Monday, September 21, 2015

The day I told God I quit

This has been an exhausting year. We ended 2014 with my husband in the hospital having just been diagnosed with cancer. We rang in the News Year sitting in a hospital room our life having been turned upside down in a matter of moments. Lymphoblastic Leukemia was the final diagnosis. And for the last 11 months there have been many tears shed. Our heart has been shattered and the pain we have felt has been indescribable. 

This has been a very painful year. It has been heartbreaking. It didn't turn out the way I thought it would. I have cried many tears as I have seen my husband receiving chemo. I have felt my heart shatter as I am forced to answer the questions my children ask concerning why their daddy is in the hospital. I have cried myself to sleep some nights thinking about our finances. And there are so many fears that invade my mind. Fears about relapse. Fears when I look at statistics. Fears that this will continue on for many more years. Fears that my children will be robbed of a father. Fears that I will be robbed of a husband. Fears that I am too afraid to even type.  And so I told God I quit.

I didn't tell Him that I quit serving Him, because that has never crossed our mind. Rather I told God that I quit looking at our bank account. I quit trying to figure things out. I quit trying to understand why we are in the situation we are in. I quit thinking about how life is supposed to be. I quit wondering why us. I quit worrying. I quit trying to be in control. I quit. I quit letting fear get to me. I quit letting stress overtake me. I quit letting anxiety control me. I quit.

Instead I told God that I am going to trust Him. I am am going to trust that He is in control. I am going to trust that He knows how this story ends. I am going to trust that He has not abandoned us. I am going to trust that He has seen every tear I have shed. I am going to trust that He has heard every prayer. I am going to trust that He has seen my fears and my worries. I am going to trust that He knows my name. I am going to trust that He will take care of us. I am going to trust that every step of this journey, He will be right there. I am going to trust in His goodness. I am going to trust in His love. I am going to trust in His peace. I am going to trust in His strength. I am going to trust in His joy. I am going to trust that no matter what happens, He is still God.

With 1 more cycle of chemo to go, I am going to trust. With our income drastically reduced, I am going to trust. With a long road of maintenance drugs, I am going to trust. With the monthly oncologist appointments, I am going to trust. With the many unknowns I am going to trust. With 2015 very different than 2014, I am going to trust. When my husband is in the hospital, I am going to trust. When the tears come, I am still going to trust. When my heart hurts, I am still going to trust. No matter what comes our way, I am going to trust.

Because I serve a God who loves. I serve a God who cares. I serve a God who knows my name. I serve a God that can do all things. I serve a God who parted the Red Sea. I serve a God who created the heavens and the earth. I serve a God who tore down the walls of Jericho. I serve a God who delivered Daniel from the lion's den. I serve a God who saved Joseph from prison. I serve a God who enabled Sarah and Elizabeth to conceive in their old age. I serve a God who does great things. I serve who created this universe. 

And so I quit. And I trust.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

When God doesn't come through the way you thought He would

I didn't want to write this blog. In fact, as the thought and the words to the blog flooded my mind, I prayed "God please don't let me have to live what I am about the write."But the thought wouldn't go away and I truly believe that someone needs to read this blog. So here goes...

We all like hearing testimonies of the things that God has done. We shout when we hear of the job offer. We clap when we hear of that mysterious check that was found in the mailbox. We run and jump when we hear of the tumor that disappeared. We love testimonies. When a person receives a promotion they weren't qualified for, we thank God. When a person is able to conceive years after dealing with infertility, we cry tears of joy. When a marriage is restored and a child delivered from drugs, we offer thanks to God.

But what happens when God doesn't come through the way we thought He would? What happens and what do we do, when the check didn't arrive in the mail and our mortgage went unpaid? What happens when the cancer spread and the healing didn't come? What happens when the doctor tells us "I am sorry we did everything we could to save your child, but were unable to?" What happens when the moving truck comes because you weren't able to save your home? What happens when months go by and a job opportunity doesn't come? What happens when you never get that wedding you always dreamed of? What happens when your marriage isn't restored?

Because there are mourning wives who prayed with all their heart for their husband to be healed. There are devastated parents who cried out to God but who still had to bury their child. There are couples who years after trying were never able to have a child. There are older individuals who prayed for a spouse but remained single. There are families living with loved ones because a job wasn't found and they lost their home. There is a young lady who prayed that God would restore the pregnancy but had to endure the miscarriage.

And God didn't come through the way they thought He would. But He never stopped being God. And He might not answer the prayer the way we hoped He would, but He is still in control. The need might not have been fulfilled in the way we desired, but He is still powerful. He can still do all things even if you did suffer a miscarriage. He is still a healer when the disease killed. He is still a restorer even if the marriage broke up. He is still powerful even if the answer didn't come the way we hoped. He is still a provider even if you lost your home. He still performs miracles even if you were unable to conceive. He still is God even if the need wasn't answered the way you thought it would be.

If you find yourself in the situation where your prayer wasn't answered the way you thought it would be, God is near to you. If you find yourself with your world crumbling around you and your heart is broken, God has heard your prayers. He isn't ignoring your pain. He sees every single one of your tears. And when things don't happen the way we thought they would, God is still good. In the midst of our pain and in the midst of our hurt, God is right beside us. He is near. He hasn't abandoned us. He didn't forsake us. He didn't turn His back on us.

The Bible says that God gives a peace that surpasses all understanding. Because there are times when we may never understand or have the answer to the question of "Why?" I don't know why in 2011 I suffered a miscarriage. I don't know why God didn't restore that pregnancy. I don't know why God didn't perform that miracle. But I know His peace, because in a dark time God poured down a peace that surpassed all understanding. I don't know why my husband's cancer came back after the tumor disappeared. I don't know why the last 9 months my husband has had to endure cycle after cycle of chemotherapy. But I know His peace. I don't understand why my family is enduring what we are but God has poured down a peace. You may never get to the answer to the question you have been asking, but peace is greater than understanding.

So cry those tears and weep. Pour out your pain to God. Because God does hear. And He will wipe your tears. You may not think so but He will restore your joy. He will give you peace. He will uplift you strength. He may not have answered your prayer the way you wanted Him to, but He never stopped being God. And He never stopped caring for you. You are special. You are important. You are loved. And He has a plan and a purpose. We may not see it. We may not understand it.

But every word of the Bible is true. He is a God of love and He will pour out His love. He is a God of comfort and He will comfort you. He is a God of peace and He will fill you with peace. He is a God of strength and He will surround you with strength. He is a God who is control. He knows how your story ends and it ends with victory.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

There is an end

In every book there is an end. Sometimes the book is so great you don't want it to end.  Other times the book is horrible and you are grateful when you reach the last chapter. When I attended graduate school I read many bad books. As much as I would have liked "quitting" in the middle, my grade depended on me completing each book. There were times when the horrible books were only a couple hundred pages, but there were other times when the books were over 1,000 pages in length. I would often wonder how long it would take me to finish the book. I would count how many pages I still had to read and try to figure out how many hours it would take. Even though it was difficult to get through each chapter, there was an end. The book did finish. I was able to move on.

Yesterday one of the ministers from our church came to pray with Mel. Because Mel had been having fevers and the doctor thought he had an infection, I took the day off so I was in the hospital when he came to pray. In his prayer he declared that God had an end for what we were going through. There is an end to this book we call cancer.

It is horrible watching my spouse hooked up to chemotherapy. It is horrible seeing as fevers take over his body It is horrible when we are separated for so long while is hospitalized. From the first diagnosis of cancer, the book we are in has not been pleasant. There have been many pages of this book where I have cried. Many pages of this book where my heart as ached. There have been many pages of this book where the pain has been so incredibly hard. Yet that has been our life this year. 8 hospital stays. Over 120 days hospitalized. 6 cycles of chemotherapy. Over 240 days where our life has been defined by CANCER. It has been horrible. It has been hard. There have been rivers of tears shed. There has been a pain that has been felt so deeply. There have been dark days. There have been lonely days. There have been days where I have been so overwhelmed. This book  called cancer has been pretty horrible.

But God has been in every page of this book. Whereas I might have been crying in one paragraph, the next paragraph of this book began "But God gave them strength." While my heart may have been broken in one sentence, the following sentence began "But God gave them peace." Where I might have been overwhelmed with the financial situation in one paragraph, the paragraph ended with "but God made a way." In the midst of the book there has been peace. There has been joy in the midst of the crying. There has been strength in the midst of the weakness. There has been comfort in the midst of the sorrow. There has been provision. And while every page that I turn in this book called cancer, I wonder how many more pages do we have left? How much longer do we have to go before this is all over? How much more do we have to endure?  But with each page that we turn, God is there. On every page of this book, His presence is felt. There has not been one time that He has been absent. There has not been one chapter where He was missing. In the midst of what we are going through, God is right there

And God has already written the end.  There is an end. This season will end. This pain will end. This heartache will end. Cancer will end. While we might have to endure this pain for a few more months, God has already completed the book. He already knows how this book titled Cancer will end. He has already written an end to our pain. An end to our tears. An end to this situation.

And He has written what is to come after this season. After wildfires, grass grows again. After storms, flowers bloom. And after cancer, God is going to restore everything that we lost this year. And we will come out refined. We will come out stronger. We will come out with a closer relationship with God. Because God knew this book would not destroy us. He knew that this chapter of our life wouldn't cause us to turn away from Him. He knew that this season wouldn't devastate us. And that it wouldn't tear us down. And that it wouldn't break us. He knew we would stand. He knew we would still praise Him. He knew that His name would be glorified through this all.

And so He allowed us to go through this. And while it has been devastating, I know there is an end. And that we will come out on the other side.