Today’s blog is impossible to write. It is deeply personal and incredibly emotional to me. On top of that I’m writing about something which really has no appropriate words to go with it. All I can say is please bear with me here.
I began reading the devotional book Jesus Calling by Sarah Young in 2010. I distinctly remember it was May of that year. People had been recommending it to me. I just hadn’t taken the time to research it or buy a copy. It was my mom who was the tipping point. My mom (since then diagnosed with Alzheimer’s) never once had recommended a spiritual book to me. But in May 2010 she brought me a note which she fished out of her purse, a scribbled corner of a piece of paper with the words Jesus Calling on it. She said her friend Bobby Jo suggested I read it. Bobby Jo was my mom’s long time shopping buddy and teacher friend who also has now been diagnoses with Alzheimer’s. My mom and Bobby Jo excelled at fun chatter, shopping excessively for things they did not need and educating children. For the two of them to manage to get me a book recommendation was stunning to say the least. I purchased Jesus Calling the next day.
I have a theological education. I know some things about the Bible, theological concepts and scriptural interpretation. Sometimes a seminary education causes some of us to be a bit snooty in how we look at other spiritual/Biblical materials. The way this book is written, with Sarah Young imagining what Jesus might say to us, intermingled with scripture, in short daily snippets just power punched me by bringing the message home every day in a personal way. It’s power caused me to lose my snootiness and I stopped judging it and just experienced it.
I have been reading Jesus Calling daily, over and over for 9 years. I always write the year, right there in my book and I write what is happening. My book has become a mini-journal of the last decade.
On August 20, 2011 I read Jesus Calling as usual. I did not know that morning what would happen later that day. It actually was a full year later when I read the entry again with sudden and profound Holy Hindsight.
In the evening on August 20, 2011, I found a life changing lump in my breast. On that day it wasn’t a big deal. It only became a big deal with a malignant diagnoses and all that would follow in the days, weeks and years ahead.
It was only in 2012 that I put it all together that I had been equipped, resourced and provided for well in advance by God’s Word through Jesus Calling in my lap in a way I could hear, digest and understand.
I still cannot read today’s entry without weeping in awe, wonder, gratitude and humble joy. The journey of healing God provided for me began way before I knew I would need it. It would take me through a close friend and colleague’s death, church ups and downs, breast cancer and five years of treatment, a badly timed broken bone and a healing of my spirit, emotions and body which continues to this day through yoga, exercise, spiritual disciplines, changing my work life, keto eating and a multitude of unspeakably joyful moments in our family and in my friendship circles.
In my Jesus Calling book, on the devotional page for August 20, at the top of the page, I have scrawled 2011-Found Lump. Right after that the devotional begins, I am a God who heals. I heal broken bodies, broken minds, broken hearts, broken lives , and broken relationships. The first six words are all I have to read to begin weeping in gratitude with Holy Hindsight about what God did in my life before I ever even knew I was broken.
Later it says Your part is to trust Me fully and to thank Me for the restoration that has begun.
As people of faith we are called to see things that are invisible. We are called to listen for truths that do not always arrive in spoken words. We are called to claim healings that are only beginning. We are to trust in what Richard Rohr in The Naked Now calls hidden, mysterious or unseen things, staying in a constant open and holding pattern which we call faith.
What God healed in me is so much more than cancer. It took an excruciatingly long period of time and is not over yet. When I really look at what I’m trying to write about it is almost to bright to see. I sometimes have to look away. Words do not cover it. Tears baptize it and awe oozes from it. That is all I know.
I’m wondering today what needs healing in your life? How can you prepare ahead of time for brokenness yet to come? Who’s trying to give you God’s Word before you even need it? How grateful can you manage to be in advance? What healing do you need to look back on with Holy Hindsight and give God your weeping thanks?
Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor, wife, mother of three, Mimosa to Keller and Pace and breast cancer survivor.
P.S. if you have not joined the Inner Circle please sign up today at http://www.drcindyryanblog.com/circle. You will receive monthly content I write only for you. September’s email is about to come your way with my Top Ten List for Grandparents. I also share there some personal information and prayer requests plus I have a question for those of you in the Inner Circle. Sign up by August 31 to receive the September email.
Also tickets just went on sale yesterday for a Women’s Event at First United Methodist Grapevine scheduled for October 19, 2019. It is a Saturday afternoon event 2-4 p.m. where I’ll be sharing What I Want Women to Know. Tickets are $20, proceeds go to future women’s ministries so I know all of you are invited. We usually laugh hysterically, cry just a little and leave inspired from these events. Sometimes amazingly these events sell out so don’t wait. Some women have already purchased whole tables of eight and will invite all their women loves to sit with them and have a great time. They have advertised this event as being for women age 16 to 116. I think we should have a contest and see whether we draw more 16 year olds or 116 year olds. http://www.firstmethodistgrapevine.org/afternoonwithCindy