This is a “heart check”. I shared these words this morning with a few trusted friends, desiring for them to have a window into my soul. I long to be transparent and real on this journey with each of you, not just my trusted friends.
So really, how have I been lately? Like, how’s my heart? Honestly, I write this post through tears.
The best way I can describe it, is that I feel the constant tension of living in paradox. I often feel like a wrestling Jacob. (Genesis 32:22-32) Only my wrestle is all in my head and my heart.
There’s a tension that all is NOT well in my soul, but at the same time IT IS WELL.
Jesus – my faith in Him- is the ROCK which I prop my life on. He doesn’t call us to comfort. A very wise friend recently told me that a life of leaning on the ROCK is not comfortable. It’s hard. It’s rough. It’s dirty.
Here are some of the uncomfortable, dirty bits of my life, living in paradox these days.
It ISN’T well: Recently my five-year old, very perceptive and “old soul” of a daughter asked if I’m going to die. She went on to share with me if I did die she would “cry in her pillow every night”. Heartbreaking.
It IS well: This conversation, and the hot tears that it brought (still brings) has granted me the opportunity to wrestle with whether I really, and I mean REALLY trust the Lord with my children and husband.
Through this wrestle, God is slowly prying open my fingers on my desire to control, manipulate, and micromanage their existence…to make it pain free and all joy. I’m releasing control to the story that GOD want’s to write in their life, with or without me.
I’m coming to grips with the fact that this God, this Heavenly Father, this Creator, this Pursuer of my heart…HE CAN ACTUALLY BE TRUSTED. He created them too – He loves them more than I do, and He’s writing their story together for good too. Do you see? God is shaping my heart. He desires my heart….ALL of my heart. He doesn’t want me to be closed handed with even that which is closest and dearest and tender.
It ISN’T well: I watch my precious husband pour himself out all day at work, and then pour himself out at home because I lack energy… especially in the late afternoons and evenings.
It IS well: I get to see my husband step up and be a picture of Jesus. I get to see firsthand how God is growing him as a man of God in the most painful and unlikely, yet the most beautiful way. I get to experience my love growing deeper than words can express. Our marriage is forever changed for the better, and thankful this happened 10 years into our marriage instead of 20, 30, 40 years in. We get to spend the rest of our lives together – forever changed in the best possible ways.
It ISN’T well: I fear that the cancer will come back. I have dread that I will have to go through the horrific chemo again. I plead “I cannot go through that again. Please Lord. No”. Knowing the medical stats that it’s usually the recurrence that is terminal.
It IS well: Fear takes me to the cross. Fear fixes my eyes on Jesus as I realize I cannot control this. Fear takes me to His Word and His promises – especially the promise that “He will never leave me nor forsake me”. Fear causes me to reflect back at all the ways He carried me through chemo the first time and my heart can rest knowing if He takes me there again He will carry me again.
It ISN’T well: Over the summer, I had to temporarily step away from a ministry that I love with all my heart. I wrestle with feeling disconnected and that I’m not needed…. That they did fine without me.
It IS well: The Lord is continually using this to remind me that this ministry is not about me anyway!! It’s so gross to think for a minute it’s about me – so the Lord is revealing pride and then refreshing and reviving me in repentance as I am washed in His cleansing blood. Seeing the ministry thrive without me reminds me that it’s all about HIM, not me. I’m back (easing back in), and I’m so increcibly thankful for the amazing women God enabled through my absence.
It ISN’T well: I’m in a medically induced menopause (at age 35) to keep my hormones at bay… Hormones that could cause the cancer to grow and spread. This menopause may or may not be temporary. A menopause with all of the usual side effects! Yes I now know exactly what a hot flash feels like and if you see me fanning myself you know why!
It IS well: In menopause, and cancer, being able to relate to women who are suffering – in trials big and small. God is making me more empathetic, and compassionate, and I pray to minister through my suffering.
It ISN’T well: I’m laying down MY dreams for our family and the size of our family, that it is unlikely that I will ever carry or nurse a child again. This is an especially tender place for me
It IS well: These unfulfilled longings are causing me to crave Christ, the ONLY One who can completely satisfy me. I’m laying down MY desires and dreams, but getting to replace them for the story HE wants to write in our family. He is good, and His mercy will endure. His story for me; for our family, is better than any that I could even ask or imagine! (Ephesians 3:20!)
Cancer is helping me to understand the paradox of being sorrowful yet always rejoicing in ways I would have never understood otherwise.
“Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander” has been my prayer for a couple years now. I’ve been begging the Lord to grow me in ways only HE can do. He’s answering my prayer – only cancer is how He is doing it.
The “it is well” testimonies above are those deeper places that my feet have now wandered. Walking through cancer means walking through deep, deep waters. But with the deeper hard comes the deeper beauty. I would have never walked there myself. No one willingly wanders to cancer. But, in this case, that’s just what it’s taking to allow for this deep, deep beauty.
It is well with my soul always wins. It may be through tears. It may take a time of wrestle. Like Jacob, I may wrestle all night, but also like Jacob I will come out of the wrestle with a limp …an indescribable way of walking that is set apart and different. This limp is a way of walking through life that’s different, and that others notice. And my limp is because of His presence and touch through the wrestle.
The limp points ME and OTHERS back to Jesus. Limps aren’t ever pretty, but they point back to an experience from the past. That’s what this life is all about anyway isn’t it? This life of mine is just to point to HIM. It’s not to draw attention to my limp but point to the One who gave me the limp.
I’m just the vessel. My heart is His, and although I’m sorrowful, I’m rejoicing.
“It is well” always prevails. Limp and all.