Cancer has opened my eyes to Racism

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How God has used my cancer journey to see racism with new eyes:

It amazes me what slowly becomes normal even when it is an offense.
For years now, my body was making adjustments due to the tumor in my bladder. It happened slowly and until my diagnosis, I did not have an AHA moment.
I was bending over less. I was lifting less. I would try to work out and have incredible pain and link it to being out of shape or other medical conditions. I was growing more and more tired to the point that even the idea of getting dressed after a shower was too much. This went on for years and I just felt it was ‘normal’ as it built up so slowly I didn’t stop and think how much I had declined.
I had this offense in my body and I kept belittling the importance. Everything around me was taking precedence over cancer within me and it was unnoticed. Family, activities, other health issues. It went on to the point that God had to bring a miracle into my life to bring it to light.

Now I know the cancer is there and I will fight. Now I will not sit back and let it be my normal.

This is our responsibility today concerning the racism that has taken root in our country from the beginning.
Some things improve and so we say it is no longer an issue,
or we see them as little issues (there is no ‘little’ concerning racism but some view it that way).
We don’t realize in our limited world experience that the cancer is still there under the surface growing bigger than our eyes can see.

Just because some of our issues regarding racism has improved, does not mean the evil behind it is not still very relevant and growing. It is a spirit that spreads from one heart to another, starting with what one would consider no big deal, taking root and becoming an even bigger disease.

The truth is, we can take care of this, one offense at a time, now that it is being identified fresh, and in the light in a new way (Black people have been screaming for revelation all along) but our eyes were hidden to the great attention this cancer needed. We were too busy with our own selves, our own goals, our own agendas to really see what was hidden. Especially when living in a predominantly white community I had no idea how my friends have been treated.

We were conditioned by other generations that there was no longer an issue. Some believe a word or stereotype is no big deal. But it is a very big deal. It is the beginning seed that grows into a ravishing disease.

Let us start by addressing the real enemy and not ignoring the things that we have adapted to be normal. It is not normal that ANY human being to be treated as or to feel less than or to fear for their safety due to any differences.
It is NOT normal or acceptable to be a part of that pain that is inflicted.

You may not be cancer, but you may be one of the symptoms that you have easily brushed away. Evaluate how you are going to attack this thing that has become our normal.

Will you slap a bandaid over it? Or will you stand up and be a part of the cure?

Help

88965519_10221713207884450_7997061159045824512_n Art by: Awakened Arts

 

Help. Why has this word been so tainted? Why does the word “help” represent weakness to many instead of strength?

When you have exhausted all your own efforts and still banging your head against the wall, asking for help can move you into the greater faster. With help, there comes the opportunity for support and can often bring better results.

I have a vision of a giant city bridge. It is beautiful in structure. But without the support underneath that bridge, it will not stand and extend to fill the gap and do all that it was created for.

There are times I have been frustrated that help has not come. I have been the hamster on the wheel getting nowhere with all my efforts. I wonder, “why am I in this alone?” The answer is simple. I was in it all alone, because I didn’t bother to ask for help. I kept plugging along trying to figure it all out when some of the answers were not attainable to me.

It is wise to reach out for strong counsel when you need help. It is comforting and encouraging to reach out the God that created you to rest in the Lord’s promise that He comes to help in your time of need.
You can rise with confidence that you are not in this process alone. Help has arrived. Asking for help allows a deeper connection. It reveals our humanness. It leaves you with room to focus on the solution rather than the struggle.

I encourage you my friend, don’t walk in your struggles alone. When you have done all that you can do, ask for help to see you onto your best self. Ask the Lord to comfort you, encourage you, give you wisdom and open the doors to propel you on.

Think of the bridge again. This time we are thinking of a draw bridge that is open. You can make it part of the way, but you can not cross to the other side until the bridge is lowered and connected. You are on one side, standing it alone. Your hopes, dreams, and goals are waiting on the other side. Ask for help to connect your bridge.  Use the effort you have put in, and the effort, wisdom or support of another to fully arrive.

Along with resting in the Lord and His promise of help, sometimes He will use others.
Ask those around you for help. Look to a professional for help. But please stop trying to do it all on your own. Depression, isolation, and defeat is not a sign of strength, rather, it will take you longer to arrive (if you even do). And you may just have been striving for so long and hard that you show up too exhausted to enjoy the fruit of arrival.

Asking for help is not a weakness, in fact, it just may be the strongest thing you ever did in your life. I will start my mornings asking God to help me when morning dawns and I will not be moved in my strength!

Beyond the Limits​

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Definition of Limit: a point or level beyond which something does not or may not extend or pass. Synonyms: restrict, curb, check, place a limit on, cap, keep within bounds, hold in check, restrain, put a brake on, hold, or freeze.

We all have done it. We have all dreamed of something big and so far beyond our reach. However, many like myself, first see the limits and often won’t pursue farther than the dream. I have had seasons where it hasn’t mattered if the limit was imagined or real. I would just stand frozen, looking at the desire of my heart and not know how to pursue it. I look at every angle and then get perplexed on what in the world to do.

Other’s will pursue wholeheartedly their life, dreams, and ambitions, but then stop as limits rise up against them. They had momentum for a season, but the wall rose up and they stand immobile, not sure how to move beyond that limit in front of them.

Then there are those victors. Those people that seem unstoppable. Everything they put their hand to is golden and all falls into place for them. Or does it?  I believe most beyond the limit people, are just that, they live beyond their limits. They have things that rise up, they have things in their way, they have things that could hold them back, but they have learned how to move forward, taking steps into the further and pushing on harder, not because of those limits but in spite of them.

I want to be one that propels forward with expectation and boldness. But first I had to identify those limits that were restricting me, that kept me within my bounds, and held me frozen. I had to identify not only limits for my own self but for others as well that may rise up in the face of pursuit. I am sure that I will not cover all that everyone would face, but recognizing the vast walls before us is key to overcoming and moving beyond the limits that hold us back.

Moving beyond the limits we place on ourselves:

1. Qualification:  This is the biggest struggle I personally have faced over the years. I never felt qualified or validated to finish my pursuits. I would start something, and see my failures more than possibilities. Let’s face it unless one is touched by the divine, and everything they do is perfect, most have to work for what we want to become, or accomplish. It takes hard work and faithfulness. I finally have learned that we are often called to do that which we are not qualified for. It is in the faithfulness, living beyond what we see, and honing our craft/skill, that shines far beyond what we lay down unfinished by giving up and staying frozen out of lack of discipline.

2. Opinions or lack of support: Often we look to other’s approval to validate that what we have to contribute is valuable. When other’s mock us, ignore us or roll their eyes when we share our vision, we can feel like what we have to put out there has no worth. It is very important to know who is your true supporters, and believe it or not, your support may not come from your closest circles. You see, many people in our lives, don’t see the hard work behind the scenes that we are putting in. They may only see where we have been, not where we are going. They have preconceived notions about our ability and our reach. This is not always the case, but if you share your heart and others are not supportive or even silent, perhaps you should hold your treasure a little closer to your heart, and protect it. Pursue, strengthen and equip. Show those that doubt that you are able and move beyond their limits. You see they can not support that which they can not visualize themselves.

3. Pride: Society has us constantly aware of how we are perceived. Nobody wants to appear foolish, unqualified, unsupported or exposed. So many times, I have stepped away from my passion because I have not been able to do what other’s expectations of me were. I walked in embarrassment, rather than the truth of my calling. Going live was one of my biggest challenges. I have such a low opinion of myself at times, that seeing those lives have left me embarrassed, even though I know personally others have been encouraged. If I let pride and vanity stand in the way of my calling, I am never going to reach my destination meant for me.

4. Fear: There are so many ways fear can limit us in pursuing that on our heart. Fear of failure, fear of time wasted, fear of unknowns, and fear of others, etc. You name it, there is probably a fear in the face of it. I have found one of the best ways to move beyond fear, is to identify it, and walk through it. Fear often only holds us back, because real or perceived, we allow it to. Think of every fear you have had that you have overcome. What did it take to overcome that fear? For me, it was action. It was the doing, no matter what. It was stepping out of what was safe and comfortable and saying, I will move beyond this limit. It will not hold me. Fear will not be the force that keeps me from the plan for my life.

5. Time: This is such a trial in the pursuit of callings and dreams. Because the truth is, we all face a certain amount of hours every day, and we all have responsibilities within those hours. However, when you have a passion and a dream, you must etch out some time to hone the skills, and pursue that dream. Otherwise, like me, 20 years later, I am still looking at the undone. I put the kids first, which was great, it was my season, I put the church first which is great it was my season, I put so many things first and in the seasons that is okay. But looking back, I could have definitely etched some time in to pursue things that would lay a foundation for my now. If you have it on your heart to write, but there is just no time, record your musings and thoughts on a voice memo on your phone when you are doing other tasks. Keep those thoughts on record for a day, when you have more time to actually write it all down. Think of that which you truly want, and seek where you may be letting time be wasted, or how can your time be extended in a day. Yes, time can be a limit, but only if we don’t see the possibilities of conquering. Sometimes it is just an evaluation of how your days are being spent.

6. Finances: Money or lack of, can be a very real challenge in living beyond the limits. We were a one income family most of our marriage and with 3 little ones and no health insurance for most of those days and a one year lay off where we lost everything, I can honestly say that finances were definitely a limit I put on myself. However, I am seeing the older I get, how those limits sometimes are also a mindset. I wanted to paint for years, but good quality canvas and paint is expensive, well while learning, I could have used cardboard, cheaper materials and practiced away.
I get it sometimes it is hard to even put bread on the table, and when our mind is around survival it can be hard to dream. BUT… there are resources. Get creative. Barter, research, visit a library, free education online, my unemployment offices have resources for learning and possibly ask to apprentice with someone skilled in your passions. I know many people that have had dreams with little finances and completely self-educated their passion and pursued to full success.  If something is burning in you to be accomplished, do not allow finances to hold you back. Become creative in the pursuit of living beyond the limit.

7. Physical: I know this one well. I have physical limits. However, I have been looking at so many others that live beyond their limit physically and are extremely successful. Sometimes when we have limits with our bodies or situations, we need to become creative. Just because something is in our way physically does not mean we can let it limit us and keep us frozen. It is just a new challenge to see how we can move beyond what we face and overcome those obstacles. I think of those I have seen with far more physical limitations than myself, rise above and do so much. Not only are they pursuing and conquering their dreams and passions, but they are true inspirations to others like myself, that get tempted to give up and just coast in life. I don’t want to be one that just gets by in this life any longer, but I want to thrive and bring others along with me.

Ultimately the dreams and passions within our hearts are for the taking. We just have to overcome and live beyond the limits placed on ourselves. This is how true victors become victorious. They do not let their limits get in their way.

 

Fear you have been identified

43117188_554492298342921_9131809918288920576_n.jpg Art by: awakened_arts @instagram

Fear this year had gripped me and I had no idea how, why or when. I just knew that my physical body was in panic mode and this was brand new for me. Sensory overload has been paralyzing at times, to where I literally have to leave and lie down right then and there. Another form of this fear started almost a year ago. Overwhelming constant dizziness had me afraid to go anywhere or doing anything on my own.

I no longer drive (almost 10 months now with just a couple tries in that time) even on my good days because the bad ones terrified me so much and the movement will seem okay for a little while, I will be driving along and all of a sudden I can’t see straight. So much time has gone by and I have not even realized it.

Yesterday a new friend called me out on my walking in fear, by sharing her testimony and freedom. I was supposed to get together with her and had tummy issues that morning and canceled.  She called me and had an encouraging word and then shared about fear. As soon as she said the word “fear”,  a light bulb clicked in my brain, I truly had no idea that I was battling in such a capacity. Fear you have been identified!

Here I had written on fear and transformation and God had begun a work in me just a few days before, but I had no idea how deep that fear had a hold until I saw my situation through another’s eyes.

She was absolutely right, I had been fearing getting together with someone new, but did not know it in my head.
The flashes came to my mind on what I was fearing as soon as she mentioned the word, it is hard for me, exposing my heart to risk having it broken again. Rejection and abandonment had left me as a shut-in and hiding. I will get over it and the enemy is right there to remind me what was stolen from me and point that accusing finger that I am nothing. I will grasp my worth and value and one disapproving look or gossip can send me spiraling right back to my idea of worthlessness. Fear you have been identified! I will not go back.

It is easy to live in a state of hidden truths. I was not addressing fear, because it had not been revealed to me yet. There is great power addressing your battles by name and this is why the enemy tries to keep things hidden. As I have been on this journey to the fullness of joy and health, there have been many things the Lord has had to deal with in my heart.

There are hidden things coming to light every single day, and sometimes it takes a loving person to identify what you don’t see or want to look at. This person came to me in encouragement and love. This was not a place of judgment but a heart that wanted freedom for me.

As soon as an issue is identified to us, we have a choice, we either choose to tackle it for complete freedom, or stuff it away and don’t deal with it. You can’t have victory by rolling over and saying “I will deal with you another day.” Because another day comes and your darkness grows that much stronger. It has become your comfort and false safety.

My friend said it well, “one of the ways to battle fear is to do that which you are afraid of anyways. Walk it out in fear and all.”When I step out into the uncomfortable, I think on it for days, that I looked foolish, or all the ways others may mock me for being who I am. I fear what will I say, how will the conversation start. Now those that had known me in years past would wonder what in the world happened because this is NOT who I was. I have become someone mousey and hidden. I have for whatever reason, all of a sudden cared about what others think of me, far too much.

This shut-in mentality started slow. It was to get well with my illnesses at first and most recently it seems like anytime I am asked to come out of my little hole in my house, that I would start shutting down. I thought it was laziness or depression (this all started around the loss of my dad) and maybe that is a factor, but my friend was so right on when she identified that I was battling fear.

Asking the Lord, why His truths are not sticking, I feel the answer is because the seeds of healing have not been cast on good soil. A truth that is in my head but has not been established in my heart. Rather than my everyday reality that I am valuable, have a call, have worth and what I have to say has importance, I only have snippets of a moment. Even now typing the words that what I have to say has importance, I wanted to delete that sentence. I don’t truly believe it yet. So I ask the Lord today, help my unbelief. Help me see myself with the same eyes that I see others. Help me see myself as you see me. Fear you have been identified and I will not return to you!

It is time for me to walk in my value and worth every single day, all day, not just when the spirit of God hits in crazy good ways.

I am choosing to speak to that fear by name. I call it out for what it is!
In Jesus name, Fear you must go, you are a liar, you are false, you don’t hold my God’s truths!
I will no longer walk in panic mode but confident mode. He has given me every tool I need to do His work and He has promised me His protection and peace.  I am under the shadow of His wings and I can find comfort there.

One thing I have learned in all of this is how to rest in the Spirit of the Lord. At any moment I know my comforter is there. So it is up to me to go to the source rather than run in my blindness. It is up to me to take the gifts He gives rather than believe the lies of the accuser.

God is so good to care so much that He doesn’t leave me behind in my mess, but creates beauty out of it, so that I may walk in my testimony.

Isaiah 41:10- fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.