My goodness it’s been a busy crazy summer! So different from last year, yet equally insane.
Last year I was feeling pretty lousy – cancer complications were problematic and I was coming off four weeks of intensive radiation, followed by a case of shingles that landed me in the hospital, all the while planning a wedding!
This year has truly been a great year cancer-wise – I’ve felt great & much more physically active. Over a period of six weeks I made multiple 6+ hr (one way) drives to visit my daughter & family tucked in between a super condensed 4-day trip to California to help pack my sister as she moves forward in her journey there.
Somewhere in the mix, I overdid (yes, that’s a big DUH!) ….things were going so well… until they weren’t. All of a sudden I was constantly tired, sleeping more, and simple short walks weren’t so simple. A middle of the night trip to the ER revealed I had a blood clot that moved to my lungs – no bueno – especially when you have stage IV cancer. An ambulance ride, meds, days of extremely thorough doctor checks, and I was good to go….slowly!
When I’m feeling good (aka not constantly reminded of physical limitations), I wanna be like the other kids! I wanna go for brisk walks, water aerobics, long trips, play time with my grandson….but, I’ve got to remember the pace… and be mindful what a blessing that I’m able to do those things! But maybe….just maybe, I do them in moderation so I decrease the risk of setbacks and increase the probability future fun.
The absolute best part???? It’s so wonderful to feel well enough to spend time expressing faith through art again! Hands down, the Thrive Bible is my all-time favorite – I love how God speaks to me through the devotions, causing me to often say to myself, “wow! I never thought about it that way!” and to continually be in awe of His Mighty Love for us
One of my primary goals in writing for 31 consecutive days is transparency… so here I am… being transparent. I REALLY did not want to write this evening… I did exactly what I wrote about in my last post… thinking too far ahead (or perhaps behind…) of the posts to come… and I didn’t want to go there.
Well, of course I wrote…reminding myself of baby steps…two sheets of paper at a time… the great thing is that I was able to recall some really hard decisions and have peace over them vs my usual “could I have done more” mental interrogations.
And yes, that’s where God and His gracious healing power comes into full view… because of those hard days and seemingly impossible decisions, I was learning to receive God’s glorious embrace and willingly take refuge in Him… if only for a short while… make no mistake though, He was teaching me how to lean into Him for the days too difficult to imagine.
As rocky as 2013 started, I had no idea just how crazy life would get! Even as things were becoming very clear my dad’s lifestyle demanded a dramatic change, I was finding myself thanking God for the multiple hospital visits throughout 2012. As difficult as those times were, God eased me into accepting the New Norm for my dad – the roles were shifting – his sense of independence waning as he fought changes with all his might – his identity was completely wrapped up who he believed he should be – along with the unrealistic expectations he placed on himself….and any deviation triggered tailspins of Looney Tunes Tazmanian devil (if you’re younger than oh…say 45, you might want to google the reference!) proportions.
I was thankful, because in the year prior, I not only made a point to become more informed about my dad’s medications, bills, etc. (stuff that’s so easy to overlook ), I was given the gift of time to get to know my dad as an adult – a person outside of my bubble. There was a big part of me that didn’t want to accept the change either…not because becoming a caregiver wasn’t my cup of tea…because he was my dad…the strong, independent, pain in the rear guy who loved to help other people in his community.
Today…as I’m still learning to Embrace a New Norm, I can’t help but think about a few Tazmanian monster moments of my own….
Another day filled with unexpected moments…and God met us in every single one! My response is what Beth Moore describes as a “holy habit” – here’s an excerpt from her Daniel study to explain:
Imagine of being guilty of prayer. This was Daniel’s ‘holy habit.’
There are 3 ways you can respond to an emergency. Each of us knows what it’s like to receive a phone call, an email. Life changes and we are thrown in a completely urgent situation. One hour before everything was okay. How do you react in a middle of an emergency? You must be ready in advance.
1. We can panic. 2. We can become paralyzed. 3. We can pray.
What happens when we panic? When we panic we do the wrong thing. It the nature of panic.
What happens when we get paralyzed? We do nothing.
What happens when we pray? We do the power thing! In a crisis you can do one of three things. Heaven moves when we hit our knees and we pray. God is all about relationship and thru prayer he forces the issue of relationship and we cry out to Him for help.
Holy habits vs. old patterns. God can change our patterns. What if we began to react in the spirit vs. the old patterns? Daniel reacted in the Spirit, making petitions to God.
I’ll be honest, my holy habits still require LOTS of practice, but that’s point – habits take work!
It’s funny (odd) that almost three years later and the events of 2013 are still so clear – the great thing is that the memories don’t sting like they did before…another blessing and benefit of faith-based counseling!
Hopefully it won’t take 12 days to write through 2013, but January/February certainly set the tone…even if I didn’t have a clue at the time! I remember a member of senior management asking me if I really needed to be at the hospital with my daughter (she was there two weeks) – yes she was an adult, but honestly it didn’t matter what the age – I’m a firm believer every patient deserves to have their advocate present…and what better advocate than mama?
Yes…it’s actually day 4 and I’m just now posting day 3! Nonetheless…here we are…still discovering a New Norm…since it’s almost 11PM I leave the writing as is..no extras…especially since I still need to write today! As promised, I will start sharing details of 2013 events to help you see/understand the ways God grew me in preparation for this current battle called cancer….more importantly, to show you how God continually met me on the battlefield of life so I could praise Him with confidence!
One thing is for certain…handwriting 2 pages isn’t enough room to fill in all the blanks! But that’s okay… something tells me I should avoid the Reader’s Digest version anyway. I need to share the uglies of life… ’cause I’m pretty sure God showing up in my messy life isn’t really all that different from how He’s eager to show up & show off in yours. I like focusing on today – today isn’t all that painful – today I’ve let go of a lot of things – today the idea of the unknown isn’t oh so scary – today it’s easy to praise Him.
The challenge in this journey of faith is praising God when we’re knee deep in the muck of life – and that’s only possible if we’re willing to stand firm on His promises – when we’re willing to call on Him – cry out to Him to see us through – when we set pride aside and allow others to walk beside us in the dark hours of unknowns…
And that folks is what I call relationship – that degree of intimacy only achieved by spending one-on-one time with Him. The great thing is that God is so….so God that He gives us ALL of Him….ALL the time: 100% of His love – 100% of the time – how grand is that?!
So tomorrow and in the coming days, I will focus more on the so-called uglies (you can also check out a couple of recent posts shown below) so you can see more clearly how He loves to show up for us.
It’s a WIN-WIN-WIN Situation Part 1 / Part 2 (click on part 1 or 2)
P.S. If there’s anything in particular you’d like me to clarify, just ask – I’m pretty much an open book!