Friday, November 30, 2012

10,000 and the Virgin Mary

So my blog hit 10,000 views a few days ago! It seriously blows my mind! I know that's not necessarily 10,000 people but it still has to be a lot! A lot of those views are thanks to Ashley Hacksaw over at Lil blue boo and this post about hair loss. It's really exciting, and I hope in some way my story is blessing you!

Back in December of last year my pastor announced that at the end of the year we would be fasting and seeking God for goals for 2012. I'm going to be honest here.... I love food! So fasting did not sound like my idea of bringing in the new year!  But hey if God could tell me what was up for a new year I figured it was worth it.  I did sun up to sun down fasting for 3 days, which means basically I ate breakfast and dinner and did water during the day.  It was not easy, but when your stomach starts to's an instant reminder to get into prayer!  And I kid you not I heard Him....The first couple of things were easy and clear!  But then it started to get a little fuzzy and I thought I heard the word "Write".  I really didn't understand, but I did what my pastor said and wrote it down.....but I put a question mark by it.  I just didn't understand what in the heck He wanted me to write.......My first thought was music since I play the guitar and have really been wanting to try writing a song.  But that's not what God had planned.  The fist and only time so far I feel like I really heard an audible voice from God was on May 16, 2012 during our normal pre-service prayer time.  I had recieved my cancer diagnosis 2 days earlier and still just felt at peace.  I wasn't up at the alter blubbering asking God why this was happening.....I was asking God to show me how to glorify Him through this journey.  AND CLEAR AS DAY I HEARD HIM SAY THE WORD "WRITE"!  It starteled me to the point that I looked up to see if there was someone in front of me.  My pastor was up on stage praying but was not looking at me and had not said anything.  For some reason, I thought to myself, "I need to remember that this song ( When I speak Your name by Christ for the Nations was playing at the time) is playing right now."  I bowed my head and heard it again "WRITE" and instantly I saw a blog in my head.  And then I heard Him say, "And this is what you are going to call it" as Elizabeth Clark belted out, "I say Your Name, I speak Your name, There's power in the name of Jesus!"  And then like Joey on friends I had that "Oh Ok I get it " moment as my head flashed back to this piece of paper taped in the front of my Bible.

Subject Change......don't worry I'm going to tie this together at the end.....I promise this is not my ADD kicking in!

So I love Christmas time...everything about it.  Since I've become a mom, I've been fascinated by the Virgin Mary (the mother of Jesus).  I remember being 15 and thinking about what I would do if an angel came and told me I was pregnant.....I don't think I would have been as willing as Mary was.  I know she must have struggled, but to be chosen by God must have been humbling.  Some of my favorite Christmas songs are songs coming from Mary's point of view and put to words what she must have been thinking  My current favorite is "Born in Me" by Francisca Battistelli

"I'm just a girl, nothing more.  But I am willing, I am Yours!" 

 I know at 15 that was not my heart.  I was selfish.  And I know that if I knew that I was giving birth to a baby that I would have to watch be crucified......yeah I don't think I could do it.  Luke 2:19 "But Mary was keeping within herself all these things (sayings), weighing and pondering them in her heart."  Since I've had my own son, I cannot watch the passion of the Christ without becoming a blubbering mess.  Especially the scene where Jesus is carrying the cross and falls and she flashes back to him being a little boy and falling.  I can't imagine watching my son go through that.....even if he was saving mankind from hell!  I wonder if she was pondering the future that her son would face.  I wonder if she knew the profound impact He would have on the world. I am in complete awe of her willingness to serve her God despite how hard it must have been. I figured when I looked up the meaning of the name Mary it would mean something like blessed or divine... so I was a little shocked when I found that the name "Mary" means bitter, rebellion, or wished for a child.  Someone was way off on that!  First I don't think Mary was wishing for a child at 15 being unmarried and second I see nothing in Mary's life that suggests bitterness or rebellion.  If she was either God would not have used her.  In Mary I see strength and resolve.  I see complete abandonment of self and a heart that was willing at all costs to serve God.  I see the pure love of a mother for her son, and the indescribable love of a sinner for her Savior!

I want that heart!  We should all want the heart of Mary.  When God says, "Hey I know you're an unwed teen, but I want you to give birth to my son who will break every chain and set captives free, but I promise it will all be ok and you will change the world."  What would you say?  How would you feel?  Or when God says, "Hey I know you are about to go through grueling treatments, but I want you to WRITE!  And while you are writing I want you to keep your faith in Me and smile and encourage others.  I know people say you might die, but I promise it's going to be ok and you will walk in Victory over cancer."  What would you say? How would you feel?  I know what I said:

"I'm just a girl, nothing more.  But I am willing, I am Yours!"

If I hadn't there would have been no blog for these people to view 10,305 (as of the am) times.  I never ever would have thought that many people would care what I had to say......but God did!  Next time He calls on you remember that you may not know what he's doing, but neither did Mary.  And her willingness to serve God changed eternity for mankind.  :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Keeping Christ in Christmas... With elf on the shelf

So this is how we are shifting the focus off of Santa and onto Jesus this year.... And teaching our kids to share the gospel....using our Elf on the Shelf, Johnny Elf! Just thought I would share with you guys! :)

Yes Johnny Elf cut up our Elf on the Shelf book!

I will tell you that after the kids read the letter this morning there were a few things that Santa may need to specify.  One would be that your elf can't go to church with you.  We had to emphasize that this is a great way to share Jesus with friends, but no so much for an Elf.  The other thing is when Santa tells the kids to forget EVERYTHING that you read in the Elf on the Shelf book that does not include keeping our elf friend a secret from others.  We had to explain that some kids don't have Elves yet so we don't want to brag or make someone feel bad because they don't have one.   This is going to be fun!!!  I will post more Johnny Elf pics as he gets into trouble!

Here is what the letter says in case you are having a hard time reading it:

Dear Taylor, Kayden, and Jake,
        I’m so glad to know that you are taking such good care of my friend Johnny Elf.  He’s told me how much you love Jesus and how you pray every morning, before every meal, and before bed.  I was so excited to hear this because I love Jesus too!  And so does Johnny Elf!
        I have a secret to tell you.  I know that everyone tells you that I keep a naughty and nice list.  But that is not true.  I do have a list, but it is a list of the kids who believe in me, even though they cannot see me.  I bring these kids gifts whether they are good or bad because I love them.  No one is perfect and sometimes even I mess up (and so does Johnny Elf), but Jesus loves us anyways and shows us grace as long as we believe in Him!  Grace is receiving something even when we don’t deserve it.  And Jesus has given us the greatest gift….salvation!  Because Jesus died on the cross we get to live in Heaven with God even though we are not perfect like God.  Isn’t that AMAZING???
        Now I want you to forget everything that you’ve read in the book about Johnny Elf.  I have an assignment for you guys.  You see, Johnny Elf is still learning about Jesus and his grace.  He messes up a little more often than he should, but he is learning.  It is ok to touch him during the day (but no fighting over him because it will make him sad) because I would like you to help me teach Johnny Elf about grace.  I want you to show him love even if he messes up.  And tell him about how Jesus loves us even though we mess up sometimes.  He may not answer you, but believe me he is listening
        I told Johnny Elf about your cruise and he is so excited to get on a big boat so don’t forget to bring him and take lots of pictures with him.   You are three amazing kids and I love you very much.  Keep shining bright for Jesus and don’t forget that we give each other gifts to celebrate Jesus’ birthday.  He was a gift to us from God!  And He is the reason for the season.  I can’t wait to hear what Johnny Elf is learning from the Jasien kids!
Merry Christmas!



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Friday, November 16, 2012

I did not survive cancer!

So my head is spinning right now.  I know I have not updated my blog in a while and I can't tell you how many blog posts I have started and not finished...... But today is different.  I am sitting in my office at work right now with so much work to do, but I have to share this.

Just to catch everyone up, in case you don't follow me on Facebook, twitter, or instagram, I had my last chemo treatment on October 23, 2012.

It was really emotional for me.  I was both relieved and worried.....more relieved though.  My main worry was more about change......I'm a creature of habit......and yes I will admit, some those are bad habits.  But I hate change.  So of course cancer rocked my world but I quickly got into a comfort of chemo cycles.  The last 4 treatments were really rough.  I was so sick for the first week or two afterwards and would mostly just sleep....after throwing up here and there.  I would have memory lapses and even got to where I was unable to drive (especially after I hit 3 parked cars in my apartment complex.....totaling 2 of them and doing about $10,000 damage to my own car).  I would get these horrible thrush infections in my mouth that were almost unbearable.  It made my mouth raw.  But through all these awful side effects it never changed my determination.  With the odds being against me.....I never once considered that I would not beat this....and while I laying in bed.....I wasn't just laying there thinking, "Lord, why me?  I can't do this!"  It was more a righteous anger......"Cancer you suck and you will not stay in my body in Jesus name!  LEAVE NOW!"

I went to my follow up appointment with my oncologist today and she told me after looking at my scan they did to map my radiation.....she told me that she sees NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE IN MY BODY!  I couldn't believe it...... I didn't expect to hear that today. I thought it would be at least a few more months before we got this news.  But boy was it amazing to hear.  I already knew that the cancer was gone.....the same way I knew the lump I found was cancer, but it's always nice to have a doctor confirm what you know in your heart.  There is no other explanation as to why I am beating the odds other than Jesus heals!  He heals everyday.  Never through this process have I been mad at God.  He has been my Rock.  When I get scared, I trust in Him.  When I'm overcome by my circumstances I trust in Him.  He is my comfort.  He brings me that peace that makes no sense to the world.

So now I am officially a cancer survivor.....but I hate that term.  To survive means to remain alive or in existence   I am not just existing....I am LIVING.  I did not survive cancer.....I thrived through cancer.  I have come out the other end forever changed and there is nothing in me that remains the same.  God has shown me things through this that I'd never even thought about.  And ignited the desire to show these things to others.  I had a pastor speak a word over me a few weeks ago and he told me that THIS IS MY SEASON!  THAT THE THINGS I HAVE PRAYED FOR AND SOWN FOR ARE HERE.  So I am looking up now asking the Father to USE ME!  Let my light shine for You, Jesus, brighter than it ever has!  And let the enemy know that his attacks are pointless..... I will only shine BRIGHTER!  And I WILL ALWAYS CHOOSE LIFE!

So I did not survive cancer.....I demolished cancer, I beat the snot out of cancer, I have overcome cancer, I stood in FAITH through cancer, and by the grace of God, I THRIVED THROUGH CANCER!

My new friend Jeanine Phelps took these pictures for us and they will forever be precious to me.
Bella Jewel Photography  and the girls outfits were made by one of my very best friends Noelle can order them from her here: Glam R Baby.