It's Good Friday. I guess it's technically Saturday, but I haven't gone to bed yet, so I'm gonna count it. Right now our house is filled with the sound of snoring- Steve, Tate, and even our pug- Miss Maude. But a few hours ago it was anything but quiet around here. After a great dinner with family and a pit stop at Starbucks Steve and I came home with two tired kids- neither one was ready for bed. He took the baby and I wrestled Jane Gray. After a fight over pajamas and brushing teeth she settled into bed. I kissed her good night and started down the stairs. But halfway down I heard a tiny voice. "Mama, come back up here. I don't want to go to sleep." Typically this is a ploy for more play time, but tonight it seemed different- more sincere. Maybe I have leftover pregnancy hormones, but I caved. I agreed to lay down with my girl until she fell asleep. As I crawled up next to her she looked me in the eyes and repeated, "Mama, I don't want to go to sleep." I tried to tell Jane Gray about all of the fun plans we have for tomorrow- play time with cousins, church Easter egg hunt, lunch with Honey and Ya-Ya, etc. I said, "We have to go through the nighttime to get to the morning." She was satisfied enough with this answer and was out like a light. But I laid in that tiny twin bed thinking.
The night can be dark, lonely, and scary. We resist going to sleep. We fight it. It's not until sheer exhaustion takes over that we will finally submit to slumber. What is it that causes such fear? And the reality is that if we don't have it, we won't get to the morning.
I have several friends and acquaintances who are facing the night right now. I'm talking about honest-to-goodness; pitch-black darkness- loss of children, cancer, terminal illness- the stuff that grown-up nightmares are made of. For these friends, the night has nothing to do with a 24-hour cycle. (Oh! If it were that easy!) This is day-in and day-out trauma- the kind that leaves you permanently scarred. To be quite honest, all of them have more faith than I do. It's true. They are honest about their fear of the future, and they don't sugar-coat their grief. But in each individual instance they have used these events to highlight the redeeming love of Jesus. It's beautiful and tragic all at once. Not one of them (or any of us for that matter) could prevent the night from coming. It will fall upon every one of us. But they refuse to turn away from the only One who can bring the light.
As Easter approaches, I can't help but think about my friends and Jesus. The night has fallen, but they are not shaken. Afraid? Yes. Hurting? Yes. Praying to be spared? Yes. Willing to submit to the night in order to see the morning? Definitely. I actually heard one of these mother's pray, "Not my will, but yours be done, Lord." (Just to give you perspective, her infant daughter is dying of a terminal illness. It doesn't get darker than that.) Jane Gray isn't alone here is she? No one wants to go through the night. But are there any of us who are willing to miss the dawn?
There is no night that can prevent the dawn. There is no darkness that can stop the light. The tragedy of the crucifixion cannot overcome the power of the cross. Death has been defeated. The darkness may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning.
He has Risen! The morning is here!
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Hello friends! I have a confession. . . I have been cheating on you. Yes, it's true. I have been writing on another blog. I am a part of a ministry called Bruised Reed, and we work with women in the adult entertainment industry. We have a blog. . . you should check it out.
PS - I've included the link below. So now you really have no excuse!
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
It's 3:45 am and raining and I am awake rocking a precious; sleeping baby girl. (Well, I guess she's more precious now that she's back asleep!) It's one of those moments you wait for all day. She's warm and snuggly and sleeping soundly. The scent of lavander baby shampoo still fresh from her bath several hours earlier. These are those precious moments that I would not trade for anything in the world. These times make the screaming times almost worth it. . . almost!
Anyway, I guess since I was already awake, God thought it would be a great time for me to write. (I don't mean to sound too weird, but God and I have that kind of relationship.) You know the "wake you up in the middle of the night to do your deep thinking" kind of thing. I'll be honest, sometimes it really gets under my skin. It's not really convenient for me you know- but then again, neither is a screaming baby.
In the last two weeks, I have gotten some great news. First, I received news that there is currently no detection of thyroid cancer left in my body. (Yay!) Second, a dear friend called the other day to tell us she had received $1,000 from an anonymous donor who wanted to contribute to our medical expenses. Steve and I were both shocked to say the least! Although our friends and family didn't know it, we had just received a bill for $936.00 that very week. When we received the news, it was sitting on our kitchen counter waiting to be paid! (It would have waited much longer too had our friend not been so generous!)
With all the good news, I have caught myself saying things like, "God is so good!" and, "We are just so blessed!". Now, don't get me wrong. I do believe that God is the author and creator of all good things, and I will continue to give him praise for the recent "blessings" that have happened to our family. But I would be delusional if I acted like everything was perfect now!
It seems recently I have heard an unusual amount of tragedy in the lives of people around me. Just in the last month I have spoken with someone who recently lost a baby at birth, I received an email from a friend about the death of a former classmate, and I got a call about a young woman diagnosed with cancer. And to be honest, I don't know exactly how to make sense out of that. What do you say to someone who has lost a child? What do you tell a mother who is afraid cancer will take her from the children she loves? Are there really words for that?
So often we say things about God's faithfulness and goodness when we are good. But is God any less God when things are bad? Does that mean he is less faithful? Are we then less blessed?
I was in the car yesterday and I heard a song on the radio. I'm not sure of the title, but the lyrics said this:
"What do I know of you who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood but the shore along your ocean?
Are you fire? Are you fury?
Are you sacred? Are you beautiful?
So what do I know? What do I know of holy?"
Don't you want to ask God that sometimes? (I really hope you said yes. I would be terribly embarrassed if it was just me!) Don't you ever want to say, "What are you? Are you good or not?" In my mind it goes like this: SAFE + COMFORTABLE = GOOD. Unfortunately, that equation doesn't work out so well in the reality of God. If that were the case, where would you put the fire? What do you do with the fury? And let's not even talk about sacred- I don't think our finite minds have even begun to scratch the surface of that one!
You know tonight, God took an inconvenient situation (screaming baby/ tired mama) and made it into something precious. I would not have chosen a screaming baby at 3:45 in the morning. But I also wouldn't dare trade that beautiful moment of sweet silence. Was it comfortable? No. Would I have initally chosen it? Never. Did the God of all Creation turn it into something beautiful? Yes. So, maybe I am "blessed" after all.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
I am sitting in the Nuclear Medicine Department of Markey Cancer Center at University of Kentucky Hospital. Gray cinder block walls, caution signs, warnings about radiation, and doctors in lab coats surround me. I see bald heads, IV poles, spaceship-like scanning machines with the name SIEMENS printed in teal lettering. It's like a sterile walking grave yard. Everyone is alive (which is really good), but life isn't the word that comes to mind.)
Let's just face it. I'm scared. There. I said it. Now it's out on the page for all of the world to see. (Well at least for you to see.) I have finally mustered up the strength to face the inevitable - FEAR -The ugliest four letter F- word I can think of. (And you thought I was going to say something else! Shame on you!). I'm sad to say that of all the F-words I can think of, this is the one I have the most trouble owning up to.
I've been in this situation three times now. It's not new. The first time I was here I was inexplicably confident. (I think I was just naive.) The second time I was here, I was irritated. I was annoyed with cancer's inconvenient impact on my life. But this time it's different. I don't want to be here. I'm afraid of the medicine I may or may not have to take depending on the results of my scans. I know how sick I'll feel if I have another dose of radiation. (Even though the radiologist will tell me that it's all in my head.) I'm terrified of the painfully lonely 72 hours of isolation. I am acutely aware of the time I'll spend away from my husband and daughter. I know that I'll worry for the next 6 months about the next 6 months. And I'll always be concerned about the long term effects of radioactive iodine on my body.
Fear. It's such a small word, but it's impact is so big. It's paralyzing. At times fear has the strength of 10,000 wild horses- nothing else has such an impact on my life. I mean, it's crazy that something so small can do so much damage. So, now I've said it. At least this time I'm not faking it. (There's another F-word for you! Unfortunately, I'm kind of comfortable with that one. I know how to fake it.) Fear, the very word seems so weak and so uncontrollable.
So, here I am sitting in the hospital surrounded by fear. And then I hear a familiar voice. Sue. We go way back. Sue has been my radiology tech for each scan since last August. She and her colleague, Stephen, rule the roost in the Nuclear Medicine Department as far as I'm concerned. They keep everyone informed and up-to-date and they do it all with a smile on their faces. They are gentle souls - kind. As I hear Sue's voice, I am calmed. She calls my name and escorts me to the all too familiar spaceship/ scanner. As I settle in for my photo shoot Sue wraps me in a warm blanket and tapes my feet together. (It's OK. I'm used to it.) And as if on cue James Taylor begins to play in the background. Sue remembers that I love this CD. I ask for it every time I visit for my week long rendezvous. These seemingly unremarkable acts of kindness lead me to another four letter word - HOPE.
Isn't it amazing how you just need a teeny-tiny bit of hope in order to feel better? It's like a miracle drug. (I wish that's all you needed to cure cancer!) Sue's sweet spirit gives me hope that there is life beyond this dungeon; that there's life beyond this fear. And in a split second, I feel it - the other f-word - FAITH. Instantly I am reminded of the verses I read just yesterday in the book of Isaiah.
"This is what the LORD says-
your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb:
I am the LORD,
who has made all things,
who alone stretched out the heavens,
who spread out the earth by myself,
who foils the signs of false prophets
and makes fools of diviners,
who overthrows the learning of the wise
and turns it to nonsense,
who carries out the words of his servants
and fulfills the predictions of his messengers,
who says of Jerusalem, 'It shall be inhabited,'
of the towns of Judah, 'They shall be built,'
and of their ruins, 'I will restore them,'
who says to the watery deep, 'Be dry,
and I will dry up your streams,'
who says of Cyrus, 'He is my shepherd
and I will accomplish all that I please;
he will say of Jerusalem, "Let it be rebuilt,"
and of the temple, "Let its foundations be laid." '
My scans from today are inconclusive. I don't know what will happen to me tomorrow. I may have another treatment awaiting me. I may have another 72-hour isolation period in my very near future. I might get so sick that I don't eat for two more days. I just don't know. I am still afraid, but I am not gripped by fear. I want good news tomorrow. I'd be a liar if I said otherwise. I don't know one person in the Markey Cancer Center who doesn't want the same thing. But I do know this: Sue will greet me with a smile and a warm blanket. James Taylor will serenade me softly while a gigantic machine takes pictures of my insides. And The God of all Creation will continue to reign over it all.