Kara’s Collection: Low Points and Birthdays

From an article originally posted October 1, 2012…

This tender heart has a birthday Thursday. What a gift she has been to this sick person. She reminds me of the soft side of this journey. The side that can cry and be sad through the suffering instead of trying to be a toughie day after day. She reminds me I’m loved. Loved so well she would give anything to take away my suffering. As hard as it has been, she has not distanced herself from me. She struggles with her own good days, feeling guilty when she knows I’m struggling. I wish I could take those feelings from her. Make her live as I long to live, but she so tender and empathetic, I know it’s an impossibility. Every day at noon my phone reminds me to pray for this gift. I pray for her business, and for Jesus to be near to her. I cannot believe I have not known her my whole life.

There have been two distinct moments throughout my chemo lows that the Lord keeps bringing back to my mind. The first one was during my second treatment. I was at my lowest point, I couldn’t even speak I was so sick and in a haze of narcotics. I remember looking beside my bed at the hot pink stool and there sat Jen weeping. I could not help, I had no words of comfort, I had reached a new bottom.

When I came out of the fog 3 days later, I was reminded of this moment. What keeps returning to me over and over was the despair I felt in not being able to help her. Those of you who know me, even a little, would know the despair came from not being able to talk. To use my words to help. To give advice or comfort. I was mute. The blessing of that moment was being able to see how much of what I give is me. It was a picture of how very small my faith is. Jesus calls himself the living water and the bread of life. But is that the nourishment I live on, I give others, that sustains me? Or is it old manna? Remember Moses wandering in the wilderness. God provided for their every need, but they still didn’t trust. They still hoarded. They continued to try and sustain themselves.

So seeing my weakness was a gift. My faith is very, very small, but I had nothing, zero, zilch to do with it. I was dead in my sin. Totally dead, and Jesus gave me new life. The littleness of my faith is fine, because it is His faith grown in me. Not a bit of my effort or strength. Strength is a farce.

Jen, thank you for your tenderness and the moment of clarity. The moment where I saw myself and what I have to give is nothing at all. Just like the old manna, He will grow in me exactly what He desires to grow. If only I would step out of the way. He is enough, He is all that sustains me, and all I want to give. That said, I already know I’m going to fail at this as well. When strength returns it has a way of letting me get in the way again. Guess I have to keep being gloriously broken of myself over and over.

16 This is what the LORD has commanded: ’Gather of it, each one of you, as much as he can eat. You shall each take an omer, according to the number of the persons that each of you has in his tent.’” 17 And the people of Israel did so. They gathered, some more, some less.

18 But when they measured it with an omer, whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack. Each of them gathered as much as he could eat.
— Exodus 16

Dearest Jen,

I stinking love you. I love how Jesus made you. I’m so thankful for you. I long for us to have a different way to learn to trust Jesus than cancer, but this is grace too. I’m so thankful the end of our story has already been written, our present gets to be growing in grace and faithfulness. He must increase and we must decrease.