Saturday, June 28, 2014

It's authenticity.

It's been a long time… Not because I haven't had the itch but because my mind has been swirling around in a storm. I've been processing life & coming to a few realizations. In my younger years, I think I defined courage as Superman. The thoughts of my favorite superhero rescuing me from my perils were enough for me. I didn't really take the time to ponder the meaning of courage much beyond my simple view.

In the last few years, courage has become a more meaningful word in my life. It's not about Superman any more (even though he remains my favorite). Nope… courage is sometimes silent. Courage is facing the truth even when it's ugly. It's letting go of our dirty little secrets. It's being accountable. It's consistency, being the same person regardless of the company we keep. Not leading a double life.

Courage is stepping into a place filled with memories (even when the flashbacks are painful) for the sake of righting a wrong. Courage is the miracle of having a baby even though you've twice been diagnosed with cancer & told it's the impossible. It's working on an Oncology floor when you yourself are a Survivor. Courage is being strong for your child who suffers.

Courage surrenders. Courage gives up the lies. It seeks the truth & faces it. Courage lives life amongst all the uncertainties & lives it abundantly. It's smiling through the pain & counting our blessings in times of deep sorrows. Sometimes courage suffers, but it suffers with grace. It's trusting that God has the whole picture & that there is eternal purpose in suffering.

Courage is holding on when things become unbearable. It's loving someone in spite of their failures. It mimics Christ. It seeks the truth. It lays down its life without guarantee. Courage asks for help. It walks through life with others. It's obedience without understanding. It's trust. It's forgiveness. It's seeing ourselves for who we really are. It's allowing God to reshape our hearts. It's vulnerability.  It's transparency. It authenticity.

Monday, June 16, 2014

We cannot see the happy ending.

I don't think I've ever felt so overwhelmed with heart ache for so many dear people all at once. Some of the despair is incomprehensible to the human heart. So many people are in desperate need of God's healing hand in their lives. I wish that children being sick was off limits. I wish it just wasn't allowed. The trauma is just too much for a child to bear & for his/her parents to watch.

When I was undergoing treatment, the worst part was watching my family suffer for me. I hated the stress my health caused them. The anguish was evident in their eyes. I felt like we were all learning a foreign language together. In fact, I felt like we were all on a boat with people who didn't speak our language. The information was above our heads. We couldn't understand or make sense of anything.

I believe I suffered from post traumatic for at least a year. Everything was surreal. Was this really me we were talking about. Were these precious tears being shed for me? How could I make this better? How could I make this go away? So overwhelmed. So helpless. So scared. I couldn't even say the words, "I have cancer" for 3 months. I couldn't talk to my best friends. I wanted to be isolated.

As I see others suffering, I find myself in despair. I've lived first hand the treasures found on this journey, yet I could never wish it on anyone. I've also lived first hand the fear, the loss, the pain. No…
I don't wish this on another soul. Once again, I feel helpless. I feel overwhelmed. I cry for them. I pray for them. This world is a sad place. It has joy & laughter, but deep down, it is full of hard ship & pain.

I understand why our world is so full of pain. I am thankful it is our temporary home. I know Heaven awaits all who believe. No more suffering. No more tears. However, it's hard to comprehend when we are hurting. We have earthly eyes, & I believe we only catch glimpses of Heaven on this earth. We are not allowed to see the whole picture. We cannot see the happy ending. We are stuck in today, & only through faith can we find the strength to face each day. Our only Hope is in the Lord.

The more I know, the less I know. The longer I live, the more heart ache I see. The more people I care for, the more I hurt. It's just the way it works. I believe the only way to find Hope is to surrender all to God. We must admit we have no control. We must admit we cannot survive on our own. We need God; we need each other.

Friday, June 13, 2014


Today, my blog comes from a sad place deep within my heart. To say I am angry at cancer is an understatement. To say I am angry that I walk this journey would be untrue. It's a strange twist. A few days ago, a dear friend died of cancer. He is a hero. He was a kind person; he persevered through more than anyone should have to endure. In the end, he passed into Heaven, & I know he is fully healed. Sadness: he leaves behind a beloved wife, a daughter, a sister, & others who already miss him dearly. Their lives forever changed.

A few days ago, another sweet soul underwent a double mastectomy. Through her, I relive my own double mastectomy (just a few short years ago). I know everyone grieves differently through this process. I pray for her throughout each day, but even though I walk this walk, I am unsure how to help. I understand each person is affected so differently. She knows I am here for her. I grieve for her. I cheer her on. I am so sad she too walks this walk. I wouldn't wish it on another soul (ever).

Last night I met with 3 of my dearest friends. 1/2 of us our Survivors. We share some common threads. I see how her treatments have worn her down. She is resilient, but she is human. It's emotionally too much for anyone. We talked about the effects of this illness on ourselves, out families, & the list continues into every facet of our lives. It is too much to bear. It is too much.

A few day ago, I met with a Survivor. I sensed she is still angry at her cancer. She has been robbed of much. It just isn't what she would choose. Who would? As I consider theses dear souls & their lives, I cannot help but notice one thing. Each of them is a kind person. None would intentionally hurt another soul. We were all caught off guard. Our lives forever changed.

I have to be honest… the changes are sobering. They invade every facet of our lives. I know my heart has been refined through this journey. My faith has deepened. My body is not the same. My anxiety has a few new issues upon which to fixate. I am forever shaken. No…I am not the same. My life will be filled with ongoing exams. I will await the results of a tumor marker test every 6 months for I don't know how long. There is no end in sight. That's just the life of a Survivor.

Yes… there is good in this. It forces me to fully surrender my life to Christ. He gives. He takes away. My days are numbered as are the days of each human being. Sometimes I dwell on  my unknowns but then I remind myself, it's all in God's hands. He is bigger than my unknowns. And so… I carry on, doing all I can to reach out to others, to share the need to eradicate this awful disease. I embrace each day (good or bad). I grieve for those who lose their loved ones. I grieve for those who walk this journey (& for those who hold their hands). It's cruel. it's heartless. It knows no bounds….

Monday, June 2, 2014

sad truth...

In all honesty, I have been wronged. In all honesty, I have wronged others (sometimes without even knowing it, but not always). My last blog talked about hurtful words. I wasn't talking about any hurt I've endured over the years. I wasn't talking about any hurt I've caused over the years. No… I was speaking of hurt endured by loved ones (dear friends who have recently been hurt).

A friend made a comment following my blog about forgiveness. I'm not pretending that forgiveness is easy. In the Bible it says we must forgive 70 X 7. Jesus talked a lot  about forgiveness (with good reason). Forgiveness is not a part of our  human nature because we have memories. I don't think we are called to forget. We are called to forgive. Without memories, forgiveness would be so much easier.

What happens if we fail to forgive? Sad truth… we allow ourselves to be held in bondage by the person who wronged us. We become bitter inside & allow the offender to rob us of our peace & joy. Sometimes forgiveness takes time. It takes prayer. It takes a  daily practice of giving the offender to God & depending on His grace for the ability to forgive. The Bible says we will be forgiven according to how we forgive others. Yikes!

So how do I forgive? First & foremost…I remind myself that God loves the offender every bit as much as He loves me. Period. Secondly, after a while, I get sick of my unforgiveness, & I tell God I want to forgive. I don't want to be held in bondage by another person for anything. I don't want to be robbed of one moment of joy. I don't want to carry an ounce of bitterness in my heart. I want peace & restoration in my relationships. If I cannot have restoration, I at least want peace within my own heart.

Sometimes, I have to apologize for my wrongs. If I am aware, I want to apologize. Sometimes I must forgive without receiving an apology. That's always the hardest. I don't consider forgiveness an option. I see it as a commandment, a part of obedience. We forgive because we have been forgiven of much. When I pause to think about Jesus dying for my sins, I want to apologize to Him. Some of my sins are mere thoughts. Sometimes they are words. Occasionally they are actions. A sin is a sin, & the only justification for it is Jesus Christ. Because He suffered & died on the cross, I am forgiven. It's that simple.