One year ago.
A lot can happen in a year and it did!
One year ago today Joe heard his doctor tell him he had Cancer.
I can’t even begin to understand what he felt, I can only tell this story from where I stand.
As we went to bed last night Joe and I exhaled so much gratefulness.
Yesterday not only marked our 31st wedding anniversary, it represented a mile-marker for us.
You see, a year ago we didn’t know how this thing would turn out . . .
We faced unimaginable statistics and hurdles we knew we’d have to overcome and it was honestly scary.
Because sometimes we don’t know how something will look and we don’t know the hard things which will be asked of us.
We don’t know what we might lose or the things we might have to give up.
We don’t know if the thing threatening us will eventually win.
We don’t know who/ what to trust . . . and in moments like this it’s easy to lean into control.
Controlling what we eat.
Controlling our surroundings.
Controlling our circumstances.
And even trying to control our chances of survival.
A year ago . . . I honestly didn’t know if I’d wake up today with/without Joe.
All these questions + fears were things we wrestled with.
And don’t be fooled- just because Joe is a minister and just because we may look like our life is
– I need you to know our souls still unravel like yours.
It wasn’t that I didn’t love God or even trust him, it’s just that my heart at the core – is human.
And that part of me,
my flesh + blood,
well it can struggle at times too . . .
I wrestle with fear + doubt.
I question circumstances and wonder about outcomes.
I am prone to worry + anxiety.
I experience sadness + loss.
And I have a way of loving + grieving deeply too.
For some strange reason this may be surprising to some of you, but if we had a moment to share a tea ( because I happen to believe sharing a tea makes trading our stories that much better) you’d quickly learn we have a lot more in common than you might think.
Yesterday as I was pounding out these keys trying to work on some writing, I saw an old friend across the room.
The sight of her made my heart skip a beat so I ran over to her and hugged her.
And you know what happened?
She peeled back a layer of her busted up heart and let me see a glimpse of it. At first she told me she was hesitant because on social media it can look like we have it all together.
My jaw dropped and I was shocked.
You see, most days I feel a lot like her.
I feel broken, I hurt deeply and I too am desperate for God to heal all of my brokenness.
So, to see her timid + afraid to open up, it made me think . . .
Maybe she’s not alone.
Maybe there’s a lot of us on the other side of this screen hurting too but we’re afraid to let anyone know.
We somehow are convinced that we’re the only ones without a perfect house . . . a perfect family . . . a perfect marriage . . . or a perfect body.
But as I shared with her and I want to tell you today . . .
NONE OF US are in that position.
We all have hurts and burdens that are aching our souls.
We might have loved ones struggling to hang on . . . a broken down marriage we’re keeping hidden or an addiction we’re too afraid to share . . . or maybe it’s just our striving for perfection that’s tearing us apart.
You see, we all fight hidden battles from time to time.
And although they might be different – we ALL have them because we ALL are broken inside.
And self-doubt can be a brutal thing.
Because it’s the voice inside of us that can be like a cancer to our soul.
So, today whether you’re fighting a physical battle for your life or one that’s inside your chest I want you to know
– God sees your pain and he knows your battle well.
Last year walking through Joe’s Cancer we walked through a faith journey of our own and we learned a few things I’d love to share . . .
> All trials hold both elements of beauty and heartache.
> Suffering is worthy to be shared and to name your pain is powerful, because it’s in naming it we acknowledge its healing.
>God gives us faint glimpses of hidden gifts in the midst of our suffering.
>God is not playing a trick on you, he loves you and takes your brokenness seriously.
>God is near the brokenhearted + he is near you!
>In the midst of your struggle it is very good to listen to how God is writing on you a story.
>Your pain will not be wasted!
>Showing up at your next ‘chemo’ appointment, court date, hard meeting -not because you necessarily want to matters in the Kingdom. The light you bring into that place is the light of God shining through you!
>Strangely and yet amazingly this hard + holy thing that seems to be breaking you will somehow usher in new healing too.
>Staying in the moment is a beautiful and life-giving practice that calms an anxious soul and allows the soul space to enjoy life in the midst of suffering.
>Inviting others into your pain will allow the Kingdom to be advanced and it will encourage your soul to not go it alone. We all need connection and were created for physical touch, this is especially true when we are in seasons of pain.
>Counting gratitude every day shifts your eyes off of your situation and onto God’s faithfulness.
>Treat yourself and show yourself the kind of compassion you’d give to someone else in your circumstances . . . compassion is a powerful gift from God.
>Lastly, saturate yourself with God. Read his word or listen to it, worship him daily and feed your soul – you will be glad you did!
Today we’ve acknowledged the battle we fought but we also have been so thankful for all God brought us through.
We are forever changed.
When we make room for our souls to breathe in the midst of the hard + holy days of life we cultivate the sacred life we were called to live.
Blessings friends Xo