Food For Thought: When you think you know the way, despite your efforts, only to encounter road blocks and dead ends, look to the True Way Maker who makes crooked paths straight, bumpy surfaces manageable, narrow pathways accessible, and pothole roads visible. God will open our spiritual eyes to see through lens of clarity. ~Patrice
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27) Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.
Lost Our Way….
Have you ever been in a situation where you are so confident of where you are going, that you decided to lead the way only to be faced with the realization that what seemed as familiar territory is clouded by wrong turns and misguided directions?
We have been to the Chemo floor several times, however, on cycle three-chemo day, I was adamant that we were headed in the right direction, despite my husband saying, “Babe, this is not the way!” I was determined for some reason to take the lead, even though after getting to what I thought would have been our destination ahead, only to hear, “No, you are in the wrong section!”
It became evident, after wasting countless time walking aimlessly, that I had lost my way. With a big grin on my face, I couldn’t help but giggle at what my husband said, “Babe, I told you we were going the wrong way!” With laughter in his eyes, he lovingly said to me, “Just follow me,” as I gripped tightly to his arm.
All along the way, I still continued to say to him, “Are you sure? This doesn’t look familiar.” Needless to say, it wasn’t familiar because I had led us away from the building where we were supposed to be.
Let’s just blame my adventurous attitude on my chemo cape and lack of direction, or the fact that to navigate around Baptist, I need a GPS. 😄
The Way Maker….
Isn’t this exactly how we respond to our Heavenly Father at times? We become so lost in thinking that we are in control, we lose sight of who’s really in control of our lives. The Holy Spirit is there as our guide, to lead us into all truth, yet, we dismiss His guiding and quench the Spirit as He tries to lead us down the right path. He wants to guide our steps that we may live in accordance with His Word. So many times we hear His voice telling us to just follow Him, He will lead the way, but instead, we take the path that seems familiar to us.
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
I am so guilty of this! So many times I react in my decision-making and haste to satisfy the flesh, rather than being still with the Holy Spirit and seeking Him, knowing that God is the orchestrator, conductor, and director of my life.
I find that when we fail to make Christ a part of our daily lives, we often cause ourselves undue failures. Maybe if I were attentive to the Holy Spirit’s voice, being still enough to listen, I would have heard the whisper of the Holy Spirit telling me to let my husband lead the way.
Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually.
1 Chronicles 16:11
It’s like the lyrics of the song, the same holds true to how Jesus Christ watches over us, “Every step you take, every move you make, I’ll be watching you.” Our Savior wants to hear from us at all times, not just when we find ourselves in a pit, struggling to climb our way out. Christ left us with the Holy Spirit for a reason, we weren’t meant to live this life a part from Him. He wants to dwell within us.
I will put my dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you.
Accompany me on this journey as I narrate you through my chemo experience and personal accounts, trusting the Lord to not only reveal His goodness and faithfulness during my times of uncertainties, but also to be my Way Maker.
All In God’s Hands….
It’s always such a pleasure being around my chemo nurse Elizabeth (Eli) and her Medical Assistant Melina. Their affectionate and loving personalities make my chemo experience so uplifting and enjoyable. Eli was so genuinely pleased to hear about how well the aftermath of my second chemo went as I ecstatically praised God of how He spared me from all side effects of the chemo.
“Well my dear, we will have to do a finger prick to check your blood.” Eli explained to me that my white blood cells were low. My count was at 1.49 on Monday when I went for labs and it’s supposed to be at least 1.50. If my white blood cells don’t increase once they do the finger prick, then chemo would have to be postponed.
I could see it in her facial expression that she felt bad having to be the bearer of bad news. More so that I might not be able to follow through with the chemo infusion as scheduled. I assured her that it was ok as I smiled, pointing to my JOY headband, saying, “Jesus Only You!”
She advised me to make sure I’m wearing a mask in public because I’m more susceptible to getting sick.
Before pricking my finger, the phlebotomist used a small heating pack to warm my finger so that I could produce a good blood flow. As she squeezed my finger to get the blood flowing, she began to tell me that she had to get enough blood to fill the little vile and sometimes it’s hard getting sufficient blood from the finger. In hearing that, I began to repeat after every squeeze, “Let it flow Lord, let the blood flow!” “Thank You Jesus” were my thoughts when I heard her say, “Good, I’ve got enough!”
After the finger prick, I excused myself to the bathroom. As I stood there, I began to speak to the Lord.
“Lord, I am not going to worry about this. I place this in your hands. I know that if this is Your Will for me to have the chemo infusion today, then You will increase my white blood cell count. If it’s not Your Will, then I know it’s because You are protecting me from something and I trust You.”
I See Uncertainty, God Provides Surety….
After fifteen minutes of lying in bed, waiting to hear the results of my blood work, in walks Eli and with excitement in her voice, she exclaims, “I HAVE GOOD NEWSSSS!! It went from a 1.49 to 2.0.
Eli (⬅️) and Melina (➡️) took a pic with me during the excitement!
I was so happy thanking God, my husband wanted to video my whacky HAPPY DANCE.
Trusting God Through the Process….
After my hallelujah moment, I was settled down again. Now that they had the clearance to proceed with the infusion, Eli ordered the meds.
My hubby and I always enjoy listening to Melina’s stories about her online professor. After taking my temperature and blood pressure, she began sharing with us about one of her assignments. Suddenly, in walks Eli with more good news saying, “This is so wonderful because your blood work looks good, even your hemoglobin went up!” This is fantastic Lord! I decided it was best to remain in bed and say a “hallelujah praise” to avoid elevating my blood pressure from the excessive dancing.
Just lying there, taking it easy, it suddenly hit me, “Oh no! Babe, we forgot to apply the numbing cream to my port!” Inquiring from Eli if we still had enough time to do it, she told us we could still put it on as she waited for the meds to arrive.
Popping in to visit me at my request was my hubby’s assistant Duarte.
It was such a blessing having another man of God standing alongside my husband to lay hands on me to pray. Duarte’s prayer was so powerful and moving. What I was so thankful for was that He not only prayed for healing and for my husband, but most importantly, inviting Christ to show His presence in the room as I went through the whole infusion process. Duarte calling upon our Savior, inviting His presence to be made known, is a true reminder that God is a very present help in time of need. When God is in the picture, the lighting is perfect!
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble.
“Ouch!” I silently said aloud in my mind as Eli told me on the count of three to take a deep breath. I felt the needle as it snapped to the port. I needed just a little more time for the numbing cream to take effect.
As she covered the area with bandage, she lovingly rubbed my arm and told me that she was happy that I was doing so well. She went on to say how wonderful the power of prayer is. I immediately chimed in with, “Oh yes it is and God certainly has been watching over me.” She wanted me to know that she is definitely praying for everything to go well.
I can’t help but think that God has definitely hand-picked my caretakers. When we accept that God knows our every thought before it becomes an impression in our mind, our every need before we desire them, our every word without uttering a sound, and our every response before our body makes a motion, then we can resist trying to conceal who we are from an all-knowing God.
You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from my spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
If I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
I was fighting to stay awake, trying to wait for my husband to return to the room after walking Duarte downstairs. I was determined that I would not fall asleep because I wanted to stay awake and talk to him. When I shared with him my plans of talking him to death, he encouraged me to close my eyes and go to sleep. 🙂 I wanted to talk, but he had work to do.
My sweet husband was juggling getting his work done, plus being by my side every step of the way. He showed me that it wasn’t my fight, but rather a fight WE would do together. God knows what we need without us even saying a word!
As my eyes caught a glimpse of his stack of invoices he had to approve, I quickly gave in to the heaviness of my eyelids and my mind wandered off into a restful sleep.
Six hours later, my eyes opened to see my husband sitting in the chair looking at me. “You are gonna be done early today,” he said.
Wow, I realized I had slept through the entire infusion. In a few minutes the chemo would be over and I only had to wait thirty minutes more so that Eli could obtain more blood for the clinical trial. It was really nice being able to finish up early and not being the last patient to leave.
Jesus Christ is Our Way Maker- Yesterday, Today, and Forevermore ….
During the ride home, I couldn’t help but reflect on the lives of numerous people in the bible and how God made a way for them even when their circumstances seemed hopeless. I could see how God made a way for me from the moment I arrived at Baptist to the successful completion of my infusion and how He will continue to in the days and weeks ahead. When we are faithful, we can trust God to map out the way for us.
All throughout the Bible God gives strength to the weak
Fighting their battles, to avoid experiencing defeat
Facing challenges they couldn’t win on their own
He gave victory to a young boy with the use of a stone
Believing that He will deliver the Israelites out of their troubles
Afflictions they faced in not trusting, experiencing struggles
God’s power is greater than any attacks and afflictions
Wait upon the Lord and stand firm on His Word to avoid contradictions
At the end of the fight, experience victory and benediction
Jesus, the Way Maker… our One direction
God was Jonah’s Way Maker….
God sent Jonah to Nineveh to warn the people of their ways
Instead he decided to board a ship to Tarshish but he was amazed
With the sea in an uproar, the captain awoke Jonah who was still in a daze
Throwing him overboard were the sailors’ only craze
They lifted and tossed him in the depths of the sea
All along praying for forgiveness were their plea
God was making a WAY for Jonah as he was about to drown
Faced by the mouth of an open fish was the only help around
Consumed by the fish, in the belly he would stay
Residing there for three days, Jonah had time to think and pray
God’s command to go to Nineveh he decided to obey
He went to preach God’s Word and believing it, the people didn’t go astray
They trusted God, asking for forgiveness from their wicked ways
God was Samson’s Way Maker….
God spoke to Manoah’s wife of the special baby she would bore
Seeking guidance of how to raise this child, to God the parents implored
Not to eat and drink certain foods the Angel warned with conviction
His hair must never be cut was also a restriction
This child would one day grow up to lead Israel as their judge
They left God out their lives and the Philistines were their grudge
But the Israelites prayed and God heard their cry
Manoah’s wife had a baby boy she named Samson, soon they’d understood why
Samson began to grow in stature and strength
He killed a young lion with his bare hands at arm’s length
Samson was told never to share the secret of his power
The moment he confided in Delilah, the Philistines would devour
They shaved off his hair in the final hour
In his sleep, they attacked and plucked out his eyes
Only to praise their god, they plotted Samson’s demise
Standing between two pillars, he prayed asking God to let his strength be restored
Temple walls came crashing; death of the Philistines was his score
God made a WAY, Samson couldn’t ask for more
God was Gideon’s Way Maker….
The Israelites made it to the Promised Land not keeping God by their side
Worshipping the idol Baal, in God they refused to abide
Part of their punishment they were confined to caves
The Midianites swept over their land, their crops they couldn’t save
Yet a brave man named Gideon experienced God’s grace
He went out and grew wheat in a secret place
Using a hidden winepress under a tree
In secret, he threshed the grain so no one would see
Sending a message with an Angel was God’s decree
Instructing him to destroy the image of their false god into debris
He was to build an altar to the true God above
But Gideon feared his countrymen would not show him love
God wanted Gideon to lead an army against his adversary
Out of fear he asked God for a sign, so he tarried
Despite his lack of trust, God gave him the sign he needed
Asking God to prove His faithfulness, again he pleaded
Gideon had the confirmation from God, so he was ready to fight
With 32,000 men, God decreased to 300 to show His might
This battle is His and He alone will save Israel from their plight
Surrounding the Midianites’ army with a plan of a night attack
Each soldier equipped with a trumpet, empty pitchers with torches, they came packed
In great commotion, their shouts and smashing of the pitchers put the Midianites in confusion
Instead of fighting back, they ran away in disillusion
God showed Gideon the WAY to victory through his invasion
God IS Patrice’s Way Maker….
The next battle is still to be won
God will defeat this Ovarian Cancer and it will be gone
The diagnosis placed me at a Stage III
Challenges might be inevitable only my God foresees
With three rounds of chemo, possibly pain to some degree
Side effects either reversible or permanently
No need to worry, God promises never to forsake me
His grace is sufficient in my weakness, which is the key
So this is a glimpse of how God will make a WAY for Patrice
Trusting, praying, and praising Him, she will never cease
Knowing God will fight her battles, brings her endless peace
He will heal and cure her of this senseless disease
Is there a Giant in your way?
Just continue to PRAY! PRAY! PRAY!
God is our WAY Maker, Miracle Worker, Promise Keeper, Light in the darkness
My God, that is who You are
When We Can’t See Ahead…God Illuminates the Way…
It’s now eight days post chemo and I know without a doubt that if I wasn’t seeking God every single day for His provisions, I would not be able to function without experiencing side effects from the chemo. I have felt sensations in my joints and muscles and flu-like symptoms of a runny nose, however, I waste no time in asking Christ to restore my health and make me whole again.
Like a child who desperately desires to be rewarded by her daddy, this is no different from the way I approach my Heavenly Father, telling Him what I need. The beautiful thing is, just like a loving daddy listens attentively to his child, so does our Heavenly Father. Just remember that when you approach Him, that He rewards the faithful. It’s difficult to pray with conviction when you don’t believe He is able and the rewarder of good things.
On July 18th I will have another CT Scan. This scan will be compared to the first CT Scan that was done in March. If the results of this scan shows a noticeable difference from the first, a determination will be made to proceed with the Laparoscopy. Based on how much the cancer has diminished, a complete hysterectomy will follow immediately.
Because I know my God to be my Way Maker, I will trust Him that He will make this surgery possible according to His Will.
Heavenly Father, Lord, thank You for Your Word that promises that You will make a way for us. We trust that even when our circumstances appear hopeless, You are the light that illuminates in our darkness. Lord, let us be reminded that You are able to make a way out of no way because You are omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. I thank You that we are always in Your reach, and You always make Yourself accessible and available to us. I thank You that through the cross and Your Son, Jesus Christ, we have free access to communicate with You directly. Let us not doubt Your love for us, and instead be reminded that there is no problem too difficult for You to handle. As hopeless as our situation might seem, we can trust that You are in control. Thank You Father, that there is victory in Your name because You Oh Lord, is our Way Maker, Miracle Worker, Promise Keeper, and our Light in the darkness.