from an article originally posted May 5, 2014...
My dear sister in law brought me an essential oil after I had my double mastectomy. It’s called balance. She would put in on the bottom of my feet at night to help calm me before bed after my horrible surgery. Last night, I nearly bathed in the stuff. I see the word balance, and I feel like I need this magic potion. Except I know it isn’t magic, I know it can’t change my story. But I felt so very unsteady last night. I nearly drained the little bottle of calming oil.
I wake again this morning, unbalanced, everything feels like it has an edge—a twinge of sadness to it. The kisses goodbye, the finding of shoes, the coffee brought to my bed. It just feels unbalanced and scary. The waiting for test results gets harder as the hours tick closer to the time the call might be coming. I put on Daniel Lanois, I light a candle and a slowly, slowly do the work of the house. The quiet love of picking up toys, clothes, cereal bowls, and imagining food on the table at the end of the day. I’m not sure what I will cook, but something simple and nourishing. That is the marathon I’m running today. I’m not sure I will finish very well, but I’m moving. I read from my dear Ann this morning, and her words of optimism feel impossible. The words are true and beautiful, but today, I rolled my eyes a bit. She couldn’t possibly be talking to me today.
A precious reader sent me a verse today, and told me how my raw words encourage her in her painful illness and unmet expectations in life. I feel those words are all I have. They do not flow easily, or come from the outpouring of this abundant overflow, but they feel choked in the back of my throat. My words are stuffed tight in a fearful place—a place where a big cry is needed and avoided.
She sent me these verses:
Those are beautiful, beautiful words. But I do not feel they describe me. They describe a hope I have for myself. More than that, they are my hope of knowing the LORD in this amazing way. When you see all the letters in capital—LORD—it means the God that keeps his covenants. It’s the God that is true, will not fail, will not leave, will not lie. Me, I flounder. Me, I feel so weak and unbelieving, anxious, full of lies and fears. But God! He is none of those things. He is stunning. Only He could work that kind of faith into me; in my own strength, I’m simply nothing. Unable to even reach out for help this day. Struggling with my prayers that mostly sound like, Help, oh won’t you help?!
Yesterday, Jason had the privilege of hearing testimonies of people coming into membership at Westside church. He came home and told me the stunning grace he saw in a woman in our church. He came and told me how her words made him cry. As he retold her story, I both saw the beauty and felt saddened by my own weakness that was revealed in the story.
She told Jason how she came to know Jesus when she was 11 years old, but in truth she believed God at a very young age. But it was eleven that she outwardly professed her faith. She said her father died when she was very young of cancer. She said his faith in the sovereignty of God was so very present in his dying that she knew of God in that moment. She believed her daddy deeply when he told her that God had a very good plan for her, and that he was not afraid to leave them young because he knew God would be faithful and beautifully meet them in their remaining days. That is faith planted beside a stream. That is the prayer for my own heart. Her daddy, oh how beautiful was the faith of her daddy. Oh LORD, please, would you grow that kind of faith in me?
I want to have the grace to meet my children in those last moments with that kind of breathtaking love. That open handed love that trusts, trusts, trusts the goodness of God long beyond my own days. Not the grasping, begging, longing to stay kind of faith that seems to be all I know. I want to be a calmed, trusting mama, that can look upon the wonder of future days and trust the God that keeps his word.
So today, if the news is the worst, and cancer has crossed a new border in my body, I am praying for that kind of faith. I’m praying for faith that can look at my people and believe the grace is going to be stunning. I will always, always, always want to be the wife and mama—it’s how I’m made. I will never be separated from that heart longing, but to hold their stories, their moments, their very lives with this beautiful open hand is the faith I long for today. It is not a giving up on this breath, it’s embracing the truth that God is in control, and I am not.
The woman who lost her daddy has a faith that is breathtaking. I long to be next to her and hear the goodness of God. I look at her faith, and in her gentleness and faith I see the story that could grow in my own children. She loves enormously, all over the world. Her ministry is breathtaking, and it comes from the place of an abiding Father in Heaven working His goodness in her life, just like her daddy had known He would. Chris Treneer reminds me the story is good, even if the answers are not what I want them to be. I look upon her amazing faith, and see the heritage of trust left to her by her daddy. I want to leave that kind of legacy to my children. I don’t know the footing of that kind of faith, but I pray, how I pray that Jesus will grow it in me.
This is a picture that simply makes me smile. Next to the hardest of life, we can also meet the best of life. I’m looking for it. Are you? Moving on to the next thing right now, there will be tears and prayers sprinkled all over my laundry today.