I am happy to report that Nancy and I are now back in Atlanta after completing this last round of treatments. I must praise God for how He has carried me through this process with far fewer “side effects” than many others experience. My blood levels remained pretty normal throughout, and my energy has been remarkable considering the assault on my body from drugs and radiation. (I even popped to Atlanta and spoke at a BBS two weeks ago…to see if I could still “connect”). My skin is quite raw where the radiation was pointed, but that is no worse than a bad sunburn I guess…. kind of like after a week at Peter Island, or Hawaii, without enough sunblock!. My throat is a bit sore as well, but I can sure deal with that for a week or two more, and we are focused on the next scans in about 6 weeks to assess the “results”. You are so kind to keep praying for us all as we rest in God’s mercy and grace. He is the healer and we are in His hands as always.
I have been asked to include a photo of what it looks like under the Proton machine and its famous “mask”. Part of me is quite hesitant to be that “transparent” as I don’t want to scare anyone with “too much information”…. But it might help bring a little more clarity and connection to what those 28 sessions (two different times) were like. The technicians were wonderful and although being bolted under this contraption is a weird feeling (I will not be wishing the experience on others), it is a blessing that it is available to me! I am soooo… grateful for the “small” things such as Proton radiation, and its accuracy, that have allowed me less trauma than others have had to experience.
I see daily so much courage in others; from the very young children all around who deal with this and keep smiling….to the very old who creep in and out…..sometimes on a stretcher from an ambulance/transport, and sometimes in a wheelchair and oxygen tanks etc. I sit with my i-Pad (well aware of how few can even afford one), and simply pray for their health, and for strength to those who care for them….and I remain inspired by their example. One old guy was speaking to his wife nearby and it was obvious that they had recently received the “news” of his diagnosis. She said in a very weak voice filled with apprehension…”What are we going to do?”. He simply smiled at her and said back; “Honey, we are just going to live our life one day at a time….and we will be fine”. Being here at this hospital is “good for me”. Every time we arrive back at this place I am reminded of how many people are impacted by the invader. He must be defeated!
I was reading recently that babies only see in black and white for their first 6 months of
life, and then color begins to appear. I think having a health challenge (or any serious challenges in our life) allows us to finally start “seeing in color”! As we allow God to work in us to bring more
clarity to what matters (Him, His promises, His character, and His will), then life can be viewed in “living color”. He stands at the door and knocks, and all we need do is invite Him in. Sometimes He needs to first get our full attention.
As I reflect a bit on these many months of being sidelined I have gained a very strong awareness of how beautiful such desert experiences and imperfect situations can be in bringing us to a better place…a place where we can be used more effectively and aware of His work all around us. Illness is a great “equalizer” of people. All are important to their creator, and all are imperfect and in need of a savior. All should be loved. Money and “success” have great benefits and blessings and I am sure thankful that we have the “options” and the friends that we have. However, it sure can’t buy the truly valuable things of life.
I found this:
It can buy you a house, but not a home
It can buy you a bed, but not peaceful sleep
It can buy you a clock, but not time
It can buy you a book, but not knowledge or wisdom
It can buy you a position, but not respect
It can buy you pleasure, but not love
It can buy you medicine, but not health
How fortunate indeed are those of us who understand we can have all of the above! I also
remind myself that poverty doesn’t buy these other things either. Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these other things will be added to us. To God be the glory, huh?
I was reading something recently that reminded me of how Gods methods and timing are so different from our own. The more we know Him and His ways, the better we can handle adversity or delays…. or even prosperity. Our enemy will try to use anything he can to keep us from enjoying or following Gods perfect will and plan….to discourage or distract us. But God is always there and at work in our lives.
Have you ever noticed that God is not in a hurry? It took 40 years for Moses to receive his commission to lead the people out of Egypt (and another 40 years in the desert before the promised land was available to the people). It took 17 years of preparation before Joseph was delivered from slavery and imprisonment before he was miraculously elevated to the highest position in Egypt. It took 20 years before Jacob was released from Laban’s control. Abraham and Sarah were in their old age when they finally received the son of promise, Isaac. Jesus lived nearly 30 years before revealing his ministry and identity to the world. Paul waited three years after his dramatic conversion on the way to Damascus before he was “ready” to do his work. So why isn’t God in a hurry?
God called each of these servants to accomplish a certain task in His Kingdom, yet He was in no hurry to bring their mission into fulfillment. First, He accomplished what He wanted in them. We are often more focused on outcome than the process that He is accomplishing in our lives each day. When we experience His presence daily, one day we wake up and realize that God has done something special in and through our lives. However, the accomplishment is no longer what excites us. Instead, what excites us is knowing Him. Through those times, we become more acquainted with His love, grace, and power in our lives. When this happens, we are no longer focused on the outcome because the outcome is a result of our walk with Him. It is not the goal of our walk, but the by-product. So, when Joseph came to power in Egypt, he probably couldn’t have cared less about that….. he had come to a place of complete surrender so that he was not anxious about tomorrow or his circumstances.
This is the lesson for us. We must wait for God’s timing and embrace wherever we are in the process. When we find contentment in that place, we begin to experience God in ways we never thought possible. Pretty cool!
So, the Dornans are getting some great lessons in faith and He is giving us time to reflect
and write and study. I have now decided to memorize more scripture than I ever have. Like many of you, I “know” a lot, read a lot, and “recognize” a lot of the Bible…but we are further instructed to “hide God’s Word in our hearts” so that we can gain instant strength and power and peace as we recall His promises and instructions from memory. Even the verses I “know” are often without the accompanying chapter and verse, and I cannot look them up as easily as I want.
Therefore we decided as a family to challenge each other to memorize at least one new verse each week for a year…and see how we are impacted. As a few others heard of this…they wanted to be “included” in the challenge, so I thought it might be fun to include this challenge here as well…in case a few of you want to join in. I am keeping them simple because even the kids are joining in (and they do a great job of this as well as pressure me each week for the new verse).
Here are the 4 we have done to date: (using NIV translation)
Proverbs 3: 5,6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight”
Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”.
Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance
about what we do not see”.
John 14:6: Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
I wish you success in this, and someday we can look back together and see it as one more surprise blessing from this crazy chapter of life.
I am working hard on getting the health to return to our National event in Washington DC…..and can’t wait to see many of you there….Lord willing. What a wonderful time that will be. I have replaced my L and XL shirts with S and Medium, and my suits are “tiny” now…but I am ready to saddle up and press on to what God has prepared for us all.