Thursday, March 31, 2016

More Insights about God, Courtesy of Cancer

Yesturday, on the wild ride of cancer, I got to go for "genetic counseling" and then blood-work for genetic testing. If they find I have the breast cancer gene, I can kiss my lumpectomy goodbye. For the lumpectomy to be the operation of choice, I need three miracles.

1. No gene for breast cancer. (The results will not be back for 2-3 weeks.)
2. No cancer in the fun NEW biopsy of a "suspicious area" coming April 6. (the bruising from the LAST biopsy should be almost faded by then...)
3. If the first two miracles occur, and the surgeon does the lumpectomy, he must have "clean" margins in the tumors he removes. No cancer cells in the outer edge of his digging expeditions into my breast.

For you praying types, those are my specific prayer requests.

Now, see that photo above that caught your attention and you couldn't wait to read this blog? That is me, in the waiting room of the genetic testing department. I was the ONLY one there. They offered me CHAI tea. I was surrounded by quiet, mellow-hued walls, soothing plants, and the distant sound of water trickling in a decorative fountain. I felt like I was in a spa.

The cancer centers know just how to do it up right. I settled into my comfy chair, sipping my Chai tea, and thought, "If it weren't for the cancer part of this whole experience, I would think I was on an expensive vacation."

The genetic counseling was fun. They seemed very concerned that I be prepared for whatever my blood might reveal. I told them I am fine if my blood reveals I need a double mastectomy, as long as they take the fat from my thighs for the reconstruction. They patted me gently on my shoulder and thought I was joking.

Now the next unexpected blessing of the Cancer Center is that parking is free! They stamp my little parking ticket, and I could hang out there all day if I wanted to at NO COST. What fun! Who doesn't get a kick out of watching people hobble out of chemo, or stumble with gauze and bandages covering their face from the one-day surgery room?

Surprisingly, I found an even better way to capitalize on my free parking. Right next to the Cancer Center is the Little Sugar Creek Greenway. This is a project that put into practice one of my favorite philosophies of life. Take the ugliest part of something, and make it beautiful. So Charlotte took the polluted, trash-strewn, filthy Little Sugar Creek, and built a stunning pathway alongside it. They cleaned the creek, built parks, and erected statues and fountains along the walkway. Gorgeous pedestrian bridges were installed. Commemorative plaques and educational displays were strategically placed all along the many miles of the new greenway.

Since parking was free, I went on a long walk on the lovely greenway.

This is a magnificent statue of "Captain Jack", a patriot who rode to the Continental Congress in Philly to express Charlotte's resolve to stand with those who declared freedom from Britain. I think I have remembered that correctly, anyway. I loved the statue, and walked slowly all around it, stumped by the engineering. This is a heavy bronze statue...the weight of which is supported on three small points of contact. This does not seem possible.

That got me thinking. The weight of the world is on our shoulders. If you can't relate, give yourself time. One day you will. Everyone eventually experiences crushing burdens they cannot possibly sustain. Then, God tells us, Trust me. I have this covered. I can bear your burden. I can hold you up and all that terrible weight with three small points of contact: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

I circled Captain Jack, and noticed from a picture on a plaque that the artist who made that lovely statue was very young. How could he have known at such a young age those three contact points were enough? It's taken me nearly sixty years to realize that.

John 14:26 

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

John 14:15-17

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

Romans 5:3-5 

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Benefits of Cancer

I am praying for the least invasive lumpectomy for my cancer, but still preparing for whatever the new test results throw at me. Thus, I sat down and read cover to cover the very thick binder of information Levine Cancer Institute provided: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Breast Cancer...And Then Some. (This is not the actual title, but should be.)

I learned many things. For one thing, breast reconstruction can be done using the patient's own fat. The most popular region to take the fat from is the tummy. The patient gets the double bonus of perky new breasts, and a tummy tuck, all for the price of one surgery!

However, the surgeon looked at me and said he didn't think I had enough tummy to do this. This is one situation where being a little chubby would have been useful. My reading revealed that there are other regions they can take fat  the lower buttocks. Now my lower buttocks are not very fatty...but my upper thighs are! I am petitioning the surgeon if a mastectomy is required, we do a thigh liposuction! Win/win! Just because it has never been done doesn't mean it can't be. I am willing to be a trendsetter here if it means I get sleek thighs in the bargain.

I am also wondering if they can clean my teeth while I am under the anesthesia? I hate the bi-yearly cleaning because I have very sensitive teeth. And since they insist next year I need another colonoscopy, could they throw that in as well? As long as I am out like a light, I want all the unpleasant things in store for me to be completed in one fell swoop.

Sure, the operating room might get a little crowded, but it will be a chance for a real multi-disciplinary approach to treatment. All the doctors insist that improves patient care...They can all gather around my unconscious body and fix me to perfection then and there! (A God image if ever I saw one...)

Today, I go off for genetic testing. If I have the "cancer gene", that is a game changer. Likely looking at a double mastectomy in that case. This is ok if they are willing to rebuild both breasts using my thighs. I was called "thunder thighs" in Middle School, and have never lived it down. Maybe cancer is not a tragedy, but an opportunity!

I read on. I found yet another unexpected blessing from cancer. If I have the mastectomy, I am not allowed to vacuum for 6-8 weeks! Woohoo! It just keeps getting better.

Now understand, I don't want a mastectomy. However, I need to be prepared. The radiologist called yesterday expressing the issues that make me a difficult lumpectomy case. She agrees I should "give it the old college try," but I have been forewarned that it may not work out as I hope. I may have to do the mastectomy.

I am living proof that God can calm one's fears, and even give inexplicable joy in the midst of severe hardship and trials. I do not yet count it ALL joy when I encounter James in the Bible suggests. But I am seeing SOME joy...and that is major.

If circumstances determine our joy or our moral choices, then we are likely to be miserable, despicable, conscience-less creatures. One of the hardest, but most freeing lessons in a faith-filled life is that real joy has nothing to do with circumstances and everything to do with our relationship with God. I suppose one of the supreme benefits of cancer, or any deep struggle, is we find out just how strong that relationship really is.


Romans 12:12 

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

He Never Works the Way I Expect : A Journey with Cancer and Life

First, HUGE praise. I went for my first consult with the oncology surgeon after my time on the sidewalk of the abortion mill counseling women to choose life. My oncologist THINKS MAYBE we can do just a lumpectomy and MAYBE no chemo if my lymph nodes are clear (He won't know that till they biopsy the lymph nodes during surgery). I have to do one more biopsy (Big sigh) to see if one last suspicious area is clean. If it is, he thinks we can go for lumpectomy, not full mastectomy. Oh friends, please keep praying. This is by far my preference! And no chemo maybe!!! Now, I did have some AWFULLY cute wigs already picked out, but I can live without them. I had put aside all hope for a less invasive surgery. God is opening a window....

Meanwhile, my morning at the abortion center sidewalk was amazing, and demonstrates again, the fallacy of "pro-choice." One woman pulled in to the parking lot of the abortion center already crying. She and her friend got out of the car, now both crying. 
I was on the microphone, putting our sound system to good use. As an aside, the abortion center applies for the sound system every week. Only one permit is granted. The abortion center never USES a sound system. They just don't want us to have it because it helps CHANGE MINDS and the center loses money for every baby who lives. 

This week, we had the sound system. I told the mama she didn't need to do this, and if she felt this bad already, she could not imagine the pain she would feel later if she aborted. She sobbed, hugging her friend who was also crying. They stood in clear sight at the back of the car, hugging and crying for a long time. Meanwhile, I spoke nonstop to her on the microphone. I told her we could help, reminded her of God's love and provision and strength when we have reached the end of ours. (Thank you Cancer for making me talk so knowledgeably about this particular truth.) I talked about how our circumstances should never dictate our moral choices. 
When I was quiet, fellow counselor Chrissy spoke. We took turns speaking without pause as though a life depended on it...because it did. Then the "pro-choice" security escort, so noble and gentle-hearted, (Sarcasm Alert) put her arm around the crying woman and pulled her towards the clinic. I could not hear what she was saying but I had a good guess. She was dragging the poor sobbing woman to the clinic door. The two crying women stopped and now stood in front of the car where we couldn't see them as easily. The security escort was still talking to them. 
Over the mic, I advised them to listen carefully and compare the words and motivations of the escort urging the mama to abort, with our message of God and hope. 
"They claim to be pro-choice, but what options are they offering you? One. Pro-death. She is telling you not to listen to our options." (It turns out, I was spot-on in my guess of what the escort was saying.)

The crying mama went in despite our pleas, and the crying friend drove away. She stopped for me in the driveway on her way out. She was sobbing. She told me she knew abortion was wrong but didn't know what else to do for her friend. I gave her my phone number and our literature and told her to go back in to her friend. Show her the literature. Tell her to call me.
She drove away, but returned a short time later, talking on the phone as she pulled into the lot. Then she pulled up to the door of the clinic,  and the mama came out! I called to her friend, "Will she come on our ultrasound???" I almost collapsed when she nodded. 
She drove to the curb next to the RV and parked. The mama was sobbing, telling me she didn't know what to do. I assured her we would help her, and God was with her. I then led the broken woman (C) onto our mobile ultrasound RV,  along with several young kids who were the progeny of her and the friend. 
They were sweet kids and sat quietly as I counseled C. After sharing the Gospel, C told me she had asked Jesus into her life the night before! She had told God then that if abortion was not the answer, could He give her a sign? "You were the sign," she said. "When you kept talking on the mic, I was asking myself why is she doing this to me? But God was showing me what to do, and I kept hearing your voice over that security lady."
I put my art degree to good use drawing animals to keep the kids entertained while counseling C. Their dog had just been hit and killed by a car, so I asked them to describe the dog, and I drew a picture of him. They really liked that. Meanwhile, C had made her decision even before seeing the baby on the ultrasound. No matter what, she would follow God. She would find a way to raise this baby, or if need be, place him for adoption. She would not kill him.
She told me that the escort was trying to talk her into aborting. "Just go in the clinic to do it. Ignore them," the escort had said, pointing to me and Chrissy. But C told me she kept hearing me say, "You don't have to do this." 
When she had gone into the clinic, she'd asked if the baby's heart was already beating. She was several weeks along. She told them she would not abort if the baby's heart was beating. They told her "NO, the heart is not beating." What a bunch of liars!!!! The baby's heart beats at 18 days after conception, before most women even know they are pregnant!

Anyway, now safe in our RV, C and her friend were beside themselves with gratitude and even joy. The ultrasound tech, Kelly, was great. Here is God's wonderful icing on the cake: as soon as Kelly put the ultrasound on C's tummy, the baby popped into view with such an OBVIOUS heart beat that all those little kids who were with us said, "AWWWWWWWW!" Every one of those kids, age 4-9 could tell that was a beating heart. The littlest girl told me, "That's a baby!"


Get this, she wants to be an ultrasound tech, wants to go to school for it, and needs a computer. I had put out a facebook plea for a computer for another mom I work with, and had gotten two responses! I had an extra computer for C! She was thrilled. God is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO good!
He never really works the way I expect, but He is ALWAYS working. 
To join this incredible ministry, go to
To read about this incredible ministry, you may purchase a book about the first year as a sidewalk counselor by clicking HERE.

Romans 8:24-25 

For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Monday, March 28, 2016

When I'm in the Slimy Pit

This picture is not necessarily how I felt when I drew it. It was how I know I should feel. I should praise the Lord that I have awoken to a new day. I should notice the vibrant colors around me, the warmth of the sun, the sound of the birds. I should praise God that I have the strength to lift my arms, open my eyes, stand on my own two feet. I should rejoice each moment that God saw fit to miraculously meld perfect justice and perfect mercy in the atoning death and resurrection of Jesus for my sins. I should dance every morning in the glowing promise of eternal life.

This morning, I head off to the sidewalks of the abortion center to encourage abortion-minded mamas to choose life instead for their babies. Every Monday, this is my privilege and mission. It has a special poignancy for me since my cancer diagnosis. It is an interesting juxtaposition: counseling those who would so casually discard life while I so desperately cling to it. I have little doubt that Satan wants the cancer to stop me from coming here. It makes me want to come here all the more, since I see with even sharper clarity the precious gift of life.

As soon as I am done at the sidewalk, I meet for the first time with the oncology surgeon. I will get my first official diagnosis, clear understanding of what I am facing, and treatment plan. I want to be like the person in the picture I painted, but to be truthful, yesterday I was scared, and sad. It does not promise to be a fun journey for the next few months.

I read more about alternative cancer treatments, holistic health, and how to promote the immune system. I find them more and more compelling. I have already started some of the simple suggestions. Frankincense oil rubbed on the area of tumors, baking soda/lemon water several times a day to increase alkalinity of the body (cancer cells apparently don't thrive in an alkaline environment,) bone broth soup. Long walks. Happy thoughts. Lots of prayer.

I already eat really healthily, but I have added even more healthy fare to my larder. Hummus and broccoli for snacks, leafy greens, yogurt and blueberries...

I know my friend Carolyn would add icky things like liver and chicken feet, but I draw the line on those.

For almost a month now, I have lived with the knowledge of this awful disease lurking inside me. I have been supernaturally sustained, cheerful and upbeat. My cancer survivor friend warned me: there will be bad days. Days when you struggle. Give yourself freedom to accept that. It does not show lack of faith because you have down days. There will be many lessons on this journey, but sometimes you won't see anything worthwhile...just that it stinks.

God gives us a similar message in Psalm 38. The psalmist (David) cries out to God in weary distress: (v.9-10)
All my longings lie open before you, Lord;
    my sighing is not hidden from you. 

 My heart pounds, my strength fails me;    
 even the light has gone from my eyes.
(v. 17) For I am about to fall,
    and my pain is ever with me.

(v. 21-22) Lord, do not forsake me;
    do not be far from me, my God.

Come quickly to help me,
    my Lord and my Savior. 

Wow! Can I relate! Poor David ends the psalm without a solution, only his anguished despair, and recognition that his life is in God's hands. We should face life with a hopeful joy before God, but sometimes, it is just plain too exhausting to keep the mournful thoughts at bay.

Fortunately, those periods are not permanent. Look at Psalm 40: 1-4, my reading for today:

I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
    and put their trust in him.

Blessed is the one
    who trusts in the Lord,
who does not look to the proud,
    to those who turn aside to false gods

What a contrast from David's lament just two psalms earlier! God WILL lift me out of the slimy pit. He will lift all of us out. All we have to do is put our trust in Him. Around midnight last night, suddenly I felt a lifting of the gloom. I felt the urge to stretch out my arms palms up to the ceiling. Inexplicable comfort and joy flooded through me. The air seemed gentle, softer.

Someone must be praying for me.

Whoever it was, thank you.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Go Out and Live

In just one more day, I find out what the surgeon plans to do to my cancerous breast. I'm still praying for a miracle, but short of that, praying for peace in the midst of whatever I will be facing. Meanwhile, I am continuing life doing what brings me joy. To that end, I had a special day planned for Good Friday.

I met "Sam" a couple of months ago at the nursing home where I teach art. Soon, somehow we were discussing our mutual love of horses and he showed me pictures on his phone of his beautiful Morgan horse. Sam had not seen the horse in four months because of the logistics of the long drive, being wheelchair bound, and his wife having had surgery recently. Neither he nor his wife, "Elle", were up to driving themselves, but both missed their horse terribly.

When I heard this, I knew what my happiness medicine for the week would be. Take Sam and Elle to see their horse. I arranged the details with Elle, and we set Friday for our trip to see the horse. Despite predictions of thunderstorms that would have cancelled our trip, the day dawned clear without a storm in sight. That was God's first anointing of our plans.

I could not wait! As we drove, I got to hear the incredible history of this amazing couple. For their privacy, I will not share it with you, but I was enthralled. Delightful, accomplished people, but best of all, the tender kindness with which they treated each other. The long drive went by in an instant.

And then, we pulled into the farm, and Sam saw his horse. He rolled down his window and called to the horse, who came to the fence right away. It took us a little huffing, puffing, and some shaky moments on uneven ground, but we managed to get Sam safely in the wheelchair, and then onto the pasture.

Here is a picture of him greeting his horse for the first time in four months.

Kind of makes you want to cry, doesn't it? We communed with the horse for two hours. We had packed a picnic lunch, and sat in the sunshine eating our lunch while the horse munched his hay. I can't remember the last time I enjoyed two hours so completely.

After I dropped the grateful couple back at the nursing home, I thought about how hard it is to grow old, to face illness, to face limitations, and ultimately, mortality. What we know and love will pass away. That is a certainty. Some of us fight this truth with bitterness and anger. We refuse to accept the hand we have been dealt, and forget that everything we are given is an unearned blessing.

Charles Spurgeon noted that God could crush us, and certainly should were we to receive what our sin deserves. Instead, “There,” said He, “that self-same arm which made thee quake, see there, I give it to thee. Go out and live. I have made thee mighty as I am, to do My works; I will put strength into thee. The same strength which would have broken thee to pieces on the wheel shall now be put into thee, that you may do mighty works.”

In spite of all the terrors and traps of our mortal world, God strengthens us to go out and live. Live in His might, with His strength, so that we may do mighty works.

Easter Sunday is here. The supreme example of sacrificial love is exemplified and fulfilled in this special day. Jesus knew the agony that awaited Him on the cross, and asked God that if it be possible, the cup He was about to drink would pass Him by. YET, and on this YET, the full message of submission to God lies, "Yet not as I will, but as you will."

Go out and live. Rejoice in the soft muzzle of a horse in your palm. Enjoy what God has given. Help others. Cradle joy in your heart in simple pleasures knowing none of it is permanent. Live in submission to His will, and the victory is won. He is risen.

At least, I think that is what God was whispering in the quiet peace of the pasture.


John 6:37-39

37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Hoping in the Midst of Despair

I wonder why Good Friday and Easter Sunday both have special names, but Saturday, sandwiched between them, gets no special designation. The day of Jesus' crucifixion, Good Friday, was one of horror and despair to His followers. Sunday, Resurrection Day, was one of rejoicing and affirmation of God's promises. But what was Saturday?

Saturday was a day of huddling in dark fear and loss. If any faith remained, it is not recorded. The ancient disciples of Jesus did not have our perspective of seeing ahead to Sunday. Saturday was a day where hopes and dreams of what was promised were shattered. They didn't know what to do so they did nothing. They cowered together in the place where they had once known He who claimed He would overcome the world. So where was He now?

Saturday is the symbol of where most of us live most of our lives. How often do we hear the cry, "Where is God?" How often do we utter it ourselves?

Yesterday, I met a beautiful horse. I cannot tell you much about it yet, as I need to clear it with the owner. However, I can tell you what the horse taught me. If we know who our master is, we will NEVER forget Him. If we know our master could be trusted in the past, we can trust Him in the future. If our master was someone who loved and cared for us, His apparent absence is not that He deserted us. He must have a plan that we may be unable to comprehend. He is there...but in a place we are not yet able to see. If we wait with expectant trust, He will return. If we behave as He taught us to behave, we may even get a big bucket of grain.

I think I would name Saturday: Hoping in the Midst of Despair Saturday. It's a little wordy, so probably won't catch on.

Acts 2:24-36 

God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. For David says concerning him, “‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’ ...

John 20:19-20

19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

Friday, March 25, 2016

God Has Us In His Sights

I got a text from one of the Moms I work with who recently chose life for her baby rather than abortion.
"Don't forget to send me my daily Bible verse."
Music to my ears!
"I won't. I have been sending you one every day. Have you checked your email?"
"OH! I will right now."

Later I talked with her and she told me that she is overwhelmed. Not with the baby. There is no doubt in her mind that God would have her keep the baby. Just with life, school, struggles...
"I really need to be reading those Bible verses you send," she told me, "They help keep me positive."

Don't I know it!!!

I told her not to be afraid to ask us if there was anything we could do to help in specific needs. We can't always help, and we make no promises, but we will try.

"I want to get my associate degree...but I have to take classes online. I need a computer. Used, not fancy...but I can't do it without a computer."

So friends, this motivated mom who is trying to change her life needs a computer. Anyone have an old laptop they need to re-home?

"I'm not complaining," she told me, "Everyone has troubles. I am reading my Bible and trying to stay strong."
 "I hear you," I said, relating more than ever with my recent cancer diagnosis.
As soon as I got off the phone, I texted her a Bible verse so she didn't have to check her email.
Then I checked my own mail. Real mail. I went to the mailbox. There was a mystery box from Amazon. I didn't order anything. What was it??

It was a book by one of my favorite authors, Bill Bryson. Bryson always makes me laugh. I know my sisters understand I intend to laugh my way to health. I suspect one of them sent it, but there was no note to clue me as to the sender. I guessed right, when I emailed the one I thought had this gift written all over her. Notes and emails and texts of encouragement and prayer have been pouring in as well. I am blessed.

 I know God has me, and the mama who is overwhelmed in His sights, but it is so encouraging to know fellow humans do too.

God has made me fruitful in the land of my misfortunes. Genesis 41:52

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Against the Wind - Thoughts On Battling Hardship

Little did I know that the wind was determined to teach me yet another lesson about hardships. As if a cancer diagnosis was not chock full of enough lessons to last me for the next...oh, lifetime or two...God sent the wind to reveal His truth yesterday.

Knowing that once the surgery is done, I will be sidelined at least two weeks or so, I am using every moment I can to kayak. So I dashed off to my favorite lake. As soon as I arrived, I knew I was in trouble. My hat was nearly blown off my head. I realized if I were wearing a wig, which I would be after chemo, it would be blown to the next county by this wind.

So while unloading my kayak (despite my inner voice saying ARE YOU NUTS???? YOU CAN'T KAYAK IN THIS WIND!!!!) I began to muse over sister Amy's suggestion that I stencil hair on my bald head. The pictures on the internet of bald heads with stenciled hair are lovely...but mostly because the models are knock-you-down gorgeous with expertly applied makeup and taut unwrinkled skin. Face it, the stencils would not have the same effect on me. (When I am bald. I'm not yet.)

Back to the task at hand. I launched, and was quickly wondering if the beauty of the lake was worth the shellacking I was going to receive at the hand of the wind. It was brutal. The gusts had to be 30 mph or more. There were times I was paddling as hard as I could, and not moving.

Then my doctor's office called. Here is a tasty tidbit for those of you about to embark on a new cancer adventure. Every day some medical person is calling for one reason or another. I answered my cell phone, and was quickly blown downwind to the far end of the lake at a pretty spectacular pace.

Normally, I can kayak that distance back to where I started in no time. Not against a hurricane, however. I ended the phone call, and began the extremely arduous journey back to the dock. I looked in the distant distance at the dock, paddling for all I was worth. I did not appear to be gaining an inch.

So I changed my focus. I only looked at the trough of the wave in front of me. Just make it to the next trough, crest the wind tossed wave, and then focus on the trough after that.

Slowly, straining with all my might, I made it from trough to trough. Sometimes the wind would die down a little, and I paddled furiously to gain as much ground as possible before it roared to full throttle again. In this manner, I advanced.

And understood.

When we face a daunting trial for the foreseeable future, looking all the way to the end of the road we will travel is usually discouraging. Better to look straight ahead at only the next step. And then focus on the one after that. There may be lots of lows, the troughs of life. Only take one at a time. Take advantage of the lulls in between the really hard parts, but don't try to anticipate all the hard parts to determine if you have the strength.

You don't. None of us do.

But God does. It is very merciful that God rarely reveals more than one step at a time. He only gave one day of manna at a time to His people as they wandered through the desert for forty years. He reminds us we are only to consider the troubles of today. It will have enough to occupy us, and tomorrow's troubles should not be borrowed in advance. It's not like there is such a shortage of troubles that we should hoard them ahead of time.

Such good advice. Thank you, Wind.

I made my way slowly, but steadily. In half an hour, I reached the dock. I was so amazed at how I had successfully battled that terrible wind, that I decided to keep going past the dock, against the wind until I was totally tired. I was only 3/4ths tired thus far. I would not have to work at all to return to the dock. The wind would blow me effortlessly home.

When my arms began to ache and my reserves were depleted, I turned the kayak around. With the wind now blessedly at my back, I stopped paddling. The wind carried me on angel's wings back to the dock. Since no one else was foolish enough to be out in that wind, I made up a song and sang it out loud. It was about how God will carry me safely home. It was not Grammy-worthy, but only me and the wind heard it anyway.

Ephesians 4:14 

So that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.

Jeremiah 10:23 

I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Expecting God...Even in Chemo Side Effects

The bad news is the second set of biopsies of two more lumps found by the very thorough team at CMC showed another cancerous lump. One was benign, but now with three malignant lumps, my guess is my breast is going the way of the dinosaur.

And chemo is probably in my future. I find out for sure Monday when I meet with the surgeon, but I am a realist. Fortunately, I am a realist with an abiding faith in God. He has supernaturally kept me calm, and even joyful. Please do not misunderstand. If I didn't have to have cancer, I would definitely not be picking it to go with my Easter dress. However, God has a plan, and I trust it is a good one. I can mourn and cry and scream and rage...and probably will on low days....but it does no good. It is what it is. May as well have fun with it....

So, I went wig shopping. I met one of the nicest human beings on earth in Gastonia, NC. Her name is Ginny, and she owns Ginny's Wigs. ( I called to warn her that I was coming. I explained I was not ready to buy until the surgeon told me I would be getting chemo, and I would be losing my hair. However, I wanted to look at wigs now. She told me to come on down!

As I drove over, I wondered if I would cry. My hair is important to me. I don't even know why it is SO important. It shouldn't be. It is pretty nice hair. Thick. Easy to style. Grey. I never colored it because I thought one should accept whatever God gives.

Ginny had other ideas.
"Try this," she said. It was not grey.

Hmmm. I have to admit, blonde takes ten...maybe twenty years off of me.
"Now this is a really cute wig," Ginny said.

I agreed! It was very cute!
"Or, a little less blonde...." Ginny handed me another one.

Even cuter!
Hmmmm. I am beginning to think cancer is not so bad....
Then I asked Ginny about how these wigs hold up to running, kayaking, biking....If at ALL possible, I am not giving up those things.

Ginny considered this problem. Well, in all honesty, lots of perspiration would indeed decrease the life of the wig. So, here is a fun solution. When I exercise, I wear a wig hat:

And get instant long hair! I can even pull it back in a ponytail. The hat is a regular hat. The hair sticks out from the bottom, but only is attached to the bottom fifth of the hat. Much cooler than a wig, and the perspiration only goes on the hat. Which is washable. Problem solved.

Ginny and I were having a great time. I didn't feel at all like crying. I was having a blast seeing what I looked like as a blond. To tell you the truth, I looked much less like an old hag. I should have gotten cancer ten years ago!

The whole time I was there, I was eying the purple wig. My daughter recently dyed her hair purple. I kind of like it.
"Could I try on the purple wig?" I asked Ginny. Not because I would really buy it. I won't. But because laughter is restorative, and I knew it would make me laugh.

I was right. It did. It made us both laugh.

See. God is good. He is present wherever you look when you are certain that wherever you look, He is there. Ginny started her business because she felt bad for those she knew who suffered hair loss. And then one day she realized she had a booming business. That isn't what drives her though. It is the smiles of women facing devastating illness who she makes beautiful in the midst of such trauma.

If I had a million dollars, I would get the purple wig too.

I woke up this morning to find my new pro-life book Singing in the Darkness (click here to purchase) is #1 on Amazon in its category! (And just 99 cents for one more day!) Praise God for His abundance of blessings!

James 1:2-4 

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Philippians 2:3-4 

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. ...

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Sign from God

I love Mondays. Every Monday, God is standing right there on the sidewalks of the abortion center with me, and all the sidewalk counselors. Every Monday, He is convicting hard hearts, and giving visible signs of His presence to those entering the abortion center. Every Monday, His forces are in battle, and we are part of His army.

This Monday, four women chose life for their babies instead of abortion. We try to focus on the victories rather than the casualties. The place was mobbed. The week before Easter is apparently a hot time to kill babies.

As the mama I counseled settled onto the ultrasound bed, she said, "It's nice in here. Peaceful."
"Not like in the abortion clinic?" I asked.
"Right," she agreed.

Yes. The battle for lives was still raging just outside the mobile ultrasound RV, but inside, it was quiet. Peaceful. The presence of joy as opposed to despair. Our ultrasound nurse, Sherry, is a huge part of that God-filled atmosphere. Her peaceful, loving, spirit-filled presence is so calming.

While Sherry scanned for the baby, I read out loud to the mama a description of what was developing in a baby the age of her unborn child. "Your baby has already formed pain receptors."
She startled and stared at me. The implication was not lost on her.
"It does?"
"Yes. They don't tell you that in the abortion clinic," I said. Some neurologists believe unborn babies as young as 6-weeks-old feel pain. With no doubt, by 12-19 weeks, they not only feel pain, but because there is little cortical inhibition as in adults, probably excruciating pain when hurt.
"Only someone who doesn't know Jesus would abort," the mama said. I agreed, and didn't point out that she claimed to know Jesus, and almost had aborted her child.

She had asked for a sign from God if she should not abort. Many of the women tell us they do this. The sign from God is What a humbling, and powerful incentive to obey God's call. And to do so with cheerful joy like Sherry, even better.
To read about the Cities4Life model for changing women's minds about abortion on the front-line battle right at the abortion clinic itself, click HERE to purchase Singing in the Darkness, a true account of a year on the sidewalks. Optimistic, uplifting, and God honoring, and only 99 cents today!!!!

Matthew 24:30 

Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

John 3:2 

This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.”

Monday, March 21, 2016

Unfamiliar Paths

I asked my art class of young girls what things they wanted to draw. Then I wrote a list with each little girl's desire, and have been ticking off the items each week in our art class. One girl is crazy about dragons. I am not really a big dragon fan, nor do I think I have EVER drawn one. However, childhood is a time for dreams coming true, and this was a simple dream I could make reality for the little girl. Another child wanted a volcano. We decided dragons and volcanoes would work well together, and the girls agreed that should be the subject for this week's class.

Dragons are not my usual fare, so I asked the girl what dragon we should draw. She gave me the name of a favorite, Nightwing. I researched Nightwing on the internet,  and also found a fantasy scene that dragons might live in. Then I spent yesterday practicing the dragon in the volcano scene. This will not be easy for the girls, but with the grace of God, I think we can pull it off.

I did not expect to enjoy drawing dragons as much as I did. Had the little girl not asked for it, I might have spent my entire life as an artist never drawing a dragon. I considered this in light of the path God is currently leading me. Choosing on my own to be diagnosed with breast cancer, and face the rather daunting prospects before me for the next year would never have happened.

However, having little choice, I am embarking on this path. In the process, I am discovering many of the same truths I discovered complying with the little girl's suggestion that we draw a dragon.

1. If you have learned to trust God in the small things, you have all you need to trust God in the harder things. In fact, in some ways it is easier to trust God in the hard things because you have NO DOUBT you cannot do it on your own power.
2. When taking a path you would never have taken on your own, you learn you can do things you never thought you would, or could do. Sometimes being forced to walk a road you would rather not walk is the only way to learn you CAN.
3. Every new step taken in faith brings unexpected blessings. The less familiar the path you are urged to travel, the greater the trust required, and the greater assurance you are guided by something greater than yourself.
4. There is immense contentment and joy that you submitted to His will, not your will, because the promise of what awaits at the completion is so glorious.

Unfamiliar paths are frightening. For example, I was terrified when I began volunteering as a sidewalk counselor at the abortion center. Yet, as more and more women turned to Christ and chose life because we were there to speak for their babies, it became my favorite activity! In fact, I go there this morning as I do every Monday.

By the way, my book about the first year of true stories at the sidewalk is only 99 cents the next couple of days. For less than the price of McDonald's fries, you can learn the effective strategies and joys of having a part in saving babies! (A whole lot better for your heart than the fries.) Please share this link (click here.) I think the promo begins at 9 a.m. Pacific time today.

I liked how my dragon turned out. I can't wait to guide the little girls in drawing one themselves!
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.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Shout Hallelujah All Day

Most cancer patients undergo chemo. It is the part I am most afraid of but it is probably inevitable. I find out when I meet with the surgeon in two Mondays. However, I found a way to conquer this fear.
First, identify it. What am I afraid of?
Feeling crappy.
Ok. Besides that?
Going bald.
Ok. And what did you ALWAYS wish you could do because you are so fickle about your hair?
Push a button and it would instantly grow. Change color. Change style. Change texture.
Well guess what??You CAN do that. Get a wig.

So I went online researching wigs. I am here to tell you there are some VERY cute, realistic wigs out there. And who says I have to get a short grey wig to match my current mop? How about an iridescent rainbow wig with luxurious shoulder length curls? Or red? Or blonde...and discover if they really do have more fun.

Do you know what happened the more I giggled over the wigs? The less fear I felt, and the more I wanted a wig. Even if I don't need chemo, I may get a wig. How nice to have a clean, styled hairdo right at my fingertips when having a bad hair day.

Then, as I was still smiling over my new wig ideas, I got a gift from sister Wendy. It was a box full of trinkets, but one was exceptional. It was a red pendant of a chinese looking horse in a beautiful silver setting. I was wearing purple, but I put the red pendant on. I didn't care if someone looked at me and wondered if I knew red and purple don't go together. It doesn't matter in the face of the reality I am encountering.

The day before I had talked with a friend who is a cancer survivor. She plans to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro this summer. She told me that chemo is hard, but I would only have a few hard days in between lots of good ones. I would still be able to walk, bike, kayak, and visit my folks. She did warn that chemo makes food taste strange, and bland food would be all I'd likely want to eat.

So, I told my husband it was time to use our gift card from my son and daughter- in-law to a fancy restaurant. We'd had the card three months. I was saving it for a special occasion. Maybe that is not a good idea. Maybe the special occasion is today. Let's celebrate.

So we did. I am glad there will be no cancer in heaven, but it is teaching me things here on earth every day.

1. If you go bald, wear a wig. Or a pretty scarf. Your scalp just became your blank canvas!
2. Wear colors that clash, and laugh at the absurd. Sometimes that is all you get to laugh at and laughter is healing.
3. Today is special. Celebrate.

My Bible study yesterday had a special verse.

27-28 But those who want
    the best for me,
Let them have the last word—a glad shout!—
    and say, over and over and over,
God is great—everything works
    together for good for his servant.”
I’ll tell the world how great and good you are,
    I’ll shout Hallelujah all day, every day.
Psalm 35:28 (The Message Translation)

Shout Hallelujah all day, every day.  That is what God seems to be telling me. My guess is, that's what He is telling all of us.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Counting it Joy

You would not think a day with a double biopsy of a very sore breast would be a blessed day. But it was! First, the doc warned me that if they could not find the suspicious mass by ultrasound guided biopsy, they would have to repeat the MRI for an MRI guided biopsy. I did not want another IV and dye which makes me feel funny, nor twenty more minutes in the coffin-like apparatus. So praise God that they found the suspicious lump on the ultrasound, biopsied it, and found another. Lather, rinse, repeat. At least I didn't need another MRI. Lucky me!

As I was leaving, feeling grateful it was over, I got a text. A friend was offering a car at a very low price to one of the mamas I work with who chose life over abortion. This mama wanted to leave an immoral life style to follow God...but lost access to a car in the process. I was ecstatic as I connected my wonderful friend with the happy mama. See!!!! When you trust God and do what He asks, He opens the floodgates of blessing!

And then, this was almost the best part of this wonderful day. A week ago I told you about "Sam" (fake name) who I met teaching art at the nursing home. Sam has a champion Morgan stallion he never sees because he is wheelchair bound, and it is too difficult and far for his wife to bring him. His wife called me when the Activity Director told her what I hoped to do for Sam. I had offered to drive Sam to see his horse. I have an Occupational Therapy degree. Dealing with disabilities and wheelchairs doesn't scare me. She was so happy, and wants to come with us to see the horse. I cannot wait! Next Friday, I will drive this elderly couple to visit their champion Morgan, and I get to see Sam's face as he touches his beloved horse again. Blessings abound!

THEN, a total stranger called me to ask about my art classes. I told her I was happy to have her daughter join our class, but I wasn't sure how the rest of the semester would go because of my breast cancer diagnosis. This woman offered all kinds of advice. I am new to having a serious illness...but already I can tell you, everyone has a cure. And they all want to let you know about it. Now that is fine, and loving, and great, but it is overwhelming. I could not possibly read or do all the things people are telling me I should read or do or eat. I did gladly let her pray for me.

I never understood that line in the biblical book of James about "count it all joy when you encounter trials." Joy? In trials? Is James out of his noodle?

But now, I understand. When a trial you CANNOT get through on your own slams into you, suddenly all you have is God. And that is when God shows you, He is enough. I have never experienced this before. I do not want cancer, don't get me wrong, but the aura of heaven is sooo strong and so with me right now, that cancer is almost insignificant.

James 1:2-4 

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Good News in the Darkness

My little art class of young girls filed into the house. As each one entered, she said, "I am sorry for your diagnosis. I want you to know that my whole family is praying for you."

I have never felt so supported and loved. It would have been nice to feel that without the threat of dying hanging over my head, but it is very comforting.

It is funny how priorities change, perceptions alter, when you are faced with such a difficult illness.
For example, the nurse called yesterday and her first sentence was, "Hi Mrs. K, good news!" What would you think when you hear Good News? I won the lottery! A rich uncle I didn't know I had left me a million dollars and a horse! The biopsy was benign, we made a mistake.

Guess what the good news was?

I get to have a core biopsy today instead of waiting a few days! Aren't you all jealous!? I get to go have them insert a needle (again) into my sore breast, then have them squeeze, prod, pound and smash to get the biopsy and pictures they need. Doesn't that sound fun? Good news indeed!

But it is good news. They moved mountains to get me in early rather than having to wait nearly two more weeks for answers. It is probably the last diagnostic procedure I will need before the surgery. And it is good news because instead of delaying things another week or more, I get to keep the meeting as scheduled with the surgeon on the 28th.

Last night, I rubbed frankincense oil on the diseased part, and prayed. The frankincense is a gift of a friend who says the biblical oils are powerful in healing. I don't know if it was coincidence or not, but I slept the best night sleep I have had in ages. And when I awoke, I praised God for opening my eyes to the beautiful day. I washed my hands with homemade lavender soap, a gift from one of my art students. Scents of love drifted about me all night and day.

I am learning something very valuable as I deal with this cancer diagnosis. I am learning that the more my heart is centered on praising God and finding the blessings around me, the less I worry and fret. The more grateful I am for what I have already been given, and the more I remember all the wonderful moments of my life, the less fear enters my thoughts. It is hard to praise and curse simultaneously.

I may change my tune when they hack my breast off, but for now, God is a real and present comfort. And He is working through so many kind, and loving friends, family, and strangers. The real Good News is that no matter what happens to my body, my soul is secure and is bound for eternity. Good news indeed!


Revelation 21:3 

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.

Romans 10:9-13 

Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Romans 10:15

And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Lacing Joy in the Midst of Despair

So, yesterday I went on a run and the Bradford Pear were in full glorious bloom! So beautiful! God has given me so much to be joyful about. I could obsess about cancer, or I could smile at the billows of flowers against the Carolina blue sky. Choose to smile!

Then, after my shower, on to the MRI to see what other joys my poor body might have hidden from the impending scapel. The MRI was inconclusive, which means more biopsies (not fun)...but I did find out some good things. First, I am NOT so claustrophobic that I cannot do an MRI. Secondly, I am NOT allergic to the dye they shot into my veins to highlight whatever cancerous growths might be lurking. Thirdly, twenty minutes lying stock still while a machine whirls around you going KERPLUNK every few milliseconds affords plenty of time to pray.

I prayed for my folks, my kids, my siblings, my friends....I sang "Jesus Loves Me" in cadence with the KERPLUNKS. I recited scripture. It was almost peaceful.

And there was the first piece of good news I have heard since getting the breast cancer diagnosis. I have GREAT RECEPTORS. Don't worry if you don't know what those are. I didn't either till my doc called me. I still don't really know what they are, but not everyone has them, and those that do respond really well to a critical medicine in cancer treatment. Yay me.

Here's the deal. This is a SEVERE struggle. It is not like a hangnail. It is serious. But in the midst of it, God sends little beacons of light, of joy. Bradford Pear blossoms that frame the street with breathtaking beauty.  The kindness of friends giving gifts that will calm nerves, and send healing oils to my body. The call from a breast cancer survivor with advice and cheering me on, and reminding me God is there right beside me. Having great receptors (whatever they are), and a doctor that tells me, "I want you to know I am praying for you."

No one expects joy with a cancer diagnosis. How gracious of God to lace the despair with such inexplicable moments of blessing.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Praising God in the MIdst of Struggle

Here is my cancer treatment strategy until docs take over: kayak and be happy in God's beautiful kingdom. I don't have any scientific proof, but it makes sense to me that a body overwhelmed with grief and loss is not a healing environment.

So after the diagnosis two days ago of invasive mammary carcinoma, I made a choice. I will praise God. I will choose joy. I will choose delight in all that I have. I will find laughter in the midst of fear. I will kayak until the surgery that may put the kibosh on kayaking for a while.

The first thing I did was cancel a haircut I had scheduled. Why spend money when my hair is going to fall out anyway? I chuckled thinking this. Then I found out I may not even need chemo, and I may retain my hair. Drat. Shouldn't have cancelled the appointment!

Friends and family poured out of every crack of my existence, calling, emailing, and texting with notes of encouragement and love, offers of help, advice, and kindness. Add to my list of happy thoughts: I am so blessed.

At night, in the quiet darkness is when fears have a way of nibbling away at one's hope. I found myself saying out loud, "No." I don't want this. I don't know how to do this. And a deep heaviness settled over me. But I have been consciously saying instead at those times, "Yes, God." Yes I know You are there. Yes I know You are with me. Yes I know all things work together for the good of those who know the Lord, who are called according to His purpose. Yes I will trust you when the darkness closes in. A calm passes over me, the dread dispels, and I feel comforted.

Today, I go for an MRI to further assess the extent of the cancer. So far, it looks like there are only two small lumps, and no lymph node involvement. This is all very good, and my "stage" is zero. That's the best stage to have if you must have cancer. I am praying the MRI confirms that initial impression.

I have done little research yet. My precious daughter-in-law and sister have done the research for me, with recommendations of surgeons and steps forward. My husband is handling all the insurance issues so I don't have to even think about it. My job: kayak and praise God.


Psalm 91:1-16 

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, ...

Psalm 22:26 

The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the Lord! May your hearts live forever!

Psalm 27:1

Of David. The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The One Who Wouldn't Shut Up

Monday was my usual day as a sidewalk counselor urging abortion-minded women to choose life at one of the Southeast's busiest abortion center.We had a family from Idaho who were on vacation just to come watch us in action, in the hopes of starting a Cities4Life chapter in their own city. Wow!

One woman in the parking lot was fiddling with something in her car, affording me several minutes to talk with her.
"Do you believe in God?" I called.
"Yes. I AM God!"
"That's nonsense," I said, and then told her what God says in the Bible about children, and the sanctity of human life. I had way more than the normal fifteen seconds to talk with her. I used every precious moment and talked and talked of why abortion was a terrible choice.

Nonetheless, she turned her back to me, and walked into the abortion center.

Then she came out almost immediately. As she got in her car, I talked fast, until she slammed the door. She drove out of the lot, and away.
"That might be a saved baby," I told the visiting Idaho family, "You are in charge of watching to see if her car returns."

I was already to text to my prayer supporters that one mama chose life, when her car returned.

As she emerged from the car, I talked her ear off, citing more reasons for why abortion was a terrible choice. She went in the center anyway.

Then again, a short time later, she emerged. As she walked to her car, I talked and talked, telling her we could help her. I listed a series of resources we could offer her. I urged her to consider the humanity and sacred uniqueness of the baby in her womb.
She paused at her car door. Then she turned to me.
"Do you do pregnancy testing?"
She locked her car, and came to me.

I tried to give her our literature as I walked her to the RV with the mobile ultrasound unit. She refused. "It has my name and number so you can call me if you need help or someone to talk to," I told her.
"I will get it from you later if I need it," she said, still hostile and bristling.
I led her onto our RV. As I introduced our nurse, Sherry, she almost fell over.
"I know you!" she said to Sherry. And then she began crying. Sherry had counseled this woman to choose life for her other child, who was now 17 months old. As the woman sat down on the couch, crying, I talked to her about the God I know and love. I presented the Gospel and the compelling story of a God of perfect justice who MUST punish sin, but of perfect mercy and love who wants to save us. I spoke about His perfect and miraculous solution of satisfying both perfect justice and perfect mercy by sending Jesus to die for our sin in our stead, that we might become children of God and enter His eternal presence.

She believed in this Jesus, and what He did. What she was missing was why obedience to His commands was so important. If we truly understand what Jesus did for us, how much He suffered on our behalf, we would want above all else to listen to Him, and obey Him.
"And He is clear, human beings are made in His image and He says 'thou shalt not murder.' You cannot claim to love Him, and then kill your baby."
She nodded, looking straight at me, and I knew her baby was safe.

After the ultrasound, seeing her little baby's beating heart, and receiving the list we made of all the ways we would help her, she accepted our gift bag for her new baby.
"I knew in my heart God was stopping me from aborting," she said. "First, all the obstacles He put in the way. I knew I had the money I needed for the abortion in my account, but for some reason, I couldn't take it out. And then seeing Sherry here...who knew me...and then...." Here she paused, and pointed at me. "That counselor, who wouldn't shut up! I figured she must be very serious about what she was telling me. She just wouldn't shut up."

She hugged me, and said, "Thank you."

Christians, NEVER SHUT UP. You never know when victory is just a few words of truth from failure.
On a personal note, a recent breast biopsy turned out to be cancer. I am just beginning this path as a cancer patient, but I have the hope and promise of God within me. I will be ok, no matter the outcome with the cancer.

I caught it early through regular self-exam of my breasts. My recent mammogram did NOT catch it. So ladies, do self exams regularly, religiously. Right now it looks like I am the lowest level of cancer, with no lymph involvement. More tests Wednesday. Highly curable. Prayers always appreciated.

1 Peter 3:15-16

But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,