Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Coincidence? Not!

     I don't believe in coincidences.  I believe everything happens for a reason (even if I don't always know that reason). Some people call those things that apparently happen "Godcidences."  One of those happened to me today.
     May 24th is my anniversary of sorts.  Four years ago today, I had a surgery that made me cancer free.  This evening I was reading scripture in preparation for my Bible study tomorrow evening.  I've been really busy packing my classroom, so I got a late start on reading the first thirteen chapters of II Kings.  I think I was reading exactly what I was suppose to read, exactly when I was suppose to read it.  You see, I remember vividly the scripture I read for my devotion the morning I received my cancer diagnosis.  It was  II Kings chapter 6. 
     In this chapter God causes an iron axhead to float and delivers an entire army into the hands of an unarmed prophet. I remember that morning when the question asked, after listing the amazing things God did, "Is there anything God cannot do?" I quickly thought, "Well, no, of course not!" When I heard the words, "It is cancer," that evening from my primary care doctor, I was reminded of my devotion from that morning and experienced peace as I tried to wrap my mind around what I'd just heard and prepare for the fight.
     Tonight, as I sat with my nephews while my sis kept a watch on the weather, I read over those same scriptures and was reminded of my experience from four years ago.  I shared with my nephews about the scriptures and they were wowed by the fact I didn't plan to read that particular passage, but did on my anniversary. I was wowed, too.  God continues to remind me that no matter what it is...cancer, storms, things seen, things unseen...there is nothing God cannot do.
     Thanks, God! I needed that reminder!

The Beat Goes On!

     No, this won't be a post about Sonny & Cher. (For those of you who are wondering who Sonny & Cher are, just ignore my attempt at humor.) The beat I'm talking about is my heart.  We just finished studying the circulatory and respiratory systems.  Some of my students used stethoscopes and heard their heartbeats for the first time.  I loved seeing their eyes light up and the expressions of wonder on their faces when they heard and were concentrating on the beat...lub, dub...lub, dub... 
     I'm very thankful for my heartbeat, especially today.  I celebrated my "cancerversary" (A term coined by one of my students). It's the fourth anniversary to be cancer free!  I celebrated with my class today.  The school where I teach is very supportive of the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life.  I used the slogan from Relay...Celebrate, Remember, Fight Back to share a little about my journey with students and how they can lower their risk of getting cancer.
    The first thing we did was CELEBRATE.  I told students how much I appreciated their support during our fundraising efforts and how important it is to let people know you love and appreciate them.  We also had cupcakes to celebrate.
     We REMEMBERED by watching the Relay Photostory from 2010.  Then we took a look at a slideshow of this year's Relay event. Several of our school's students were featured in the pictures.  One of the students from my homeroom class, a fellow survivor, appeared in the pics and students didn't realize he was a survivor.  Students also had a chance to share about family and friends with cancer.
     Students learned how to FIGHT BACK.  Many of the students had participated in several of the fundraisers...Think Pink basket, Water Bottle Raffle, Collecting Change for a Cure, Digital Key Chain Raffle, Wednesday Dinner Theater and some brought donations.  I explained that money for research and to help those with cancer was only one way to fight back.  Another important way to fight cancer is to learn how to reduce the risk of having cancer.  We talked about nutrition, an active life style, not smoking, and sun safety.
    Each class period was emotional for me, but I count it a privilege to be able to share with students to help them understand they are not to young to choose to live a healthy life style and make a difference in the lives of others.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

"Sin never dies of old age."

    We're finishing up the book of 2 Samuel in our Bible study tomorrow.  Going back over the stories of David's life, I've been reminded of several lessons, one of which is encouraging.  I find it encouraging to know that the man known as "a man after God's own heart" is not perfect.  He messed up...big time and not just one time.  With all of his faults and failures, David still recognized his need for God's forgiveness, grace, restoration, and blessing.
     In the book, Adventuring Through the Bible,"  Ray Stedman makes an important point about sin:
...our old nature is always there, ready to spring into action the moment we cease to rely upon the Spirit of God.  Sin never dies of old age.  No matter how long you walk with God, it is still possible to fall.The only thing that maintains the spiritual life is the quiet, day-by-day, moment-by-moment walk in faith.
    This is a reminder for me to be even more intentional with my time alone with God.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Soul Surfer

   Friday night I took my nephews to see Soul Surfer.  It's based on the true story of Bethany Hamilton, a teen surfer champion who is attacked by a shark.  If I only had one word to describe the movie, it would be "incredible."  I would definitely see it again. Yes, they show the shark attack and it's bloody, but it's such a small part of the film.  The film shows how a young woman, who thinks she has her life pretty much figured out, is faced with a major life change.  She questions God about her situation, tries to be "normal," gives up when things don't go her way, but then realizes that her life is not about surfing...it's about using the talent God gave her (which happens to be surfing) as a platform to encourage and show love to others.  Check out the trailer for "Soul Surfer."