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Friday, February 19, 2016

One Year Ago Today

One year ago today, on February 19...my life was hanging in the balance.  I remember waking up at 3 something AM, right before my alarm (which never happens), and I felt so fully refreshed from my night's sleep. I had total peace (which is only from the Lord!  Ask my family- I am an emotional girl with a roller coaster of dramatic feelings, anxieties, and normal human emotions most of the time!) It was the same peace that had flooded my heart for 8 months, ever since my diagnosis, and nothing had changed that morning. I was ready!  Writing notes to my parents, my brothers, and my boyfriend, Jamie, were top priority before heading to the hospital.  I journaled a paragraph, too.  And painted my toenails.  Off to Mission Community Hospital we drove in the dark, early morning hours of LA.  That's when I posted this photo from our hike the day before (The hike where my brothers ran up and surprised me as I was taking one last walk with Jamie before surgery!  My two brothers had flown in to California from the East Coast, unbeknownst to me or my parents, to be with me for surgery!)


"The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him." Psalm 28:7
It's a day to trust God :) 

How do I reflect on a year of miracles?  How do I even wrap my mind around this extraordinary journey?  First, I want to thank you again, dear friends, who prayed me through all of this.  It was you, God's people, who carried me with prayers of faith, notes of encouragement, and gifts of generosity.  We can't see the grand picture, like our Heavenly Father can.  I don't know all the reasons why Jamie and I went through what we did this past year.  I've said it before, though- my story may be a wild one, but your story is just as powerful, meaningful, and purposeful.  Your trials and struggles are valid and real.  Your victories are glorious.  Your life is a gift, every single day, just like mine is.  This journey we are on is but a shadow of the things to come.  This road we walk down is temporary, pointing to the glory that awaits.  We get glimpses of this glory along the way, and let me tell you- my eyes have been opened wide this year in absolute wonder.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18:
"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light and momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal."

Romans 5:1-5
"Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy spirit who has been given to us."

Will you take a moment to reflect on the powerful phrases from these two passages?


ETERNAL WEIGHT OF GLORY


SUFFERING PRODUCES ENDURANCE


PEACE WITH GOD THROGH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST


HOPE OF THE GLORY OF GOD


GRACE IN WHICH WE STAND


These promises are true and everlasting.  If I could share one thing with you after everything I've been through in the past 365 days, I would want to share with you the endurance, glory, peace, hope, and grace that only come from knowing Jesus Christ as Savior.  I've been given a second chance at life, and after all is said and done, at the end of the day, these promises are what I will forever cling to.  All else is temporal.  All else is futile.  These promises remain forever.  

Here are the lyrics to a song I wrote shortly before my diagnosis.  I hope these words bless you.


Beautiful Mess
by Caitlin Jane 

I see glory, I see failure
I see victory, defeat
You breathe life among the ruins
You bring peace in mystery

When dreams fall into shambles
And tears veil these eyes
I'm awakened to the vision
of this beautiful mess of life
oh the beautiful mess of life

Let love and faithfulness never leave me
Bind them, God, around my broken heart
Write your promises deep inside me
I wanna hold on, never leg go, even when You feel worlds apart

I shall not forget Your teaching
Trust when I cannot see
Acknowledge You in all things
You direct and always lead

My confidence and my stronghold
Your burden, easy and light
Blessed am I forever
In Your favor I abide
In Your favor I abide

Let love and faithfulness never leave me
Bind them, God, around my broken heart
Write your promises deep inside me
I wanna hold on, never leg go, even when You feel worlds apart

Feel worlds apart
Yet You're here with me
In the mess today
I see You in the beauty...

 Let love and faithfulness never leave me
Bind them, God, around my broken heart
Write your promises deep inside me
I wanna hold on, never leg go, even when You feel worlds apart...

I shall not be discouraged
Jesus give light to my eyes
You came to seek and save the lost here
In this beautiful mess of life