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HAIR: Day 7 1st December, 2011

Posted by Scotty in Cancer, Life, Me, Pain.
10 comments

Yesterday was a long day.  I woke at 6am unable to stay in bed any longer and then kept busy all day.  We went and got our Christmas decorations in the morning, had a friend over for lunch then two Bible Reading Groups in the afternoon evening and it was 10-11pm by the time I got to bed.  I was… EXHAUSTED.

So… I was very excited when I woke up this morning aware that last night… I SLEPT!  I woke up and Mon looked over at me asking “What’s the silly smile for?”… “I slept” was my reply.  It wasn’t completely uninterrupted sleep… there were a couple of times I had to get up for a wee drink of something but mostly I slept… FLAT… all night.  I felt so good this morning.

(Tomorrow I’m in hospital 9am-12 for my first out-patient day of chemo.  We’ll see how that goes and how I’m feeling tomorrow afternoon)

Today was hair prep day!  Like I mentioned already, I figured that if I was going to lose my hair, I may as well do something fun and crazy in the process.  So… I’m just back from the hair-dressers.  I found a new-ish place in Partick (right where Byres Rd meets Dumbarton Rd) – I’ll need to find the name.  The place is owned by two Turkish guys who are awesome.

Feeling sorry for myself, I allowed them to do the full face massage, shave, trim and hair cut.  Those guys rock… I might be permanently changing barbers.

My hair should fall out in a week to two week.  So in the meantime… check this out…



 


Recovery: Day 6 30th November, 2011

Posted by Scotty in Cancer, Life, Me, Pain.
4 comments

So, yesterday was a slow day, mostly spent at home tired after an almost non-existent-sleep night on Monday night.  But overall, the day wasn’t too bad.  I ate lots of food and drank lots of fluid and had a couple of impromptu but deep naps.

On the advice of some friends, I phoned the Doc yesterday to get them to subscribe me some acid-reflux meds seeing as that was keeping me from sleeping.  They were more than happy too and a little surprised that I hadn’t already been given some since it’s a typical side-effect from the steroids.  So, armed with my new acid-reflux pills, a bottle of Gaviscon, and 10 pillows behind me so that I slept pretty much upright all night… I slept most of the way through the night.  I had to get up a couple of times to get a wee drink or use the toilet but for the most part I slept through from 12am-6am.  Small victory.

Yesterday was the last day on the steroids for this round and I have two days left on the anti-sickness meds, so hopefully I should see the side-effects start to drop off and normal sleeping/eating patterns return.

This week is head-shave week!  At some point between now and Friday I’m going to shave my head in prep for the whole hair fallout thing that’ll happen in a week or two.  I’m considering having a little bit of fun with it and getting some fun designed shave in.  Any excuse to do something a bit fun and crazy, eh?

Chemo: Day 3-5 29th November, 2011

Posted by Scotty in Cancer, Challenges, Pain.
14 comments

The third evening of chemo was in some ways a lot nicer that the first two. It was with great relief that I received the news from the nurse that my “chemo bag” would be started at 5-6am instead of running me with all the different bags all night which so far means no-sleep-lots-of-pee!

Sadly, it wasn’t quite to be the case. My easy night was a rough one! The anti-nausea drugs were doing their bit and keeping me from being sick, but now my oesophagus was burning with massive acid reflux as a result of the steroids. The nurses are amazing, however, and assured me that I was to buzz them at the tiniest bit of discomfort and they would try different anti-nausea meds etc. All through the night they brought me glasses on milk, plain sandwiches, Gaviscon (heart burn medication), and anti-sickness drugs.

But it didn’t work. Relief was temporary, and so I spent most of the night in and out of sleep dealing with the burn in my gut. Eventually I felt sick, called the nurse, but by the time she’d checked in on me and gone for the drugs my body purged my stomach of all the acid that had been burning away there. That was not pleasant… but the relief was great!

The nurse came back with some extra strong meds. The first one was just an anti-nausea drip, but the second knocked me out pretty good and allowed me to sleep through the last few hours until the chemo bag got started.

Treatment was over by 9am but I was done and out cold so I drifted in and out of sleep for a few hours. And then at about noon I was free to go, armed with my back of prescribed drugs, ready to head back home… my first session of chemo done!

It felt good to get home! First thing I noticed was the fresh air… and how much my clothes and body smelled like hospital and chemicals. Next thing to excite me was being able to access the fridge when I wanted to, although I wasn’t quite sure if I was up for it or not.

A quick shower and wash of some clothes and I was ready to dose peacefully on the couch.

Sunday-Monday was fairly uneventful. The doctors had warned me of fatigue but I think it feels more like jet lag! It’s that strange feeling of I-tired-but-don’t-want-to-sleep and I-awake-but-don’t-quite-feel-up-for-doing-too-much along with the most frustrating part I’m-hungry-but-my-body-doesn’t-feel-like-it’s-time-to-eat yet.

Fortunately, my wonderful wife made me a pot of my Granny’s secret recipe Lentil Soup which I was able to enjoy and feel better after.

Right now, though, it’s 2:55am. I’m in that acid reflux place again. I’ve drank all the milk trying to sooth it. I even ventured out and ate a plate of ice-cream but I can’t seem to settle it. I’ve taken my days fill of anti-nausea meds and so now all I can think to do is try and stay awake to red out the next few hours. If I lie down to sleep, my stomach really aggravates me and has me up and down looking for relief. At least sitting up and doing something somewhat distracts me from it so that’s what I’m opting for just now.

Early yesterday evening I was lying on the couch feeling tired, a bit bloated, and a little sick and all I could think was… Do I really have to go through this for another 55 days?  This is going to be rough!

By the time this coming weekend rolls around I have to be extra careful… the 7-12 days window is when my white blood cells will be at their lowest and my immune system weakest, so that’ll be hide-out-of-the-way time!  I have a one more day of steroids and two more days of anti-nausea pills and hopefully from there I should be able to sleep a bit better.

Join me in praying for that!

To Him be the glory,

Whatever the cost!

Chemo: Day 2 26th November, 2011

Posted by Scotty in Cancer, Challenges, Life, Me, Pain.
4 comments

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Not that I was doubting it but I survived Day 2!

Today was much the same as Day 1 but with a few differences.

  • The anti-sickness drugs worked better! I only vomited twice and nowhere near as violently as yesterday. They reckon it’s more to do with the steroid pill than the cisplatin. And YUP… You heard it right… This pastor is on steroids! Haha.
  • I had hiccups almost all day (supposedly a common side effect). Early in the day I used a number of the old tricks to rid myself of them temporarily but each time the came back with vengeance. At one point Mon and Brian were here and I think the hiccups lasted through their entire visit!
  • I’m all swollen an puffy… A combination of the fluids that have gone into me and the steroids make me all fat and puffy faced. Hmmm… Let’s see if I can get you an unpleasant picture at the start of this blog
  • jet lag… They mentioned feeling fatigue but I think I more adequately label it as jet lag. The repeated ups and downs to the toilet during the night meant a very interrupted sleep and that feel-like-eating-but-dont-want-to-eat that I’m used to from the plane rides.
  • a wee walk outside… I braved it and went out a wee walk. It sure was nice to get out of the room and out to some fresh air. It makes a big difference.

Tonight should be good. I don’t have to have all the fluids that I’ve been getting so far. The drugs for tomorrow come at 5 or 6am and so I should be able to sleep through till then so long as the nausea feeling stays settled.

A good friend today text and said:

Scott. Read your blog from yesterday. Incredible stuff, and your attitude is class. Really inspiring faith and it’s great to see. I hope you don’t feel any expectation to keep up the ‘good feeling’ tho, and that god can comfort you in the down times. Miss you mate, hope things keep going ok. (emphasis mine)

So true. Throwing up is no fun! Hiccups that never end (and they’ve just started up again) and extremely irritating. The tiredness is a pain especially when it along with the rest keeps me from eating when I’m hungry.

BUT… God keeps reminding me that these negative things are part of the process of bringing healing. In order to be rid of the cancer I have to endure these present discomforts which are purely the result of the amazing machine–our bodies–doing what He created them to do!

In the same way we know that trials in life help to refine us and cleanse us of sin, making us more like Jesus!

and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God for we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character hope

Lord, teach me to rejoice, to persevere, and to hope… As you use these things to make me more like Jesus!

To Him be the glory…

Whatever the cost!

Chemo: Day 1 25th November, 2011

Posted by Scotty in Cancer, Challenges, Life, Me, Pain.
10 comments

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First Day of chemo – check!

Not the most fun day ever, but definitely not the worst by a long shot.

7.15am – snooze my alarm at home (who wants to get up early when you can sleep late just before a weekend in hospital?!)

8am – more snooze!!!!

8.15am – repeat as above. Haha.

8.30am – up, showered, dressed and packed and off to the hospital

9.30am – arrive at the hospital but can’t find the reception I want 3 times but get there eventually.

9.45am – bloods taken for monitoring kidneys, tumour markers and immune system

10am – up to the ward to wait in the day room until a bed is ready

11amhotel suite hospital bed ready… I get my own room complete with en suite, aeroplane seat back style tv and a nice view of the courtyard. Score!

And then the waiting begins!!

noon ish – time for chest CT scan to complete “staging” report. Will get the results hopefully before Sunday. The porter came to get me and they let me walk down instead of being pushed (walkin means I didnt have to wait on a porter coming back to get me, I could head back to the ward as soon as I was done. Good call nurses!). Last time I had the CT i was wrapped up on a bed and wheeled around. Which do I prefer? Hmmm… 😉

As soon as that was done I head back to the ward. When I arrived at the door the clerk said “you’re next set of tests is now, and there back down where you just came from, so if you’re confident with the way there you can just turn and head back! So… I about-turned! (as I walked out the door a nurse quickly grabbed my lunch order so I wouldn’t miss food. “Good thinking bat woman!”)

12.30ish a-CT-Scan-and-short-walk-twice past noonish – I went for my PFTs (pulmonary function tests) to check the condition of my lungs. The exercises were a breeze (slight PUN intended). Although I’m sure Mr-Lung-Tester is not use to having brass players in there because the difficult tests were not a problem… It was basically blowing against a mouthpiece with a mute in! Wonderful news… I passed! I can officially breathe! *grin*

1ish maybe – back up to the ward to wait. And eat!!! (the food here is gooood). Then thoroughly enjoyed sitting reading, with the wonderful staff stopping in for a giggle and bringing me tea and coffee and tea-biscuits… As well as this hot blonde who stopped by for a bit and gave me a kiss (and yea, I mean Monica).

waiting

at some point the doctor came by to fill me in on the treatment details, side effects, when to expect the hair to fall out (at the 3 week point. Now don’t tell Monica… But the whole time we’ve been together she’s not allowed me to shave my head, which I like to do around January… And so, sadly for her, I should probably shave it before it all falls out. Prison break Scotty coming soon!) and all that sort of good stuff. and somewhere in here too, the nurse came in to put the needle in my hand for the drip later.

6pm – dinner… Yummy chicken in a creamy sauce with creamy mashed potatoes and… Rhubarb crumble with custard–oh yeah!!!!

6.50pm – my special and awesome nurse, Nicola, came by to chat for a bit and check I was doing ok (after she should already have left – above and beyond!)

7pm – pre-hydration began. They run water with a small amount to salt, potassium or magnesium through the blood to active the kidneys and get the bladder working so the system properly disposes of the chemo when we eventually get there. This is a weird feeling! The fluid going in is colder than your blood and so you can feel it running in your arm. It’s not an uncomfortable feeling, just something you’re aware of. My body is warm, my arm is warm, but there’s a cool sensation like running a trickle of cold water down your forearm. So pre-hydration takes at least 3hrs. One 500ml back of fluid approximately each hour. After all I’d drank that day my bladder was adequately functioning before the end of the first water bag!

10pm ish – anti-nausea meds are also put through the drip to help you’re body deal with te chemo meds. Simply put, the chemo meds kill all the fast reproducing cells in your body (without being able to distinguish the good ones from the bad ones) and so your body tries to purge it by making you sick. (also oh, and the fast reproducing cells are things like hair, blood cells, sperm, etc hence the hair fall out and the lowered immune system)

11pm – the actual chemotherapy drugs started. The first one is a 4hr drip of cisplatin (which has platinum in it which makes me feel a bit awesome like Wolverine!), followed by a 2hr drip of etoposide. This makes for a fun night, since with all the fluids going in you’re up and down visiting the toilet all night. All the urine has to be collected in bottles and to ensure your body is getting rid of enough of the fluid going in (else you’d swell up like a big ol’ water balloon!)

6am ish – chemo drug are finished and back on to the hydration fluids to flush out the chemotherapy drugs. Again, 3 bags, 1hr each.

7.30am – after lying for a while not sleeping but trying to, I was forced to get up… My body works well and doesn’t like things inside being killed… And started feeling nauseous. I lay and relaxed, reciting Scriptures to calm my body to see if it would pass, but it didn’t… So PUKE TIME! Not my favourite way to wake up but necessary. Threw up a couple of different times before they came round with breakfast (but I did not allow it to put me off eating!)

As I sit here writing I have less than 5mins left till my first treatment of chemo is over! My next round will take place this evening and the plan for the day is to just take it easy.

9.35am – haha, the machine is buzzing. The drip is finished. And though I still feel a little nauseous, I survived day one without much to complain about.

I’m on the road to recovery, the road will for sure have it’s ups and downs, but how boring life would be if they weren’t there.

All day and night, God was close. Again He demonstrates the Truth of His promises:

I’ll never leave you not forsake you!

All day and all night… I have been intensely aware of the literally (no exaggeration) 1000s of people who have informed us that they are praying for us! Doctors and nurses are amazed at how calm and joyful Mon and I are and we know that it’s the Fruit of those prayers being seen in our lives!

So there you have it! I survived my first day of chemo. I’ll do my best to keep the blog updated with the journey.

Thank you do much for all the notes of encouragement and the time and energy you’ve invested in praying for us! We feel so blessed!

To Him be the glory,

Whatever the cost!

I HAVE CANCER?!?! 16th November, 2011

Posted by Scotty in Cancer, Challenges, Life, Pain.
54 comments

This has been the quickest craziest two weeks of my life!

  • 21 days ago I made an appointment with the doctor because some pain in my testicle helped me discover a lump.
  • 16 days ago I had my doctors appointment and was sent straight to hospital
  • 13 days ago I underwent an orchidectomy operation to have it removed.
  • Yesterday  it was confirmed that it was testicular cancer.  The pelvic CT scan shows that I also have one other tumour in my abdominal lymph nodes.  And so…

I start chemotherapy next week!

I will have 3 cycles of chemotherapy.  Each cycle is three weeks, so the treatment looks like this…

Week 1: 3 nights (4 days) in hospital receiving the chemo (given by drip).
Week 2: 1 day in hospital for top-up injections.
Week 3: 1 day in hospital for top-up injections.
(repeat for weeks 4-6 and 7-9)

Fortunately, it looks like it was caught early.

The biggest side-effect that they’ve told me to expect is extreme fatigue, which means I’ll be out of commission for the next 2-3 months.

I’m glad it’s all happened so quickly as it’s left minimal time for “freaking out”.  I’ve certainly had my low points of doubt and fear and uncertainty and panic, but overall I’ve been amazed at just how much peace God has allowed me to experience.  The first (very long) day in hospital two Scriptures stuck in my mind…

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:6-8)

and

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)

Do I really believe this?  Am I really willing to endure the nasty stuff believing that God has good purpose in it?  Do I really believe that the promises of what is to come will make the current stuff seem like nothing in comparison?

YES?!

With every ounce of my being it’s a resounding

YES!

The most encouraging part of this whole saga has been witnessing the transformation God has wrought in my heart over the last 10 years.  When I phoned to make my original doctors appointment I went through a lot of worst case scenarios… what if it’s cancer?  what if I lose a testicle?  what if I can’t have kids?  what if they tell me I don’t have long to live?  what if…

For a time I was overcome with grief and fear and doubt and a whole host of other emotions until a familiar phrase snuck into my thoughts:

Whatever God wants
whenever He wants it
whatever it costs!

I’ve spoken this thousands of times.  It’s on all my emails and websites.  We spent the summer travelling the States calling people to surrender their lives to this.  I was faced with a question…  have I come face-to-face with a price I’m not willing to pay?

I didn’t even have to think about it.  My heart soared in my chest as I once again surrendered everything to Him…

God, I mean it every time I say it.  My life is surrendered to doing whatever you want, whenever you want it, no matter what it costs.  body parts, children, life span… my life is yours.  Do whatever will bring you the most glory.

I’ve always wondered if I would hold up under pressure.  I’ve often wondered just how much have I grown?  Has my heart really changed?  But in an instant I saw just how much.  The fear left and I was overcome with joy and peace.  Every time something’s happened that should freak me out, I’ve been filled with the greatest peace and joy.  Where I would expect doubt and fear simple Biblical Truths have been running through my mind:

  1. God is in control
  2. He is good
  3. He loves me

Knowing these to be True, and having seen them proven time and time again in my life, my conclusion was simple:  what is there to worry about?!?!

I’m a thinker who over-analyses all the possibilities and so left to my own devices I’d work myself into a mess, but through this process I feel like God has guarded my heart and mind, and has revealed each result to me and prepped me for it before I’ve found it out.  It has been a demonstration of another Scripture at work:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-6)

What I’m experiencing is a peace that transcends understanding.

This has been the quickest craziest two weeks of my life!  And this is just the beginning.  Chemo is nasty.  Lethargy and apathy and doing nothing for 3 months grates against every fibre of my being.  Sickness will not be fun and any other side effects are not to my liking…

But God is on the throne… He’s with me every step of the way… and I have NOTHING to be afraid of.

To Him be all the glory!

Surgery Over and Awaiting Results 6th November, 2011

Posted by Scotty in Challenges, Life, Pain.
2 comments

What a week.

I realize I’ve posted pics to Facebook and written a blog and all that has been a bit vague. At first, I wanted to have all the details and certainty before I started broadcasting details, but then I realised that’s not so fair on people who care about what’s up. And I was also thinking that by not sharing what’s going on, people don’t get to see the full extent of God’s power at work in me, since:

My [God’s] power is made perfect in your weakness

I went in to the doc on Monday to have a “lump” checked out. On Thursday they operated to remove it, and now… in a week or so I get the results back to tell me whether or not I have (or had) testicular cancer.

This time last week I was getting ready for bed, reminding myself that after the early morning prayer meeting at church I had a 9am doctors appointment. I had no idea that I was about to spend the week in hospital.

Last week, I went to bed aware of a “lump” which I was about to get it examined.
This week, I go to bed bearably-painfully-aware of the soon-to-be-scar where they went in to remove and awaiting the biopsy results.

Like I said in my previous post, the strangest thing about all this is how much peace I have. Someone today said “hang in there” and as my brain processed it I thought “hang in their implies that I’m gripping on trying not to fall”, whereas I feel more like “sit back and relax” because I’m sitting in the palm of God’s hand. He’s holding me up and I simply relax and trust His Perfect Plan.

Thanks to everyone who has been praying, checking in on me, and bringing me ice-cream.

Praying that He fills you with as much peace and joy as He’s given me!

Disunity (Part II) 28th February, 2011

Posted by Scotty in Challenges, Heart, Pain.
5 comments

When processing the idea of unity there is something inescapable… and it is this:  God’s Word divides!

It is important to acknowledge a subtle danger that lurks behind the discussion of unity: The pursuit of unity can quickly become an idol!  And we can so easily lay aside the Truth in order to chase that idol.

The ‘other side of the coin’ is seen clearly in Jesus Words:

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth.  I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.  For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother,  a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law–a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household’.  Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worty of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Matt 10:34-38)

God’s Word divides!…  Because the values of God are the opposite of the values of the world!  The pursuit of God challenges our values.  In order to put Him first in our lives other things have to go.  And the more our heart and values line up with God’s, the more they will be in opposition to the ways of the world.  God’s Word promises opposition to those who pursue His ways (Matt 5:11-12).

God does not hide this fact.  The dividing lines are clear…for example… there is only one way to God and that is through Jesus (John 14:6) -or- the road to life is narrow and few will find it (Matt 7:14).  God’s Word draws lines!  And it becomes a sore temptation to blur (or obliterate) those lines in order to pursue our idea of unity.  That pursuit can get in the way of standing up for His Truth.

In my last post I expressed the emotions fueling my prayers, which have been awakened through witnessing the attitudes Christians and Churches have toward one another.  (Sadly, often the loudest voices of criticism and condemnation come from those who are ignorant,  never having ventured through the doors of the church they critique.)   Oh that they would humble themselves.  I pray that He would convict us when we elevate ourselves above others and allow our prideful judgementalism to justify our lack of love.

God does not ask us to forsake Truth for the sake of unity.  In fact, the Bible is example after example of the way He defends the Truth, removing people who oppose His standards and rewarding those who defend it (cf Num 25:7-13?!?!?).  When God draws a line, it is important that we defend that line.

The big challenge, however, is this:  Am I able to keep my heart pure toward those with whom I disagree?

Our hearts are quick to be polluted.  It is so easy to allow pride to get in the way.  Very quickly we use their sin as the platform we climb upon to elevate ourselves above them.  Before we know it, we have put ourselves on a pedestal from where we look down at others and condemn them.  Oh that we would remember that we too are sinners and that we too need the grace of God.

Jesus’ other words spring to mind and provide a very important caution as we strive to live according to the Truth:

Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.  (Matthew 7:3-5)

Lord God, forgive us for the times we fail to love by the way we defend the Truth.
Lord God, forgive us for the times we fail to love by the way we deny the Truth.

Come Lord Jesus

Disunity 16th February, 2011

Posted by Scotty in Challenges, Church, Heart, Pain.
7 comments

I hate it! I really really hate it! Right now I’m somewhere between angry and heartbroken as I think about (and experience) the disunity that exists in the church in Scotland.

Scottish Church History is scarred by division upon division. Today, after hundreds of years you can see and hear the bitterness and resentment that underlies much of church life.

  • Two pastors of age-old denominations won’t sit in the same room together because of a split that happened a few hundred years ago, even though they would probably be wonderful friends if they were in the same denomination.  They can’t get past the ancient rivarly
  • Church members bad mouth other churches as they try to sell you theirs.
  • Members of old churches making accusations against new churches they’ve never set foot in nor met someone from.
  • Members of young churches write off older churches without ever setting foot in the door to see the work God is clearly doing.

The old is threatened by the new.
The new is stifled by the old.
The old is against the old.
The new competes with the new.

I’m angered by the things I see and hear.  As I consider God’s heart toward His church my heart breaks along with His at the way His Body behaves towards its other members.

Somewhere along the line we go terribly wrong. We start to care more about our kingdom than His. We see other churches as our competition rather than an extension of ours. We see their methods as wrong rather than different. We turn our hearts against them rather than pray for them.

We don’t take the time to understand. We stand back and throw our stones.

  • How does it feel to be a 100 year old church that has struggled to reach people for years?
  • How does it feel to watch the church you’ve been in for 50 years slowly dying?
  • How does it feel to be a new church plant looking for help and encouragement but only experiencing opposition from the established churches around?
  • How does it feel to be fighting for a church you feel called to and hear someone call it dead?
  • How does it feel to birth a church when God calls you and hear brothers and sisters try to stop it?

What is my motivation? Is this God’s will as modelled by His Son and explained in His Word? Or is this my way, mixed with my pride, my ignorance, my preferences and my environment?

We will never achieve church unity.  We will never be able to get over our issues.  We will never agree or get along.  Only God can make that happen.  It requires a massive move of His Spirit, convicting people of their sin and opening our hearts to love.

It’s not easy.  Truth and Grace are the two hands of God.  It’s hard to know when to bite your tongue and offer Grace or when to draw the line and  stand for Truth.  But… it’s always speaking the Truth in Love… and extending Love grounded in Truth.

We are supposed to be reflecting the Grace & Truth of God to the world.  Instead we are a like a broken mirror.

Lord, have mercy on me. I repent of the ways I have failed to love my brothers and sisters. And I repent of the way we, the Church, have failed to be your Body and stood in opposition to each other. Have mercy on us, in Jesus Name.  Come, Lord Jesus. Amen.

(For the ‘other side of the coin’ in my processing read the next entry)

Wounded Soldiers 19th September, 2010

Posted by Scotty in Books, Pain.
1 comment so far

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I’m reading Arrow Pointing to Heaven a biography of Rich Mullins and really resonate with how it discusses the role of suffering in our lives.  At one point Brennan Manning describes a lesson he was taught through Rich’s life:

“All grace, all light, all truth, all power are communicated through the vulnerability, the brokenness, the utter honesty of men and women who have been shipwrecked, heartbroken, broken in the wheels of living.  In love’s service, only wounded soldiers can serve.  And to me, the power of Rich Mullin’s life lay in the power of his brokenness, the power in his unblinking honesty, his deeply moving sincerity.” (p139-140)

Today we are so scared to admit we have struggles, yet we know there is noone in the world who is without some kind of struggle, fear or insecurity.  In fact, all those struggling people are waiting on someone letting their guard down and owning their pain so that they too can let their guard down to share theirs.  When we hide our brokenness behind an I’m-on-top-of-the-world facade, we rob God of an opportunity to shine through our brokenness.

I learned the importance of being transparent the hard way…

Five or six years ago I was having coffee with someone I was discipling and he looked at me with an expression of defeat.  After some probing he finally admitted what was wrong, “I can’t do it.  I can’t be a superchristian like you are.  You’re always filled with joy.  You never struggle to read the Bible or to pray.  But me, I struggle all the time.  I’ll never be a good Christian since I’m not like you.  You never have any struggles.”

My heart sunk in my chest.  In my zeal to draw him closer to Christ and to inspire passion in him I’d pushed him away.  With the best of intentions I’d withheld my struggles trying to encourage him with how much joy comes from giving yourself wholly to God.  In doing so, I failed to teach Him that godly habits are formed by persevering through the days that you don’t want to read… that a healthy prayer life comes when you bring yourself before God whether you’re happy or sad, feel like it or not, and are honest.  I showed him my ability to follow Jesus, stifling the Truth… that its impossible without the work of the Spirit… that I struggle… that I have fears and insecurities… that I am broken and am not worthy of Christ’s love and forgiveness.  It is by being honest about the struggles, the pain and the hardship that people see that we are all in desperate need of God’s love and the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  We all fall short of God’s standard and yet He chooses to live in us and work through us.  We are all inadequate for what He is calling us to yet made able as we surrender to Him and He redeems our brokenness.

It is when am vulnerable about my brokenness and people see all the chips and cracks in my armour that they see His light shining clearly through the fractures of my life.  They acknowledge God’s goodness and experience the hope and joy that comes from knowing that God can and will do that same redeeming work in their lives.

We don’t like pain because it’s painful!!!!!  But it’s such a vital part of our growth.  We need to embrace our pain.  We need to own our struggle.  We need to admit that we are wounded soldiers who God has pieced back together so that we can carry on fighting for His glory.

As Brenning Manning often prays:

May all of your expectations be frustrated,
May all of your plans be thwarted,
May all of your desires be withered into nothingness,
That you may experience the powerlessness and poverty of a child
And can sing and dance in the love of God,
Who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.