Chirp and Chatter Pages

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Friendship Month: What a Friend We Have in Jesus


by Tanya Hanson

When I was a little girl attending Lutheran school, the hymn What a Friend We Have in Jesus was one of our standard sing-alongs in the classroom and at chapel. Sorry, but I thought the tune was a snore even at six years old. Let me have the rousing Onward Christian Soldiers any way! Even the doleful Go to Dark Gethsemane revved me up more.

But eight elementary-school years drilled the beautiful words into my mind. What a friend we have in Jesus. All our sins and griefs to bear, and what a privilege, yes, a privilege—to carry everything to Him in prayer.

I picked up on the warning of the peace we forfeit when we don’t bring Him everything in

prayer. And I got a lot of the hymn right. When I was discouraged, when I had trials and temptations, I prayed. I pleaded. Of course I prayed my eyes out during high school and
college and the start of real life. In adulthood, I prayed about big stuff, like my dad’s fatal car accident, and losing my “twin brother” Mike to cancer. I prayed about the little stuff, like a nasty headmaster or picky editor, or a rejection for a manuscript that had been pitched and requested. I got through it all.

But I wasn’t doing the rest of it. The unspoken “everything.” I didn’t thank Him enough, and worse, I didn’t simply praise Him.

Then cancer hit my household. My husband Tim.

Worse, the nightmare, the upheaval, the battle, started just one month after we lost Mike to a sudden, irrevocable cancer. Tim had grown up with Mike, and they met me in high school. Mike and I shared the same birthday and we celebrated 35 of them together. Everybody knows about my “twin brother” being dearer to me than any blood kin. Best man at my wedding. Pallbearer for my father. My son’s godfather. Ski trips at Tahoe, camping in the Sierras, my daughter’s birth, confirmations and graduations… Yes, every hill and valley of life, Mike had been at my side.

Until I needed him most. Until my husband faced surgery, chemotherapy, and complications, complications, and complications some more.

I felt angry. Alone. But I wasn’t. When I scrambled out of the initial darkness, I remembered another best friend. Jesus.

And I remembered the “everything.” On my knees, I promised my Lord and Savior I’d bring Him everything. My heart, my terror for my husband, my plea for a cure. My tears over losing Mike.

As well as the everything else. Each morning during those dreadful months of chemo and recovery, I stepped outside on the patio and prayed. But the first thing was thanksgiving, for my kids and grandkids, for the wise oncologist who gave me his home phone number in case I needed to talk, any time day or night. For neighbors who brought me food, for kind strangers on a cancer loop who got me through dark nights. Then of course, I begged for my husband’s health and life.

Those were the needful things, the expected things. The next thing I did, and sometimes I had to force it out, was simply to praise God.

It worked.

These days, my husband is cancer-cured, and we enjoy the blessings of our life to the fullest. Our three grandchildren including a newborn baby girl fulfill every dream we’ve ever had. Mike’s daughters will always be my beloved nieces. His wife, whom I call my sister-in-law, is coming this very weekend for some girl time even though she lives hours away. My wonderful friend and brother didn’t leave me alone, after all.

Nor did my Lord Jesus.

I still “get” the hymn. I pray, I try. I admit the “help me” and “thank you” prayers often take precedence over the downright praise, but I try. I truly do.

And my Best Friend knows.





California beach girl and country gramma Tanya Hanson lives on the Central Coast with her firefighter-husband. Close enough to their three grandchildren for a lot of spoiling, she also enjoys traveling with her personal hero and volunteering at the local horse rescue. She is multi-published in many genres, but inspirational romance always reminds her of God's great gifts of love and faith.



Contact:

Website   Petticoats & Pistols (Group Blog)


Leave a comment on every Chirp 'N Chatter Friendship post in September for a chance to win the fantastic virtual gift basket! (See the 09/01/2016 Gift Basket post.)

49 comments:

  1. thanks for this wonderful chance to share my heart, Delia!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Having you on Chirp 'N Chatter is my pleasure, Tanya! Forgive me for not getting in here ahead of you with a welcome note. I'm a little scattered with deadlines and such. lol I so enjoyed your post, and so admire your strength, and your fortitude through so much loss and pain. But how wonderful to know that we all do, indeed, have the perfect, most amazing Friend in Jesus!

      And by the way, I'm honored to call you a friend, as well!

      Delete
    2. Goodness, I have a Christmas short story due any second, and having the hardest time settling down. Sheesh. Normally it's my favorite season to write about. Thanks, my friend. You've been there when I needed one. xoxox

      Delete
    3. As have you...and that's what friends are for. :)

      Delete
  2. A lovely post. He's "still our refuge."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He is indeed! Thank you for stopping by, Liz!

      Delete
    2. Indeed, Liz. Especially good advice for me today.. I so appreciate you commenting.

      Delete
  3. Oh Tanya, I'm so sorry you had to go through all that heartache. I am a cancer survivor, but I lost my father to cancer and now a sister-in-law is in stage 4 cancer. Praying to Jesus--and having the church pray--gave me the strength to get through the tough times. The hymn that came to my mind was "Because He Lives." Jesus gives us the strength to face tomorrow.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a beautiful song! Because He Lives has been a favorite of mine since I first heard the song as a child. Thank you so much for stopping by, Barbara!

      Delete
    2. Hi Barbara, oh, you are in my heart. Cancer sure has a big family, you know. I pray for the strength only He can give. And if you need me, I'm here, too. Hugs and prayers.

      Delete
  4. One of my favorite songs because of the message.
    Great post!
    It is hard to give all, I think we all have something we tend to hold back. A part of us we just can't seem to cut the strings too. I am so glad he understands and loves us anyway.
    Thanks for a great reminder.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a wonderful message it is! :) I completely agree, some things are hard to let go of. He understands, and never gives up on us, because He's such a wonderful Friend. Thank you for stopping by, sweet Renette! (Thank you for being a friend!) :)

      Delete
    2. Hi Rennette, oh you said it just right. I am glad He understands and forgives because I'd be in super trouble. Ugh. Thanks for stopping by today.

      Delete
  5. Great article, Tanya. I can identify with the feeling of not doing enough.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So can I...all the time. But again, He understands our efforts, what we're capable of, and what we can/can't do. Because He's a Friend - a true Friend that sticks closer than a brother, even when we fail to perform to the best of our ability.

      Delete
    2. hi V.B., yeah, I always feel my shortcomings. I am a very imperfect specimen. So it means the world that God is love! Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  6. Tanya, what a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing the things so close to your heart.

    Love you dear filly friend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Margaret, thank you so much for stopping by!

      Delete
    2. Hi Margaret, my wonderful friend. Loss is such a part of life but it isn't easy. I feel your heart right now. Thanks for sharing today. xo Love you back.

      Delete
  7. Tanya, some of these trials in our lives just seem impossible without taking them to Him. I don't know how some people manage without that. I know I couldn't. Sounds like you have been "through it" --for those months after losing someone you were so close to and then Tim having cancer--almost too much to bear. I'm so glad that time is in the past for you. Excellent post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tanya's more of an inspiration than I think she even knows. :) Thank you for stopping by, Cheryl!

      Delete
    2. Oh Cheryl and Delia, you both have guided me through some tough times. The hand of God at work. I know, I don't get how people who trash God and blatantly don't give Him a chance get through the hardships of life. I can only hope and pray they see His light.

      Delete
    3. Thanks, my dear. I'm kinda blushing right now. I always feel so needy. Love you.

      Delete
  8. GREAT post Tanya...I'm so happy your husband is healed and whole.
    Good luck and God's blessings.
    PamT

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello...friend! :) Thanks for stopping by.

      Delete
    2. Thanks, Pam. That means the world. It's hard some times, rejoicing so, when others didn't make it. Like your sweet heart. I so appreciate your comment AND friendship, too...I have whined to you aplenty. xox

      Delete
  9. What a beautiful, heart-touching post.
    Hymns speak such great truths to us in such simple words. My own personal favorite is It Is Well With My Soul

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And now I'll be singing that beautiful melody for the rest of the day... :) That's not a complaint by the way. Love the song, and you're right - hymns speak so many wonderful truths and such encouragement!

      Delete
    2. Winnie, thanks so much for stopping by. I can still remember the many hymns I learned in grade school. My favorite is Let Us Ever Walk With Jesus. Five generations of my family have had it at their weddings. xo

      Delete
  10. Replies
    1. Thank you for visiting Chirp 'N Chatter, dear friend! Tanya's post is so beautiful. I'm glad you were here for this one. :)

      Delete
    2. Tanya, I enjoyed the thoughtful time I had writing it. Felt peace even though I still miss Mike with my whole heart. Hugs, my friend.

      Delete
  11. What a lovely and inspirational post. I'm so glad your husband is now well. Blessings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for visiting, Allison!

      Delete
    2. Allison, I am so thrilled to see you here. We indeed feel very blessed.

      Delete
  12. Oh Tanya, this was a beautiful and inspirational piece. Your words about your "twin" brother and your husband and the devastation you felt about the loss and suffering of them certainly spoke to me. Sometimes faith is all we have.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Faith is so important. Sometimes it is all we have, but when those times come, it's enough.

      Thank you for stopping by, Sarah!

      Delete
    2. I hear you, Sarah. I have never felt so desperate. I hung on by my teeth. I still thank God for giving me the strength. Thanks so much for the heartfelt comment, my friend. Xo

      Delete
  13. Thank you, Tanya, for being open about a most difficult time in your life. You bless us with your resilience. Cheers

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marilyn, you know, looking back, I'm amazed I got through it. The Lord really poured strength into me because normally I am a real weenie. I so appreciate your comment.

      Delete
  14. Thank you for sharing, Tanya.It's amazing how hard it is to say thank you and praise, when we are faced with terror and loss. I am so happy for you that you found the gratitude and that your husband is cured.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true! In the times we most need to thank and praise Him, we don't, because we're hurting, hiding, or just having a tough time. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment, Susan!

      Delete
    2. Susan, what lovely words. I so appreciate your comment and happiness for me.

      Delete
  15. The power of prayer is amazing and such a comfort in time of distress. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amen! :) Thank you for stopping by, Linda.

      Delete
    2. Amen indeed, Linda. I couldn't do without it. xo

      Delete
  16. Wonderful comments to an encouraging post. Nice to read your take on my mother's favorite hymn, Tanya.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LoRee, it is such a special and meaningful hymn, isn't it ? Thanks so much for your kind words.

      Delete
    2. One of the best hymns ever! Thank you for visiting, LoRee!

      Delete