Brutal Honesty

Life stinks sometimes. That’s brutal honesty. I had been battling a low grade fever for a day and a half, and finally my body succumbed and the fever hit the point where it was above 100.5, so at 5:00 in the morning I was shaking Brian awake. We bundled ourselves up, slid through the ice and made our way to the emergency room. There I was assaulted by the ER nurse, a.k.a. Dracula, who took more blood out of my body than I even thought possible. My blood counts were off, so I was admitted and got to spend the day and night in my new cell, I mean home.

Being on the oncology floor of the hospital was a lot harder than I thought it would be. Not only are the rooms depressingly stark, but the atmosphere is not one of hope or recovery. I have a deep and abiding fear of needles, and trust me, there is more than one vampire at the hospital! I met 5 of them! Add to that the fact that my veins are burned from the chemo, and you can imagine the ache in my arm right now. I spent a sleepless night listening to two patients moan and wail with their pain, and I cried, a lot.

I thought a lot about my kids yesterday, wondering what it would be like for them to wake up and hear Mommy was in the hospital. My mom brought them by to see me, and the waves of emotion were overwhelming. Micah’s little fearful face and timid voice saying, “But I love my Mommy.” about broke my heart. Asher just snuggled in my bed with me, and Audrey, as always, brought delight by her antics, not to mention trying to eat all my supper.

Watching Micah has been the most difficult for me. He cries whenever I leave for a doctor’s appointment, and his fear is evident. As painful and as hard as it is for me to go through this, I at least have an understanding of what is happening and why. Micah only understands fear and insecurity. His world has been taken and shaken all around like a snow globe. Yet even though it’s shaken, and shaken hard, there is a foundation in a snow globe that remains secure. And we have that foundation. Micah has a God who loves him even more than Brian and I do. That’s a foundation that cannot be shaken.

I have struggled the past couple days with an overwhelming sense of fear and discouragement. I don’t understand God’s plan in this, and I fear the future. I struggle with the day to day living with chemo. My friend, Kristin, reminded me this morning to look at the “what is” and not the “what if”. What is true is that while I don’t always see His hand or feel it, I know God is in this. What is true is that I have today as a gift from Him, and as Elisabeth Eliot said so poignantly, “God still owns tomorrow.” What is true is that while Audrey may walk around pointing everywhere in the house and asking for Mommy, I am still here with my family. What is true is God and His Word which promises the Holy Spirit as my Comforter.

I haven’t felt much comfort the past couple days, and though I am home, my fever is rising. I spoke with my doctor and he isn’t concerned unless I get a high fever this time, because my counts were so good. However, I am fearful of another hospital visit. I wonder where they will find a vein to impale me if I have to go back in. I question how I will deal with the boredom and the bleakness. I don’t know that I can do this again. All I can do is cling to the truth, although today I am clinging with only my fingernails, and they feel as though they are going to fall out any minute.

I used to read about Peter and feel self-righteous. I would castigate him in my mind. He got to see Jesus walking on the water. Peter stepped out of his boat and walked on water himself. Then when he looked at the winds and the waves all around him, he started to sink. How could he do that? The God of the universe was right there in front of Him! I understand Peter in a whole new way now, and there is no self-righteousness left. Only a head bowed in shame to think I had any more faith than Peter. And like Peter all I can do is stretch out my hand and cry, “Lord, save me.” And that, my friends, is brutal honesty.

Peter’s Song

Battered by the waves, You call me out to reach You.
You told me to take courage and not to be afraid.
But when I saw those waves I couldn’t help it;
I lost my faith and I began to sink beneath the sea.

Then You stretched out Your own hand
And You showed me how to walk;
All this time I had not followed You.
How could You love me just the same
After all the things I’ve done?
This kind of love I have not known.

I told that I would not fall away,
But You told me that I would anyway.
When I heard that rooster crow the third time,
I remembered all the things that I had promised I would be.

Then You stretched out Your own hand
And You showed me how to walk;
All this time I had not followed You.
How could You love me just the same
After all the things I’ve done?
This kind of love I have not known.

I am only just a man.
I cannot do this on my own.
Fill my cup with grace and Your love.
Send Your mercy on me,
O Father up above.

Then You stretched out Your own hand
And You showed me how to walk;
All this time I had not followed You.
How could You love me just the same
After all the things I’ve done?
This kind of love I have not known.
This kind of love I have not known.
This kind of love I have not known.

(Mike Garcia)

9 responses to “Brutal Honesty”

  1. Dearest Angie,

    Oh how I sympathize with the dread of a hospital visit and all the needles. I have scars up and down my hands and arms and finally had a midline put in my upper arm because my veins were all used up an wasted from the drugs. Oh how I understand about your sweet children and their own fear of what is happening to mommy. One night Delaney called me and began crying and said, “Can you just stay on the phone all night while I sleep.” I am fervently praying for their comfort and peace.

    I was reading today in Luke about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. He prayed that His Father would take away His cup of suffering if it was His will. It says He was full of pain and his sweat was like great drops of blood. I am so comforted knowing that our Saviour understands your feelings of pain and fear. He understands the gaps in our faith, Angie.

    Since Delaney was born she has listened almost every night of her life to the Michael Card lullaby CD Sleep Sound in Jesus. I pray this lullaby for you tonight, “Sleep sound in Jesus, my Angie, my dear, Angles are watching, they keep you so near. Know for His sake you’ll be safe for the night. Sleep sound in Jesus, I’ll turn out the light.”

    I love you. Monica Kaye

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  2. My dear dear Angie…what can I say…only that I love you (isn’t it amazing how the Lord can give us His love for someone we see maybe once or many times but we are family) and feel your pain and fear so deeply because I have also been there and actually even continue to struggle to really know how much He loves us, how much He cares about our every need (the big and even the little ones). Why then does He seem so far at times? May I please share with you what I believe the Lord is showing me…(I have not yet grasped though). He wants me to love and NEED Him as much as Rafael loved and needed me. I love this because it’s tangible to me. Rafael, because of the tumor or not, had a childlike faith in His Father and from that faith flowed a love so tremendous and so unconditional that I saw the Father in him and continue to bathe in that love. My dear Angie, thank you for being real and bring tears to our eyes and our hearts –someone once told me that tears are cleansing–ahhh, so be it.
    Edie

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  3. Dear Angie,
    My heart hurts for you and I am praying that God will meet all your needs and those of your family, especially those dear little ones who are so innocent and cannot begin to comprehend what is happening. May God grant you peace in the midst of your suffering.
    Praying for you,
    Ruth Weaver (mom to Tony-Terry-Tammy)

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  4. Angie,
    Sometimes, your words seem to speak my heart, or my heart from a few years ago, or a few hospital stays ago. My kids hurt when I wasn’t with them, (speaking of Cristen and David) but overall, they grew into stronger, and kinder and more understanding people because of what they went through. Your God and Savior, comforter and friend is also theirs, and He is able… Your heart will hurt, more than your veins…
    I know it’s so hard…much harder than I understand, because I never had breast cancer-But I also know that “if” you end up in the hospital for another night or two–don’t question yourself. “If” it happens, you “can do that again” because “you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you” You may hurt, you may cry, and you may need help, but you will be able to do it. You are strong, and you will make it. Continue to share, so the body can continue to encourage you when you feel weak. Brutal honest is good. I hope you continue to share in all your ups and downs as there will be more of both. But I will tell you one thing I still try to do, but still fail at frequently…and that is stay in the present-the what if’s are hard and often never happen. What “is” is enough for today. Love and prayers are coming your way. Love to your family, Carol

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  5. B. A. Schlegel (Kristin Mullenix's aunt) Avatar
    B. A. Schlegel (Kristin Mullenix’s aunt)

    Angie,
    I read your words with sadness this morning as I remembered my bout with bronchitis and cold sores during my chemo. What a brutal medicine this chemo is! It’s your friend and your enemy. It’s okay to be mad and afraid about all of this. God understands, and He is there for you. Depend on Him. He is taking care of your children and Brian, too. My son Skipper was 8/9 during my treatments, but God has removed most of his memories from that year. I will pray the same for you and for the security of your children’s emotions. It is a dear time to draw close to them and to Our Father. Our church will pray again for you tomorrow and for your complete healing. We love you! “Aunt BA” (Betty Anne) in St. Augustine, FL

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  6. Dear Angie,
    I’m so sorry to hear about your hospitalization. I love you and am praying for you and your dear family. I understand Micah’s pain and fear all too well. These are hard days but we are more than conquerors. Hospitalizations have no hold on you- nor does cancer. Nothing can separate us!

    We are hardpressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. -2 Cor. 4:8-9

    …Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day. – 2 Tim. 1:12

    Fight like a girl šŸ˜‰
    Lindsey

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  7. Angie,
    I read this this morning and was praying for you guys. I often am thinking of you and praying for you, and this morning was led to especially pray for Micah. I have a tender-hearted little boy like him, so I can only imagine how your heart must be breaking as you watch him. I was thinking about your snow globe analogy and as I prayed the Lord reminded me that shaking a snow globe is what brings out its beauty. I pray that you will have special grace to watch with wonder the Lord’s Hand in your little Micah’s life. May you be held extra tightly right now! Love, Kim

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  8. Angie, I will be praying for you in the coming days. May God’s presence be so real to you in this time; may He comfort your heart, and the heart of those you love. May you feel His strong arms around you, holding you tight, and may you experience His love anew each day.

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  9. Storms of Doubt

    While thund’ring storms batter me with sharp waves
    Of doubt, which buffet my hope with fierce rage,
    To thee I’m bid o’er this dark depth of graves,
    Stepping near thee with fear of my presage.
    Straight forward I hobble wary with fear,
    Yet my gaze shifts to fuming waves around,
    And as I lose sight of thine eyes so dear,
    I sink into the depths joining the drowned.
    And while to darkness my mind is shifted,
    I descend to black with nary a hope.
    Yet to my surprise, upward I’m lifted
    By strong arms to which my frantic hands grope.
    Then my Lord inquires of my dark bout,
    “O you of little faith, why do you doubt?”

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