Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Relay, the whole business, and jitterbugging

Relay for Life rolled around again last week―Jerry celebrated seven years as a survivor, and I am now at seventeen years post breast cancer.

We celebrated big, even jitterbugged for about one minute and eight seconds with the newly replaced knee and broken arm. That’s about as long as we could last with our corrupted sense of balance.

Me with my crazy headband to celebrate our "Carnival for a Cure" theme
As I look back, I see all the things God has allowed me to experience because of these seventeen years: my children growing up, their graduating high school and college, the birth of grandchildren and their unfolding lives, ministry in the church, in prison, and to the homeless. Even the privilege of being there for my mother and my father as they slipped from this life was a high honor. I had only begun to write for others to read when I was diagnosed, and God used that event to propel me even further along the path.

A verse God gave me many years ago has been in my head lately.

I first read it in the King James version, “. . . but thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest” (Jeremiah 45:5).

Let’s move from the language here and turn to how Eugene Peterson translates it in The Message, “ Don’t worry. I’ll keep you alive through the whole business.”

So, God has kept us alive through the "whole business."

The "whole business," of course, has included treatment, recovery and  some other messy hard times, but all worth it to be here for the many milestones and ministry we have been honored to see.

Oswald Chambers views this verse as having to do with abandonment, that having your life as a prey means you have let other things go. He writes, “When you do get through to abandonment to God, you will be the most surprised and delighted creature on earth; God has got you absolutely and has given you your life. If you are not there, it is either because of disobedience or a refusal to be simple enough.”

When faced with a grim diagnosis, things that previously held high importance slip away and show themselves for the time and life wasters that they truly are. We are almost forced into making our lives “simple enough.”

But all that is for naught, if we reach the other side of the crisis and take up our old ways. It’s a daily challenge to sort out what’s truly important. But worth it.

I love what Chambers says, “God has got you absolutely and has given you your life.”

It is enough to make us want to jitterbug.
At least in our hearts.

Bragging a bit about our church's participation--raised almost $11,000. My friend and breast cancer survivor, Brenda, raised around 4500 herself. Stunning. She's the number one fund raiser in the county. Co-leaders, Brenda and Lynn, coordinated the church relay effort while shining in their tutus. No surprise we received second place for "Best Costume." So cute. 
Lynn and Brenda



Alton said...

Oh, Bev, this just warms my heart!! October will be 20 years for me! We have learned lots of life's lessons through all these things, haven't we? God has been so faithful! Much love to you and Jerry in your continued recovery. (Love the pics!) Freida

Beverly Varnado said...

We are so blessed. Congrats on twenty years. These stories are an encouragement to those just diagnosed. I know they did and still do mean a lot to me. Love you.

Julie Garmon said...

You have so much to jitterbug about! I'm smiling, Beverly, and celebrating with you!


Beverly Varnado said...

I do, indeed, julie. Thanks for joining me in the dance.

NITA said...
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