Living Our Litanies

The Realtor’s Hymn: I’ve Got a Mansion, Just Over the Hilltop”  
The Massage Therapist’s Hymn     He Touched Me  
The Doctor’s Hymn The Great Physician  
The Weathermans Hymn “There shall be Showers of Blessing
The Tailor’s Hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy”
The Politician’s Hymn “Standing on the Promises”
The IRS agent’s Hymn “I Surrender All
The Electrician’s Hymn “Send the Light”
The Shopper’s Hymn “Sweet Buy and Buy”
Teacher’s Hymn “Be still and know”
Golfer’s Hymn ..”There is a Green Hill Far Away”
Dentist’s Hymn “Crown Him with Many Crowns”
Ob/Gyn’s Hymn “Come, Labor On”
Bar Patron’s Hymn “Fill My Cup”
Optometrist’s Hymn “O How I Long to See” or “Open my eyes That I may See”
Gossip Columnist’s Hymn “I Love to Tell the Story”
Contractor’s Hymn “How Firm a Foundation” or “The Church’s One Foundation
Firefighter’s Hymn “It Only Takes a Spark”
Undertaker’s Hymn “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence”
Carpenter’s Hymn “Behold the Wood”
Surfer’s Hymn “Come to the Water”
Lawn Service Hymn “Just Like a Deer(e)”
Decorator’s Hymn “How Lovely is Your Dwelling Place”
Baker’s Hymn “Taste and See”


“God gave you a gift of 86, 400 seconds today.  Have you used one to say ‘Thank you’”? (William Ward )  Lord, every single gift comes from You…“Lift my gaze to see life from Your perspective. Help me to understand-and treasure-every good thing You send…”(From James 1:7)   One Thousand Gifts

(A blessing shared by Verona) 

Living Our Litanies

by Charity Singleton

“The very night I finished radiation, I joined a gym. It was on my list, right before, “Get Pizza for Dinner.” When I mentioned the pizza to the manager who was registering my gym membership, he said lots of people do that. Go hog wild the night they join a gym.

But it wasn’t like that for me. Eating pizza wasn’t hog wild. It was just a way to keep living.

Although cancer treatment is no picnic, the days and months following the treatment have been hardest for me in the past. While I am seeing doctors and having blood tests and being radiated every day, I feel like I’m fighting the disease. When it stops, I feel like a sitting duck for cancer to return.

After my first and toughest cancer treatment, I stopped planning, lived one day at a time for months on end, telling every person who invited me to dinner or asked me to a movie for the upcoming weekend that I wasn’t sure if I could make it. I might not be alive then was what I was thinking, as if never planning anything was much of a life.

This time around, I am trusting the Lord for something different. Not only am I planning, I’m planning big and long, not because there are any guarantees but because the abundant life Jesus promised me starts here and now and has nothing to do with fear and doubt.

A few weeks before my surgery last August, my friend Kelly was watching the Cars 2 movie with her sons and decided she and I should plan a trip to Italy. So, a few weeks ago, Kelly texted me and said she had started her Italy savings fund. Italy is officially on the list.

So is attending the Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College this Spring and taking another crack at writing a book and training this silly puppy of mine to quit jumping.

This is not a bucket list. These aren’t things I have to do before I die. These are things I have to do if I want to keep on living. This litany is really just a prayer in disguise: Lord, keep me hoping.

If this list of mine really is about living, though, it can’t just have the big things on it. Trips to Italy and writing books can motivate for a while, but those goals are so far away, and I have a lot of living to do in the meantime.

My litany needs to include things like writing letters to my nieces and nephews, reading good books, memorizing Scripture, walking Tilly every day. I need to write down every single one of those things on the list, and then I need to hand it to Jesus. Is this what you want my life to look like?

Past experience tells me it would be easier to make a different kind of list, to number one by one all the things cancer has taken from me. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve made those lists in the past.

In her post, “How Our Litanies Shape Us,” Stephanie Smith talks about this kind of catalog of complaints and what that can do to a soul.

If a litany of naming all things good and beautiful directs us into grace, then a litany of complaints deforms us. I have been cataloging my complaints and I am afraid they are becoming ingrained in my living. But counting faults and keeping score is tiring. And I don’t like the fact that I so willingly spend myself on counting and collecting injuries, when I could find freedom in simply letting them go.

As I was finishing up a recent appointment with my oncologist, he mentioned the new doctors he was hiring for his practice, and I asked him if there was a retirement in his near future.

“Oh, I don’t know. I still want to work, I just want lots of time off in the summer,” he said, kind of chuckling.

“Well, then, I just need to plan my cancer recurrences for the Spring or Fall then, huh?” I teased.

“No, you just need to retire from cancer recurrences altogether,” he said. “It’s very possible that’s what you’ve done.”

We shook hands, and I left.

Breathing hope into others, I thought. That’s going on the list, too.”

834. Eph 1:3

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

835. .Wonderful time of fellowship with Dave who came over for dinner last night


5 thoughts on “Living Our Litanies

  1. love the hymn thing…sent that one to some hymn friends of mine. thanks for posting! always love waking up to your nuggets of truth…and humor!


  2. Beth, hope your friends like the hymn humor too. I’ve so appreciated the great spiritual gems you’ve shared with me–please do keep keeping me in mind when you see something good. Wish I could connect with you for the Laura Story concert (sure wish it was a different date!) but alas, a weekend camping with my girls is where I’m headed. I think we are going to have a grand time. 🙂 I look forward to the next time you come my way. 🙂 Paula


  3. Dear Paula,

    I enjoy all your posts. They speak to my humanity – pain, sorrow, fear – then hope, faith, living one day at a time but especially your humor. I just love it and praise the Lord that He has given us “the oil of joy for mourning,” and “the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” You are seeking His kingdom and His righteousness and “all these things will be added to you.”

    Love, Lillie


  4. Lillie, it makes me so happy when I hear of folks being blessed by our blog–my heart’s desire is to pass along and share the joy and comfort of some of the things He is teaching me these days. God gets all the credit for everything that is worthwhile in here.. I continue to be challenged by the article by Piper “Don’t Waste Your Cancer which was my first blog entry. We all don’t have cancer but we all have “stuff” not to be wasted. What a great God we serve, Huh?! Paula


  5. Paula,
    I liked the song titles, but what really touched me today was the portion of Living our Litanies. It is so true that we live what we think. If we think worry and fear that is how we live, but if we think faith, hope, joy and love then the worry fades and what stands out is our courage and faith, hope, joy and love. In everything give thanks and all will be as it should in Christ Jesus. Lovingly, Kathy. God Bless.


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