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...


Michelle Benami said...

Oh Jan. Tears flowed as I read your post. The Holy Spirit is speaking through you so powerfully, saying exactly what we all need to hear. I look forward with great anticipation to what He will pour out of you at PI!! YOU are a Joshua woman, my friend!

Unknown said...


I keep hearing God say - She's getting stronger. I wrote about my default settings today over at my blog. Some of it resonated with what you wrote about your own journey this past week.

I'm praying you through sweet friend.

I so wanted to join you on Thursday, but with work and the flu recovery still in progress I missed the fabulous evening.

Praying for Pink is exciting. I'm on the Pre Prayer team and we met for the first time Saturday.

Please know that I hear that you are a mighty warrior friend and that He has already fought this battle - the victory is yours.

Blessings and HUGGGGGS!


The Durham's said...

When I read this, it made me take a deep breath in and then let it out slowly. Relax. Stay calm. He is speaking, He is working....you are doing great! Can't wait to meet with you. Love you!

minda312 said...

I, as well, had tears bubbling over as I read this post. Jan- you are a mighty woman. A mighty woman whom God loves and is so proud of. Praying for you today....

Jan said...

Thank you ladies for these encouraging comments. You are some of the most fearless women I know!

Lemonade Lady said...

When my #1 Crowning Glory was about 5 years old, I asked her what her favorite scripture was. Fully expecting John 3:16, she boldly quoted, "For God did not give me a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love and self-control." That was the scripture her mom prayed over Faith during her times of being afraid of the dark. You are so brave and courageous. You touch so many of us in so many ways. I am a better person because you have touched my life, sweet Sister! Love you and pray for you often!