I got into bed last night and felt like I was lying on top and beneath enormous marshmallows. The feather bed and down comforter engulfed me in comfort. My cat settling on my chest was the cherry on the top. Boy, I am sooo comfortable, I thought. And then my next thought was, I so know I am not going to fall asleep. I wrestled with turning the tv on. Isn’t a Housewives re-run on? I wondered. I chose to pray instead.
Closing my eyes, I said, “Lord, thank you for dying on the cross for me. Thank you for forgiving me of my sins. Thank you for lavishing me with blessings.” I then began praying for those in need. Including me.
Just then, I felt a nudge. His nudge. Go clean out that big basket beside the bed. (I’m getting so much better now at obeying those nudges than ignoring them.)
So I moved my cat off of me and threw back my covers. I grabbed that big basket and set it in front of me on the bed. Opening the lid, I saw that is was packed to the brim with stuff I’ve been meaning to go through -- old summer camp receipts, get well cards (I’m tryin’!) and lots of inspirational pictures I’ve ripped from magazines. And then I saw a book.
“Cancer: 50 Essential Things To Do” by Greg Anderson. I’m not sure if I bought this for myself or if someone had given it to me. (If you did, please email me and let me know!) But I found it very strange that a book of mine was in this basket because, to my knowledge, I don’t keep any of my books in this basket.
But upon opening it, I immediately felt convicted. You see, last night we had friends over for dinner. And although I ate a healthy meal, I ate an unhealthy amount of chocolate chip cookies when everyone left. The sugar addict in me has been out in full force lately.
Several months ago, sitting exactly where I am now (in my backyard), the Lord, in response to my asking for help regarding the way I should be eating (raw vs. “normal”) answered me in scripture:
“So do not worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear? These thoughts dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly father already knows all of your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.’” Matthew 6:31-33.
Well, that gave me a little bit of freedom to “eat, (I don’t drink) and be merry!” But at the same time, I need to be responsible. And I know that cancer loves sugar. So do I. And I also know that the Lord’s words of healing over me did not come with any strings attached. “If you eat sugar, I will not heal you!” No, I just know better. I also know in reading that book last night, that I was convicted that I’m not exercising. Isn’t running to and from thrift stores exercise? I think not. I dress for the occasion. I just don’t ever show up to the occasion.
Prior to finding the book last night, I was again asking God, “Why did I feel led to go to Chicago last year?” And in reading this book, I believe I have my answer. Because an INTEGRATIVE approach, for me, is what God is calling me to do.
If I had thousands of dollars in my cancer account, I would be ordering this book by the hundreds and giving them out to people. I think everyone, with or without a cancer diagnosis, should be reading it. Few of us are taking care of the bodies, the temples that God has blessed us with, the way He intended.
Integrative care of our bodies involves medicine, nutrition, exercise, attitude, support and a spiritual perspective.
Two of my favorite paragraphs (and there are many!) from this book are these:
“Survivors tend to undergo a spiritual transformation that is quite deep. (Hello?) For thousands of people, it becomes the central focus of their entire lives. In essence, they become new people.
...In a very real sense, survivors have come to let God work in and through them. Marianne Kegan, an ovarian cancer survivor, explained the essential nature of the spiritual walk. She said, ‘Now, when I walk into a room, I am there serving as God’s representative.’ For millions of cancer survivors, this is the apex of the healing journey.”
Love that Marianne Kegan, an ovarian cancer survivor, and I feel the same way.
Another favorite paragraph:
“Elaine’s choice of treatment is clearly not the answer for everyone. But following one’s conviction is an important element of nearly every successful treatment program. Today, nineteen years after her initial diagnosis (of ovarian cancer!), Elaine’s cancer remains in remission, and she leads a full and happy life.”
Gotta love that one!
And just one more:
“ I see it [cancer] as a gift,” said singer Olivia Newton-John about her journey through breast cancer. “I know it sounds strange. But I don’t think I would have grown in the areas I did without this experience.”
I always knew I liked her! Love that someone else sees this journey as a gift too.
So as I embark later this afternoon on my fourth treatment in three years, I am confident that the Lord is with me. Guiding me. Whispering to me. Nudging me.
Is He nudging you?