In Remembrance: Sharing of Memories related to Janie Blake

My thoughts have been many since Janie Blake started her new day and left us behind. It has been hard to focus and write anything, yet there is much to write and process. It is though time to start putting down words that are on my heart. The best place to start is sharing a bit of the impact that Janie Blake had on my life and in the life of others. Yet, for me the sharing of the memories that is the story of Janie Blake and how she touched my life is not easy. See, Janie Blake in my life from the start is a mix of pain and hurt along with blessing and healing. The two really go hand in hand and are hard to separate. The elements of pain are not appropriate to write about as there are other people involved and they need to be considered and honored. So, my sharing of memories publicly is limited. However, the limit is on me being able to share the fact that God did use her in people’s lives to build them up and help them grow in love and truth by sharing love and truth.

Ultimately, the core of my relationship with Janie Blake can be summed up as a mutual sharing of love and truth. No matter what was going on with each of us being who we are, there was love and truth in operation. And honestly, most of the time, most of the memories are just us being who we are, together. This was whether sharing meals, playing games, or just having conversation. There are stark differences in our personality despite sharing that core of interacting in truth and love. Her personality was more active. She would find a way to be involved. She had to be part of the “action.” If there was something going on, rest assured Janie wanted to be a part of it. Now, my personality is one that is more observant, watchful. I want to be where action is but will often be at the edge, watching what is going on, always looking to grow and understand. Recently saw a picture from during my sophomore year on college, it was me as always on the edge, watching & observing. My nature is to meet people where they are and come along side.

Janie’s nature is that of going after someone and pulls them in. It is because of Janie that have met and cared for several people that otherwise would not have. It is even in her active pursuit that the healing, blessing, and growth that occurred in time, happened. She actively pursued with love and grace. Part of the healing pertains to my dear wife. We had a period where she ran from God in response to deep pain and disappointment. One related to a young man dying of brain cancer, the other a disappointment over a hope for job situation. Janie loved her, spoke truth, and pursued her with not knowing anything more than my wife was hurting and angry. She provided an accurate reflection of God’s pursuit, for ultimately God pursued my wife through Janie and others until she returned back to God. Janie was consistent in her pursuit and building up of others, reaching out with love and truth. She was faithful to God’s call on her life and produced much fruit. She lived who she was before God and man. She let her light shine in her actions and deeds and brought Glory to God the Father.

I hope folks take the time to share memories of Janie there are many places to do so. There is the comments section here on this blog article. There is here Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/profile.php?id=828554733. There is my father’s Facebook page as well: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/profile.php?id=1128826601. There is also Janie Blake’s caring bridge site: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/janieblake. There is also the option to share thoughts at the online obituary at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/startribune/obituary.aspx?page=lifestory&pid=147504299. You also may have own resources, but please do share. I may add folks thoughts to comment sections as run across, so please subscribe to the comments in this article. I know there are many folks who have prayed for Janie and did not know her, by sharing others can know and the harvest and impact will continue.

Musings on Personally Perceived Strangeness of this Christmas Season

Many things are on my heart and mind and it is all in general very connected. We are at the time designated to celebrate God’s birth, His incarnation. The focus is on family and sharing love through gifts and fellowship. For me this time, this season is strange. Currently am moving in and out of feeling my own pain and connecting with the pain of those around me. Currently my brother and his family is in town. It is uplifting to spend time with them, knowing that they have come through a tough time with the death of my sister-in-laws mother from breast cancer and their issues with dealing with her father. They also are caring for their son, Anant, who embodies a joyful creativity even at four going on five years old. All this is rather normal. Here are the things that have gone to make this season strange.

If you are a follower of this blog you know that the central portion of the strangeness is the health of Janie Blake. When Cancer returned a few years ago, she reported having a word from God, “you shall live and not die.” Then she went on to engage the battle and appeared clear of cancer cells, only to have them reform to the point where her very life is in jeopardy. It was a shock hearing the news back in mid-October and even more shocking the rapid degradation of her health. Today is first I have seen her since stopping by to help the clean in preparation for her brother’s visit. The sight was heart breaking. For I really appreciate how God has used Janie in my life and the life of those I love. Yet, what God’s sees is even beyond what I see. He knows His will and His plan. He is always faithful to what He promises our job is to surrender no matter how things look. It means letting go of our will for His. He can heal. He can restore. He is the one that makes all things new. We submit to Him alone. I really want Janie around, but that is up to God alone. There is life here and greater life in His presence.

Janie’s health is not the only aspect of the strangeness of this year. There is my mother’s ongoing vision loss and going through a process of learning. She deals each day with great pain and loss while focusing on learning how to function without depending on vision. My mother has endured and survived through a lot of suffering in her lifetime. Now she faces this challenge. Yet, I know God is using this to strengthen her and use her in the lives of others. He has given her special moments one of which will eventually share on this blog, as it likely connects to all that has been going on. Now, my mom’s vision loss is nothing new. It has been ongoing. But it is one more dynamic to the strangeness of this year.

Now not all that is going on is dealing with health and illness. For my wife has been going through and interview process for a potential promotion to service manager. My wife really does posses natural talents that would make her a great manager. Her prayer has been for those interviewing her to see what God wants them to see in her. Her heart she simply wants whomever they promote to be someone that will build and strengthen the team. We know it is in God’s hands and the promotion would be a great blessing to us. As I am writing this, in my mind the elevation of Daniel standing out over all others in Babylon would fit, if that is God’s will for Liz. We simply await the answer, hoping one thing but surrendering to whatever the outcome.

In my own life, still am working through matters of reluctance and holding self back. Yet, my workload is increasing and there are things on the horizon, yet many obstacles still stand with my-self being one of the obstacles. There is the ongoing question as get busier whether I can take on more or how can I find ways to improve all together. There are lessons learned as always in this process. The key principle to all here is coming back to surrender. There is much we cannot see in terms of what is ahead. Some like my mother have to learn to operate without sight. My stepmother appears quickly headed to death. My brother and his family already faced loss, may face more, are loving and building up their adopted child who is God has made as one who is joyfully creative in the midst.

So it is a strange season, this year. There is hope of seeing God give blessings and doing amazing things. There is the need to move beyond the visible. Ultimately, it is surrender to God regardless of the outcomes, walking not by our sight, but depending on Him alone. For He alone is the Rock. He alone is our safety. By Him alone to we stay or go. By Him alone do we rise or fall. He is the one who gives life or takes it. Yes, our choices and actions play a role we can walk His path and walk his way or go our own. One leads to life, one to death. God allows us our choices and then simply calls for surrender and walk the way He leads even if it seems impossible. There will be barriers from inside and outside. We want to make everything about us, but it is always about God and His glory and purpose which ultimately is to show and reflect His love in pain, in sorrow, in struggle, in fear, in reluctance, in anger, in pain, in joy, in blessing, in hope and so on which is all in His life in us.

Prayer Request Update: Janie Blake

Well, a couple weeks ago shared the difficult news of Janie Blake retaking up a battle with Cancer. Just wanted to give update of where things are at. After the initial report of the return of cancer cells Janie was giving difficult prognosis. She was informed that she was likely to have “months” to live versus years. It as a pronouncement that was difficult and painful. One filled with grief and despair. My first thoughts came to recalling dogs that my mother has had that have had “short lives” pronounced over them only to live a good long life. Yet, on the other hand there are dogs who did live short lives. The point though is that for each of us, animals or human, it is not up anyone to make “proclamations” over life, as that is in God’s control, ALWAYS.

It is noteworthy that whatever happens with Janie Blake at this point, it is whatever is God’s intent. Janie is not taking any further course of the human generated courses of treatment. Whether the cancers cells grow and consume her life, or turn back on self and implode is in God’s hand. It is one or other. Either Janie will live and serve God in this life or will reach a point of no further suffering and graduate on.

Today, she goes to the doctor, the one making these proclamations and will hear the pain and suffering she will endure of the cancer cells continue to grow and consume. It is a difficult thing to go and hear what suffering may come, what to expect. Yet, ultimately, we all know that whatever is ahead, God is in control. No one else. It is God’s will, not our own. God will make his will clear, in time. All I know that whether life or death is what is to come for Janie Blake, that He who promised is faithful. If ongoing time in this life of suffering is necessary for God to keep His promises, that is what will occur. If God is brought greater glory by His promises being met by her graduation from this life, then this is what will occur. But we can rest in He who promised is faithful. So I ask for prayer that for each person who cares for and knows Janie to be given open eyes and ears to see God’s faithfulness in whatever suffering they encounter. May each encounter be filled with a touch of God’s peace. For ultimately it is not our will, but God’s will that will rule the day. No one can make any proclamation otherwise.

The Communication of Dance and Creativity: This Woman’s Work and Everything

One show that I enjoy is So You Think You Can Dance. It is a show that gives a broad spectrum of dance.  Dance is something that is an amazing form of artistic expression that can express things that words cannot.  In the past weeks show there was a particular dance that demonstrated through dance the struggle that goes on for women who have breast cancer.  Take a moment to watch the dance.

This Woman’s Work:

In praying about what to say and how to respond to this video, my mind goes several different directions.  This certainly has triggered thoughts about why suffering exists and the struggles in this world.  Questions exists as to why God heals some people and why others move to the healing of death.  Questions exist about how to reach out to those in the midst of struggle.  Yet, none of that seemed to be an appropriate fit for the power of the message communicated in that dance.  Those things will be addressed further at some point on this blog.  What seemed the best fit was to point to another message communicated in dance or drama. A couple years ago I came across a powerful dance/drama Christian presentation set to the Lifeohuse song Everything. It is a drama/dance performed in churches throughout the country.  It has a powerful message, even if it is not danced with the percision of the So You Think You Can Dance routine about breast cancer.  Take another moment to watch one version of this dance.

Everything:

Both performances are powerful means and show the importance of the use of creative measure to communicate the message.  One performance about the struggle with breast cancer. The other performance the temptations of life and answer found in Jesus.  Words cannot express either fully.  I hope both make you stop and think and ultimately grasp the intended connection that the suffering and the battles in life are also part of “everything.”  God is there in the suffering, turn not to the suffering but to Jesus.  In Jesus there is healing and victory even if your suffering brings the end of this life.

Prayer requests and Answers: Our God reigns: Janie Blake Cancer free!

God is good all the time!

God is good all the time!

Well just got report back from Janie and my Dad that Janie is cancer free.  This is evidence that God is indeed in control and His purposes and will, will stand.  I believe God used the physical tools such as chemotherapy and the supernatural to heal Janie from Cancer.  This also shows that God is not yet finished with how He intends to use Janie in the lives of others.  God made Janie promises and He delivered. 

Now there may be some out there who will readily dismiss any supernatural working in this matter, but I know this not to be the case. Is there “evidence” of supernatural healing versus the tools of modern medicine, not directly. It is all a matter of perspective.  I do not believe Janie would be Cancer free without divine intervention.  The simple fact is that Janie is now cancer free and pray for God to set the path for what remains ahead for my dad and step-mom.   

In terms of ongoing prayers for members of my family here are the following concerns:

My mother, Kris Blake:  She is facing visual decay with rod dysphasia vision problem that restricts her ability to see in the dark.  Pray for God to guide her on the path.  I pray that she may see in ways that she has not seen before. That whether or not the visual decay is reversed, that she may see with clarity and be able to speak forth and share all that she sees. 

My wife: Liz Blake:  She is on the course of going through some emotional healing.  Pray for her deep heart wounds to be healed.  Pray that she makes it through her journey with a greater focus on God and greater intimacy with God as Father so that she may truely know him.  May this process draw God’s song from within, out toward others.  As the internal is healed and revealed may the changes be evident physically.

For my brother and his family: Rob, Mary, and Anant Blake:  Pray that they are given strength to endure the trials. Pray that God’s love pours out from their midst and serves as a healing balm.  May the tears of suffering sooth the recesses of pain and may the sorrow lead to joy.  May they be able to show God’s love to young Anant and may he be a vessel spreading God’s love and cheer so that all may love to God and declare that He is good. May Anant’s very presence draw people to the love and joy of the Lord.

For Nancy Kimmey:  Mary Blake’s mother who is struggling with matastesized breast cancer logged in her bones.  Pray that the love of God enfold her broken heart.  May she be given moments of clarity admist the pain and fog that she may see and taste that God is good.  May she see that God has always been faithful. Holding her heart in His hands.  He has seen her great sorrow and brokenness and His love for her is unfaded. May even the light of a child give her strength and comfort and may she find that her true rest is in Jesus.

Pray for my uncle Fred Friswold:  He recently had a relapse of testicular cancer.  He has a heart that is failing.  I pray that he receives a touch of God’s love.  In the journey ahead may he see God’s love and truth. May he see the permance of God’s salvation in contrast to  the temporary satifactions of this life.  May he draw close to God truely, and may any barriers to the Gospel of peace in his lift quickly fade and may God’s peace rule his heart.

For my mother-in-law:  Sonia Bezerra Almedia that God may see her through the minor health issues that seek to drag her down. May she always have strength to serve God and serve him with love. May His love, grace, and truth continue to flow from her. May she be an ongoing vessel sharing the bread of life and living water with those around her, wherever she goes. May her heart wounds be filled with God’s love and truth.

For my brother-in-law Lon Davisson Almeida: May God use him to draw others to the Gospel. May the church he has been called to lead Fellowship Macieo be a place of truth, grace, and peace.  May God’s love sign forth. May any barriers of the Gospel be torn down and may God’s work be accomplished. May he and his family be protected from the wiles of the enemy. Keep him and his family on the true path and may they not stray to the left or right. 

For the rest of extended family who have employment, family, and various other concerns.  May they be drawn to seek after the one true God in the midst of any storm.  If their eyes are blind to the Gospel of God’s true peace may their eyes be opened.  May God move in their lives through the storms that come and may they see God in the midst. 

Finally pray for me:  Pray for this blog, that I can communicate in a clear manner that shines the light of truth and ultimately draws others in to a sound, deep relationship with Jesus the Messiah.  May God’s will be done on the path set before me and may God’s directions be ever clear.

_____

Sadly the cancer returned and she did 12/29/2010. Yet, God is still worthy of praise.  What was but a moment is now eternal.  Healing in this life always temporary, God’s setting all things right is still to come.  Praise God for His answer and for How he works all things out according to His purpose and His glory.

Step-mother update: Discharged from hospital

Well, yesterday Janie discharged from the hospital.  She had received news that the results of the bone scan were there was no evidence of bone cancer.  Her physician indicated that the course of treatment is 3 weeks of intense chemotherapy to be followed by a daily pill.  She was told by doctors that the prognosis is she has 2-10 years of life left.  We know ultimately that God is in control. None of us know how much time we have left on this earth.  Jesus return even can be soon. Jesus may return in that 2-10 years.  God can heal Janie to point of there being no need of the daily pill.  God’s plan in this will be made clear.  The enemy is already defeated regardless of any results.  So continue to pray for Janie as God leads.  Feel free to drop comments if God directs you to share anything even regarding your own struggles.

Update on Step-mother and ongoing prayer request.

Well the results from the liver biopsy returned and came back positive for cancer.  The internist also told my father and Janie they were concerned about spots on her lung, which is weird because were told that chest X-Ray was negative.  She will have a bone scan tomorrow. 

     This news came as a gut punch since every one praying for her had faith and confidence she would come back clean from cancer.  However, it turns out this battle is not that easily won.  The events my father described of the process of the day definitely point to a battle going on.  Last night she had a roommate who also had a friend visiting.  They were loud and kept Janie up most of the night.  They left today, when they left, Janie and my Father felt the Peace of God again.  However, shortly there after waiting all day and communicating that there was nothing documented in her chart, the internist came and gave the bad news, left, saying options would be reviewed tomorrow. 

    Now, I must confess that I felt enough confidence that the test would come up clean that I relaxed a little and didn’t spread the word to pray as far as possibly could or even spend much time talking to God about it, cause felt it was settled.  So lesson learned there, that until you know the results of a matter, continue to pray because the enemy does not relent. 

     Personally, I have not been given any direct discernment.  My wife when praying about it, feels she gets an answer back that this situation is “rain.”  She distrusts what she believes she hears from God because in the past she felt she got a word from God about a 17 year old male in our congregation, named Allen Ellingson,  that hand brain cancer, that we would be perfectly healthy.  Turns out she perceived the health here on earth, when  God simply took him to where there is no more suffering and pain.

    My dad and his wife had also expressed confidence. Janie reported that while praying with their pastor and his wife (Mark and Julie Maxhausen) that she received Psalms 117 and 118 as a word from God.  The pastor and his wife have told them to continue to believe in God’s promise. It is tough and faith does waiver.

     There are tons of emotions clearly going through all the people that care for Janie. The emotions range from denial, to anger, to confusion, to grief, helplessness, and to fear.   Personally, I have written about rejoicing always as a Thanksgiving article, little did I know the test that was coming.  Over the weekend God had me at peace and able to rejoice. Today, it is hard and the emotions can overwhelm.  However, as I write this what comes to my mind is “The Joy of the Lord is my strength.” God has used Janie to touch a lot of people as a tool to help free them from snares and heal spiritual and psychological wounds.  The enemy stirs up fears of all the people who could fall back to past snares and healing wounds re-opened as a result.  God has to have bigger plans.  So, all those that read this blog or happen upon this request pray.  Email me or leave comments for me to pass on to them as you feel led.  Above all, God will be glorified and His will, will be done.  Those of us around the situation have varying degrees of faith.  Yet, when storms come, always our faith is little compared to the greatness of God, this is a lesson previously learned in my life.  God is always faithful.  So to wrap this post up, I do so with thanking and praising God for what He intends to do in this instance regardless of my will.  I believe God will heal Janie of the cancer and that the enemy will not be defeated.  God is good and His mercy endures for ever.  He alone is Holy and Worthy of praise.