Waiting on God

I recently found this video on Marybeth’s phone.  She would occasionally record video devotions on her phone and talk about what God was speaking to her that day or thoughts from the week.  When I would ask her about posting them later, she typically would say, “yeah, I didn’t think it made sense so I deleted it!”  Haha.  Well, this was one that thankfully she didn’t delete (or post). To give some perspective, this video was recorded the day before she was admitted to the hospital for 8 days due to a severe case of pneumonia.  Even through those toughest days, her heart  was to worship God and depend on Him.

~ Matt Perkins

Lost Keys, Hair, and Other Things That Matter

All of us have been asked by someone, “Do you know where my keys are? I can’t find them.” That panic that sets in  when we are running late and need to leave.  The loss of our keys prevents us from doing so.  At that moment the car keys are the most important.  We cannot do what we planned to do because we cannot find our keys.  In life there are so many things that can be lost.   Some seem less important than others.  Other things bring a blow that knocks us off our feet and changes our life.

Losses in life like a job, a relationship, finances, a loved one, or health.  These things can come crashing in on us making it hard to catch our breath.  In the first six months of 2015 I have been fighting to regain my “lost” health. What a fight and daily battle this has been.  I have watched others through more difficult things stay strong in God and persevere through the thing they have lost.  These followers of Christ have given me encouragement  and strength through their testimony.  The question is not if we will experience loss but how will we respond?  What will we do?  We have a God who stands with us and makes our feet secure to move on to the heights. (Hababbuk 3:19)  One version says to make spiritual progress upon my high places of trouble and suffering.

As we lean into God with our loss he gives us strength to overcome and move on.  When I was facing losing my hair in some ways it felt like losing my keys. After all it’s only hair, right?  Then there were other moments the thought would overwhelm and it felt like a death.  I ended up landing emotionally and mentally in-between the extremes .  Leaning into God with my loss and finding strength and comfort in His arms.

I wanted to share this video that we took describing my emotions before I lost all my hair and shaved my head.  May God speak to you clearly in your loss today and give you peace.

What Do You Remember?


Memory is such a precious gift that most of us take for granted on any given day.  Until we cannot remember where we put our keys.  This little lapse of memory is frustrating.  Possibly reminding us of our age.  In Psalm 63:6  David talks about remembering.  He declares, “When I remember You upon my  bed and meditate on You in the night watches.”

David is declaring that something happens when he remembers God.  David at this time is in the wilderness of Judah.  He is not in the luxury setting of a palace.  What is it that takes place when David remembers God when things aren’t great and night falls?  Our answer is found in verse 5 where  it is says, “My whole being shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and  my  mouth shall praise you with joyful lips.”

How on earth is this possible when life is way less than what we expected? How are we suppose to give God praise and remember Him in the middle of kids screaming, full laundry baskets, a kitchen sink full of dishes, job deadlines, marriage struggles, or  financial hardship.  Fill in the blank for your situation. In the middle of life’s struggles God’s plan is for us to be satisfied and for us to praise Him.  He sent Jesus just so we can have this abundant life.  When the “rubber meets the road” what really happens in the life we are living out daily.  In verse 1 and 2 we find our answer to being able to remember on our bed and praise in the night watches.  David declares God is his God and he  has earnestly sought after God.  David entered the sanctuary to see God’s power and glory.  When we seek after God with all our being and earnestly we will find Him.  We will see His power and glory revealed to us. We cannot truly remember what we haven’t experienced.  As we daily seek after God and experience His presence in the day to day when the the night comes, guess what? We will remember God and meditate on Him.  We won’t be able to help ourselves.

In the ordinary mundane  of today seek God earnestly until you find Him.  Talk to Him throughout the day. Thank Him for all of the blessings in your life.  In the dark night watches you will remember meeting with God and seeing his presence revealed to you.  This remembering will satisfy your entire being and you will praise Him!

A Glimpse Into My Cancer Journey

I am approaching my last chemo treatment in the next three weeks.  I wanted to take time to share  some moments from the past 6 months.  The following are glimpses into my “cancer journey journal”.  I chose one or two entries from each month. My prayer is that God uses these to bring, hope, peace and encouragement to you in your journey.


December 29, 2014

I had my appointment with my team of doctors today.  I found out I have invasive ductile carcinoma.  My diagnosis is that the cancer is stage 3 (in breast tissue & lymph nodes), grade 3 (aggressive & fast growing), and triple negative (not hormone receptive).

This does NOT define me!

I have had good moments and hard moments in this journey so far. God has been with me every step of the way.  Plus the support of my family and friends.  Matt, Breanna and Alyssa are my greatest joy and treasures.

January 25, 2015

In the mid morning I started to struggle and focus on how my body felt and then focus on how I felt emotionally.  This became overwhelming and I didn’t see how I could make it 5 months.  Thank you Holy Spirit for coming  like a flood and turning my eyes on you.  You and You alone are my hope and strength.

January 28, 2015

The day is made of moments

And moments fill my days

These changing moments

These changing emotions

One constant remains

It is you oh Lord

Your presence

Your peace

February 1, 2015

Lord, I am amazed at how close you are to me.  There have been moments when I literally feel you holding me.  Your presence is my strength carrying me through each moment.  Just the mention of Your name & peace overwhelms me.  Even in my sleep last night as I would wake my mind would just think Jesus and your presence came flooding in. Peace overcame anxiety and I fell back asleep.  I will lie down and sleep in peace for you alone oh Lord make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8

February 2, 2015

I am trying to prepare myself for losing my hair.  there is now way to do this.  I cannot imagine myself without hair.  I am concerned I will look so ugly.  I am worried my head will be bumpy.  Really the list goes on.

God has been so close to me in each appointment, test, and procedure.  He will be with me when I lose my hair , along with my amazing family.  The scripture came to mind that he knows the number of the hairs on my head. (Matthew 10:30)  His care for me is of personal and precise. when my hair does fall out He is the only that knows the number.  WOW! I can face this with You oh Lord my rock.

March 19, 2015

Today is treatment day.  I gain a new med today and schedule.  Go every week for 12 weeks.  So thankful for God’s peace overwhelming me.

Everything went great! No allergic reactions and I feel good. I was fearful, anxious and dreading this day last week and especially a few weeks ago.  You oh Lord made it a great day!  Only YOU- You take my fears, anxiety worries and go before me throwing them out and hand me peace, joy calm, and healing.

March 29, 2015 (during hospital stay)

I have never been this sick before.  In the night when I was struggling so much physically I was worshipping in my heart.  The songs I listen to just ran through my heart and mind.  Matt also played worship music all night a few nights.  Declaring God’s truth.  My physical body was fighting and struggling but my Spirit was strong, praying and worshipping my God!

April 16, 2015

Praise God I was able to have chemo today.  TEN more to go! Thank you Lord being with me.  I feel good and I am thankful fryer strength and help Lord.

I love 2 Corinthians 12:9 (Amplified) Lord show yourself off in my weakness and infirmity.  Pitch the tent of You presence over me and dwell there!

May 7, 2015

Chemo day!

Today was emotional.  Dr. Perkins let us know after my exam that the tumor is not  responding to degree that it needs to.  He added another medication to my treatment.  This medication has been through clinical trial in treating triple negative breast cancer with good results.  Matt and I had seen this studies in our research, so it made the decision easier for us to agree with adding it.  Dr. Perkins is a great doctor and I trust his expertise.

I am trusting God that I will respond wonderfully. This tumor will disappear in Jesus name. I am very concerned and battling worry and fear. I have to actively come against those thoughts and focus on God.  He is my hope and His perfect love casts out fear!

May 14, 2015

This morning is hard emotionally.  Emotions of all of this just came at me.  It all just stinks!! I don’t have hair.  I am so ready to have hair.  It gets consuming dealing with the side effects.  I let myself cry more about it than I have before.  I realized I have to give myself more of these times to grieve what I am going through.

May 27, 2015

So many feelings and some just too hard to put into words. Thank you God I can pour out my heart to you.  You take my thoughts and feelings and make them obedient to Your Word.  You strengthen me in your grace to move on.  Moving Forward!

June 11, 2015

Dr. Perkins had to leave the office for an emergency, so I didn’t get to see him today.  One of my nurses, Katie, checked my records and according to what is there July 2nd is my last treatment.  I am so excited to reach this milestone.  Just THREE more to go!

When Life Takes a Turn….

In this journey called life we experience great joy and pain.  Life can sometimes feel like a roller coaster with all the twists, turn, loops, climbing and stopping.  What an amazing adventure!

When Life Takes A Turn


My adventure brought an unexpected turn into my life.  On December 23, 2014 I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  What a crazy day that was for me, Matt and the girls.  We were getting ready for our first presentation of the Christmas Program “Perfect Christmas” that night.  I had tried to have my consult appointment on the 22nd, but nothing was available.  The earliest appointment I could get was 11:00 am on Tuesday.  As Matt and I were waiting in the room, our minds were going and the nervousness of wondering what the doctor was going to say was setting in.  It felt like hours of waiting, but it was only a few minutes.  The doctor came in with the nurse and told us that my biopsy showed I had breast cancer.  I just began to cry along with Matt.  We were speechless.  The news sinking in to our hearts and minds.  They were so kind and patient as we processed and asked a few questions.

What do we do when we are faced with the unexpected twist in our life journey?  These twists and turns can be financial difficulty, illness, loss of a relationship, or job loss.  The difficulties we face do not have to overtake us.  Jesus did on the cross so we would have like and have an abundant full life. (John 10:10)  This is not what our mind and heart naturally lean to in moments like this.  We have to choose to overcome the difficulty and not allow it to overtake us. It is possible to live in Joy, peace and hope in the midst of a situation that is hopeless.  God keeps in perfect peace those who’s mind is stayed on Him. (Isaiah 26:3)  We have to choose and resolve with all our being to keep our shouts and focus on God.  When the thoughts and feelings come like a raging storm to overwhelm us God is the one to calm the storm.

I have days of crying of and on from simply trying to manage the feelings of having cancer.  Some days it was all I could do just to make it through physically. The days of being sick in bed, hospitalized and not being capable of living my “normal” life gets overwhelming.  These feelings are normal to feel.  God understands and lovingly draws us to Himself  during these times.  During these times I had to choose to give in to these feelings or lean into God with my pain.  We cannot ignore the feelings and thoughts.  We have to acknowledge them and take them to God.  He created us and knows our struggles and died so we do not have to stay in these negative thoughts and feelings.

There are a few practical things that I do when I am faced with these moments that bring me peace.

Journal: I have journaled for years.  Mainly they have been prayer journals, dreams I have, and things God has spoken to me.  During this specific journey I have a journal for my cancer journey.  I write each day.  I write down my thoughts, feelings, physical donation, what I did, test results.  Anything that is on my mind.  This helps me come to terms with how I am feeling about my treatment,  and my physical challenges that keep me form doing the things I love.

Say It Out Loud: I spend a lot of time talking to God.  I say out loud to Him how I am feeling.  I talk to Him lie He is sitting in the chair next to me.  I know He already knows how I am feeling and what I am thinking, but it is so beneficial for me to verbally tell Him.  He can handle being told the hard stuff.  He has experienced everything we will ever deal with in life.  As I am communicating with God I feel His love breaking into my circumstance and calming my current storm of feelings.

Have a Thankful Heart: I continue with thanks and prayer.  I thank God for the strength, victories, prayer and support of friends and family to name a few.  I pray and declare God’s Word over my life.  His Word literally brings life to my being.

Be Quiet: I sit quiet and allow God to cover me with His presence.  I give time for Him to speak to me.  Isaiah 30:15 says, ” In repentance and rest is your salvation; In quietness and trust is your strength.” As we quiet ourselves before God and lean into Him in trust He gives us strength to make it through.

I am forever thankful for God’s relentless, amazing love for me.  His perfect love casts out ALL fear (1 John 4:18).  Every day, every moment I call to Him and He answers.  He is truly caring for me every moment of every day.  He is there of you too. No matter what twist you are facing in your life journey. Lean into God int he pain and uncertainty.  He will meet you there and uphold you with His right hand.  (Psalm 63:8)

God’s Grace: Enough To Cover Our Ugly

All around us people are striving for beauty. Ways to stay young, look young and defy gravity. If we are honest, we find ourselves striving for the same thing. In the process we can carry this mentality into our spiritual life. We want to look spiritually pretty and never let God in to speak to our “ugly”.  The “ugly” is still there whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. Similar to the problem areas of physical aging. We want to hide our “ugly”. Try to find ways to defy it or cover it up. We think that if we don’t acknowledge or talk about it maybe it will go away.


John 1:17 tells us that we receive God’s grace through Jesus. Through Jesus we have God’s unmerited, unearned, undeserved favor and blessing. We have grace because of Jesus. We do not have to do anything. God’s grace is undeserved. We have it even though we don’t deserve it. Then why are we walking around try to hide our ugly?  We have a tendency to walk around like we are not dealing with any issues.  Maybe, we don’t believe God’s grace is enough for our ugly.  Our ugly is too big, or not big enough.  We put “ugly” on levels of severity; good, fair and poor.

In John 8:1-11 is the story about the woman caught in adultery.  The men brought her to Jesus.  She was caught in the act. She wasn’t just accused.  It wasn’t that they suspected, thought or were unsure about what she had done.  She was caught red-handed.  What humiliation she must  have felt as she was brought out into the open.  Put yourself in her shoes for a moment. Imagine friends, neighbors, family catching you in your pride, jealousy, anger, bitterness, yelling at your spouse and kids.  The list can go on.  When they catch you they take you along with a  crowd and  announce your sin.  The shame that you would feel would be the same as this woman. At least it should be.  It doesn’t matter what act of sin it is.  All sin brings shame.

BUT Jesus is on the scene.  His presence makes all the difference.  He didn’t say a word to her accusers.  He bent down and wrote in the dirt.  Then He stood up and said, ” If anyone  is without sin let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”  He bent down again and wrote on the ground.  After this one by one her accusers began to leave.  All of them left until it was just her and Jesus.  He stood up and asked her where are your accusers . There was no one to condemn her.  Jesus told her, ” I don’t condemn you either, go and leave your life of sin.”

Jesus doesn’t just leave us where we are.  He sees our ugly, comes in, silences the accuser, and covers our ugly with His grace.  There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus.  We do not have to submit to the accusations of other people or the thoughts in our mind.  Surrender to God and allow Him to silence your accusers and walk in His grace.

Trust and Obey

Trust and Obey. Familiar lyrics of a hymn I sang as a child.  The words roll of of the tongue and we declare to God that we will trust Him and obey His commands.  If I am honest these words are much easier said compared to practicing in every day life.  The last several years God has been using the times when I would choose fear and worry to speak to my heart, “Trust Me”.  He would gently say, “Marybeth, trust Me in this”.

Trust and Obey

The situations were all different and some would say silly to worry about.  We all know that when we are faced with worry and fear no matter how big or small the circumstance is it is important to us.  Whether I was worried about finances, my kids, ministry, or family God wanted me to trust Him, obey His Word and live in peace.  There is a familiar Bible story that shows us this kind of trust and obedience.  A man named Noah and his family were found to love God and serve him whole heartedly.  God decided that He was going to destroy the earth because of the sinfulness of the people.

God said that He would send a flood that would cover the earth and destroy it.  As we know, God spoke to Noah and told him to build an ark and that his family would be saved from the flood. God told Noah all of the details he would need to build the ark. Noah had no tangible sign that it was going to rain.  He only had God’s word.  Noah knew God’s voice and that God can be trusted.  So, against all earthly odds Noah did not waste time; he started working without sparing any time. He started building and kept working until it was finished.

The ark was finished and Noah gathered the people and the animals God said should be in the ark.  Noah didn’t add to or take away from what God said.  He didn’t try to take a short cut to make it easier for him.  He obeyed- He did exactly what God told him to do.   They were all safely in the ark.  Okay, at this point I would think it would immediately start raining.  This was not the way the story unfolded though.  God always has a plan and usually it is not the same as ours.  His ways are higher than ours. In fact it didn’t rain  for several days.   The Bible says that it began to rain on the seventeenth day in the second month.  This means they were in the ark one week before the rain began. (Genesis 7:11) Yes, that’s right one week.  It doesn’t sound like a long time when you are reading the story and you know the end.  When you are going through something and waiting it can seem like an eternity. Waiting for God to come through on your trust and obedience.

In our life it is the same.  God speaks to us and we have to choose to trust what he says and obey.  We read the Bible and have to trust that what God says to us in His word is true.  We have to make the decision to trust  God and then step out and do what He said. We have to continue to trust and obey even when we do not see anything happening in the physical.  When we have prayed for healing and it hasn’t come yet.  When we have prayed for a financial breakthrough and we are still struggling to make ends meet.  When we have prayed for the relationship to be mended and there is still tension.   It is hard to continue to trust in these circumstances.  It is hard but not impossible.   We have to look back to the times that God was faithful in our lives.  We look at scripture and see how God was faithful and provided.  This builds our faith.

Then we practice trusting. We actively make the decision and resolve in our mind to trust God and not worry.   For instance, your child is struggling in school and your first response is to worry or try to figure out all the things you can do.  Instead determine to stop that way of thinking and choose to trust God.  Give it to Him in prayer and trust Him to give you wisdom in what you can do and leave the rest to Him. There are so many things in life to worry about.  God’s plan for us is that we live in peace no matter what the circumstances.

As I walk through this season of treatment for breast cancer I have a choice to make. I can choose to worry and fear or trust God and obey.   It is easy to let my flesh gain control and worry, but I choose trust. Like you I can see how God has gently molded my heart over the years teaching me trust and obedience.  Every day we all have a choice; worry and fear or trust and obedience.

Choose trust and obedience  and be filled with peace.



The Lord is Gracious

There are times in our lives when God out of his justice and love needs to discipline us.  he sees in us, in our flesh the things that need to die.  Attitudes, feeling, thoughts that need to come under His submission.  God takes us through this disciplinary process to carve out our heart for Him and His purpose.  During this time of discipline, out of Hi love of us He still desires to be gracious to us.  He desires to show us unmerited favor.   God knows that to have us closer to Him more of our flesh has to be carved out to make our heart reflect Him.

Isaiah 30:18 says, “Yet, the lord longs to be gracious to you, He rises to show you compassion.   For the Lord is a God of justice.  Blessed are all who wait for Him.”  He sees us in our current state and desires for us to continually come closer and closer to Him.  He speaks to us and shows us the areas that we need to surrender to Him, areas that need to be carved out of our heart(unforgiveness, pride).  Then He patiently waits for us to respond.  Longing to be gracious to us and rise in compassion.