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My Only Hope
By Pam Lopes
“Whom have I in heaven but You?And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.”
“Cancer is one of the best things that ever happened to me.” I get some questioning looks when I say that to people! I have been reflecting a lot on my experience with cancer this month because it is the 5 year anniversary of my diagnosis and subsequent surgery that took the dreaded tumor out of my body. So, how can there be any good out of a cancer diagnosis?
September 1, 2008 was one of the darkest days of my life after I got the call that the biopsy proved positive for stage 3 cancer. I did what most married women would do; I turned to my husband for solace. I wanted human comfort. A safe place to rest. When that door was sealed shut with no spiritual, physical or emotional comfort, I initially began to panic. How can I face this alone? Cut off from the main source of human comfort, the one who had vowed to be with me through sickness and health? When he turned his face away from me, my mind initially rushed to sorrow, hopelessness, fear, anxiety, but then, God met me just where I was. Psalm 103:14 says, “For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.” The Lord was taking me on a journey to a deeper walk of faith, and in those initial overwhelming fears He met me and said, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” The Lord had never stopped being my husband. I chose at that moment to believe that he would supply every need that I would have on the journey.
In the months leading up to the day that I would learn that I had cancer, I was crying out to God to radically change my marriage. Instead, He brought cancer into my life to radically change me. What I learned during these trials was that God must be at the center of things. He must be in the center of even our suffering. And God, like a father, doesn’t just give advice. He gives Himself. He is the Husband to the widow (Isaiah 54:5). He is the Comforter to the barren woman (Isaiah 54:1). He is the Father of the orphaned (Psalm 10:14). He is the Bridegroom to the single person (Isaiah 62:5). He is the Healer to the sick (Exodus 15:6). He is the Wonderful Counselor to the confused and depressed (Isaiah 9:6). He is the Redeemer of the sinner (Gal. 3:13). I am so thankful that I didn’t have to rely on the arm of flesh to find hope. He is my hope.
When I cried out to the Lord for answers; when I felt my worst and my heart was being wrung out like a sponge, I learned that the Bible’s answers are never distanced from God. When everything moves, breathes and has its being in God, He can do no more than give Himself (Acts 17:28). He is the only hope that truly satisfies. And that truth learned through suffering is more important than getting well or having a better marriage.
About Pam: She is mom to Spencer (at Regent University), Brooke (about to graduate from James Monroe H.S., and Joy (who is home schooled). She spent several years in Christian Radio (90-Joy) before starting a family. Besides working at New Life in the office part time, she finished her Master’s Degree in Counseling through Liberty University last year and has been lay counseling ever since. The Session of NLICC has approved Pam to begin a biblical counseling ministry that is under the authority of New Life in Christ Church. Pam hopes to be an encouragement to women who are struggling with their identity in Christ and comfort those who are suffering through various trials.
Mental Health and the Mission of the Church Mini-Conference – November 16th from 8:30am-1:30pm
Save the date! Biblical counselor Pam Lopes, Dr. Mitzi Sampson and our Pastors Doug and Sean will be educating, equipping and encouraging us to minister to ourselves, our families, friends and neighbors. Mental health issues are ones that affect all of us in some way or another, yet are often kept hidden and unshared with our church body out of shame. How should the church respond to mental illness? With compassion and help and the light of Christ – the same way she responds to any suffering. Come spend the morning in worship, fellowship and learning with the women of the church. Breakfast and lunch provided. Bring a friend. No cost, but donations will be accepted day of conference to defray costs. Please register with Heather O’Hara at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are coming. Registration is needed to plan for food and materials.
Parker and Annie Page’s Baby expected on (or before) Monday
Annie Page is scheduled for a C-section on Monday. Please pray for her and the baby, for a safe and uncomplicated delivery and recovery. Darlene Tyler will be coordinating meals to begin on October 10th (or slightly sooner if baby arrives before Monday). The family has no diet restrictions and you’d be cooking for 3 appreciative adults and 2 children. You may contact Darlene to get on the schedule.
Pray for NLICC Men’s Retreat this Weekend
The Man of Conviction- The Uncompromising Pursuit of Sovereign Joy – Pray for our men as they examine their convictions, that the Lord would meet and lead each in a special way.
Women’s Ministry Meeting, Saturday, October 12th at 8:30 am in Room 216
Women’s Ministry Training, Saturday, October 12th at 10 am in Room 216
Read Chapter 5 “Focus” and Chapter 6 “Wisdom” in Leadership for Women in the Church by Susan Hunt and Peggy Hutcheson. Carrie Verbosky will be leading this lesson.
Matthew Smith and Indelible Grace, Friday, October 18th
Have you purchased your tickets yet? Did you know there is a maximum family price for the concert? Indelible Grace played at the last international PCA Women’s Conference in Atlanta and featured familiar (and less familiar but rich in meaning) hymns set to contemporary music. A beautiful expression of truth and grace! At 5:30pm before the concert Matthew Smith will lead a seminar on hymn rewriting. Contact the front office for tickets.
- Tickets will be $5 in advance with a $15 maximum per family.
- At the door the cost will be $7 in advance, $20 max per family.
Matthew Smith is a Nashville-based singer-songwriter who writes brand new music to centuries-old hymn texts. He is a founding member of the Indelible Grace community, whose work has drawn acclaim across denominational lines and is used in churches around the world. Born out of a college ministry, the re-imagined hymns have found wide acceptance both among college students and the church at large, joining people who desire to honor tradition with those who want a modern musical approach. His latest album, Watch The Rising Day, explores the tension of living in a broken world while awaiting Christ’s return and the restoration of all things.
Blessing Bag box in Foyer
Gale Puffenberger has placed a box in the foyer for Blessing Bag items. Creating bags with toiletries and snacks will be our activity for the Women’s Prayer Breakfast on October 19th. These bags can be taken with you in the car so that you are equipped to help someone who is in need or you may them donate to the food pantry. The sign-up sheet here has a list of items we are collecting. Even if you can’t participate, we encourage you to donate any of these items, no need to sign up unless you have a quantity, so that we know we can depend upon that amount. This would be a fun activity to bring a daughter or two to!
Women’s Prayer Breakfast, Saturday, October 19th at 9am in the Fireside Room
Come join in fellowship! No need to bring anything to share unless you are participating in the Blessing Bag activity after the meal or if you’d like to help provide the breakfast, sign up here.
If you are interested in providing hospitality for Capernaum on a Thursday evening, click here. A great opportunity to serve as friends or as a care group.
Want to Join?
You may join the Women’s Bible Study that meets in room 216 on Tuesday mornings from 9:30-11:30 at any time. Childcare is available. We are learning the scriptural basis for the Westminster Confession of Faith. It has been great lesson each week! Contact Christine in the office for books. As always, if you need financial assistance, let us know.
In Titus 2 we’ll be talking a lot about stories this year. Since one of the homework challenges is for us to write some of them out and share them within our groups, I challenge you to go a step further: If a lady in your Titus 2 group has shared something that God has wrought in her life that has encouraged, challenged or taught you, encourage her to share; help her to send it to be published in the Update so that we might share in the blessing as well. Contact Annie Jedick or send it to email@example.com.
Crisp nights and sunny days, apples, and leaves just beginning to change. So much to be thankful for! Praising our Creator!
in His grace,
for the Women’s Ministry Committee