Carol Wilson Update

Stage 4 Cancer brought many challenges--and also a host of loving and praying friends. Almost-daily postings to this site are to help my friends walk with me through this journey, and to express my gratitude to them and especially to God...On 7/8/08 Carol passed through that final curtain of death and is now healed. We thank God for her life and "arrival"! Chuck

Friday, March 31, 2006

Hold on!

Thanks for praying. I'm feeling stronger. Weird things keep happening. On Wednesday my eyes were watering so badly that I had to pull off the road twice on my way to work because I couldn't see to drive. I was leading the prayer chapel that morning, so everyone saw the tears running. (I explained that it was the chemo.) Someone prayed, and the problem went away. Now I'm retaining at least 5 pounds of fluid, especially in my ankles and legs. I have pills for that, but they spike up my potassium levels. Please help me pray that the fluid will go away.

One of the finest musicians I've ever met lives in Michigan and directs a community choir there. This week she sent me their CD of spirituals. It's a celebration just to listen! One of the songs says, "Keep your hand to the plow. Hold on!" It brought back a tender memory of the Sunday morning nearly 65 years ago when I insisted, "I want to learn the 'Golden Text' for today." (Our small church used a Sunday School curriculum in which everyone studied the same topic and Bible memory verse.) It happened to be Luke 9:62. "Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then turns back is not fit for the Kingdom of God." (Strange first memory project for a 4-year-old, but my dear mom was a great believer in memorizing the Word of God, and that was only the first of hundreds of verses that we learned together.) As I'm focusing on Christ's sufferings these days, I realize that He was fully able to turn back at any point during those dreadful hours, but He "kept His hand to the plow" with each painful step, every agonizing breath. I hate to think how terrible it would be for us if He had not held on. But it would be terrible for Him too, because He really wanted us! Imagine!

None of us has the power to change the time or manner of our death. But we face countless moments when we can turn back from loving and trusting Jesus. We'll still die, and He'll still carry us through by His grace, but we'll have missed the opportunity to honor Him in the midst of our pain. Let us pray for one another, that we'll "Hold on." It is, after all, only temporary.


Thursday, March 30, 2006

With God in the Dark

This morning I read, "It's better to walk with God in the dark than alone in the light." Nobody likes dark times, but alone is far worse. Focusing these days on Jesus' sufferings, I'm realizing that perhaps His very worst suffering was caused by His aloneness. His Father, with whom He had enjoyed infinitely intimate relationship forever, had to turn His face away because Jesus was carrying my (our) stench of sin. So Jesus walked alone in the dark--for us--in order that we would never ever have to face anything alone, without God. What a gift of Grace!

I'm planning to work at home today, as I have stacks of reports and missionary letters to read, and it seems I can do that more efficiently in this quiet place. I feel well this morning, eager for the day.

I hope to get some answers from the doctor on Monday, April 3, about how things are progressing and what our next steps will/should be. Thank you so much for your interest; I'll try to give a clear update in Tuesday's blog. Meanwhile, we continue to pray that God will search out every cancer cell and destroy it.


Wednesday, March 29, 2006


"Faith honors God. God honors faith."

That statement was in yesterday's devotional reading. I've been thinking about it off and on ever since I read it. I believe it's not the sort of faith that boasts, "I know exactly what God is going to do," but rather the faith that asserts, "I know that whatever God does is exactly right."

I've been focusing on Christ's suffering. It seems that already in Gethsemane He had become tainted by my (our) sin, and He went through the grisly horrors of that contamination as well as the dread of the coming torture on His own. So often in the past He had gone to that very spot to pray, and the Father had met Him there. But this time, it seems the Father had already turned His face away--not because of Jesus, but because Jesus had assumed my identity and sin. As the evening wore on, and He wore down, an angel--an angel!!--came to encourage Him, which was wonderful, but how He longed for a word from His Father, one more look at His face. From then on, until it was all over, He persevered as a human with the Plan He had helped formulate for our redemption--without divine intervention. "No one is exempt from pain," the story said, but I doubt anyone has ever endured such intense spiritual pain. He really wanted us!

Another 8 pm bedtime last night--for both of us this time. We don't understand this weariness, but we're thankful to sleep well. And glad we continue to have strength for each day's work.

Bless you!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Yesterday's story about the woman with painful cancer was from A Season for Hope by Michael S. Barry, a book for people with cancer. I'm glad I read that reminder to focus on Christ's suffering. For years I've had the habit of reading the Holy Week narratives in all four Gospels during Lent, and this year I had totally forgotten. (Chemo brain?) So I started this morning with Matthew 26 and will finish the book, then go on to Mark 14, Luke 22 and John 11 and read to the end of each Gospel. It's easy to do, but oh so painful to think about how much Jesus suffered. It would be crushing if it were only the random suffering caused by an evil world gone mad. So it's important to focus not only on His suffering, but on His purpose. It was the only way for the Trinity to achieve reconciliation with us sinners. Just think! He wanted us that much! Now nothing can ever separate us from His love.

I hit the bed before 8 pm last evening, and slept well. So this morning I'm ready to go to work again. (Yesterday's work was very worthwhile, but I felt pretty whipped after 6 hours.) I'm doing my best to stay within my energy allotment. And praying for more, I admit.

Thanks for praying for Chuck last week. His dizziness has cleared up, and last night he rested well. Some nights he's wakeful, which gives us empathy with those of you who also struggle to sleep through the night. May God help us all!



Monday, March 27, 2006


A woman in Illinois was far down the journey with cancer and was suffering intensely, yet she maintained a calm and cheerful spirit. The hospital chaplain asked for advice to give to other cancer sufferers. Her reply: "Focus on Christ's sufferings. No one is exempt from pain." Paul said it too in 2 Corinthians 1: 5, "For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows." No, I don't understand how that works, but I take it as the truth. During this season of Lent, as we prepare for Holy Week and Resurrection Sunday, this is inspired advice. I don't know what my cancer may eventually do to me, and although I will do everything I can to overcome it, the final outcome is out of my power. What I can do, and intend to do, is to use these days and weeks of relative freedom from suffering to help my spirit become "strong in the Lord" by focusing on the sufferings of Christ. How much love He demonstrated!

Yesterday was wonderful. I've said this before, and it's still true: it's really a privilege to gather with fellow believers in church. In Sunday School we again studied "pestering God" through persistent prayer. Our class is a true fellowship of supportive prayer, as we share our burdens and joys with one another. Every hug, every smile, every encouraging word is a gift of grace.

The rest of the day was quiet and restful, and I feel ready this morning for another day of work.

I appreciate so much your caring and praying.


Sunday, March 26, 2006

With All your Heart and Soul

This morning I read in Deuteronomy 4 a farewell message from Moses to the people of Israel whom he had led from Egypt to the promised land. He warned them that they would grow careless and come to love other things more than they love the Lord. Then he said that in their distress, they would again seek the Lord. "If you seek Him with all your heart and soul, you will find Him." I want that pursuit to be my highest goal for every day of whatever time I have left to live--whether months or years.

I find myself wilting earlier and sleeping later these days. I guess it's the anemia. May God use the iron pills and aranesp shots I'm taking to rebuild hemoglobin in my red blood cells.

Right after we moved here 10 years ago, Donna built a home behind ours and adopted us as parents. Later she married Chad and six years ago they had Lauryn. We were family! Four years ago, to our sorrow, they moved away. Last evening Donna and Lauryn surprised us with a visit as they're wrapping up a long spring break tour of friends. Seeing them was a gift of joy.

Have a blessed Sunday.


Saturday, March 25, 2006

The Measure of Life

A couple of weeks ago, Sue forwarded a cute e-mail about aging and how to stay young. The final sentence is worth remembering:

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."

(The very idea of breathing always grabs me since I spent so many months gasping for shallow bits of air. How wonderful a deep breath feels! But of course, that's not the point of the quotation.) We can love our work too much, keeping our eyes down on the task and missing the breath-taking sights, sounds and events. Here are some breath-taking moments I've measured my life by lately:

Family and friends who come to encourage
Bluebirds nesting
Flowers bravely blooming--even when it's cold
Bright sunshine
A noontime tramp through the woods with SIM colleagues
Genuine hugs
Tender prayers
Fresh words from God (spoken silently, or through the Bible)

I'm feeling well again today. I wish for new ways to thank you for your caring and your prayers.


Friday, March 24, 2006

Two Good Examples

Thank you for continuing to check this site and for praying. We're in the long stretch now--not much news, but inside I know the struggle continues to bring the resistant cancer cells out into the open where they can be zapped for good.

In my reading in Luke this morning, I saw two good examples. First, "Jesus often withdrew into the wilderness to pray." Then at the end of the chapter, Jesus found Levi engaged in his work and said, "Come, follow me." And at once Levi got up, left everything, and followed Jesus. Both Jesus and Levi are examples for me today.

Yesterday I was given a challenging writing assignment. I was feeling a bit mind-scattered, yet I really wanted to write it clearly and effectively. I'm happy to say that I remembered to stop and ask for God's help. I'm even more happy to say that, not surprisingly, He gave it. Why don't I withdraw for prayer more often? Even Jesus did!

Have a great day.


Thursday, March 23, 2006

Fear Is Absurd

In our joint devotions this morning, the reading from indeed (a daily from Walk Thru the Bible) told us that fear is absurd. Actually, on the surface of things, it seems that it's absurd not to be afraid if you really know the facts. But that leaves out God, Who says hundreds of times in the Bible "Don't be afraid, for I am with you." Here's what indeed says: "Instead of mentally partnering with your fear--assuming it's real, imagining how it will play out, etc.--partner with truth. Let your mind settle on what God says about your future, not what circumstances or insecurities say about it. . . . Refuse to live fearfully. The God of all power is always with you."
Thanks! I needed that!

I was able to work a full eight hours yesterday, with no unusual fatigue as a result. I hope the work I did was also effective.

We all face things today that could make us afraid; let's not "partner with our fear."


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Last evening Sue helped me formulate questions to guide our discussion with the doctor on April 3 regarding his view of my prospects after the 6th chemo on 24th April. It's helpful to have a clearer handle on the things we need to know. Our talk was free and open, even humorous at times, despite the seriousness of the topic. We're all convinced that the outcome rests in God's hands, not the doctor's or ours, and that's where our confidence rests. The peace we feel in our hearts is no credit to us but rather to the Giver of the peace.

Our dear neighbor Charles ("Hallelujah") made great progress yesterday, and may even go home today.

Sue flies home to Michigan this morning, and we'll head back to work. Having her here these days has been wonderful.

You are wonderful to keep caring and praying for us.


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Love Him in the Evening

A praise song from the 1970s says "Love Him in the morning when you see the sun arising, Love Him in the evening 'cause He took you through the day..." A friend sent me a book titled "Love Him in the Morning" by the song's composer John Fischer. This morning I was reading the section about evening. May I share a paragraph or two with you, and then I'll tell you why it grabbed my attention.

"God's faithfulness is especially welcome at the end of the day, when we are often beset by a good deal of regret. We typically ask more of a day than it can deliver, so it's rare that we end a day without coming up short on something.... The more difficult regrets are over the things that are hard to undo--things that harm us, others, and God, like regret over lapses in character, dysfunctional behavior, addictive sin, or getting caught in the rut of what we should be free of....

"Regret reduces us to unconditional love. Grace requires a certain helplessness. Suddenly I get it. I get that God's love is not because of anything in me or anything I've done or will do when I get my act together someday. Grace is being reduced to my lowest denominator and knowing I am loved even then." (from Love Him in the Morning by John Fischer)

Last evening Chuck went to bed early (he's feeling much better but still tired), and Sue and I sat up talking about our lives and how they've intertwined. It was a very loving and healing conversation, but still I took some feelings of regret with me to bed. Mostly the familiar regrets over lost opportunities to fill the souls of my young children with love, affirmation and understanding. My daughters all offer me the kind of grace described above, and I know God does too. I was glad to be reminded through that reading this morning.

Our wonderful neighbor, who taught me to count my "Hallelujah Days," is in hospital with a very serious infection for which he underwent surgery Saturday morning. He is suffering a great deal. Could you add Charles to your prayers today? Also his daughters. Thank you.


Monday, March 20, 2006

Loving One's Work

Chuck is reading the book "Heaven," which I mentioned here several weeks ago. Today's section is headed "Service as a Reward," reflecting the New Testament's promise that those who have served humbly and faithfully in life will be given positions of greater responsibility in eternity. That must not sound like good news to people who hate their jobs! (Don't worry; God is too smart and loving to give anyone a reward that isn't perfect for them.) But it got us thinking about the work we love to do here, and how thankful we are to have work that we love. God is so good to have put us in this place for "the third half" of our lives.

And I'm grateful to feel some energy returning; I plan to go to the office this morning for a few hours. I'm happy to report that our young designer did a terrific first draft of the entire magazine by the end of the day Friday. It truly has never before come together so well at every stage. Thanks for your prayers.

Yesterday, having heard that the rubythroated hummingbirds (at least the males) are back in town, I brewed up some sugar water and put out the feeders. What a gorgeous time of year this is!

Chuck had quite a struggle over the weekend with extreme dizziness. He slept a great deal, and rested between naps. He feels well this morning, and we'd really appreciate your prayers that he'll stay well. We're also asking God to guide him regarding any medical attention he might need.

Carol, for Chuck too

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Life is Short; People are Precious

Sue's family left her here with us for a few days; I'm so looking forward to this time with her!

We enjoyed a wonderful (riotous) 90 minutes with the family last evening before they took off for their all-night drive back to Michigan. It got me thinking...

In the 3 1/2 months since my diagnosis, I believe I've been blessed with a lifetime's worth of real "presence" of loved ones. Many have made significant sacrifices in their personal calendars in order to be here. And although we seldom focus on the cancer, its reality adds a sweetness and depth to our conversations, our hugs and our laughter. So I wonder, why don't we look on every person we encounter as someone with only a limited time to live? It's true, you know. No matter what God chooses to do with my life in the next months and years, it's entirely possible that I'll outlive some who are reading this blog, or some who come to visit--even those who are young and appear in perfect health. We simply don't know. The Bible says our lives on earth are like a puff of steam. Two conclusions: We need to really "be there" for one another while we're alive, and we need to be ready to join Jesus for eternity when this "puff of steam" vanishes.

I hope your Sunday is blessed.


Saturday, March 18, 2006

Wobbly and Weak-kneed

Yesterday I rested all morning and half the afternoon on the chaise outside. The birds were singing, white clouds played in the blue sky, and the flowers were lovely--whenever I opened my eyes, which was not often. Then about mid-afternoon, a switch turned. I felt awake and alive and asked Nancy to go with me to walk around the pond. I managed the walk well, and have felt renewed ever since.

Phil and Nancy left on the 6 am flight today. They left so many blessings in our hearts and home.

I received "The Ragamuffin Gospel--Visual Edition" from a friend in yesterday's mail. With a bald head, a body that behaves in ways that are very different from what I was used to all my life, and an uncertain future, it seems easy at times to feel somewhat broken. So I liked this:

The Lord said, "My grace is enough for you; my power is at its best in weakness." So I shall be very happy to make my weaknesses my special boast so that the power of Christ may stay over me." (2 Corinthians 12:9) Whatever our failings may be, we need not lower our eyes in the presence of Jesus. He comes not for the super-spiritual but for the wobbly and the weak-kneed who know they don't have it all together, and who are not too proud to accept the handout of amazing grace. As we glance up, we are astonished to find the eyes of Jesus open with wonder, deep with understanding, and gentle with compassion.

Today Sue and family are driving here from south Florida. After a short nap, the rest of the family will continue on to Michigan. Sue will stay for a few days of loving her parents in person. We're praying for their safe travel, and we're so looking forward to seeing them.


Friday, March 17, 2006

Beautiful morning

It's a beautiful morning. And I'm feeling better.

Nancy and Phil have been serving us exquisite food. I've felt sad to be able to only sample it, as my digestive system was sort of stubborn this week, but today I plan to enjoy the delights of having a resident cook! They've also cleaned places in this house like they've never been clean before. What a gift!

Last evening we had another movie night; Phil rented "Beyond the Gates of Splendor," a documentary about the Auca (Waodani) people of Ecuador, the five missionaries who were speared by them, and the wonderful changes that have occurred since then. It was wonderful.

I've been receiving proofs from our magazine designer and sending back comments and suggestions. It's coming along really well.

Can't tell you how thankful I am to feel stronger this morning.


Thursday, March 16, 2006


We're tracking the progress against my cancer by a tumor marker, CA 125. Yesterday a nurse called with the good news that Monday's blood test came back at 135.1 You may remember that pre-surgery it was 8,445. Three weeks ago it had dropped to 698.8. We thank the Lord for this evidence that He is answering prayer. (Normal is below 35.)

To no one's surprise, I spent most of yesterday resting and much of it sleeping. I think today will be more of the same.

Yesterday's devotional contained this encouraging word: Almighty God can make us stronger than our circumstances and can turn each situation to our good. In God's strength we can make them all pay tribute to our soul. We can even take the darkest disappointment, break it open, and discover a precious jewel of grace inside.

Today is a gift of grace. Let's be thankful.

Thanks for all your love and prayers.


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Is God Worried?

Phil and Nancy brought a DVD set with a series of 4 messages by Dr. Richard Swenson, medical doctor and Christian author. The first 3 sessions show the amazing wisdom and power of God's sovereignty in (1) the intricacies of the human body, (2) the "music" of the galaxies and (3) the marvels of new physics (space, time and light). Then session 4 begins with two questions:
1. Is God as worried as I am?
If the answer is No, and of course it is, then the next question is
2. Why am I worried?

And he develops the biblical truth that God is intimately concerned for every detail of His creation, down to the subatomic level, including all that concerns each one of us His children. A fresh grasp of how big and wise He is dissolves anxiety. I'd gladly sit and watch those messages again with you if you'd like to come and see them.

It's day 3 since chemo, and I'm feeling tired. It will probably be a resting day. A really cool thing happened. When I saw the doctor on Monday, my ankles were showing a lot of fluid retention, but he asked me to hold off on medicating for that. It didn't occur to me to pray about it; I just felt I'd have to put up with it. God does good things even when I forget to ask, and this morning my ankles are about back to normal. What a relief!

Thanks for your love and prayers.


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Finding a Vein

Our cell phone rang as we walked in the oncologist's door. It was daughter Karin, asking, "Did they find a vein? I've been praying." A half hour later we called her back to say "Yes!" God used the highly skilled nurse to find a buried vein (she couldn't see it, but found it with her fingers) and get the pick in with a minimum of probing and no pain. And the 3 1/3 hour infusions went smoothly. Thanks for all the prayers.

Brother Phil and his wife Nancy arrived by plane mid-afternoon. Nancy came equipped with a pocketful of her wonderful recipes and a passion for house cleaning. Phil also likes to cook and clean, and he's also a doctor. What a timely gift their coming is now! I know Phil will be helpful as we seek to make life-and-death decisions about what to do after the 6 scheduled chemo treatments are finished.

This morning I finished my 2005 One-Year Bible reading. (I lost a few months.) The last words in Revelation are full of hope. Jesus says, "Yes, I am coming soon!" We all echo: "Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!" The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all.

Love and thanks,

Monday, March 13, 2006

Pestering God

Yesterday our wonderful Sunday School teacher asked us to write the answer to this question: What do you want God to do for you?

No, I didn't write "Heal my cancer," even though I really would like that. I thought of 3 or 4 other things that are significantly more important than getting well.

For the rest of the hour he talked about people in the Bible who were spiritual pests--"tugging on God's sleeve" to keep on asking for their requests. It turns out that God likes that kind of impudence. For example,

Abraham (Genesis 18:22-23) appealed to God's character in begging Him to spare Sodom ("Won't the Judge of all the earth do right?").

In Isaiah 62:6, the prophet urges those who pray to take no rest and give God no rest until He fulfills His promises.

A foreign woman kept badgering Jesus to deliver her daughter from an evil oppression (Matthew 15: 21 etc) and He expressed delight in her persistence and her faith.

Jesus commended the man who pestered his neighbor late at night for food to give to hungry travelers (Luke 11:5 etc), and Tom made it clear that when we are praying for resources to use on behalf of the needy, God will be happy to answer.

Finally, Jesus told about a widow who gave a crooked judge no end of hassles in her quest for justice (Luke 18:2), and He said that God, the good Judge, wants us to be persistent in praying for justice for those who need it.

At least in cases like these, it's obvious that God wants us to draw close, grab on, be a "pest," and stick tight--like a loving Father who adores the child who won't let go, persistently asking for the thing she needs.

Sure, this morning I'm praying for God's help with the chemo and for the nurse to find a good vein. I'm also praying for deliverance for the oppressed, resources for the needy, justice for the misused, and for God to fulfill His promise that one day all nations on earth will love and praise Him.

Thank you so much for your love and prayers.


Sunday, March 12, 2006

He Rides the Wings of the Storm

In the Exodus (chapter 10 and 14), God frequently used stormy winds to accomplish His purpose to deliver the Israelites from their slave-holders in Egypt. Storms seem threatening, until we can see them as God's instruments for our good.
Though winds are wild,
And the gale unleashed,
My trusting heart still sings:
I know that they mean
No harm to me,
He rides upon their wings. (from "Streams in the Desert" March 12)

I pray--both for myself and for all of you who are encountering storms--that He Who rides on the winds will accomplish all His good purpose.

The nephew of my brother-in-law has been suffering severely from colorectal cancer and a full range of ineffective medical interventions. A couple of days ago he contracted painful shingles. I wonder if you'd lift up a prayer for him. He surely needs deliverance from pain. He's also in great need of hope and encouragement. Thanks for praying.

I'm feeling a little good pain this morning, not from cancer or chemo but from an "honest" half-day's work in the garden. It was such a gorgeous day. We walked around the pond before sunrise. Spent most of the morning running errands and buying yard supplies. Then, of course, we had to use those supplies. At 5 pm I collapsed in the recliner and actually slept a half hour. After that, I did no more work except prepare and clean up dinner, and I think we both hit the bed by 8 pm. What a marvel it is to have this much energy at this stage in the chemo--and what a blessing it is to be able to sleep through the night. I am so thankful for your prayers and for God's goodness.


Saturday, March 11, 2006

Your Will...Not Mine!

Yesterday as I (Chuck) was reading Mark 14 in the One Year Bible, the words of Jesus “Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will, not mine” jumped off the page. That’s our prayer too Lord! His words in vs. 38 are clear, “Keep alert and pray. Otherwise temptation will overpower you. For though the spirit is willing enough, the body is weak.” Throughout the day, I was thinking about the fellow in vs. 51 who was following behind when the mob grabbed him, tore off his clothing, and he ran away naked. No name…nothing more said about him. I like to believe that was Mark himself. Just letting the readers know that he was there, but this experience was about Jesus, not about himself. That reminds me of John the Baptist who said about Jesus, “He must increase. I must decrease.”

Cancer has changed our plans/lives, but He has not changed. As we were comparing our calendars the other day, we were again reminded that while we can write in plans for future months, it is the Lord that provides the health and strength to carry them out, so I trust that we are more prayerful about those plans and quicker to say…your will Lord, not ours. It is really about Him…not us!

Your encouragement and prayers mean so very much to both of us, and we are thankful that you allow us to share in your sufferings as many of you face challenges at this time.

Have a wonderful weekend reflecting on God’s love and goodness!

We love you,

Chuck…and Carol too

Friday, March 10, 2006

Beautiful Spring Morning

It's a beautiful spring morning here in Charlotte. Birds singing, mild temperature, soft breeze blowing, and oh! the sweet smell. It's lovely.

Do you remember Jim? We prayed for him when he'd gone out of state seeking help for his excruciating back pain. I saw him in the office two days ago---smiling! "I'm a walking miracle," he says. The doctor in Montgomery found and removed a bone chip which was causing the problem. As soon as the nerves finish healing (about 2 weeks), the doctor says the pain should be gone. Jim appreciates your prayers; I do too.

I'm feeling well, and planning to maximize these remaining 3 days before my next chemo on Monday. Still praying they'll be able to find a good vein to use for that.


Thursday, March 09, 2006

Crushed? Or flying?

Yesterday I had a long conference by phone with the designer and project manager regarding the next issue of the SIM magazine. (We had sent them the text and photos last week; this call was to kick off the design process.) We agreed that the process had never before gone so smoothly, and we're excited about the potential impact of this issue about urban ministries. Since you've helped by prayer, I hope you'll take joy in the outcome. (If you're not getting the magazine and wish to, just let me know including mailing address; it's free.)

I went to the "Y" yesterday. I don't think I worked long or hard enough to do much good, but it's a start. I'm glad to feel so well.

This morning my devotional reading included a long poem by Mary Butterfield. It acknowledges that burdens tend to crush us, and we "enjoy our misery." But then the poem develops God's point of view. He saw:
A child of His in need of grace
And power to serve; a puny twig
Requiring sun and rain to grow.
An undeveloped chrysalis;
A weak soul lacking faith in God.
He could not help but see all this
And more. And then, with tender thought
He placed it where it had to grow--
Or die. To lie and cringe beneath
One's load means death, but life and power
Await all those who dare to rise above.
Our burdens are our wings; on them
We soar to higher realms of grace.

We all have burdens of one kind or other. May they turn out to be wings on which we soar to higher realms of grace. That's what I'm praying for.


Wednesday, March 08, 2006

What if?

Sometimes my brain goes off in its own direction.
To next Monday: what if they can't find a good vein?
To next summer: what if the cancer comes roaring back?
To next year: what if I can't continue to be my grandchildren's friend?

Then a wiser voice prevails: What if God changes?

And I smile. I know He won't. And if He won't change, none of the other "What ifs" matter.

At my follow-up visit with the surgeon yesterday, he said I'm doing great and can do whatever I want to do. "Even the YMCA?" I asked. "Yes," he said. "I was wishing you'd say no," I joked, "Because I don't like to exercise." "Okay," he laughed, "No--whatever you want." We both chuckled, and of course I'll go back to the "Y" whether I like it or not. I'm thankful to have recovered from surgery so completely.

I'm thankful for your prayers.


Tuesday, March 07, 2006


This morning is my final appointment with my surgeon. It's been about 12 weeks, and I expect him to say I'm fully recovered from the surgery and can return to the "Y." I really need to do that. (I wish I were of the generation that loves to work out.)

Yesterday afternoon I was struck with a sudden and deep fatigue. It reminded me to take the aranesp injection which I do every 2 weeks for anemia. I went to bed right after dinner, and feel more rested this morning. My face still has most of its feeling, thank the Lord.

The Song of a Bird in a Winter Storm
The soft, sweet summer was warm and glowing,
Bright were the blossoms on every bough.
I trusted Him when the roses were blooming--
I trust Him now.

Small was my faith should it weakly falter
Now that the roses have ceased to blow.
Frail was the trust that now should alter,
Doubting His love when storm clouds grow.

It's good to know that God is trustworthy, "whatever the weather."


Monday, March 06, 2006

Ask Boldly

My childhood friend told me we are to come to our heavenly Father as a loved human child would approach a parent, boldly asking for whatever she wants. "Don't shyly hide behind the fear that the Father might not think it's a good idea," she said. "Even a good human parent will refuse an unwise request, but that doesn't stop the child from asking. Our Father knows that we will accept whatever He chooses, but let us ask boldly for what we want."

So I asked boldly for the numbness in my face to go away. And starting yesterday afternoon, the feeling began to return. It still feels a little funny, but it's much more normal. Thank You, Father!

We have a bunch of wonderful people here at the mission for 3 weeks; they're applying to serve somewhere in the world with SIM. This morning I get to do a session with them on how to write newsletters that grab the readers' attention. The purpose of those letters is to help their friends pray effectively for their work, so I view this opportunity as a huge privilege. Then this afternoon we'll take my brother Dan and his wife Marg to the airport. It's been wonderful to have them here.

Thanks so much for continuing to care and pray.


Sunday, March 05, 2006

Faith Builder

My childhood friend kept praying all last week that God would completely remove that cyst from her retina. "In my heart," she said, "I knew He was able to do it, but deep in my toes I couldn't imagine why He would do such a miracle for me!" Well, He did, and you who helped pray for her were part of that miracle. On Friday, when she went for the injection in her eye, the doctor asked for more X-Rays, and then he said (you're ahead of me on this, aren't you?), "There is no cyst on your retina." She says he probably thought she was crazy, but she couldn't help saying, "Praise the Lord. Thank You Jesus."

Yesterday we went on a tour of the North Carolina pottery country. It was lovely, and today I'm no worse for wear. The neuropathy hasn't spread, but I'd really like for it to stop.

Have a blessed Sunday.


Saturday, March 04, 2006

"Early in the Morning"

My first waking thoughts today were plans for the day. But, remember, I wanted my first thoughts to be of God. When I remembered that, my mind began to sing:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty.
Early in the morning my song shall rise to Thee.
Holy, holy, holy, Merciful and mighty,
God in three persons, blessed trinity.

The words merciful and mighty lifted my soul. I need God to be merciful because of my sins, and mighty because of my needs.

No more symptoms of the bladder infection. Continuing numbness, not only of the fingertips but also of the lower half of my face. I didn't get the impression that that's something the doctor can help with a pill, but I'll probably talk with his nurse on Monday.

And keep talking with the Lord.


Friday, March 03, 2006


Let me hear of your unfailing love to me in the morning,
For I am trusting you.
Show me where to walk, for I have come to you in prayer.
Teach me to do your will, for you are my God.
May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.
For the glory of your name, O Lord, save me;
In your righteousness, bring me out of this distress.
Psalm 143:8, 10, 11

These words helped me pray today. I'm especially asking God for guidance as we need to decide which course of treatment to pursue after the 6 regimens of chemo are completed on April 24, assuming that nothing interrupts the schedule. I felt some tingling and numbness in my fingers yesterday, which could indicate the onset of neuropathy (a common effect of chemo). I'd be glad to bypass that! Thanks for several suggestions by email regarding my infection. The doctor started me on an antibiotic on Tuesday, and I'm feeling better already. I keep reminding myself that much as we appreciate pills, God is the Healer!

Dan and Marg are great encouragers. I love having them here.


Thursday, March 02, 2006

What Cancer Cannot Do

Cancer cannot cripple love
It cannot shatter faith
It cannot corrode hope
It cannot destroy peace
It cannot kill friendship
It cannot suppress memories
It cannot silence courage
It cannot steal eternal life
It cannot conquer the Spirit.

Two friends have sent the above recently, one in an e-mail and one on a beautiful bookmark. Thanks. I needed that!

Brother Dan and his wife Marg arrived last evening. They keep insisting, "We're here to help." I think I'll let them. Love is so healing.

I love and appreciate you.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Bumps and Lessons

It's almost a cliche: when you're traveling the cancer journey, there will be bumps in the road. (This time it's a urinary tract infection. No, I don't feel horrible, but it's a setback of sorts.)

This is also almost a cliche: when troubles come, there's a lesson to be learned. I've been thinking about this, and I know at least one lesson I want to learn from this whole journey. It is to live more closely tied to God in all my thoughts--at first awakening, throughout the day, and last thought at night. (Some of you have lived this way for years, and you're shocked to think that I still need to learn this lesson. Pray for me!)

Psalm 116: 1 and 9: I love the Lord because he hears and answers my prayers. Because he bends down and listens, I will pray as long as I have breath.... And so I walk in the Lord's presence as I live here on earth!

That's what I want to learn to do.