Today I was looking for something encouraging to post for my nonprofit foundation, the Team Holly Foundation. I try to post something every Tuesday to spread awareness for ovarian cancer and to encourage my fellow teal sisters. I came across this beautiful picture and it made me think back to a post I wrote back in 2015. Cory and I were at the beach celebrating my just finishing chemo.
As I read back over this post, the Lord reminded me of truths he shared with me then. It's as true now as it was then.... I wanted to share it with you. I know there is one of you out there that needs to be reminded of the Lord's faithfulness and how we are all a work in progress.
He restores My Soul ~ November 07, 2015
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:1-4
Walking through the valley
As I sit here on the beach thinking over the last few months. The last time i was here was when I had just been diagnosed with cancer.
Fear marked my every move. I was paralyzed by thoughts racing through my mind of the unknown. Thinking of all that I would have to endure over upcoming months. Would the treatment even work? Would my family be able to endure what was to come?
I could not eat, I could barely do anything. Completely traumatized from the inside out. As I continued to grasp for some sense of control, I felt the Lord whispering to me "just let go, trust me. I am making you new".
The beach has always been my "Jesus" place. I have always said it is where i feel closest to the Lord. I can just sit and listen to the waves for hours. Just stare off into the horizon captivated by the vastness of the ocean; all of it was made by our Father.
When we were here in July, I didn't want to talk to Jesus. I was terrified of what He was asking me to do. I was praying to him for strength, but if I am honest, I wasn't about hearing what His real desires meant for me. That may mean losing everything. I wrestled in my heart with the Lord. I remember even saying that week I could physically feel myself wrestling with Him; even bargaining of sorts. I would do anything... But please not cancer.
I had to come to a place where I believed God was bigger than cancer; that He was worth losing everything. I had never believed this truth in its entirety, only partially. In fact, for so long the enemy had me believe God was not; that cancer would destroy me. When I finally came to that place of surrender to my circumstances, Jesus was patiently waiting. Peace flooded my soul. He had me, all of me, however that may look in the months to come. I chose LIFE in him, even if that meant losing mine.
I will fear no evil.
In this moment, I just sit in awe of the maker of this world. I am incredibly thankful for this season. What a season of growth. I stepped out towards the Lord in faith. Honestly I had no other choice. I have never gone skydiving, but I would equate that feeling I had with the beginning of my cancer journey to skydiving. I felt like I was stepping out over a cliff and i was free-falling. Would He catch me?
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you”
I think in any kind of trial our first instinct is to run. The choice lies in where we run to. We can either run from God or to Him. For most of us, we tend to want to run from Him. Whether it's because we are angry or fearful of our circumstances, or both. Angry that we are even in that place. Fearful of what he is asking of us. All I can tell you is its so much easier to run TO him. Take my word for it. The first step is the hardest. The first step is surrender. Then the rest is simple because He is in control. You don't have to do anything because He will. Now, that doesn't mean it will be easy by any means. For me, it meant enduring months of hell on earth through chemotherapy. But by doing that, I was claiming his truth and believing His promises that he would carry me. For me to fully surrender, it took the Lord allowing the worst of circumstances in my mind to show me He is real, that He is in control and the He loves me. I had to walk through the very dark valley. He was my light at the end of the dark tunnel.
He restores my soul.
The same Father that made the ocean and set the waves into motion is the one who healed me of my cancer.
He's the one who never let go of my hand. Day after day, minute by minute I felt his presence. He whispered- Do not fear, I will never leave you or forsake you. Not only did he never leave me, but He ushered me through my biggest fear.
"He restores my soul." Psalm 23:3a
I will close with this. Everyday I have been here, I have seen a butterfly. This morning I have been sitting outside spending time with the Lord and a butterfly keeps flying around me. I have never seen a butterfly at the beach, or at least I've never noticed one. But this time I see one everywhere I go.
So out of curiosity, I googled symbolism of butterflies. I was blown away; another confirmation of what the Lord is doing. The butterfly is a symbol for the soul. Wow Lord! The butterfly transforms through many growth stages before it becomes this beautiful image we see flying around. This absolutely translates to our own journeys. We have to go through stages of growth to become what God has intended for us. A butterfly is simply an amazing creature. Beautiful on the outside and so free to fly around. It didn't start out that way. In fact it was quite ugly as it transformed through the stages of its life. Thank you Lord for this reminder that cancer for me was a very ugly stage of my transformation. But, it was a necessary one. So, for that I am thankful. Without this part of the journey, I would still be living independent of the Lord. Not fully surrendered to His leading.
We have a choice- run from him or run to him. My prayer is that we would each see that there's no choice but to run TO him. He is everything. He is the only thing. The first step is the hardest, but He is waiting for you there.
"Look, I am making all things new." Revelation 21:5
Yes, Lord! You are making all things new. Transform us. Change us. In doing this, we become more like you.
I am thankful that at the beach I began this chapter of my life. Now, at the beach I close this chapter of my life. My Jesus place.
You are making all things new.
Jesus, it's all for you.