Thursday, January 19, 2017

In the Hand of God

Dana Gretzinger: A woman of great faith

February 15, 1974 - January 19, 2017

Dana went home to Jesus at 1:30 AM this morning.  She recorded this song with her siblings on December 28, 2016, the one year anniversary of her diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. They recorded three other songs, which you can also find on YouTube: Anchor, Undivided Heart (Dana wrote Undivided Heart), and Hope Will Rise

In addition to her parents, brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins and many friends, Dana leaves behind her loving husband, Jimmy, and three children: Jamie 15, Charlie 13, and Scout 10.

Dana was married to my husband's cousin, Jimmy.

Below are the final words Dana shared with her friends via her Care Page ten days ago:

It's January 9. Today was the first day back to school for our kids here in Grand Haven. I am feeling a bit of sadness today over the ending of the holidays, the dullness of January and February that hits pretty hard around here, and to top it off I haven't been feeling good for a few days now. I believe it was a bug i caught (that left me throwing up, etc) but you never know on this journey if it's chemo related or something else.
All that to say, I needed to hear from God today. He is so timely and I am so running late in my time. I often realize my need when it's already been lingering for awhile where He is always ready with a word of encouragement or challenge before I knew I needed it. That was today. I was just saying I was tired and discouraged and needed something for this next part of the journey. I've been dehydrated for real a bit lately and often realize that when you take a drink BECAUSE you are so thirsty, you are already late to the solution. We need to be drinking our Living Water before we are thirsty and not waiting until we are in need.
So this morning, I decided to listen in to one of the Passion Talks from their conference last week in Atlanta. Passion is geared at college students, but they bring in some of my favorite authors, pastors, and speakers so I love to listen to what God is leading them to say to that age group and what I can learn as I "eavesdrop in." I listened to Pastor Levi Lusko as God used him to talk to ME. He talked about needing to know where to go to get our second wind. I have another Scan on Thursday and I want to enter this scan FILLED UP and ready and not depleted and on empty. So where do I get my second wind? From time in God's presence, allowing His Spirit to invigorate me once again. I've experienced the "second wind" in my running when I used to be a runner. What an amazing feeling that is! Just when you think you can't go on, something kicks in and you are given the energy you need to keep going.
Are you in need on a second wind today? Feeling like you are out of your own energy? We were never meant to carry all of this on our own. The second wind is a gift from God and the reminder that I can do NOTHING on my own and was never being expected to or asked to do it all on my own. I'm praying once again that this kindness from the Lord would lead me to repentance for trying to manage all of this. I can't manage it. The weakness, the throwing up, the lack of energy, the amount of brain power that this disease is taking from me- I can't manage it. Thanks to the One who knew that about me and gave me the reminder this morning of letting Him give me my second wind. Then, I can face a scan Thursday, news about tumor growth/stability, and all that I need to 'handle" in the next few weeks. Only with Him.
Another gift from that talk this morning was the reminder that I am not chained to my circumstances (or chained to the chemo). My circumstance is chained to ME. That way of thinking about it gives me the ability to see that I bring God and the mindset that I want to have into my situation; not the other way around. Chemo and cancer don't define me- they are just along for the ride. I think that the last week has allowed for some false thinking in me about this and it was time to remember who is leading who. God is leading me, with circumstances straggling behind. Not God leading my circumstances with me straggling behind. I don't know if that distinction makes sense to you, but it was another perspective shift for me on who I am following. I am directly following God with nothing in between, not being led by sickness trying to see God around the sickness. Don't make that same mistake. Your view of God gets blocked by the situation. And when you try to see God around a situation you think is in charge, sometimes you lose sight and start to take the situation as bigger than it really is. Thanks Lord, for all of this today.
A quick update: we did find a potential match for the gene mutation therapy idea. Depending on what the scan shows Thursday, we will come up with a plan and I will have more info. I have done 6 rounds of this last chemo and it was harder on me than I was expecting! Please keep praying for wisdom to know what to do next, depending on what the scan shows.
Thanks family and friends! Your support continues to encourage me! I love reading each comment even though I can't comment back to each one.
Find your second wind today in Him!

Dance, Dana, Dance!

Fond Memories

1977      -       2017

My dear friend, Eileen (age 26 on the left, 1977) asked me to make her a pair of skin tight, black satin slacks. I am pretty sure I used taffeta, not satin, but I did sew up a pair for her to wear to a party. We had so many laughs while making these slacks because Eileen kept asking me to make the legs tighter and tighter; she wanted them pencil thin!

Fast forward 40 years! Eileen called me last week and asked if I thought she could wear those SAME slacks to a wedding. She always told me that she'd never get rid of them, and she never did. Of course, I told her they would work since all the younger girls seem to be wearing leggings everywhere. She pull them out from the back of her closet; matched them up with a top, and there you have her (on the right, soon to be 66, 2017) wearing the very same slacks 40 years later!

Way to go, Eileen, even more beautiful today.


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