Category Archives: cancer video

the kingdom classroom

I don’t know why God trusts me with so much . . . why he would allow me the privilege of sacred participation, this giving and extending of his kingdom to others. So very often, I feel ill-equipped and under- qualified—rough around the edges, frayed ends, frazzled thoughts. This is who I am most days, a tangled mess but for the beautiful grace of Jesus who lovingly and willingly applies himself to my untangling until the knots are free.

God doesn’t walk away mid-process. He’s a finisher. He keeps stretching me, moving me, challenging me, and changing me from the inside out. I offer him my consent, because I know there’s work to be done and because, without the Lord’s prod, there’s no soul gain; just stagnation, just plowing up that same old piece of ground and patch of soil that’s been tread upon again and again by my stubborn inability to fix myself.

Will we ever get to the end of this, Lord, this hard work of grace?

I can no longer pretend that it’s not hard. Grace is free and comes swiftly to our aid, but grace is also a meddler. Grace won’t leave us alone; it requires a response—a holy, sacred “Yes” to previously spoken “Nos”.

Full grace equals full change; full conversion; fully and willingly broken open and spilled out so that God has the opportunity to pour into our earthen vessels his holiness, his revisions, and his version of who we are. We are kingdom carriers and kingdom dispensers. To carry less and to give less is to betray our King.

Oh to wake up to our privilege and to our responsibility therein!

The hard work of grace. The good work of grace. My allegiance is fixed to the cross, and my heart is pledged to the kingdom road. Accordingly, I’ll keep moving forward, tethered to the expectation that what I currently cannot see growing in me has already been seen by God.

Indeed, I don’t know why God trusts me with so much; I only believe this to be true . . . that he does, in fact, trust me with the story of grace. And even when his “much” has seemed too much for me, his grace has always been sufficient to move me beyond my limitations in order to allow me a moment or two of kingdom influence. I don’t need to know the results of those moments; I just need to stay obedient to his call.

May the God who created the kingdom, the Christ who brought the kingdom to earth, and the Holy Spirit who sustains the kingdom in each one of us, strengthen you, straighten you, and empower you to spend your kingdom inheritance on those who’ve yet to take hold of their royal privilege. Amen.


Cancer Survivor’s Picnic… my toast to hope

Cancer Survivor’s Picnic… my toast to hope

There are a few things I’d like to tell you about today. They’ll make better sense if you have the opportunity to watch the video. I’ll give you ample time; I need a break from writing this week so that I can spend some concentrated time of resting with my Father. We have a great many things to discuss.

First, I specifically felt your prayers over this past week. I am grateful and humbled by your kind words; I needed them. They made all the difference for me as I sought to prepare my thoughts and, then, to deliver them with the full peace and assurance of God.

Secondly, last night as I was reading in Romans, I came across this verse in 10:20. Words first spoken by the prophet Isaiah and then reiterated by Paul:

“And Isaiah boldly says, ‘I was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.'” 
After reading those words, I bowed my head and prayed this very prayer over those who would attend today’s event. I talked to the Lord about all the people who might show up at the picnic–in particular those not intent on seeking God, much less asking anything of him, but those whom he might so willingly and graciously reveal himself to in unexpected and unanticipated ways. That is the single prayer I carried with me as I marked the hours prior to my speaking.
{Patsy, Cancer Center Social Worker… one of the kindest people I’ve met}
Thirdly, there came a strange moment for me early on in my speaking. The microphone wasn’t situated close to the tents where the attendees had gathered around tables beneath the sweltering heat of a North Carolina afternoon. I couldn’t see the faces of those sitting beyond the first row of tables. Of course, my family was in view, but my eyes fixed, instead, on a woman sitting to the left of them at the edge of the tent’s shading. She wore sunglasses, but she looked oddly familiar… like one of you, a twin maybe. And I thought to myself, “Did Sassy Granny fly all the way from Washington to hear me speak today?”
I could tell she connected with me throughout the course of my speaking. Several nods, smiles, and encouraging glances were sent my direction; I made a mental note to seek her out at a later time, but I never saw her again. She helped me, reminding me of Sassy and all of you as well. It was as if you were saying, “We’re with you, Elaine… yesterday, today, and for the long haul.” 
Thirdly, as I was talking about survivorship, I carried the memory of my friend Jeff with me; he went home to Jesus this past week. Jeff was a cancer survivor and valiantly lived each day with godly intention. Cancer was not his undoing; rather the threshold of his emerging… whole, healthy, and home to Canaan with the morning dew of Eden to greet his stride and with the company of his Creator at his side.
I also thought of you, Joy, a cancer survivor as well. You begin your journey with chemotherapy in the morning, and I can say to you as well, “Cancer will not be your undoing, sister; rather cancer will be the threshold of your emerging.”
Lastly, I met some wonderful “survivors” today; in particular two people. A woman named Jennifer whose breast cancer has returned for a second time, this time in her liver; an eighteen-year-old-boy named Wayne, a testicular cancer survivor. I was reminded, yet again, of the fragility of life… of how each day should be memorialized with grateful thanks for the earthly tenure I’ve been allowed.

{Joyce, one of my chemo-friends; we adore Nurse Sarah; we miss her as well!}
Entrusted with a story… with Jesus as my “next.” He’s your “next” as well. Take hold of your moments this week, friends; plant some kingdom seed, and live each day like you mean it. I’ll see you on the other side of a much needed break. As always…
Peace for the journey,

PS: The winners of Cindy’s cards are Lidj and Cheryl! Girls, please look over Cindy’s cards again and let me know which two are your favorites. Email me your selections. My e-mail has been acting up in recent days, so if you haven’t heard back from me in a while, then chances are I haven’t received your e-mail. We’ll work things out somehow.

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