Death, God's Peace, Trusting God

Your Will be Done

I just recently lost a patient, and I’m taking this one especially hard. She was only 38 years old with a husband and two young children. She was one of my first primary breast cancer patients. I treated her. I encouraged her. I loved her. I fought with and for her in her battle with cancer. And she died. She wasn’t supposed to die! What did I do wrong? What could we have done differently? In the last few weeks of her life she started complaining of a headache. I documented it. Treated it. Gave her new meds, took away meds, encouraged adequate hydration and maintained her blood counts. She still had a headache off and on. She had been receiving a particular chemotherapy regimen in treatment of her breast cancer and we were right at the end where we’d order a PET/CT scan to see if the cancer had decreased or gone away completely. We never got to do that scan because before we knew it she was being admitted to the hospital due to the onset of seizure activity. Brain MRI revealed the cancer had spread to the meninges of the brain. With this knowledge, her already guarded prognosis (outlook) immediately took a nose dive. I was devastated. I’m still devastated to be honest. My heart literally aches at the void her death leaves for her family, especially her husband, children and mother. Lord, why?

Our God is in the heavens, and he does as he wishes. (Psalm 115:3 NLT)

Though it was not clearly indicated nor was it “standard of care” to do so, what would have happened if I had ordered a scan when the headaches first started? Would the situation have turned out differently? However, the end result would have been the same, as it was God’s will. But it still stinks. I thank God that I had the opportunity to positively impact her life and share God’s goodness with her. I wanted God to heal her. I prayed for God to heal her. I didn’t want her taken away from her family. Yet, I know that you never know when it is your time to go and it behooves you to be ready.

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42 NIV)

She’s gone now. Her family is left to pick up the pieces. This takes me back to the place when my mom died…heart wrenching, gut tearing pain. I have learned a lot from this situation and I know it is cultivating me as a health care provider. But God, does it have to be this way?

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT)

Glad to be girded up in scripture to help me in times of weakness, grief and sorrow. I’m praying so hard for her family right now. I wish the outcome could have been different but God didn’t ask me. Nevertheless, He is the only one to turn to and lean and depend on. His love endures forever.

Dear Daddy,

Grant us peace in the midst of the storm. Help us find solace in knowing we did all we could do. We know nothing comes as a surprise to You in Your omnipresence and omnipotence. Thanks for reminding us that You alone are in control. Help us to accept Your will. In Jesus’ name, amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you as I EMPOWER myself to stay in the race and to not lose hope. I EMPOWER you to help all you can while you can. I EMPOWER you to do what you can while you can. I EMPOWER you to make your life mean something today because tomorrow is not promised. I EMPOWER you to continue to look to God even when it seems He’s not doing what we want. I EMPOWER you to trust Him and to trust that He knows what He’s doing no matter how it may seem.

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Mrs. Coretta Collins is a wife and mother who enjoys reading, writing, movies and spending time with family and friends. She is avid about health, healing and helping which serves her well as a Family Nurse Practitioner in a hematology and oncology practice. Striving to be led by the Lord throughout life and having overcome significant challenges, her favorite scripture is 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 a hope and a future. Coretta is a member of St. John A.M.E. Church, Birmingham, Alabama. She resides in Calera, Alabama with her awesome husband and two wonderful sons.

 

 

Focus, God's Peace, Trusting God

Finding Calm in Chaos

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. (Isaiah 26:3 KJV)

Ever since I was blessed to have the opportunity to join the EmpowerMoments team, it seems as if my life has become busier than ever. Before, I had time to do anything I wanted. Now, everyday it’s something new. At first, I felt like I could handle it but then, I became overwhelmed. I felt like I really had absolutely no time for God.

I must admit that I allowed the enemy to stress me out, especially when my car broke down on the side of the highway while I was trying to help my sister after her car broke down. We were both on the side of the highway with our cars side by side. After neither one would start, I found myself feeling very discouraged.

My dad and I arrive to rescue my sister and while he was working on her car, my car stopped. I went from thanking God for allowing us to all be safe to panicking because neither car would start. I called the car lot where I purchased my car and asked that a tow truck be sent. They gave me the run around for about an hour or so. My frustration then escalated to anger. Before I knew it I was yelling at the people because they didn’t want to help me.

All I could think about was all of the things I had to do that day and how I was sitting on the side of the road wasting time. Then I grew frustrated with my sister as I recalled how I had called her the night before with explicit instructions about getting to work the next morning. She failed to listen and as a result, we were stranded!

In the midst of all that chaos, a close family friend called and offered to come and pick us up. However, my sister declined her offer! We were sitting in the car in 0°weather! I couldn’t understand why she would turn down some help! My blood pressure immediately shot up and I had to get out of the car and try to calm down.

In that moment, all I could do was scream. I was trying to ask God to calm me down but every time I looked at my sister I became frustrated all over again. Every time I looked at my car, I became angry. It was just difficult to shift my focus from my issues at hand to the One who could change my circumstances.

Eventually, I made it home and that’s where I began to relax. I sat on the sofa and prayed and asked God to forgive me for being so angry. He calmed me down quickly. There was no trace of anger or frustration anywhere. He placed it on my heart to apologize for getting angry so I called everyone I’d yelled at and apologized. I felt a lot better and was able to ask God to let His will be done. I realized I’d been going through a storm and needed to focus on God to help me through it.

There was a lesson in all of that confusion. God allows us to experience storms in order for us to grow. We lose sight of Him in the midst of our storm and we panic as soon as the enemy attacks. If we don’t see a way out, we go into a frenzy and lose self control. We stop trusting God, make mistakes we wouldn’t otherwise make, lose faith, and forget to trust Him. We have to remember to focus on God when there is chaos all around us.   He already knows when and how the situation will be fixed. He knows what’s best for us and has promised to keep us in perfect peace as long as our focus is on Him.

Dear Daddy,

Please help us stay calm and encouraged while we wait on you. Please give us the perseverance to wait on you. Please give us confidence in knowing that you will never leave us in the midst of a storm but will always be there. Please bless us in the way you have intended and keep our eyes, hearts, and minds focused on you. Please help us to give all of our worries, concerns, fears, doubts, and insecurities to you. You can handle anything far better than we can. Please help us to not allow our situation or the people we’re around at the time to discourage us or cause us to stray. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to trust God in the midst if your storm. He is always there with you and will never leave you. I EMPOWER you to shift your focus from the storm you’re in to the One who has the power to keep you in perfect peace during the storm. 

What has your attention?  Put your focus back on God.

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Bettina Allen loves to read, write and dance. Nevertheless, she loves God and is on a mission to be as close to Him as she possibly can. She is constantly learning and growing from life’s experiences. God has given Bettina a word and she would love to share that word, along with all of the lessons He has taught her, with others. Bettina resides in Georgia and attends Changing A Generation Church. Her favorite scripture is Psalm 119:105 – “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” 

 

Blessings, Comfort, God's Peace

The Definition of “Miracle”

mir·a·cle noun \mir-i-kəl\ :  an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs  miracles

About a month ago, I shared the story of the battle that my 3-month-old baby was facing with her defective heart. (Read Not By My Own Might) If you recall, I was praying for a miraculous healing for my daughter. I wanted God to supernaturally close the hole in her heart so that surgery would not be necessary.  I believed in His power to divinely intervene because I read Biblical stories of Him raising the dead and healing the sick. I had even received two testimonies from modern day people who were in her same predicament and God, in His infinite wisdom, miraculously healed them. One day they had holes in their hearts requiring open heart surgery, the next day they didn’t. Surely if God did it for them, He would do it for me! After all, He is no respecter of persons and I’ve heard over and over again, “What He’s done for others, He will do for you!” I was confident that my miracle was coming and I was even more confident that I knew what my miracle was…

Last Monday, my baby girl underwent a four hour surgery to repair the defect in her heart.  In the days leading up to the surgery, I was receiving phone calls from concerned family and friends. The first question most of them asked was, “How are you holding up?” When I responded in a relaxed tone that I was doing great, they immediately thought I was masking how I truly felt, but I was sincerely OK. Honestly, I was also amazed at how calm I was. There was no anxiety, nor worry, or any negative vibe in my being; I was simply at peace! The morning of the surgery I thanked God for a successful procedure and once again prayed that He would be with the medical team as they worked on my baby. Everyone around me was calm and at peace. My family and I laughed and joked as we waited for the word that all was clear. We KNEW everything would be well and God made it well.

As I reflected on the events of the day later that evening, I was grateful for all that God had done in watching over her during surgery and ensuring that she came out with a healthy, functional heart. However, if I can be honest for just a moment, I had to question God. I wondered what happened to my miracle. I inquired of the Lord: “How come You didn’t miraculously close her hole like you did those other people?” “Why didn’t You show up just in the nick of time in the operating room and amaze the doctors as they discovered that surgery was no longer needed?” “Where was my miracle in all of this?” He didn’t chastise me for asking; He simply showed me the miracle. My miracle was allowing me to function in the midst of chaos. My miracle was inspiring those around me. My miracle was keeping my mind clear and my heart focused. My miracle was walking with me each day; I was just so caught up in what I thought a miracle should look like. My miracle was PEACE!

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. (Isaiah 26:3 NIV)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV)

My miracle of peace was wrapped up in these two scriptures that I had been meditating on since the hole was discovered. I repeatedly shared with those around me that I was so peaceful about everything that I couldn’t even explain it. Only a perfect God could give me perfect peace which defies all laws of understanding. Based on the definition of ‘miracle’ above, God had indeed sent my miracle. Anytime you experience something that you cannot do in your own might, you have just been privy to a miracle!

My miracle testimony is to remind you that your miracles may not come how you believe they should. Don’t get so caught up in what Joan’s or Sharon’s miracles look like. Their miracles are simply to remind you that God is able to do it, but that doesn’t mean that He is going to do it the exact way He did it for them. God’s desire is to get the glory out of your situation and the miracle He delivers to you will do just that.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for the gift of miracles! You marvel me each and every day! Please forgive me for downplaying past miracles that You performed for me.  Remind me that miracles are not always dramatic happenings with flashes of lightening in the sky, but that any time You divinely intervene in my human affairs, a miracle has been performed. I thank You for past, present and future miracles in my life! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, today I EMPOWER you to seek God for your miracle. He is not a cookie cutter God who delivers miracles and blessings all the same way. The miracle that He has for your situation is just as unique as the miracle that you are!

Share your recent miracle or blessing with us today or what miracle are you seeking God for?

Read a related EM:  Are You Expecting?

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Mrs. Kristen Harris is a wife, mother, entrepreneur and dedicated servant. She is extremely passionate about women’s spiritual advancement, hence the founding of EmpowerMoments. As an avid reader, Kristen enjoys reading the Bible and other non-fiction pieces. Her driving inspiration is when God says to her: “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) She currently resides outside of Chicago, Illinois with her wonderful husband and three lovely daughters where she is an active member of New Life Covenant Church.