|photo by Pam Williams|
It is a week to celebrate for Dick and me. I received my last chemotherapy treatment on October 13th! As usual, the week following treatment was mind-numbingly exhausting. BUT, I have turned the corner and am feeling on the upswing now! Dick and I are thanking God that the worst is over. Yes, I will still have several weeks of uncomfortable symptoms, but from here on out, every improvement is permanent—not just a temporary reprieve till the next treatment! What a sense of relief and deep-seated joy!
There have been times during the past 21 weeks I have felt utterly discouraged knowing that no matter how good I might be on a particular day, the next treatment would knock me back down. Several times I wondered if I had the strength to enter the ring and go another round. Inevitably, on those days I would receive an especially heart-felt card reassuring me that someone was praying and God was in control, not the cancer or the treatment.
A card seems a little thing—a few ounces of paper with a smattering of words—but they have been a mountain of encouragement for both Dick and me on this unwanted journey. We have gotten hand-crafted cards, beautiful photographs, loving notes, touching children’s drawings, moving verses, and carefully-chosen sentiments.
Ultimately, the cards we received have ministered in four ways: They showered us with love and encouragement; they prompted us to pray for the ones who sent the cards; they helped us realize how uplifting it is to see the words, we are praying for you, in print; and, they inspired us to send far more cards assuring others of our prayers.
It reminds me of the story in Exodus 17:8-15 of Moses and the battle with the Amalekites. During the conflict, Moses held the staff of God in his hands. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, Aaron and Hur took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset and the Amalekite army was defeated.
We all face that type of overwhelming battle from time to time. As one who has been there, I can tell you that KNOWING others are holding you up, standing in the gap for you, makes all the difference in how the battle is fought and won.
I urge you to take the time to jot a few words on a note card, slap on a stamp, and send someone who is hurting a little concrete reassurance that they don’t walk alone. No matter how devoted a Christian a person may be, everyone stands in need of a reminder that they are being upheld in the strong arms of faith.
Be an encourager!