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.