As I was reading the Scripture in Luke chapter 12 this morning, a couple of things Jesus said jumped out to me, and I wanted to share them in a blog. All of Jesus' words are full of wisdom - not surprising as He is the Son of God :). He taught us on a level that we could understand and gave us wisdom to live this life. When things are not status quo in life, when we are searching for answers and meaning, and when crisis hits, we are all looking for wisdom.
In verses 6 and 7 of Luke 12, Jesus said, “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet, not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
First of all, it made me laugh because God doesn’t have to count very high when updating the hair count on my head these days! His words also assured me again that I am worth a lot to God. He indicates that 2 pennies are not worth very much and the poor sparrows could have quite a self-esteem issue if they understood the price at which men valued them, but Jesus assures us that not one of them is forgotten by God.
I realized that during the time-consuming fight involved with this disease, it can sometimes feel like a “2-penny day!” We all have days when we don’t feel our time and effort are worth much; like a little sparrow in a windstorm. But let me remind you as I was reminded again today, that “not one of them is forgotten by God.” I am learning to appreciate each day. That is one of the gifts of this illness. Each day has meaning and we choose how we will live them. Some days we feel trapped in the “tyranny of the urgent” such as stress in the workplace or maybe relationship issues, but we all make a choice every day about our attitude and how we will react to others and even bless others along our path.
Yesterday could have been a 2-penny day for me and my family because we were at the hospital again for 8 ½ hours - for lab work, then a visit with the oncologist, then hours of the infusion of 4 different medications, only to be ended with a home pump that will continue to infuse a medication through Sunday night. Doesn’t sound like much fun or a reason to smile does it? Or….why not? There were wonderful people surrounding us all day, and we chose to engage with them and find humor where it could be found. I am now "know as" the one who “brings an entourage!” Don is with me, and usually 2 – 4 daughters and sometimes sisters and friends that stop by. We are the rowdy group. We find things to laugh about, and have the nurses laughing when we are taking selfies and being silly. We have had wonderful nurses and have had some great conversations with several of them. I receive comments about having a positive attitude and when I do, I try to give God the credit, along with the many people who are supporting and encouraging us, and of course all of the prayers.
Yesterday, as I was entering the waiting room to see my oncologist, I was greeted by "Joe." Joe is a volunteer in the clinic who we met on my very first day. When it's time to call for the next patient, they call for them by their first names. On that first day, he called for “Gail,” so I got up and followed him, along with another woman who also followed at the same time. When he realized he had two “Gails,” he asked our last names and said it was not my turn yet, laughed and called me the “trouble maker.” That nickname has stuck. We also had a quick conversation after my appointment that day. Yesterday, Joe greeted me with a hug, but he was not there to work. He said he works on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but he came in Friday just to see me, because he wanted me to know that I touched his heart that first day. He was touched that I shared my diagnosis with him and that I could still be smiling. I let him know that my faith was giving me strength.
Yesterday, he made the extra trip to the hospital to let me know that he has been praying for me every day. He goes to Catholic mass every morning and had a mass said for me, along with his daily prayers. WOW!! This potential 2-penny day was supercharged by a man who took the time to pray for me, and went out of his way to share how my attitude had impacted him. Joe volunteers because he loves working with “heroes,” as he calls those who battle cancer and can still smile. He is a volunteer, but a professional at encouragement and changing 2-penny days into something very special.
We can all choose to change a 2-penny day into something more by how we interact with and encourage others and by remembering that each day is a gift from God. I find that when I encourage others or just share a smile, I end up being the one who feels encouraged.
I also read in Luke 12 this morning (verses 8 – 9), these words of Jesus, “I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man (Jesus) will also acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God.” I want to speak of Jesus boldly to others. He has blessed my life in unexplainable ways. Everyone goes through hard times in this life, and I can’t imagine going through this without God! People need to know that there is a God who loves them and is in control, and who is bigger and greater and far beyond us, yet cares when we are having a 2-penny day, or when we feel that we are only worth 2 pennies in the moment. I LOVE knowing that when I speak to others about Jesus, he speaks to the angels of God about me!! How cool is that??
Hopefully, the next time you are having a bad day or are sporting a bad attitude, or just feel like your day is not worth much, you will remember that we can change a 2-penny day or 2-penny attitude into something good, because “not one of them is forgotten by God.” Also smile when you speak the name of Jesus to others, knowing your name was just acknowledged before the angels of God!
I want to thank each of you for continuing to lift my name to heaven. Your prayers are being felt and I know they are being heard. I am still praying for a miracle, but want to be healed to continue to serve Him here and fulfill dreams He put in my heart of encouraging others through my work, and also along side my husband in ministry, not for my own selfish gain.
I was reminded about this today from a very good and wise friend. He reminded me that, “If God does indeed heal you, it is not about you, but about Him. His miracles are designed to prove His existence and punctuate His great affection for His created children and matters they care for.” I was reminded that God uses EVERY SITUATION (even illness) to reveal His nature and presence to those who are distracted in this world and who need Him desperately. So many need their 2-penny days to be filled with the presence of the Almighty God and Savior, and His unconditional love! Let’s be His conduit! And remember, as I have been reminded, “Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”