Saturday, August 23, 2014

Big Miracles So Far

Glory to God, I have been told that I have cancer.

How can a person be crazy enough to say that sentence? I don't know. I almost can't believe I typed it either. The rational part of my brain says, "No!" But my soul says, "Yes. Praise Him in all things. ALL things." I have been a worship leader in various settings my entire adult life. I like to think that it is my calling on this earth, to draw people into knowing and being known by the God of the universe. As I walk through this journey of cancelling cancer, I want to frequently put His miracles and His love on display on this blog and in the songs that I write. I have a few to share already and I only got my diagnosis yesterday...I have a feeling I'm gonna do a whole lot of blogging :)

Miracle 1: Songs of Comfort
As I entered the imaging center two weeks ago for a mammogram, I was feeling jittery. I am 35. I am happily married. I am a busy Mom. My whole life lies ahead of me, waiting. I do not have time for something to be wrong with me health-wise. I eased myself into a seat in the lobby and heard the song coming out of the speakers:

Only me, on my knees, singing Holy! Holy!
Somehow all that matters now is You are Holy! Holy! (Nichole Nordeman, boss song from like 1997 or something...) 

And then one of my favorite Chris Tomlin songs:

How great is our God, sing with me
How great is our God, and all will see
How great, how great is our God

Ahhhh...I could relax now, because I was equipped with some songs to steady me. When I saw the nervous glances of technicians, I started humming, "somehow all that matters now is, You are Holy..." and when they brought me back to see a little spot that showed up on the mammogram, I sang "How great is our God" in my head. God speaks to me and through me in songs of worship. That those songs played in that moment, in that building, to me, was a miracle.

Miracle 2: This is Gross.
I don't even really want to tell the whole world this one, because, well, it's gross. I apologize. It is pre-geriatric oversharing at it's finest (as a good friend labels such discussions). It's nothing I am ashamed about, it's just a little personal. But you know, if you have the guts to read it, it makes for a really awesome part of the story.

So why did I even need a mammogram to begin with? Well, I was finding little tiny brown dots in my bra of some kind of fluid when I got back from California in late July. Concerned, I called my excellent OB/GYN doctor and she got me in right away and got this whole process rolling quickly (thank God for her!) So this brown dot business went on right up to the point of my biopsy on Monday of this past week and then? Disappeared. Not a trace since then. I was thinking the giant needle must have punched it out and cleared it up, whatever it was...but THEN the surgeon, when giving my results yesterday said, "That discharge you were having? We believe that was entirely coincidental and had nothing to do with this cancer. It was actually a blessing in the way that it warned us that something was wrong." And then he smiled and put his hands out and shrugged.

Coincidence??? That's Jesus. 

So those of you who may not believe a thing about this Jesus guy, and maybe some of you who do, may ask, Ok, so if this God of yours was brilliant enough to do a brown dot warning system in your shirt that ended promptly when the needed test was done, to warn you that something was wrong, then why do you even have a breast cancer diagnosis to begin with? How does that even make sense?

It doesn't. I have tried to figure it out. But I can't. So I won't. But I do know that the Bible says that Jesus healed the sick every chance He got. I know it says that by His wounds on the cross, I am healed. I know the Bible says that He has plans for me, for hope, and not for harm, and for a future. I know He said that in this world, we would have trouble, but to take heart! Because He has overcome the world! This all leads me to the next miracle in what will surely be a giant list of them.

Miracle 3: Peace
I am not going to lie, I have these little moments of worry and irrational fear that keep popping up. But for the most part, I feel so much peace in all of this. Last night, I was starting to get a little upset, so I made my way to the piano and I sat down and started to sing. His presence met me there. In the night, I woke up and started to cry. Somehow, I said, "Come, Holy Spirit and calm me down" and there was instant peace and hope was restored. I even had a dream that there was a room full of people wearing scrubs and I still remember their distinct faces exactly, and one of the people in particular, wearing purple scrubs came over and just hugged me and let me cry into her shoulder for the longest time. Let me tell you. I will FREAK OUT if those faces were the faces of the medical team waiting for me at OSU. I kid you not. SO fun! 

Miracle 4: You
Finally, I have had such an outpouring of love and support. I can't ever get over it. I have had so many of you send messages that are absolutely perfectly timed and corroborate with what I have read in scripture just moments before, or heard in a's like a giant web of encouragement, love, and peace is being spun all around me. Thank you. 

I had a fellow student from worship school at Bethel post a picture late last night that he took while there. Before I saw his post in the night, I had gone to sleep singing,  "Still Believe" by Kim Walker Smith. "Your blood, makes the deaf to hear, right now. Your blood takes away the curse, right now. Your blood, heals every disease, right now. Your blood sets the addict free, right now. And I still believe You're the same yesterday, today and forever. And I still believe Your blood is sufficient for me. 

And then I see the word "Cancer" on a canvas, cancelled by the blood of Jesus. The blood of Jesus...truly the greatest miracle of them all.
Here is the prayer that he posted for me on Facebook:
Jesus we command and declare the cancellation of cancer in Carrie's body. We command the nullification of every cancer cell, for it to shrivel up, die and disappear in the name of Jesus. We ask that your blood would wash over Carrie each night as she sleeps and that every part of her physical, mental and spiritual health would be cleansed nightly by you Jesus. Healing and Health in Jesus name!

Amen to that!!! Right??? That's "all" I have for the first 20 hours of a cancer diagnosis, but I am sure this is just the start of a huge testimony to the faithfulness and love of God. Thanks for reading and thank you for your prayers. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Pushing Pause


I hope your Summer has been wonderful. Ours has been extremely eventful and life-changing. I was blessed to spend two weeks at Bethel Church for WorshipU and thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. I am forever changed by all that happened there and hope to share some of it in bits and pieces along the way.

But first, I want to make you aware that I will be disappearing for a while. Going in to WorshipU and in the weeks following, I have come to the conclusion that life is really loud. There is so much distraction and so much noise. I had some really frustrating writer's block in the month or so leading up to WorshipU and so much of that was due to being really busy and losing touch with my heart. As I was immersed in the presence of God in those two weeks, the songs and ideas began to return at a steady pace.  Now that I am home, I am starting to see some patterns emerging again that are cutting off my creativity and just making me feel distracted. All that great togetherness we had as a family while on our trip has been chipping away as we've returned to our respective screens and devices. 

In order to combat this, I have prayerfully decided to go way under the radar for the next while. I have a time frame in mind, but it may change. No social media. Extreme modification of schedule. In other words, you may not see me, both on Facebook/Twitter, etc. and in person, for several weeks :) Don't be alarmed. I am not turning into a hermit up here in the forest. I just need to carve out some time to process and silence the inner critic within and to open my heart wide to Jesus. He, after all, was an expert of getting away to spend time with His Father.

And early in the morning, while it was still dark, He arose and went out and departed to a lonely place, and was praying there. ( Mark 1:35)
And immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side to Bethsaida, while He Himself was sending the multitude away. And after bidding them farewell, he departed to the mountain to pray. (Mark 6:45-46)
And when day came, He departed to a lonely place; and the multitudes were searching for Him, and came to Him, and tried to keep Him from going away from them. ( Luke 4:42)
But He Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray. ( Luke 5:16)
And it was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God. ( Luke 6:12)
I'm looking forward to this time of worship and seeking God. A time of re-calibration. I am fully volunteering for greater intimacy with God- to be seen and known. In this culture of Facebook and texting and not seeing people eye to eye, I want to be intentional about being in the presence of God, seeing Him, hearing Him, and letting Him change my perspective and show me what's ahead. 
So, I will see you when I see you. Until then, I pray that you too might enter into a deeper place of seeking God. When He humbles us and shows us our need for more of Him, the best thing we can do is obey!