I write this out mainly for my own benefit: to remember.  Oh how forgetful I am.  Oh how easily I forget what I have learned.  Perhaps something I share will resonate with you, perhaps not.  But this is me living out transparently what this life experience of mine is like. (Complicated, simple, messy, beautiful.)
I am a work in progress.  Oh how I need a lot of work done yet.  Proverbs 3:12 says “The Lord corrects those he loves, as parents correct a child of whom they are proud.”
(You’d think I’d be able to understand this as I correct my own children’s behavior.)
It started like this (I think…) God’s been teaching me much.  I’ve been blown away by how fruitful it is to spend time meditating on scripture.   My journal has become filled with truth and hope and LIFE as I reflect on God’s word and it is spilling into the way I live life.  I am seeing the profound importance of my role as mother.  In John 2 Jesus’ mother asks him to step up when they are at a wedding and the wine runs out.  And Jesus listens to her!  I read this and realized – mothers have a very important and influential role that is profound and needs NOT be taken lightly.  God keeps speaking to me the primary importance of being a mother (secondary to my marriage alone).  Deut 6:8 says, “The LORD is our God, the Lord alone.  And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. (I’ve spoken of these verses before, they were vital words for me to keep pressing whole-heartedly into Jesus when I needed HOPE.  But it continues: )  “And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands….repeat them again and again to your children.  Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away on a journey, when you are lying down and getting up again.  Tie them to your hands as a reminder, wear them on your forehead.  Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
Being a mother and the teaching I provide as a mother is pivotal in my children’s lives.  Now as I write this I remember when Rayna was around 3 years old and I felt that we should be teaching her more about faith; but I didn’t really know how.  Ever since my cancer diagnosis I began seeking God with my whole heart, soul, and strength.  Now I am teaching Rayna about faith all the time, speaking about it, reading about it, as we go and intentionally.  It is natural.  We are praying with our 2 year olds already, because it matters to us.  Faith is our anchor.  That’s how our family survives and thrives.  Because this is how we are choosing to LIVE my kids will learn much about Jesus.  (Dr. Currie states that children who see a belief in God lived out at home are the ones who hold onto faith when they leave home.)  Indeed it is how my own parents taught me and I am so grateful to reflect on the wonderful ways I learned of Jesus in my home (But that’s a whole post of itself).
God drove home the importance of my role as a mother yesterday in the hot tub at Harrison Hot Springs Hotel.  We entered the hot tub and a Ukranian man immediately started talking to us.  He asked us why we looked so serious.  Ryan replied that we have a 5 year old and 2 year old twins at home, that’s why: we’re tired.  He proceeded to tell us about his 12 children and of how children are a gift from God.  I’ll admit at first I found him obtrusive to my enjoyment of the hot tub and I was annoyed with his loud and bold conversation, and the strain to listen to him through his accent.  But, upon reflection, how wrong of me! (Not only because this life is about loving people well; but also because I realized that our society’s perspectives on children is all backwards and I’ve allowed this to influence me.)  This man clearly came from a culture and mindset where children are considered blessings and gifts from God.  How often does our culture see children as inconveniences?  I am guilty.  I am selfish.  I sure did not immediately view my “extra” child as an out-pouring of extra blessing in my life (though certainly that view is changing).  Again this could be a whole blog post —- but this Ukrainian man reminded me of the important role of mothering.
Let’s shift gear here.  I’ve also been learning in the gospels of how many times Jesus asks “Do you believe?”  John 16:31 “Do you guys finally believe that I came from God?” (my version) And you hear it over again and again through out the gospels.  You see the doubt in the disciples: they see miracle after miracle and they still fret and fear about circumstances that arise.  Brian Hardin who narrates the Daily Audio Bible that I listen to states that how reading the scriptures gives us a reflection into ourselves.  And I’ll be honest that in these doubting disciples I see myself and I’m ever so glad I’m not alone because over and over I find myself in doubt.  After all God has done for me doubt still  pops up.  I have to pray like the man in Mark 9 “God, I believe, help my unbelief.”
This week has been tiring.  Though Ryan and I were able to get away for a lovely night away it came after a week of our nanny being away sick.  I am still recouping.  In my tiredness I think guards came down and thoughts started leading me to desire control.  I’ll try to explain.  A few months ago I started to truly believe that by releasing my life I would regain it, just as scripture explains.  And in doing so, indeed, I found more life and life freed from crippling fear.  I’m not sure why this past week these new struggles came, perhaps because with our nanny away I was doing way more and it felt good to be able to do and be capable, in control and productive (though truly slowly it was exhausting me to an unhealthy level that I am recovering from).  But I captured a desire for control.  (This is a desire I first started dealing with when we had a miscarriage before my oldest child was born.  I was devastated, obviously by the emotion from this event; but also devastated that control had been ripped from my hands.  It was my first big realization of “real life” and that I wasn’t as in control as I thought I was.) 
So this past week for some reason my work as a pharmacist has been popping into my mind.  At this point I am not “fit” to return to work, so really whether I return to work at some point or not is not a relevant or imminent decision.  However, this past week I’ve been clinging to the idea of returning to work someday and I was unable to release this desire.  Clinging to things doesn’t work well, I should have learned that by now; but I was clenching and not willing to release it.  To release that even one day if I am fit to return work, that may not be the right answer or the answer that God would speak to me.  I do not like this notion.  Why?  It takes my control away.  Even in the theoretical I was clinging to control. I was battling against God – big time.  You see what’s more is that I was trying to contemplate what I might say on Easter when I’ve been given the opportunity to briefly share in church how God has changed everything for me.  And I was feeling uncertain, doubting and so very unsure how I could possibly speak in public about trusting God when I wasn’t feeling it.
Then this morning I started another 3 day fast (more about that below**).  As I was driving I realized my frail humanity and how I am so not in control.  Lest I feel in control, I realized how I need food.  How these 3 days will be challenging because I am a mere human.  I am not in control (and really with my history, wouldn’t you have thought I’d have learned this already?!!).  I need SO much.  I need God.  Always have, always will.  I can’t fool myself, and yet I try.  And I end up asking forgiveness and God abundantly forgives and lavishes me with love.  I give God my vocation and I know He fill my hands and hearts to overflowing as I trust Him.
Deep Breath
Because all this comes on the tail of realizing that I feel so much more alive than I ever have!  These battles in my soul are getting rid of the junk of my life so I can live lightly and freely.  So I can feel even more alive than I already do!
This is the power of Jesus!!!  This is why I choose to believe in Jesus!! This is why I immerse myself in the scriptures, why I keep seeking more of Him and keep finding more LIFE!
Jesus fills my life with love, hope, passion, peace, wisdom, power and I want more of it so it can spill out of me and overflow into my family, my friends, my community, my city, my world!  THIS is why I choose to believe Jesus is who he said he is. HE HAS CHANGED EVERYTHING FOR ME!
(Sorry for shouting)
How wonderful the privilege of teaching this to my children.
**The last time I saw my oncologist Ryan probed him more regarding my prognosis since I am doing so well.  Though most people (over 50% at this point) with my diagnosis would have died, this is no indicator of what the future holds for me (5 year survival is 5%, but medicine has no good indicators of who will be in that 5%).  However my oncologist (who we both really like!) offered 2 suggestions with some evidence: intermittent fasting and daily meditation.  Interestingly these are both biblical practices.  I have taken a “hearing God” class put on by my church and am trying to implement principles learned there into (a goal of) 30 minutes of meditation on scripture daily.  (This is too cool not to mention, so indulge me.  I have a degree in Biochemistry so when my doc presented this evidence to me it caught my attention:  meditation actually extends the telomeres on your DNA.  These telomeres are essentially protective “end-caps” on your DNA which gradually shorten as you age, as they shorten you risk damage to your actual coding DNA.  But this study showed you can grow your telomeres by meditating daily!)
Regarding fasting, a few months ago I did a 3 day fast.  At the time I was reading Esther and I began experiencing visual symptoms which freaked me out, so I immediately started a 3 day fast (the length that Esther did leading up to petitioning the King for her people).  I learned much from that fast: patience, fortitude, thankfulness (for gifts like food!), passion and emotion (anger at points for not being able to eat!), self-control.  Then at the beginning of January, since our church was doing 21 days of prayer and fasting, I chose to again do another “Esther fast”.  This time I began to see a shift in my thinking.  For example instead of seeing meal times as awful because I wasn’t eating but I still needed to feed my family, I began to see them as opportunities to be more available to serve my family because I didn’t need to eat.  Also, it served as an opportunity to rest: if you’re sleeping in the evening you don’t feel like eating! And on breaking my fast the gratitude I experienced was tremendous!  Gratitude for the rich gifts my heavenly father provides. 
I had not intended to do another fast so soon; but with the words from my oncologist I have now decided to do a 3 day fast monthly.  It gets easier each time and this time I didn’t dread entering my fasting days like last time!  I encourage you, it is a discipline worth exploring and I welcome comments or experiences of others who have fasted.