Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name. Psalm 100:4 thanks·giv·ing (noun) - the expression of gratitude, especially to God. thank (verb) - express gratitude to (someone), especially by saying “Thank you”
Thanksgiving Day. Today is a special day for a number of reasons. Thanksgiving is defined as “the expression of gratitude to God” (Dictionary). Today most of us will gather with our loved ones. We will celebrate with a spread of traditional foods and watch football games; at least, that is what we have always done. I find comfort in just being with my family, in my parent’s home. All seems right with the world when we are all together. Although, we are sad Cory is working today. The life of a fireman.
Today, as I sit around with my family, I find myself reflecting over the last few months. What a year. There is so much to be thankful for. The Lord has carried me and my family through some of the darkest days of our lives. Yet, I am here. I am alive and giving thanks today for the work He has done in me.
Unfortunately, this has been a particularly hard week for me. I never realized how much of an emotional journey this would be once I completed my cancer treatment. The waves of emotions come and go. There are very high highs and very low lows. I have been struggling this week in particular with looming thoughts of the cancer coming back. I am certain that this is part of every cancer survivor’s journey. The “what ifs”. It really is amazing the power of our minds and how the enemy knows that. Every time I have a stomach pain or something feels weird, the thought of my cancer coming back takes over my mind. Unfortunately, I know that it will be something I have to deal with the rest of my life. Sadly, you would think I could relax. Statistically, I have a 5-10% chance of the cancer every coming back. It’s almost unheard of with the type I had. But, the enemy reminds me that I have a very rare type of cancer to begin with. I have been one of those rare statistics already. In that place, the enemy paralyzes me. After a few days of worrying, I finally called my doctor’s nurse yesterday and she talked me off the cliff. Bless her heart, how did she get so lucky to know me? I am sure that won’t be the last phone call. I pray that one day this fear won’t control my thoughts every time I have an ache or pain.
Does this resonate with you in any way? Is there something that you fear and have obsessive thoughts about? I can imagine that almost every one of us can relate to this in one way or another. So, how do we handle this? How do we not fall into the deep spiral of anxious thoughts and fears?
"We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ." 2 Corinthians 10:4-6
There’s our answer. We use God’s weapons to conquer these anxious thoughts. We must take EVERY thought captive. Paul tells us how in Ephesians 6:11-18.
11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
So we must….
1- Read His word (verse 14)- We must fill our minds with His truth so that we will be prepared for battle. When we read His word and allow our thoughts to be filled with His truth, our mind is strong in Him. It’s when we don’t have this time that we are too weak to fight the enemy’s attacks.
2- Have faith (verse 16)- believing God is who He says He is. He is sovereign. He is in control of every detail in our lives.
3- Call on the Holy Spirit (verse 17) - Asking him to give us strength in these times of weakness. Seeking His presence first and foremost to prepare ourself for this battle.
4- Never stop praying (verse 18). Praying allows us to humble ourselves beneath our perfect, good Father. It allows us to surrender our life and our deepest desires and needs to Him.
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7
The Lord does not give us a spirit of fear. Fear comes from the enemy when we allow him to control our thoughts. We cannot allow him to have that power in our lives.
”You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” Isaiah 26:3
Lord, may be fix our eyes on YOU. May we put our faith into action and give thanks for all the Lord has done for us. He is good. When remember all that He has done for us, we can see the miracles He alone is capable of.
This year, on this day of thanks, I am choosing to be thankful. I am choosing my faith over my fear. Lord, thank you for the work you have done and continue to do in me. May we all remember to arm ourselves with your weapons to fight the enemy. Lord, thank you for sending your son Jesus to live on this earth and to die for every sin we will ever commit. Thank you for giving us the peace that surpasses all understanding. Thank you for Jesus, who defeated death and the enemy once and for all when he died on the cross and rose from the dead.
Once again, this week has reminded me that this cancer journey will never end. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Even though cancer may have left my body, I will continue to fight the battle for my mind and my heart. At least until I see Jesus face to face.
Jesus, this is all for you. Every single day. Every tear will be worth it when I see you.