Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Update #60

Don't worry; no hard story today.  Actually it's sort of a great one:  

Yesterday I went to my first fitness class in over 3 years.  

My friend Becky was gracious enough to let this out-of-shape girl try out her "we kick butt" TRX class.  While I won't go into the details of how the class is run, let's just say that…shocking…it makes you use your muscles.   And, based on how I feel today, apparently it makes you use all your muscles.  

Like every single muscle.  
Every where. 
Can you say, "Whole body hurts?"   

But it's good pain.

It's the kind of pain that tells you you're in the process of strengthening and improving and refining. The kind of pain that, while PAINFUL, reminds you that your body was designed to be exercised and challenged and used. 
And, it's the kind of pain that causes my heart to leap for joy because I wasn't sure I'd ever be able to participate in such a class again.

Not to be offensive to anyone, but I truly thought Silver Sneakers was my only exercise class option left – and even that I thought would be a stretch.  [If you don't know Silver Sneakers, the name basically speaks for itself.]

So you can imagine how yesterday was just a gift to me.  
A surprising and glorious gift. 

And, after the class, as I hobbled to my car, a few tears started to well up in my eyes.  
Not at all tears of sadness, but tears of thankfulness. 

And I wanted you to know. 
Because too often I only update you when things are tough or unknown or heart-wrenching.  
Not today.   
Today - as my body screams with every step and with just about every movement – today is, for me, just a delightful day.  

Ah yes…sometimes it's easy to praise God and sometimes it's hard.  
Today is easy.  
[Well..that is…as long as I don't lift my arms or bend my knees…then it hurts like crazy!!:) ]


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Update #59

Easy news at Roswell!  Scans showed no disease progression.  Translated:  No yucky meds needed for (at least) the next 4 weeks! We are, however, going to try to up my current meds back to the original dosage to see if I can tolerate it without getting mouth sores.  The good news is that if I do start to get the sores,  I know I can cut my meds in half again and handle it just fine. The only side effect of these meds has been that I have some acne.  

Yes, that's right. Acne. 

"My name is Kristie Rush. I'm 41 years old and for the first time in my life I'm using acne cream."   
Does it bother me, you ask?  While, who in their right mind would like the North Star zit, the truth is that it doesn't bother me.  


And, what's more, there is a hidden-blessing in all this: I have a new way to relate to my middle-school daughter and her friends as they navigate the woes of breakouts! (Hmmm…Is that being a bit too "Polyanna"?  Sorry. Still true!)  

So here's my story for you today. 

Went to bed with a little pit in my stomach.  Woke up this morning with a slightly larger pit in my stomach.  Drove into Roswell with that same darn pit.  As I drove, I thought to myself, "I wish today wasn't just about me needing encouragement from others."  

Don't get me wrong; I am so grateful for your encouragement. 
I don't know where I'd be without it. 
But, I will also tell you that abundant life – as least how I experience it – doesn't happen when I'm only on the receiving end.  
The paradoxical truth of God is that you are filled even more when you pour out.   

So, amidst the thoughts of "Oh crap; why do I have to do this today" and "What if the news is hard?" and "Oh Lord, please help me", the thought of, "Too bad today wasn't a day for pouring out" was running through my mind. 

Ha. Love it when God shows up and changes everything.

To preserve confidentiality, let me just say this.  God presents opportunities at times when we least expect Him to.  
Without us orchestrating anything.  
Without us having any idea that we've just been invited by Him to participate in His unfolding plans. 

By just asking someone a question of, "So, how did the move to the apartment go?", I got to participate in almost 30 minutes of listening and encouraging and speaking truth and offering hope to someone that I would consider almost a stranger. Certainly not a friend. Certainly not someone I ever expected to have a conversation like that with.  

In the midst of needing to be poured into (by you all!), I had the opportunity to pour out.
And it was joyful.
And life-giving.
And surprising.
And persepective-shifting. 

Yet I almost missed it.
I almost missed it because I tried to avoid this person in order to get out of Roswell faster today.
I got my "easy news" and I wanted to bail and "get on with my life."

Who knew that my life was supposed to be lived today a bit longer at Roswell? 
Who knew that, NOTHING else in my day – not even a trip to Starbucks for my celebratory Iced Peppermint Mocha – would be more important than that conversation.
Who knew that the need to pour out was right there before my eyes?

Not me.
But the One who reigns did.

And I got to experience being a part of Him revealing Himself to someone.
And it was good.

Easy news at Roswell was received by me.
Life-changing news at Roswell was given by me.

Now that's something to celebrate.

Love you and thankful for you,

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Update #58

It's been a whirlwind August. 

From my parents' cottage to Ocean City, NJ with Chad's family and then back to the cottage. Home for two days then off to Zambia for a week. Back home for a couple of days and then off to the cottage again.  And, as of this morning at 8:32 AM, off to school. 


I wouldn't have changed a thing. 
And I won't be anything but grateful for the opportunities given me. 

You see, in the spring when I realized that my meds were probably no longer working, I thought the only medical options left involved the throwing up kind of chemo.  And therefore I thought that my family and I might have a tough summer. Back in April, when I risked looking ahead and thought about what might lie before me, I never imagined that August would look like the way that it actually ended up being.  

Perhaps a trip to Ocean City. 
Perhaps time at my parents' cottage.  
But never in a million years did I think it would also include a trip across the world to Zambia. 
Change that: A trip to Zambia feeling great, feeling healthy. 
Not throwing up.
And definitely not bald. 

I could tell you a million things about Zambia – and I probably will tell you more as the days go forward – but for today, I'm going to let one picture speak the proverbial 1000 words.

I took this picture as I sat outside reading my Bible and listening to worship music on a beautiful, cloudless and crisp (yes, crisp!) morning in Zambia. I didn't take it to have a cool picture. I took it because, as I was sitting there, I realized it depicted perfectly some of the hard-to-explain-with-words complexities of my life: 

The emotions of being both grateful to be fully alive, yet having a still so very tender and hurting and confused heart over the loss of Laura.  

The humility of knowing all my human frailties and imperfections, yet the joy of realizing that those don't disqualify me from participating God-directed things. Things that matter.

The tension between wanting to live a comfortable, easy, ho-hum life and  also wanting to be part of an unknown, often costly, adventure following after a loving, but not always "safe" God.

The illogical role of Scripture in my life…a source of great comfort, excitement and peace, yet at the exact same time, sometimes a source of mystery, frustration and challenge. 

I could probably say more, but then there goes the 1000 words to 1 picture ratio, right? :)  

So let me just say this: above all what this picture represents for me is the freedom to live.
Whether that's in Zambia or not. 
With Laura or not. 
On a beautiful, sunny morning or not. 

This picture reminds me that, through Christ, God has given me – and you – the opportunity to live fully.
Even when things are unknown.
Even when things are scary.
Even when things are hard.

I love that.
That's the stuff of hope. 

So, my friends…thanks for taking a few minutes out of your day to read this.  If you have a few minutes more, I'd love to ask for your prayers… Headed to Roswell tomorrow for scans and blood work.  I'll hear the results next Wednesday.  

Pray that I'll be brave and grateful.