Thursday, April 16, 2015

What if we were real?

What if we were real?

What if we were honest?

What if we weren't scared of taking off the mask?

What if we could express how we really felt inside?

What if we could let people know that we really don't feel strong?

What if we could let them know that we really don't know how we are going to make it through the situation we are facing?

What if we felt comfortable enough to let the tears fall down our cheeks?

What if instead of forcing that smile on our face we could just be real?

What if we could honestly say that we feel as though everything is falling apart?

What if we didn't have to feel the need to have it all together?

What if??????????????????????????????????????????

Instead we do put on that mask. We smile. We laugh. We act like everything is great.

But today, I take that mask off. And while it is a mask I wear in front of people, it is also a mask I put up with God.

But today I take it off.

I am scared.
I am tired.
I am drained.
I feel depleted.
I am weak.

(This is exhausting)


And I ask God why? Why my family? Why my husband? Why?
And I ask God how? How are we going to make it? How are things going to work out? How?
And I ask God when? When is this going to end? When is our life going to return to the way it used to be? When?

And I begin to remind God of His promises, even though He doesn't need a reminder.

I remind Him that He said He would never leave us nor forsake us.
I remind Him that He said all things will work together for the good.
I remind Him that He said He has a plan and a purpose for our life.
I remind Him that He said He would take care of our needs.
I remind Him that He said He loved us.

And I am real. I allow God to see my tears. I allow Him to see my pain. I allow God to see my hurt.

I am real because I know He isn't going to perceive it as a lack of trust. He isn't going to take it as a sign of rebellion. He isn't going to look at it as me turning my back on Him.

I am real because He is my Heavenly Father and He cares about me. I am real because He shed His blood on a cross because He loves me. I am real because I know that it is God who will wipe my tears. I know it is God who will give me a peace again. I am real because I know it is God who will restore my strength. I am real because I know it is God who will give me the comfort I so desperately need. I am real because I know it doesn't offend God that I am real.

What if we were real?

II Corinthians 12:10
"And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong."

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Cancer really does suck

I'm wishing I was doing what I see others doing on my FB feed. I wish I was vacationing. I wish I was shopping. I wish I was having a date night. I wish my children were playing soccer.

But I'm not. I'm waiting for the nurses to give my husband his second platelet transfusion. I'm listening to the dr tell him that his WBC keeps dropping even though they are giving him shots. I'm sleeping on the most uncomfortable couch in a hospital room because my husband has cancer. I'm exhausted beyond description. I'm having to make the difficult decision between staying with my kids at night or staying with my husband. I'm looking at a calendar of days my husband has been in the hospital and the chemo calendar.


And I wonder why. Why did my husband have to get cancer? Why couldn't it be a murderer? A dead-beat dad? A drug abusing mom? Why my husband?

Why does this have to be our life? Why does my husband have to endure a year of chemo? A year of hospitals? Why do we have to deal with a loss of income? Why do we have to worry about bills? Why do my children have to spend nights without their parents? Why do they have to see their daddy sick?

And so I wish I was doing what I see others on FB doing. I wish I could rewind life back to when life was simple and just play that day over and over again. I wish God would show me the last page of this chapter so I could see when this nightmare ends.

Because it's only April. One month only has passed since the chemo began. And I get a headache thinking we have at least 6 cycles of chemo left, at least 6 more hospital stays and then bone marrow transplants. I don't know why this has to be our life.

It hurts to know everything is on hold. Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etcetera. All of my plans for our life. Hold, hold, hold!


I wish we could go back to the days of Saturday morning pancakes, trips to the zoo and just because toys. I wish we could go back to the days of family weekend get aways. I would even go back to the days of messy houses and busy schedules.

Yet as much as I hate what my family is enduring. As much as I hate seeing my husband sick. As much as I absolutely hate cancer my trust is in God. I have no idea why our family is faced with this. But in the good and in the bad, God is still God and He is still good. The praise I give to God is not determined by our situation. He was good when our life was great and He is good now that my husband has cancer. My relationship with God is secure and our foundation has not been shaken.

I'm drained. I'm exhausted. But I'm not defeated! We don't just declare God's goodness when things are going according to our plans. We trust God even when the situation doesn't make sense and our life has been turned upside down. We believe in Him and gain our strength and peace from Him.

While I wish we were doing the things people on FB are posting about I'm going to lean on God and trust in Him because I know that He will help us get through what is the most difficult thing we've had to endure.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The marriage vows

"For sickness or health, for richer or poorer, till death due us part..."

Do you remember saying those words as you looked lovingly in the eyes of the person you were going to spend the rest of your life with? Do you remember holding their hand as you spoke them thinking "How did I get so lucky?" Do you remember how you counted down the days until you were married so you wouldn't have to say goodbye when the night ended but instead you would be able to say goodnight as you went to bed together?

Or has it become a distant memory interrupted by the chaos of life? Has your marriage become a routine of getting up, getting ready for work, saying a quick goodbye only to return home exhausted and frustrated? Have the date nights been replaced by dirty diapers and piles of bills? Do you ever wonder what happened to the fairy tale romance you once had?

Did he leave the dishes in the sink overnight after he said he would wash them and now you are stuck scrubbing dinner off the pan that you made? Did she leave the car with no gas and you now are late to the meeting you had a work? Are you tired because he isn't getting up with you in the middle of the night when the baby is crying? Are you frustrated because she doesn't understand what budget means and overspends? Do you feel as though the marriage is crumbling, cracking and breaking and you don't know how it will ever be resolved? Has life interrupted the dreams you had of what a marriage was?

May I give you a piece of advice? The little things that are causing you to fight and making you upset, they do not matter. It's not worth fighting over the dirty dishes. It is not worth screaming over the lack of gas in the car. It is not worth slamming doors and getting frustrated over the laundry that no one wants to put away. It is important to have balance and shared responsibilities in a marriage, but fighting over the little things, don't matter.

"For sickness or health." I said those words almost 6 years ago never imagining that sickness would come and would come so soon after the vows. And as I visit my husband in the hospital as he gets his second cycle of chemo, it makes me realize just how much those little things did not matter. As I listen to his oncologist use words like low platelets, transfusion, bone marrow transplant, chemotherapy, side effects and white blood counts, I realize now more than ever how much those little things that used to frustrate me did not matter at all.



So let me challenge you instead of getting frustrated at what your spouse did not do, thank them for the things they did. Uplift them with your words. Love them. I dare you when you get home from work even though you are tired tell your spouse how much you love them and appreciate them. I dare you when your spouse walks through the door even though you are tired and had a long day let them tell you about their day first. Find time this week to spend together. You may not have the budget for a date, but you can cuddle on the couch.

Talk to each other. Hold hands. Kiss. And remind yourself about the day you stood across from them so excited that two were becoming one.

Friday, April 3, 2015

It was worth the wait

29...

That is how old I was when I got married. Throughout my twenties I witnessed friend after friend of mine enter into relationships and get married and I remained single. I witnessed those younger than me dating and I remained single.

But it was worth the wait. Every day that I was single was worth it because God has blessed me with an amazing husband.


My husband may be sick with cancer, but he is still the best dad! Every day I was single was worth the wait, because has truly blessed me with an amazing man!

We live in a relationship inundated society. Magazine articles focus on relationships. Television shows and movies focus on relationships. Songs focus on relationships. Many times the message that is conveyed is a message that is contrary to the word of God. Society tells us to date around. Society tells us it is okay to have sex before marriage. Society tells us if it is not working to discard it. All of these are lies. Society also does a great job convincing those who are in their 20's, 30's and 40's that if they are single something is wrong with them. Society (which may include family members, friends, co-workers and church members) will tell a single person that they are getting old and something must be wrong that they are not in a relationship.

Society will ask "Are you dating anyone?" "Why aren't you married yet?" "Do you think you are being too picky?" Well meaning questions that are so contrary to God's will.

29....

That is the age I got married. Many people probably wondered if and when the day would come. To some 29 is old. But every day I was single was worth the wait because God has blessed me with an amazing husband.

Some people have a false sense of what a relationship entails. They think of marriage as endless date nights, romantic dinners, elaborate gifts and while a marriage may involve all of those things, marriages also experience hard times. There might be unemployment, differences of opinion, sicknesses, etc and those are all reasons why it is worth waiting.

Some people jump into a relationship because they can't fathom the thought of being single any longer and in doing so they compromise. They compromise their values. They compromise the Word of God. They compromise the things that are so important. They compromise in order to be in a relationship. But hard times are going to come and if you based a relationship on compromise, that relationship might fracture and break.

But if you wait when the hard times come, your relationship will be centered. Your relationship will be solid. Your relationship will have a strong foundation.

I am so glad I waited. I am so thankful for every day I was single because had I compromised I might have missed out on who God had for me. I am thankful that even though every year I got older and did not have a suitor in sight, I didn't begin too look outside my faith. I am thankful that even though others around me were dating and getting married, I didn't begin to compromise my values. I am thankful that even though people asked "When I was going to get married?" I continued to wait. Because it was worth the wait.

May I encourage you to wait on the Lord. It doesn't matter how old you think you are getting, it doesn't matter what well-meaning people may say. It doesn't matter what society tries to feed into you mind. Wait on God. Because one day you will be sending out wedding invitations. One day you will be planning your wedding. One day you will be starting your marriage and you will declare

It was worth the wait....


He knows the end of the story

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts neither are your ways my ways" saith the Lord "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9

We see cancer. We see chemotherapy. We see hospital stays. We see side effects. We see expenses. We see exhaustion. We see a lonely road at times. We see where our life is right now...

But God sees the end of the story.

He sees healing. He sees recovery. He sees us having a more intimate relationship with Him. He sees a dedication to the things of God. He sees Malachi and Hannah developing a level of trust in God even at their young age. He sees open doors. He sees restoration of what was lost.

He sees the end of the story because He wrote it.

This has not been an easy road we are traveling on. It has not been a road we chose to take. It has been filled with tears and exhaustion.

But even during the times when we were weak with exhaustion, we could feel God's peace and His strength. Even during the times when we felt alone, we could feel God's hand uplifting us. Even when we were faced with uncertainty we had confidence in the One who knows the end of the story.

We know God will get the glory. We know His light will shine bright. We may not know the purpose but we know God has a plan. We may understand why this is something we have to endure, but we know that God is in control.

And we can remain standing because we know the Author of our life. We know the One who holds the pen. We know the One writes our story. And even though it is hard. And even though tears have fallen, we will continue to let God write our story. We will not take the pen out of His hand. We will not turn our back on God.

May I encourage someone today:

You may see yourself single.
You may see infertility
You may see financial struggling
You may see a shattered dream
You may see a sickness

But God sees the end of the story.
He sees marriage
He sees children
He sees financial stability
He sees open doors
He sees healing

It may not come tomorrow, but continue to let God write your story. Don't take the pen out of His hand. Don't try to edit what He is writing. Trust in God, even when it gets difficult.