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Sunday, February 26, 2017

God's love is an ocean

It is beautiful here in Oceanside California, a bit cool, but that's okay. Yesterday my heart was absolutely delighted to watch my children loving playing in the sand.  Today a cold is keeping me out of the action, but that's okay- it is interesting how perspective changes: I would have been so disappointed and annoyed to have a cold on vacation before. Now I am just happy to be able to be here even if I'm resting more, and I'm just grateful to not have a fever which would require medical assessment.

I love to be by water. Typically being at the lake is my favorite place to be. Of course I do love to be by the ocean as well, but I'll admit that I'm more of a freshwater kinda girl.  This week, however,  being by the ocean has been powerfully therapeutic. I am taken by the ocean. It is captivating and it calls to me a reminder of God's love. I keep hearing it, seeing it, feeling it: the call. The call to acknowledge Him: Creator God, Maker of heavens and this beautiful earth reflecting His glory.  And I hear it, see it and feel it: God's love. Because God's love is an ocean: vast, mighty, and beautiful.

And here I thank God for these moments to acknowledge His goodness and His greatness. And I pray that God's love would wash over me and that it's power would be unleashed within me.  I want to live changed. I want to catalyze change. And as Gandhi wrote, I want to be the change I long to see in the world.

I did not intend here to pull out my thoughts about the church, but i don't see how I can leave them aside. These are some thoughts that have been pressed upon my heart:

We need to shake up this church, it's become routine, this Sunday morning thing, but it is not intended to just be routine in our lives! It's our very fuel and our purpose to love the church and LIVE as the church. We need to seek God with all our hearts so we find Him. I pray for our church to be empowered and to live boldly.

We can change the world! When and why did I stop believing this? I got busy, even in trying not to just live like everyone else, I was. But it is possible to be the change we want to see in the world. I want my kids to see that I live knowing I can change the world so they too will use their lives to also. We are the church! We are backed by a Powerhouse ready to pour out a flood of love that changes everything. We don't need to be equipped and ready, we need to move! We need to move our mouths to put out love from our lips. We need to move our hands to hug and touch and do that what needs to be done to show humanity her beauty in Christ's image. We need to move our feet to go when we are called, where we are called. We need to move the fear aside. We need to usher in the hope. We need to BE the church, everyday in all circumstances. Oh this is hard, because life gets hard. But the one who raised Christ from the dead lives within us! I pray the church would rise up to really show what God's glory is all about. Likewise I pray to God:  empower me to live boldly for You. God open my eyes to those who need Your love flowing through me. God your love is an ocean: vast powerful and beautiful. Unleash it in my life. Empower me to live changed, to catalyze change, and be the change I want to see around me.

I'll admit that the reason I did not intend to share these thoughts and prayers for the church is because I'm not sure how well I'm doing in this area. But, let me tell you it is my plan to seek God and find Him as I seek Him with ALL my heart. Cancer woke up my soul to REALLY seek God; yet, it still amazes me how quickly I am distracted. I am an imperfect human writing about concepts I am FAR from perfecting. But I am reminded in I Peter 4:8 that love covers over a multitude of sin. And I am reminded  in Matthew 22 of the great Commandments to love my God with all my heart and soul and mind. And to love my neighbor as myself. So I will press into these and keep praying and keep seeking and keep asking God to open my eyes to His vast, mighty, and beautiful ocean of love.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Update Feb 16/17

There is so much I want to share and so much I want to say and so much I want to make sure is on paper and it makes me scramble to know where to start.  So I will just plunge right in and what comes rambling out is what you get to read.  

Phil 4:13 “ I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” 
Boy, has the necessity of this verse taken on new and full meaning for me!

Let me give you a brief glimpse of what it’s been like to be Cheryl Rostek this past week or 2.  Excitement rolled in with a big wave as trip plans come together.  Vacationing is big for our family.  Ryan and I like to have fun and like to make trip plans whenever possible.  It has been more challenging to find the time and energy to make these plans; but let me share what’s in the works!  We are off to California next week with Ryan’s Mom and with his Brother’s family.  We are also shaping up our summer plans, and we will be going to the Shuswaps with a group of friends for a week and from there journey to Sask. to hit up Camp Oshkidee again, this time with my family along (trying to avoid the twin gongshow that was last year!).  All these things bring great excitement.  BUT then last week my vision started to get even “funnier” than it has been most recently (it went back to almost normal post-op, then slowly through treatment started getting screwy again)  it is manageable but makes me nervous about what’s going on in my brain.  This change started Wed.  and I started my round of chemo last Thursday (5 days on, 23 days off). I since have become more tired and a touch dizzy (any dizziness alarms me because it was one of the first symptoms I had before diagnosis). 

Nervous. On edge. That is how these physical changes make me feel and how they are managing to occupy too much space in my mind.  Now these could be due to post-radiation swelling that happens in 50% of people, or some could be attributed to the higher chemo dose I received, or my thoughts have been plaguing me with the idea that ….. is the cancer coming back already….. how much time do I have before I can’t write anymore…..I have so many letters to write to my kids yet, so many things to document…will I be able to actually go on these vacations I’m excited about? And I’m gripped.

That state is not real living.
I
am
living. 
As long as I have breath I am living. And I plan to do just that: LIVE. (not wallow or freeze in fear)

I have been overcome lately with the beauty that surrounds me.  Life is so very beautiful if we open our eyes. And the beauty of humanity and of the human experience is pinnacle in viewing a world of beauty.  Human life is sacred.  Every stage of human life.  I’m reminded of my Grandma Elias and watching her live and watching her struggle with the vice of dementia.  Visiting her, feeding her, holding her hands.  Seeing how hard that was for my Dad to watch: his mother disappearing before she left this world.  But the beauty of being able to be present in my grandmother’s life in all those days is profound for me.  She never ceased to be my grandma.  She never ceased to be beautiful.  She never ceased to be loved.

And isn’t that what it’s about?  LOVE. 1 Cor 13 was brought afresh to me this week: “Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”  Life is not easy for Ryan and I.  It is so hard.  We are both maxed out and the demands of life, both physical and emotional, press on us.   But love endures.  How? The only way for a human to obtain such enduring love is to receive the crazy, incredible, indescribable love of Jesus Christ.  It is only when we open ourselves up to be in Christ’s love that we are able to love in every circumstance.  And here the beauty of humanity becomes spectacular as God pours out the power of his love through us.  It’s truly brilliant! And thank God for it.  Because I can’t do this. I can’t do this cancer battle.  It’s SO hard.  Here I pause to cry because I am emotional this week and because life is always on the verge of breaking. And it’s just so hard.
 

Thankfully I have a heavenly Father to hold me together.  Because like I said, as long as I have breath I intend to live.  As long as I have breath, I am alive.  As long as I have breath I hold so much beauty within and before me. 


So now I ask you.  Please pray for me. Please pray for my family.  Pray for the God-given strength to keep going and more than to keep going, to THRIVE.  Pray for these symptoms to stabilize, or better yet, disappear.  Pray for my marriage to be blessed richly. For my children’s hearts to be sealed for God and guarded from harm.  I am not sorry my children have to go through this experience in that it will allow them, I believe, to see the beautiful in life much more readily; but, they are so tender, they need to be guarded from the war that wages on thoughts and emotions, so please pray for them for today and for the tomorrows to come.  Pray also that I would have wisdom for words to pen to my children.  And pray that I would have spaces (time) to put these words on paper.  Pray that our holidays would go smooth and be lovely and enriching times.  I will be traveling to the states next week.  I am not insured for any cancer-related issues.  This was a calculated decision, but I still ask for prayer while away that medical care isn’t even a glimpse of a thought while away.  Pray for our nanny, Stefanie. She has been sick so frequently, and she doesn’t usually get sick. Pray for her health to be restored both for her sake as well as for the benefit of our family. 

And praise God for you!!! I am blessed to know I am surrounded. (ps. My freezer is overflowing with soup!!!) Thank you for your prayers.  I pray blessings on your families as well.  Rich, rich blessings to those who journey with me.

 Much love to you all,

Cheryl          

  Romans 8:
 31  If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.
35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”[o]) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[p] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Thursday, February 2, 2017

Prince of peace

https://g.co/kgs/yikBdU

https://www.youtube.com/shared?ci=HixQnA3wvBA

My tech savvyness has a bit to be desired.  Hope you're able to follow this link to this great song!