I love to spend the mornings out on our deck enjoying the sunrise, the birds, and time with Jesus. I am filled with joy each morning as I sit outside watching the birds eat from my feeders. To hear them singing and to see the sun rise up over the houses is a constant reminder to me that God is truly in control. Who else could create such a multitude of bird songs and beautiful sunrises each day…He is the creator and sustainer of life.

Over the last 8 months, I have seen God bring joy into my life as we walk this journey of cancer. He has been pruning away the “things” of non-importance and is reminding me of the things that matter in this life. I have gained a new-found appreciation for His work both in my life and the lives of the people I know. Even yesterday I was reminded of the importance of the words we share with others and the lasting impact we can have in the lives of other people by speaking words of truth into their lives. Relationships matter and sometimes we need to prune away some things to maintain those relationships.

I’ve also seen God miraculously slow the growth of my tumor to give us time to be at peace with the decisions that needed to be made. He has meticulously guided us through the highs and lows of our emotions, bringing clarity through tests, words from doctors and words from trusted family and friends. He has been at our side every step of the way.

God has always been, and will continue to be, at our side for the journey ahead. This I know so deeply, personally, to my core and this is where my joy comes from each and every day.

What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord, who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. (Psalm 84:5)

The pilgrimage continues. September 6th is the big day. We have decided it is time to move forward with removing my kidney, ureter, some lymph nodes in the area, and the top portion(cuff) of my bladder. (RNU) This will leave me on dialysis until I am approved for a kidney transplant in the future. We have walked this journey with God over the last 8 months and reached that place of peace only God can provide.

God has also provided a glimmer of hope for a transplant time frame that will be based upon the final staging of my cancer when they examine the kidney after removal. The transplant center we are working with has said they will base the wait time on the stage, and the lower the stage, the shorter the wait time. (The standard wait is 2 years after removal, but if I stage low, they may shorten that window)

God can do amazing things in our lives when we follow His lead. He has sustained us both physically and emotionally. I can hardly believe I have not felt sick once during this whole process. If anything I have become more energized by God’s presence and the love of so many friends and by my family. God has been using this experience to grow me spiritually and relationally. I am learning that I cannot do this alone and will need help to power through. Help from God and help from family and friends.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.(Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)

I know this passage points more to the spiritual side of life, and gratefully my foundation is firm, however, physically I will certainly need help with the day-to-day for a little bit of time while I recover. I could also use your help with some recommendations of movies or books. I will be in the hospital for 5-6 days and for those of you who know me well, I am not good at sitting still and will need some distractions.

Maurice and I have treasured all your prayers and are grateful so many of you continue to lift us up daily. When it gets closer, if you don’t mind, we would love to send out a more specific list of prayers for the surgery through my blog. As always we will do our best to keep you all updated on the happenings.

As you journey through this week, take some time to marvel at the presence of God around you. Take a moment and reach out to a friend to say hello, your phone call could be just what they need.

With joy,

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5 thoughts on “Pilgrimage”

  1. Julie: I am doubly grateful to read your blog to catch up and hear about your journey. Your walk with God is so alive and inspiring…Your strength and faith strong and fulfilling. Thank you for sharing. My heart goes out to you both. God Bless.

  2. I am always amazed at your strength and strong faith. I do believe that without that faith your journey would be far different. Life certainly is a miracle and not to be taken for granted, you are that miracle!!! Although you road is long and well traveled through your cancer journeys, you have grown closer to the God we know is there for us, always there for us! I pray that as you begin this next walk down the road to recovery you find peace and comfort surrounding you!
    As far as good books go, I am reading ” The little Bookstore on the corner” by Jenny Colgan. I LOVE it, an easy fun read, I think
    Any of her books would be a pleasure to read! As far as movies go, we are more into Netflix series or Amazon Prime, Turn, Jane the Virgin( I know it sounds raunchy, but it is fun and lighthearted), Victoria, Reign and we live Poldark if you haven’t seen that. Just a few to try, some fun some more serious!

  3. Julie Your faithfulness never faulters. Your encouragement to others never ceases. Your heartfelt words provide such comfort. May God Bless you and keep you in his care. I will be praying for you and your family. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. Prov 3-5. A very good book that you might enjoy is On Fire by John O’Leary. Very inspiring book on how he survived burns over 90% of his body. If you ever need anything please call me. I would welcome seeing your smiling face. As the green shirt says “Choose Joy”, right?

  4. Pamela Reynolds

    Isn’t it good when we come to the knowledge that God has a unique plan for each of us? He directs our path – he doesn’t “make” us but he is with us in this journey we call life and wants good things for us

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