Tuesday, July 31, 2012

It took 3 !

I have been trying to formulate this blog since last Thursday (I think). As you know, if you've recently followed my blog, I have made some dietary changes. I have to share with you what lead up to my decision. I just have to...

I have been a member of Curves for many years, so many years I've lost track of the number. I've actually made some of my best friends at Curves. I have missed them terribly this past year as I've been unable to go for most of the year. I have one friend there in particular who has gently been trying to lead me to better eating habits. As she said to me yesterday... You just weren't ready.

I have a new friend from my new church who became convicted through her prayer time to minister to me. As she has cared for me & encouraged me over the past months, she has carefully shared with me what she has been learning about healthy eating. As I began to ask more questions, I became very interested. Funny that both of these women invited me to a cooking class (the same class) which I declined. I wasn't interested. This was maybe a month ago.

Over the past month, my liver enzymes have climbed. My Oncologist sent me for labs, a CT scan, & then to my GI (who did more labs). As is common on this journey, I was scared. I really don't know what made me do it, but while on my vacation, I messaged my new friend & began reading a book she recommended.

As I read, I became convicted. I figured I had nothing to lose. So... I blogged about my new diet. Here's where it gets really interesting. My best friend from high school has been following my blog. Unbeknownst to me, she has been praying for me everyday since my diagnosis. She is a dietician, & she has been praying that God would provide a friend to help me see what she has always known. However, she did not feel it was her place to step in & tell me I needed to make some changes. I am so touched by her prayers.

I am also touched that I have a God who loves me that much, a God who cares about the details of my life. I have a God who didn't give up on me. He provided 3 friends to break through my thick skull & awaken my soul. These 3 friends are passionate about healthy eating. I never cease to be amazed that our God goes to such great lengths to care for us.

Because of my loving Heavenly Father & my 3 caring friends, I am on a new path, & I love it. I have emersed myself in learning everything I can over the past few weeks. There's still much for me to learn, but I am on my way. As I sat with my Curves friend at Panera yesterday, she couldn't help but laugh over how I have changed. I had to laugh too...

Monday, July 30, 2012

What would we do without her?

As I was driving home Sunday from my mom's, I couldn't stop writing this blog in my head.  I've thought of writing this blog for a long time but was waiting for just the right moment. Leaving my mom was more difficult this time than usual. I haven't been able to spend time with her in awhile, & we had some precious moments together. My sister-in-law, Laurie, came over to be with her as I was leaving. My mom was sobbing, & I felt so helpless.

I have always loved Laurie & admired her. I've always appreciated her, but I am indebted to her for life.  She lovingly cares for my mom. When I first arrived, I needed to be acclamated as to what would be needed of me. I took my cues from Laurie as I watched her tenderly care for my mother. I watched as she helped buckle her into the car & adjusted her shoulder strap.

I watched as she lovingly asked my mom what she would like to do, & did all she could to accommodate my mother's wishes. She read my mom like a book & responded accordingly. When my mom hurt, she gently asked her if she was ready to leave. She organizes her pills, pays her bills, & takes her swimming on a daily basis. I am grateful.

In return, my mom loves Laurie. She trusts her & looks to her for guidance. She frequently asks Laurie her opinion. She often quotes Laurie & smiles proudly. Many times, I have asked myself, "What would we do without Laurie?" Little did I know how much Laurie would bless my life when my brother married her.

I could not have predicted this past year in my life or how it would coincide with my mom's need for loving care. I've always said, "God only sends the very best." He has proven this over & over in my life. He does provide. He does answer prayers. I am grateful for my sweet sister-in-law. What would we do without her?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How do I even begin to explain?

How do I even begin to explain what I am beginning to learn about my ailments? I spent an hour today getting a nutritional consultation which many in the medical field would disregard. A huge discrepancy exists  between these 2 worlds, that is the world of medicine & the world of nutrition. How am I (the patient) to know what to do?

As I've said before, I have little or nothing to lose. I have cancer. I have Ulcerative Colitis & Osteoarthritis, & even high cholesterol. My biggest concern right now is my elevated liver enzymes (a sign of inflammation in the liver). I believe that anyone of these nasty diseases would qualify me to give the nutritional world some consideration. As I said in my last blog, I've managed to acquire all of these illnesses while trying to eat what I thought was healthy or at least adequate. How wrong I have been!

It's NOT rocket science to look at my whole picture & see that I clearly have a problem with inflammation. Research shows that my issues can be helped by going gluten free. Apparently, I also have sensitivity to the following: dairy, sugar, egg yolks, & red meat. The man I met with today believes that I need to be free of these 5 ingredients to heal my leaky gut.

We are talking about a life change, not a temporary thing that adds back certain ingredients after time. It baffles me because the above ingredients do not make me feel sick, fatigued, or sore. That being the reason it's taken me this long to give this life change a chance. I pretty much eat what tastes good, avoid things that upset my stomach (like onions & spice) & try to be healthy. I do indulge in goodies as I see fit.

This new diet will be a challenge for me in educating myself. Reading labels is tricky. Sugar goes by so many names. I think it is the sneakiest ingredient of all. I don't like eggs, & red meat seldom appeals to me (however I do like a Steak-n-Shake burger now & then).  I will now be drinking a protein shake twice a day which heals inflammation. I will be reading labels as if my life depended on it. Perhaps it does.

My salad dressing will be olive oil. Blanched almonds will be my snack. I'll enjoy a little fruit, but only 1/2 a serving/day. Lots of wild fish, shrimp, & scallops will be my delight. Free range chicken & nitrate free bacon pass the test. Pork is okay too. Almond milk & coconut milk will replace cow's milk. Coconut oil will replace shortening. Almond flour will be my new flour. Sugar is out, & I will miss it. Greek yogurt is in (I'm thankful). Ghee butter is my new butter. Organic peanut butter & almond butter are good. Veggies are encouraged. Green tea & water are good. Nothing processed. Organic is best.

This is a tremendous amount of information for my little mind to digest (not to mention my gut). It's my choice, & based on what I was told today, the medical world will give me little support. After all, there are no double blind studies to prove any of the above, just a lot of research & many healed patients. Unbeknownst to me, the 5 ingredients I have just been denied have been reeking havoc on the inside of my body, causing it to go into a panic mode (trying to fight off cancer, inflammation, & only God knows what).

So... I'm sorry to give my blog readers TMI, but it's the only way I know to explain what I learned today. I'm quite sure some of my readers & loved ones will think I am going over board. Some will think I've gone off the deep end. But I ask... what really do I have to lose? What would anyone with an ounce of common sense do if they had my list of ailments?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Lately I have sunk my whole heart & soul into learning about Robb Wolf's Paleo diet. I am going to see a nutritionist tomorrow, & I am very excited. I've had people interested in why I have decided to make some dietary changes. If you are interested, please read on. If you are tired of hearing about it, please don't read another word.

My friend recently introduced me to this whole Paleo thing. Honestly, about 10 years ago, a friend of my mom's suggested I check into going gluten free due to my Ulcerative Colitis. Regrettably, I didn't give it much thought. I did not notice a gut reaction to gluten, so I figured it was a nonissue for me.

Now, another decade later, I not only have Ulcerative colitis, but cancer too. I figure I have nothing to lose. Obviously, the diet I've been on has not served me well. Research backs up Wolf's theories that gluten causes inflammatory illness, autoimmune diseases, cancer, & a whole host of other issues.

So... I have immersed myself in learning about the Paleo diet. I have browsed local grocery stores to see what each one carries that could be helpful to my cause. I have cleaned out my kitchen & thrown out or given away anything that didn't meet my new standards. Robb Wolf has a website with a section devoted to Paleo recipes. I have tried many of them. We have never eaten this well in our married life & never with such variety.

I've invested in a few cookbooks, a food processor, & a few other kitchen gadgets. I didn't know I liked to cook. In fact, I've always prided my self in just the opposite.  I know that makes no sense. If I could redo my childrens' childhood, I would be a much healthier cook. I would sink my heart into cooking healthy meals & making dinner time special. I really blew it in this area.

We are finding that what we eat really does effect how we feel. My husband no longer suffers from his inevitable food coma. I am finding that what I eat has more staying power. I am not going all hypoglycemic between meals as has been my life long custom.

If you follow my blog, you know that since I returned from my vacay, I've faced some problems with my liver enzymes being elevated. All other labs are normal. I see my GI on Thursday. I welcome his input & am anxious to see what he has to say. My enzymes have been a concern for about 3 weeks now, & I am ready to put this matter to rest. Unfortunately, I think it will take some time for my liver function to return to normal.

In the meantime, this diet has been a positive thing for me to sink my teeth into (literally). It's kept my mind busy. Learning something new is always exciting. I've enjoyed seeing my husband enjoy my cooking on a regular basis for the first time in our history. He was not one to complain; I think we are both in awe. We never thought we'd see this day.

I'm not pretending to understand this whole diet thing. I am just catching on. I figure if I follow Wolf's recipes, & use only Paleo friendly ingredients, I cannot go wrong. I have many questions to ask the nutritionist tomorrow. I am hopeful that he will tweak this Paleo way of life to fit my unique needs.
I will update on my blog occasionally, but I really don't want to be too annoying. If you stuck with me & read this whole blog, may God bless you.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

my best escape...

I am not alone, not ever. I am loved. When my loved ones are not near (& even when they are), God is ALWAYS with me. I have not spent one minute, even one split second, alone since (or before) my diagnosis. So... how is it I could ever feel alone? I have been pondering this question lately, not so much for myself but for other cancer patients as well.

I have come to a few conclusions. I think aloneness is inevitable because once you are diagnosed, you never escape knowing that you have cancer. You may or may not be mindful of it 24/7. However, little things will happen which serve as a constant reminder. When you feel troubled by your illness, sometimes others don't "get it." When you approach a time of evaluation, you have discussions in your head concerning the results. Sometimes your mind goes to a very lonely place.

If you talked about your cancer as much as you thought about it, you probably wouldn't have any friends. It's too much for the patient, & it would likely be too much for the listener. I believe that there is little (if any) escape for the cancer patient. I am sure this also holds true for other diseases. I have tried to escape my illness & successfully done so for increments of time.

Doing a kindness for someone else is my best escape. Laughter has remarkable effects. Focusing on the troubles of others definitely takes my mind off myself. My vacation was a wonderful escape. Having something to look forward to is good medicine. Reading a book provides respite. Music is healing. Devotions can lift my spirits to a Heavenly place. I'm sure a job or responsibility would be helpful too. Spending time in good company is irreplaceable. Blogging seems to be therapeutic.

It's important to be your own advocate. This concept does not come easy for me. It makes me feel harsh. I think being as educated as possible on your illness is invaluable. However, being well educated involves risk. Misunderstanding the information you find is definitely a pitfall. At first, the words used to describe your illness, your treatments, etc. might as well be a foreign language. In time, they begin to have meaning. You may also lead yourself through unnecessary anguish.

Fatigue, waves of anxiety, the unexpected, sleeplessness, changes in appearance, feeling misunderstood, unrelated problems, & not feeling like myself  contribute to feeling alone.  I have blogged recently about waiting. It definitely makes me feel alone. Finding a "new normal" has been suggested.  I'm not sure that's possible. My life is so far from what I thought was normal, I can't even begin to see it as anything close to any kind of normal. That's okay. I'm not sure it's a worthy goal. I think just accepting today for today is a more realistic option. Enjoying this changed life is a worthy goal. It lightens the load & speaks volumes to others. Seeing a purpose in your journey makes it worthwhile. Knowing that I am never alone (even when I feel alone) keeps my spirit in tact.

Friday, July 20, 2012


Today has been a day of mixed emotions. It began with the sad news from the Batman movie in Colorado. That was the first news I heard today, & of course, words are inadequate to describe such a horror. The human heart cannot comprehend it. Such terror is a nightmare, only it's NOT a dream. It's  daunting. It's sad. It scares us all. It reminds us of the frailty of human life.

It makes us stop & think... That could have just as easily been me or one of my loved ones. These words have been the theme of my week. I have 2 friends who did not receive good news this week about their cancer. That could have just as easily been me. The evils of the world are overwhelming & so difficult to understand.

Evil & suffering are a part of our earthly world. We've been promised that there will be no more suffering, no more tears, no more darkness in Heaven. I hold on to these promises  (not only for myself but for my loved ones) with all of my heart. I think about Heaven quite a bit, & it effects how I respond to life's suffering & evil. Knowing that these terrible things will not last forever brings me some peace. It gives me an eternal hope that cannot be destroyed. Without this understanding, I don't believe I would be who I am. I would be hopeless.

As humans, we can only ponder the mind of God. His ways are not our ways. His understanding is not our understanding. Our temptation is to ask how a loving God can allow such atrocities. How can our loved ones be allowed to suffer? What we don't realize is that our definition of loving is not God's definition. We are arrogant to think that we know better than our Creator.

I can see small things which I call treasures that have come from my own suffering. These treasures are significant to me. They are priceless. However, if I described them, others might judge them as insignificant & meaningless. When I look back on the suffering I have experienced in the last year, & I discover something good that resulted from my pain, I am thankful that my suffering had unimaginable good come from it. I am also mindful that this is only the good I recognize. Perhaps there is even more good coming from my trials that I will never know.

It's hard to think that any possible good can come from today's tragedy in the Colorado movie theater. Some things in life just shouldn't be allowed. People should not be allowed to hurt others, to destroy them, to take their lives, & to inflict unending life changing pain. If I were on the receiving end of today's tragedy, if one of my loved ones lost their life, I would not be able to see any good in their suffering. I would see evil, just pure evil.

The Bible does promise that God brings good out of evil. We see this theme over & over in the Bible. God takes evil, & somehow good comes from it. The good that results may not be tangible; it may not be the good for which we hoped. After all, our understanding is not His. We are promised that we have a hope which will not disappoint. It's hard to imagine that today's victims could even begin to grasp God's promises. My prayer for them is that in some small way, they will feel God's presence & know that He has not forsaken them.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

still waiting...

People with cancer w a i t . We wait for tests. We wait for results. We wait for diagnosis. We wait for prognosis. We wait for procedures. We wait for surgery. We wait with company. We wait alone. We wait always knowing that we are waiting...

How do we wait? We fret. We imagine our outcome. We go back & forth conversing with ourselves on how we will handle our news. We pray. We confide in loved ones. We try to sidetrack ourselves. We try not to think about our troubles. We focus on our blessings. We think of others. We pray for others.  We spend time with loved ones. We clean. We shop. We read. We facebook. We call. We watch others as their lives go on. We try not to get ahead of ourselves. We pretend. We try to sleep. We shed tears. We cry out to God. And... we wait.

For me, waiting is difficult. I have spent this week w a i t i n g . Tomorrow, I am supposed to hear something. But, then again, I was supposed to hear something on Tuesday, & then on Wednesday. Today I heard that tomorrow I will hear what my GI thinks. Hmmnnn.... What will he think? Will he just monitor my enzyme levels, or will he see a need to run some tests? Will they be tests that frighten me?

This week, I have read a book. I have cleaned out my pantry & put myself & my husband on a diet. I have studied this diet & shopped & planned accordingly. My phone has accompanied me throughout each day. I have spent time with 2 out of 3 daughters. The third one is still in South Africa. She has called twice to check on me. I have gone out for frozen yogurt with friends. I have loved on my animals. I have caught up with a few friends on the phone.

I go to bed thinking about my outcome. I wake up thinking about my outcome. I have learned to enjoy each day (even in spite of waiting). For me, waiting makes me weary. It's hard on me. It's hard on my emotions. Just as I round a corner, it seems a new concern is waiting for me. Will I ever get away from cancer? Right now, it doesn't seem like it.

Recently, I have been told that all of our trials are about refining our hearts, about making us more like Christ. I believe this to be true. I know my heart needs refining in this area. How many times will I have to wait until I learn to wait with grace? Even though I know that God is filtering everything that comes my way, I still find it hard to w a i t .

Monday, July 16, 2012

not as I hoped

Today did not go as I hoped. I went for my Herceptin treatment & labs. During my treatment, the nurse came to tell me that my liver enzymes are still high. My oncologist is sending me to my GI (Gastroenterologist) to determine the cause of my escalated enzyme levels. I will likely have a test or two to see what is causing my latest issue. An endoscopy was mentioned as one probable test.

I don't like this, but who would? I was expecting my levels to still be high. I wasn't expecting follow up. I was under the impression we would just monitor them for awhile. My misunderstanding. I also had 4 more viles of blood drawn & sent off to the hospital. Hopefully, those results will be in by the end of the week.

This past week, I had some loved ones tell me that they admire me. I was deeply touched by their words, but feel there is little to admire in my life at this time. As the words rolled off the nurse's tongue this morning, I really just wanted to cry. I did shed a few tears once we got to the car. Again, fear grips my body, & I wait. I have no say in this. I must comply & wait.

Of course, my husband reminded me that it is best if I don't jump to conclusions. I know he is right, but I don't know how to keep my mind from racing ahead. I picture things I shouldn't. I fear things that may never come to pass. I believe it's just human nature. That's all.

Naturally, I've done my research on the internet. I really haven't learned anything I didn't already know. I just feel blah. I could cry an ocean, but really, what good would it do? So... I pick myself up, put on my smile, & carry on (as I wait). My trust is in the Lord. When my husband suggested I not get ahead of myself, I told him it was just a matter of surrendering...

My trust has never left the Lord. Without Him, I couldn't cope. I again surrender to the wisdom of my doctors. I surrender to tests I don't want to have. I surrender to waiting. I surrender to facing my fear. I surrender to knowing that whatever I go through, I am in the palm of God's hands. He holds the number of days of my life, & no test, no result, will change that number. I must comply. I must surrender. God will have the final say.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Back to the Blog

Well... it's very late, & I should be asleep. Tomorrow, we will be back home with Otis & Bella! We have had a wonderful vacay with my husband's family. We spent time with his Dad & his sister & her family. It's the first time I've been far from home since my diagnosis. I was a bit scared (as my track record hasn't been too good lately with some minor problems). I was also concerned about my lack of sleeping at night.

Somehow, I remained healthy, & I slept. I think I gained 10 pounds. We had an exciting vacation as we got to do one of my favorite things, swim in the ocean. However, I got knocked over by a wave & could not get back up. 3 more waves pummeled me & drug my body far from my family. They couldn't find me. Finally, they spotted me & came to my rescue. I came up laughing, only to realize they were frantic. My niece held my hand the rest of the day as we stood in the ocean. I am still weak from all of my treatments & couldn't stand on my own.

On our last day, my husband & I enjoyed Busch Gardens. We rode the Pompei (a water ride) & had a blast. We also saw a show casting only rescued animals. I even dreamt about it last night. (Cats were running everywhere!) As we baked in the hot sun, we munched on Kettle Corn & drank fresh squeezed strawberry lemonade. On the way out, we even found a candy shop. The milk chocolate was beyond words.

I had a few highlights this week:  playing "Old Maid" with my 2 great nieces, taking a jeep tour to see wild horses, nearly losing my life in the ocean, Busch Gardens with my husband, & time spent with his family. Tomorrow, we return to Home Sweet Home. I am anxious to see my own rescued animals. We have missed them. I can't wait to see my daughters & hear about their week while I was away. On Monday morning, I will be up bright & early for a treatment & labs. Hopefully, my liver enzymes will be down.

The best part of my trip was being loved by family. My niece holding my hand. My sister-in-law operating on my sore toe. My brother-in-law making me laugh. My husband telling me that when he thought I drowned, it was as bad as the moment we received my diagnosis. He said he'd never been so scared.  My father-in-law hugging me. My 2 great nieces warmed my heart again & again. I found it hard to take my eyes off of them.

As we pulled into our hotel tonight, I received an email from my sis-in-law saying she wants me to always remember how loved I am. I had the time of my life, & it wasn't because we did my favorite things. It was because we spent time with loved ones. We laughed, we talked, we probably even cried a few tears... They said meaningful things to me which I will carry with me for a life time. The treasures on this trip are too numerous to count.

Friday, July 6, 2012

the. phone. call.

In the blink of an eye, my world was turned upside down. One phone call was all it took. My liver enzymes were significantly elevated. I needed a CT scan today. "Is the Dr looking for cancer?"  The answer, "Yep, yep, yep."  The one test I didn't fear turned out to be the one test that could have changed the course of my life (again). We (my friend & I) went straight to the hospital. I drank some interesting prep & waited to hear my name called. My husband & daughter arrived, & together we discussed my possible options.

As I began to process my new battle, I envisioned metestatic cancer. I realized if it came back, it would be with even more of a vengeance than the first time. I knew it would be a hard fight, & in my mind, I questioned if it would be worth it. I didn't think my odds would leave me much hope of a future on this earth.

Unbeknownst to me, the doctor had ordered the scan stat & with interpretation. 45 minutes after the scan was completed, the doctor called the waiting room to tell me it was negative. I think my daughter & I had to pinch ourselves to know that we actually got good news. We need to figure out which medication is elevating my enzymes, but no cancer was found.

I don't think I shed one tear. I must have been numb or completely surrendered. As my life once again flashed before me, I realized that I may never see the grandchildren I one day dream of holding. I again realized that my husband may be living out his earthly life without his precious soul mate. I saw my daughters without their mom to love them through the hardships of life.

My sweet daughters cried enough tears for me today. My husband maintained everything would be okay. My friend tried to distract me. She took the wait & see approach. In my mind... well... it couldn't be good. My dear friends lifted me up in prayer (yes, again).

We celebrated our relief with food (of course). We realized the frailty of my life (once again). We thanked God that this one ended happily. I don't even know what to think. I don't know if I'm so numb, I can't emotionally express my feelings which just seem flat, or if I truly believe I am in the palm of God's hand & have surrendered my health to Him. I fully recognize that my days are numbered (as are everyone's). He gives, & He takes away...

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

18 inches

The distance between our head & our hearts is 18 inches.  It's been said that some people miss Heaven by 18 inches. I believe the joy we experience in our day to day lives is also contingent upon that 18 inches.  Getting my heart to claim what my head knows sometimes takes effort. It doesn't come naturally. The statements listed in the next paragraph are powerful words if you believe in them. Some of them come from the Bible. Some of them do not. All of them have meaning in my life...

It's what's on the inside that matters. Our flaws are what make us beautiful. As a woman ages, her outward beauty fades, but her inner beauty becomes more radiant. Nothing can snatch you from the palm of God's hand. All things work together for good for those who love the Lord.  Suffering produces perseverance. Perseverance, character, & character, hope. The very hairs on your head are numbered; do not be afraid. Hope does not disappoint us. It's not the number of days in your life, but the life you put into each day. There will be no more suffering & no more tears in Heaven. God is love. Our earthly life is a vapor in the wind.  The treasures we find in our suffering equip us for Heaven. God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called. FORGIVE each other. True love puts the other person first. People who live to love, love to love. You will be forgiven as you forgive others.  "What you do unto the least of these, you do unto me." (Jesus)   The last shall be first, the first shall be last.  What comes out of your mouth is what's overflowing in your heart. 2 are stronger than 1. The little things in life make a big difference.  True love waits.  It's better to wear out than rust out. Nobody is immune to tragedy. Faith is being sure of what we hope for, & certain of what we do not see. Always be prepared to give your testimony. Love your neighbor as yourself. Count your blessings, name them 1 by 1.  Serve without discrimination & without guarantee. The key to humility is to get your eyes off yourself.  God's grace is enough. "I am the way, the truth, & the life. No one comes to the Father but by me." (Jesus)

These words are words that change my perspective. They are words by which to live my life. When I wrap my head around them & hold them in my heart, I find the deepest joy, the greatest peace, & the most fulfillment in my life, regardless of my circumstances. What we do with our 18 inches is our choice. When the head & the heart become aligned, I believe we are empowered to do great things.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

even if we don't get what we hoped for...

The way I see it, there are 2 kinds of hope. We all have the kind of hope that our health will improve, a relationship will be restored, we'll find a job ... This is the hope that hangs on through tough circumstances & believes things will get better. When we lose our hope, our spirit suffers, & it's hard to navigate ourselves through a crisis. Despair is the opposite of hope.

If we are human, we have all known despair at one time or another. On Sunday, I was reminded of one of my favorite scriptures that says that all things work for good for those who love the Lord & are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).  I believe these powerful words, but what do they really mean?

The "rub" comes in defining good. We've all known faithful people that didn't get their miracle. They may have spent their whole life striving to be Christlike & still had tragedy befall them. I believe God's definition of good & the human definition of good have a huge gap. Our ways are not His ways, & our understanding is not His.

As I've said since I began blogging... only God has the whole picture. I don't. I think that changes everything. How can I (a human with an incomplete picture) even know what good is? I think back to years of parenting, & how we guided our children. We had the bigger picture & a more complete understanding. When our children were headed toward danger, our hearts were heavy, & we tried to guide them. They really couldn't see past the end of their own nose & their immediate desire.

As adults (in God's eyes), I think we are much like our children. Our desires are frequently to have peace, to have our stars aligned, to know that all will be okay. We can't bear certain losses, hurts, & trials (on our own). We want healing, & we are sure that is for our good. What we forget is that we aren't the only part of the picture. Our lives are intertwined with the lives of others so complexly that we can't even know how God uses us to impact another soul.

What if there is a trade-off for our trials? What if God uses my pain to impact another? What if another soul finds Christ because of how we handle our hardships? He has the whole picture, & He can bring good out of any situation, even those which seem bleak or horrific. That is His miracle. Though it's hard for me to see the good in some of the atrocities that occur in this life, I have to trust that God ultimately works everything for the good of those who love Him. Our hope must be eternally focused to even begin to "get" how some of the things which happen in life could work for good.

So the hope that one who follows Christ has is a greater hope than the earthly hopes we all have. This greater hope is a promise, a guarantee. It's the eternal hope of Heaven, & the hope that if we love Him, all things will work for good, even if we don't get what we hoped for, even if God's good does not seem good to us.