If You Are Willing

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. We write for just 5 minutes on a one-word prompt, without heavy editing, and see what happens. Today’s prompt is “willing.”

“While He was in one of the cities, behold, there was a man covered with leprosy; and when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.”And He stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately the leprosy left him” (Luke 5:12-13 NASB).

I have a friend, Marcey, whose 22-year-old daughter, Julia, became very ill. After many weeks, a large mass was discovered in her abdomen that was pushing all her organs out of the way. She was in excruciating, debilitating pain. Surgery was performed and 90+ percent of the tumor was removed. Within 6 weeks, it had grown back.

The doctors were stymied. Even the top tumor experts were not able to figure out what this tumor was. It had never been seen before.

As friends were rallied to pray, radiation and chemo therapies were applied. At one point, Marcey told me they thought they were going to lose her. She was so weak. There didn’t seem to be any hope.

And yet we prayed.

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Julia sporting her new wig (photo courtesy her mom)

Just two days ago, Marcey reported that there has been a turnaround in Julia’s prognosis. The chemotherapy is working and the tumors are shrinking. The doctor’s are jubilant as is her family. Today she is off her pain pump and trusting God for a future that just weeks ago she wasn’t sure she would have.

She’s a walking miracle.

We asked God to be willing to heal her, and His answer was, “Yes.”

But we know that’s not always His answer in this life. But He is always our portion. Whether healed in this life or not, we always have our hope in Him.

Even though my 5 minutes are up, I’m going to add a note here that this is a way bigger subject than can be tackled in just 5 minutes. This story is fresh on my heart and I wanted to share it, but I know that there are so many people who have not experienced healing of either themselves or a loved one. I lost both my mom and my grandmother to cancer and have known many others who have succumbed to this dread disease. There are no guarantees of physical healing here on earth, but I stand on the fact that God is good. Whether His healing happens here or not, He is good and He redeems all things. If you or someone you love is in need of God’s healing touch, keep praying: Your will be done.

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If Someone Offers A Gift—Take It

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. We write for just 5 minutes without heavy editing and see what happens. Today’s prompt is “Take.”

I’ve lived the better part of my adult life as a missionary supported prayerfully and financially by the gifts of others. If people don’t give, we get no paycheck. So I have learned over these 30+ years that if someone offers something, I take it graciously and just say thank you.

God has always met our needs and we have abundantly more than we need, so I know the power of receiving a gift, not only because it meets a need for us, but also because of the joy it can bring to the giver.

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We have living room furniture because friends didn’t need it anymore. We have a kitchen table and chairs because friends wanted proceeds from the sale of ours at a yard sale to go to our son’s missions trip (I know, it’s kind of a complicated story). We received tons of baby stuff when our grandson was born because of the generosity of a group of young moms who just wanted to be able to pay it forward.

We can give generously as well because we have received so much. If we refuse to receive, we dishonor the giver. Yes, it’s humbling to admit the need, but it’s good and it’s necessary. We don’t go through this life alone, and we shouldn’t pretend like we don’t need the generosity of others.

“God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God” (1 Corinthians 1:28-29).

Arrows Not Answers

Today’s post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. We write for 5 minutes on a one-word prompt and see what happens. Today’s prompt is “Question.”

What I’m about to say I’m taking directly from fellow Redbud Writer’s Guild friend Emily P. Freeman. In a podcast from last year, Emily talked about the fact that we’re always looking for answers from God. We want clarity, we want details. But God doesn’t tend to answer our questions in that way. So her podcast episode was titled “Look for Arrows (Not Answers).”

emily freeman podcastI thought that was brilliant.

I also loved a prayer she prayed near the end. It included this line: “We are looking for a plan but then You offer us Your hand. May it be enough today.”

We want plans, He offers His hand. We don’t always know where He’s taking us. Most of the time we have more questions than we do answers, but if we trust the character of God, we will take that hand and let Him lead.

Ever gone out looking for yard sales on a Saturday? Many times all we see are signs with arrows drawn on them. Go this way. When you need to turn again, we’ll let you know. Meanwhile, keep going. There will be treasures at the end.

Yard sales don’t always end in treasures because, you know, yard sales. But we know that if we walk with God, we will find the treasure of His presence wherever we go.

Take His hand. Keep walking. You can ask the questions if you want to, but don’t be surprised if He doesn’t answer them all.

Find this podcast on Emily’s website, emilypfreeman.com. The podcast is called The Next Right Thing. Subscribe. It’s really good. That’s where I got the image above.

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Who Ya Rootin’ For?

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. We write for 5 minutes on a one-word prompt without heavy editing and see what happens. Today’s prompt is “goal.”

I’m not a soccer mom, and I’m good with that. My kids never had an interest in the sport, and so we avoided the all-weekend tournaments and crazy practice schedule. And I’m more than good with that.

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But I have to admire one thing about the sport: the announcers.

I know it’s probably cliché, but to hear the fanatical “gooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaallllllllll!” when encountering the game on a television in some public place, it always makes me laugh.

But now that I think about it, wouldn’t it be a lot easier to meet our own personal goals if we had such enthusiastic support on our side?

Lost those pesky 10 pounds you’ve been trying to get rid of? Gooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaallllllllll!

Exercised at least 5 days this week? Gooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaallllllllll!

Finished that manuscript that’s been on your laptop for a year? Gooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaallllllllll!

Did the dishes right after a meal? Gooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaallllllllll!

Kept to your budget for 3 months in a row? Gooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaallllllllll!

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Who’s cheering for you on the sidelines of your life?

Who are you cheering for?

Maybe it seems silly to get so fired up about the little things in life we just want to accomplish, but it’s always nice to know that we have cheerleaders on our side.

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Well Check Your Heart

This post is part of the Five Minute Friday link up. We write for just 5 minutes on a one-word prompt without heavy editing and see what happens. Today’s prompt is “well.”

All parents know the drill. Every few months of a new baby’s life, they go to the pediatrician for a “well check.” This would be as opposed to a “sick visit.” At our pediatrician’s office, and I’m guessing at most similar offices, there are two separate waiting rooms for the well and the sick.

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As a parent, I was always grateful for that. I wish there was such a thing at an adult doctor’s office!

But I digress.

At these well checks, height and weight would be recorded, lungs and heart listened to, eyes, ears, nose and throat checked. The doctor just wanted to make sure that everything was progressing as it should in our babies.

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When our second was 4 months old, the doctor noted at his well check that he wasn’t gaining enough weight. That led to the dreaded “failure to thrive” diagnosis. He was thriving as far as we could see, doing all that he was supposed to be doing, but we had to do all this testing to rule out anything bad. Turns out—and his doctor figured this the whole time—my milk just didn’t have enough calories.

So we supplemented with formula and he was fine. So when the same thing happened at our youngest’s 4-month appointment, we didn’t have to go through the tests. We just started giving her rice cereal.

I was thankful for their doctor, and I was thankful for those well checks. It was always good to know that, for the most part, everything was going just fine.

Have you well-checked your heart lately? Listened to it? Checked its pulse? Determined that it’s staying soft?

20120722-083057.jpgPsalm 139:23 & 24 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”

That’s a very good place to start.

 

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Where Everybody Knows Your Name

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. We write for 5 minutes on a one-word prompt without heavy editing and see what we come up with. You can check out all the other posts in the link up by clicking “link up” above. Today’s prompt is “name.”

cheersIn the early 80’s through the early 90’s there was a popular American TV show called “Cheers.” The show followed the lives of several patrons and workers in a bar by that name. The chorus of the theme song struck me given today’s prompt.

“Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name
And they’re always glad you came
You want to be where you can see
Our troubles are all the same
You want to be where everybody knows your name.”

“Where Everybody Knows Your Name,” performed by Gary Portnoy theme song to the hit TV show “Cheers.”

People just want to be seen. They want to be known. They don’t want to be categorized or labeled or stereotyped. My desire to be known goes beyond that, though, to an unhealthy desire to be famous that I have to fight continually.

My name is Stephanie Claire Allan, and when I married, I added my husband’s name, Reeves. In my writing, I often use both my maiden name and my married name so that people who knew me before will recognize me. I want people to know my name.

Recently, I got a Twitter notification that Tim Keller had started following me. Whaat? I was astonished, thrilled, amazed, that someone famous like Tim Keller would follow little ol’ me on Twitter.

Until a friend pointed out that it was a fake account and not the real Tim Keller.

Well, thanks for bursting my prideful bubble!

I can laugh at that now, and I laughed then, but I thought it would be so cool to be known by someone who is themselves well known. It was a big, albeit very short-lived, ego boost for me. And my personality type really struggles with wanting to be in the limelight. If you’re famous and I stand close enough to you, some of that light might just shine on me as well.

But the fact is, I’m not likely to be famous, and I really hope I’m never infamous! But the God of the universe knows my name. And walking in His light is way better than any spotlight of fleeting fame.

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Cheers image from IMDB.com

A Culture of Grace

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. We write for just 5 minutes on a 1-word prompt, without heavy editing, and see what happens. Today’s prompt is “culture.”

If culture is what you’re surrounded by, then make mine a culture of grace, please.

I want to be known for always showing grace, but unfortunately, I fall far short way too many times.

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My daughter used to complain that, when she cleaned her room, all I would notice was what was still undone rather than the massive amounts that had been done. And when my husband would stop by the grocery store for me, I would notice the one thing that he got wrong rather than the multitudes he had gotten right. I’ve gotten better at that. I make a conscious effort to be grateful.

But just the other day I said something to my daughter that shot her down after she had experienced a personal victory that she wanted to celebrate with me.

I missed it completely.

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I have since repented to her and she has forgiven me, but what I would like to figure out is why I lean toward that in the first place.

Is it the copyeditor in me, trained to find the smallest thing that is wrong? Honestly, it could be, but whereas the goal is no errors on the printed page, there will always be plenty of mistakes in life. Jesus came in grace and truth. I want to be like Jesus.

There is a time for truth, couched in love, but there is always an abundance of grace.

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