I start this blog today with the same foggy mind that I start most of my posts with. Something really great about doing this is it makes you think everything out step by step so that you can put it in a way that is understandable to people who may not have any experience with the trials associated with the cancer journey. By doing this, you allow yourself to work through it. Truthfully, if you’re considering blogging, I say go for it! (Then make sure to let me know so I can follow you).
I was dutifully going through pictures and putting them in albums (I am soooo way behind on this. Our 15 month old daughter has yet to make an appearance in an album yet. Whoops!) and I ran across this picture.
It was taken just a few months before “the diagnosis”. I don’t know how other cancer patients feel, but I feel like there was my life before cancer and my life after and that they are light years apart. They are wholy different and seemingly untouching. This is the event that changed me so deeply that I feel like my life is cut into two and the before just doesn’t much touch the after. Everything about me has changed. My appearance, my relationship with God, my relationship with my family, my physical day to day activities, my physical capabilities, all of it has changed. I look at the world, and God, and people in a completely different light. Not that this is bad, it’s just hard to wrap my mind around sometimes. It feels like if you’re planning your life out on a map and you’ve got your start point and you see yourself slowly but surely headed to where you want to be. You see all the possible turns and stops and are planning accordingly. Now imagine someone comes and picks you up right off the road and places you in the middle of the ocean. You’re lost. It’s kinda like that. Everything you have now is wet and everything you remember is dry. It’s worlds apart although it seems like just yesterday.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I am different. I’ve been changed by this in deep and innumerable ways. But my focus will remain on God and His will for my life. There is a scary, yet at the very same time comforting, freedom that comes with surrendering your life path to God. I gotta sacrifice my plan and go with His. I realize this may sound crazy to some people. A lot of people ask me if I’m mad at God. I’m not. I can’t really explain why, but I’m not. A friend mentioned a scripture a few weeks ago that I have not been able to get out of my head. It’s 2 Corinthians 4:16-17. It’s Paul talking to the church at Corinth and he says, “Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are acheiving for us and eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” This is true and pertinent to every one of us. We are ALL going through trials. We are all thinking, “ok if I can just get through [insert trial] then things will be good again.” Maybe that will be true for you, but it likely won’t be. There will always be some trial or issue in our lives. Then comes the choice – do we blame God and wallow or do we trust Him and steady our focus?
Tread the water. Stay the course. And don’t lose heart. I get sad and I cry and I have days where I feel hopeless and scared. Psalm 32 and Hillsong’s “Oceans” are my reminders of who God is and why I am going through this. I’m not as courageous and brave as people tell me I am. I get saddened by the people who say that they feel guilty that they are upset about their struggles because we have “real” problems. Whatever that means! We all have problems, mine are just different. If my troubles help keep someone’s focus in perspective then I’m glad for that. But truthfully, I don’t think there’s a spectrum of issues where I fall on the higher end. I think we each have our battles and we are meant to fight them. My real battles are my inner struggles with sin, just like everyone else.
I guess I got to thinking all this because today was Eric and my first time back at church in about a month. I hated missing it so much, and today I was hungry for it. I wanted the worship time, I was craving the message, and I loved every second of the fellowship time. Hungry is definitely the best descriptor of it. I want this hunger to stay! And I want other people to experience it. Today was a special message about missions and my mind kept creeping to the people who have to hide their faith. The persecuted and the martyrs. The people who are impoverished and the mothers who worry constantly about how to feed their children. “Those people have real problems,” I found myself thinking. So I’m guilty of it too, turns out. Let’s use each other’s experiences to keep our focus on God and other people, just like Jesus told us to.