Saturday, January 31, 2015
What I Do When Life Becomes Too Hard to Bare and Asking A Favor...
"I am your strength and shield... My Presence watches over you continually, protecting you from known and unknown
dangers. Entrust yourself to My watchcare."
- Jesus Calling, January 31st
I can't believe that it's Saturday morning at 1:30 am and I can't sleep. This is my moment to catch up on rest. However, since my heart is so restless and my mind is so all over the map, I just decided to get up, make coffee, sit by the fireplace and pray.
Pray with all my heart. Pray with tears streaming down my face. Pray like there is no tomorrow.
I get out my Jesus Calling, it is only an arm's length away. I get out my Bible, it's looking me in the eye and whispering "there is solace in here." I get out my book Bittersweet, by Shauna Niequist and begin to put the puzzle pieces of my heart back together again. I listen to Selah or other music that moves my soul. I write in my journal and share what is on my heart.
I...find the words. Say them out loud. Process the pain and sacredness and hurt. Don't run away and hide from this holy moment, even though every instinct might suggest that hiding and isolating is a good idea.
That's different, you know, than taking a time out for self-care and self-reflection. Isolating and not letting others in can be a deadly medicine to administer. Instead, I want to push myself to be authentic and transparent.
Praying and reading and talking and journaling and listening to music that inspires me is what I do when life seems too hard to bare.
And I cry and pace and talk out loud to God and let the enormity of it all soak in while at the same time knowing that God is here. In the midst of the mess. He, the Lord God Almighty, is here. By me. With me. By them. With them.
It's a good thing that I'm not God and I am not in the business of running things. If I were, even for a minute in control of it all, I would only give the bad, yucky people cancer. I know that sounds mean, but it's how I feel right now.
Now I know that everyone is a child of God and I get that there is goodness inside of everyone,
even though they may act with cruelty and cause enormous damage to others. I also know that God doesn't give people cancer. Cancer happens. Cancer sometimes happens to people who are wonderful and kind and loving and cancer sometimes happens to people who are so hurt that they hurt others at every turn.
So hang with me here, if you will. This is how I feel this morning. If anyone had to have cancer, I would want the yucky people to get it, not the sweetest, kindest, most giving people on the planet.
Who are some of those kindest, sweetest, most giving and caring people? Three names jump out at me this morning. My sweet hubby Bert, my dear and precious friend, Vicky Westra and now, dang it, sweet Peggy, my dear, precious little sister in Jesus. My tears are flowing for sweet Peggy today. Her diagnosis is new.
I will never forget the day Bert was diagnosed with prostate cancer. We both had tests for cancer the same week. My test was for thyroid cancer and his was for prostate cancer. Mine came back negative and his came back positive.
My world stopped. In that moment everything changed. Everything. I remember hearing my beloved Bert say..."Are you with me Jesus?" And since he knew that God was with Him, and the answer that came back to Bert's heart was "I am with you and I won't leave you," Bert knew he was fine. No matter how it all turned out. He had God there and all would be well.
But the road ahead wasn't easy. It was hard, really hard. The kind of hard you can't understand unless you have lived it. And we fought that hard battle, both of us together. It felt at times that life was too hard to bare and once again I prayed and read. Read up on cancer. Read up on resiliency. Read up on how to get through the hardest of times. And we talked to others who had been there and we shared the chapter in our lives that started with the Big C.
And because we know words have power and meaning, we renamed this illness "the little c."
Having it be the big C gave cancer too much power. cancer with a little c made it sound and feel less threatening and more manageable.
We used positive self talk like "I have cancer, but cancer doesn't have me." Or as my friend Vicky says, "I'm fine with a side of cancer." And when it all became too hard to bare in the months and months of life-changing treatment, we prayed and read. Prayed and read.
And I thank God every day that Bert made it through that journey. That he is still here. He has been cancer free for thirteen years. But it is always there. That voice that says that in a heart beat, we could be fighting for his life again.
Because now we know. We know for sure. We know because we have been there. We know that when you hear the words...you have cancer, in a heartbeat your whole life changes.
And so many folks came along side us at this tough time. So many prayers were said in Bert's behalf.
We were held up and held in by love.
And now I'd like to ask a favor.
If you are someone who prays, could you please keep my Jesus-sisters Vicky and Peggy in your prayers.
At this time could you please especially hold up Peggy as she has all these tests. And if praying doesn't fit for you, but positive thoughts and energy do fit for you, could you please send some of both to my dear friends.
They mean the world to me and I believe that prayers and hope and sending good thoughts matters. Just to know people are thinking about you and praying for you is so encouraging! And I am praying for more days and weeks and months and years for my friends. Thanks for helping support them.
"We are all just walking each other home." ...