World Cancer Day

World Cancer Day, is the annual observance held on February 4 that is intended to increase global awareness of cancer. World Cancer Day originated in 2000 at the first World Summit Against Cancer, which was held in Paris. At this meeting, leaders of government agencies and cancer organizations from around the world signed the Charter of Paris Against Cancer, a document containing 10 articles that outlined a cooperative global commitment to improving the quality of life of cancer patients and to the continued investment in and advancement of cancer research, prevention, and treatment. Article X of the charter formally declared February 4 as World Cancer Day “so that each year, the Charter of Paris will be in the hearts and minds of people around the world.”

For twenty-one years, global residents have “observed” World Cancer Day, creating the trending hashtag #worldcancerday so survivors, families and healthcare workers can share their stories on social media.

“Cancer awareness has become exceedingly important in the 21st century. While there have been numerous advancements in the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of cancer—factors that should contribute to the decline of the disease—the number of new cancer cases diagnosed each year has globally continued to increase. There were 8.1 million new cases diagnosed in 1990, 10 million in 2000, 12.4 million in 2008, and 14.1 million in 2012. The number of annual deaths worldwide from cancer has also increased—from 5.2 million people in 1990 to 8.2 million people in 2012 to an estimated 9.6 million in 2018. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), if the incidence of cancer continues to grow at the reported rate, the number of deaths worldwide from cancer will increase to more than 16.3 million by 2040. However, also according to WHO, as many as 40 percent of deaths from cancer are preventable. As a result, raising awareness of cancer prevention has become a prominent goal of many cancer and health organizations around the world, and World Cancer Day has come to represent an annual reaffirmation of the importance of this goal.”

(Rogers, Kara. “World Cancer Day”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 17 Sep. 2020, https://www.britannica.com/topic/World-Cancer-Day. Accessed 4 February 2021.)

I am a two-time cancer survivor. I take no delight in saying that. I battled and endured the life-altering treatments, but in truth, I wish I had never had to go through it all in the first place! My fervent prayer is that no one ever has to be diagnosed with cancer in the future, and that it can be eradicated from the face of the earth forever!

We are so concerned with Covid-19 right now, but the tragic reality is that while we roll out a vaccination program to combat Covid, there is no such vaccine available for cancer. Research is ongoing, but even with all the technology at our fingertips, the causes and cure for cancer continues to allude us. Our world health and political leaders have for the last year showed a single-mindedness to combat Covid, and rightly so, given the voraciousness of the virus. This world-wide effort has resulted in a vaccine that has been approved in record time and administered in what will likely be in the millions of doses in a relatively short amount of time. That is impressive! However, the research and finding a cure for cancer seems to plod along in an almost snail-like pace in comparison. The fact remains that even though we mourn the tragic loss of life due to Covid, there will never be the same number of Covid deaths as the ones cancer claims globally each year.

I am doing my part to bring awareness to cancer prevention, research etc., by sharing my survival story through my writing and my journey walk with God. My faith has not been shaken. My personal story with cancer gives credit to all those people God placed in my life so I would not battle cancer alone. Healthcare workers, family, friends and prayer warriors stood with me. I am thriving because of them. God was and is my constant Companion and Source of strength; my refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble. (Psalm 46:1)

I pray that a cure for cancer in all its forms will be found so that my children, my grandchildren, and my great grandchildren will never have to face a cancer diagnosis in their lifetimes!

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January Blues

I entered another appointment on my calendar, and turned to my husband. “So far all our outings in January consist of medical appointments. Not a great way to start the New Year!” He laughed as I further lamented, “Is this a sign of old age setting in?”

My husband battled kidney stones over the Christmas break. Between his medications and mine, I am seeing an unwelcome trend emerging in this new season of life. We are in denial of course, but the fact remains, while our brains continue to think ourselves young, our bodies prove otherwise.

I’ve noticed that we spend a lot of time thinking and/or talking about our health. Whenever we talk to friends our age, we cannot sidestep conversations about a variety of aches and pains. Especially over the past year, we are hypersensitive to anything amiss that may be a Covid-related symptom. To tell the truth, I’m sick of it – literally!

Am I the only one?

Hands up everyone who is fed up with ANYTHING having to do with this pandemic? I am so done with news reports, Covid numbers, mask-wearing, vaccine shortages, lock-downs, restrictions, hand-washing and online everything! I’m sure the majority of my friends and family feel the same way as I do. I feel like I want to escape all of this, but there is nowhere to escape to.

And that’s the crux.

I am immersed in an uncontrollable situation, and no matter how much I want to change the circumstances, there is absolutely nothing I can do about it.

This morning I awakened feeling like it didn’t really matter if I stayed in bed for the day. I have no schedule, no pressing engagements, no projects that need attention. My house is dust free for the most part. I don’t feel a pressing urge to reclean or reorganize just for something to do. As I snuggled under the covers, and contemplated another quiet and uneventful day, much the same as the day before, I said out loud, “It is what it is.”

It is what it is.

I’ve been saying that a lot, but truly it sums up life right now. It is what it is. I cannot change a single thing about the Covid pandemic around me. I can’t change the fact I’ve battled cancer twice and I still have lingering side effects as a result of my latest battle. I can’t change the fact I’m aging. No matter how many cosmetics I put on my face, wrinkles refuse to be erased. Certainly, there are many things I can take control of, but for the most part, it is what it is and I have to accept it, like it or not.

Or do I?

I reluctantly pushed the covers aside and made my way to my prayer corner. This year, I am reading through Oswald Chambers, “My Utmost For His Highest” devotional again, and these words sprang out from the page at me:

“Consider the lilies of the field…” (Matthew 6:28). They grow where they are planted. Many of us refuse to grow where God plants us. Therefore, we don’t take root anywhere.” Oswald Chambers

“Consider the lilies of the field…”

In this long season, I have been completely uprooted. I have been relegated to the sidelines, so to speak, because of my compromised immunity, so everyday tasks are carried out by my husband who does almost all the shopping for us. I do not go into stores like I once did. Grocery shopping was a weekly outing, a task I actually complained about doing before, but now I miss. I used to thoroughly enjoy a day out just window shopping, but again, it is what it is.

Safety protocols and health restrictions have prevented me from attending in-person worship services. I enjoy the online services, but I miss my church family around me, gathered in corporate worship. I miss being involved. There are still opportunities for ministry, but I am reluctant to plug in again.

I miss seeing my children and grandchildren. We delivered some pancakes a couple of weeks ago to the kids, a quick drop off, but my heart broke when Paxton, four years old asked, “Grandma, is it safe to hug?” I can’t help feel like Covid has robbed us of a full year (so far) of building and nurturing relationships with one another. We hide behind masks of our own making…literally!!

“Jesus said if we would obey the life of God within us, He would look after all other things. Did Jesus Christ lie to us? Are we experiencing the “much more” He promised? If we are not, it is because we are not obeying the life God has given us and have cluttered our minds with confusing thoughts and worries. How much time have we wasted asking God senseless questions while we should be absolutely free to concentrate on our service to Him? Consecration is the act of continually separating myself from everything except that which God has appointed me to do. It is not a one-time experience but an ongoing process. Am I continually separating myself and looking to God every day of my life?” Oswald Chambers

It is a daunting challenge. How much time have I wasted asking God all those useless questions about why we are faced with Covid, restrictions, health challenges, etc. etc., rather than look for opportunities to serve Him in the midst of all this? God is in control, why do I doubt it? I have separated myself. Circumstances have uprooted me, but I have also willfully allowed myself to be uprooted.

I confess that I have not been experiencing the “much more” God has promised me lately. I don’t want to say “it is what it is”, and use that as an excuse to stay dormant. I am praying for God’s direction, and even today, He has answered by planting me here, writing. It is a simple act, but one I have neglected these many weeks.

It’s a small step, but a necessary one. I long to take root again!

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How Do I Respond?

Shock. Horror. Disgust. Only a few descriptions of how I felt as I watched the crowd of insurrectionists storm the capital in Washington, D.C. yesterday. I was watching history unfold, but I likened it to how I felt during 9-11, when the world changed literally overnight.

I’m a Canadian, but I am blessed with so many American friends who live in the U.S., work here in Canada, and some hold dual citizenship. After 9-11, I gathered with them at church to pray for their country. “God bless America” was uttered several times followed by “Amens”. We wept together. We lamented the loss of life and the changes that came about as a result of that horrific attack on American soil.

We are called to pray again. I won’t pretend to understand the political processes that happen in the United States. I know there is a great moral divide between the two ruling parties in the U.S.; similar divisions exist here in Canada. As I wrote in 2016, I have observed Christians against Christians making political determinations based on what they believe is best for their country while still upholding the Christian world view. We may agree wholeheartedly with the Christian perspective, but the division occurs when our political systems collide. Post modern thought pits us against one another, so having a differing opinion on political, social, or moral issues cannot be expressed without battle lines being drawn. We can no longer say, “I agree to disagree”, shake hands and remain friends. We’re either for or against. It’s either right or wrong. There is no compromise, no middle ground,…

…and Satan laughs at us.

Today, I am trying to figure out how I should respond as a Christian to what is happening in the world around me. We are still in the midst of a world-wide pandemic. There is much to cause me anxiety and worry. I don’t know what “normal” is anymore. Change is coming too fast in some ways, and slothfully slow in other ways. What is God wanting of me?

Scripture becomes my lifeline in times of great uncertainty and calamity.

I must PRAY!

2 Chronicles 7:14  “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

1 Timothy 2:1-2  “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”

1 Kings 8:28  “Yet give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy, Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day.”

I must always remember that GOD IS SOVEREIGN!

Psalm 33: 6-12  “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.  He gathers the waters of the sea into jars; he puts the deep into storehouses.  Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere him.  For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.  The Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.  But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.  Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance.”

Psalms 22:27-28  “All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to the Lord and he rules over the nations.”

Romans 13:1  “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”

Job 12:23-24  “He makes nations great, and destroys them; he enlarges nations, and disperses them.  He deprives the leaders of the earth of their reason; he makes them wander in a trackless waste.”

My focus should be fixed on the eternal not the external!

Daniel 2:44  ““In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.”

Matthew 25:32-34  “All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.  “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.”

Isaiah 43:5-10  “Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.  I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’  Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth—everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”  Lead out those who have eyes but are blind, who have ears but are deaf. All the nations gather together and the peoples assemble.  Which of their gods foretold this and proclaimed to us the former things?  Let them bring in their witnesses to prove they were right, so that others may hear and say, “It is true.”  “You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he.  Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.”

Please join with me, friends around the world, to pray for our nations and for peace!

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