Lesson from the Water of Life

Last time I wrote that the phone kept ringing and ringing… but now it has become flooded with texts of pray-ers and well-wishers that have joined my battle with the Stage 4 lung cancer.
Sixty five days have passed since I received that terrible word of Cancer. It would change my life as I had known it and now I face the daily battle of simply living moment by moment, breath by breath.
I recently have learned a very important lesson during this short span of affliction. I can really feel miserable and I do mean miserable. If I give my mind over to what I am physically feeling, thoughts run rampant and everything spirals downhill including my breathing. I have learned that I feel alot better when I am working on ministry work instead of allowing my mind to wallow in how I feel.
I experienced it today as I wrote my prayer update for friends but I first felt it when I was at the hospital last Friday evening doing an outpatient CAT scan of my lungs.
I may have already shared that the Cat scan and Pet Scan are the most difficult tests for me as I cannot lay flat on my back due to my lung issue and I cannot extend my neck back due to my MS. Much prayer to get me in the right position for the duration of these tests!
For days I had been dreading this scheduled Cat scan and my mind was obsessed with fears. But the test went so quickly, and God gave me a huge blessing as we were leaving and passing through the atrium area under the steps. There lay the most exquisite and serene waterpool that had water bubbling over stones and across the gray slate and my mind went immediately to building WaterBrooks.  I immediately thought,” We must have this in the main lodge lobby to greet the people.” It would reflect the theme, ‘As the deer pants for the waterbrooks, so my soul pants for you, O God’. Psalm 42
Instantly that one moment released in me the ability to dream again of the future and to continue to build WaterBrooks, a refuge where the silence is never broken and where prayer continues without ceasing! In that moment by the flowing water, I no longer thought about the cancer inside of me but had a renewed vision of what He has given me.
What I want to embrace from now on is this; to live an abundant life, set my mind upon the Lord in all ways and in all things!
May you also Choose Life, my friend, in all of your thoughts and it will surely be of help and surprise you when having miserable and discouraging days.
Another lesson from a day with cancer.
Sue

As the deer pants for the WaterBrooks,so pants my soul for You, O God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the Living God…The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime; and His song will be with me in the night, a prayer to the God of my life.  Psalm 42

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The Phone is Ringing…

656928ac91bce33a048f90b89beb5b55The phone is ringing off the hook just as it used to do for booking my speaking appointments around the world. I so love speaking and proclaiming the love and forgiveness of our Incredible Father and His Son Christ Jesus. The phone keeps ringing for a different reason now. All kinds of appointments such as with my neurologist for my MS, the scheduling of an MRI of my brain, the thoracic surgeon for my lungs to be drained, my oncologist who told me I have Stage 4 of lung cancer that has spread to my pelvic bones, spine and who knows where else.

The Lord has taken me to the rural villages of India, to Japan to witness to a deaf survivor of the atomic bomb at Nagasaki, to the maxium security state penitentiaries, into every domination of the Christian faith as well as a Jewish synagogue. I have proclaimed Him on the hospital floors when I had a stroke, to the PT department as I recovered, shared with the Cardiologist who implanted my pacemaker as well as the staff in the cardiac unit. Then my Lord sent me to witness to the lung department when a mistake was made during the implanting of the pacemaker and they punctured my lung.

Yes, the Lord keeps ringing that phone with appointments to proclaim Him and this time it appears to reach the deepest of the dark deep with cancer.

Yes, it’s been a shock and I am not happy about it as it is just when my Board of Directors of Sue Thomas Ministries gave the approval to move forward with the documentary of the ministry… of my life and of the Vermont land that holds the Refuge for Prayer at Waterbrooks.

I have had a full week to digest this news and have experienced two very strong emotions. First, to reach as many as I meet and to show them Jesus that they be encouraged by knowing and following Him with their whole heart. Second, Father, let it not be cancer of the brain so that I will not forget you or not be able to proclaim you!

Yes, I can truly say “Thy Will Be Done.”because. Why? Because His Will is the best for me as He knows all of my tommorows and His plans are not to harm me but that I might prosper. ( Jeremiah 29:11) Yes, I believe every single word in the Bible is true for me. It’s not a history book but every word written yesterday is the same today and will be the same Tomorrow. There is nothing new under the sun.(Ecclesiastes 1:9) .

I have been thinking about this word… FIGHT. I will fight this Stage 4 cancer battle but I think that sounds so hard, wearying and exhausting. Instead I am going to say I am going to LIVE this Stage 4 cancer and live it to the hilt every single second as I love Him and proclaim Him to whoever He sends my way! I am praying for wisdom as to the treatments that I should take thus knowing the people who He wants to reach with His love and encouragement.

I choose to live and not fight thus I will not lose energy but have a joy in every thing I do. I will LIVE life by the food I eat (5 pounds of carrots juice each day) through the oncologist ordered immunotherapy treatments (my body is too weak to endure chemo). I believe that God created the human body in a way that it can heal itself with God’s foods and with His joy. My journey of life is one totally of the spirit, mind and body where the Blessed Trinity is the core. I have life and will not fight this new challenge but embrace it as it was entrusted to me by God to bring glory and honor to Him! How unworthy am I to be a partaker in His suffering! How I thank Him, simply by living and proclaiming all the great and mighty things He has done!

My focus right now is on the documentary of WaterBrooks and of my life. The work has already begun. I would love for you to be a part of this documentary that can be passed on from generation to generation. If you would like to invest in life by helping to create this documentary please write your tax deductible check to Sue Thomas Ministries with “notation” DOCUMENTARY and mail to Sue Thomas Ministries 320 North Bayshore Drive Columbiana Ohio 44408.

It is my prayer that I will live to see it’s completion

and make sure it’s all about Christ in every word, deed and action and that He will receive all the glory and honor and praise!

Bless you, my friends, and live life to the hilt with me today!

Sue and Deb

ISAIAH 42:16

away-forest-forest-path-nature-previewOne of my favorite sons who is actually a beloved brother in the Lord shared with me a beautiful passage from Eugene Peterson, THE MESSAGE, from the Scripture in Isaiah 42:16

But I’ll take the hand of those who don’t know the way, who can’t see
where they’re going. I’ll be a personal guide to them, directing them
through unknown country. I’ll be right there to show them what roads to
take, make sure they don’t fall into the ditch. These are the things I’ll
be doing for them – sticking with them, not leaving them for a minute.”

How beautiful are those words for me to begin my long journey in the valley with the Lord. This weekend I began the first steps in the battle with lung cancer as they sent a technician to my home this weekend to take vials of blood to send to a laboratory in Colorado that only studies cancer of the
lungs. Monday follows with a PET scan so that they can determine exactly where the cancer is located and what type it is so we can treat it the best way.

I am reminded of the words of Isaiah; I don’t know the way, I cannot see where I am going, I am timid and meek and hanging on to my Saviour for dear life. I am concerned for the PET scan on Monday as it has been physically
impossible for me to lay flat on my back because of my MS and now because of my breathing and to think that I must do it for an hour is major. I know that I cannot do it but I know that He can and asking everyone I meet to pray that He will do it for me!

As a young child I have always been ill at ease to sleep in the dark, being profoundly deaf has a profound effect with this uneasiness that to this day I still use a night light to break the total darkness.

With the journey that I have begun it feels like the dark night and I need the Great Light to illuminate my way. I am such a control person and many times lately I feel myself spinning out of control as I don’t know where I am going, I do not know the way. I have no one on earth or in heaven, I only have the Great I Am, the Alpha and Omega to hang onto for dear life.

Oh, how I need Him to calm my spirit and to give me peace in this hour of uncertainties.

Monday is a very troubling day as the thought penetrates my mind of the PET scan, will I be able to do it or not. How many more days face me with uncertainties in the days ahead? He has given this at this hour, not to harm me, but for my good. Will this be the final crucified death of living a life as a control freak and realizing full surrender so that thoughts can penetrate my being to take His perfect peace? What a journey I am on!

Thirty five years ago I fully surrendered my life that I would follow Him and bear witness of Him to every nation and every generation and have found
much comfort in His Words when He spoke privately to me in Isaiah 42:2…

“Take a good look at my servant.

I’m backing him to the hilt.

He’s the one I chose,

and I couldn’t be more pleased with him.

I’ve bathed him with my Spirit, my life.

He’ll set everything right among the nations.

He won’t call attention to what he does

with loud speeches or gaudy parades.

He won’t brush aside the bruised and the hurt

and he won’t disregard the small and insignificant,

but he’ll steadily and firmly set things right.

He won’t tire out and quit. He won’t be stopped

until he’s finished his work—to set things right on earth.

Far-flung ocean islands

wait expectantly for his teaching.”

I find much strength in these words for I know what I have been called to do and I won’t tire out and quit. I won’t be stopped whether it’s laying down or standing up with an oxygen tank until I finish my work to set things right upon the earth and see the fulfillment of God’s promise to me when I fully surrendered at the foot of the Cross when He promised that my
people would return from exile far away and would rest beneath His Shadow and become a watered garden.

He is taking me on a new journey to bear witness of Him to new people. As God leads you, please pray for the daily strength to fight this battle and that all may see Jesus in me and know that Jesus is Victor, not I!!

Marching onward and upward for the glory of God,

Sue with her trusted nurse, Deborah

70 Years!

free-number-70-cliparts-download-free-clip-art-free-clip-art-on-70-png-299_293The number seventy (70) is made up of two numbers — seven, representing perfection and ten representing completeness and God’s law. One may wonder why the Holy Bible is saturated with the number seven and with multiples of seven like the number seventy. This is indeed a Biblical mathematical phenomenon that remains a mystery to this day. What is true, however, is that seven is God’s favorite number.

Knowing this information of God’s favorite number, it does not surprise me that the number 7 has been my favorite number all my life. As I look back on my life span of 70 years I marvel at the life changing moments which involved the year seven, with the emphasis of surrendering at the foot of the Cross and dying to self that Christ might live in me at the age of 35. That is 7 times 5!

May 24, 2020, I begin my 70th year and I have waited excitedly for this year with anticipation and praise to see what His plans are that we might celebrate His favorite number together.

I am excited to share that plans are currently underway to have a documentary made about the incredible life that God gave me. Where my excitement lies is that it will cover the full story, which means the old life being transformed to the new by His love, mercy and forgiveness. It will not be made in Hollywood entertainment style but for hurting lost people who perish without hope that they may find the same loving Savior that saved my wretched life. Yes, God has used the TV series, Sue Thomas FBEye, as a prelude to the documentary for the real life of Sue Thomas, who she was, what she endured, and her God that brought her safely home. If you would like more on this documentary being produced by Nickolas Barris, the creator of the TV series, you can contact him at nickolas@imaginary-films.com. 

As I have waited for this 70th year it appears God was preparing me to be like a woman with labor pains to experience the frailness of my body as I have never before known. The last two years I have suffered a stroke, had a pace maker and recently had breathing problems having my lungs fill up so that they needed to be drained into 2 large bottles. With every circumstance He sent my way I have endured, but the last with the lungs was so very scary that I clung to Him as I never have before. H is my breath! Oh, the precious lessons He has taught me during this time when I had no breath of my own, surely it was all to prepare me for the glorious 70th year before me! I truly know Him, I truly love Him, and I wait with the anticipation of celebrating our favorite number together!

Rejoice with me for the goodness of the Lord and the incredible journey He has given He. By His blood He has saved me, by His power He has raised me, to God be the glory for the 70 years He has given!!

Latest news…

This morning, Friday, May 22, 2020, I was given the first of my many blessings for my 70th year. After returning home from the hospital this week where my lungs were drained from fluid buildup we got the phone call from my doctor that showed the drained fluid has cancer cells. I will now undergo further testing to see if it is a tumor or lymphoma cancer or exactly what it is. It’s hard to imagine with so much that I wanted to do with this ministry that He has chosen this walk for me with Him.

I still believe my 70th year will be the best of best and it will be a year of continual celebration for the goodness of the Lord. Please pray for me and Deb as God leads.

I would like to see the completion of the documentary of my life in knowing they got it right this time about glorifying God. Don’t forget, if you would seriously like to help sponsor or make an investment, contact Nickolas Barris at Imaginary Films at nickolas@imaginary-films.com

Celebrating with 70 years, to God be the glory!
Sue

When My Will Is Not God’s Will

IMG_20200229_060616~2SUE:

My last blog I wrote about my self-imposed “House Arrest” and I encouraged you to simply Stay In to help smother out the fanning flames of the Coronavirus. I thought that I was doing the right thing to protect myself but God soon revealed that He had different ideas for me. Was I going to accept His Will and trust Him or would I give in to fear and resort to that fighting attitude of mumbling and grumbling? It was a real test of faith, and of realizing that in spite of my own precautions and plans, God will always have His way and do His Will. And when He changes my plans I always need to accept that His plans are not to harm me.

I had shared how I was considered a high risk because I will turn 70 the end of May and have multiple afflictions of MS and congestive heart failure. This is why I self quarantined to protect myself during this time.

Little did I realize that He had plans to take me from the safe confinements of my home straight into the battle field of the hospital where the people with the Coronavirus were fighting for their lives!

I had been dealing with increasing shortness of breath and being unable to sleep. I had stayed inside my house for several weeks already and refused to go outside so we called my doctor’s office to get his advice. I have an amazing family doctor…he personally called me right back with an order to increase my water pill over the weekend to see if my breathing would improve. So out went Deb to pick up the Rx through the drive thru window at Rite Aid. On Monday I was to call him back with an update. We made it through the weekend but no improvement so Monday I called the office back. Then came the test of my faith when he told me to come in for a physical exam and bloodwork to determine my problem. Now I was faced with needing to break my “House Arrest”! I had not left the house for 3 weeks and in that way was feeling secure about not contracting the virus, but now I was being directed to leave my comfort zone! Off we went to the office where he immediately sent me to the nearby hospital for chest x-rays. I was now being thrown from the frying pan into the heat of the fire! Deb and I were both fully aware that our County has the highest death rate and Coronavirus cases for the whole great state of Ohio! After several hours in an isolation room in the Emergency Department the ER doctor announced he would be admitting me as my lungs were filling up with fluid, most likely related to my CHF and they needed to do some IV meds to draw the fluid off. It was a relapse of my CHF.

My first reaction was, “No, I cannot stay, this is totally the opposite of what we have worked so hard to prevent, being exposed!” But I soon remembered that this was the immediate Will of God for me, He was directing my steps, sustaining my every breath, and brought me here for a reason and therefore I was in His loving care and in a state of greater protection than anything I could impose on myself.

At first they refused to let Deb go upstairs with me as the current policy under the Coronavirus problems is no visitors in the hospital. But with my fighting FBI spirit, I insisted that if she couldn’t stay with me as my interpreter they would need to send me home. Because I am totally deaf and read lips, there was no way for me to understand what was being said behind the masks. This is where God intervened and worked in their hearts to allow Deb to stay at my side in the hospital room. With every precaution in place, Deb was now in quarantine with me and could not even leave the room to go out into the halls or down to our car. Thankfully, when meals came up they sent us two trays at no extra cost, because even the cafeteria was closed!

That left us without our beloved boy, Rodney, who has not left my side for 7 years. MVIMG_20180706_104854Even with my last two hospital stays, Rodney was right there with his nose on the foot of the bed begging to come up (hospital beds are too narrow and uncomfortable to share with a 62 pound Lab) or curled up on a bath blanket next to my IV pole.   But this time because we were only planning a quick trip to my doctor’s office, we had left him behind, not expecting that it would turn into several days separation. Had I taken him along and been admitted, Deb would likely have had to take him home and then stayed with him, as they would not have wanted him there under the circumstances, and she would not have the freedom to walk him several times a day to relieve himself. God showed us His wisdom as He knew all this before we even left home. It is one of the very few times I have left him behind for a short period, and this was the first time ever that we would be separated for overnight. God always provides for even his furry creatures and a friend that Rodney loves stayed with him after work and throughout the nights we were separated. In this way the Lord our Provider met my needs and at the same took good care of Rodney! We were concerned he would enjoy his new companion so much he wouldn’t even miss us!!

And now I will turn it over to Deb so you can get her perspective…

DEB:

What was God’s plan for us in all of this? He gave us a new mission where we would not be able to safely hide in the bunker but would be out in the battlefield. And there He wanted to prove His Word to us, that He is present and He is faithful, and there is no need for us to worry when things occur differently than our carefully laid plans.

Jesus says in Luke 12.25-31…
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

As Sue always reminds us, His plans are never to harm us but that we might prosper in Him. At first it felt very surreal, with masked and gowned people coming and going at all hour of the day and night. We were in a large private room, (thank you, Lord) with a sofa for me to sleep on, and a full bathroom. Since I was not permitted to leave the room, these were indeed a blessing. That first evening after a long day in the ER as I sat on the couch watching Sue breathe, my eyes were drawn to a framed picture on the wall next to the sofa. It was a quiet scene of calm water and a small rowboat with a tiny caption at the bottom. I had to lean closely to read it. “The Lord takes pleasure in His people.” The words spoke to my heart and gave me both an excitement and a peace. True, we were in a Catholic Mercy Hospital, and it is very possible that picture was on the wall of every room, but at that moment I knew the Lord was speaking to me through His Word.

We had done what we could to stay safe and away from being exposed to the virus. I took great precaution whenever I needed to leave the house to not bring it back to Sue. And now we were “surrounded by the enemy” with Covid 19 patients above us and below us on other floors. Staff coming in the room had also been in the rooms of these patients. Whenever I felt that sense of fear rising in my chest threatening to suffocate my peace, I would look at that simple serene picture on an obscure wall next to the sofa. The Lord takes pleasure in His people. And I would be assured that we were exactly where we were supposed to be for His glory. In spite of our best laid plans, God overruled and sent us directly to this battlefield to be an encouragement to the doctors and nurses and other essential workers during these dark and uncertain hours! Didn’t He say we were to seek His kingdom first and everything else would be taken care of?!

With that, my concern for Sue was overshadowed by my nursey curiosity. As a nurse,I was familiar with the halls of the hospital. Each masked and gowned figure had a name, even though their faces were hidden. I was the only one not wearing a mask, so Sue could read my lips as I would interpret the conversations. As I chatted with various ones, they opened up about their own fears and concerns. One young single mom had 3 young children at home. They were alone all day while she worked 12 hour shifts, as she was too afraid to hire a babysitter or have grandparents watch them. A nurses’ assistant told us she was from Brooklyn, NY and her best friend was hospitalized with the virus. She was worried for her Dad, especially, who worked at JFK airport as a baggage handler. Another nurse felt completely lost as she was “new” to this floor. Her specialized radiology department had been shut down as non-essential and most of the staff was furloughed. She was grateful she kept a job. Others shared how they changed clothes at the hospital then went home to take two showers. Or slept in their garages, away from family. The talkative physical therapist (I had actually worked with him many years ago) spent his mornings on the regular floor and then went to be with Covid-19 patients in the afternoons. With a somber shake of his head he confided that some of them were not likely to make it. Even behind the masks the eyes and body language told me everyone was on edge.

One day stretched into another. The hallways were earily empty except for workers. The room we occupied felt smaller and smaller. The large window above the sofa looked down upon an empty parking lot. No visitors. Just six miles beyond lightly greening treetops lay the security and safety of home.

The doctors were all in a hurry to release the non-Covid 19 patients to make room for what might come. We learned that this hospital was already overwhelmed because people knew it had mostly private rooms, and were showing up here since no one wanted to go to the main city campus where they might have to share a room with the unknown.

When the room phone started ringing I knew we were being prepared to be released. Even billing department, and social services were social distancing! One call was from the Hospital Chaplain, who would normally be making rounds on the floor to personally pray with patients. When I told Sue he was on the phone asking if he could pray for her, she lit up. “Let me talk to him,” she said. I shared with him that she was profoundly deaf and would not be able to hear if he talked, but she wanted to speak to him. With that she took the phone and began to pour her heart out to her Father in heaven, that God would use this man and speak to him and through him to bring comfort to people’s hearts during times of great fear and uncertainty. She wept as she prayed for those who were fighting the Coronavirus 8 feet above our heads and that God would reveal Himself to people and His name be lifted up and glorified during these dark times.

In that moment I knew why the Lord had brought us to the hospital. First he wanted to teach us to fear no evil, for He is with us. Wherever HE leads us He will be there before us, behind us, beside us and within us. Secondly He wanted shine His glorious light through fragile and broken people so that those facing dark and uncertain times could see that Light shining out against the darkness.

“For we have this treasure, (Christ) in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”
2 Corinthians 4.6

He speaks “Peace, be still,” in the midst of a raging storm. He knows peace. He is totally at peace…in fact, He is able to sleep peacefully in the boat during the worst of the storm. Our internal peace comes in knowing He is with us in the boat.

For He is our peace.

And He takes pleasure in His people.

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