just a little something
to begin your week.
I’ve been feeling pretty reflective the past couple of days because Jared and I are celebrating two anniversaries this week. On Easter, I reached the one year mark of finishing chemo and today we celebrate three years of marriage. Around milestones, I always try to take some time to reflect on the ways God has worked and provided, and this time is no different. Yesterday with journal in hand, I sat on our bed as rain dripped outside my window and journaled some of the lessons God has taught me over the course of the last year.
Because you have been such a support in my journey, I thought I would share the ways God has molded me and worked in my life. I want to preface this list by saying that I am continually learning and feel I am only at the beginning of a journey of learning how to more fully embrace these truths and implement them into my heart and life. This past year, I have begun to learn:
- To trust God first and foremost above medical plans and tests, supplements, exercise, spinach, green tea, Brussels sprouts, flaxseed… (ha!) In all seriousness, I am learning daily that Jesus Christ is worthy of my hope and trust. Yes, I think there are many benefits from eating well and taking powerful supplements—and I will continue to do what I can do to keep my body as healthy as can be—but I also am reminded daily that I cannot control these circumstances with the perfect plan of attack. God holds my future and I am learning (sometimes painstakingly) to trust Him above all else. As one of my favorite song says, “healing is in [God’s] hands.”
- To slow down to take care of myself and relax. As I’ve shared in the past, I am wired to enjoy activity and people interaction. This has its beneficial sides but I have also experienced the flip side of physical and emotional exhaustion as a result of my fast pace. Throughout this past year, I have been working on slowing down and giving myself more space to truly be still so that I can listen to and enjoy God more. I am finding that I am enjoying the fruits of this slower pace, especially the significant increase in books I have been able to devour!
- To be vulnerable with others. Being an accomplished people pleaser and performer, it can be challenging for me to be completely honest about life, especially the parts that don’t fit neatly into a box or don’t look pleasing to the eye. Yet, I am learning that freedom lies in being able to be completely real and embracing it. Writing while walking through cancer has tested my desire to be vulnerable; there were (and continue to be) days when life feels confusing and I’d rather just post platitudes than deal with the mess. In those moments, God has reminded me that it is most inviting when others share their skinned-knees and scars, and once again He gives me the courage to share the less-than-polished parts of my life. This is a continual process for me, and one that I am sure I will always be learning, but one that God has brought to my attention and so I desire to be obedient even when my heart is trembling after I click “post.”
- To turn to God with my deepest desires and fears and wait on Him to provide in His way and time. As you’ve followed my journey, you know that I have had to face some of my deepest fears and desires. It has been downright frightening at times but I am learning that God wants me to offer my heart to Him and then wait for Him to show up. Currently, as you know, I am waiting on Him with the desires to be a mother. We most likely still have to wait another year (which we will confirm at my doctor’s appointment in a few weeks). The wait to experience a joy that I have dreamed about since I was a little girl has been excruciating at times, but I also know that God has placed me in this season for a specific reason. I am learning to find the balance between being real with God when my raw emotions spill over with deep longing and taking captive the opportunities God desires for me in this season.
- To embrace my story. It has taken me the better part of a year to accept that cancer has been my story and will always affect me to some degree. I listened to an interview of Bethany Hamilton, the surfer whose arm was bitten off by a shark, and heard her say that though the attack happened to her, it does not define her. I resonated with her words and internalized it for myself. Cancer does not define me, but at the same time, I am learning to accept that cancer will be part of my story. I am coming to grips with the ups and downs that come with MRIs, blood tests, scares and reports. Though I wouldn’t choose this road, being diagnosed with cancer is part of my story, and I believe God wants me to embrace it because it’s just like Him to use our challenges, heartaches, and disappointments for my good and His glory. To that end, I realized that I need to update “My Story” on my blog to include this part of my story. Stay tuned with that addition in the coming weeks.
- To allow others to come alongside of me. I’ve realized that I like to appear that I can handle life’s challenges on my own. Thankfully, God has given me a very supportive husband who has given me nothing but unconditional love and care from day one of this winding road. As I reflect on three years of marriage with Jared, I revel in the fact that God knew exactly what I needed, especially to endure such a weighty challenge so early in our marriage. Jared has been the perfect balance of strong and gentle for me; I am so thankful God gave me such an incredible man to love and trust for these past three years and many more to come.
As I was writing this and reflecting on the many lessons God has taught me this year, the verse that we had printed on our wedding program came to mind: “Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your name, for in perfect faithfulness You have done marvelous things, things planned long ago” (Isaiah 25:1). Meeting Jared and falling in love with my soul mate felt marvelous, but cancer, not so much. Yet, God is reminding me that He has been perfectly faithful through this deeply challenging time and that to me is quite marvelous. Here’s to many, many more anniversaries!