Monday, September 12, 2011

Overwhelmed

"Oh God, Oh God, I’m, I’m overwhelmed."

If you’ve ever watched the movie, “Facing the Giants”, the quote above should sound familiar. As I sat with tears running down my face Saturday night, those words echoed in my heart. Oh God, Oh God, I’m, I’m overwhelmed.

This past weekend has been one of countless blessings. I hardly know where to begin.

A couple of weeks ago I had received a complimentary ticket to attend the Beth Moore simulcast. As the day approached, I doubted my ability to be there. Just forty-eight hours prior to the event I was still deeply feeling the effects of my last chemo treatment, and surrendered to the very real possibility that I might not be able to go. Thankfully Friday I felt physically stronger and the hope of the conference returned.

Saturday morning I awoke excited and prepared for all the Lord had in store for me. The host church had made accommodations to help protect me from the crowd gathering and I truly felt the Lord’s blessing on the day. I even had a chair strategically placed and reserved for me. I felt very humbled by the kindness extended.




Entering the sanctuary, I immediately noticed that some renovations had taken place since my last visit. No one else may have appreciated the colour scheme, but the chairs were a shade of teal; the binds, and the curtains framing the platform were also teal. Teal is the colour that represents ovarian cancer. These details did not escape me.


As Travis Cottrell moved our hearts to worship, tears began to flow. It has been so long since I have been seated with 450 ladies praising the Lord together. Secluded in my house for a good portion of the past four months, the gift of corporate worship was being unwrapped and cherished. Joining my voice with precious sisters in Christ and praising the Lord together stirred my emotions. Oh Father, thank You for all You are doing. My life is my worship to You.

Beth’s teaching was straight from the heart of God. I love how she opens Scripture and encourages application of His Word. My notes are many…but they are so much more than letters scribbled on a page…they are life to me. I breathed Him in, and exhaled His peace. The Lord even used Beth’s wardrobe to say, “Joy, I love you”. Guess what colour Beth was wearing? Teal. It was a fabulous day of listening to the whispers of God and knowing that the Lord of the universe saw and cared for me.

Around 8:30pm that evening, while sitting visiting the sweet memories of the day, a knock came to my door. Not just any knock. It was the “family” knock. The secret code that convinces me to open the door, even if sporting my pyjamas. It was my sister and her son, and she said she had a surprise for me.

Seated on the couch, she handed me a notebook with a hand-made cover that read, “Ovarian Cancer Canada, Walk of Hope.” I opened it up to find a list of what looked like about 30 names. Confused, I looked to my sister for explanation.

Yesterday, September 11, was the 10th Annual “Walk of Hope” for ovarian cancer research. I had talked about it for over a month, but feared I would not have the strength or stamina to take part. I had just felt led that day, that if I awoke feeling able, I would participate in this opportunity.

As I began turning the pages in this book, tears began to flow. Unknown to me, my sister had sent out a dozen emails to a few friends asking if they would be willing to donate any amount in my name to help fight the battle against this number one women’s cancer killer. She longed for my heart to be encouraged with a pledge form and a few names. As He did with the loaves and fishes, God multiplied her request.

Reading the names, and the individual stories behind each submission, I came to names I didn’t recognize and assumed they were my sister’s friends. This is where the story gives me goose bumps. My sister didn’t know these folks either. Over the ten days or so as my sister collected funds, complete strangers sent her cards in the mail…or came to her door…dropping off significant amounts to be added to the collection. One such example was a lady who blocked her driveway one day as my sister was returning her son to school after lunch, and simply said she would recognize my sister as being related to me from my picture on my blog. She handed my sister a sizeable donation and drove away. Neither of us is certain of her identity. Another lady sent a card with a generous amount, explaining she did not know me, but had heard about this “surprise” and wanted to be involved. She also promised her prayers.

My heart can hardly hold the love that has been showered on me. The tears flowed unbridled as my sister presented me with a cheque to donate to Ovarian Cancer Canada in the amount of $2320.00. The Lord took my sister’s obedience to send out 12 emails, and He multiplied the response. People are still responding and the amounts are being forwarded to the organization.



As I came to the last page in the book, it was decorated with sunflowers (the ovarian cancer flower) and pre-cut note cards. Remember I told you that I had attended the Beth Moore simulcast that day? My sister had won a door prize. Included in the gift were note cards with sunflowers that said, “God’s love is expressed in every act of kindness.” God’s blessing and benediction on my sister’s efforts. Not only that, but she received the entire teaching series of Beth Moore’s “The Patriarch’s”. God, who sees in secret, rewards openly. So thankful for the way He blessed my sister for the blessing she is to me.

I did attend the walk with a special friend and her daughter. God provided in so many ways and we saw His Hand over and over again. Over 2.6 million dollars was raised in the fight against ovarian cancer.



This morning in my daily reading I came across this verse: “Please let us walk with you, for we have heard that God is with you.” Zechariah 8:23 Isn’t that beautiful? Can you imagine that request being asked of you? Nothing could delight my heart more or humble me deeper…someone has heard of my faith in the Lord and desires to walk with me. That is the true and eternal “Walk of Hope”. Is your walk inviting such a request today? Let’s live so that others will desire to spend time as our companions on this journey, not because of anything we have done, but because of Christ in us.

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11 comments:

Shine! said...

Overjoyed that God whispered to my heart to delight yours!!! You are amazing, as I keep telling you, and let me tell you, I know the truth of experiencing on a new level how it is better to give than to receive!!!!! Every day unexpected blessings tripped across my threshold, and in giving to your cause, these friends and strangers brought me often to my knees!!! The best therapy in the whole world is investing your heart in someone else's story! Thanks for letting me help to write His name over yours!!!! I love you!!!! "Your Baby Sis!" LOL!

Pamela (His maidservant) said...

Joy, how beautiful! How like our God's blessings. So glad you were the recipient of these. I so like this verse and plan 2 barrow it and pray it for my own walk with Him.

So blessed from this post! Praying for you.

Living in His Embrace-Pamela

Sharon Sloan said...

Oh yay yay yay God! I love every detail of this!!!!!! God is so good - I can taste it!!!!!!!

Rejoicing with you Joy!! Truly!

I just started reading Zechariah - can't wait to get to that passage now! :)

Big hugs,
Sharon

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this Joy. I am beyond moved. God has chosen you for a job, and you are doing it obediently. Bless you!

Morgen

Karen said...

God is so good! I just love how He has shown you signs of His presence and lifted you up and encouraged you!
Although my walk is not the same as yours, I am encouraged too. I praise and thank God for you Joy! You are in my prayers.

Your sister from Wendy's bible study,

Karen - cent. OR

~Grace and Peace said...

Thank you for sharing your God moments with us, Joy. I still have goosebumps from reading it. He truly blesses our obedience and He never overlooks a single detail. Praising Him for pouring out His love on you this weekend.

Tamara-Story writer and photographer said...

Again, your enthusiasm over the Lord's goodness is contagious. You giving honor and glory to him through your trial is inspiring to so many. Thank you for sharing your life's valley with us and your Savior's greatness with the world.

Tracy said...

Thanks for blessing us by sharing about your blessings Joy! You are in my prayer journal every day! Tracy from Wendyland

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I did read this earlier in the week, Joy. Coming back to celebrate your wild and wonderful week. I understand your thoughts about corporate worship. It's been a long time for me as well. There's nothing like being in a group of people, worshiping the Lord in spirit and truth!

And what amazing friends you have to support you in this cancer journey! Your sister is an amazing comforter and companion for the road. I'm so glad you were able to walk and to receive the generosity of so many people who love you!

Your life is a blessing and is to be celebrated. Each day is a gift. The best is yet to be, friend. I hope we meet up again at some point down the road. We'll certainly have a lot to talk about!

peace~elaine

Beth E. said...

Oh, Joy, sweet tears were brought to my eyes as I read your post. We serve such an amazing God...how wonderful that He encouraged you with those whispers!

Continuing to pray for you. God is using you - in the midst of your current journey - for His glory.

Love you, sweet friend...

Anonymous said...

Joy,
Be encouraged! My mother also fought the battle with ovarian cancer AND WON!!! She had Stage 4 Ovarian Cancer, had surgery to remove the mass and had the chemo treatments. I remember her hair falling out suddenly - how her head "burned" the day before, but it grew back - better than before. She has been CANCER FREE for 12 years. God touched her and HEALED her. It was not her time to go to Heaven - her job was not done! I thought it might encourage you to know that someone else has traveled the same road and SURVIVED!! God bless you! I will be praying for you while you are on this journey.