February 8, 2019

 “The LORD will fulfill His purpose for me; 

your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever.” Psalm 138:8

 

The last year has been a very special time of transition and change. It is impossible to express how much your interest, encouragement, and prayers have meant to me. Your messages, cards, and phone calls were gifts to me. The incredible pace at which my life moved and the fullness of every measure have begun to give way to a wonderful new rhythm I have never known. It is a very special time! Thank you for your patience and faithfulness.

It was last year at about this time that I started to sense a change of direction. Ever since my last cancer diagnosis when I was told that it was stage three, I have experienced a sense of urgency of mission and a sort of sobriety of outlook. I felt an acute desire to be furthering His Kingdom before I have one foot in it! He has been very faithful in His provision and direction. It has been a very busy time, but it has been a very exciting time, as I stepped out in faith to discern His will and to allow Him to accomplish His purpose for my life. I have never been happier! I have so much for which to be thankful!

One of the first steps in this process was my decision not to return to Hawthorne Christian School for another year. Spending two hours each day on the road and then getting two to four hours of sleep each night no longer seemed wise. The day after I made the administration aware of my decision the chairman of the department in which I have taught at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh offered me two classes in the Fall 2018 semester. I had been teaching one each semester. This appeared to be an affirmation of my decision.

As I finished the school year at HCA, I pursued a variety of open positions. I did get a number of interviews for very interesting positions, but, as I prayed about them, my interest and excitement were replaced by a continued search for His will. As the process continued, clarity was provided and I knew the answer was a part-time or short-term position. Eventually I actually withdrew my name from consideration in what had appeared to be a really wonderful position. I just knew it was not what I should be doing.

In addition to my search for employment, I had much to keep me extremely busy during the summer. There were many home projects that needed my attention. I cannot believe the energy and motivation I was given. There was even a day that I was outside Lowe’s at 5:45 AM to make certain that I could secure their only rental truck when they opened at 6:00 AM. I drove it home and loaded it myself before heading to the transfer station. Next I put hedge trimmings and other lawn debris in the back and drove to the town lawn and leaf bins before returning the truck. I still cannot believe I did that! But it is not “I am woman; hear me roar!” If there is any roaring, it is the Lion of Judah giving me strength to do what I need to do. I always think He will either help me to do it or send someone to do it for me. Lately, it has been mostly the former, rather than the latter!

My summer was so busy that I did not even visit Joan and Paul in Maine. I had gone for Easter, but I had planned to return during the summer. Everyone did come to New York for the Emery family reunion so thankfully I was able to visit with my nephews and their families and my niece. My nephew and his family did invite me to join them in New York City for a wonderful day of good memories.

Because I had been diagnosed with lymphedema, I began twice weekly physical therapy sessions at Memorial Sloan Kettering. Thankfully the treatments were at the facility just over the Tappan Zee Bridge in West Harrison so I could drive there myself. I was taught to do the twice daily five-layer wrappings and massage. The treatments continued into September, but they were very successful. Over 300ml of fluid left my arm and I am now able to better wear my coats, sweaters, and shirts. God’s timing was perfect, as always. Although my Aetna insurance was only in effect through August, my arm had responded sufficiently so the compression sleeves could be ordered. Neither Medicare nor my supplemental would have covered them. The cost was over $3,000! I do not know what will happen when they need to be replaced, but I do know that God will provide.

A week of renewal and rest was provided very unexpectedly. Because of my financial situation and busy schedule, it seemed prudent to make the decision not to go to Maine. A short time after sharing this with Joan someone called to offer me a free week at Word of Life in Schroon Lake. I called Sloan Kettering and was told that if I promised to be faithful with my wrapping and massage it would be fine to go. What a much-needed week of refreshment! The food was great, the accommodations were terrific, and the speakers were wonderful. My afternoons were spent reading and resting. What a gracious God!

My teaching year began with the two courses at the Mount and I also filled a position at a local Christian school in my area for six weeks. Two weeks after completing my commitment there I accepted a seasonal position at the Kohl’s store about ten minutes from home. Thankfully I was given a lot of hours and they respected my teaching schedule at the Mount and my request not to work on Sundays. Not having done retail work since college, I was not certain that I had it in me, but I generally had a blast! And the employee discount was timely. It was not easy work, but I was very thankful for it. I missed my friends at HCA so much that I told God one night that I thought I was spending too much time alone and I asked Him how He was going to remedy the situation. Kohl’s was part of the answer! I loved the customers and my co-workers. I just love to serve! I did think how amused my dad would be. The store is on the site of the department store in which he was a manager for many years!

This semester I am again teaching two courses at the Mount, but I am now teaching Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 8:00 until 11:00 with an office hour until 12:00. I love it! The atmosphere at the Mount is a positive one and the faculty and staff are very personable. At orientation prior to my first semester we were reminded that the Mount is “not a no-prayer zone.” I love that! God is a recognized part of our lives there.

With a change in schedule I have been free to pursue service. Initially it was very confusing because I had my heart going in too many directions. Clarity and focus were lacking. In June I was asked to speak at a Stephens Ministry meeting at church on the topic of ministering to the cancer patient. I enjoyed it so much and was encouraged just to be with those incredible servants. I wondered if that was direction for me. Some the women asked to meet with me so I could show them how to make the prayer blankets I had on display. We had a great time and again I wondered if this was direction. I tend to be like a “kid in a candy store’ when it comes to ministry. Not knowing how much time I have left makes me more cautious in gaining clarity before I jump into something that may not be His will. I do not want to waste my time!

Through continued prayer that clarity came in the most incredible way. So many of the things that were on my heart are being addressed and implemented. It is all very exciting and some, but not all, I am at liberty to share. There are several things “in the works” and, as they become more public, they will then be shared. I can tell you that I am currently teaching a Sunday School class for grades six through eight during the 11:30 service, have agreed to be co-director of the VBS this summer, and have begun the process of obtaining a certification in Classical Christian Education. I believe the new certification will be a great complement to my other certifications, as I have become especially concerned about the pursuit of the good, the true, and the beautiful and in nurturing that pursuit in others.

In addition to everything else, I continue to address home projects. God provided me with a much-needed new bathroom just before Christmas. They took it right down to the studs. And now it is so pretty! It is a start! I have much more to do with many more trips to the transfer station, but a very new and foreign pace is finding its rhythm. I love the new music which includes songs for both work and worship but also more lullabies inviting my body, mind, and soul to rest and refresh. Many distractions try to disrupt the harmony and bring dissonance to my day. Just yesterday an express letter arrived from my plastic surgeon to make me aware of the recently discovered threat of large-cell lymphoma resulting from the reconstructive procedures he supplied following both my cancer surgeries. It is sobering, but the music continues. I can trust the Great Choreographer to teach me the steps that will insure I finish my dance well.

Thank you for dancing with me and for humming the melody for me when I forget the tune. To all my friends and relatives I say the sincerest thank you. You are precious gifts to me.

Psalm 118:14