me? We have experienced death in our family. I have brothers who were born too early and passed away. Why did God choose me to live? Asking “Why” questions…you know will never be answered on this side of Heaven can be a dangerous road to travel down.

I do wrestle with these emotions and thoughts. When I hear of children passing and losing the battle to cancer my heart breaks and I wish I could take their place. I do not know why certain things happen.
“All of my life…in every season…God is still God…I have a reason to sing…I have a reason to Worship!!”

It reminds me of why we are here.
We are here for our Savior. It all goes back to digging in the word, giving Him your time, to live life with God’s strength working through you. We can do nothing on our own. Less of us and more of You Father!! We are here to win souls for Christ and to make disciples. We are here to love. We are here to get up…to move…to follow JESUS and to live. A life of action and PURPOSE.

I am scarred and reminded daily that I was saved physically… DAILY I hold the scarred hand of my Savior who captured my heart...and I’m reminded that my soul was saved for eternity.

What a beautiful reminder. You may not be a cancer survivor. But the scarred hands of our Savior is reminder enough that we were saved by grace for a reason and purpose!!
We all have something in common. We are all going to die. We are all going to one day take our final breath…until that moment comes…do not waste a breath…
Get up...move…truly live with the purpose God intended us all to live with…go!…

I triple-dog-dare you!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

True Beauty

From the heart of Abigail Joy ...
This morning I was standing in front of my closet. An explosion happened in my room…it came out of nowhere…I no longer knew if I had a floor. I had nothing to wear…nothing was good enough. Frustrated I surrendered to sweat pants and an old hand-me-down sweatshirt. Why do we allow clothes to dictate our lives? Like so many other things—clothes are a result of the fall yet we whine and complain. Why do we obsess over the little things…Then in my heart, as I lay defeated in a pile of rumpled cotton and fabric…I remembered a passage in Matthew! Read it for yourself…

25-26"If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don't fuss about what's on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.

27-29"Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.

30-33"If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

34"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

This is from The Message, Matthew 6.

I read this and wanted to just cry. I'm a visual learner. Like I’ve mentioned before—I have a huge imagination. Try and follow my daydream here. Take time to imagine…

A warm spring day with a light ocean breeze. The air swirling past you is filled with promise of more warm weather to come. You can smell the moistened ground from the Spring rain that came the day before. Walking barefoot through fresh green grass that tickles your toes. You stroll up a hill. Quiet & still—just enjoying singing birds soaring nearby. The sky is teaching a math lesson today—full of different shapes—puffy cotton ball clouds positioned against the purest of blue skies. You stop a moment just to feel the rays of the sun warm your face.

To your right over the hill you look to see the crashing of the roaring waves. The shore invites the waves in and the sea calls the water back out…they continue to play this game day in and day out—never growing tired. The water  glitters from the drops of sunshine.

You’re almost to the top of the hill now—but you aren't in any rush—you are living—living each second. The sound of the wind, the creatures of the earth, the thunderous crash of the waves—you join the chorus and begin humming any and every tune you can think of. Before you know it—you are stumbling upon the top of the hill. As you take your last step—you are overwhelmed to discover a burst of color. Flowers everywhere…A field of wildflowers—the grandest you have ever seen. Wildflowers—all shapes, colors, and sizes. The wind running through them—around and around—they are dancing. You long to join them and you do. How can you put into words what you are experiencing? Every one of your 5 senses bursting? Beauty. Life. Peace comes over and soaks into every fiber of your being…everything around is just…Breathtaking, captivating, magnificent. Glorious.

Reread  Matthew again..this is the image that kept running through my head. The amazing part?  Guess what?? Even the most beautiful scenery our imagination can whip up—or the most breathtaking views—they don't even compare to the DETAIL and BEAUTY God has put inside each and every one of His children—“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?”

You my friends may not be the skinniest, but who says that a size 0 is beautiful? The media hits us from every angle telling us what they see as “beautiful”. They tell us that we should go to every extreme from not eating, to gagging ourselves to make us fit this insane image that the world sees. But God says not to worry!!! Don’t let these thoughts that can easily become obsessive fill your mind or habits.

 He made us all unique—shame on us for trying to damage or alter the creativity He has gifted each of us with. We should take care of the body God has given us and let Him shine in and out of who you are.

Every girl no matter the age has struggled or is struggling with image. I was just struggling this morning…Me telling you over and over how valuable you are won't make any difference...but listen to the one who is holding your hand. Listen to our Saver, our Master, our Lover, and CREATOR--whispering to you...that you my dear are simply breathtaking and no one or no thing will ever make HIM love you any less!!

The love and creativity of our Savior never ceases to blow me away. The fact that He put so much time into each of us. So don’t stand in front of the closest today obsessing over what to wear—wear that nice outfit that brings out your confidence. Do not starve yourself or emotionally eat that gallon of chocolate ice cream in the freezer. Practice keeping God at the center of every aspect of your life—“ living a life of God-worship”.

Hope this made even a little impact on your hearts today.