The Blessing in the Burden

I get it, I really do.  And in some ways, by starting this blog in the first place, I guess I sort of asked for it.  By opening myself and my story up for the world to see, I realized very quickly that the world is going to respond, and it isn’t always pretty or uplifting.  I try to be as honest and open as I can in my accounts of the trials and triumphs of the Christian cancer patient.  The truth is that I was not ready for what was about to come my way when I entered the blogging “scene”, or “blogosphere” as some people call it.  Yes, there are a few people out looking for a fight or out looking to prove that they know more about my faith than I do and that I’m stupid for believing.  That doesn’t bother me at all, it’s quite expected.  (Although I’ll admit it did lead me to begin moderating my comments, not because I’m afraid of what they’re saying, but because this isn’t the place for harshness and condemnation.  There is a whole internet out there for people to squabble, this is meant to be a soft place to land for people who are worn and weary.  A place where honest conversations lift each other up and where prayer is offered, not judgement.)

But mostly, I wasn’t prepared for how much support and love I’d recieve, I wasn’t ready to hear others’ stories of heartache and tragedy, and I wasn’t ready for the depth spiritually that that would take me.  I was not prepared for how much my heart could be broken for others, people that I don’t even know, and how much others felt a burden for us, people who have never even met us.  I’ve learned that the things that seem like burdens to us as believers often end up being great sources of blessings as we learn to be molded into useable vessels for God and the message of redemption through Christ.

Sometimes I fret about posting certain things, like when I’m doubting God’s plan or not feeling Him close to me.  I, like many other Christians, feel the need sometimes to keep up a bizarre facade of perfection and unwavering faith.  A fakeness that I don’t believe pleases or honors God.  Life is messy and chaotic, but God is a refuge from all of that, truly, and his love shown to us through Christ is for everyone, no matter how big the mess.  So the reality is that when I opened myself up and allowed that vulnerablility, I was met with love and reminders from my friends, family, and even strangers, of God’s love and provision, His truth and His presence, I’m reminded of how we are the hands and feet of Jesus on this earth and that there are many people out there willing to do that hard and often thankless work of speaking truth in love and being a light in places even like the internet where darkness seems to rule.  

When we put ourselves out there with the intent to bless others, as so many people have done for us, I believe it comes back to us in a way that’s bigger and more beautiful than I certainly could ever describe.  Perhaps we get a glimpse of understanding, a peek at God’s heart, a peace about God’s will for our lives.  We start to understand that a “perfect” life of comfort and relative ease is likely not the plan, but that a life surrendered to God’s purpose is where fulfillment, joy, and peace abound, no matter what trials and sufferings may come our way.  In Philippians 1:29, Paul reminds us that, “you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him.”

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, and starvation, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.  

May God bless you with the weirdest blessing possible – His divine burden.

Our pastor read this in church a few weeks ago, and I haven’t been able to shake it.  I’m not sure who wrote it, but it is accredited to a Craig Groeschel book.  I pray that reading it can help bring revivial to all our hearts as we sense how the Spirit wants to work in and through our lives.  It’s rarely pretty and almost never how we would have planned or wanted it, and that’s what so amazing about all of it.

The people and situations for which we are burdened are where we are meant to be a blessing.

.

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27 thoughts on “The Blessing in the Burden

  1. Kim,

    I would love to say I find it hard to believe you get some of the comments you do simply for sharing your story but that is thr world we live in.

    Keep sharing, stay strong, and don’t sweat what your dissenters say. You are doing God’s work here, we all know that, and He knows that.

    My prayers, and those of all believers, are with you, God bless 🙂

    James

    1. Thanks James! There’s a place for it, there really is. I just am non-confrontational (mostly haha) so I don’t think I’m the one called to deal with it. Thanks so much for your prayers! (:

  2. Beautiful and a blessing to me – while my husband had cancer, I was shaken in my faith many times, but I am stronger now in my faith because of what we went through. I miss him terribly, but I know that God’s purpose for me would not have been able to be fulfilled had I had not gone through the loss.Blessings do come from burdens sometimes you just have to look for them. Lifting you up in prayer!

    1. Thank you, Lyn! I’m so sorry to hear about what you went through, its definitely a journey for everyone involved. So glad we have an amazing God who can stand up to our doubts and wavering! (:

  3. I agree, well said and beautifully composed. I started keeping a “Words of Wisdom” document and this (in part) is going into that document. Thank you for all your thoughts, you are always in Adele & my prayers.
    Let’s just say it once “No More Snow”! Let me know if there is anything you guys need.

    1. Wow! A words of wisdom folder and I made it in? You may want to reconsider that haha. But thanks. We appreciate you guys so much! Eric said he thinks you’ve been doing our driveway/sidewalk? Know anything about that? We keep missing the person, but if it’s you thank you so much!!

  4. As always, Kimi, you have wriiten words of wisdom and faith so beautifully!! You are so blessed and we are so blessed to have you as a member of our family!! Love you SOOOO much!!! Aunt Connie

  5. This scenario is being played out in many lives across the world as the Lord is developing a compassionate church willing to sacrifice so that others might live. Thank you Kim for submitting your life to Him. Your reward is eternal.

  6. Very uplifting message. May God’s blessings continue to be upon you and your family. The weariness must be trying at various times but your faith in God is deep and sustains you! Always in our prayers!

  7. Thank you Kim. Beautifully written. You are like a clear and beautiful stream – always refreshing us who read your blog with God’s words; and you are like the bright sunshine – always warming us with the truth of God’s love for us. God must be soo very proud of you that I picture Him with the biggest smile on His face for you ! You are so lovely ! Love to you and your family.

  8. God bless you Kim. This post and the article I read last night in Life:Beautiful where I first “met” you are directed by God. Your story and experience so much mirrors my husband’s and mine. Even down to some of the phrases and words you use in your blog. This post especially reflects our journey and our life–we have been so incredibly blessed throughout our journey. I would never have wished cancer on our lives but I would not trade the deepness of our faith and love that we have gained for anything. On March 18, 2012 my perfectly healthy former all-American athlete husband was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Yep, like melanoma, we got a doozie. Couldn’t get something simple and treatable. We were in Florida on vacation when we found he had a tumor blocking the duct from his pancreas to his liver. We spent the next two weeks in biopsies and surgeries and basically going through hell on earth to see how bad it was. Constant prayers were answered by God who blessed us with the “opportunity” to have surgery to remove half of his pancreas, his gall bladder and re-route his digestive system. After 13 days in the hospital and losing 25 pounds, we went home to recover before six months of chemo. At the end of those months, there was no indication of any cancer. Seven months later his numbers had crept up. Our oncologist said, “Let’s keep an eye on it and check in in three months!” We know all too well about your anxiety in waiting for answers! When there is a plan in place we don’t feel nearly as helpless. Three months later the news was bad. The tumors had returned in his liver. That oncologist told us basically either the treatment would kill him or the cancer would and most patients end up bedridden after six months because the chemo is so lethal. We drove home in shock. I remember texting a good friend–also a cancer survivor who wasn’t suppose to survive 17 years ago!–saying “we need a miracle.” His simple reply was “God’s in the miracle business.” We spent a month talking to and visiting some of the top medical facilities in the country. I was a wreck. Finally I just went to our church garden and sat outside crying and telling God wherever He wanted to lead us to be treated I was leaving it up to Him. An incredible peace came over me and the following week we found a wonderful progressive oncologist an hour and half from home and we’ve been blessed ever since. God has protected my husband from nearly every side effect! Not only is he alive and not bed-ridden, he plays golf, lifts weights, plays racquetball, travels, works and lives life!! I have said so many times the words you wrote–God is bigger than cancer. We have been so blessed in so many ways. My husband’s and my faith has grown immensely. Our son and his wife joined our church and our three granddaughters were baptized and are very involved in the youth program at our church. We have had the opportunity to touch so many other lives and mentor other cancer patients. I always tell them two things–1. God doesn’t read statistics. (This has been my mantra since our original diagnosis. You and we are living proof of that!) and 2. DON’T READ THE INTERNET!! I learned that the hard way by going online the morning of my husband’s major surgery!!! YIKES!! So where are we today? We are coming up on our 3 year anniversary of our diagnosis. Yay God! We went through seven months of a three chemo regimen and the tumors shrunk and his cancer number went from over 600 to 14! Praise God!! Our dr. took us off the two chemo drugs and left us on a 46 hour pump infusion for “maintenance” which again lasted 7 months. (Isn’t the number 7 significant in the Bible?) The CT scan at the end of December showed “very slight changes” in the existing tumors (nothing new!) and the cancer number had gone up slightly from 14 to 17. So we added back one of the infusions. We are still so blessed that he still has very few side effects and God continues to hold us in His arms. We are grateful for so many things including an aggressive oncologist who is keeping ahead of the tumors. I could share story upon story like your experiences of “coincidences” that have happened. They are not coincidences. They are God’s work in our lives and reminders that He is always here with us. We continue to believe as you that He has the power to heal Tom completely. One of the strongest messages I got even before our diagnosis was “All things are possible with God.” And yes they are! I choose not to believe that either of our work here on earth is done yet and boldly pray as King Hezekiah did for many more years of life on this earth for you and my husband knowing and trusting that He does know what is best and that heaven is our final destination. One of the verses I say to myself every morning is Phillipeans 4:6-7 “Don’t be anxious about anything but in all things through prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Blessings to you Kim and prayers for you and your family. Keep the faith and keep sharing God’s miracles. Joyce Barbatti

  9. Another beautiful and inspiring post, Kim! Thanks for sharing all the ways the Lord continues to work in and use you. You are a blessing to many!

  10. Kim, I am so grateful God brought you into my life. I know we have never met but it has blessed me so much to hear your testimony and read your blogs. Just beautiful! It is the perspective that I need to hear. I am sorry for all of your pain. I know your life has been difficult in this season. But the picture that God painting is so beautiful. I see Jesus in you. I see his peace. I see his life! I see his compassion. I see his love! I pray for you friend! May God give you his divine grace for each moment. May he speak to you clearer and louder than he ever has. May you feel as if you don’t take one breathe without him right next to you. May you have incredible peace and joy. May God bring you all the blessings he has in store for you. May you recognize them. I pray that today you have a glorious day! Thank you friend for sharing!

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