from an article originally posted October 18, 2014…
How do you love when you are at the bottom of yourself? The last gulp of a drink you feel tentative to swallow? How do you swallow that last gulp of life and fight to live it well? I’m struggling today, and I knew it would be a hard one. Chemo brings a low that I struggle with words to describe. And on top of the yucks, pain seems to be growing. And with the growing pain is the growing knowledge that my cancer is likely growing. To say it’s discouraging, well, that word feels simple.
A while ago I wrote an eBook called Big Love: The Practice of Loving Beyond Your Limits.
I never expected my limits, but the message is still the same. In the presence of pain, the deep discouragement chemo and cancer brings, there is still love. I still enjoy good moments on bad days.
Yesterday, I woke from a nap deeply discouraged. I woke in tears of pain and discouragement. I asked y’all to pray, and you prayed. My oldest came in and noticed my heavy heart and refused to leave. Okay, she might have been avoiding cleaning, but she spooned up to me and refused to move. Another friend came and rubbed my feet. I soon felt the weight of my pain lifting. Not the pain, but the discouragement the pain brought. Then, all the kids piled in my bed and we finished the first Harry Potter movie. Lake with his wide boy hands held my hand and never let go. My heart filled, and the pain became less. Less for the greatness of love. Love is powerful like that.
I want to say, I want to believe, I want to hope that treatment is doing all that treatment is supposed to do. It will take another scary snort, another looking under my skin, another scan to let us know what progress we have made. I’m fighting not to despair this pain. But it’s a tough fight. I’m struggling to keep comfortable.
But if what I say is true, and I believe it is, there is love to carry me. Enough love that I can even spill out onto my people. Love large enough to keep me from unkindness. Love deep, and wide, and high, and overflowing to give me gentle words even when I want to scream out in the anguish of the pain in my spine. The cancer pain shooting up and out in every direction. There is love, and that love matters. But I must be willing to look for it. I must be humble enough to ask for help when it gets too much. I must be willing to slow down to a pace that is practical, not at all my strength.
But this chemo has slowed me. This chemo has brought me low. Your prayers, your constant prayers have matters much to my weary heart. You remind me of the goodness of the gospel when pain causes me to forget.
How are you struggling to believe the gospel today? How are you struggling to see through the fog of your burdens and see the goodness of God? How can we help remind you? How can we encourage you to look for big Grace meeting you today?