A New Blog! 9/13/2020
" And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." Psalms 1:3
The above scripture is my theme for my webpage. It is a hope, a dream and a prayer. And I mean, who wouldn’t want to be like that tree who is protected from storms and drought and never grows frail, and still produces fruit? And if that’s not enough, He tells us that everything she does will prosper! Who wouldn’t want to be like that thriving, prosperous tree?
Recently though, I wasn’t feeling like that tree at all. I felt more like a dried up stick blowing through the wilderness. I knew I should be happy to be nearing the end of my cancer treatments, but it seemed like things were getting more serious. They actually skipped my 7th treatment and gave me an extra week off (because my platelets were too low.) Then, when they gave the next infusion, my doctor ordered shots to raise my white blood count. I felt afraid of the shots because they force the bone marrow to produce more white blood cells. It seemed unnatural to me, and I was afraid it would harm my not-so-young bones.
Anyway, I have to remember that just because the tree can handle the scorch of sun in times of drought, it doesn’t mean she doesn’t feel the heat. It doesn’t mean she never gets tossed in a storm or has to suffer a little pruning. God encourages us with word pictures that are promises and reminders of His mercies. But as He calls us to a greater standard, He also lets us know there will be trouble.
I felt strong when I first came into this time of “pruning.” Following surgery, but before chemo, I’d been on a strict health food diet and was exercising regularly. I thought that I would do so well the nurses would be amazed, and maybe even stop my treatments early! But the reality sunk in one day when I was getting my infusion. I looked out the windows at the gray, stormy sky and saw that I was weak, fallible and broken. At that moment it seemed unbearable. Even the smallest thing—trying to get my I.V. pole repositioned after a trip to the restroom—felt like too much to handle.
The staff at the cancer center does everything it can to make the place cheery, but it is not a very cheerful place. Few people engage in conversations other than interchanges with the nursing staff. Some fellow patients are friendly, as I try to be, but we all seem to turn back to our own gloomy solitude as soon as we settle in. We all are wearing masks—which alienates us even more—but it seems bigger than that. Sometimes it is almost a “sizing up” of each other. A measuring of progress that asks: “Do I look as old and sick as she does?” And I feel so sad for those whose treatments are worse than mine. I pray for them as I watch them retreat into their lonely places. But they are places that our Lord Jesus is familiar with. He is acquainted with sorrows and lonely places, so I pray in hopes they will seek and find Him there.
I may not know in this lifetime why God allowed cancer into my life and the life of my son, but we all face trials and times of difficulty. I don’t believe troubles come to punish us, but they can often be the agents of change we need. Maybe if for no reason other than to slow us down that we might seek more of Him. Or to make us look away from those grandiose plans we had, to choose His way instead (which is always better than whatever we had planned!)
The tree probably had no choice in where it was planted, and we may not like where He has us planted; but we can choose to stretch our roots to the rivers of water where we know we will find peace and strength to carry on. We have to draw close so our leaves don’t wither, so that we can bring forth that fruit in His timing and that season of blessing that’s coming soon!
I have good news to share today! I am halfway through my treatments and my recent CT scan shows no visible signs of cancer!
I was greatly relieved, as I feared they would want to do additional treatment if there were cancer cells. I didn’t want anything that would take me down more. But praise be to God, there is no sign of regrowth. The doctor said there were new, small lymph nodes beginning to grow—but too small to read on the scan. I was happy to learn that we grow new lymph nodes as they had removed 22 of them during my cancer surgery. Hopefully those baby lymph nodes are ok!
God has truly taken care of me as I have gone through this process. He is kind, even when my attitude is not so great. I’ve lost a lot of weight (because food is often unappealing) and my hair is falling out. Still, it mostly looks ok. I didn’t know I had that much hair to spare! A short while back I got my husband to take some updated photos of me with my new book. I got dressed up and put on some make up—and amazingly the pictures turned out good! I don’t look all that skinny and my hair actually looked good! Maybe that is a vain and silly thing to be concerned about, but I truly felt that it was the kindness of God. He doesn’t skimp on details, and He loves to give us good things!
The Lord was also with me in the hospital when I had my surgery. I had asked for a private room, but my surgery date happened to be about the same time the Corona virus broke out—so they denied my request. However, the person who shared the room with me made me laugh and encouraged me to walk with her through the hallways. We called ourselves “Thelma and Louise” rolling around with our IV poles and being goofy. I will never forget the cheerfulness she brought to me during that hospital stay. We also watched a couple of “chick flicks” together. And only a kind heavenly Father would see to it that one of my most favorite movies ever (Moonstruck) came on the screen!
I’ve just finished up my 7th treatment which means that I will have 5 more. I’m glad to be this far along, but honestly five more treatments is not something I’m looking forward to. The treatments won’t be stopped even though the scan results were good because the chemotherapy was considered to be preventative from the start (as it was believed that all the cancer was removed during surgery.)
I have to admit I’m afraid of what that stuff might be doing to me. Some of the worst of the side affects have been mouth sensitivity, and I find that I am tired most of the time. I have to resist wanting to crawl into bed and just stay there. And sometimes the clamor of children and even well-meaning adults is more than I bear. Without the prayers and encouragement of our heavenly Father I would never have made it this far.
I find reading Psalms gives me comfort and also other calming and promising scriptures. I also read a lot of Christian books that I have on my kindle. I would never have made it through my son’s cancer without my Bible and those other books. I would often read the Word before going to bed just to be able to sleep at night. I sleep pretty well most nights now, as I put my full trust in the One who created me and Who allowed these things into my life.
One thing we can all be sure of is that we will have trials and troubles. Even though I don’t believe God punishes us or even cruelly tests us with these troubles, I do believe He allows it and has a purpose in it. The Enemy may be the one who brings these difficulties to us, but nothing can happen to us unless God permits it. Everything has to pass through his loving hands before it can come near us. I believe He wants to train us and strengthen us—and more than anything to get us to put our trust in Him as our source of life.
He is the God of miracles today and yesterday and tomorrow! And really, every moment is a miracle! Be sure to put your trust in The One Who paid for our sins with His death on the cross and is the ONLY way to heaven. For those who put their trust in Him; the best is yet to come!
About this time two years ago, I was finishing up the artwork for The Beginning of Play. Both of my grown sons were living in Ohio (even though we are all from Florida!) and I was on summer break from school. As I was trying to finish the last of my illustrations, I received news that my youngest son (aged 29 at the time) had cancer. It was overwhelming to us, and we didn’t know what to do to help him.
He ended up coming back to Florida to move in with us—though it was not what he wanted to do. We set about trying to help him—not really doing the right things—except for lifting him up in prayer. After some failed attempts to heal him “naturally” he went in for traditional treatment that probably saved his life.
A few months later my older son returned from Ohio with his young family and moved in with us as well. But before they arrived, I worked diligently to complete my artwork because I knew if I had small children in the house it would be hard to work on my project. And I knew if I didn’t finish it then—I possibly never would. Fortunately, I was able to finish before they arrived, but then I put it away so I could focus on the needs of my family.
Life is full of struggles for all of us, and also many joys. With the trials that come I find that I need to keep my eyes on The Lord to make it through, and to be able to see His (often hidden) Bountiful Blessings.
I was able to retire from teaching at the end of the 2018-19 school year even though I was only 62 at the time. And now, just a year later, we are all experiencing this Covid-19 virus. I guess none of us saw it coming, but God knew, of course, and about the time the virus broke out I received my own diagnosis of colon cancer.
I had surgery this past March and I am now going through chemotherapy. It’s been a little tough, but not unbearable. Sometimes I think the worst of it is just wondering how bad it might become as it goes on. But what I can say is this: while my faith has been tested, it has also grown. I’m so grateful for the many prayers that have been spoken in behalf of myself and my family, and I do believe that my heavenly Father will bring good out of all of these trials.
He is Jehovah Magen: my Shield, and Jehovah Rapha: The God Who Heals!
So out of the ashes of these recent troubles He has made it possible to birth this little book from out of its dusty box. It is a book about life, and the beginning of dreams. In a world of trouble there is still hope and joy to be discovered. There are new beginnings, and the opportunity to enjoy a childlike faith when we take the time to “play!”
April M. Whitt 6/20/2020
This Present Rain By April M. Whitt
This is the day we saved for
Like pennies stored in Heaven
It runs from the rooftop
Down to rivulets
At my front door
I sit beside the window
Holding the moment like a tea cup
Outside, my yellow rain boots
Fill with rain
My Upturned red umbrella
Replenishing and quenching the dry ground
This is a time of refreshing
Not for hurrying to the next thing
Not for worrying about tomorrow
Or for grieving a past sorrow
I sip the moment
And savor every swallow
I’m drenched with quiet joy
This present rain
© April M. Whitt 2018
Psalm 23:5, Isaiah 44:3 Mathew 6:34, John 4:14
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Hope For Our Schools And This World
In reaction to yet another shooting, our local schools have announced that no backpacks will be allowed on campuses for the remainder of the school year. Law enforcement officers will be stationed in all schools, and everyone is on high safety alert.
These are trying times for all of us. Even if you are a follower of Jesus Christ you might begin to wonder why and how such terrible things could be happening in our schools and in this world. Is there any hope that things can get better? And how can we feel safe when it seems that everything is out of control? There is no easy answer, but there is hope.
First, its important to remember that life in this world is temporary for all of us. And although it isn’t Hell, it isn’t Heaven either. The presence of God is here in the goodness of life and love myriad blessings. But there is also an increasingly active presence of evil. And because people are turning away from God, we are becoming more open to sin and its destructive path. God does not cause the evil in this world, but He does allow the natural consequences of sin to play itself out.
That’s the bad news. But here is the good news: God has complete power and control over everything! But you might wonder why He doesn’t simply step in and stop all the things that are happening—and the truth is that He will do just that at the appointed time. (But no person knows exactly when that is.) The important thing to focus on, is that He will step into your life at the exact moment you ask Him to. And He will begin a work in you—that you will actually be glad for. And you don’t have to change yourself first, just come as you are. You really have nothing to lose, but everything to gain.
He is your shield and your mighty strong tower! You can ask him to protect you and your loved ones! And by trusting in Him you can live under His protection, AND you can look forward to an eternity without fear, pain or sorrow. Seek Him, and become someone who will help to bring light into this darkening world!
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened
“You are the light of the world... let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14
"What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee." Psalm 56:3
"Trust in The Lord with all of your heart" Prov.3:5
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Also please contact me if you would like to know more about trusting Christ as your Savior. (Use form below or send email.)
The Forever King!
Palm Sunday marks the beginning of the final 7 days of Christ’s earthly ministry. Riding on a donkey’s colt, Jesus began His triumphal journey at the Mount of Olives.
Luke 19:29-40 tells us the colt He sat upon had never been ridden before. Most colts have to be trained before they will tolerate a rider. I wonder, though Luke doesn’t tell us, did the colt have some sense that his burden was The Light of the world?
And what a unique parade it was as the disciples and crowds of people threw down their cloaks and branches of palm to honor Him! Most Kings would enter a city with much more pomp and regalia; but in the same manner our Savior entered the world humbly in a stable at His birth, His splendor was also hidden when He entered Jerusalem as Messiah and King.
The Pharisees who were in the crowd asked Jesus to silence the praises of the disciples. But Jesus answered them by saying: “if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.” What a spectacle that would have been if the rocks began to praise Him! We know God can do anything and if He led Moses to bring water from a rock in the desert, He could easily give voices to stones. But I believe Jesus was actually referring to the Law which is written on stone. I believe He was stating that even if no one saw Him as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, The Law itself (The Ten Commandments) would proclaim who He is! He is the only One who could fulfill the law! He is the only One who lived a sinless life! And He is the ONLY ONE who could be the perfect, Holy sacrifice to pay the terrible sin debt owed by you and me!
That’s why we rejoice at Easter because He is Risen! He paid for our sins at the cross and defeated death by His own death, burial and resurrection! He lives forever and He is coming back for us! But this time when He comes again to the Mount of Olives, His glory will not be hidden. Every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that He is LORD!
Happy Easter Everyone!
January 1, 2018
It's A Brand New Year!
And many of us are wondering—what will this new year hold? Will it simply be more of the same from last year—or, might it be a new adventure just waiting to unfold?
Perhaps you’ve laid some groundwork. Maybe you saved up a little cash, or started a new job or began a new relationship or moved to a new location. Or, maybe you’re starting off in exactly the same place and state of mind you remained in throughout 2017. It doesn’t really matter where you’ve been or even where you’ve set your heart on going…until you have placed those hopes for a great new beginning in “His” hands.
God is the creator of all things, and the One who created you also implanted your heart’s desire. He gave you your talents, strengths and abilities and gave you the potential to do and be all that He has created you to be. He doesn’t make it easy (I’m still learning that) but with an attitude of trust and the willingness to try—comes the possibility of great change.
19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
Change can be scary, but change could also be wonderful! It could mean seeing dreams come true or seeing yourself or loved ones increase in strength and character or producing in ways you never thought were possible!
Maybe it’s time to look past our problems and try to see what new thing God has for us. Invite Him into those places you may have kept Him away from in the past. Lay out your plans and your fears before Him, and then allow Him to direct the way!
“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.” Psalm 32:8
Happy New Year! 2018
A Tree Chosen And Carefully Planted
Learning to completely rely on The Lord is a lifelong process, but I have found the more I trust Him, the more He blesses me and brings about His will for my life. A tree planted by the waters is a tree that is chosen and loved and carefully planted right where our Creator wants us to be. When you are “planted” in Him, you’ll be solid and full of life and wisdom. You will be strong and not “wither” even when things get tough. You will bear fruit to help others—even later in life. So don’t give up and think you are too old (or too young) because sometimes that’s when we produce the best fruit of all!