Monday, June 13, 2011

Our Gal Sal

My friend Sally is one-of-a-kind. When Sal lived in Knoxville, she was a nurse at Childrens hospital. We shared a house for four years here in Knoxville, until she married Corey not quite three years ago.  Sally was always "sought after" and was quite the heartbreaker and then she fell in love with Corey.  Sal and I bonded over cookies, awkward moments in singles groups, Sal always volunteering to pray when no one else would after what felt llike ten minutes of silence.  We bonded over bears on our porch, raccoons in our garbage, foxes running across our driveway, and the one memorable time when she called me and said she had seen a malmute out by the tree. Huh?!?  We have prayed for one another, encouraged one another in hard seasons, and now it is my turn to ask all of you to join with me in praying for a miracle of healing for our gal Sal.  We know that God chooses to work in different ways, but we are praying for healing until he heals or until he says, "no". 

You can read Sally's caringbridge site - Sally Cleek for current updates, but basically in December while Sally was approx. 12 weeks pregnant with their first child, the doctor found breast cancer.  Sal had chemo and even surgery while preganant with baby Drew.  They induced labor on May 4th and beautiful Drew Cleek was welcomed into this world. Because Drew was over a month early, he had to be in the NICU and immediately Sally had to start another round of chemo.  Over two weeks ago, Sally and Corey were able to bring Drew home from the hospital.  The very next day Sal was having excruciating headaches and the doctors found that cancer had moved to her brain.  She has been undergoing radiation and we are praying for healing.  Below are some prayer requests Sally has.  Would you please join me in praying for a miracle?  Please feel free to pass these along to anyone who might join all of us in praying for Sal.  She truly is a treasured friend. 

(These are Sally's words)
~The biggest prayer request involves us meeting the neuro oncologist Tuesday at 1 named Dr. Motts.  This is how I will find out if the cancer is in the fluid around the brain.  Please pray that it's not there.  That will make my diagnosis much worse.  It may require that I have a spinal tap to discover if it is in there so pray for wisdom about that decision

~pray my neurological symptoms would go away, especially blurry vision and headaches

~pray for Hope and Peace for me....I've never been so devastated or heart broken before.

~pray I get an appt. in Boston soon with Dr. Nancy Linn, the premiere doctor in the country for my disease with brain involvement

~pray for a real sense of purpose while we are going through this

~God has promised me that if I believe that I would see the glory of God

~please pray for surge of faith beyond my fear

~(my words) please pray for Sally's and Corey's family who adore her!

~pray that Drew will thrive and grow despite his mommy being sick and that we would have an incredible bond

~pray I will be grateful for the life I've been given and that I would be able to minister to others through this pain

~please pray for more time for me to see my baby grow up and grow old with my husband.  That is the desire of my heart so will you ask Him with me for more time

Thank you all for praying with me for healing of our sweet Sally. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Are you WITH me?

 Emmanuel.  God WITH us.   With - "accompanied by."  Thank you,  I'm beginning to crawl out of the hole that I have been in for the past month. A hole that included the beach, starting classes again, and beginning my internship which means seeing clients for the first time.  But I also have been more internal as I allow a significant week at the end of April to continue to resonate in my heart and mind.  I don't know if I will ever truly understand why it feels more safe for me to share some heart things on a blog, but a little more difficult for me to share one-on-one....I'll make sure I ask my counselor next week. :)  Anyway, I wanted to share with you what has been stirring in me.

Larry Crabb is a hero of mine.  When I was walking through my broken engagement my discipler gave me a book of his called Finding God.  From then on I was hooked.  His message often is not popular, but it was what I needed to hear.  Do I want God more than I want his blessings?  Does He desire to bless? YES! But I cannot demand it.  When my desires get out of order, entitlement surfaces, and let me tell you friends, it ain't pretty.  All that to say is that I went to a conference/retreat/school with Larry at the end of April.  At the schools that he leads, he always prays about who he wants to ask to "chat" with him in front of the class for four nights.  He calls it "chatting" and I would call it "counseling the neurotic redhead who has a really bad ugly cry."  I digress.  Needless to say, he picked me.  I have no clue why, other than it was Jesus loving on me in a very specific way that I was not expecting. 
Even now my eys well up with tears (shocker, I know) as I think about how God met me.  Probably even more AFTER the week than the week there.  I kept waiting for Larry to address blind spots in my life, to tell me areas in my life where I was just unteachable, etc.  I think I feel this way about Jesus more than I was willing to admit.  What Larry wanted me to know is that he enjoyed being WITH me.  He would tell me that and I would just stare at him.  I was undone.  I followed the man around all week.  STALKER.  I sat in front of him as he taught.  I asked him questions at every break.  He would turn around and I would say, "Hey! It's me again."  Here's the thing. I adore this man and he has played a significant role in my life, but he isn't Jesus.  What he showed me is that Jesus also enjoys being WITH me. 

So once again, when my days of longing for "home" are more intense than others, I am learning to see it as a continued invitation to press in and experience Jesus' "withness".  Augustine said that we are restless until we find our rest in Him.  Such wisdom and truth.  WITHNESS is powerful.  My new friends from that week saw and recognized what I could not....that I needed to undersand Jesus wants to be WITH me as all of us, including myself, have experienced painful times when others did not want to be WITH.......Can you believe that God left heaven to be WITH us?  What crap deal on his end.  Let's not analyze that  weak theological statement.

In the picture above, it reminds me of the power of healing we have in our relationships with one another.  Can I be WITH someone in silence, tears, and pain? Can I be fully present and joyful WITH another as they get engaged and then move on to marriage and babies?  Can I be WITH someone in their anger and disappointment?  Can I be WITH someone when all I want to do is run away from the uncomfortable emotions or fear that it surfaces in me?  I pray we will all learn more from the One who is With.........