Just a little update and request for prayers...
We just got back from a trip with the entire Rich Family (and, no, I'm not bragging; my maiden name is Rich!) to Hershey Park. Aunts, uncles, cousins, cousins' kids...all 30 of us! It was a blast and a special - but in some respects, hard - trip. People came in from all across the country and it's the first time I've seen most of them since my re-diagnosis. So, while it was fun and good to catch up, it was also difficult to know that my situation is causing such pain for my family. On the last night, I had two particularly difficult conversations with my cousins...ones in which they asked oh-so-hard questions like..."If God is real and He is good and He is all-powerful then why is this happening to you?" "What if I don't see you again?" "How are you preparing your kids for what might happen to you?" "This just sucks; there is nothing good about this at all, is there?"
When I returned to my hotel room later that same night, Chad and the kids were already asleep in the back bedroom. Standing in that living room I felt like I was wrestling with God. I wanted so desperately to wake Chad and talk to him - to hear his voice, to get a hug, to have him pray to Our God over me as he does every night. I wanted so desperately to be comforted by Chad, yet I knew that - despite how loving and wonderful and godly Chad is - the only true source of comfort is God Himself. For 5 minutes I stood there caught between wanting to wake Chad up and knowing that God was sufficient apart from Chad. Do I trust You enough, Lord, to know that You'll comfort me beyond Chad's comfort? Do I believe that You're present and powerful enough and loving enough toward me to wrap me in Your intangible arms and allow me to "feel" that and be restored by it?
Those 5 minutes felt like an eternity. Wrestling with my will, my humanness, the bigness of the diagnosis, the bigness of my God. Finally, I chose to believe God. I chose to believe that when He says that His grace is sufficient, it is. That when He says He is the God of all comforts, that He is. That when He says He is the source of joy and salvation, that He is. That when He says all those things about Himself, that He really means it.
Rather than wake Chad, I got into the shower and, through tears, I prayed and asked God to rain down over me - just as the water from the shower was doing - and restore my hope and my joy and wash away the doubt and the fear. My heart was calmed and I climbed into bed (next to Emilie and her 3-foot tall stuffed dog, Lovey, of course!).
The next morning I got up and got everything packed up (why is it that the mom always packs?!?!) to go. The kids and Chad were bringing stuff to the car (why is it that the dad always lugs the stuff to the car?!?!) so I was alone in the room. I looked down on the bedside table and saw a little note that Daniel wrote. Not sure who he thought he was writing it to because I'm pretty sure he doesn't understand how hotels work, but he wrote, " Thanks for letting us come here." I looked at it for a few seconds, got out my camera and took a picture because of how sweet I thought it was.
As I was putting my camera away, I stopped mid-movement because all of a sudden I just got it. I realized that this is the heart attitude that God wants me to have. I realized that, over the past two days, all the difficulties around my situation, all the hard conversations, the tears shed on my behalf by those who love me...all those things had become the focus of the weekend for me. I was focused on the unknowns of what lies ahead, the uncertainty around what's going on in my body, and the sorrow that disease can cause. I was focused on those things rather that on the fact that I was able to be there.
I was able to be there.
I was able to there with my family. All of us together for the first time in years. I was able to walk the miles and miles that we walked at the park without any problems with my hip/leg. I was able to giggle and laugh with my kids. I was have have meaningful talks with my family. And, I was even able to sleep well at night.
Lord, thank you for letting me come here.
Lord, thank you for meeting my broken heart and mending it.
Lord, thank you for being gentle and patient with me.
Tomorrow, we leave for a week to go to my parents' cottage with my sister and her family. I very much look forward to this week every year as it's another great time with family and friends. If you're looking to pray specifically for me, I would love prayer for my back. It really hurts. Don't know why. I oscillate between thinking that I must have just hurt it somehow (because I'm so out of shape) and thinking that it must be the spread of disease. Whatever it turns out to be, it is a constant reminder of my diagnosis and it requires my head, my heart and my spirit to be on guard against being tempted to think or feel things that are not intended for me to think or feel. I won't have my next scans until 7/13 and won't find out the results until the next day, 7/14...
Enjoy your fourth of July. We get to celebrate our country's birth and Emilie's birth (7/7) 9 years ago! Can you believe that?
Much love and many thanks,