Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Only Believe

We started a tradition in our family a few years ago called Elf on the Shelf. Many of you may have seen the cute boxes in stores containing a little elf and a book with a story about the elf on the shelf. Our elf, named Buttons, visits our house every December. He magically appears somewhere in the house and becomes Santa's eyes and ears until Christmas time. Every night he flies home to Santa to give his report and then reappears again in the morning in a new location in the house. Mackenzie and Kendall are so excited every morning to discover where Buttons is hiding next. They talk to him and tell him what they want for Christmas. The fun part about it all is that they believe. They believe this elf is real. They believe Santa is real. Their belief never waivers. I think their belief in Buttons and Santa has transferred into believing that God is real. There is no doubt in their mind that either one exists.

I often wish my belief and faith were like Mackenzie and Kendall's faith. Never waivering, never doubting. I especially wish I had their faith right now. Mine has been shaken beyond belief. I have been begging God to help me believe that this will end. That I will be healed. I am trying so hard but it just isn't coming to me. Instead, I am filled with fear that this will never end. That the rest of my life, however long it may be, will be spent battling cancer. I am afraid the more time that passes between now and the surgery will give the cancer the ability to move into my eye and grow to other places in my body. I am afraid of the surgery...that I will not survive it. I am afraid of the pain. I am afraid of waking up and realizing my eye is gone and having no one to help me process the loss.

Last night, I was sitting in bed. I had finished reading my Bible and devotional book and Kendall came into the room. She saw that I had my Bible in hand so she immediately ran into her room to grab her Bible. She came sprinting back into the room and plopped in bed with me. She grabbed my book and turned to a page that immediately caught my attention. The title of the page was "Only Believe". I grabbed the book and started reading. It was based on this verse: Matthew 9:28 "Jesus asked, Do you believe that I am able to do this?" That verse made my jaw drop. It was like God was asking me if I believe he can cure me....if he can get me through this. I wanted to find out the context of the verse and to whom God was asking this question. So I turned to Matthew 9:27 and read the following: "As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, "Have mercy on us Son of David!" When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him and he asked them, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" "Yes Lord, they replied. Then he touched their eyes and said, "According to your faith will it be done to you"; and their sight was restored." My jaw dropped again...this verse was perfect for me and how ironic it had to do with healing and eye sight. I want to have a faith like these blind men.

I have been walking around the house like a zombie. I break down crying not only because of the biopsy results, but because I feel like the joy of Christmas has been stripped away. Oh how I was looking forward to celebrating the holidays cancer free. But it will be different this year. Unfortunately not a lot of celebrating will be happening. Vacations will need to be postponed and we will have to decline attending several upcoming parties. When will life resume for us again?

Please continue to pray....especially for the protection of my eye and the upcoming surgery. I am looking to God, family and friends for strength right now because I feel like I don't have any. It already has been a long year. So I cling to each and every encouraging message you leave on this blog. Please let me know you are here. It means more to me than you will ever know and gives me the strength I am looking for. I have never before been so desperate for any word of encouragement or hope. I feel that God is using all of you to give me the hope and strength I need to get through this.

With much love and thanks,
Sue

27 comments:

Jen said...

Dearest Sue,

Thank you so much for your transparency in this battle. You have encouraged so many with your words. Now, I would like to encourage you. In your post you talked about your struggle to believe that God can or will heal you. This reminded me of a story in the book of Matthew, chapter 8: A man with leprosy approached Jesus and said, "Lord, if you are willing, you can heal me". And verse 3 says, "Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. 'I am willing' he said"...and the man was healed!

Sue, I believe that verse is for you today. God is fully capable of healing you, Sue, and he WANTS to! That verse has been a source of encouragement to me many times through the years and I hope that it brings you HOPE today!

Please know that Rich and I (and our boys) are praying for you daily. And we are not going to forget to keep you in our prayers over the holidays - we are going to continue to pray for you everyday until this is over and you are completely healthy. Please take a BIG hug from us down here in Phoenix!

Lots of love to you and your family,
Jen Falk

Anonymous said...

Sue: We are out here and we are all praying for you and pulling for you...and will continue you to do so no matter what twists and turns this journey takes...

jen fortner

Anonymous said...

Sue -

We are thinking of you and praying on your behalf during this holiday season. Please continue to display your unwavering strength and desire to come through this episode as a believer!

Jim & Ann Walters

Anonymous said...

Dearest Sue,
Words cannot express my heart adequately. I am shocked and devastated with you!! I know that this is no surprise to God and that He has a reason beyond our understanding. I don't pretend to know the heart of God, but one thing that came to mind is what if God is allowing this to protect you in the future from the cancer coming back. What if by having this surgery and removing your sinus God is getting rid of the cancer once and for all. Know whatever the reason God loves you and has a divine purpose in all He does.

I found this beautiful devotional that I want to share with you entitled " Walking Above the Waves of Our Circumstances" by Nancy Gutherie. "All right come," Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he looked around at the high waves, he was terrified and began to sink. "Save me Lord!" he shouted. Matt. 14:29-30

The devotion continues...

Another storm has blown into your life and you are still feeling battered from the last storm. You are wondering if you will be able to endure it. But Jesus is walking toward you in your distress, urging you not to be afraid. In a sense He is calling you to get out of the boat and trust Him. If you look at the wind and waves of sorrow and difficultly that is sweeping into your life, you will surely sink. But if you reach out to Jesus and keep your eyes focused on Him, He will empower you to walk above the waves of your bitter circumstances. Storms give you the opportunity to step out in faith. You can look down at the hurt and uncertainty that threaten to overtake you, or you can look up at the Savior. He will empower you to walk and live in a way that transcends the natural world. As you focus on Him, He provides what you need to keep walking toward Him when the winds of adversity are whipping all around you.

A prayer for you " Savior, I hear you calling me to step out of the boat and trust you. But I'm afraid. Keep reaching out to me as I seek to keep my eyes focused on you."

Hebrews 12:1-2 Let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by KEEPING OUR EYES ON JESUS, on whom our faith depends from start to finish.

Praying that you keep your eyes on Jesus! May you feel His peace and strength as you walk in faith.
Love,
Nikki

Scott Brill said...

Sue-
We don't know each other, but you are a friend of a friend and I have been following your blog since the beginning of your journey. I can relate to some of your feelings because I had my own cancer battle this year. I was so sorry to read about the results of your recent biopsy. It is so hard to understand why these things happen and I know that feeling of helplessness, and also how you want to trust God and his plan but sometimes it just doesn't make sense. God understands that you feel that way and those are the times that the prayers of so many people will carry you through this. I know you have already experienced that and you will again. Sometimes directly when you talk to people but also at those unexpected times, like in your devotion time last night. Keep close to God and you will continue to hear him talk to you. I'll pass something on to you that a friend shared with me this year; it's from Beth Moore: "Fear cripples faith but also faith cripples fear." Keep the faith. I know you have it because you display it every time you write, even when you are feeling low. God loves you and so many people are praying for you.
In Christ,
Cheryl

Anonymous said...

Oh Sue,

Your story about the elves, and Kendall's bible reading, "Only Believe" is not an accident! God is speaking directly to you. His word is unfailing. What he says is TRUE.

Hold on to those words! I agree with Nikki's thoughts about surgery as an answer to healing, once and for all. An answer to all your prayers and our prayers for a cancer free day.

You WILL get through this! And Christmas is not going anywhere. We will still celebrate Jesus coming to us, and maybe with greater meaning than ever before. Oh how we NEED Jesus to come to us.

All our love and prayers,

Rich & Cheri

Anonymous said...

Sue,
You are so beautiful...inside and out. We are all encouraged by you...your ups and downs help to realize that we all share these feelings. You are strong. God is with you and listening to you. Believe. We believe you will come through this and that this will end well for you. Believe. This is the season for believing in miracles. Yours is coming. Have faith. You are in our thoughts and prayers daily. Sending you a big hug.

Kellee Ablard

Anonymous said...

Sue,
I know you're hurting right now and I know you're scared. I wish I had something inspiring to say to you. Instead, I'll share a couple of my favorite Bible verses with you. The first one is Zephaniah 3:17 "The Lord God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, He will rejoice over you with singing." God is bigger than cancer, God is bigger than surgery, God is bigger than the ufamiliar future. God has plans for you, God knows your future, he sees the big picture. Even though you're hurting and don't feel like rejoicing right now, God loves you, he "delights" in you and he is singing over you. All you need to do is rest in his love, you have an amazing faith, don't ever stop believing, continue to ask God to increase your faith, it's a prayer that God will always answer with a yes.

The other verse I have for you is Isaiah 42:16, "I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them." Remember God is with you, he will be your guide through all of this, and he will NEVER leave you.

I have continued to pray for you, and I promise I will not stop praying for you.
Andrea Wackerfuss

Anonymous said...

I am here for you, we all are. We stand with are arms around you and embrace you, we will stand by you every step of the way and rejoice when you are finally cancer free. I believe in you, in your strength and resolve to battle through because you can and you will. You are not alone Sue we are your army of strength, love and support. Believe in it, I do!

Love, Hugs & Prayers,

Tracy Crumpton

Anonymous said...

Hi Sue -

Had to take a moment to let you know I am still here following you and your journey with this crappy cancer....

I read every blog update and for some reason my daughter Megan is right next to me at that time and I usually end up crying (for joy or sadness), well, yesterday she came in and saw me reading your blog again and I wasn't crying, so she was so excited and she said, "oh, is the cancer gone now?" I said, stunned, "No, it's not, it's still there" For some reason, I could not cry. I just had this feeling come over me that You are going to be OK......I don't know how to explain it, maybe it is a calming from above.....let go and let God.

I am here, praying for you and your strength and your health and for you to continue to have that beleif in God's plan, to have that Faith that God will lead you to better health.

See and hear those signs around you Sue!

Love and Hugs - Missy Cole

Anonymous said...

Sue,
I live in your neighborhood. I think of and pray for you often.


"He is your constant source of stability; He abundantly provides safety and great wisdom; He provides this to those who fear Him." Isaiah 33:6

May he be your source of stability even when you can't find the strength to put one foot in front of the other. May he protect you as you undergo surgery. And may he grant your doctor's wisdom as they care for you.

Jen Conway Gouette said...

Sue-

We have no idea how this will all turn out or what HE has in store for you, so my hope for you is that you will find JOY in these days before your surgery. Enjoy the season, enjoy the Christmas holiday with your family and say "yes" to those Christmas parties with friends! You just spent most of your fall cooped up and in pain. So, while surgery looms in your future, don't give into the fear, sadness and "what-ifs." Instead, give thanks for what HE has brought you through already and trust that HE will continue HIS works in you.

Anonymous said...

Sue,
I have been quietly following your blog for many months now. We continue to keep you and your family in our prayers as you conquer this next challenge.

Deb Quanbeck Kovats

Anonymous said...

I'm here, just a face in the crowd of so many praying their hearts out for you. Praying that God shields you from the fear, so that you may live each day to the full.
So I made some changes to these verses from Isaiah 43...but they are God's promises to YOU...
But now, this is what the LORD says—
he who created you, SUE,
he who formed you, SUE:
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.

3 For I am the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
4 Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give men in exchange for you,
and people in exchange for your life.

Covering you in prayer,
Amy Denzer

Heather Case said...

Sue,

You and your family remain in my constant thoughts and prayers. BELIEVE!!!!!!!! (btw....that is my favorite word and one I rely on often).

BE WELL. XOXOXO

Love always,

Heather

Anonymous said...

Sue -

We are praying for you daily and will not stop! I believe in miracles and the power of prayer and you have more people praying for you than you know! We will follow you through this journey until we can finally celebrate! Love to you, Tracy G.

By the way...it made my entire day to run into you in the Target parking lot last week. You are truly beautiful inside and out.

Anonymous said...

Sue,

Thinking about you and praying for you.

Mark K. (& family)

Anonymous said...

Sue,

We continue praying for you through this ordeal, and for your family. You bring so many words of joy and encouragement through your blog, along with your honesty and transparency and raw feelings. You've brought tears to us many times, but always knowing that God is doing a great work through you. You have touched many lives, some for purposes you will never know.

We pray for you and your family to experience the joy of Christmas in spite of your medical struggles, and we pray expectantly for God's healing.

Peace be with you,

Jeff and Cindi Stewart

Anonymous said...

Praying for you Sue.

Doran O'Brien said...

Sue, I pray for you when Jeni has your blog open (which is often). You are a woman of God, that is very obvious. Stay strong through this tough time.

Anonymous said...

This situation is taking longer than we thought, and the roller coaster ride with the results has been crazy, but you will get through this and things will be better than ever. You have a wonderful husband and family, and countless friends that love you dearly. You are not alone and you have prayers lifting you up constantly. Connie, Bella, and I pray for you every day.

The Robertsons

Anonymous said...

You are very blessed to have family and friends around. We went through some difficult moments and all of our families were very far away. So we were totally alone. Also your daughters souls are pure and they are your little angels in your house where God sends messages to you. You have very precious gifts around. God is around you and your guardian angels.
We wish you strength and quick recovery. May all go well

Anonymous said...

Sue,
You are truly an example of strength and the beauty of the human spirit. I thank God for holding you every day. I pray for you all of the time. I think of you all of the time. I send you strong energy and have some really great people praying for you. Don't let your enormous burden that you bear during this holiday season lessen your joy. You are a wonderful woman who needs to celebrate all of your strength! You probably don't even realize how much you have inspired all of us. Seek hope and peace...comfort and joy. I believe in you.

Joan

Anonymous said...

Sue,

Thinking of you and praying for you and your family. We are here for whatever we can do for you.

Jeremy

Anonymous said...

Sue, We are so inspired by the belief that God will get you through this hearwrenching time...your time with Kendall last night and your Bible was meant to be...she is a super smart little girl!! We are all praying each day and I have taken your blog site to my school where we have a very close "family." Each day someone else sends prayers and strength your way...please feel our love. Give that handsome husband of yours a huge hug from me! Kari Karrmann Sides

Jen Zick said...

Sue, I am still following your journey, with tears for your pain, and with hope and faith for your healing!

The following is a piece of scripture that I have referred to over and over again in difficult times. It reminds me of the great POWER of our Lord to sustain us through the trials and physical hardships of this life. Yes, cancer is "at work" in your body, but God is mighty to save, heal and restore!!!

When God heals your body (and I am trusting Him to do this!), it will be an incredible testimony of his power, and what an amazing story for you to share with others!

I hope this scripture lifts you up today!

2 Corinthians 4:7-13

7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

LIFE IS AT WORK IN YOU, SUE!!!
Keep believing!
Hugs, Jen

Anonymous said...

Sue,
Faith and believing is so hard when we are only human. No one had their faith tested more than Job in scripture. He lost everything, but his faith in God never failed. In the end God blessed him more than he could ever dream. Have faith, we love you and pray for you daily. I know and trust that God has many more blessings for you and your family! I believe,
Love you, Connie