Enduring the pain of life on this side of heaven…

So here we are in January 2016. It is another new year and I find myself struggling a little once again. Although my health challenges are not over like I had hoped, I am grateful that I am not going through anything worse than I did last year. Last year was tests and minor surgery for the prevention of cervical cancer. This year I am going through testing as a precaution to rule out bladder cancer. I would be lying if I said that I was not a little bit discouraged to have to face more tests that I consider torture. I am quite tired of being prodded in such a private and sensitive area of my body. But even so, I am grateful that I have insurance and doctors who care and are doing what they think necessary for my own benefit. I am trusting God that once again, there will be no cancer. But whatever the outcome, I am amazingly ready because God has made me so strong through every single challenge He walks and carries me through. It is all for His glory, not mine.

It is incredible to stop dreading the hard things in life because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is for me and He is SO with me. He has shown me day in and day out. I thank Him for how He continues to watch over me and provide everything that I need to keep on keeping on in this journey to heaven with Him. And of course I have to share that through all the challenges, I have had zero relapses back into alcohol abuse and I continue to hold strong to my 100% sobriety of 5 years and 326 days. Yep, still counting because it is an ongoing miracle that only God can do in my life and I have to keep sharing with the world. My heart is too grateful not keep sharing because I really should be dead today. Jesus truly brought me from death to life and I am GRATEFUL.

My other struggle that I am facing as I write this is that I have a 13 year old kitty who has been an amazing blessing in my life. I think those with pets who never had kids (like me) truly understand. I just found out three days ago that she has cancer and I also got to confirm my suspicion that she has lost her vision. She is an amazing creature. God certainly has created beautiful creatures and allows us so much joy through them. I lost my 16 year old pup quite a while ago and somehow a kitten one day stole my heart. Now I have a few of them. But this one who is dying, Zoe, I have a close bond with compared to the others. They are loving and amazing too, but there is something extra special about Zoe. I held her when she was six weeks old. She came from a feral litter and she took to me right away. If she were to make it to June this year, she would be 14. My sweet Zoe is at the vet at this very moment getting a biopsy that I hope will help me to determine when her time to drift into permanent sleep may come. I cannot have her put down without knowing if it is really time or not. I am surprised that I am not crying as I write this. I guess I got enough tears out for now trying to prepare my heart which is never easy to do for any animal lover. I am really going to miss her when the time comes to let go, but until then, I am going to appreciate and enjoy every moment I have left with her and love on her like crazy.

I think what is helping me through this better than I thought it would is learning not to hold on too tightly to my blessings from God. That includes blessings like my Zoe. I remember when I lost my little dog, how hard it was and how much I drank that sadness away. Just like I used to drink every other painful moment of loss in my life away. I am so beyond grateful that those days are over. Feeling the pain and learning to deal with it has brought me so close to God and now that I have discovered that He is real, I would much rather feel the pain and turn to Him instead of the bottle that almost killed me. This is the better blessing. God really does use ALL the hard things in this life for good.

I keep holding on to God’s promises and the assurance of the wonderful life awaiting me in heaven with Him and that is what helps me to endure the pain of life on this side of heaven. I apologize if this post is all over the place. I am just allowing my heart to pour out and this is what is coming of it. I hope in a small way that perhaps this will help someone else to remember that this world is not our home and that our pain and our tears will end when we finally make it home to other side of heaven for those who believe and belong to Jesus. In my heart, I have been hearing the words of Jesus from John 16:33. He has given me His perfect peace. He is teaching me and is making me stronger to keep my heart from being troubled and from being afraid. Jesus overcame the world, and because I am His, I am an overcomer too. All of us who belong to Him are. So we need to keep holding on to God and His promises and keep on keeping on. We need to keep seeking Him with our whole heart no matter what.

And as I wait to hear about my Zoe, I do not regret one tear of the many I have shed and I no longer dread the hard stuff that comes my way. I will be grateful for every single blessing, even when they are taken away knowing and trusting that something even better is around the bend. It is wonderful to be able to say this after such a short time after giving my life to Jesus. I am always taking a risk of being mocked for what I share from the heart, but I do not care. God is real. God is the God of hope, restoration, miracles and breakthroughs. My life is proof of that. Jesus saved me from the law of sin and death. And as long as I am still in the world, the world is going to know.

Hold on to Him, hold on to HOPE – HIS promises of things to come. Thanks for listening to my heart. God bless.

You Are Loved

“Hope is a golden cord connecting you to heaven. This cord helps you hold your head up high, even when multiple trials are buffeting you…Hope lifts your perspective from your weary feet to the glorious view you can see from the high road. You are reminded that the road we’re traveling together is ultimately a highway to heaven.”  ~Jesus Calling

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” ~ Romans 15:13

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