In 18 years of fighting cancer Ansley had never been in ICU. That all changed February 17, 2017.
Ansley had recently begun a new treatment and had been complaining that it felt like something was stuck in her throat. She’d also developed a stubborn cough as well. On February 17, 2017 she was admitted to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. She’d had a couple of her friends visit her that day and was being monitored by the nurse and the respiratory team. She was given several doses of different meds throughout the day and nebulized morphine in an effort to ease her cough, her anxiousness and help her breathe easier.
Ansley had been fighting Neuroblastoma since she was a toddler and rarely let it change the course of her day if she could help it. She was always a trooper, a fighter, someone that didn’t want to be left out, slowed down or defined by her cancer. Tenacity is explained as a “quality displayed by someone who just won’t quit-someone who keeps trying until they reach their goal.” That was Ansley. Because of that, I don’t think she ever let us fully know how bad she felt at times but as we quickly learned, she was very sick and would become much sicker over the next 15 months.
As the afternoon passed and despite being given various meds during the day, her cough continued to worsen, her oxygen levels were unsteady and the combination of meds and circumstances were making her very agitated. That only prompted more meds to be administered which affected her breathing, her state of mind, her oxygen levels and her consciousness. We were in a vicious downward spiral that we didn’t fully understand at the time.
Late that evening, Ansley seemed to have relaxed enough to doze off. Her Dad and I secured her oxygen mask and alerted her nurse that we were stepping out briefly to grab something from the cafeteria before they closed for the night. Minutes later on our way back to her room, we got the call. Ansley woke up agitated, panicked and was in distress and we needed to get there quickly. I can’t explain the sheer terror and overwhelming panic that completely overtook us. Four years later, thoughts from this night still cause anxiety and make tears flow.
We reached her room and knew immediately she was in serious trouble. Ansley wasn’t Ansley. Her eyes were blank, she was extremely upset, wouldn’t listen to her Dad or me and wouldn’t keep her oxygen mask on. All efforts to calm her only increased her struggle, made her breathing more labored and her oxygen plummet. It was a chaotic and frightening. The next few minutes seemed surreal. I told myself this wasn’t happening. Adrenaline was taking over. We’d never experienced anything close to this in 18 years.
Then she coded. I knew code blue usually means there is an extreme medical emergency, usually cardiac or respiratory arrest and life is in immediate danger. We heard the call go out over the hospital intercom and it was as if the floor was pounding underneath my feet. Doors flew open and the hall instantly filled with people running and equipment being rushed in. Minutes passed and Ansley wasn’t responding so we were ushered out to a stairwell while Ansley was being worked on and frantically wheeled towards an elevator in the other direction on her way to ICU.
As soon as we reached the ICU floor, we heard a nurse calling down the hall “Mom, Mom, Is that you, Mom? Ansley is awake and asking for you and Dad.” We ran into her room and there she was, propped up in her bed, aggravated but alert and talking. Her first words to us left no doubt that what she experienced during that code had impacted her drastically. This was the first of many times she would code in the months to come.
Ansley was put on a respirator to breathe and sedated to help her remain calm and for the discomfort. For most of the next 2 weeks or so, she lived on the respirator not conscious enough to know what was happening or what was being done to keep her stable and alive. What transpired over the weeks she remained inpatient was a series of setbacks, small improvements, a lot of prayer and tears, scary conversations and some grim realities.
Focus eventually turned to how and when to try and get her off the respirator and her survive it. At this point, Ansley was awake some throughout the days, sitting, standing and moving around with her long, white respirator tube following her. It was also during this time, she met and fell in love with Tidings, the resident ICU golden doodle. She and Ty spent many visits together and Ansley always looked forward to him making his rounds. None of this distracted her very long from the irritation of the tube stuck down her throat and many days, her hands were restrained so she wouldn’t try to pull it out unknowingly while sedated or out of frustration while awake. In true Ansley fashion, she didn’t wait for someone to decide how and when and she extubated herself in the wee hours one morning sending her Dad into a panic and a lot of very concerned intensive care providers scrambling to her room.
She was discharged by mid March but the events that had taken place shaped the rest of her life. Ansley was a different person. Her thoughts, priorities and health had changed. Her faith deepened and she had a peacefulness that remained in her until she passed away almost 15 months later.
I have a daily devotional and often look up dates when meaningful things have taken place in the past to see if the scripture reflects the significance of those past events. I’m usually dismayed at the correlation between the two and how relevant the verses will be. Todays is 2 Corinthians 5:17 that says “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
Ansley was “in Christ” long before February 17, 2017. She had been baptized and given her life over to Christ many years prior to that Friday night in February but that scripture is so appropriate for the things that took place that night and the following weeks four years ago. The old Ansley, the old way of life, the old way of thinking was gone and the new Ansley was here. She was focused, peaceful, thoughtful in all she did, always smiling, creative, beautiful inside and out and studied the word of God and told as many people about Him as would listen. Ansley was living with purpose and she changed lives with her life and in her death. We miss her desperately. Her foundation, The Ansley Foundation, ensures that she continues to touch lives and make a difference.
The Bible says to “…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
I’m going to be very honest and admit that this year has picked a pretty gnarly fight with me (as I’m sure y’all have caught on to by now). I’d also like to point out that, and not to toot my own horn buuuuut, I’m definitely coming out on top (WOO)! Just to catch you up to speed, I’ll give you a little timeline.
February meant the beginning of living in the PICU for 3 weeks (shout out to my incredible squad of nurses and therapists). March meant waking up and being told by a complete stranger that I would never eat anything (ever again…), only to pass a swallow test 4 days days later and prove her wrong (HA – HA! In your face, “nameless ICU Dr”!!!!)! July and August meant multiple esophageal manometries (I recommend NOT being awake for this) and esophagus dilations to try and make eating easier (no, they were not successful). September meant gold bows everywhere for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and remembering and honoring all of my sweet friends who also struggle with childhood cancer (missin’ you forever, Sarah Sunshine and rock ‘n’ roll Brayden!!). October was volunteering to get a very low profile g-tube style feeding tube (bet y’all didn’t know that one) so that I could stop forcing myself to eat just to get some calories in (I was down to 53 pounds) and start eating for fun again. October was also the month of being diagnosed with symptoms of depression and dealing with that in my own way (which obviously everyone has to treat this differently but I decided not to take any anti-depressants and so far, I’m more myself today than I have been since before I landed in the ICU – YAYYYY).
So, here we are on the tail-end of November. Every one of us caught up in life and that same stressed out, anxiety-ridden version of gratefulness that always comes around during the holidays and we’re all screaming inside of our heads, “WHERE DID THE YEAR GO?!”
My answer to this is: on.
I keep looking back at this year and it’s like watching slow motion videos of myself tripping flat out on my face ovvveerrr and ooovveeerr again. But- I keep getting back up.
All year long, I have been dealt one bad hand after another, and every single one has kicked me flat on to my butt. But, after every single butt-kicking, somehow, something incredible came out of it. I don’t always realize right away what the blessing is, but even after all the crying and screaming and being mad at and begging and praying to God, I always ended with thanking Him. Because by the end of my infant-in-a-beauty-pageant style rant, it would finally occur to me that I wasn’t stopping to think about how blessed I am, and that I was completely neglecting all the situations in the world worse than mine, equal to mine, or less than mine. I was neglecting my ability to see past anything but myself, all. No, I’m not implying that getting upset and crying out to God and begging Him or even getting angry at Him is wrong. Obviously you have to grieve somehow, but I think in today’s society we’ve been taught to think “me, me me!!!!” “What do I want?” “Why did this happen to ME??”
Well, here’s the newsflash that’s been front page news every single day for our entire lives and everyone’s lives before us: IT’S NOT ABOUT US! IT IS ABOUT OUR LORD! We forget so easily that when we go through seasons of life where we feel like we are just beat into the ground, that all of this happening to us and around is so Jesus can shape and mend us into who we are supposed to be and into who we are as a Child of God. That, in itself, is a blessing of its own. All of these terrible, awful seasons will always have a point of healing or a reward that we don’t deserve because our God is a loving, faithful God and we can’t even remember to thank Him for waking us up every morning. That doesn’t even touch the amazing things that will happen in these seasons! Babies will be born! People will get married! Lives will be saved! People will graduate college! Soldiers will come home to their families! But, in case I haven’t sold you on the fact that there are better things to come, I want to revisit all the awful seasons I went through this year.
February meant carrying on with my New Years resolution to stop cussing and just straighten out my life, still training (and completely obsessing over) my still new (at the time) puppy, and it turns out adopting him was the best decision I’ve EVER made!! March meant getting out of the hospital after the ICU stay and, more importantly, realizing that in deciding to walk the straight and narrow path, I was not walking it alone. This was very much a realization that Jesus was walking with me (what a wonderful, beautiful, perfect name it is)! July and August was living the last half of a very laid back summer that I spent much of just finding myself… getting involved with my church group, getting more into church, diving into The Bible, justing finding who I am in Christ more than I ever knew before (it was a really lonely summer sometimes but it was a really happy summer). September was glittering gold bows tied on every tree and mailbox on the roads I drive most to remind me that the people around me are always around me (thank you for the support) and celebrating the big 2-1 with the best friends and family and online shopping allllllll month long (okay so I do this every month – I admit, I have a problem whoops)!! October was a surprise trip Nashville for my birthday (we won’t go into details but long story short – we got jipped and have to go back to make up for it) and spending a lot of much needed time at home, doing things I love (which I’m a home body so if you know me, hanging out with my blankets and pillows all day is toootally fine by me)!
So, here we are back at the tail end of November. It’s been full of so much of my family… more than any other year. I’ve spent so much time with Jesus and my family this year, and I am the happiest I’ve ever been. I’m looking back at this year up until this point, just lie everyone else, and thinking “where did the time go?” It’s been an exhausting year, and honestly if you walk into our house at any given point right now, you’ll find at least 1 out of 3 of us completely passed out either on a couch or a bed from lack of sleep or too early mornings.
The toughest, most trying year of my life.
And I am thankful, even so.
This post is one I’ve really fought back and forth with myself about publishing because when I got the idea for it, I knew exactly how I wanted to do it. But it was so far out of my comfort zone that I’ve tried to talk myself out of it ever since the idea came to me, but the daredevil side of me won and I’m doing it anyways.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Most of you will know exactly why this is important for me, but for those of you who don’t, I will give you a very brief summary of what September means to me.
At two years old, I was diagnosed with a form of childhood cancer called Neuroblastoma and have had a rough battle with it off and on ever since (but mostly on). This means almost nineteen years of my life has been dedicated to fighting this deadly disease, and I’m one of the lucky ones. Nineteen years of surgeries, biopsies, blood transplants, emergency room visits, inpatient treatments, outpatient treatments, fundraisers, smiles, tears, miracles, and prayers. I’ve watched God single-handedly move every mountain out of my way and I’ve kept on. So in honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, I want to motivate more people to donate to research so children just like me (even though I’m no longer a child), can grow up to live their dreams. So that children like me can just grow up.
Here’s the part thats going to kick me right out of my comfort zone and parade my dirty little secrets right out front with glaring spotlights… I’m going to give you a real glimpse of what childhood cancer looks like, through my eyes, through pictures. Say goodbye to the glamorous wigs I’ve tricked you all into thinking is real, the false eyelashes, and the drawn on eyebrows and take a look at what childhood cancer REALLY looks like.
1 in 300 boys and 1 in 333 girls are affected by childhood cancer.
46 kids in the United States will be told they have childhood cancer today.
50,000 kids in the U.S. are fighting their fight from hospital beds.
There are more than 300,000 cases diagnosed globally each year.
60% of kids suffer late term effects such as infertility, heart failure, secondary cancer, etc (for me right now, this means esophageal webbing and dysphasia but could mean more late term effects in the future).
In the past 20 years, only THREE treatments have been developed and approved by the FDA for pediatric use.
Childhood cancer is the #1 cause of death by disease in children (yes, that’s really me under all that).
Only 4% of the national cancer institute’s budget is used for pediatric cancer research funding. We are more than 4.
One in five kids diagnosed with pediatric cancer won’t survive.
So, look at the blissfully happy pictures I upload when I look the way I want people to see me and think of me and remember that’s the real me, those moments are so real. But those moments have been fought for tooth and nail, everyday is another day to wake up and fight. But my God reminds me, “if you have you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain ‘move’ from here to there, and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20
When I look back on the past 21 years of my life, I see more good than bad. I remember more laughs than I do tears and I remember a lot of prayers that were answered by an incredible, sovereign God. I am grateful for this story to tell because of the people I’ve met, the things it has taught me (that’s a blog post for another day), and the relationships I’ve built because I have childhood cancer.
I pray You make me healthy, but until then, I pray You use my circumstances for Your glory.
In Jesus’ name I pray,
©The Ansley Foundation
To put more smiles on the face of a kid with childhood cancer, donate to Blue SkiesMinistries at WhereSkiesAreBlue.org and give a cancer patient and their family a free trip to the beach full of laughter and memories.
To help save more lives and donate money to research for a cure to childhood cancer, donate to CURE Childhood Cancer at curechildhoodcancer.thankyou4caring.org.
To support a place thats kept a smile on the faces of a million kids during their cancer treatments, including me, donate to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at give.choa.org.
I’ve had writers block for what seems like months and months. But something keeps popping up in my mind over and over again; Have you ever thought about how far out of our means we live?
This is something that used to never bother me but a few months ago I listened to Radical by David Platt and he tells this story about a man who, no matter how much his salary increased, he capped his lifestyle at $20,000. The money he had leftover, he gave back. Whether it was to his community, to his local churches, to fund mission trips, or to charity… he gave every penny over $20,000 back. What an incredible, giving way to live. It’s really the way we’re supposed to live but somewhere along the way, we started to want more and more for ourselves. I used to never think about the amount of unnecessary stuff we all have and let’s be honest… I’m no stranger to some online shopping (I’m working on that), but the world has a serious greed problem. The problem is that everyone believes that all this money we have is ours, and it’s not. It’s God’s. If you’re keeping for yourself, you’re stealing from God because even if you worked hard for that money, there is nothing in this world you can accomplish without God.
In this book (which honestly changed my life), he explains why some of us are so blessed, and then why there’s still people living in countries across the world and they have nothing. Why doesn’t God bless them with as much as we have? The reason we have so much is because we are supposed to use our resources to giveback.Christians today have gotten comfortable in using the phrase “I wasn’t called to mission.” Actually you’re right, you weren’t called, you were commanded to. One of the things we are commanded to do as Christians is to go among the nations and spread the gospel. What good are we doing to spread the gospel by just going to church on Sundays, and having bible studies in our homes? We need to be getting out there and reaching people! I’m not saying you have to go to Nicaragua or to Haiti or anywhere out of the country for that matter, because that’s not something everyone is able to do (me, for example). But you don’t have to go that far to reach the lost. There are lost people right in your city, your state, your own community.
This has been the hardest habit for me to break, is not spending so much on me and giving back more to those who need it. Stop cussing? No problem… No getting drunk? Easy… but no shopping?? Not so easy! Not to say I don’t give back but I know I could be doing much more, I know I’m not perfect. But I’m also not blind to what is going on around me. Who are we to turn our noses up at the homeless man on our streets? We should be giving back to him, not avoiding him. God created us all completely equal in His eyes so who am I to develop this idea that I’m more deserving than anyone else? You do not get to choose the circumstances of life that you’re born into. I was blessed to be born into a financially stable family and I live in a gated neighborhood and in a nice home. I drive a reliable, nice car that my parents were gracious enough to provide for me. But that doesn’t mean I am any better than someone who was born into a life with a single parent that struggles financially or has a drug addiction. That doesn’t mean I’m any better than the prostitutes or the drunks or the thieves or the less fortunate of this world. Somewhere along the line, they were either born into these circumstances or something happened to get them there. While there are some things you can change, sometimes it takes some help from others and I think as Christians, we should be that help.
Christians are a loving people and it’s time we earn that reputation back. Be a servant for our Lord and let His light shine through you. In my bible study this past Thursday, we talked about how God is the Potter and we are the clay, He is molding us everyday into the perfect vessel He wants us to be. Let Him. Go be that perfect vessel and let Him use you for His glory and His righteousness. Listen to Him when He says to love each other. Show love to every single person you meet and see God in their eyes because the same God that created you, created them too.
So, the point of this blog post is to sort of challenge you (just as I’m challenging myself). The challenge is to start each day with a giving heart and use all your blessings as a way to bless someone else and reach the lost, even if it’s in your own community. Make a disciple out of yourself and let the Lord use you to help other people find salvation.
Dear Heavenly Father,
I pray that people see You through me. I pray You use me as a vessel to do the good work and speak the gospel. I pray You use me to reach the lost and the broken and show them that there is salvation and a new life waiting on them, that it is never too late to start over. I pray I can be a light for You and that people see love in everything I do. I pray I speak graciously to everyone and I see You in the eyes of everyone I meet. I pray You clear my heart of anything that breaks Yours.
In the name of our Lord and Savior,
©The Ansley Foundation
Ephesians 4:22-23 (NLT) says, “throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.”
I’ve noticed recently a lot of “lukewarm” christians. Let me explain what I mean by that. I mean the ones who go to Church Sunday morning but spent their Friday and Saturday nights drinking and cursing. I mean the ones with the high standards about the next person they date but are willing to lay down with a total stranger. The ones who can hear God calling but just can’t seem to separate their flesh from their faith. The ones who don’t know how to make a conversation that isn’t about another person. The ones who perceive them selves as devoted Christ followers on social media but live a life of sin in the background. The ones who only pray when they need a miracle or treat prayer like a joke. I recognize them because I’ve been them. This will come as no surprise to some of you but, I used to be to be no stranger to a party. I didn’t hesitate to let a cuss word come spewing out of my mouth. I was the girl that would speak or do things without giving a second thought about how it would make anyone else feel. I thought I was cool and I thought I fit in where I was.
Then one day, something in me changed. I started to feel bad being in these conversations where we were talking ugly about people. I no longer wanted to stay out until all hours of the night, I just wanted my own bed. I felt dirty for saying a curse word. I felt God calling me and I wanted to answer.
I am desperately begging you, to stop being “lukewarm” christians. Jump all the way in!! I finally let God change my heart and I wouldn’t go back for anything. I get invited to things a lot less often, for awhile there I didn’t have any friends I felt comfortable around, I spent a lot of nights at home just watching Netflix by myself or with my mom. Most of my plans were made to have lunch with my dad or hang out with my sister. I didn’t have a lot of friends but I would tell myself, “I have Jesus. So I have everything.”
One of the prayers I pray the most is for people to see Christ through me. Let me ask you this, am I embodying Christ if I am cursing, drinking, sleeping around? No. This is not Christ-like behavior. If you want people to follow in your footsteps, you must give them admirable foot steps to follow in. The reason you do these things is because you’re searching for happiness in all the wrong places, whereas real pure happiness can only be found through Christ. I’m not in any way saying I’m perfect or to follow in my footsteps. I’m far from perfect and I don’t want you to follow in my footsteps. I want you to follow in Christ’s footsteps.
Stop preaching the gospel and then turning around and spending your Friday night drunk, or dropping the F bomb in your next conversation or engaging in meaningless sexual immorality (Ladies, if a man is asking you to engage in these activities, he is not the man God has sent to you because he does not fear God…this goes for you too, gentleman). Or maybe you’re not preaching the gospel at all and you’re living your life this way, this is for you too. Start preaching the gospel through the way you live your life. Be kind to people, to everyone you meet. Take that $20 for your nails and put it in the bucket at church. Start a conversation with a random person and end it with, “hey is there any way I can pray for you?” (You would be surprised how many people take you up on this). Let people learn by just watching you live your life. It’s contagious. For example, when I first felt this change in my heart I had to distance myself from certain people to isolate myself from any temptations. This meant that I spent a lot of time hanging out by myself and I got very, very lonely and it was hard. When I said I was going to stop cussing, I stopped listening to rap music. I no longer watch really vulgur sex scenes in movies (I’m looking at you, Fifty Shades). I don’t dress to look “hot”. I dress modestly because I learned that if I’m dressing or presenting myself in a way that might cause another brother or sister in Christ to sin by lusting after me, then I’m sinning too. There was a period of time where I basically isolated myself from my old friends and certain parts of the world so that I could work on myself. And at first, I think people thought I was doing it for attention. “No one just wakes up one day and all of a sudden doesn’t curse or drink or sleep around and actually means it, that’s just crazy!” It was crazy, but I felt called to do it and I did.
So… slowly, people noticed I wasn’t going anywhere. I started getting comments like “you seem really happy”, or “I really like all your tweets and posts about God”. I started to get people texting me and asking me to just pray for them or send them a scripture I thought they needed to hear . I was getting these opportunities put in front of me to minister to people and try to bring more people to Christ. My girls in my bible study group became my best friends and my prayer warriors (I prayed for so long for Godly friends and He blessed me with so much more. I have a family there). Almost everyday I hear a story or a testimony that just humbles me and reminds me I serve such a mighty God.
I am begging you, stop living this life of sin. God promises us so, SO much more than you could ever find at the bottom of a bottle or in someone else’s bed. Let Him in. Let Him change your heart. There is a loving God just waiting for you to accept him into your heart. What are you waiting on?
©The Ansley Foundation
I have been having an incredibly hard time.
With my esophagus, with my eating, and with coming to terms with it all. I have been praying and praying that Jesus would heal me in His due timing (but please make it fast because I really miss food)!! So, the other night as I’m doing my daily devotional for my bible study group, it told me to ask Jesus to give me an answer through The Word. So, I closed my eyes. And I prayed.
“Dear Lord, You know what is weighing on my heart the heaviest. I pray that when I open my eyes, the first scripture You reveal to me will bring me some peace and some reassurance in Your timing. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
With my eyes still closed, I turned into a random page in my bible and opened my eyes. The very first scripture He revealed to me was Matthew 8:1-4, which reads: “Jesus came down the mountain with the cheers of the crowd still ringing in His ears. Then a leper appeared and went to his knees before Jesus and, praying, ‘Master, if You want to, You can heal my body.’ Jesus reached out and touched him, saying, ‘I want to. Be clean.’ Then and there, all signs of leprosy were gone. Jesus said, ‘Don’t talk about this all over town. Just quietly present your healed body to the priest, along with the appropriate expressions of thanks to God. Your cleaned and grateful life, not your words, will bear witness to what I have done.”
Y’all… only God.
Friends, brothers, and sisters in Christ… I have not yet been healed but this little bit of reassurance from God brought so much peace to something that has weighed so, so heavy on my heart. If I ask that you take away anything at all from this story, I want it to be only God. I want you to trust that only God can lift these mountains sitting on your heart. There is NOTHING you can’t give to God that He will not fix in His own timing and in a way that He sees fit.
The past six (almost seven) months of my life have been an absolute rollercoaster. I have had death dangled in front of my face, only to wake up almost perfectly fine. I have extubated myself at 4 a.m. on a Monday in the PICU at Children’s Hospital at Egleston. My parents were told not just once, but twice, that my condition was “unstable,” yet here I am. I had about 6 centimeters of impacted food removed from my esophagus only to discover that I have an esophageal web or “netting” that is really affecting my diet and my weight is constantly going up and down. I drink at least two Ensure Plus nutritional shakes a day because each one is 350 calories. I take at least two tablespoons of pure canola oil a day because each one is about 124 calories. I do this just to try and keep enough calories in my system. As of right now, I’m basically living off high calorie drinks, soups, mashed potatoes, ice cream, and occasionally chicken or pulled pork. I’m not telling you this for sympathy votes or advice. That’s actually the last thing I want to hear (because believe me, I’ve tried everything). I’m sharing this story to shed some light on what a mess the past seven months of my life have been.
I’ve been on an emotional and physical rollercoaster but one thing still remains: my unwaivering faith in Christ. In the past, I spent so much time trying to camouflage my situation. Wearing false lashes, wigs, and drawing on my eyebrows so I could keep it all my dirty little secret. I wouldn’t talk about it unless I was asked. I was afraid I wouldn’t fit in with my “pretty friends” anymore. I was afraid no man would love me if I “looked sick.” But, you know what? I’m done camouflaging who I am because I don’t fit in with my “pretty friends” anymore (this is no one’s fault, all my friends are incredible but they are all in a different season of life than I am). I’m not afraid of not finding love because I have all the love I need in Christ. Maybe it’s not even in God’s plan for me to get married but who cares?? Because I have the love of my life in Christ and He is fashioning me in His eye, whether it be for my future husband or just for me.
And I trust Him. I trust Him with my friends. I trust Him with who I may or may not marry. I trust Him with my cancer. I trust Him with my esophagus. I trust His timing. My prayer for all of you reading this right now is that you learn to trust Him, too. So I’d like to close out with this prayer:
I pray over every single precious person reading this right now. I pray they reveal to You whatever is heavy on their heart and they put all their faith in You and Your timing. I pray You surround them with all Your glory and blanket them with a sense of peace. I pray You heal us all in Your timing, whatever our struggles may be, and use our circumstances for Your benefit in the meantime.
In Jesus’ name,
“I hate those who worship worthless idols. I trust in the Lord. I will be glad and rejoice in Your unfailing love, for You have seen my troubles, and You care about the anguish of my soul. …I am scorned by all my enemies and despised by my neighbors-even my friends are afraid to come near me. …But I am trusting You, O Lord, saying, ‘You are my God!'” Psalms 31:6-14
“You have minds like a snake pit! How do you suppose what you say is worth anything when you are so foul-mouthed? It’s your heart, not the dictionary, that gives meaning to your words. A good person produces good deeds and words season after season. An evil person is a blight on the orchard. Let me tell you something: Every one of these careless words is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of Reckoning. Words are powerful; take them seriously. Words can be your salvation. Words can be your damnation.” Matthew 12:34
Okay, so I’m going to step on some toes here. People!! Watch your mouths!!! Hear me out… Living for Christ means He should be found in everything you do. How are you able to successfully minister to people if you cannot even break your own cursing habit? Now, don’t get me wrong, I used to have the very same cursing habit. I used to (and I often hear other people) justify my (or their) habit(s) with “it’s 20whatever, the world is different now. It’s not realistic to live that way.” Um… hello?? Where does it say this in the Bible?
I have loved Jesus my entire life. However, there is a difference in loving Jesus and living for Him. Wanting Him to come through every word and action. Wanting to embody Him. When I realized this change in my heart, one of the first changes I made (among other things) was my cursing habit. And let me tell you something… it was so easy. My passion and need to minister to people was much greater than my want to “fit in” or “sound cool” or whatever it is that gets us to develop these habits.
And it’s not just the words we use, but it’s what we talk about. I’m just not interested in talking about people or making ugly jokes. The words that spill out of your mouth are a direct representation of where your heart is. I don’t know about you, but I have no desire to be ministered to by someone that can’t hold a normal conversation without cursing or go a day without speaking ill about another child of God.
For me, breaking the actual habit was the easy part. I stopped listening to vulgar music and it happened like that. The hard part was getting laughed in the face when I told people “I stopped cursing.” When those people stop laughing and start listening, they’ll take it serious. If you can get people to listen, and I mean REALLY listen, you can get people to believe.
So, if you’ve made it to the end of this and I got you to listen, let me ask you this… where is your heart at?
“Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.” 1 Timothy 4:12
“The good man out of the good treasure of his heart will bring forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from which fills the heart.” Luke 6:45
“If anyone thinks himself to be religious and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless.” James 1:26