Butterfly Sparks Designs

Sunday, January 24, 2010


I had round #10 of chemo on Wednesday of last week. I have been doing well and grateful that the side effects are light. (My hair did not fall out - but it seems to stop growing for about 10 days in the middle of the 3 week cycle.) I do not experience the debilitating fatigue of the other type - but I am struggling with on going nausea and some body aches. I think the long lasting shot I take to keep my white cell counts high is really at the root of this issue. So I remind myself that it's a sign my body is working to keep my immune system high - pop a nausea blocker - keep something on my stomach, and go on!

You might remember that in the early days of chemo I shared about my physician doing a physical exam and commenting that the tumor in my breast was gone. God told me right after that I was 1/3 of the way "through." The 2/3 of this process started right after that and I've spent months working on bringing my soul and body into submission. Recently I feel like I've turned a corner and entered into the final 1/3 of this process. I'm just beginning to understand what this is about and what might be required to prosper while walking through.

In 2009 my word was resolute! I've learned so much about the power of being resolute when I am in agreement with God's word and His purpose. I've been working on my talk for Pink Impact and I plan to share pretty extensively about this "key" to overcoming soon.

But this year the word is valiant! My first thought was "Oh no! I'm going to have to be Braver. I was a little wary about what this might mean because I have been brave in 2009. It's taken a lot of courage to face a very intimidating enemy. I was hoping it was about to get easier...but guess not! I got my first taste of what they might look like last week.

I was not feeling well. Anytime my legs ache or I feel weak in my body, it's an uncomfortable reminder of what I experienced before my diagnosis. It's easy for me to entertain a fearful thoughts about getting worse when my body is speaking to me. I used to ignore my body. Now I have to battle to not give it more attention than is appropriate. Every little ache is threatening.

That night when I went to be I thought "I'm glad I'm going to the doctor in the morning for a blood check. Maybe my white counts are low."

The next morning I went to the doctor's office only to find their machine that evaluates my sample of blood was broken. Normally they prick my finger and give me a "count" in just a few minutes. This time they wanted to draw blood and send it off overnight to a lab. I almost said no, but because I hadn't been feeling great, I agreed. My veins aren't so easy to prick anymore - a common side effect of chemo. They had to poke me three times and it hurt. To top it off - no information about my blood counts would be available for 24 hours.

When I got in the car I was just grumpy - in a bad mood. I called my husband and spent a few minutes telling him my "sad story." Then I hung up and headed to work.

In the next few minutes, I experienced one of the strongest spiritual attacks of fear that I have had since beginning this journey. One minute I was a little grumpy and feeling annoyed. The next minute I was entertaining thoughts like, "I'm going to die. It's coming back. I'll never be free."

I started trying to pray - but the fear was so real and so gripping that I felt frozen in my authority. I tried to sing. I tried to call it a liar. I was rebuking the thoughts but they were coming fast. I texted my husband a note and said, "Please pray. Fear is speaking to me."

Mark called me right away. I was so upset I couldn't talk - tears were rolling and I was genuinely afraid. He stepped in the middle of my situation and rebuked fear and death. As he prayed for me, I felt it break. Then he said, "Jan, you are all right. It's not coming back. Everything is okay." I was immediately better but throughout the day I could feel the physical affects of the spiritual attack. I felt like I was bruised!

Fear is a spirit - and it has all kinds of degrees of torment, from dread to intimidation to terror - all are mean spirited and designed to destroy our faith. In Joshua chapter 1 - God says to take courage and be brave three separate times. I feel like my current situation is similar to Joshua's in some ways. After all, I've been delivered from death and I've crossed over into wellness. Now, I want to take the promised land called restoration! Surely there are some enemies occupying the territory that is meant for me.

When my boys were little both John and Matthew struggled with being afraid of the dark. For years, when I put them to bed we'd say prayers together and they never failed to ask God for no nightmares. I finally taught them a little prayer that they could say on their own. If I had to get up in the middle of the night with them, I'd make them quote it at me.

I am not afraid. I am brave and courageous like Joshua. Go away fear! In Jesus name.

Sometimes the boys had to say it 4 or 5 times in a row to get them calmed down enough to go to bed. I remember one particular season when Matthew was praying this out loud every night for months with no apparent breakthrough. But then a day came and the victory was ours. It seemed like over night he was asking us to turn off the night light and shut the door.

Here are a couple of things I learned during last week's battle:

1) Don't grumble and complain. It's an open door for doubt - which is one step away from fear.

2) Keep an arsenal of weapons ready at a moment's notice - the Word, prayer, praise, your faith and a few close friends. Keep filled up on the Word of God.

3) Be on alert - Remember that verse about how the devil stalks around like a roaring lion seeking who he can devour? It's true! We must be responsible for the little cracks in our faith that allow enemy access.

4) Don't fail to ask for help! Isolation is a powerful weapon in the hand of the enemy. Stir up those who will stand with you and let them help you in the fight. One warrior is able to put to flight 1,000, but two - 10,000! Together we make a mighty band of warriors!

I am beginning to understand that I will have to believe that I am not only healed right now - but that I can be healed for the rest of my life. This will take valor I have never possessed. I will be victorious because He said in Joshua 1:9:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

He is with us!


PS. My counts didn't come in for two days - and they were great!

PSS. I was so blessed by our gathering of Gateway women on Thursday night. I had an opportunity to briefly share my testimony of being healed. I told them that I am somewhere between healing and restoration. Pastor Debbie gave a great message on being a gracious woman - one I really needed to hear! We never know who is watching or what kindness will do to encourage another. It was fun to be together...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Pink Night - Follow

Hi friends,

I know it's Sunday night and no one is supposed to be thinking about the work week ahead - but guilty! I'm so excited about the upcoming women's night at Gateway! We've been planning for months and I feel like this night will be special! Not because of some amazing, dazzling, special thing - no gifts, no food, no gigantic musical number. Just family - just you and me and a lot of other awesome women, gathered together to hear our leader share from her heart. What an great opportunity for us to let her know how much her leadership means to us.

To top it off we are meeting on the 21st - the 21st day of a 21 day fast! I know every one's not on the "exact" day - or even that everyone is fasting! But I do think it creates a tenderness in our corporate heart that may enable us to hear or understand with a new depth. I wonder what we'll hear or see or understand.

If you've never been to one of our nights - then you especially are invited! If it's been awhile - you are especially invited. If you come all the time - thank goodness - and you are especially invited.

Join me this Thursday (21st) at 7:00 pm at the Southlake Campus of Gateway Church. Bring your friends, neighbors or coworkers. More details available at www.pink.gatewaypeople.com. It's a safe place to meet new friends and to get a fresh start for the new year!

I'll be watching for you.


Friday, January 15, 2010

He Makes All Things New!

Happy New Year!

I am so excited to be a featured guest writer today on a blog called Destiny in Bloom. (Click the title of this post and it will take you directly to Destiny in Bloom.) Some amazing women near and dear to my heart launched this site in 2009 and it is one of my favorite blogs to visit! I've been watching their blog - the diversity of their authors - the quality of their comments - and I can't help but get excited! They took a God dream and turned it into a God tool! I admire their obedience and the way they are stewarding their resources, influence and testimony! I think this blog will become more and more well known because it brings such sweet encouragement.

So please take a moment to check me out! I'm talking about fresh starts. I'm giving myself a "do-over". How about you?

I'd be blessed if you'd share the blog with your friends and family. I'd really like to increase their readership!

Loving you much and believing that HE makes all things new!


PS - Thanks, DIB, for the opportunity!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Health Update

When I returned to my physician in December for the next round of chemo, we ran into a change of plans. I was having some significant side effects from a drug called taxotere. It was effecting my nervous system causing me neuropathy in my feet and legs. It was getting significant and I felt I was deteriorating in my strength. Once I got my doctor's attention about this matter, he immediately stopped in his tracks and restrategized. After some discussion, the decision was made to continue up to four more rounds of chemo, but with a combination of drugs that were the "protocol" for my stage of treatment before the release of taxotere. The good news is that these drugs do not have nerve impact side effects and they even call it "light chemo."

A week ago today I returned (after a 5 week break from chemo) and received the new (old) drugs (round #9). I am so excited to tell you that it has indeed been "light" for me. I did not experience the difficult lethargy and tiredness of the previous treatments. I have had some minor nausea and needed a few naps - but overall I have tolerated this treatment with ease.

I am also happy to report that the neuropathy is improving. One of the reasons he stopped the drug is that sometimes nerve damage is not reversible. As soon as I heard that - it really discouraged me. My friend Lynda reminded me that if God can heal me from cancer, He can certainly address the after effects of neuropathy. Surely, I would not come through this struggle healed of the disease but lamed for life. I've been speaking to the neuropathy and commanding it to go right along with any hidden cancer cells.

I am so much improved in this area that during this week off from work, I have been on my feet almost all day attending to household chores I haven't been able to do in forever. From laundry to putting away the Christmas decor to cleaning all three of my boys rooms (yuck!), I have pressed through the fatigue and been able to go on. I took a walk around the block again. I am determined to work on my strength so that I can be prepared to be on my feet for a lot of hours by the time Pink Impact arrives.

I am headed into the doctor this morning to check my white cello counts. If I can by-pass this one final side effect of low counts, I will be "in the pink" so to speak.

Like many of you, I am returning to work this morning after a break for the Christmas holiday. I pray that you and I are refreshed, renewed and inspired to begin again. That 2010 will be a year that brings glory to the Father. That you will chase hard after your dreams and that many will hear and see and know our God.

Thanks for your continued prayers! I am so blessed by you!


PS - My hair has started to grow back. Would you mind praying that the new drugs won't cause it to fall out? It's white and fuzzy and very curly and odd looking - but it's mine! I'd really like to keep it!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Studio G - Latest edition

I hope you will take a moment to check out the latest edition of Studio G! My friend and co-worker, Lynda Grove, is the cover feature of this edition. Lynda is an amazing woman and I believe you'll be blessed by the opportunity to "meet" her!

In addition, there is an article I wrote called Poised for the Moment. It shares a little about my passion for the upcoming season and will encourage you to prepare your heart! Look out! God is up to something good and He wants all of us to be ready and involved!

If you don't receive Studio G, please visit studiogmag.com and register. The magazine is produced a couple of times a year and is free. If you prefer you can always enjoy the magazine on line! Past editions, additional features and all kinds of fun tools are available there. Just click this headline and it will take you right to the web site!

Hope you'll give me some feedback - I'd love to hear what God is saying to you about the coming season!

Happy New Year!