What if? By Robin Dotson
John 16:33, I John 5:14, Isaiah 41:13
Do you ever ask, "What if?"
What if this happens? What if that happens? Even what if this doesn't happen? I think we all worry about something.
I haven't totally conquered my tendency to worry (actually I think I may have inherited that tendency). But in the pasta, I have worried about things in my control and things out of my control. Then one day I read an article about the subject of worry and the author asked the question, “If we worry constantly, do we really have faith and believe God is truly in control of our lives?”
Fortunately, I read this article before my cancer diagnosis and treatment. I believe God put the article in my path to prepare me for what I would eventually face and put life into perspective. I can truly say I put one foot in front of the other and trusted God to see me through my situation. I am not patting myself on the back because it was totally out of my control, so that made it easier to rely on God solely and not on myself.
Then came life afterwards. After I finished treatment, like most patients I realized I had been fighting for months and months and suddenly said to myself, what now?
Do I just go home and worry about if this disease will return?
My sweet and caring oncologist said to me..."You go home and live your life!"
Those were profound words to me that day. That is exactly what I decided to do.
I thought it would be interesting to look up synonyms and antonyms for the word worry.
Synonyms for worry:
None of these words sound very good to me.
Antonyms for worry:
These words sound so much better.
I have come a long way the last couple of years in realizing I don't control my life. I want to live my life to the fullest every day and let God work in and through me. I don't want to live a life of "what ifs" that may or may not happen.
I am striving to become a prayer warrior rather than a worrier these days.
God has shown me some verses in the Bible that have given me the assurance of peace and direction in my life. These are verses that are comforting to me and calm my fears about the things of this world.
John 16:33 - These things have I spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
I John 5:14 - And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us.
Isaiah 41:13 - For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.
I can call out to God in times of worry and He is faithful to hear my prayer.
The Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.
The courage to change the things I can, and
the wisdom to know the difference.
"What if" we put our total trust in the One who gave this life to us to live in Him and for His purpose?
A Few Things I've Learned by Robin Dotson
In Matthew, Chapter 18, Jesus gives us much instruction for life. He talks about humbling ourselves as children; He warns us against temptation and how we should treat others. In verse 21, Peter asks Jesus how many times he should forgive someone who sins against him. Jesus has an answer for Peter …
Matthew 18: 21-22 - Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
Forgiveness is sometimes a difficult task. I think Peter thought surely seven times was pretty generous but Jesus told him to basically quit counting. Why is that? I think if we look at God's forgiveness to us, we can quickly see why Jesus said what He said.
Jeremiah 31:34 - And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity and I will remember their sin no more.
Isaiah 1:18 - Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
Mark 11:25-26 - And when ye shall stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
There are many other verses in the Bible about God's timeless and countless forgiveness to us as believers. God commands us to ask for forgiveness from Him, others and to forgive those who ask in true repentance. So, why is forgiveness difficult? In thinking about it in my own life and how much forgiveness God has given me, should it be that difficult? Probably not!
A few things I have learned over the years about forgiveness.......
God freely gave us forgiveness through his son, Jesus.
God expects us to repent of our sins to be forgiven.
We should be mindful of making the same mistakes over and over if we truly repent of a specific sin.
The Bible is full of scriptures we can learn from on the topic of forgiveness.
As Christians, most of us know these basic facts about forgiveness. The following are a few more observations in my own life and my relationships with others.
The sooner I forgive someone who asks and the sooner I ask for forgiveness if I need to, the sooner I feel better about everything in my life.
I think as prideful humans we tend to always believe we are right and become defensive if someone challenges us. Over the years, I have learned that if I truly dig deep into my soul in a confrontational situation I can probably find that yes, I could have done things a little differently too.... not always easy to admit!
Human relationships are tough and happiness does not always equate with proving yourself right.... I think it could be very lonely.
Unexpected events happen in our lives that make us stop in our tracks and reflect on what is important. Forgiveness is very important!
Forgiveness is a choice we can make in the blink of an eye that can change our lives forever.
I don't want to look back on my life with bitterness, it's too precious and too short.
Jesus gave us the ultimate gift of forgiveness for eternal life but I also believe he gave us the gift of forgiveness to be able to navigate this life.
Ephesians 4:32 - and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
How can we possibly be kind and tenderhearted to anyone if we ourselves have an unforgiving heart?
Back to Peter.....when I look at how many times I have asked God for forgiveness over my lifetime, somehow seventy times seven seems more attainable!
Remember, life and time are precious. Let’s not waste a precious second!
Q&A with Robin Dotson
How did you become involved in 818 Ministries?
My involvement with 818 Ministries began when I was going through cancer treatments myself and Rebecca had the idea to start the ministry in 2014. To know we had another focus, a positive one, was very rewarding and I know for sure it was God's plan. I have watched the ministry grow from the first few hats we took to a treatment center here in Kingsport to hundreds delivered to so many other locations. I began volunteering a few weeks ago at the cancer center where I took treatments and I truly realized how important these hats are to so many of the patients. I probably took for granted all of the hats friends and family gave to me during that time in my life but I hope I can give back by helping make 818 a success.
What is your life verse(s)?
One of my favorite Bible verses is Isaiah 41:10 in the Old Testament - Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
Another favorite is II Corinthians 5:17 in the New Testament - Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Both of these verses have always given me peace, hope and faith in God's love and His promises to us as Christians.
I also can never forget Romans 8:18 which will always be a very special verse God gave me the first day I took a chemotherapy treatment and became the foundation verse for 818 Ministries - For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
What are 5 of your favorite things?
1. My family - they are my most favorite thing. My immediate family and my extended family. I have a great husband and daughter, great parents and siblings. I have great in-laws and nieces and nephews that I am so proud to call family. They are all my favorites!
My husband and I both were so blessed to have all eight of our grandparents until we were twenty-eight years old. Those memories I cherish as well.
2. My friends - are a treasure. They are one of life's greatest gifts! Something I will never take for granted.
3. My Labrador Retriever named Laddie - another great friend and companion of mine. She is ALWAYS glad to see me and is always in a good mood. A great listener and makes no judgements!
4. Coffee - I am a Maxwell House kind of girl in the mornings fixed the exact same way every day but I love flavored coffees too any other time of day. I love to drink it alone and I love to drink it with someone.
5. Anything and everything Pioneer Woman from Food Network
What are your top 3 favorite books and why?
My Bible - It truly is one of my favorite books. I can always find inspiration there. I can also find good advice and direction for my life. It never gets old to me to open up my Bible and seek out a verse or just start reading. It’s amazing how a book written so many years ago is still relevant and real to me even today.
When Your World Falls Apart by Dr. David Jeremiah - this book is about a personal cancer journey and how in the midst of facing an obstacle that seems so big, we can either ask God, Why me? Or ask what He is trying to teach us and how an adversity in life can be part of His ultimate plan. Dr. Jeremiah gives his own recollections of his journey and others. He also uses The Psalms as inspiration for the book.
The Magnolia Story. I got this book for Christmas so it is my current read and it is definitely one of my favorites. It is the story of HGTV's Fixer Upper Chip and Joanna Gaines. It’s a great story of their life and their faith and how it brought them to where they are today.
What is your favorite hobby and how did you get into it?
Crafts! I like painting anything from a clay pot to a canvas. I like making cards or anything else that includes pretty paper. I like to crochet. I also like to collect craft supplies just in case I get a vision. I have mostly learned by trial and error how to be "crafty" but love to take classes in the things I am interested in making and learn from someone else.