Saturday, July 31, 2010

Saturday, July 31, 2010: Who Am I?

I have been struggling with who I am lately. Am I a mom? Wife? Friend? What is my purpose? Should I be home taking care of my family? Helping with different programs at church or school? Supporting and comforting friends who are struggling and hurting? To be honest, right know I think what I have allowed to define me the most is cancer. I'm a cancer victim-fighter-survivor. When it comes right down to it that is what has defined me. It's my "get out of anything I don't want to do" card. It's my guilt-free reason to thrown my own pity party. It's what keeps me awake at night as I allow it to define me and my future. Frankly, it's getting old.

This past week I helped at Vacation Bible School at our church. As I was trying to tally the attendance for the day and break it down by grade (no small task for someone with ADD and chemo brain!) I heard the kids singing in the sanctuary. The line I heard was "I am who the Great I Am says I am". I initially loved the line and the simple truth. Of course my "human" mind tried to complicate it ~ "what does that line mean? what does He say that I am? maybe I could finally be who He says I am if I could only figure out what it is He is saying". Here are some of the words to the song:

I am who the Great I Am says I am,
I am one of His greatest creations.
He says that I am remarkably, wonderfully made,
and I am who He says I am.

There are more words to the song but I love the simplicity of this part. He created me -remarkable and wonderful (two words I definitely wouldn't use to describe me but He does). That's it - I am who He says I am. So simple and so powerful at the same time. It's one thing to read the words to this song but when you hear 600 kids, 200 volunteers and an awesome praise team singing it on the top of their lungs it is powerful!!

I am still struggling with the concept of who I am but that's okay. It's not up to me to figure it out because ultimately ~ I am who the Great I Am says I am!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Nathan's Big Hit

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010: Victory!

After a long and grueling season, Nathan's team won the league tournament tonight by winning both games they played. Here's the play by play:

Nathan's team down 5-1 in the 7th inning. Nathan's team already scored 2 runs when Nathan comes to the plate with one man on 2nd and one on 3rd. 2 outs. They call a time out to discuss what to pitch to Nathan (he has a reputation for being one of the league's top hitters). didn't matter. Nathan crushed a single that scored 2 runs!! He tied the game. He tied the game. The crowd went crazy. Nathan's team went on to score one more run to take the lead (Nathan was later called out at home for the 3rd out on a very close call - I think he was safe...I was screaming from the bleachers in right field "HE MISSED THE TAG, HE MISSED THE TAG!"). His team held on for the one run victory.

In the championship game his team went on to easily handle their opponent and cruised to the victory, at one point leading 9-1. Jumping, screaming and lots of adolescent sweaty smelling boys. Victory!

The part about Nathan's game is true. Some of the other details may have been slightly embellished/overstated/exaggerated and the writer claims no responsibility for any misrepresentation of the facts. Some names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Saturday, July 17, 2010: Still Listening

I've been trying to listen to God. Not just a sit down, pray and listen kind of thing but actually listening all day long. I want to connect with God as though He was literally right next to me guiding me with each decision. The more I've listened, the more I've heard.

I've heard very clear cut answers to questions. I've heard songs on the radio that went right to my heart as if God was sitting next to me, pointing to the radio and saying "this one is for you". Last week as I was driving home every song that was playing on the radio was like a personal message to me. A new song started that I have never heard before and it was as if I had wrote the song myself. It was my life, right now, exactly what I was feeling. As I listened to the words God was so very real to me. I was in awe. It felt like it was just me and God at that moment and everything else fell away.

Of course now I can't remember a single word to the song and despite many google searches I have not been able to find it. But that's okay because if I need to hear it again - God will play it for me.

Very early this morning an amazing woman left this earth and went to her eternal home. I admired her long before either of us had been diagnosed with cancer. She encouraged me so much. She had walked a mile in my shoes and she understood my fears, my joys and my sorrows. We could talk freely to each other knowing we would not be judged by our words.

Today's news of her passing caught me completely off guard. I knew that she was experiencing a lot of health issues and was not able to start a second clinical trial because of it but I did not realize how significant these issues had become.

My first thought was "No! How can this be possible? I haven't talked to her recently, I still have so much to learn from her." I instantly had guilt for not calling her more often or visiting with her. The guilt became overwhelming until I heard God whisper "these thoughts are not from me".

I have been trying figure out how to keep in constant communication with God. When I hear songs and read scripture I feel so connected. I wish I could just push away the nonsense of life and simply be with God. Life is filled with so many distractions. I get frustrated with how easily my mind can wander - how quickly I can go from dwelling in God's peace to listening to the enemies lies. I asked God today "how do I stay connected to you?" and I heard "through your suffering". To be honest - that really scared me. As much as I love the closeness to God I feel during the times of suffering, I am mentally overwhelmed at the thought of continued suffering. How much more can I endure? How much can my family endure? Why, why, why?

I'm not completely sure what God meant by that but I am sure that in His time he will reveal more to me . . . if I continue to listen. I don't know what life has in store for me but I'm tired of looking ahead and fearing the worst. It's time to stop looking ahead and start looking up and remember that God knows what my future holds and He will carry me through.

In the words of Alaida - "I don't know what my future holds but I know who holds my future".

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010: Listen

Read Isaiah 50. Then go back and reflect on verses 4 and 5.

“He wakens me morning by morning,
wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.

5 The Sovereign LORD has opened my ears,
and I have not been rebellious;
I have not drawn back.”

Stop what you’re doing. Listen. Block out all the noise and just listen. “He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.” Wow. How are you doing? Are you waking up every morning and listening? Before the madness of the day starts? Or are you like me: the alarm awakens me with no time to spare. Well, after about 5 snoozes; then it’s rush rush rush to work. And so the day begins.

I’ll be the first to admit – I’m not a good listener. Sometimes I'm not a very good student. I rebel. I draw back when times are good. Sometimes I feel like that student in the back row of the class. You know the one. The class clown. The one passing notes, making gross farting sounds when the teacher isn’t looking, goofing off basically. Not listening. These verses hit me this morning. Reminded me to stop and listen.

Let’s all pray for each other this morning to be better students. Better listeners. We have a great Teacher. Let’s stop and listen to what He is trying to tell us. Just listen.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010: Good News

We had a good visit today with Dr. Downey's office. We actually saw his partner because Dr. Downey is on vacation this week. But, this doctor confirmed that the tumors that Dr. Downey felt 2 visits ago are no longer there AND Kristi's CA125 dropped to 544. So good news all around for Kristi.

Well, sort of. Ashley, our oldest daughter, left with a friend on a middle school overnight trip to Cedar Point this morning. Kristi is having a hard time "letting go". I'm just excited that we get a break from the 13 y/o hormones for a night! No eye rolls. No "Dad!". No heavy sighs followed by stomping feet. But she sure is a cutie, isn't she?! see, this is where she would go "Daaaaad". I'm such a man. This along with good news from the doctor almost makes it like cancer doesn't even exist for the moment. It's kinda nice.

Anyway, we just wanted to give a quick update.

"God, examine me and know my heart; test me and know my nervous thoughts." Psalm 139:23