I haven’t blogged for a while and I’ll spare you the gory (boring) details. But essentially, it’s a good thing. I’ve wrestled with the idea of even stopping completely because, well, cancer was kind of my “thing”. It wasn’t a gimmick by any means, it truly became a part of who I was and how I identified with the outside world. Well now I’m in a state of feeling good – and that’s a good thing obviously! I’m not cancer free but I’m certainly not living the cancer lifestyle at this point, and that has been a tougher adjustment than I had anticipated. So in a way I’m in a state of cancerlessness (not a real word, but it fits) that leaves me a little bit lost.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m so grateful and I’ve been enjoying this time very much but things sure are different now. Looking back, it’s truly amazing how quickly we were able to pare down our schedule to just the bare essentials when it seemed that death was eminent and crazy how the schedule fills right back in. We decided to home preschool our 4 year old son and that has been keeping me busy for sure (if you have experience in homeschooling, I will gladly accept any and all advice you have in this area!). So with that amongst everything else, it’s wild how quickly our lives just settled right back into “normal”. Right back into busy. Right back into scheduled chaos.
Some days I truly miss the sleepless nights where I could snuggle up on the couch with Buck and Mater and just read my Bible and be in His presence.
It was like time carved out for me to be with Him and now I struggle again to “find the time” which I hate. I had a clear and deeply assured sense of purpose that I’m grieving the loss of. I’m working on it, so for now I guess my purpose looks like a little blogging here and there, continuing to speak at places or events when I’m asked, keeping up with our normal ministries, and trying to raise children who follow Christ.
We are coming up on two years since my original diagnosis of stage 3 melanoma (which if you know me or have followed my story you know that it quickly progressed to stage 4 and at this time last year they weren’t thinking I would live past Christmas of last year). And with that comes a wave of many emotions. As much as I’d like to pretend that all of this never even happened, the truth is that this journey has left deep physical and emotional scars on all of us that I can’t deny.
For example, I have an awful stomach bug today and our sweet 4 year old says tonight as I’m putting him to bed, “I know you aren’t feeling well, Mommy. I love you so much. I’m so sad your cancer is back.” Aaaaand that’s when my heart broke. I mean we haven’t even talked about it for so long and here he is sad because that’s the first thing his mind went to when he saw I was sick.
But it’s not just him, I still panic when I feel something weird. I still get choked up when I remember how it felt to try and prepare to leave my kids. I still have nightmares about being bolted to the table for radiation or dreams that it’s coming back in some way or the other.
But on the other hand, I’ve gained much more than I’ve lost in that I’ve found that when God says He is all we need, He is not exaggerating. I can say with joy in my heart that suffering and trials are amazing ways to refine us and to bring us closer to Jesus. I can say that my life is far more intentional now – nothing is taken for granted and I’m not shy about my faith. I’ve gotten a bold spirit through this and that is worth all of it. If I could go back in time I wouldn’t change a thing. I would seriously do it all again in a heartbeat and without hesitation. That may sound weird but we have grown closer with so many people just by letting them in on our struggles. Our friendships, family, marriage and faith are stronger than ever and that’s worth it. All of it.
I guess what I’m taking the long way in saying is: our trials can be of infinite value if we are open to allowing God and other people in on our journey. I’m nothing special, like I’m painfully ordinary, but I’ve seen how God can show His power through such a person as myself.
Everyone’s story and walk will be different and God will call us all to different things, but just know that if you are struggling tonight with something, anything, He is there. He does love you. And even if we can’t see it now, one day we will see that He knows what He’s doing and that trust in Him brings us not just closer to Him but also gives us rest. You don’t have to do this alone. You don’t have to carry this burden by yourself. No one does. Hang in there ❤