I spent the first ten minutes trying to start this post, relentlessly and unsuccessfully attempting to log into the blog! Relatively it’s been a long time since I posted or even checked the blog and as a result I could remember neither my username nor my password! After trying every permutation of what I thought were my details, I gave up and had new ones sent!
I was surprised that I could forget something so routine, so quickly. Before today my log-in details just tripped off the tongue – didn’t even have to think. It may only have been the passing of a month or so, but in another way, the past month has felt less like a new chapter and more so a whole new volume in the story so far. We trust that regular visitors and subscribers would have understood from our previous (and distant) post that this blogging ‘hiatus’ had been on purpose.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven – Ecclesiastes 3:1
In the last few months, as Annie’s health and strength has improved, we have prayerfully determined to take a break from the blog; one of the reasons for doing so was that we might focus on serving God and serving others in a different way; a way that was more appropriate to the measure of health, strength and time that God has given to Annie and I. For that reason, we hope that long distant friends and online visitors operated on the basis of no news being good news!
It has been good. It has been incredibly good. The adjective ‘miraculous’ would not be out of place in describing the last few months and in particular the last month and a half. Passwords and usernames have not been the only things that have easily been forgotten. The latter part of 2011 and first half of 2012 had been a daily and weekly grind of nurses, sick buckets, pain, chronic fatigue, sleepless nights, nausea, coughing fits, syringe drivers, vomiting and breathlessness; frailty and fragility as undesired as it was unnatural for a couple in their mid-thirties.
Honestly, that all feels like another life-time ago.
Just the other week, Annie and I were giving some time to clearing out the loft/attic. In any other time in life this would be a loathsome task but as I have said before, we’re really learning to appreciate the loathsome mundane in life! Eleven years of marriage had made for a good number of photo albums and household objects that we had already retired to ‘the upper room’ of our home; it made for much joyful distraction and laughter as we apparently tidied, sifted and cleared out. We were often struck by how distant some of those revisited and recalled memories were. Annie often uses that phrase ‘That feels like another life ago!’ Some things in life feel so far back that we struggle to make any personal/emotional past or present connection with them. It’s sometimes as if even the loft and attic spaces of our minds have retired those things from memory.
From where we are right now, the reality of the wretched daily grind of cancer feels almost like a lifetime ago! In the last month and a half, I’ve lost count of how many meals Annie has cooked (for me and for others), how many times she’s been out visiting others, how many miles she’s added to the clock of our little Renault or how many ‘gone to lunch’ messages I’ve read. In fact I came back home from a meeting the other day only to find I was locked out of my own home, having assumed Annie would be home rather than out for lunch with another friend! I’ve lost count of the number of days since I last did the grocery shopping! And I have long stopped counting how many hours we have sang (and sang) together! All of these have been unnumbered blessings (including being locked out!) for which we praise and thank our Father in heaven!
One of Annie’s nurses recently called – more out of courtesy than necessity – and checked-in. Her response to Annie’s health was that this was “unbelievable”. She commented that from where Annie was physically a few months ago, most folks die within a small number of weeks. I think we probably felt the same way at the time; and while this was another reason to praise God and thank Him, it was also another reminder of the reality of cancer.
That wretched daily grind of the reality of cancer may be a distant memory but the reality of cancer itself remains present and reluctant to retire or be forgotten.
Some things in life are easy to forget; some things are hard to forget – no matter how much we want to. Some things that we shouldn’t forget are too easy to forget. For that reason, Annie and I are thankful to God for not being able to forget about the reality of cancer. Every day is another day further from that past wretched daily grind but it’s another day with cancer and another day where we want nothing more than…
‘to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that [we] may be filled with all the fullness of God.’ – Ephesians 3:19
Every day we are granted life and breath we desire with increasing fervency to know and experience the Resurrection Reality of Jesus Christ in our lives. We want to yield to Him. We want to hear Him. We want to follow Him in faith. We want to experience His unmatchable presence and comfort – come rain or shine; come pain or fine! We want to honour Him and worship Him as our friend, our Saviour, our conqueror, our King.
I write this post, sat down in my bed, early on Sunday morning. It’s a significant day. Almost one year ago our brothers and sisters at our home church met with us in the afternoon to specifically pray as we sought God’s wisdom, comfort and direction for what we should do next following the news from the Oncologist. It was a very special occasion and set the amazing tone and pattern for what followed. God has not only been doing incredible things in our lives through His people but we believe He has been doing incredible things for His people as they have supported us for His glory. This morning, following our morning worship service we will be gathering together again, as a family of God’s people, not only to commemorate and celebrate the Lord’s goodness in the last year, but to seek Him again on behalf of many others for whom this year has been hard and trials of many kinds lie ahead in their journey with Jesus.
I was asked by one of our deacons yesterday if I could give some points for prayer and praise in preparation for this morning. As is often the case with me, I struggle to keep anything to points! I was asked if I would post this on the blog. I will finish this post with a link to the response I sent for your information and for those brothers and sisters in Christ who desire to lay our prayers and praise before God through Jesus His Son.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever. – Psalm 136:1-3
Yours in Him, Jesus the Lord of lords,
Click here for prayer and praise post