Today’s blog doesn’t have anything to do with the progress I’ve made in my writing journey. . .mostly because I haven’t made much progress in the past couple of weeks.
It has more to do with my spiritual journey – and the reason why I haven‘t made much progress lately.
I’ve got two days a week to work on my writing – which includes updating my blog, participating at Authonomy, checking in at WattPad and actually writing. While it doesn’t seem like much of a list, it’s quite a lot to accomplish in the (roughly) 16 hours I have every week.
Those hours are a gift given by my mother who agreed to continue watching my kids two days a week even though I wasn’t going to a “real” job anymore. She allowed me to follow my heart into this writing venture instead.
My perspective about my voluntary lay-off and call to write was recently challenged when my mother received the news that the pathology report from a recent test came back positive for Lymphoma.
I suddenly began to wonder if I was led to take this lay-off not because I have been called to write. . .but because my mother would be battling cancer.
We don’t know yet whether it’s isolated to the tissue that was removed or whether it’s a more widespread problem. . . she’s just recently begun testing with a cancer center. Either way, I’ve still had to wrap my mind around one thing: my mother has cancer.
My parents are getting older, but to me, they aren’t old. I’ve adjusted to the issues that come with age – high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, etc. Overall, my parents, especially my Mom, have remained pretty healthy.
While Lymphoma is one of the most treatable types of cancer, it’s still cancer. It still requires things like chemo and radiation, PET scans, and the life-long possibility that it will one day return and kill you.
I’ve had to consider how much my life would change without my mother. At the very least, it could mean I spend the rest of my lay-off caring for her instead of writing while she cares for my kids.
The Lord works in mysterious ways – and sometimes he works in ways that we never saw coming. But in the end, we’re grateful we listened even if we didn’t really know why.
I don’t know what’s going to happen – the tests may show that my Mom is in the clear and there is no further evidence of Lymphoma in her body. She can go on caring for my kids and I can go on writing.
Or, it may show our worst fears and I’ll spend the rest of my summer caring for my Mom as she endures cancer treatments.
Either way, I have no doubt I was led to volunteer for this layoff no matter what the reason.
It has also reminded me how important it is to have a strong and consistent prayer life. A few years ago I went through a rough patch in my own life which lasted for about six months. The only thing that got me through was prayer – constant, consistent, earnest, gut-wrenching, honest prayer.
There were times I didn’t do anything except lay in a weeping puddle at God’s feet. There were other times I charged into the throne room of God and asked boldly for Him to take action.
No matter which it was, and most times it was somewhere in between, the most important point was that I had an on-going conversation with God. I never hung up. Even when I said Amen, I never hit the End button.
I learned how powerful prayer is – how it can sustain a person at their weakest, when they are powerless to take action themselves. And how God can use our prayers to move another person out of darkness and into the light, to change their heart and open their eyes.
I’m ashamed to say that once that rough patch ended and life returned to a more peaceful state, my prayer life eventually dwindled. Not that I didn’t, or don’t, pray. But not like I did then. Not like I should.
I’ve hung up and let life (even my God-given gift of writing) take center stage. Prayer became more of an afterthought. Until now.
Until I find myself in a powerless situation again and suddenly I want those lines of communication open like they used to be.
Sad, that we tend to call on him so heavily in the bad times but can’t be bothered to keep up the conversation when everything is good. It’s my fault and my action to change.
It did lead me to two different devotionals about prayer that really spoke to me. . .and I wanted to share them with you.
Both can be found online at RBC Ministries. What do I want you to remember most about these two passages?
1. Be real and be honest. God wants your communication. It doesn’t need to be pretty.
2. Believe in His power. And the power you have when you pray.
“Dad still remembers standing there at the edge of the woods listening to his mother pray. He remembers the intensity and passion in her prayer. He remembers hearing her pray for him, Joe, and Eileen. He remembers her crying with joy at the presence of her Lord as Jesus met her in the midst of her worship and petition. He remembers Popaw telling them that Momaw was in the closet, where she went to meet with God (Matthew 6:5-6). Dad was given a great gift that day. He was able to hear how his mother prayed when she thought no one was listening. Christian prayer in its most intimate form is like that. It is an intimate conversation. It’s raw but beautiful. It is not ritualistic and measured but relational and empowered. It’s saying what you would say when you think no one but God is listening.”
“I will never forget the day Pastor Doyle called all the children of the church to the front of the sanctuary during the pastoral prayer time. As they gathered at the front, he asked them to sit down and then told them that one of their friends had gotten very sick and needed their prayers. He not only invited them
to pray with him for their friend, but he also held out the mic and asked if one of them would like to pray. Up shot Caleb’s hand. Caleb was 10 and had suffered from the same illness that now plagued his friend. The next moment Doyle did something amazing. He handed over the mic to the 10-year-old. And with his pastor beside him, Caleb prayed this simple prayer. “Lord, I know what Dallas is going through, and I know that Guillain- Barre sucks (yes, he said sucks . . . in church . . . during the pastoral prayer). Please touch him, be with him, and heal him. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
And if any of you would feel led to pray for my mother – your petitions on her behalf would be ever so greatly appreciated.