Friends in Low Places

It’s been a rough weekend. My “normal” lately has been constant mental and physical fatigue, but the last two days have brought things that have just been more than I can handle.

Small things have become big things, and big things have become bigger, thanks to my reduced tolerance for stuff that rocks my boat. Last night I apologized to my husband for my over-sensitivity, even while begging him to be so careful, so kind, so gentle. It’s not fair that he has to tiptoe, but none of this journey is about fairness, and I’m learning I have to guard myself in every way possible in order to survive.

It may appear to some that it shouldn’t be this hard yet, since I haven’t even started treatment. Some have responded to me as though they don’t really believe I’m fatigued and only functioning in low gear. It takes a lot of energy to fight cancer, and I’m told mine is the most aggressive of its type. I am my harshest critic, and I struggle to allow myself to rest. I tend to listen to the voices around me (real or imagined) and think that I should be able to buck up and do all that I am used to doing.

Then, I look at our last year. Two close family deaths. Two of our three sources of income quite literally taken from our hands, through no fault of our own. My major surgery in June. It’s been a rough haul. It’s no wonder that when I heard the cancer diagnosis, my body, mind, and soul all said “Nope. Can’t do one more thing.” and shut down.

Generally speaking, I’m doing okay with the cancer diagnosis itself. I truly am surrendered to whatever path God leads me down, confident that He has great things in store at the end of it–for me and for others. I am preparing myself for a rough winter, and most days I find joy and contentment in my life.

Every so often, though, everything comes rushing in and something reaches the core of my being and all of that comes crashing down. It’s like the old Garth Brooks song. I find myself with friends in low places. Grief, despair, fear, bitterness, anger all rush to make me comfortable there and beg me to stay.

And then, after I wallow a bit in my own muck, I am reminded that I have the greatest Friend of all–even in the low places, and He calls me up and out and back to LIFE.

Isaiah 40:29-31 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.

It’s a new day, and it’s going to be a good one.

Not Just My Story

I’m getting a lot of attention these days. I don’t like being the center of attention. I do appreciate all the caring and loving people surrounding me, for sure. I love that God is raising people up to encourage and support me.

Today, my son turns 15. I have one son and 7 daughters. As I think about his life and pray for him this morning, I’m very aware that this whole cancer deal isn’t just about me. It’s part of his story, too.

He’s turning 15 and learning and growing in life and just found out his mama’s got cancer. You know the bond between boys and mamas. . . and as far as he understands, his mama could die and leave him alone.

After he learned the news, he came into my room and asked if I wanted a hug. YES! I will always want a hug from this guy. He leaned down (He’s 6’5”) and held on tight while I sobbed. That was a moment that will likely never leave either of our memories.

The same is true of my daughters–my strong, lovely, amazing daughters. This is part of their story, as well. They are the ones who will fill my shoes for the next 6 months or so. We are all going in strong, but the day will come when we are all weary and tired and maybe angry.

And my husband. I can’t imagine getting the news that a spouse has cancer. I pray I never know the feeling, but I know Larry feels it deeply. It’s a major part of his story. I told him yesterday “I’m sorry, dear, but if I have cancer, you have cancer. That’s how it works. . . if you do it right.” And so we walk this part of the story together. And he’s been amazing. God blessed me beyond measure to give me this man.

When we go through something tough in life, we tend to think and wonder about what the purpose is. What’s God doing? Why is this happening? Some of us look inward for the lessons we think we are supposed to be learning and think our struggles are only about us. How often we miss the other pieces of the puzzle. Since our lives are all intertwined on one level or another, what is tough for me may be tough for someone else in my life, and maybe this difficult thing is actually me being a tool in the Maker’s hand so that someone else can learn and grow.

Regardless what will come of this situation I’m in, I know that it’s not about me. Not entirely, anyway. It’s about His higher purpose. And I am willing.

Here I am. . .

I’ve started several blogs over the years. I love to write and have always enjoyed the idea of keeping up with a blog, more for my own love of writing than anything.

Enter life. Exit blog.

Here I am, starting again. This time, it’s not for me. I am commissioned to write, and I will trust that He who commissioned me will enable me to keep up, for His glory. You see, this time it’s different. I’m going to have a story to tell, and maybe someone will find strength and encouragement in it.

Exactly 5 days ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. But you know what’s cool? I expected it. No, I never expected to get reproductive cancer of any sort. There is no history in my family, and it’s scientifically proven that the more time you spend lactating and the more children you bear, the less likely you are to get it. I have 6 biological children, y’all. I’ve done my time. And yet, here I am.

From the time of my biopsies last Wednesday, I had a deep and abiding peace that the results would be positive. I also knew that all will be well and very well. Does that guarantee that I will beat it and live a long and happy life, not remotely.

I could ask “why me?” But then, why not me? What makes me special, that I should be above this diagnosis? Absolutely nothing. And since I KNOW that The Lord my God has everything in His hand, I can trust Him with this. (I will likely need you all to remind me of this as the journey gets rockier–just please be gentle!)

So, that’s my intro. If you’re intrigued, keep reading. If you have other things to do, God’s blessings as you go.