Of Numbers and Days...

204

That is how many days have gone by since my last post.

Number of times the sun has risen and set again.

And in those 204 days so much has happened. So much more than I ever could have imagined as I typed those words and hit “post” on January 8, 2017.

Our son’s cancer diagnosis in the fall of 2015 rocked our world. In fact, it took the axis that our family world spun on and not only tilted it in a different direction – it bent and twisted it in such a way that none of us could find our equilibrium again. We desperately tried to hang on as the lives we all knew as normal spun blindingly, throwing us to the edge of the planet, hanging on by our fingertips.

It was not the ending to the story that we wanted. Not what we prayer for, really.

We walked around the walls of our Jericho so many times that we were certain that God would bring them down. Our shouts were deafening. Surely God would give what we are asking.

Yet the walls stood firm.

Time and time again…hit after hit…we all got back up and kept going. Supporting our courageous warrior as he battled valiantly.

We couldn’t see it. None of us.

He was making a way.

It certainly wasn’t what our humanness wanted. We stood in faith, believing that God could bring about healing if it were His will. If it would bring the best for all.

And yet, His will was that PJ would be brought to His side, whole and healed, sooner than we all imagined.

138

That’s how many days from my last post to the day he left earth and entered eternal glory.

67

The number of days since the heart of my heart left my world.

How do you wrestle that? Your child, your only child, gone. The life that grew under my own beating heart for 9 months, no longer.

It is agony. Even when I’m “fine”, I’m not…not really.

For 31 years all I did was for and about him. Any mom knows that. She understands. Once we hold those little beings, our hearts no longer beat on the inside of our chests…they are now beating and running around in the life of these blessed souls.

And how do we face our world when those hearts cease to beat? I don’t know.

Of this I know, even when I know nothing, I am sure – as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow- our God is over all. He is the light in the darkness; He is the breath when it feels like my lungs will cease to work; He is all consuming and all perfecting. In Him all of this will make sense. He will redeem it all. Every single tear. All the shattered pieces of our hearts He will mend. From His point of view - right now – it is already done.

For now, it is a daily crying out to Him. I live in the constant need & longing to feel His forehead pressed tenderly to mine. The comfort of Him lifting my chin to gaze into His eyes, where tears that equal and exceed my own pain, spill over His lids. To hear Him whisper, “he is whole, you are Mine, let go…breathe.”

11,332

The number of days between PJ’s first breath taken to his last breath given.

To God be the glory for each breath taken, for every moment lived, and for all the memories that remain. Here is the those of us left behind living the best life we can with each breath we are given.

Until we see your sweet face again…mom loves you, PJ.

A New Thing...

A New Thing…

“I am about to do something new! See, I have already begun. Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19

Two days shy of 11 months since my last post.

I don’t even know what to say about that other than a mini blog of sorts has been occurring ever since then over on my Instagram account. The words I write are my feelings and my heart – I don’t speak for that of my family…we all travel the same journey, but with different viewpoints.

Our world, for lack of a better description, imploded in April of last year. Our son’s cancer progressed and we faced chemo, undernourishment, critical levels of everything a body needs, a month in the hospital, a feeding tube…and so on. It feels as though the past year has been an endless tsunami and we are all just trying to figure out which way is up because our lungs are burning for air.

Nothing about this has been easy – every step has been like running your heart over shards of glass and then trying to stop the bleeding with a cotton ball. I don’t care how old they are, when your children are in pain you would go to the ends of the earth to make it go away. You would die a thousand deaths to save them even one second of agony, physically or emotionally.

I say every step has been hard – and yet I feel like sometimes just moving forward has been a miracle. I certainly have not moved forward on my own accord. It has been by the strength of God, through His word and His people. Were it not for people ‘holding space’ for me, I am not sure what state of well-being I would be in right now. (When you hold space for someone, you bring your entire presence to them. You walk along with them without judgment, sharing their journey to an unknown destination. Yet you're completely willing to end up wherever they need to go. You give your heart, let go of control, and offer unconditional support.)

A year ago I would have seen my circle of support being completely different, and yet God had a plan even in those who would rally around each of our family members as a whole and individually. It has been a living, breathing walking out of the truth that we were not made to be alone, we were meant to do life together. These people show me that I am known, I am seen, and I am loved.

And so, while my faith is often shaken and shattered, I still hold tight to the fact that God is in control, He is doing a new thing, mountains are moving – it just doesn’t always look like I think it should look. There are days I feel as though I will never look up again, as though my heart will never be able to be whole again and that I might never have full lungs again. Days when all I can do is put my harsh words out there to God, and to those He has placed around me, and let them carry the ‘ick’ for me. It has taught me to look beyond the painful words and actions, to the hurting heart – my own and others. Too often we miss the pain of another because we choose to be turned away by hard words. If I have learned anything it is this…there is always more we can do to love people well.

All of that to say this – I started this blog as a way to post recipes and creative moments as I built my business. That part of life has been paused for now. Being a food blogger takes on a new meaning when a family member now gets most of their nutrition through a tube. Sewing seems frivolous when there are other pressing tasks to be done. I have even pondered putting my camera away, as if doing nothing will make it all better. Will make the pain go away. It won’t. It just leaves another hole.

I have been told by a handful of people I should write more from where I’m at in life – be it hurting, creating or just sitting in the unknown with those who are holding space for me. So, that is what I will do. Small steps to bring back a bit of light into a corner that has been dark for a year. God is doing a new thing – and I will follow His lead, and write as He directs. So, be it a crafty moment, a family photo session or just a landscape; a recipe for the family table or nutrition for those who are taking care of someone with a special need; or maybe it is just writing from my heart the things God is sharing – putting the broken glass out there so we can all see how He makes even the broken pieces shine beauty.

After all…He calls us to ‘walk on waves.

The Content of Being Content...

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I have been holding off on posting this for a while. And when I say a while, I mean like since the end of September. Let’s be real, contentment is a hard thing to wrestle with when you are in the midst of what feels like insurmountable crisis.

I did a quick definition search and this is what Wikipedia returned for me:

“Contentment is hypothetically a mental or emotional state of satisfaction maybe drawn from being at ease in one's situation, body and mind. Colloquially speaking, contentment could be a state of having accepted one's situation and is a form of happiness.”

Yeah…what gets me there is that “contentment could be a state of having accepted one’s situation and is a form of happiness.” That is a hard dose not truth to swallow.

Here’s the deal, being content is a choice. I don’t care if you are a Christ believer or not, that is just a truth…we have a choice to be content/happy, no matter what our circumstances. I don’t think that means you don’t have sad days, mad moments, grief and despair sometimes (believe me, I have many of all of those, sometimes all in the span of an hour!). But it does mean we choose not to continually dwell on the fact that we may not be where we want to be (physically or emotionally), and we focus on The One who has all things under control. 

I was at a meeting last night and most of us are struggling with not knowing “what the story is about”, or how it’s going to end. We each shared our hearts and struggles in the areas of our heart hurt, prayed for one another and moved on with our evening. This morning the Shauna Niequist quote above popped into my IG stream. 

Perfect. Ok Lord, I am listening.

Then our youth pastor put his Lent challenge out there…listening to hymns only during the  Lenten season  (you might think that would be super easy, but it does have some challenges). Hey, if you want to stretch your heart and get a new perspective on your place in the world, and the great love God has for you, listen to hymn and study the history behind them, and the Scripture they are founded on. Good stuff, deep stuff…stuff to make you face your discontent spirit (and the choice you have to be happy.). At any rate, he shared his playlist (awesome stuff!) and the first hymn to play was one of my top 5 favorites, Come Thou Fount.

Ok Lord, I really am listening.

Here’s my concern, if you will…I don’t want to miss what is being provided to me in the here & now because I keep looking across the waters to the shore and where I wish I might be. My happiness isn’t “over there”, it is right here. Yes, life has been hard…but God has been oh so good. How could I not choose happiness if I believe that He is in control?

Isaiah 26:3 – “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You."

I know many people who are unhappy right now. It hurts my heart. I hear, “if only I had a different job”, “if only we had more money/a different house/a new car”, “if only we lived somewhere else.” Not that any of those are bad in and of themselves, but if we can’t be happy in what we have been blessed with already, why would we assume that more, or different, would make us any happier?

I don’t want to treat God like my happiness vending machine…”if you will do this for us” or “I just need a sign that it’s going to change and then I will be happy.” Nope…I tried to play that game back in the fall and all it got me was frustrated. Not at God, at me…because I know better. I chalk it up to desperate times/desperate measures – but still not an excuse. 

I hear you, Lord…you are in control.

“Precious Lord, take my hand. Lead me on, let me stand…”

And so, what does being content and happy look like to you? If you are not happy, what is it that you think will make you happy  (the deep happy, not the cotton candy-at-the-fair happy) , and why?

During the Lenten season we have the perfect time for reflection and sacrifice…maybe we take the time to sacrifice continually looking to ‘yonder shores’ and find joy in the boat, on the journey. (Oh, & listen to more hymns!)