Monday night after my shopping trip, I was wiped. I grabbed by Nook so I could read for a few minutes before falling asleep. The cool thing about the Nook (a wi-fi reader that allows me to download and store books and read them anywhere I can carry the small device) is that when you turn it on, it automatically pulls up where you stopped reading last. And even though I'd planned on reading a novel, Monday night my book opened to the middle of Ephesians 3 so I started reading the Bible instead.
And God spoke to me through the next several verses in a powerful way! I'm always so....so... honored when God reaches out and steadies my shoulders and says, "This, Sarah Lanier Domino, is what I have to say to you today." There's nothing more powerful.
Monday night, in the middle of "achy brain" syndrome from chemo, God wrote me a love letter and stuck it in the pages of Ephesians. Read with me and I'll share what He told me...
It starts with a headline: "Prayer for Spiritual Strength."
I remember thinking, "Yes, please," as I dove into chapter 3, verse 14...
"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. (God knew I needed to hear that my family was derived in Him and taken care of by Him. I'd just moments earlier gotten a phone call from a crying Micah who was unhappy at his sleepover arrangements and I was feeling sad. It was important that God calmed me with the use of the word 'family' in this verse so I could put that worry aside and hear God.)
"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. (This passage was all about feeling strengthened. After going through the emotional and physical vigors of chemo, I felt so empty and I've been craving words from God like those highlighted above.)
"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (I love that here we see the need to have power to understand God's love. It's not something we can see easily! It requires power to even grasp the concept! That's a lot of love!)
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! (This is one of my all-time favorite verses. God is able and willing to do immeasurably more than what we have hoped for in our wildest imaginations! Believe me, these are powerful words to me right now! I've been so broken and weighed down, but with these words God reminded me that He's anxious to give to me! That while I'm asking for health and to be around when my children get married, maybe God's rubbing his hands together saying, 'Ahhh, Sarah, I've got so much more in store for you than that!'
Stay with me because chapter four gets even better!
"As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. (In case you haven't read the title of my blog, I've attacked my cancer diagnosis with the enthusiasm of one called to be better and do more for Christ! In my previous post on the new normal I expressed a desire to become worthy of my calling.)
"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (I was searching for direction as my chemo treatments ended and the next part of life began. I was happy to read these admonishments and accept them as a goal. To be humble, gentle, patient, loving.)
Let's skip to verse 11:
"It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (I've been feeling the call of God so strongly. I've been feeling Him calling me to do more and be more for Him-- to serve in a different capacity like those mentioned above. He continued to use his scriptures here to nudge me in that direction. I am anxious to know what God has in store for me!)
We're nearing a big finish! Let's end with verses 14-16:
"Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. (These scriptures are about maturing spiritually, but you better believe that I read them to mean I could be freed from the tossing of waves caused by cancer too! And how wonderful of God to weave the words of our physical bodies into this verse! He knew I needed to hear that my body is being held together by Him, that I can move on and allow Him to rebuild my physical and spiritual strength to an even healthier state than before!)
It may not sound like much to you... But those five minutes of reading these above scriptures were wonderfully warming to me! I couldn't read them fast enough as God whispered his voice above those words on the pages written so long ago. I love the living word that can move that like!
I was changed when I was diagnosed. I've been changed during other pivotal moments throughout my journey so far. And Monday night, God let me know He'd be there holding me up while He shows me how to embrace the changes and use them for Him. Here am I, God. Here am I, Lord. You've sent me and I'll go. Thank you for your healing. Thank you for the love letter.