Friday, February 27, 2015

I'm laying here all alone in a quiet room which I have all to myself for the better part of 24 hours. 

I got a cancer in my thyroid. I didn't know or think anything was wrong with me. My doctor heard some symptoms that troubled her expert mind, and when she looked into it she found it was Cancer.

They caught it so early there was no spread, although the little bugger surely had plans to try. Cancer wants to take over the whole body if it can. It wants to metastasize. It wants to be the biggest thing about your life.

It strikes me that I had no intentions of getting medical attention for a problem I never thought I had. A healthy, vegetarian, marathon-running newlywed -- does it make sense if have cancer? No.

And so it also strikes me that I cannot give myself credit for my life today or my general good health ever. I cannot give myself life or health. Once I receive life and health as gifts, I can try as I might but I cannot keep them if something stronger determines to take them.

My life is a gift. I believe it was a gift from God. That fact that He orchestrated any early detection of blood-thirsty, life-hungry cancerous little nodule means that He wants my days on this planet to continue. He's given me an extension of the gift. Praise Him! It can be mighty fun down here at times. And even when it's not, it is still a gift.

The lemon candies I'm eating for the treatment remind me of my childhood in Scotland, where we moved because my dad was in the navy. When we first arrived and we were in temporary lodgings, the innkeeper gave my sister and me lemon drops. I have a memory of narrow stairs, Scotland, and lemon drops. My sister filled in the rest. 

It blows my mind right now to think that when I sucked on lemon drops as a child, God knew I'd someday find myself in temporary quarters again, receiving follow up treatment for thyroid cancer, and I'd find such immense comfort in those little, innocent lemon candies. Every inch of this room that I might touch right now is covered in paper and tape, so I don't contaminate anything with radioactive body fluid. The nurses wear masks and slip things in to me through a cracked door like I'm a prisoner in solitary. 

But I am not at all alone. I have lemon candy memories.My sister is with me. My family is with me. My husband is with me, wrapped three times around that left-hand finger. My God who has never stopped watching over one iota of my story is with me. I hope the unfolding my story brings Him a smile, as it does to me. He has been so good to me. 

What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me? (‭Psalm‬ ‭116‬:‭12‬ ESV)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Sweet Victory

I confessed to my dear hubby Jhonny​ earlier this week that sometimes I am scared: scared because the doctors say to me, "If you have had cancer once, you are more likely to have it again." Scared because I have to try and make the right decisions about follow-up care without knowing the future, but weighing a lot of heavy jargon against the present moment. I see 34-year-olds saying goodbye to their babies. My baby will be 4 when I am 34. My baby will be 10 when I am 40. How many years?

Now the likelihood is I will live a long and healthy, robust and crazy life. I am so loving life these days. It is so sweet! But I am daily reminded that I am fragile and frail. Friends gone at a snap of the fingers. Who's next?

I recall my regrets. I made so many choices for Fear.

I miss my friends: the ones I've broken fellowship with because I am just so broken. And I dread to know my jagged edges caught some faithful ones. I miss you, dear hearts. 

I miss the ones who went too soon and too suddenly. It would be the truth to tell you that I miss you every day. 

I feel my enemy, nipping at my heels. The husband and I wonder sometimes if our dreams are in the safe zone, away from the enemy's grasp, because at times those nightmares are just so real.

Some nights it's so real and recurring, the repentance of regrets. The clear expression of apologies for all the fearfulness and running and escapism.

Lastnight I was there in life with someone I will never again speak to in this life. I just kept saying I'm so sorry for what I did to you. I'm so sorry for what I did to myself, cutting Me off from You. What I did to you I did because I was so afraid. I was afraid to feel the pain and I was so young.

Little did I know, but I learn as I grow, you CAN.NOT run from pain. You cannot escape it.

And you try so hard not to get hurt. And you hurt yourself because you ran from what could have been the balm for your soul. You reject the gift, because you are living Fearful.

And I have been haunted, because I will never utter those words in this life. I will never have that earthly solace to give apologies and receive that one's forgiveness. But I hope we can lock arms in eternity. Coexist as it was meant to be. No pain, and all that sweet gain.

The pain -- on this side of the page, it's a gift. Don't take away my presents! I want to be present.
Stop running.

My dear husband told me -- our hope is not here. Whatever happens, our hope is in eternity, and we trust Jesus Christ our Savior to sustain our people through this life. We don't trust in each other lasting forever in this life. We trust our Jesus.

When I shadowbox these nighttime messengers of guilt, I teeter at the edge of failure. When I remember my true hope, I remember that my victory is already decided, and I am empowered.

When I remember how I've failed my friends, I remember the Friend I need most is guaranteed, and has promised to wipe away all the tears that I've caused ... and cried.

"They like, 'I hear you talkin' wins but I see your losses
You celebratin' crowns but I see your crosses'
That's the paradox that don't fit in your merry box
You might not understand if you walk in this pair of socks
The victor ain't the one that's winnin' seventh inning
Trophies don't go to the ones that got a good beginning
When I say I win I don't mean the state I'm in
I mean that day when the grace got fade out then
I'm winning cause I ran with Him."