from an article originally posted August 25, 2014…
One of the hardest aspects of disease is the unbalanced priority it places on the one that is sick. It’s an impossible balance to face. As a mama, one wants to be the platform from which your children spring into the heights and depths of life. I have always wanted to be the safe landing place, the bright spring board, the solid place from which my children leap into the very best of life. As a mama, I’m their living example of goodness in faith. I point, pray, prepare my children to leap from the safety of my faith and jump into a walk with Jesus all their own. It is my joy, my high calling, and my delight to live the truth of faith before my children.
The struggle comes when disease enters a family—I no longer feel like the base, the platform, the cheerleader in the background of the life of my littles. No, I become the center. It’s an intense, impossible place I never wanted to be. After 2 years of living this painful walk, we have learned a few tricks to dance this impossible dance.
As my cancer has progressed, we have asked the kids what help they would like for our family. What help is hard for them, and how to navigate the trials of chronic illness. I’m listening, learning, and loving the maturity they have. The maturity was grown through struggle, but it’s beautiful really. When they were asked they simply asked if I would continue to cook for them. For some reason, mama cooking dinner sets their world right. I listened and we are working out the best plan to navigate this sweet request.
One dear mama has organized friends to help fill my freezer. They are going to partly make meals that I can take out and cook for our family simply with a crock pot or with little effort. Right now this feels possible, helpful and oh so loving to my people. They will have the sense of mama making dinner, which is how they feel most normal. But I have the support of many hands to help me accomplish the dinner task. I’m not alone. I’m helped. Often when the day is too hard, Jason must navigate dinner—with this support, Jason will be able to manage it. We aren’t sure when the big chemo is added if we will be able to keep this going. We won’t know until we get there. It’s hard to figure how little of me that will be left after this new treatment. But I have this community, this amazing, extending, loving community, that is looking closely for places to support us. We need only wave the flag of surrender and they descend on us with such love.
My doc told me I will be returning to bald, but I will be still able to go. He knows of my speaking, my going, my plans, and he feels we can keep moving. He knows the fight in me and he’s confident in this new plan. I think he is right to move me in a more aggressive treatment plan. Stupid cancer. It needs something to boss it around a bit.
So, I long to not be the center of life in my home, but in the quiet background loving, loving, loving my littles. I’m praying I will still be that. It looks different than I want it to look like. But I will sit in the quiet recesses of this battle praying into the future of each of my children and my guy. Chemo will quiet this verbose speaker, it simply brings silence to get through the terrible, until the terrible passes. But in the quieted corners of my fight, I will be praying. Praying simple prayers for help, simple prayers asking for Jesus to be brightly present in the lives of my children. I will be praying for tender broken hearts, and grace to meet their hearts when they become angry. And courage, courage to be the family that has a different story. Courage to be a child with a bald mama, but a mama that loves them. It’s not easy being the only one of your peers that lives the quiet struggle of watching a mama fade. I have never been asked to walk such a road, I don’t know it for them. But I pray somehow my love will shore them up, strengthen them, teach them to look for grace in the impossible. That my love will point them to the One that loves. And when it gets to be too much, I pray, I pray, I pray there will be some joy, some laughter, some break to remind us to exhale.