Sunday, September 21, 2014

5 Years - The Blink of an Eye

      This week marks the 5 year anniversary since finishing treatment for triple negative breast cancer. According to the doctors, I had a 20% chance of reaching this 5 year point without widespread metastasis or worse. But our God is not in the business of statistics!

   When I started writing this blog, it was a way for me to keep people up to date with what was happening when I didn’t have the energy or strength to do otherwise. For me, that was the sole purpose of writing. But God certainly had other plans. You see, I am a math and science person, NOT a writer! But each time I sat down to write (thinking it would be just an update) God flooded words into my writing. Not mine but His.

   While I thought just a few friends would read the blog, God had other plans for that also. Since starting it, the blog has been viewed 14,763 times in countries all over the world. Through it God has brought people into my life that needed encouragement and people that have given me encouragement as well.

  When I was first diagnosed it was a dark, scary time with a future that looked uncertain. If God had given me a choice in the matter, I would have said “No God, you have the wrong person. I am not capable of this. Could you ask me another time when I am more ready, physically, spiritually and emotionally?”  But looking back I can honestly say, God brought about only good from it. The work that He did in me and through me may not have been done without walking in that desert. It taught me much, but more importantly it drew me closer to Him and that is what He desires. Today, if He said “Roxanne, would you walk that valley again?” I would say “YES Lord YES!".

   I went back to read the very first thing I posted when I started this journey. This is what I wrote. “I don't know where this journey will lead me, But I do know I don't journey alone. I walk with a Living God who has a purpose for this desert in my life. I trust in that promise and hope that this blog will share with others, that through good days and bad days, God will NEVER leave us or forsake us. I hope that those who read it and know Him personally will thank Him for always walking with them. I pray more that those who read this and don't personally know him will be brought to Him and never have to take another step alone.” LAMENTATIONS 3:23

The very same words apply today, five years later.

   We are all on a journey. Sometimes our journey is on the mountain. Life is good, things are smooth sailing. But oftentimes the journey is rough, dark, cold, lonely and painful. As I look back over the past five years, the journey has sometimes been on the mountain; often times in the desert. But God has not broken His promise. He has never stopped walking with me.

    Where are you on your journey today? Are you on the mountain top? God is there. He laughs with you. He shares in your joys.

     Are you in the desert? Feeling alone, hurt, discouraged, hopeless? God is there right beside you. He cries with you in your pain, he hurts when you hurt. But, He will NEVER leave you. You do not journey alone. He wants you to draw near to Him. Allow Him to wrap His loving arms around you and hold you through the dark night and into the morning.

    As I look back over the last 5 years, I realize it is but a blink of an eye in God’s time. That journey that seemed so long and dark is over. But I am still on the journey called life. “I don't know where this journey will lead me, But I do know I don't journey alone. I walk with a Living God who has a purpose for my life.”

   No matter where you are on your journey this day, you do not journey alone. Though it seems long, it is but the blink of an eye in God’s time.You walk with a living God who loves you and wants the best for you. Cling to him. Cling to Him on the mountaintop. Cling to Him in the desert. But cling to Him. Soon you will be on the mountaintop again and He will be there smiling with you.

Great is His Faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies He gives! In The Blink of an eye forever and ever!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Trees in the Forest

On Sunday morning, I presented a message for the little children. I told them that sometimes on Sunday mornings I don’t get time for breakfast and during church I get really hungry. Sometimes I don’t even think I can make it through the sermon. I told them that today was one of those days that I didn’t get breakfast, so I brought a McDonald’s hamburger to eat during the sermon. (As you can imagine, all eyes were watching as I took out my McDonald’s bag) I began taking out items from the bag. I first removed the straw, then the cup for the drink. Then I took out the napkins, followed by the salt and pepper packets. Then I removed the mustard and catsup packets. (By this time the children were huddled close).

Then I said, “Now for the most important thing”. I looked in the (now empty) bag and said, “Oh no, I forgot the hamburger!! I was so busy getting all the other things ready, I forgot the most important thing and now I am going to be hungry. I then explained to the children that often we get so busy doing all the things come up in our life that we forget the most important thing; and that is our time spent with God.

Over the last couple of years, and especially the last many months, my life has seemed like a forest, thick with trees. The trees have taken on several shapes and names. Some trees have been small and some giant oaks. Diagnosed with late stage cancer, chemo, radiation, surgeries, the sudden unexpected death of my sweet young niece, my youngest son wounded in Afghanistan, surgery for herniated disc. It has sometimes seemed like a walk from one tree to the other, buried deep in a dark forest with no real light to lead me out. I have been so caught up in the busyness of tackling the trees (the day to day tasks to just get through) that I would lose sight of the forest. Oftentimes, I failed to stop, sit, and rest on a fallen tree log and just BE in the presence of God.

This morning as I sit alone with God and write, I have an overwhelming feeling that someone reading this is going through a forest. Walking from tree to tree, trying to make it on their own, unable to see any light. Are you walking through the forest today? Has life seemed filled with one trial after another. Are the trees so thick that you can’t see any light for the forest? Perhaps, you have been so busy just trying to make it through that you have lost sight of the most important thing?

If so, my prayer for you is that you will take a moment before this day is over, to sit and just BE in His presence. Look up. There you will see the light! His Light. And we will once again be able to see the forest!

“Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going. 36 Put your trust in the light while you have it.” (John 12:35-36)

Monday, May 31, 2010


Freedom isn’t free. Today is Memorial Day. I have always thought of Memorial Day as a time to honor our military, but I really had no idea what that really meant. Until April 14, 2010.

My youngest son, Brent, left for Afghanistan to serve in the US Marine Corps, in March 2010. As we said goodbye that day, I prayed Psalms 91:11-12 for him. “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. They will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” Little did I know that God had revealed that Psalm specifically for Brent.

I had prayed that prayer every day while he was serving in Iraq the year before and felt an even greater leading to pray it for this deployment. Carl and I both had an uneasy feeling when we said good-bye. But I justified it by telling myself that “every mom has felt this way when their child leaves for war”.

Until the phone rang on April 14th. The call no parent wants to receive.

"We are sorry to have to inform you that your son, Corporal Brent Larimer, has been seriously burned in combat in Afghanistan. We do not have the details of his injuries but he is being flown out of the combat zone for medical help. We will inform you of his status as we get more information."

We began to pray. We asked everyone we knew to pray.

Though it is a bit lengthy, I wanted to post here the article of the attack, for it truly shows God's hand at work even in the most horrific circumstances..

Vol. II No. 7
The Official Newsletter Of The 1st Marine Division
May 3, 2010

Facing Danger, Overcoming Fear

SALAM BAZAAR, Helmand province, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan –

Adrenalin was rushing the morning of April 14th, 2010 as Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 2 and members of the Afghan National Security Forces approached the Salam Bazaar in Helmand province. The Marines of Alpha Company, 1/2, were tasked with securing the bazaar, known as a haven for Taliban activity, including heavy weapons and a focal point for the drug trade. All reports indicated enemy contact was imminent.

By mid-afternoon, the Marines had secured the bazaar, but things would not stay quiet for long. By the day's end, many heroic deeds would be accomplished, but the actions of one Marine would leave his fellow brothers-in-arms calling him a hero.

Staff Sgt. Robert K. Kesterson, the platoon commander for 2nd platoon, Alpha Company, 1/2, and many of his Marines were disappointed with only finding several homemade explosives and scattered amounts of drugs. They were prepared for anything. The day had dwindled down and the atmosphere was calm and controlled, the raid of the bazaar was over, or so they thought.

That's when all hell broke loose.
"We started taking heavy contact from RPG, indirect, small arms and machine gun fire and an improvised explosive devise destroyed one of our vehicles," said Capt. Jeremy S. Wilkinson, the company commander of Company A, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment. "It was a pretty complex situation out there," said Kesterson, "but, with all the training we had, our reactions became second nature.

Initially, there were no injuries until the lead vehicle, loaded with Marines, rolled over an IED. Although Kesterson was in the third vehicle, nearly 100 yards to the rear of the detonated IED, he was there in an instant. "Our vehicles received a lot of debris from the explosion," said Kesterson. "We could tell it was a big IED. Dust was everywhere and I could not see anything for what seemed like an eternity."

The lone casualty at the time was Lance Cpl. Justin Shaw, an assaultman in the squad. He had suffered a serious concussion, requiring immediate medical attention. Gunnery Sgt. Carlos Pagan, the lead vehicle commander, quickly gathered his wits, ordered his Marines to provide security around the downed vehicle, while he called for the 'medivac.' Once Shaw was carried out of the vehicle and loaded into the ambulance vehicle, Cpl. Brent Larimer, also an assaultman in the squad, jumped into the turret and began to lay down suppressive fire.

What happened next was a true test of Kesterson's courage.
Kesterson, known to his men as Staff Sgt K, glanced back and saw Larimer was engulfed in flames. "When I looked back, I realized that Larimer and the vehicle were on fire," said Pfc. Shane W. Barlow, the team leader and driver of the lead vehicle. "I jumped out and ran around and saw him laying on the turret stand. He was on fire and because of the intense heat rounds were cooking off inside the vehicle." Immediately, Kesterson ran up to the truck where Larimer was and reached in, ripping him from the vehicle. Kesterson then threw himself on top of Larimer to put out the flames.

"When I saw the vehicle catch fire and a Marine was in serious trouble, that's when I jumped into the burning vehicle and pulled Cpl. Larimer out," said Kesterson, 34, from Greenberg, Tenn.
"I reached in and grabbed the Marine," Kesterson said. "His left arm and left rib cage was on fire. I pulled him out and patted him down and threw dirt on him to get the fire out." Kesterson stayed with Larimer until the 'medivac' arrived. "I couldn't believe it," said Barlow. "He jumped in a burning vehicle while rounds were being cooked off, to save the life of a Marine who was burning alive. To me, the man is a hero."

But like many of the heroic deeds by Marines throughout our proud history, Kesterson was quick to downplay what had transpired. He humbly confided that he was just glad to have been in the right place, at the right time, to help a fellow Marine in need.

I believe that God honored the prayer of a worried mother and lifted her child up in the arms of an angel named Staff Sgt. Kesterson. How can I ever express my gratitude to Him?

This blog is the beginning of the story of how God has been involved in this tragic event. I have much more to share of the days and weeks after the accident. But on this day, Memorial Day, my heart goes out to all those mother's whose child didn't come home. I will be in prayer for them today. I will also thank God this day for the many men and women who make the sacrifice every day for our freedoms.