Okay, I'm kidding. I know that most of you probably read that and thought, "My gosh...has it been two years already?"
Yes, me too.
Well, sometimes I think that. And other times it feels like an eternity since I have been living as a woman who has received a pretty difficult diagnosis.
Although I won't even begin to try to capture all that this date means to me - or doesn't mean to me, actually - I didn't want to let it pass by without taking time to provide as honest of an update as I am capable of providing to you.
I've actually been fairly silent since Laura passed away in December. Whether you have realized it or not, I haven't provided a "real" update - that is, an update that attempts to capture the rawness of this road - to you in a long, long time.
And that is not an accident.
Or an oversight.
Or something that has escaped my attention.
Not at all.
I think it's just taken me some time to figure out how much of this battle do I want to continually put before you. How much of it am I capable of living out in the open? And, perhaps even more so, how much of it do I think you can take hearing? How much do I expect you to be able to walk with me through this long, drawn out chapter in the storyline that the Author and Perfecter of my faith is writing?
And the no-holds-barred truth is that I thought you needed a break from hearing from me.
I know, I know...some of you will vehemently - and honestly - reject that. Even some of you might be so bold to challenge me and say, "How dare you, Kristie, determine for me how much of this I can handle."
And, I would agree; you would be justified for feeling that way. So, rather than say that to me, I would ask that you forgive me and respond gracefully to my decision to retreat a bit and keep things a little closer to my chest. (My chest. Ha. That's a funny one, right? Breast cancer humor...there's nothing like it!).
So why have I decided to finally share a bit more with you?
Because of my day on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, I went to Roswell to hear the results of my latest scans and tumor marker levels. And the news was easy: scans show no disease progression (in fact, probable improvement, in my bones) and my tumor markers are in a "normal range." And because of that news, I get to continue on with daily chemo pills which, in all reality, have little to no impact on my day-to-day life. I am still energetic. I am still a blonde, pony-tailed girl. I am still considered by strangers to look normal.
Fabulous, right? Right.
Something to be thankful for? Right.
A cause for writing an update to you? Nope.
No. That isn't what triggered me to, once again, be more transparent with you about this road that God has placed me on for this time. It was something that happened later that day.
Emilie hit a triple in her softball game.
What? What does that have to do with having cancer and opening up your heart?
Oh, so much. So, so much.
Perhaps a hitting a triple in a 10U softball game doesn't sound like much to you. But it is. Why? Because Emilie doesn't believe she's very good at softball.
Because Emilie struggles with the fact that we've committed her to playing this sport.
Because Emilie has wanted to quit softball since the day she made the travel team.
Because Emilie bats at the end of the order.
Because Emilie is timid running the bases.
Because Emilie hates being at bat and having the "whole world's eye" on her.
Because Emilie has seen this aspect of her life as something that is only hard, that is only in her life because she can't convince her parents that she should be done with it, that is only something that she wants to be done with. Yesterday.
And because, on Wednesday night, our little girl - this sweet, unbelievably talented athlete who lets fear win sometimes and who doesn't fully believe in the gifting she's received - got a taste of the excitement that swells in your heart and causes your adrenaline to pulse through your body when you swing hard and feel the bat impact the ball in a way that just feels right. She got a taste of what it's like to run around those bases as if you own them. She got a taste of rounding second and seeing that the throw may get her out at third, but taking the risk and running for it anyway.
And she got to stand on third, breathing hard, and experiencing the joy of getting a high-five from her coach. Of hearing the screams from the fans. Of seeing the smiles from her teammates. Of knowing that she just enabled two runs to be scored.
Yes, that....that was the moment that unlocked something for me.
And I knew that I needed to share with you.
Because sometimes I have viewed this hard part - this cancer part - of my life as something that I'm only doing because I have to. I see it as hard. As something that tempts me to fear. As something that takes everything I have - and way more that I don't have - in order to walk through it. I don't expect joy to come from it. Yes, I expect growth. I expect redemption. I expect greater coaching from the One and Only Coach we have.
But I don't expect joy. In it. Through it. Because of it.
And a bona fide triple to the outfield in a 10U softball game showed me that I was wrong. It showed me that I have been short-changing my expectations of God. It's funny to me how God reveals Himself to me. You would think that it would only come at times when I was walking into Roswell, or when I am deep in prayer, or when I am spending time in the morning reading my Bible. Who knew that, after I made a fool of myself by cheering for my daughter like a crazed parent, God would be so kind to me and whisper a new truth in my ear: I will bring you such joy from this hard thing. The very thing that you see as something you would stop in a heartbeat if I released you from it can - and will - bring YOU joy. Wait for it, Kristie. I will do it. And I will be cheering for you and rejoicing over you and loving you all the while.
So...that's my update for you all on this lovely afternoon here in Buffalo. How I pray that, if you too are facing something difficult - something you wouldn't pick for yourself in a million years - how I pray that you are encouraged to know that God has an unparalleled ability to use it and redeem it and bring joy in it and from it...
Many thanks for your love,