What Is Your New Beginning?

Ever wish you could just start over? A life do-over? Another chance to make a different choice or decision? I know I have.  It’s tough when something hits that is unexpected, or when the devil is trying to take you out. He is sneaky in how he gets us to think the worst of situations and leadS us off the path. And sometimes, it doesn’t take much to do that, nor doesn’t it take much time to work out those thoughts and feelings in wrong actions. Then he gets us with the guilt. Yes we are very blessed to have the option to start again. We have opportunities to re-invent ourselves over and over again in our lives.

I believe that there are different kinds of “new beginnings”. God tells us in HIs Word that His mercies are new every morning. To me, that means that each day I wake, I have an opportunity to live differently than I lived the day before. I may have made mistakes yesterday, or had bad thinking yesterday, or made bad decisions yesterday, but that doesn’t mean I can’t do this present day in a different way with different decisions and different attitude, and a dependence on Him to direct me this day. THAT’S both a good thing and a blessing that we have in our lives.

So… when I asked myself this question of what my new beginning is, I came up with a couple thoughts.  As I have shared before, I believe there are hardships that come into our lives that are for a reason. We might be going along in life thinking its all ok and WE have everything under control. So we have this, “I got this!”, mentality. We are pretty proud of ourselves. It might possibly be that God is bringing us up short in order to help us realize that we aren’t listening or even consulting Him on the issue before us as we should. His message may be to get your eyes off you and on to ME.

Another reason may be that there is something He wants to teach us. I know sometimes if its a hard thing for me, I have a tendency to try and ignore what I think I need to do a while longer because of feelings or thoughts I have about it because I KNOW change is required. Changing is hard and I know what it takes to make changes. It requires me to humble myself and realize that His plan isn’t mine and I might have to humble myself for His plan; surrender. That is always best. I might not even have a choice, as in my case with the skin cancer. That stopped me in my tracks! I had no choice but to move forward with what the doctors told me I had to do. Absolutely no choice there. I was hurt, angry, scared, anticipating some of the worst, and feeling a bit like a whimp in my faith. I was bummed out that it was my face where everyone could see. But this is where the Holy Spirit gently reminded me of all that God has walked through with me. He has never left me.  When I did surrender all of that, I felt the Holy Spirit tell me it’s ok to feel those things, but I needed to turn that over to Him. In other words, He didn’t expect me not to be afraid, or worried, or angry, but He did want me to share that with Him. Then He could comfort me or speak to me about the areas of concern. In this journey, He did that through many people. He listened, and now it was my turn to listen to Him about a path I could not see the end of. Trust. I had to trust Him, the doctors and now the process.

We tend not to be very good listeners. We don’t get quiet enough to hear His whisper. We hear a testimony and we say all the right things, but we don’t allow it to sink into the deep parts of our soul as an way for God to encourage us towards a deeper faith. I still have an area to keep turning over every new day. I am still dealing with going out in public… I look way less weird than I did last weekm but I still feel vulnerable about it. Does that mean my faith is less? No. I don’t think so. However, I DO believe this process is something God is working out in ME. A new level He is escavating in me. I won’t ever be the same; not just because of skin cancer and the surgeries, but because it has once again brought me to a place of surrender. As Joyce Meyer has been known to say, “New level, new devil.” So of course he wants to try to make that a stronghold for me. I feel God’s strength working in me for victory every day I get up.

So my new beginning is being an overcomer. For what, you ask? The skin cancer, the surgeries, the healing, AND the vulnerability of being seen as I am. Facing the questions in people’s eyes. BUT…God reminds me of the story I can tell! We all have a story, and in my case, this wasn’t in the my script. God rewrote this chapter, because someone else may need to read it.  As I think about the new beginning I have in my healing process, I am all the more convinced that I may need to be more bold about sharing what God has done. I am asking Him to show me where I need to study, and what He has for me to do. I am asking Him to help me to accept this chapter He has written as the Author of all things. I wake asking for His mercies for my new day. It is changing me.

From Great Grandmother

A dear friend in Norway when she saw my latest picture said, “Just like a fine embroidery, JoAnn.” THAT really touched my heart. As I thought about it, it is so true that what the devil meant for harm and chaos, God has so intricately embroidered as a beautiful thread into my face right out there for anyone to see. Yes. There will be questions, and wonderings, but that is an opportunity to share God’s ways and love. Yes, and just like in my case where He used another person to let me know He heard my prayers and concerns. That is an amazing part of this new beginning for me. That very message encouraged me more than I can say and I have the light that I have lit every day since.

So don’t despair of the hardships. Instead ask Him what He wants to teach you through it. Give up having your way, and take on His. You may not even be walking in His ways right now. If not, I would urge you to do so. Could it be the reason that you mind, soul and spirit is a bit ill at ease? Are you going through something difficult? This may be Him drawing to relationship. Don’t miss His hand extended out to you. Reach out.

Every day I wake up and tell God how thankful I am to be here to be able to give of myself in whatever way He may ask of me. I ask that He will lead me to someone who needs encouragement that day. Every night I thank Him for His love and direction through the day and for the lives I pray I may have touched. I also thank Him for the Holy Spirit Who gives guidance and direction to me. I have learned to be a better listener of His direction. That my friends, is living large!

What do you think would be a new beginning for you? What do you need to surrender so you can live more fully for Him on a daily basis? I will pray over your comments you leave.

Until next time,

~JoAnn

Thoughts from Big River Cabins

Sitting here at the cabin where it is quiet always gives me time for the soul to settle down and the heart to speak. We all need that place. If we stop the busy lives we lead long enough, we may be inspired by new ideas, changes we need to make, insight we have been seeking, or just listening for a Word. I know I need it.

So as this weekend comes to an end and I’m looking at Monday when the surgery part of this journey is hopefully over, I thought I would share a few thoughts with you that came to mind over a mocha and the dim lights of the cabin.

  • I felt that I was to prepare myself. For what, I’m not sure yet. But one of the preparations was to invest in a mic set up for my computer. Now it could be for the purpose of leading the online studies, doing a once a week live to start the week, or leading classes I believe could benefit others. Or, it could be for a totally different reason. If I am going on an adventure trip, I better be prepared. When I asked what I should do these last couple of day, I felt this was my direction. So… I got one and set it up. I am still waiting on my headset to come.
  • I also know what music does for the heart and soul and spirit. I know how it moves me. So I am renewing my commitment to doing more with my music and instruments. That was supposed to happen this year, and it did take place, but not as much time as I think I am being called to spend. Better me, better life, better example.
  • That my time is valuable and I need to spend that time in better ways. If I am walking my life out as an example, then I need, not should, but need to spend time in the study of God’s Word. I can’t give out what I don’t have.
  • Use my level of computer skills to help others in whatever way God calls me to do that.

So those are a few things I believe God laid on my heart. The last three points I have everything I need for the most part. However, that number one point is still a bit vague yet. But it is kind of like the biblical reference in the Bible about going to the Jordan. They had to put their foot in the river before God moved the waters. We expect God to part the waters first so we don’t get our feet wet, and then we will go.  He is asking us to step out in faith first, and then He will part the waters. Walk by faith.

So with that, I have my mic system set up and will be a student of its use over the weeks of recovery from surgery, and being praying for what God has in mind. To you who may be feeling the same way but different circumstances, get in prayer with God and ask Him to show you. Ask Him to be specific. He will. However, you won’t hear through chaos usually. You will hear in the quiet whisper of His voice…a sense that it is from Him. So important for it to be Him and leave you out of it. We can convince ourselves right into trouble. So be wise and ask a good prayer partner or mentor to praying with you about the direction you are to take. Then take a step or leap, or whatever you are comfortable with. I have lived my life in leaps and jumps following His leading. He has always caught me and led me on!

However, when these bumps in the road come along, whether unexpectedly or not, we look for reasons or justifications not to move forward. Or worse yet, we rely on our feelings. Often times we can not see clearly ahead of us. But if we wait for it, God slowly reveals what He was doing, but in His timing. We only know we hit the wall and we want to know why.  I don’t ask that anymore because I have learned there is always a reason. So when that “unexpected” bump come, I just ease on over it and ask God what do you want to teach me? It takes a few days to work through that process, and some times it is a few months. But he wants to hear from you. Ask Him. Just be careful though…He WILL show you! Be prepared. How?

  • Educate yourself about the area you are considering.
  • Find the best way to present it.
  • Learn equipment or processes.
  • Purchase a book or two.
  • Find a mentor and watch what they do.
  • Find a group you can be a part of for the information you may need.
  • The internet can give good information about what steps you may need to take.
  • He had me go through my studio this summer from top to bottom and reorganize it. Makes it so much easier to operate from. He was already preparing me for something new.

You see, none of my hiatus at home has been wasted. God had me digging in. Praying, researching, using my hubby as a sounding board, and reading various books. Some of you may need a kick in the backside to move forward.  If you are like me, once I know what I am supposed to do, I’m jumping in with both feet! So I have to be careful to pray as I go to make sure its still God’s deal and not some of my own jumps I’m taking.

The big idea here is this has changed me once again. We are called to change as we go through life. In this process with skin cancer, God has called me out from what is going on with my face, (and the losing of hair also…another story), to something beyond ME. Beyond the look of what I’m used to seeing, to operating more as God sees me. In this world, those ideals can be hard because we are surrounded by the culture that tells us we must look a certain way. I’m not prideful about my looks, but I care how I look. That has made this process very humbling to say the least.  However, I want to be an encouragement to others and I believe that is my calling. So it is my hope that by sharing this journey, you have found encouragement somewhere between the words of this blog.

So watch out! JoAnn’s Studio may just surprise you…scars and all! I knoq no scar is wasted no matter where they are or how they come to us. God will use them to build compassion in you, and FOR others. You may be the one compassionate person that can come along side another, and understand, when God places that special person in your path.

Watch for it to unfold over the next month or so. See you on the other side of tomorrow!

Until next time,

~JoAnn

When God Speaks

 

 

Now THIS post is one that gets me totally excited because I love when I see God’s work in action, especially when it is what I call a direct message. We are used the the private messages on Facebook or the Direct Message on Twitter. We use those so that we can say something to someone without the whole world knowing what we are sharing. It is directed to you only. But… what if you get a direct message from God?!? What do you do with that?!?!?!??

You most certainly obey.  That is what happened this week with my friend and me. As some of you may know, I shared a week or so ago about my approach toward hard times and challenges. This journey with skin cancer has been a hard journey. However, it has always been a policy of mine, for myself, that as I make it through a hard challenging season, I give myself a life marker. It may be an activity, something I purchase, but it is always there to remind me. It’s purpose is to remind me of what God has kept me from, as well as, what He has brought me through. So…I had shared a story about my wanting to get this beautiful votive when I was on my way to Norway this last Spring. I saw it in Amsterdam and loved it. But, I didn’t want to spend money at that time since I had my whole trip ahead of me in Norway. So it stayed in Amsterdam. What I shared on Facebook was that, as I prayed my way through this journey of surgeries and one last upcoming surgery, I felt I should purchase that beautiful Glassybaby and then light it often to remind me of what God brought me through and kept me from once again. I had talked it over with my hubby too. The flower petals remind me of God’s soft touch in my life, and whispers in my ear that He will never leave me. The colors of opaque which reminds me that I won’t always see clearly in the moment I’m in, but He sees it clearly. Then, those shades of red I so love to remind me of His blood shed for me both in the beatings He bore and the sins He covered on the cross. Yes. This would be a great life marker. (And I love candlelight anyway)

Now for the exciting part that makes me want to dance! A friend read my post on Facebook and told me she commented that she was praying for me and for my healing. As she prayed, she felt the Lord say that she was to purchase this votive for me. She traveled all the way to my Bungalow, which is quite a jaunt for her, knocked on the door, and left it at my door! I messaged her a bit later after tearfully opening that gift and thanked her for such a wonderful, thoughtful gesture and what it meant to me particularly on this day. If you know Glassybaby, you know it is no small gift. She said, “In my prayers, God spoke to me to get this as a gift for you.” The best part of the reason was the why. Here are her words:

Enjoyed in the dark of my bedroom before sleeping.

“God wanted to make sure you knew that He was listening.”

Wow!!! Well, the flood gates opened as I read that on my phone. I was overwhelmed with the love that God would have for me, that He would use this wonderful lady who was obedient to what she had heard, to go out and shop for this gift, and then drove it all the way to my house to share it with me. God encouraged through all that…just to let me know He was listening!!

Friends, THIS is our God! I can’t even describe my feelings as I lit that votive and thought about what God had just done. How He cared enough about me, to give direction to another, so that, He could give me a message that I needed just at this time! AND…it was the same day that I found out that the spot on the left side of my nose was not indicating cancer! Now that’s a celebration my friends!

I absolutely ADORE this votive and what it represents, and love this sweet lady who was obedient to what God asked of her. But the BEST part is that God cared enough to give me a personal message through His chosen messenger! Thank you Jan from the bottom of my heart! May God bless you over and over. I will light it often, and always be grateful!

I have had many of these experiences where God has used another to speak into my life at a time when I needed a Word from Him. But… that is for a future post!

 

Until next time…

~JoAnn

 

 

One Leap At A Time

None of us, if we can help it, ever want to leap from one place to another place unless we are sure we can reach the other side. Why is that? We don’t trust ourselves? Fear? The unknown? We don’t trust the One who might be asking us to do it? Yes, sometimes we might physically not be able to make it. But I would venture to say that most of the time, it is for other reasons mentioned above.

These last few weeks, I have had to leap even when I didn’t want to, and I have to say, I didn’t know where I was going to land. I knew I would land, so that is a good thing. But what it would look like on the other side, of what felt like an abyss, was very unknown. I was watching myself go from one leap to another without much choice about whether or not I wanted to leap.

God talks to us about sitting beside the still waters and rest for our soul. I am seeking to stay by still waters, and certainly taking rest for my soul. Can you remember a time when you were going to try and cross a wide stream? You might have leaped from rock to rock to make it across. I have done that many times, and even missed a time or two to be refreshed in a cool stream. But now I have made a leap to the middle of the stream of this skin cancer journey and reached a point where I have to stand on the Rock. Just like the first leap, God will be with me in the next leap to the other side of the stream, with a final procedure complete on October 21st. I have chosen this time to use sedation for the procedure, since my stress or anxiety level was a bit high with my blood pressure. It seems like a wise choice.

So what are the honest, challenging and irritating things I deal with? Here are a few:

  • I have had nights where sleep doesn’t come easy, if at all; nerves come alive and the face and nose tingle, and drip.
  • Not having the freedom to sleep as I like creates its own set of circumstances.
  • The nostril on the surgery side is being pushed on from the graft and so breathing is sometimes hard when I try to sleep.
  • See myself a few times of day with the unknown still to come.
  • I still have some draining, even as of today.
  • I tire of the time it takes to do all that I have to do for the best results in the end.
  • It takes me a good 45 minutes just to wash my face and do what I have to do with my face and ear. And that is just my face.

It is frustrating, but I know it is necessary in order give my face and nose the best chance to heal well. At times it seems discouraging to see how healing is coming, and then, poof, I will have to begin this all over again after the 21st. But then… I will have made it through and final healing can begin!

And then… begins another journey… what my heart, will and emotions does with the rest of the journey. Do I grieve when I see a scar running down my face because skin cancer took a portion of my nose? Yes, I do. Would I have preferred other choices? Yes. I would have, and who wouldn’t? Am I thankful for the cancer to be gone? Yes I am. Can I look at it as an opportunity to see many more days I have been given to share how God walked with me through this journey?  Yes I can. Why? Because I don’t believe it is a wasted “something” that happened to me. It has a purpose, and that is for me to encourage someone else in the process of something that is hard to go through. Maybe this will be an encouragement to them. It always good to know you don’t walk the road alone.

You say, “It isn’t that simple!” Well, it is if you believe it. I kind of appreciated having good skin too. Always took care of it and will continue to do so with more diligence. I already have an arm that has burn and graft scars. I didn’t really want to add my face to the mix. But just like those circumstances of burning my arm weren’t a choice, this isn’t either. So…I keep walkin’. I thank God I don’t walk alone. I never have and that is my comfort. I have to give credit to my hubby who has stood by me during this whole process, cheering me on when I would get frustrated. A blessing…

I share this photo with you because as I do, it helps me see the changes, and reminds me that this IS me now. I won’t always look this way, I won’t always have the scar looking like it does, but I will bear the scars none the less. We all have them, whether we wear them on the outside or the inside. I will just have more to show off on the outside, as I talk about what God kept me from. I have quite a story on my arm, and He even shared the reason why it all happened, and that was in 1973! This will be no different. I trust that, because I trust God.

Will I just go off into the wild and happy yonder October 21st, or even after a year when the scars are no longer quite so visible? Nope, I don’t think so. This experience will always be with me, a thorn in my side so to speak, so that, I tell the story that might not have gotten told otherwise. You see, I have walked with Him for many years. I have seen God bring strangers into my life just to bless me, so it is my goal that God will allow me to be that for someone else.

Until next time…

~JoAnn

Staying the Course

 

 

Well my friends, a lot of the people have followed my last update this last week on Facebook, but since many of you are my cyber friends, I thought I would give you an update since I last posted.

I had my Mohs surgery on Thursday, two weeks ago, and found some more difficult steps had to be taken.  Mohs surgery is when they remove a layer of skin one at a time until they get a clean margin. After three rounds of removal from the right side of my nose, they finally got all the cancer.  However, it has left me with a large crater looking spot on my nose; deep and quite large. My options are not such that I could close the site with stitches, or stretch skin over that spot.  So this means a cosmetic surgeon will be needed for repairing the spot.  As most would know, it isn’t so great to think about the procedure or how this may look on my face. After this news, and seeing it, my emotions were all over the place and I could come up with all kinds of scenarios regarding its outcome.

  • I will now have areas of healing spots, where the flap was taken from (incision) my cheek, and the area of the repair of the top of the nose, and they took cartilage from my ear in order to support a nostril that was almost gone now.
  • I have to look like this with a flap on the side of my nose for three weeks.
  • I’m not a great healer and tend to get scar tissue easily, so how will this heal?
  • How long will the healing process take where I feel like I want to go out in public? So far, not even…
  • How will the outcome actually look?
  • How will I feel about “being seen” afterwards. I had a hard time with the little patch that started this whole thing.
  • I had to do what I did under local anesthetic and will have to do the next procedure of cosmetic repair in the same way.  Not. Fun.

I had all kinds of thoughts going through my mind.  Not withstanding was, the very things I was praying WOULD NOT happen, actually happened.  Thanks for that God.  But as soon as that thought came to mind, the Holy Spirit seemed to speak God’s message to my spirit…”So…do you really trust me?  In this too?? You say you do, so…”  Ok…Yep.  Buck it up buttercup. It is a scary thing. My surgeon said this isn’t life threatening. Ok. That’s something to be thankful for. So I said, “Ok Doc coming from you who has never had to have this done. For me,  however, it IS life altering. This kind of experience makes you rethink a lot of things. I believe there is a purpose for everything that happens in our lives. It can teach, correct, bring us back if we have taken some detours, allow us to share our story to help another, and many other blessings if we allow ourselves to see it.  So, if I believe that, then I have to trust His purpose for me in this also. It’s an all or nothing thing. I either believe Him in all circumstances, or I don’t believe. I believe God’s promises are bigger than anything I face. For this reason, I have decided to share my experience in words and pictures. There is always someone else that needs to hear that they too, can make it through a challeging time. I want to make it count for something. It has also brought me to a place of examining my priorities, asking God what He has next for me, getting myself into a position of pouring into my own soul and spirit, so that, I can be ready to do the same for others that God places in my path.

I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say that there are times when I look in the mirror and don’t like what I see, but I realize I have to trust God with what I see and its outcome. It’s all or nothing for me.  I either believe in Him, or I don’t. I do… so I trust. He has a plan which is certainly not mine, but He knows the end of this from the beginning in this also. So a new JoAnn emerges with a stronger countenance and purpose. I stand at the edge of a huge ocean ready to put my foot in the water in faith, my spear in hand ready for the darts of enemy, and the Word is in my mouth to speak out boldly.

The week of October 21st, will be the second part of the surgical cosmetic repair, and I would ask if you think of it, remember me that day. I really don’t want to go back in that chair again, but I have to. I also will look forward to have this extra off my face. Please pray for skilled hands, and good healing for me. This upcoming Tuesday, I have a one week follow up appointment and I hope the skin tape comes off and that will be another step to feeling better. It’s a journey for me dealing with something so public as my face… not in a vain way, but just because of what it looks like. See??? God still has some work to do in me. 🙂 I leave you with this vulnerable photo of today, six days post surgery. I can’t wear makeup, have my hair around my face or ear, so hair pins and a hat work. My cauliflower ear is still visible but much better then even two days ago.

I am thankful for each of you who visit the blog.  Always a joy to hear that it encourages others.  My hope is that being transparent about my struggles will bring hope to you.

Until next time,

~JoAnn

Living It Out

As I wrote in my last post, we all have the bumps in the road that shake us up.  I didn’t write that post for sympathy or so others would feel sorry for me.  I wrote it because we all have them and I wanted to remind you that it is human to have negative feelings about what you are going through, and that you are not alone.  What isn’t good is when we decide to leave God out of the scenario.  So… I shared the my personal situation with you so you could know my struggle, and that you too, can take it all to Jesus and ask Him for the strength to endure and get to the other side.  God will help us get “through”.

With that said, my Mohs Surgery is scheduled.  I will go October 14th at 8:10 a.m. and they said to expect a long day; it may not be, but it could be given they take some, test and then determine if they need to do it again to take more.  To say that I am not looking forward to it is an understatement.  However, I AM choosing to accept what is, and asking God for a one and done; that they are able to take one go at it and have an all clear, that is my hope and prayer.  God is good and knows what’s best, so even in that, He may choose another route for me.  I’m just taking it one step at a time.

UPDATE:  I got a call this morning, Monday, that there is an opening this Thursday at 10:30 AM, and so I took it.  Not sense in waiting when I can have it over with, I say.  So, God is good and knows how I dislike waiting for this kind of thing.  He heard my prayer and gave me an all clear for this week!

In the meantime, I am have some exciting adventures going on in our life that have kept me looking to the future of fun.  We are doing some upgrades to our Big Rivers Cabins the last week or so and its

It was pretty dark in this little cabin and so my son put up white and trimmed out the window and also put tile behind the stove that is grey in color.  It looks very clean and fresh.

He also faced the dark cabinets on top with white and will paint the doors and I will add new knobs and pulls to dress it up.  Not quite finished, but almost!

New flooring through out and it will have white bead board on the walls and a chair railing piece on top.  It will look pretty nice when it’s completed.

And finally, my rain chain has gotten put up!!  I have one that will go up here on the patio I hope that is umbrellas.  But this will be fun to hear and watch at the cabin!

looking pretty good.  Our dark kitchen is becoming much lighter, thanks to my son.  I’m happy he has secured some flooring for us to put down in one of the cabins, and we will enjoy a wonderful new kitchen nook table and chairs and a couch/sleeper.  We will be up town for sure!  God has been so good to provide these options for us and we have so much to be grateful for!  See the balance???  If all we concentrate on is what is what we don’t like going on in our lives, then we will miss seeing all that He IS providing for us.  I never want to miss the opportunity to be grateful for what He does for me and my family.

One of my latest finds is a vintage phone that I added to our Bungalow, and that has been fun!  My grandparents and aunt and uncle had one in their homes and it was so fun to find one in great shape. Another little God wink for me after my news. I see God meet our wants along with our needs all the time, and that blesses me big time.  If you are one that enjoys a good hunt for a shopping find, then you may also like to friend a group I set up on Facebook called, JoAnn’s Finds, and follow me as I go on my hunts for a great find in thrift stores, antique shops, or online.  It’s a fun addition to the places we live and do life. I watch for items that my friends are looking for as well, which is another part of the fun! Keep doing the things which will turn your eyes to focus on what matters. It is good for us to keep the fires burning in our hearts…it keeps us pressing on no matter what is going on in what we see before us or experience. At least, that is how I roll.

Keep fanning the flame!

Until next time…

~JoAnn

 

Bumpy Roads Expected

 

Hello my friends and followers!  Thank you for being patient while I took some time off.  It had been a time of reflection, and hills and valleys.  I’m not sure why we expect that we shouldn’t have any, but we seem to think we shouldn’t. We think, I should not lose a child, or a spouse.  I should not have lost my job, or my home. Why would God allow this to happen?  Why didn’t I take a different road and I could have avoided the accident?  Or, I should have stayed home. Why didn’t I question doctors more about what I was seeing? Oh the questions we can ask God. We even blame Him!  But He said we would have trials and hardships.  Did we not believe that part?  Or did we just think it would’t happen to us?

I have lived through many of the above, and even more trials than that.  I may feel angry and confused initially, but I eventually talk it out with God and I slowly gain some perspective.  It doesn’t do me any good to do otherwise; not healthy for me, not healthy for those around me.

So… I will share with you some of my latest bumps in the road.  I think transparency can help someone out there that needs some encouragement or just someone who can walk along side with understanding.

About five years ago, give or take, I had bilateral knee replacement.  I have shared a little about that in earlier posts.  One of the side effects of that is that I lost a lot of hair. A lot.  Some of it grew back but I continued to lose hair and have to this day. That’s number one.  Then, for the last two years, I have had a problem with pores on my nose that have bled.  My doctor then told me it was enlarged pores.  She cauterized the spot and I was clear for a while.  But over the last year and a half or more, that area would heal and the flare up again.  I knew something wasn’t right.  Since we have moved, I have a new doctor, and  I asked her about it.  I had two spots of concern. She sent me to a dermatologist.

Fast forward to today. Updated prognosis:  I have hair loss that won’t grow back without treatment; that may or may not, work.  However, we will try and see if my body will tolerate it.  Otherwise, I will keep losing it, starting with the front and moving back.  This is caused by a autoimmune problem in my body. If this doesn’t work, I was told wigs are possible or I can just let it be. Really? Thanks from a person that has great hair. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bald by any means but I have gotten so styling my car to cover those places gets harder and harder. As for the spot on my nose?  I have basal cell carcinoma on the front spot, and now must go through Mohs surgery, which is taking off think layers of the skin, analyze it, and keep taking layers until you get skin clear of cancer.  Having this on my nose is kind of a concern because there isn’t that much there. (The spot in the back was ok and removed). Where do I go with all that?  I have had so many surgeries, that facing even a small one again makes me cringe.  With that said, I had to have some conversations with God today because to be honest, I was kind of ticked.  I take very good care of my skin and have always used good skincare. However, after some arguing with myself, I finally had to ask myself a question…”Do I trust God with everything in my life? Whether its the bumps in the road, or the mountain top highs, will I trust Him?”  The wonderful up??? A 22 year answer to prayer that happened just a few days ago. Do you think that was to encourage me for the road ahead…today?  It certainly was one of my highs!!

Do I look at what is happening and not be reminded that along with the highs can come the lows?  Is He not with me no matter where I am, and what my circumstances are?  Of course He is.  So… this is just one more opportunity for me to build up my faith and trust in God. Once again, He is with me on this road too.  As I wait for a call for the Mohs surgery, I will pray my way through it, and trust Him for what He has for me.  I don’t have a choice if I believe what He says is true in His Word.  He tells me that He will never leave me or forsake me.  So thank you Jesus for the reminder today.  You are my mainstay…no matter what.

Do you have some big hill, or maybe a mountain, before you that you feel like you can’t climb?  Do you feel like you are climbing and getting nowhere?  Or, maybe you feel like you have been around this mountain before?  Then, I would suggest you do what I did today.  Take it to Jesus. Lay it all before Him; the fear, anger, loneliness, hurt, or anything that might keep you from relationship with Him and trusting that He has got you in the palm of His hand. He knows what you are thinking anyway, so you might as well be honest with Him. I did.  I am taking Him at His Word and trusting Him with my future.

Will you?  I truly hope that you have found comfort from my transparency with you.  Look up.

Until next time…

~JoAnn