Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Weathering Storms -- Make You Bitter or Better?

Bitter or better? I love hearing women tell their life stories, and I’m always amazed by the strength and the courage, the determination and stamina women have. Unfortunately though, some women may weather the storms, but instead of allowing God to make them better through it, they become bitter. They get stuck in the anger. They clutch the anger so closely to their chest that it turns their hearts to stone. So why do some choose to be bitter while others choose to be better? And trust me, it is a choice. Becoming bitter means accepting the role of victim and blaming others whether it’s appropriate or not. Becoming better means being an overcomer, looking for some way to make something good come from the turmoil. I love hearing those kind of women speak. You know why? Because it is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight. They worked through the pain instead of ignoring it, stuffing it, or denying it. It wasn’t fun. It wasn’t pleasant, but when they come out the other side it is so worth it.

In Genesis 8:20, the Bible says, “Then Noah built an altar to the Lord.” Do you see where Noah’s heart was? He and his family survived something that no other family has had to endure – the annihilation of everyone on the planet. He and his family had been trapped inside an ark for 150+ days with little light, animals to feed and maintain all while being tossed about in a rudderless ark. I wonder if they grieved for those they lost in the flood. I wonder if they had any regrets about not telling someone about God and leading them to faith. I wonder if they got claustrophobic on the ark after all that time. I wonder if they got depressed not seeing the sun for months. I wonder if they got motion sickness being on the ark.

There were plenty of reasons for Noah to not have a grateful heart, but instead, he chose to see what God had done. God had spared his family. God had given him the exact dimensions needed to build the ark. God had provided the animals for the ark. God had carried their rudderless ark through the worst storm imaginable. He chose to find the good. He chose to have a grateful heart. The fact that you have survived and made it through the storm is reason enough to be grateful.

When my mom was told she had breast cancer in 2007, I didn’t bat an eye. My thought was, “Let’s kick cancer’s butt.” She went in for the lumpectomy, and when the doctor came out, he told us he had to remove all of her lymph nodes on that side making her cancer a stage 3. That knocked the wind right out of my sail. I remember sending out an e-mail to my mom’s friends with the information we had been given. I stuck with the facts. I didn’t put down any of what I was feeling because it was too raw. Within two minutes of my sending out the e-mail, her friends started responding with “Praise the Lord!” and “Thank you, Lord!” They were rejoicing because the doctor had gotten the cancer out of my mom while I was focusing only on the fact that stage 4 was terminal, and she was very close.

Little did I know that God would teach me to be thankful for those stinkin’ cancerous lymph nodes. Several weeks after my mom had to go for a bone scan and a PET scan. She was called back immediately. The reason my mom was sent for the PET scan was because the doctor wanted to make sure her cancer hadn’t spread anywhere else making it a stage 4 cancer. The PET scan didn’t show cancer, but what it did show was something that could be just as deadly – blood clots in her lungs. If her lymph nodes had not been cancerous, he would not have ordered the PET scan, and she could have easily died or suffered from a stroke from the blood clots traveling to her brain. I learned to thank God for the cancerous lymph nodes that day.

You don’t always see the big picture, but rest assured, God does. You may feel like you are being batted around in a storm in a rudderless ship, but I promise you, you’re not. You may feel like you’ve lost everyone and everything, but you aren’t alone. I challenge you to find something for which to be thankful. If you know someone who is going through a hard time, stand in the gap for them. I am so thankful for those women who stood in the gap for me when I could find nothing for which to be thankful.

The verse my mom chose for her cancer journey and the verse that I was led to claim for my son’s life verse is Jeremiah 29:11, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’.” Verse 12 - 14 say, “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me and when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back from captivity’.” Seek Him. Find Him. Be grateful.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for leaving your comments.