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Always and Forever

As you read the title, you may think this is a Valentine's Day post. Although today is that day, indeed, it isn't about that.

Last week, in a manner in which only one person could have such impeccable timing (a week before today's first chemo treatment), I received information that would once again change my life forever. As I pondered what my response should be, I began to find myself in a state of pity and pain.

Yet, as I sat and thought about what lie before me in both fronts, I also thought about a process I had just begun earlier that morning. Background information...we had our annual women's retreat just a few days before and our speaker encouraged us to choose a Word of the Year and to build a few practices around it. While I had never heard or thought of such a thing, there were others there who had already made that a part of the beginning of each year.

So last Tuesday morning, I woke up thinking I was sure of the word that God wanted for me to walk with this year, BUT, when I went to write it down and start the process of building on it, what I wrote was an entirely different word.

My word for 2023 it seems is Always. And the scripture that followed and flowed out of me to the paper was Matthew 28:20b, "...and be sure of this: I am with you ALWAYS, even to the end of the age."

I wrote to a friend recently about a title for a piece of work he is doing and suggested, "Rescued From the Pain." That was the place I was in at that very moment in time. My life was changing, it would be just a week later that I would begin another change and what I needed most in this world was to be rescued by God from all the pain I felt at that moment in time.

So, ALWAYS, as in always and forever, Jesus says we are loved. There is no question or hesitation all of our wrongdoings to ourselves and one another, he will ALWAYS love us no matter what. He willingly allowed himself to be a sacrifice to show us that very thing.

I have just taken my first dose of my meds and I face the unknown of side effects, if any, and how my body will react to this treatment. But, God is rescuing me from the pains, standing with me in the unknown, wiping away my tears, wrapping arms around me and comforting me in my sorrows, clothing me with his never ending, never failing love by providing me with friends who are holding me up during these difficult times, with a community of people who are themselves filled with love and kindness and compassion and care, with doctors who are monitoring and adapting my care at every turn, with technicians and labs to provide the doctors with the information they need and now with pharmacies to compound what will hopefully rid my body of this cancer...and most of all His promises to be with me ALWAYS, even to the end of the age.

Make no mistake, God can, will and wants to rescue us from our pains, our tears, our grief and our sorrows. He shines light into our lives in ways we may not even see because we don't stand still long enough to even know He is there. Acknowledging that love is eternal, ALWAYS available to us, is the first step to healing from the trials and tribulations that are thrown at us each and every day.

Today, as I reflect on this past week and what today's challenges may bring, I can say that pity has turned into powerful prayer. And powerful prayer is my recognition and acceptance of the God who loved me before I loved because there's no room for pity at this table!

"There's no room at the

Table for pity and pain,

Love is ALWAYS ours."

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