Where am I? Part 3 of 3: “Driven to Know”

Have you ever been driven to know something and you bug someone and nose your way in to a conversation to find out?  Have you ever been driven to finish a project and even though your eyes are tired, your back is aching, and you haven’t eaten for 6 hours, you just push on until it is finished?

As I lay down my losses I am driven to know Christ more.  At the point of releasing profits and counting them as loss I am in a low place, yet I am driven to continue on…. I am casting off the old and putting on the new; the new position of being in the palm of my Father’s hands.  He is in control. Laying me down brings me to my knees and I am in want of my Lord’s hands opening the eyes of my heart.  I have been directed to three ways I can know Christ more.

#1 I can know Him by seeking Him intimately through His fellowship and calling on Him in prayer and reading His Word.  The more I read His Word and think on it and claim it in prayer, the more my eyes are opened to His love for me.  The more I am enabled to see of His grace and mercy poured out for me.  His truths become grafted into my heart.

#2  I can know Him by depending on Him and drawing upon His strength and not my own.  Drawing near to God in difficult times has given me a practical knowledge of the Lord; He is good for His Word and always keeps His promises.  He is my Help.  Through my suffering and choosing to rely on Jesus, I have experienced a deeper knowing of Him that I was unable to attain otherwise.

#3  I can know Him by serving Him in willingness to be filled and used by Him. This is why I claimed my drivin’ in the open jeep (see Part 1 of 3 blog) !  Surrendering to His will for my life each day gives me a new freedom; with my eyes open I wait for the open doors He is pointing me towards and I am ready to step through.

I can add three adjectives to the open air jeep visual:

I am open.  Open to the calling and adventure — where He leads I will go.  This is not a comfortable place necessarily – but it is an enlivening place!

Growing.  I am growing in deeper understanding of who God is and who I am every day.

I am thankful for the privilege of knowing Jesus and gaining in wisdom and stature.  I am thankful for the little and big graces He allows for me each day — I call these God Sparkles and I love to share them with people in my writings and on my FB wall.

But, like Paul, I have not attained all these things — I strive for them every day.

(Philppians 3:12 – 14)  “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

As I count my losses I can push forward to take hold of knowing Christ and gain.

Where am I?  I am pressing on.  Pressing on with thanksgiving and praise and I find myself entering into the presence of the Lord.  (If you have been blessed by hearing my testimony over these last three days via this blog — please pass this link onto your friends and family.  I seek to be a blessing and shine for the Lord. Click on the LIKE button below…  Share as you can and join me in spreading the fame of our Lord.)   Sheryl

Where am I? Part 2 of 3: “Counting my Loss”

Traversing over new paths, the Lord has led me into some interesting territory.  He has opened doors I never imagined myself standing before.

#1.   I have had opportunity to share my story and I became a published author (you can read about my book on this site – click on the “Book” tab).

#2.    I walked in my first Relay for Life event this past spring and Magnificent Hope was my supportive partner ( http://www.facebook.com/MagnificentHope ).

#3.    I have been thrown back into the regular duties of life with family and home – schooling and all that goes with running a household of ten.

#4.    I have been nominated in Yahoo’s online contest as “A Woman Who Shines” ( you can vote for me at: bit.ly/SherylHolmes — vote now, I think you have to vote by Oct. 26th).


To be honest – I have not been feeling all that “Shiny” lately and I have been struggling with keeping up with  my life because I feel like I am in, what I am going to call, a second phase of recovery.

I have been grieving loss.  I have not healed back to my “dump truck state” (see yesterday’s blog).  I am not the old Sheryl I use to be, physically, emotionally, or spiritually.

Physically I have lost strength, endurance, and sharpness of mind.  My body has been altered from the toxins and poisons that were given to me for killing cancer cells.

These transfer to emotional burdens.  I cannot do what I use to do…I cannot keep up the pace or remember the multitude of things I use to keep in my head.  I still suffer side effects from chemo drugs – neuropathy keeps my feet numb 24/7; in the morning my feet are so stiff, I shuffle like a 90 year old barely able to move across the floor.  I cannot garden, go for long walks, or teach dance like I use to do.  Radiation to my lower pelvic area has affected my marriage relationship; the honeymoon life of passionate lovers is long gone.

I realize now, that I have been internalizing these losses.  I was downcast.  I was weeping in my deepest of hearts and at times paralyzed by the recounting of my losses.  I have been trying to figure out who I am again….not quite fitting anywhere…cuz I am not quite the Sheryl I use to be.

Spiritually, I began crying out to God and questioning Him again – WHY ME!  What more are you gonna take from me!  I needed to go read my own book, Towdah, for encouragement!

Searching scripture and trying to identify Where am I now…..I related to Paul’s declaration in Philippians 3:7 & 8:
“Whatever was to my profit, I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.  What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.  I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ…”

Really, I have been mourning my losses — what were my “profits” — those accomplishments that made me established and comfortable in my life before cancer.In my weakness and in my losses I have had to rely on God and search deeper into the “surpassing greatness of knowing Christ.”  Like Pilgrim, in Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, who slipped into the slough of despond, I needed to call out for Help…..

Help sent me a meditation on the Cross.  Chewing on the truth of the Cross is always a turning point for me.  Jesus, my Help in all manner of trouble, already did everything I ever need on the Cross for me. Daily I find I have to surrender to that truth and count my losses as my gains in knowing Christ intimately.  As I rid me of myself, I accept my losses.

The things I once held up as profits, I held in pride.  Letting go of those profits gains me a gifted position.  This gifted position allows me the privilege of a deeper knowing of Jesus.

#1   The loss of my strength and endurance means I can access the Lord’s strength.

#2   The loss of my body’s agility and balance means I can wait on God and ask Him to show me what I need to see and what I need to do.  I can be open to how He will use me in a new way.

#3   The loss of my old relationship with my husband means I can rely on God’s grace to wash over our marriage bed.

#4   The loss of the old me and what I dreamed for me means I can trust the Lord even more to fill me with the Holy Spirit and show me the new creature He is molding.

#5   The loss of what profited me means I can be found in Christ and I can be in continual relationship with Him.  In my relationship with Christ, I fit!  I have a place and a purpose.

Where am I?  I am found in HIM.

Friends, count your losses…they can be gains for knowing Jesus in a  deeper way.

(Tune in to Part 3 of 3: ” Driven to Know” tomorrow!)

Where am I? Part 1 of 3: “My Drivin’ it!”

Two little boys no bigger than two sat by the front door of our apartment day after day exclaiming to one another, “My drivin’ it – my truck!”...the other would respond, “No, My drivin’ it!”  Silence…until the next rumble was detected, then the shouts of claim began again.  I looked on with a chuckle wondering what they were thinking in their little heads.  Twin brothers imagining themselves behind the wheel at toddler-hood.

And so it was for me as I tried to capture what my life felt like before cancer.  Visual in my nature, I thrive on word pictures.

I decided that two years ago, pre-cancer, I was like a super sized dump truck with a plow and  a spreader – quite possibly bright orange like this:I could easily “carry and  handle” big loads of responsibility and work.  I could “plow” new ground and clean up big messes without too much effort.  I stood out; bold.  I delighted to “spread” seeds of new ideas.  I was a worker and had a purpose and I felt in-place in my corner of the world – comfortable in my home and comfortable in my church.  I was happily “drivin’it!”  If I had to describe me, I’d say I was confident, strong, and reluctantly I have to confess, I was prideful.

Cancer came and hit me hard.  If there would be such a vehicle, I’d have imagined myself as an electric glass smart car. Contrast the size.  I was suddenly extremely small, delicate, crush-able and focused on the minimum so as to be highly efficient in whatever I did, because I had only a certain amount of energy before I’d fizzle out.  Describing myself in this place of disease, I would have to say I was unsure, fragile, and humbled; I was needy and not able to do it all myself.  I needed others. And namely, I needed my grace-giving God more than ever.  Like an electric car needs to be plugged in for its source of fueling — I needed to plug into my Lord for fueling; and I did.

As treatment came and went and a year has now passed since my last dose of chemo I was challenged to consider where I am now; what am I drivin’ ?  I realized, I am drivin’ an open-topped no nonsense jeep!

Large knobby tired built to traverse uncharted paths.  Roll bars in place to protect during the wilder times.  I am not very comfortable and not quite sure at all where I am going or the purpose for my trip in such a vehicle.  I don’t fit.  This jeep is use to off-roading….it’s a little scary! I describe myself now as a wee bit leery, yet up for the adventure because I also have figured out that I am not drivin’ this vehicle at all.  My Father has this one!

The mistake of my drivin’ the big orange dump truck was thinking I had everything in my control; as if I owned the road.  The experience my drivin’ the imagined glass smart car left me vulnerable; pared down to the basics.  The wonder  of my drivin’ the no nonsense jeep is in accepting the invitation to be taken on new adventures; willing for the good work God has planned for me.

Where am I?  I am resting in the promise of this scripture in Jeremiah 29:11, For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  

(Tune in to Part 2 of 3 – “Counting my Loss”  tomorrow!)

Like the Sprout of a Seed

It’s like a veiled bubble encases me and I can only faintly feel and faintly see the world bustling around me.  Like boulders weigh down a tarp, I feel my body weighed down by thoughts of loss and I cannot move.  I just want to curl up and evaporate.  Words are stilled and my voice is silent; the energy to speak is too much for my weary being. And I wallow in the fog. Crushed in my spirit, downcast in my soul, depression lurks in the doorway of my life.

Understanding is reluctantly given and patience is thin.  I want to be air lifted out of this pit but there is no such quick remedy on its way.  And so I sit and moan inaudible moans from within, til I am heard, “Oh Lord…help!”   Motionless….emotionless I wait. Deep cries out to deep.

Then I feel it rise up like the sprout of a seed trying desperately to push the earth away and poke up out of the soil.  The Holy Spirit lifts up my moans before God and my Father’s hand reaches down deep and touches my pain.  The veil is lifted and I am able to open my eyes to see clearly again and I thank God; one boulder is loosed.  I thank Him again, for the obvious, the plain and the simple.  Another boulder and another is rolling away and I am released from the thoughts of loss and all that weighs heavy.  I praise my Lord for His unfailing love for me.  I am not crushed and my spirit is lifted because my God is faithful to hear my cries.  I can enter.  Psalm 100: 4 & 5 says this:“Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.”

I have found that thanksgiving and praise open the door and make the way for escaping all that depresses.  I am ushered into the presence of the Lord and am again and again filled with His joy. Sight and feeling return and I feel full with the life He has blessed me with.

From the deepest of pits and the deepest of woes God is able to lift you into the deepest of relationship with Him; thanksgiving and praise follow.  What my God has done for me, He is willing to do for you also.