Strength | T-shirt Testimony

If you don't know Alayne from the inspirational blog Grace and Coffee, you must run to her blog and get to know her, ASAP. (Well, that is after you read her t-shirt testimony first)

I met her through our children, since they attend the same preschool. Even though I don't yet know her well, I feel like I've known her forever. She radiates Jesus. And after reading her words, you will be just as in awe of her as I am. 

-Anna

Read her poignant words below...

 

Psalm 38:7 "The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me.  My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him."

When Anna came to me about my t-shirt testimony, I fully intended to write about a life-altering time from my very early teen years. But God changed my plans, as He so often does.  The very next Sunday after speaking with her, I felt a tug at my heart that I was to share something completely different: a current, on-going trial that I've been hesitant to talk about.  And by tug, I mean the Heavens parted and a blazing spotlight burned a whole through me and set the pew on fire.  (At least that's what it felt like.)

My pastor made the following statement: "Being truly obedient to God means sharing with others what HE has done in your life."

I could have easily shared my planned testimony because God did carry me through an unthinkable time that very much played a part in shaping who I am today.  I even argued with God more than once that it should be shared instead.

But it was as if I heard Him ask "Alayne, why would I sustain you and give you the victory in this trial only for you to keep your mouth shut about what I have done for you?"  

Hello?  Conviction?  So, my prayer in sharing this is that it would glorify His name and speak to your heart of His great and mighty love for you - regardless of the circumstances that surround you.

February 4, 2016 was just another routine morning at our house.  Until it wasn't. My husband had gone to work, the kids were full of energy, and we had just returned home from our Thursday morning ritual of Hardee's biscuits.  It was around 8:30 am when I received the phone call from my OBGYN.  To set this up, I had just been in for a repeat pap smear and biopsy Monday of that same week.  If there is anything I've learned from repetitive medical tests, it's this - if they call you quickly, it's not good.  

I've had quite a few medical tests since the birth of my twins.  They are by far the greatest gifts the Lord has blessed me with this side of Heaven.  It's unreal to see so much of yourself embedded in a tiny version of you.  All of your flaws and imperfections intertwined and fashioned in this little person that seem to make them so perfect. Through the gift of my children, that big, distant God I perceived for a large portion of my life, has provided a glimpse of just how much He sees me and the depths of His love for me that no human heart can even begin to understand.  

But let me just tell you.  Those precious angels jacked. my. body. up. They are 3 years old and for 3 years I have worn a path between my home and the OBGYN's office.  From normal results to abnormal results to follow-ups that never turned into anything, I'm on a first name basis with every warm body in that office.  I guess you could say it's been a "let's keep an eye on it" type of situation.  

So on this particular morning, the nurse got the doctor who picked up the phone and told me I had endocervical adenocarcinoma. In English, cervical cancer. Phew, that word holds a lot of weight, doesn't it?  It's scary, overwhelming, and one of those words you never expect to be in the same sentence with your name.  It felt like somebody punched me in the gut.  So the doctor continues on but all I hear is cancer, cancer, blah blah blah, cancer.  Poison invading my body, with the intent to harm.  

And before I even hang up the phone, I'm getting my game plan together.  Half hearing the doctor's words because I have to call my husband and tell him I'm dying, my nurse practitioner sister to confirm I'm dying, and then cry about dying while further appointments are scheduled.  Nice game plan, huh?

The truth is, I'm helpless.  I have absolutely zero control over this situation.  

But I know the One who does.  

I know the One who helps the helpless.  

I can not only look to the future but I can look forward to the future, because I know the One who wrote it.  

Anxiety has been a stronghold on my life for as long as I can remember.  There have been times where I was so consumed by it that I physically made myself sick with worry.  And in the midst of waiting to meet with the oncologist, it prowled around to consume me again.  But leading up to that moment, long before I ever knew... God was preparing me for this battle.  He has proved time and time again that His goodness never ceases and His love never ends.  The evidence was there all the time.  I am the one who chose to believe it at a distance.  Maybe He loved me if it turned out ok, and maybe He didn't if it turned out bad.  

Friends, hear this.  The outcome is not the destination.  The work being done in the waiting is His purification.

In the waiting, God draws us in so very close to Him and says "know Me so intimately, trust Me so completely", that no matter if common sense or reason says this is impossible, you are not dismayed or discouraged but fully believe that ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE THROUGH HIM.  He stands in the gap and meets us in the middle.  His presence is experienced in the middle.  The blessing is in the middle. What should have swallowed us up, has no power over us.

He is rightly to be praised in the middle. 

He is preparing us for eternity, and the understanding of how He works is not needed because we can rest secure that He is for us and not against us.  He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor reward us according to our iniquities.  This means that even in troubles that we've created all on our own, when we deserve the punishment and not the blessing, He reigns down His undeserved and unmerited grace.  

In this life, my flesh may fail me, but HE is the strength of my heart causing me to persevere in patience through trials. I need daily reminders that my hope is not in today but in the eternal. He wove us to hope and hide in His strength. 

Therefore, I will boast of my helplessness and offer up my brokenness so that the Perfector of my faith is glorified through this storm. This storm that has already and will further require decisions and procedures, but praise the Lord was detected early, making it very treatable.  And while my heart may be grieved, I can honestly say that I am so very thankful for the truth He has revealed to me during this uncertain time.  I will yield my spirit to Him, cling to His strength, and rejoice in the middle because my God has already won the battle! 

-Alayne

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