This past Sunday in my church God gave me the opportunity to share my testimony. This is my story and all He had done in my life as I learned about a necessary desperation for Him. The prayer I prayed so often as I wrote this:
“Make this all about You, Lord, please make this all about You.”
I pray it still.
It’s the suddenness that’s the problem. You’re going about normal life: changing diapers and nursing, potty-training and teaching colors and letters, preparing for kindergarten and working on manners, dreaming and planning and saving for a home. And the phone call comes asking you to come right in to the doctor’s.
And you know. Even though the doctor has been saying he doesn’t think it’s anything.
But you don’t.
But you want to.
But you don’t.
Then you find out. You hear words that you’ve only heard in nightmares, and suddenly you’re the one sobbing in the parking lot and beating on your husband’s chest. You’re the one making phone calls to loved ones and friends, driving from doctor’s office to doctor’s office with your tote bag full of information that you don’t understand and have no capacity to grasp.
You’re the one looking in the faces of your parents and asking questions you thought you’d never ask. “Who will take care of my children? Who will help my Brian? Who? How? What? WHY?”
Then you’re trying to explain to a 1, 3 and 5 year old something you yourself don’t even comprehend and you’re trying to remain upbeat for them when inside there’s a part of you that’s dying every day.
Then it’s a flurry of surgeries and tests and needles and chemo and radiation and panic attacks and hospitalizations. And you’re quitting nursing cold turkey and changing diapers with gloves on and using hand sanitizer like it’s going out of style. And someone else is potty-training and teaching colors and letters, and manners are forgotten and kindergarten is postponed and the savings depletes into paying bills and the dreaming stops as pain and fear and reality and grief take over.
And you’re staring in the mirror at hideous scars and your skin turns gray and you ache all over and you wonder how it’s possible that losing your hair is so physically painful. And you look at yourself and see how much of your femininity was so brutally stolen from you and you battle to remember that beauty is not about how you look but who you are.
And you’re clinging and hoping and you’re believing and trying not to lose heart. And you’re praying and reading and preaching to yourself. And you’re fighting.
Then it is over.
But it’s not.
And it never will be.
Chronic fatigue and pain will be my life-long companions.
This fighting and grieving–it will lessen, yes. The follow-ups get farther apart and the new normal gets created.
Then one day you’re looking through pictures and “before” hits you like a sucker punch, reminding you of what once was, but what will never be again.
And through it all life gets learned.
You live a whole new way. It’s as if before you were seeing in black and white, but now life’s colors are vibrant and breathtaking and every sense is heightened.
Life becomes more than just something you live. It’s a daily reminder. It’s the Cross. A gift to be cherished.
And you are changed. Utterly and completely.
You are alive.
Alive to live another day (but it is different).
Alive to dream again with your husband (but the dream is different).
Alive to play with and train up your children (but the training and the laughing are different).
Alive to love others as they have loved you (but the loving is different).
Alive to worship and pray and serve (but the worship and the prayers and the service are different).
Alive to live. (But the living is different).
And you are grateful.
Leave a Reply