A dear friend of mine, Rev. Linda A. Smith, former foreign missionary and, many would say, local missionary now (she is the Executive Director of HisHeart Ministries) was ordained into the ministry. At her ordination service, I’ll never forget what she told the crowd of us gathered to watch her become “formally” ordained (as we knew she already had been ordained years ago). She spoke about how, at each church in which she had worked, she learned lessons. She said in her first church, she learned never to be surprised at what God will do. That has stuck with me since that time…because we are, aren’t we? It seems like when I pray, I hold my breath and hope my prayers are answered, but God tells us:
“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” John 14:12-14 (NIV)
As I’ve posted about before here, sometimes I don’t always get the answer that I hope for, and I think if I look back on those times, I was not asking for the right things. Sometimes I don’t see the answer immediately or ever, just as was the case of Ruth and Boaz. But when I DO get that answer to prayer, when I DO see exactly how God’s plan is unfolding, inevitably, I am shocked. He did it! He listened! He heard me! Well, duh. Isn’t that the whole point?
I have been taught to thank God for His answer even as I am praying. I don’t always do everything I’ve been taught (my Mama is laughing right now), but this is what I should do, and I know it. Sometimes I think it takes God answering a prayer to remind me that He will again, and to help make me comfortable with standing firm in the faith that He does and will.
This week, I’ve seen prayer answered in a mighty way.
My precious Aunt Diane was just diagnosed with breast cancer this week. Many of you have been hit with this horrific disease; if not you, someone you love very much. This diagnosis has rocked my world. My aunt is not just my aunt. She keeps my son, Mac, every day and though he has two “real” grandmothers, she is his Mimi. Every morning when he wakes up, hair sticking up like a porcupine’s back, sleepy creases for eyes, he mumbles, “Am I going to Mimi’s today?” When I say yes, that sweet little mouth turns into an enormous grin, and he pops out of bed, ready to start the day. When I say he loves that woman, I mean he loves her to the moon and back.
With Mac, she also keeps her son’s daughters, Jada and Aidyn. Aidyn is 3 months older than Mac, and she has become the sister he doesn’t have. They fight like brother and sister and love each other like brother and sister: just another gift my Aunt Diane has given to him.
There has been a lump in Aunt Di’s breast for quite some time, but last weekend, she told her family about it. Miracle number one in this diagnosis is that both of her daughters-in-law work in the medical field, and they called in every favor they’ve ever stored up to get her seen immediately. In one day (and the day before a holiday), she had a doctor’s appointment with a gynecologist, and oncologist, and a surgeon….all three were top tier doctors in their fields. A biopsy was done, but they all said the lump was, in fact, malignant. They scheduled chemo to start this coming week, and they set up immediate scans to check to see if the cancer has spread. Our prayers were answered yesterday when we found that, though we don’t know exactly what type of cancer it is, the scans show that it is contained to the breast but it is also in her bones. However, it is very slow moving. With that information, the oncologist has rethought the treatment plan, and IF the biopsy results confirm that it is, indeed, moving as slowly as they first thought, she will be able to her chemotherapy in pill form. If it is not, she will go in for i.v. drips.
The difference is, if she must take chemo by i.v., she can’t be around children. But, if she gets to take chemo through a pill, she will be able to continue to go about her daily routines with her 3 favorite people. This is huge, especially for her morale. This prognosis is nothing short of Miracle # 2, and it is exactly what we prayed for. This weekend, we continue to pray that she will have Positive Hormone Receptors, that her cancer is moving slower than a snail’s pace, and that she will be able to take her chemo in pill form, and I am thanking God for His answer to that prayer as I type.
As incredible of a woman as my aunt is, selfless, generous, kind, happy, loving, and fun, there are a bazillion other people out there who have been diagnosed differently. I know it is not because she is more special than they are (though she may be to US….not to God), and I don’t pretend to understand the medical science behind why some people get cancer and why others don’t and why some people live full lives with it and why others don’t. But for me, in Aunt Diane’s situation, I choose to believe that that there are things He wants her to do, and she needs more time to do it. Everything works together for His purpose. His plan moves in ways and in speeds that I will never understand, but I can be sure of one thing: His plan is real, it includes each one of us, he intends for us to use the gifts He has given us and the influences He has allowed us to have over other people for His glory, and He puts us exactly where He wants us to use those gifts and influence those people.
I don’t have all of the answers where prayer is concerned. As I have said before, I’m just a girl who is a Christ-follower, not some SuperChristian. I believe that God is still in the miracle business, though. I believe miracles occur every day, many and most times through human hands and human decisions, but I also believe every one of them only occurs because of God’s design. He created those hands. He created those brains. And His work is accomplished through them every day.
With all of that said, (please bear with me, as I promise it will make sense), let me turn my focus to a much more trivial matter: jewelry. It feels like Christmas. I just took a peek at the new fall line that Stella & Dot has released today and I am in LOVE! I have never seen so many pretty things in one place, and some of the pieces are exceptionally special.
Like this one, which seems pretty appropriate under the circumstances, as it is called the “Watch Over You” necklace:
And this one, called the “Soar” necklace:
And this one, called “The Tree of Life”:
For all of you Canton Academy Panthers out there…
And these, which may not carry special meaning, but are just flat fine:
The Olivia Necklace
The Lakra bangle
The La Folie necklace (one of two colors)
The Secret Garden Earrings
The Pitter Patter charm, for all of you mamas out there
And finally, a classic that comes in both silver and bronze
There is something in this collection and all of the others for everyone, but seeing the new jewelry got my wheels turning.
Today, I am opening two jewelry parties. One is being hosted by my aunt, Diane Ivy. (I’m calling it the “I Have Fancy Cancer” party.) The second is being hosted by Melanie Ford. (This one is called “Making a Mama Feel Pretty” party, and if this seems out of context, please read her story HERE, HERE, and especially HERE.) Both women have things that they need to accomplish in this life, to use the talents God gave them and to impact people He puts in their paths. If you have any desire to buy some of the beautiful pieces of the fall line, I would just ask that you would put your order under one of these parties. I will donate all of my commissions (25% of all sales; jumps to 30% if I reach a certain amount) to each respective cause. Aunt Diane and Melanie will receive free jewelry, and they can wear it (and be fancy and pretty), sell it (and add to their own funds), or give it away (if that makes them happy). It will be theirs to do with what they will. The money from Aunt Diane’s party will be given to her to help with her medical expenses, and the money from Melanie’s party will go to the fund I set up to help her buy furniture for her new house. The parties will stay open for 3 weeks. If you love Stella & Dot and were thinking of buying a piece of the new collection anyway, all I ask is that you put your purchase under one of these parties. Here are the links to order directly:
Please make sure that the hostess you are looking for (Diane Ivy or Melanie Ford)’s name is at the top of the webpage. If you would like to see a catalog, email me your mailing address and I’ll put one in the mail to you.
God answers prayers. He definitely has for these two amazing women. I think a party is the perfect way to celebrate.