My Chains Are Gone?
Before I get into the details of how my treatment went this week I want to share something that happened a couple of days ago. The cancer center where I'm being treated has a minister come and pray with the staff every Thursday morning. They gather in a "huddle" in the middle of the area where we are all being treated. Our church worship leader, Sonya Eller, works there and we had asked if we could sing a song the next time I was there on Thursday morning (which happened to be this week). The minister and staff were happy for us to do so and we picked to sing the song by Chris Tomlin "Amazing Grace, My Chains Are Gone." If you're not familiar with the song it is a revised tune of the original hymn using the traditional verses with a new chorus. It went well, we managed to find the right key and harmony while singing acapella and I was glad to discover that my singing voice has improved as the chemo is doing it's work to shrink the lymph nodes that were affecting my voice. Several people thanked us for singing and we talked about doing it again the next time I'm there on a Thursday. It was later that evening that the irony of the lyrics to the song we had sung occurred to me. There we were singing a song that said "my chains are gone" surrounded by cancer patients who were hooked up by plastic tubes to medicine being pumped into their veins in an attempt to save their life from tumors that were trying to suck the life out of them! As the irony of the song we had sung continued to hit me I began to consider how much of our life is a series of freedom that we have found and freedom that we are still waiting for. Ultimately through Christ we have victory over all things but there are some things that are past tense victories, some present and some future. I can truly say that many of my chains from the past are gone: anger, hurt, unforgiveness, discouragement, insecurities, and many other things I have been set free from. But... there are new chains that I am needing to find freedom from. That is true for all of our lives. The important thing is to not forget to celebrate the freedom of the past chains being broken even as we face new ones in our lives.
I heard a great sermon on Psalm 118 a few days ago and was reminded that "our celebration should not be dependent on our circumstance". Psalm 118 is a mix of crying out for help while praising God for who He is and what He had already done. Chains that were gone and chains that were still being dealt with. This week things took an unexpected direction after I met with my oncologist on Monday. He was concerned about my lung function being down below 50% and did not want to do the intended chemo drug on Monday as it can be hard on my lungs. He asked me if I felt up to beginning a week of chemo right then, I said I was, and what I was expecting to be a one day treatment this week turned into five, and so I was at the cancer center every day for 6+ hours a day this week after being there every day last week getting bloodwork done also. I did receive good news on my bloodwork, my results yesterday were much improved from last week, the doctor was talking Monday about the possible need for a transfusion but based on yesterday's results, no transfusion is needed this week at least! I will have bloodwork done on Wednesday of next week, please pray that my levels continue to improve and also that my lung function gets better so that maybe I can get back on the one chemo they stopped this week. As I write this blog I feel very fatigued from this week's treatment but I am glad to have had the reminder for my own self that I have been set free from so many chains due to His "amazing grace" and I am completely confident that the current chains will be dealt with as well. In the meantime I want to continue to find a purpose in the path that I am on. I have often said to people who are in hospital, "who is it that you are supposed to show the love of God to while you are here that you wouldn't normally see?" I want to do the same. I pray that the simple song we sang on Thursday may have done that but I want to continue to look for ways to touch others lives while I go through this very unexpected journey in my life. I have been set free from so many chains but so many are still bound and through letting God speak through us we can help bring freedom even while we are still waiting for some of our freedom to be complete.
I want to thank you for taking time to read this blog and I hope that it has been a blessing to you. If so, please comment and share it. I have in my mind the beginnings of a book that would incorporate these blog entries into a year long story that began back in March of 2020. More to come on that in time. In the meantime I hope you have a blessed day and remember to celebrate the chains that you have been set free from even as you pray for new freedom in other areas of your life. God bless.
Amazing Grace was the song I was singing all week. We have different chains that can hold us back but thank God they are gone. His amazing grace how sweet the sound is. Praying with you always. Nae
Amen & Thank you Nae Nae. Love ya!!
You are such an inspiration to so many. Prayers continue for you Matthew.
Thank you so much Gary. Very grateful for your love & prayers.
Thank you for writing these blogs.God is using you for his work in more ways than one. Praying for you and your family.
Thank you so much Susannah. Grateful for your prayers.
Hi Matthew. You have a really easy to read way of writing. In fact after reading the first couple of paragraphs I was thinking, “he should write a book someday”! I’ve listened to a couple of testimonies recently where painful situations have brought others to Jesus. We think it’s wrong that we suffer (and in a way it is not the best, )but God does not waste any situation and it wanting to get back to ‘normal’ can make us miss what God wants to do now. I’m speaking to myself !
I pray that God will use you and bless you during this testing time.
Hi Lydia. Thanks for your comments. Very encouraging. I agree with you too. God doesn’t waste anything!! Thanks too for your prayers. Love ya!!
Thanks for your blog Matthew. We are praying with you & for you during this time. There are always opportunities along the way if we are available. Life is a journey whatever our path and the Lord is with you & will bring you thru stronger. Love you very much.Dad.
Thanks Dad. Yes. Strength & healing are coming. Love you so much!!
Matthew, thank you so much for writing these messages. Gary & I are praying for you daily that God will strengthen & heal you completely &, along the way, to use you to bless & encourage others. I know you are doing that because I feel encouraged. We love you so much & can't wait to see you.
Thank you Elaine. Love you & Gary so much. I do miss you all. Look forward to seeing you sometime soon!!!
Love you Matthew. I think your amazing. I personally have been a roller coaster of emotions over you going through all this. There’s times I’m so sad at your struggles & I cry because I know you physically struggle and it breaks my heart then there’s times I’m just angry and I curse cancer & the devil. Some days I pray God just do a healing suddenly so the struggle will go away. It’s just so hard seeing someone you love sick and in such a battle. However I know God loves you and your love for Him has always shown in everything you done and still doing. I know He’s working all things out to your good and it’s his will to bless you and see you through it all. Your an inspiration to so many before this. There are so many facing cancer in this world that needs inspiration. I know God will receive the Glory from your journey and testimony. Praying daily for you ,cherish and girls. We love you all so very much. I will not allow any thought in my mind that says anything other than the truth that Gods got this and he’s always on time 🙌 Here for you all anytime❤️
Thank you Sissy. I appreciate so much all the tremendous love & support you have given & are giving. I’m very grateful for your prayers as I know they are powerful. Best mother in law ever. I love you!!
I’m so glad that your bloodwork came back improved, that’s what I was praying for,! and am even more blessed from the testimony you gave about this week! Thanks for being the example tha you o tave always been, and you will get through this in the name of Jesus, because yougive know that you can put this under your feet just like the enemy and give em a stomp or 2 before you go
Mike. I’m so encouraged by your comment. Thank you SO MUCH for your prayers! I am humbled by so many wonderful people praying for me! I’m also glad to stomp on the devils head together with you brother. Love ya!!
Matt - You are such an inspiration to so many people. I just read your blog and I am was so blessed by it. I have you on our Prayer list at my church and I am praying for the Lord to heal you completely. Thank you for sharing your story. If there's anything we can do for you, please let us know. I plan to follow your blog and keep up with your story!!! God bless you !!
Thank you Tammie!! So grateful for your prayers & friendship over the years. God bless you!!