Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Believing in Hope

“Do not be afraid; only believe”
- Mark 5:36

Before you can truly believe you must banish doubt and fear! Sometimes it is a process. When I first discovered I had cancer I was in denial for awhile. Then I got angry. I have the broken mirrors to prove it from a screaming pity party I had for myself. But that was all about fear. And once I realized how silly and futile it was to allow fear to rule me, I turned to God and decided to believe in hope. In doing this, I gave power to hope rather than giving power to the fear.

I had allowed my doubt to separate me from God. Doubt is the biggest obstacle to receiving our blessings and activating the power we have through hope. Hope waits for us patiently. Doubt can destroy us. It is like a poison that creeps through our system and de-activates our body’s marvelous healing powers. Hope can nourish our immune systems.

Only believe. It sounds so simple. Actually, it is simple, once you turn the fight over to God. Remember how David faced Goliath? His simple weapons were BELIEF and a slingshot. The moment you say “yes” to God and decide to believe, the universe starts moving to align itself with God’s thought. It is our job to simply hang on to hope and keep believing, no matter what things of the world swirl around us.

Determine in your mind that our God is a good God, and that He wants only good for you and all you love. What is it you hope for? Believe it and you will receive it. You alone choose victory or defeat. Know that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. The moment of your decision to fight for hope and to believe you already have everything you need, is the moment of victory.

Listen to the doctors. Believe in God.

What will you choose today? What will you do to show what you believe? Are you ready to walk the walk? Take a step of faith today and shout it out loud “I believe!” Believing with all your heart in that which seems impossible will bring you that peace which surpasses all understanding. I wish you peace!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Accepting the Gift of Hope

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit”
-Romans 15:13

The first choice you make each morning is the backround music for your day. Hope is a gift from God that we can either accept or reject. It begins from the moment you open your eyes each day. You must choose to believe that you will ABOUND in hope. That means you believe you are filled with it and it is overflowing in your life. It is “shaken and pressed down.” You have more than enough to go around not only for you, but for everyone you encounter.

Do you think you are worthy of so much goodness? That is the question God is asking of you. Until you believe you deserve such a gift of hope you can never experience the magnitude of this gift God offers. I am here to tell you that you are worthy. Why? Because God offered His only Son on the cross to pave the way for us to accept all His wonderful gifts and if you can believe that you can also believe in all His promises.

He promises us hope. He promises us that He will always be there, even in our greatest trials. Wherever you are, God is. His arm is long enough to reach down into our deepest of pits and pull us out. But we have to reach our hand toward him and accept His help.

In doing this we are putting on the whole armour of God to protect our attitudes, our decision making, and our healing, which determines our happiness each day. You MUST embrace hope and allow it to become who you are, how you think and what you do. When you accept hope you surrender to God’s will and allow Him to take control. You trust that God is good and everything that is happening leads to your greater good.

So, today, allow God to fill your heart and soul. Know that He is watching over you today and every day. He wants you to feel His power and rest in it. Accept it. Believe in it. Trust in it. Take a leap of faith in it. You will not be disappointed. Everyone will see the light of hope shining from inside you and be blessed by it.

I often found that my cancer journey led me to many wonderful conversations with people about the power of God. I was thrilled at how many people seemed to be waiting for a chance to talk about God. But they needed someone to start the conversation. It is one of the reasons I say that cancer is one of the best things that ever happened to me. When people could see the light of hope burning inside me despite the cancer, they could begin to believe in the power of hope for their own lives.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The ABC's of Hope

"Be doers of the word and not hearers only"
-James 1:22

How do you hold on to hope? Believe it or not - it is not as daunting as it might sound. You simply "become" hope. To "become" hope you "become" pro-active. That means, you make the decision that nothing else matters in your world except for one thing - you have hope. If you want to find hope with all your heart and soul, it is time to put feet to your faith and go after it with a vengeance.

Here's how I did it. I created a morning prayer that started my day in hope so that everything that happened during that day flowed from a faith consciousness. Then I immersed myself from "head to toe" in hope by creating what I called "ABC's of Hope" that I memorized to plant the seeds of hope in my subconscious mind. I printed it out and posted it on my mirror so it would be the first thing I saw as I washed my face each morning. Here is my prayer:

Good Morning Lord!

Today I glorify You, serve You and seek Your will in all I do. I come boldly to Your throne and ask for Your grace to sustain me and give me the strength I need to hold on to hope. I confirm my faith and trust in Your promise with every step I take by committing to the works that will transform my hope into answered prayer in the twinkling of an eye.

Therefore, this day, I will do everything it takes to fight for hope. I will:

Accept hope
Believe in hope
Consume hope
Dream hope
Express hope
Follow hope
Give hope
Harbor hope
Imagine hope
Join hope
Know hope
Live hope
Manifest hope
Nail hope
Open my heart to hope
Protect hope
Quicken hope
Restore hope
Seek hope
Teach hope
Understand hope
Visualize hope
Want hope
X-pect hope
Yearn for hope
Zero in on hope

I will carry my message of hope to all I meet and multiply the blessings of hope by spreading it everywhere - AMEN!

Recite those "abc's" daily until you have them memorized by heart! I used my morning walks as "prayer walks" and recited to myself as I walked along. Then I chose one letter (and the action with it) to focus on all day. I'll go through the whole alphabet of hope with you in future columns, so you too can begin to immerse yourself in the power of the sword of the spirit!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Finding the light of hope

“Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path”
-Psalm 119:105

Do we find hope or does hope find us? I found it appears to us in moments of surrender. In my own cancer journey, the light of hope glimmered when I finally stopped fighting the fear that cancer could destroy me, and surrendered my fight to the power of God to fight for me. It was at that moment I decided to win. I faced my fear and remembered my brother Chip’s motto about fear – that it is False Evidence Appearing Real. So what is the true evidence that is real? These “facts” can be found in the greatest book of truths – THE BIBLE.

I started scouring the bible for verses that revealed the promises of God to each of us. I found a blank journal book and began recording the truths I found to feed my soul each morning and arm myself with the protection I needed to face each day. It brought me great joy as the nuggets of power jumped off the pages at me. They had been there all along but I think the difference was my new receptivity to embrace them. I finally understood what is meant by “power in the word.”

A popular country music song “Jesus Take The Wheel” by Carrie Underwood offers us great advice. It encourages us all to remember that God is in control. If we can begin by believing this, we can allow hope to perch itself and make a nest in our souls. But the key to this, is believing with all your heart and soul. Hope is believing in the outcome. It is believing what you cannot see. It is realizing the victory is already ours. Cancer is not so much a battle for your body as it is for your soul.

What we cannot see is more important than what we CAN see. What we CAN see is limited. What we CANNOT see is unlimited power of God’s universe that is available to us. There is great power in the unseen – it is that place where we can cleft in God. When we learn to abide in God, to immerse our spirits in quiet, we start to hear the whispers God speaks to our hearts.

The most important aspect of hope is understanding that you can hope because YOU ARE NOT ALONE. God has promised us He is there all the time. Wherever God is there is power. It’s up to us to accept that truth. Once we do the universe unfolds and begins to unleash mighty miracles.

The spoils of our victory is that peace that surpasses all understanding. It is knowing that no matter what God’s will is for our bodies, we have won the battle for our soul. When we can honestly say “No matter what happens – it is well with my soul” then we become filled with a happiness that makes us want to run out and bless the world. That, my friend, is what winning is all about. It is a battle we win day after day if we refuse to give in to despair and choose life.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Getting Through Cancer With A Smile

Dear Friends and Loved Ones Everywhere,

There has been a fire burning in my heart ever since my recovery from breast cancer two years ago. The Lord has been calling me to my purpose all along but lately it seems the whispers have turned into shouts. I knew He sent another messenger today to remind me to keep walking forward to my destiny of using my writing gift to bring hope to women going through and recovering from breast cancer. An angel appeared to me today in Publix Supermarket as we both stood at a table filled with Breast Cancer items for sale to promote the cause. Her name was Kim Barbato. We started talking and I noticed her super short cropped hair. I asked her if she was a cancer survivor. She said yes. But she was going through it again now, and in the midst of chemotherapy, this time for a year. After so long your hair just finally starts growing back.

I caught myself gasping..............it is every survivor's worst fear that haunts us, whether we acknowledge it or not. My left hand reached up instinctively to protect my right chest, where my breast used to be. I told her about the book I was writing on hope. She smiled a big and bright smile. She agreed that it is impossible to battle the disease without faith. Then she cheerfully told me quite bravely that everything would be fine. She told me about a breast cancer survivor group right next door to my church! I made a silent vow to finish my book and start my speaking program. She was exactly what I wanted to write about. Those of us who beat the odds with a smile.

Also today I heard that Donna Hicken, our local newscaster who wrote an incredible book about her second bout with cancer, has found another suspicous area. It makes me realize that none of us have guarantees, except for our todays. And so I am moving on to my original goal of writiing a book of comfort and joy for cancer victims and their loved ones. I have been detoured with another passion of mine..........sharing what I learned about beauty from within after being robbed of every vestige of beauty during my cancer battle.

But God keeps putting people in my path that need hope. So hope it is! And it's time to rekindle my own hope as I count the days to my next appointment with the oncologist, Dr. Moreno, at Mayo Clinic. I always get nervous as my deadline approaches for my 6 month check-ups. And this is the yearly super visit where they scan me from head to toe.

As Emily Dickinson quoted, "Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in my soul." And so I keep my miracle feathered bird ( I actually was saved Christmas Day 2004 by a miracle with a sign from God - he sent me a flock of birds) nested in my heart always to remind me of my mission - to light the candles of hope in everyone I meet.

I encourage you to pray for any one you know who is suffering with cancer and for their families and friends. It is a start. And there is power in prayer. I will be helping you fight in the columns to come and showing you how to win the battle for that peace that surpasses all understanding. You can help yourself or someone you love. God is listening and waiting to help.

Keep smiling! It's one of the best weapons you have!

In Heavenly Hope,

Rene Williams
Roman 12:12