A Community Of Hope
God Uses People to Help People
Our theme for July has been “God Uses People to Help People” and my main topic has been “People Connections”.
Today’s post is the last update for July. I had hoped to end July off ‘connecting all the dots’ with a ‘Focus on the Spiritual,’ but that will have to wait.
There are doorways to welcoming communities of ‘people connections’ that you only experience when you enter the door of their community. For you, it may be a church community, prayer group, hiking group, sports team, cultural event, music, creative arts, or a group of people that enjoy doing activities solo but still connect with others.
A Community of Hope – through suffering
The past couple of weeks, I have found myself either just observing, listening or speaking, sitting beside, laying in a hospital bed beside, reading emails, cards, or text messages from those who suffer in common. I had not realized how large a community this was, and I’ve just stepped into the doorway!
There is an understanding common to all and words are not required. William Shakespeare once said, “The eyes are the window to your soul…”
When walking into the Cancer Clinic Chemotherapy room, a friend who accompanied me to my first treatment felt sad at seeing so many who are fighting the same battle. But it was amazing how quickly her outlook changed when she, at the foot of my recliner, began to offer words to cheer me, comfort and strengthen me. How is it that hope and suffering can coexist in the same space?
It must be why those involved in battles of other kinds can keep pressing on – hope is an incredible thing!
I am deeply moved and honoured to share this space with those in this community for the time that God has me here. For whatever the purpose, “Here I am, God. I am ready. Use me!” Jesus cares for all of us as we face our battles – whatever they are. There is a place of hope and comfort in the midst of the fight!
The Lesson My Aloe Vera Plant Taught Me
I’ve had a couple of experiences in my life where life lessons were taught to me in very practical ways.’
I recall as a young mom and as a Pastor’s wife, feeling like I was losing a spiritual battle. I don’t remember the circumstances, but as I was musing and contemplating my misery, I spotted an Aloe Vera plant on my window sill. I thought to myself, “What a disgusting plant – no flowers – dry – and it doesn’t even need me to nurture it often – it was happy by being so alone and dry. Then I started thinking about where the plant grows best – in the dry, desert heat. But the healing salve that was contained within its leaves, when broken that salve can heal the burns of a desert traveler.
My attitude quickly changed as I thought about what God had placed within me – asking what did he want to be broken in me, so that I may offer healing, comfort and hope to another? I started to focus on offering what I had so that it could spill out to others for their healing. I guess that’s why reconciliation has been at the heart of my work – reconciling people to their issues – making peace with themselves, others, and with God. This is the path I choose to stay on – with God’s help. I hope that God will see that I was faithful.
From Update #4 – I asked, “Who were you designed to be? What is your purpose?
From Update #5 – What can the “lesson of the aloe vera plant” teach you?
I hope that this little story from my life can help you! God Uses People to Help People!
The Fight: Stage 1 of 4
Praise to the God of All Comfort
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we receive from God. (2 Corinthians 1: 3, 4 NIV)
The Fight is On!
Friday, July 26th at 11 a.m. saw me enter the battleground for stage 1 of the fight! I had chosen a former co-worker (now close friend) to accompany me to my first Chemotherapy treatment. I had been her chosen ally in her fight against life-threatening kidney failure and took a chair beside her during her dialysis treatments. God Uses People to Help People!
As ‘T’ and I entered the room, she was saddened by the number of people having to fight this battle. But as she took a place at the end of my recliner, she spoke words of hope, even making me laugh, and she was a true comfort to me in my time of distress. She asked me what side effects I might encounter as a result of these drugs. I showed the pages of possible side effects, but told her to skip to the ones that said Common.’ There were several ‘uncommon’ side effects, but we did not focus on them. But maybe we should have?
What was supposed to take 1 ½ hours turned into 5 hours! I had an ‘uncommon’ allergic reaction to the chemotherapy drug. The ’flush’ started at my lower abdomen, making its way up to my lungs, which made it difficult to breathe. That’s when “T’ called for help, and once the ‘’flush’ got to my head, I became confused, dizzy, with blurred vision and almost breathless. I kept my eyes closed as the curtains were pulled around me and a team of 3 nurses rallied around me – one to check my vital signs, another to ask me if I knew my name and to ask me if I was feeling any pain or other symptoms – another to stop the treatment and change the bags to dilute the effects of the chemotherapy. I quietly asked in a business-like tone, ‘Is this life-threatening? The nurse replied, “We’ve got it all under control.” Later I thought, “What a silly question to ask. What difference would it have made at that point? I was helpless, anyway.” I guess what motivated me to ask was to tell God that He would have to finish my blog post updates and there was one due on that day.
After the reaction had passed, my body was given a rest, and the process started again, but at very low doses, building up to the maximum.
I sent my friend home after I was stabilized – to have a break for a couple of hours. I think she had a harder time than I did!
Since I had so much fluid intake, I asked if I could make a trip to the bathroom. Dragging my IV and other equipment around, I made it there and back without staging any new events.
On the way back to my recliner, I passed several other patients who asked me, looking concerned, “Are you, OK now?” I told them I was fine and asked if they had ever had an allergic reaction like that … they hadn’t. I guess I was a star performer that day. I did get a lot of ‘attention.’
I called my friend ‘T” to come to pick me up 4 p.m. near the end of the day – I was the last patient left in the Chemotherapy room. ‘T” with her refreshing sense of humour asked me, “Do you always have to be the last one to shut down the party?” I answered, “No, but today I did!”
Please pray that God will cause this weekly treatment to:
- Shrink the tumour in my ovary
- Arrest any new growth of cancer in the surrounding tissues and organs
- Address the fluid buildup – which is a great concern and has the potential to derail my progress in other areas.
Gratitude and Thanks to:
- All of you who are journeying with me, I offer my gratitude and thanks. In a future update, I want to shine the spotlight on you! All of you who lift me up. I am supported by you as I ride on the wings of grace! Love to you all!
- God: Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1: 17 NIV)
Remember, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org