It seems the past month has held wave after wave of life crashing around us. We’ve reeled and pitched with the tossing of each wave, but our ship holds fast, because our Father holds us. We tell each other this… look at what is true. I hear it from my Brian. I hear it from the lips of my own children as they wrestle with why God allows hard and scary things into our lives. But they know, we know, God is always, always good. He never changes. He is always with us.
During our spring break trip, I sat with my eldest while Bri and the other two climbed a ropes course. We talked about life, school, friendships, college, the future. I asked him how he deals with my cancer. Always pragmatic, my Ash smiled. “It’s not like I can say, ‘Well, Mom, I think about it and you this many minutes every other day.’” We laughed. Then he opened up and shared his fears, his struggles and his acceptance, his faith. He threw an arm around me, “And you and Dad have never let cancer consume our lives. It’s part of us, but it doesn’t rule us. That’s a gift.”
God’s mercy overwhelms.
While we were in Atlanta, my Bella-girl was having a girl’s morning with my dear, dear friend. On route to meet us, someone ran a red light and t-boned my friend’s car on Bella’s side. They are okay. The walked away. Y’all, I’ve been told I have cancer five times. I’ve never been so scared as when we topped that hill and saw the lights flashing around a bent, broken vehicle. They are okay… they are okay. Bella still deals with pain (whiplash is no joke!) and some fear, but she is okay. And on her birthday last week, my tears of gratitude were deepened with the understanding of what could have been.
God’s care overwhelms.
Our trip during spring break found us sitting with old friends in Chattanooga, then Atlanta, then Gatlinburg. It was hours and hours of knowing and being known… of laying all of life out there and holding each other up, of speaking truth and sharing hearts, of just resting in friendship together, of loving conversations and playing games. Of time. Time together.
And time together as a family was so much needed. We took long, lazy mornings together, sleeping in and drinking steamy mugs of coffee. We watched movies and read books. We took in some sights and ate at fabulous restaurants. We relished time away as a family, not without its arguments and frustrations, but still living the language of grace together as we forgive and move forward. We are always learning more—more of each other and more of God in our lives.
Now we are home and there are track meets and Boy Scouts and birthday parties and Spring programs and behind-the-wheel and friends coming into town for visits. We keep moving forward.
God’s love overwhelms.
Last week I saw my oncologist. Even as we move forward, the sighs are heavy, friends. My tumor markers are rising, my liver levels are not settling, there is pain in my left side that is concerning. I have a CT next Tuesday (the 24th) and we will find out results and course of/changes in treatment on Thursday (the 26th). In two days, on Wednesday, I have an echocardiogram to see if there is damage to my heart from chemo. The nights are hardest. We walk with heavier steps as we consider what this could mean. But at the same time, there is still peace. I spoke with a friend Saturday evening and told her that there’s just been an overwhelming sense of gratitude for how much time God has given us together… do I long for more? Yes. Do I fear there won’t be? Yes. But as I dig deep in His Word—His very presence—I see yet again how sadness and joy do co-exist.
So, here’s where we are. Reeling and clinging. Laughing and crying. Fearing and hoping. Holding on and living.
My childhood friend, Monica, once encouraged my heart with the truth that for Christians, there are no bad endings. The past few weeks, I have settled yet again on that. Already, no matter what comes in this present life, we have what is best, for we have Christ. He rides in the vessel. He controls the storms. He is the hope, the sure and steady anchor for our souls. And He will guide us safely home.
God’s grace overflows.
(On repeat today:)
Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea
A great high Priest whose Name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.
When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end to all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.
Behold Him there, the risen Lamb!
My perfect spotless righteousness
The great unchangeable I am
The King of glory and of grace.
One with Himself I cannot die;
My soul is purchased by His blood.
My life is hid with Christ on high
With Christ my Savior and my God!
(~Charitie Lees Bancroft/Vicki Cook)