All I Know About Jesus

Today was communion Sunday at church. The Lord’s table is open to all of those who have accepted Christ as their Savior. Roy and I have spoken with the boys about this idea and have clearly explained the bread represents the body of Christ and the juice represents the blood He shed for our sins. I asked Jake if he remembered what communion was about. He simply replied, “All I know about Jesus is that He loves me and He died on the cross for me.” I thought I was going to burst into a million tears. I was so incredibly proud of my five-year-old. That is it. It is that simple. Jesus loves me. Jesus died on the cross for me. Why do we make it harder than that? We add so much topical, mumbo jumbo that we end up diluting the basic truth and factual principles. That is all we really need to know. The oooonly thing I would add is that we have a responsibility to share that very concept with those that don’t know or understand that love. Jake also reminded me that Jesus loves Him more than I do. I still sometimes think that is hard to believe, but it is true. Now Matt is another story: He gobbled down the cracker like it was morning snack and couldn’t close his eyes during prayer because he could not wait to drink the juice. He is so eager to love Jesus and follow swiftly after his brother. His understanding is in perfect alignment for a three-year-old. About two months ago we did not allow Matt to join in communion with us, because we did not believe that he had fully committed his heart to Jesus yet. He quickly (and loudly) reminded us (and the nearby congregation) that, “I DO LOVE JESUS!” Excuse the mama for thinking I knew… Matt’s heart was not mine to judge. We continue to explain this idea to our little men, but the Lord continues to do the work on their hearts.

As I thought about this today, I was reminded of the parable of the sower from Matthew 13. Verse 3 states, “A farmer went out to sow his seeds. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop – a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” Maybe the reason I like this parable is the fact that Jesus goes on to explain it. I was never a fan of English class – I was more of a math and science geek. Parables, adjectives, and prepositions scared me – they were too loosey, goosey. I liked black and white (and I still do). This parable is one Jesus takes time to explain. It is aimed at both those who hear the word and those who preach the word. I have been a “rocky place” before. After Heather (my sister) died I was certain there was no God. What God would take my ten-year-old sister in a car accident? Are you kidding me? I was only fourteen and I didn’t think I should have to deal with those types of things at that age. I was really angry at God. There was no soil in my heart. But… I wanted to believe she was in heaven so I was having to encounter this reality of if I believed in heaven I HAD to believe there was a God. My “faith” sprang up quickly and then died out about as quickly as it came. I went back to being mad at God. Really I had no root system. I had no foundation. I had no understanding of who God was. I have also been a seed among the thorns. I like to call the “thorns” the bad influences in my life – those crazy gals who lived down the hall from me during my freshman year of college. The same ones who went with me to get my tongue pierced… (Did you know that? Lot’s of little secrets coming out in this blog…)  I then met Roy by my sophomore year and despite his good influence, I was still a little wild (and probably will be forever, but God loves me that way). I wanted to be a thorn. The problem was, I had found the Lord and He had better plans and intentions for my life than me hating Him. He intended to use people to fertilize the soil of my heart. That is exactly what happened and continues to happen. My boys are young and inexperienced, but the love and understanding they have for Jesus is beyond my comprehension. It is my responsibility and privilege to fertilize the soil of their hearts.

We had a great weekend over Memorial Day for two reasons: it was branding day and I didn’t have chemo until Tuesday. I felt like a kid on a snow day – yippee skippy! Here are some of my favorite pics from branding day:

ControlKevinMontella & MarkMy RoySaddleSilThe Cross

I am continually thankful the Lord provides these amazing picture settings and I just have to push a button. I felt really pretty good on branding day and I loved spending some time in the kitchen preparing some desserts. If I could bake desserts and take pictures all day I would be a pretty happy woman. I was pondering going into the lawn mowing business, but I think I will save that one for a later day 😉

Chemo proceeded as normal this week (minus my skip day – woo hoo). Tuesday was round 7. After round 6 there were a lot of people who kept referencing being half way done. I didn’t not see it that way yet, even though that was exactly true. I felt like I had started at sea level, climbed 7,000 feet in elevation and my goal is to reach the summit of a fourteener. Yes, officially I was half way done, but there was no “on the downhill side” of things. They hardest part of the journey is still ahead of me. The air gets thin, my water supply is running low and the fatigue increases. But like all climbers, I don’t intend to quit. I will reach the summit. I will let everyone know when the cancer-free celebration party is in August. When we get the “all clear” in my PET scan, I promise there will be a PAR-TAY! Until then, keep praying.

The Reglan (my anti-nausea) is working pretty well, but the side effects were a little more severe this week. I had quite a bit more muscle cramping. The Neulasta (my bone marrow booster) is also causing some serious bone pain, which is also normal. I did finally get my digestive system figured out. 24 pills a day can get the job done! I won’t go in to details on that one, but if you are a past-chemo user, you KNOW what I am talking about… My hair is stiiiiil falling out – I seriously thought it would have stopped by now. Boy, that is an annoying one for me. My hair is an incredibly thin version of it self. I have started wearing the wig just for minutes in a day to potentially try to get use to the idea. I still don’t know if I will shave my head or not. I know I will have to do something drastic once my hair starts coming back in. My “mixed mullet” theory will NOT look good, so something will have to be done at that time. I might save that decision for a later date. It is kind of like gaining weight right now. That is a serious irritant, but again, I will save dealing with that for a later date. Enjoying my babies on the good days, and helping my honey when I can, is about the extent of the things I really try to focus on. Each good day is a great day. I may be a chubby, balding, cancer-filled version of my self, but one day that will not be the case. I will be restored to wholeness and have time to work on having a good hair day and a great work out. Until then, I am going to take a nap and practice using an eyebrow pencil.

I am still so thankful to be on this journey. I do hate cancer, but without it, I would not know the same boldness to share God’s love with you. Jake was right. All you need to know about Jesus is that He loves you and died on the cross for you. My prayer is that becomes a clear reality for you, in your life, in your heart, and Jesus becomes a permanent fixture for you. Don’t worry – you’ll not always get along really well – that is the normal ebb and flow of a relationship – but despite our running away from the Savior, He is always running toward us. He is on the climb with me. He is also on the climb with you. Whether you know Him or not, He is with you. I pray you have an incredibly blessed week!

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3 thoughts on “All I Know About Jesus

  1. Sherry Pfaltzgraff says:

    Brandee, wonderful truths. We are so grateful for His great love, and keeping power and strength. We continue to hold you in prayer for His complete healing and strength for the process.

  2. Diane Koester says:

    Hi, Brandee. I found your blog via the newspaper. It’s wonderful. I was talking to your mother-in-law recently and she thought I should tell you about my sister. She was only 29 when she got Hodgkins and it was a shock to everyone as she was the health nut in the family. She underwent aggressive chemo and radiation and things got rough on those days. She was determined that she keep her nutrients up even when she didn’t feel like eating. I remember her drinking a lot of Carnation Instant Breakfast drinks because drinking was easier than eating bites of food. To make a long story short, she has been cancer free for almost 19 years now–who-hoo–went on to have 3 kids and now rows on a professional Canadian rowing team at age 50! She was indeed blessed! Hang in there and remain positive and we will all keep praying for you and your family!

  3. Laura & John Pfaltzgraff says:

    Brandee, I am so impressed with your faith. It’s so easy to become offended at God when life takes a nasty turn. But faith helps us remember God’s character & to trust Him even when events seem to scream at us – Why, why why is He allowing this! Our little brains may never grasp the “whys” and “how comes” but our heart can hold onto the love He has for us. I John 4:16 in the Amplified Bible says: And we know (by observation & experience) and believe (adhere to and put faith in and rely on) the love God cherishes for us.
    Keep putting your faith in His love for you. Cling to Him for He is your life. Praying for you, Laura

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