Along Right Paths

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Along Right Paths

Lord, let me hear You whisper
And recognize Your voice,
For I am at the crossroads
And need to make a choice.
There are so many pathways,
But only one is right.
Point me in Your way, Lord,
I’ll let You be my light.
Allow the path to shine
And illuminate with You,
As Your presence goes before me
And shows me what to do.
May each step I take be grounded
in the knowledge that You care,
And that I can have confidence
Because You’re always there.
No road is too long or hard
When it’s you who leads the way.
I’ll follow Your footsteps, Lord,
On the path I walk this day.

…He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Psalm 23:3

Nancy Janiga

There is Singing and there is Light

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As a young child, I can remember my mother singing through the house as she did her chores.  She had the gift of a beautiful voice and she filled our home with it.

I was the oldest and then came my sister, Diane.  We were the first two of six children.  When she and I were very young, my mother often sang us to sleep at night.

There on our bed all tucked in after a warm bath, clean pajamas slipped into, our hair towel dried, and prayers said, she sang.

When darkness set in, often thoughts that weren’t there in the daylight hours would surface.  Like those unrelenting thoughts of monsters that are common in the imaginations of small children.

I needed a glimmer of light somewhere close by to pierce through the darkness.

A night-light tucked in the corner of the room helped.  Or the low-wattage hall light that could be seen shining dimly outside our bedroom door brought some security to me and, I’m sure, to my sister as well.  The twinkle from the light helped ease us into the night around us.

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Then came my mother’s voice, soft, mellow, and sweet.  She sang over us and we became comfortable in our surroundings and slipped off to sleep.

As time went on, my nightly fears lessened and eventually vanished.  But when I think about sadness, depression, hardships, grief, those difficult seasons of life, even as an adult, the night can often be the hardest time of day to make it through.

Our fears tend to heighten when the light slips away.  The difficulties that are challenges during the day can seem like insurmountable mountains at night.

Someday we will no longer have night and we won’t need the sun (or the moon) to give us light.  The glory of God will be our light.  See Isaiah 60: 19-20 and Revelation 21: 22-27.

On the other hand, there is a darkness that can consume us even in the daylight.  This has more to do with the darkness of our soul.  It’s what happens to us when we run away from God–when we think that we can handle life alone.  It happens when we don’t allow his light to penetrate our dark areas.

When we let him in, our eyes open and we see life from his perspective.  We see and know the difference between true light and true darkness and we view everything here on earth–the good, the messy, the awful, the beautiful as it is…temporary.  A light dawns and God brightens our way and illuminates our path.

Isaiah put it this way when he told the people of Israel that a light would be coming into the world:

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Isaiah was prophesying about the coming of Jesus.

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

It’s easy to get lost in the dark but he actively seeks those who can’t find their way, because he is light and deeply loves every single person that he pursues.

I like that God provided a way to pierce our spiritual darkness.  Whether it’s in the bright of day, or twilight, the evening hours or overnight hours, he is there and is always casting light on our circumstances, our shortcomings and showing us how to maneuver our way through the dark avenues of this world.

He steers us clear of the pitfalls, takes us through detours, over the mountains and through the valleys.

When we think our path should always be easy, he shows us that the easy way isn’t always the best way to get to our destination.

So we follow.  We follow the light.  Allowing him to guide us through this great adventure of life.

When we forget to follow and don’t listen to his words–which are actually light too–( Psalm 119: 105), when we veer off the road, get lost in the dark and cry out for him there he’ll be to guide us back again.

He comes after those who call out to him.  I love that about him, because although he is always faithful we, at times, are not.  Sometimes we wander.

When we lay our head upon our pillow at night, we can always be assured that he delights over us – watches over us – and did you know that he even sings over us?  Zephaniah 3:17 tells us so…The LORD your God is with you…He will take great delight in you…He will rejoice over you with singing.”

Just as my mother comforted my sister and me with her singing, God sings over his children and as our night-light cast a glow through the darkness, Jesus does the same in our life.

After all, we are all like little children to him and he is our father.

Written by:  Nancy Janiga ©2014

Through the Winding Path

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Bob and I have navigated through the winding path of his illness for 3 months.  The twists, the turns, the hills, the valleys, the sudden stops, the ups and downs seemed to never end.  Then there were the complete rest stops and the times of waiting for days, sometimes weeks.   We have found that the waiting periods are often harder than moving through the craziness of the path before us.

Two days ago was the end of the first leg of our journey.

I awoke early that morning.  Too early.  I laid in bed waiting for the alarm to ring at the set time of 5:45am.  Then I felt Bob moving and heard him get up and walk out of the bedroom.  I turned off the alarm clock before it rang and got up.  Finally when both of us were ready, we grabbed our coffee along with the small spiral notepad that held our questions for the doctor and hit the road at 6:15am.

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As we drove, we talked about what brought us to this point in our journey and Bob said, “We are moving toward our moment of truth and we’ll finally have a clearer picture of what may lie ahead.”  I agreed.

We enjoyed the scenery of the glorious summer morning while music from the radio played softly in the background.  I realized how often we take the simple pleasures of life for granted.  Just looking out the window of our car there were reminders everywhere from the fireball of the sun coming up over the horizon to the green grass and trees lining the highway below.

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Neither of us said much for the next several minutes.  Then Bob finally said, “We are going to hear what we are expecting to hear or we may hear the unexpected.  It will be what it is and we will deal with it.”  I nodded.

As we approached the hospital I thought, This is it.  Here comes our moment of truth. 

We checked in, sat down and watched as others got up, one by one, to go into their appointments.  When we realized that everyone who was in the waiting area before we arrived had already been called in, Bob said, “I think we’re next.”  He was right.

Bob went through an examination and the Hematologist asked him if he had any new symptoms.  I took the small spiral notepad out of my purse and we shared what we had written in it.  Most of the concerns were things we forgot to mention or questions we didn’t ask on previous visits.  His Hematologist sat at a computer recording everything that we told him.  For the most part, Bob felt good and was symptom free.

Then the words we were expecting came out of the Hematologist’s mouth.  “Your bone marrow biopsy has confirmed that you do have Chronic Myeloid Leukemia and the treatment for this type of Leukemia is an oral chemo medication taken daily.”

It’s what his blood tests revealed over the past month and we had already accepted that diagnosis and did our research.  We were ready to tackle it but just needed that confirmation.

On the other hand, his biopsy could have revealed a much more serious type of Leukemia or even a different bone cancer.  They checked for anything and everything possible, but confirmed what they suspected and what Bob had come to accept.

The only other better news would have been that nothing was found but according to all his earlier tests we chose not to live in denial while maintaining our faith that anything is possible with God.  We still believe that.

However, Bob has cancer and his cancer is treatable.  It’s not curable but it is treatable and for that we are thankful.  Again, we maintain our faith in God and always pray for healing.

Having our path change direction is part of life.  We shouldn’t find that unusual.  What’s unusual is to expect life to always stay the same, to never have any hills or valleys or winding roads that unfold before us.

As much as we know this truthful reality in our heads, it’s still hard to change course when we have to, but letting go of expectations and moving into acceptance is the healthiest route to take.

If we don’t let go of unrealistic expectations, it will rob us of our joy.  Not being able to bend with the curves or adjust our course is worse than facing the rough road ahead.

There will be some challenges in our future but who doesn’t face challenges?  We will face them together and in the midst of those challenges there will be many things to give thanks for.

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Today I’m giving thanks for Bob’s primary care doctor who saw Bob without an appointment in April when he showed up at his office unannounced.  I’m also thankful that he ordered a CBC test when Bob wasn’t due to have it done for 7 months and I’m thankful that he pursued more tests when the first one came back abnormal.  I’m also thankful for the team of specialists that have taken great care of Bob this summer.

And then there’s the people we love — our family and friends who have remained a constant source of strength as they kept in touch with us non-stop and often assured us of their prayers.  The encouragement has lifted our spirits more times than we can even count.

When I think back, it is obvious whose fingerprints have been all over the circumstances of this journey.  In and through our winding path, up the hills and through the valleys I have seen the hand of God.  Even in the waiting, when it was difficult, we were held by the mighty hand of God.

We have now reached the end of the first leg of our journey and we are getting ready for the second leg.  The second leg will be the treatment phase and I will be at Bob’s side to help him but not without the help of the one who has brought us this far.  We have seen God’s hand in this from the beginning and he won’t let go now.  He hasn’t brought us this far to leave us.

Written by: Nancy Janiga ©2014