I’m Not Ready

Today I will go visit a friend who has rapidly declined with Stage IV breast cancer. She beat it for so long (I want to say more than 10 years) and metastasized last year. “Oh ya, we’ve got this” she told me when I asked her about it.

“We’ve got this”

A sister in Christ, a sister in cancer. We.

For the second time in less than a year, I will go say goodbye to a woman who said, “We’ll beat this together.”

…and then there was one…

Am I next?

Or am I the poster child for living until my 90’s? Both of my grandmothers are still alive at 96 and 94…I come from good stock.

Of course, the am I next thinking is only fear based. I have no indication of recurrence, I’m in the best physical shape of my adult life (round is a shape).

Fear Is a Liar
Songwriters: Jason Ingram / Zach Williams / Jonathan Lindley Smith
When he told you you’re not good enough
When he told you you’re not right
When he told you you’re not strong enough
To put up a good fight
When he told you you’re not worthy
When he told you you’re not loved
When he told you you’re not beautiful
That you’ll never be enough
Fear, he is a liar
He will take your breath
Stop you in your steps
Fear he is a liar
He will rob your rest
Steal your happiness
Cast your fear in the fire
‘Cause fear he is a liar
When he told you were troubled
You’ll forever be alone
When he told you you should run away
You’ll never find a home
When he told you you were dirty
And you should be ashamed
When he told you you could be the one
That grace could never change
Fear he is a liar
He will take your breath
Stop you in your steps
Fear he is a liar
He will rob your rest
Steal your happiness
Cast your fear in the fire
‘Cause fear he is a liar
Let Your fire fall and cast out all my fears
Let Your fire fall Your love is all I feel
Let Your fire fall and cast out all my fears
Let Your fire fall Your love is all I feel
Let Your fire fall and cast out all my fears
Let Your fire fall Your love is all I feel
Oh, let Your fire fall and cast out all my fears
Let Your fire fall Your love is all I feel
Oh, fear he is a liar
He will take your breath
Stop you in your steps
Fear he is a liar
He will rob your rest
Steal your happiness
Cast your fear in the fire
‘Cause fear he is a liar

So today, I cast my fear in the fire. I will go say goodbye to my friend. I will pray with her; I’ll tell her “Don’t worry, I’ll take it from here.” I’ll thank her for her love and support when I was sick. I’ll tell her how happy I am that she get’s to go home.

And that’s what I’ll do. I’ll take this fight from here. I’ll continue to beat this monster while serving God, whom works everything for good. What that looks like today is going to visit my friend.

 

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I Used To

As I continue to build my life after cancer, adding bits and pieces as I have time and energy I feel like I am severely lacking in the serving other people department. As a woman of God, I know my place is to serve others, and I truly have a servant heart.

I find myself easily frustrated with people though. I have a lack of compassion for those who will not help themselves…and I feel awful for it. I used to be a great friend. Now, I feel so drained by people.

I’ve been trying to find my place to serve others and nothing feels right anymore.

I used to make meals for the youth group at church. I can’t afford to do that anymore as the group has grown and my income has decreased. Making supper for 70 is no small contribution.

I used to teach Sunday School but no longer feel led in that direction.

I used to help with Celebrate Recovery…and now when I go I struggle to listen to people having the same problem week after week and not moving forward.

At one time I was a regular host on Sunday mornings, making coffee and chatting with people. Now I’m not interested in interacting with that many people at one time.

I guess I’m just coming to terms with the fact that cancer changed me.

I’m not the person I was four years ago, and finding me is challenging. I keep trying to be the person I was; and she’s not there. I am hard on myself for not doing things I used to do; yet I just don’t feel called to do them anymore.

People keep telling me I should be a part of the Youth Group team. I’m too hard hearted for that. I’m not sure female teenage drama is a place I wanna go.

I just want to be that little butterfly…everywhere and nowhere. Filling in the gaps, the gopher (gopher this, gopher that).

Why can’t I just be a personal assistant on-call? There’s enough people who need those services. I know I would have a difficult time charging for those services though because those needs, for the most part, should be filled when we all act as The Church.

I just don’t hear God calling me anywhere right now. I’ve been listening, asking…nothing.

So for now I Mom, I skate, I work, I friend.

It just doesn’t feel anything like it used to.

~D

Father,

As my earthly dad had chores for me, I know You have expectations and chores here on this earth for me as well. I am struggling with hearing them, seeing the opportunities.
Open my eyes, father, help me to see where you want to see me pouring into.

Amen

Well That Was Close

When I was trying to figure out what I was going to do for employment after the elementary school, I spent a lot of time talking with God. He made it abundantly clear I was to remain as a sub for the rest of the school year.

I’ve talked recently about applying for, and not getting, a couple jobs within the school system and my weird comfort with it.

Then yesterday, April 4, I’m walking through Walmart and I hear, “Just who do you think you are not supporting your children? Is this really the life you want for them? Both McDonald’s and Walmart would likely hire you on the spot; you’d best apply soon if you want to pay your rent in three weeks.”

Over and over this message played in my head all day yesterday. I was so beat up by the end of the day that anybody who crossed paths with me immediately saw that something was wrong.

As they day wore on, my resolve wore down. Maybe I didn’t hear God; maybe (and much more likely) I’m just lazy. Maybe the voice telling me to sub was actually the enemy and THIS was now God’s voice telling me to get off my butt and be a productive member of society.

I opened the unemployment services website, I started looking for postings, I conceded that working full time this summer would kill me. I started looking for a job.

This morning, after I hear alarm clocks go off in each of the boys’ rooms, my phone rang. It was the local high school calling for a full day of work as a special education paraprofessional.

I talk with the people at the school and get two more kitchen days at the high school (one in May and one in June), and am told to I’ll definitely be called for future dates.

GAH

Ya, God is that awesome. He knows exactly how many days off I can take, He knows exactly how many hours I must work. HE.WILL.PROVIDE.

I have no idea how many times this will need to be drilled into my head…and my job is to praise Him through it all.

I know I’m not lazy, I’m actually a very hard worker. I’m a fast learner and have a great personality. God WILL provide.

Thank You Father for loving me beyond all comprehension. For giving me opportunities to shout praise to You through it all.
Even when I know how much I love my children and would do anything within my power to care for them, I am confident there is nothing that is not in Your reach; nothing beyond Your grasp.
I will continue to ask the big prayers, to follow faithfully again and again.
Thank You Father.

Amen

Poverty

I share a lot about my financial situation. Then I have a conversation about air fresheners and I realize that I need to keep sharing it because people just truly don’t understand and I know some of them really want to.

I borrowed a car from friends to take my trip to Mayo clinic this week. There was an air freshener in the car that I absolutely fell in love with.  And even though it’s only $3.00, I’ll never splurge on that for myself.

Not only that I’d be short $3.00 for paying my rent; here’s where that $3 could be better spent:

  • Buying one of the boys a couple pairs of socks (they’re boys, this is an ongoing need).
  • Most of the cost of sharpening the youngest boy’s skates ($5.00)
  • A pair of pants of clearance for my oldest kid (found his last pair for $1 at Walmart)
  • Any of the bills I shuffle each month to pay (internet and utilities…both behind and on the verge of being disconnected).
  • Enough gas to get to work for a day or my kids to their activities.
  • Trying to rebuild my emergency fund.
  • Put it towards any of the other bills I have.

So it’s not just that $3 is a big deal, it’s everything that is already not being covered that adds up and $3 might as well be $3 million. It’s not that the air freshener is out of line, it’s just so far down the line that it doesn’t even get an honorable mention.

Seriously.

And now, my long term subbing job is finished and I have no guaranteed income after my final paycheck on the 15th of this month. And I don’t have a husband with a steady job or a boyfriend who pays the bills, or a savings account to cover my butt, or a family that can cover me for more than a couple hundred dollars. The child support I receive is barely enough to make a dent. And in 30 days my rent will be due again.

And it sucks.

I was given money from friends for the Mayo trip…and it’s gone, and I’m counting pennies to make sure I can pay the rent on Monday because I feel like I was stupid with the funds I got. I spent too much on the hotel (which was necessary but I could have stayed someplace much less expensive), I ate too often (Two meals a day) and too much (soup AND salad, that’s too much). I should have just slept on a basement recliner, I should have declined to sit down and eat and just grabbed a sandwich. I should not have bought that second cup of coffee to keep me awake on the drive home.

The enemy is so loud; and he has friends. And those friends tell me I should be working 10-12 hour days, and if I truly wanted to work I could. And that $3.00 really isn’t that big of a deal.

When I received the gift of money I was so thrilled and was planning on having left over funds to pay a few things that I haven’t been able to. Instead of paying those things first, I kept it, not knowing how long I would be at Mayo. I only ended up spending one night, and it’s all gone.

And rent is due Monday, my cell phone is due Monday, and I’m truly thankful for everything that has gotten me this far…and angry that I still need more. I’m sad that I am where I am financially.

The financial insecurity is unlike any other.

And it’s one of the reasons I always do Mayo on my own.

Although I thoroughly enjoyed having a friend with me on this trip, it’s not reality. It’s not my reality. My reality is sleeping in my vehicle or on a basement recliner, it’s not stopping to eat, or just buying cereal and eating that for every meal. It’s staying at the clinic even when I have 4 hours between appointments because leaving costs money (doing things I wouldn’t normally do).

The best part of this trip was that my friend was great as far as getting through the marathon day. She took the time to understand everything going on before we went so I didn’t have to educate her on the go. Having to ‘babysit’ other people and their ability (or inability) to process information on the go is why I have never had any desire to take people with me. Thankfully we got all good news so there was none of the real tough stuff.

I’m definitely going back to going on my own though. It’s too emotionally exhausting to bring somebody with me, even when it’s a good fit and good news. Medical trips are a whole other world for me. There is a distinct disconnect from daily life just to get through the trip and I never want those two worlds to become one.

And in 3 weeks I have the privilege of returning to Mayo to see if they can fix my arm that hurts and causes muscle spasms that is the likely cause of headaches I deal with daily…and another opportunity to reach out and ask for help.

I sure don’t feel all that lucky when I have to reach out, but I sure feel blessed when the request is honored.
Lord,
Thank You father, I’m so tired. I’m thankful for tired, because it means I’m still here to be tired. It means I have to opportunity to glorify Your name for another season.
But it’s exhausting Lord and I’m trying so hard to be light in a very dark place for so many. I’m trying to be Your poster child for AMAZING grace and mercy. I’m not sure why I got picked for this job; please help me Father to remain humble enough to ask for help, and secure enough to hear Your love over the enemy.
Amen

So EXCITED!!!

Remember that first time walking in to Toys R Us? The anticipation after seeing commercials showcasing the latest, greatest toys, isles of bicycles, an entire section of nothing more than Hot Wheels and their accessories, another for Barbie…

Your wedding day…knowing that forever, two will become one. That you now have your own family to add to the family Christmas dinner table…

The birth of your children. After years of trying, months of anticipation, a medical scare (or ten)…and soon, your little miracle will be here. Somebody will announce It’s A Boy, or It’s A Girl! You have their whole life to look forward to. First smile, first words, first steps…

Just as each of those milestones are seared into my memory and still bring a warm smile, I now have a new one that is KILLING me with anticipation!!!

The worst part…I can’t tell you about it.

Not that I don’t want to share with EVERYBODY this wonderfully exciting thing that is in the works. I mean seriously…THIS IS LIFE CHANGING. I’m giddy like a kid waiting to open their birthday gifts. It’s like Christmas morning (I’m the BIGGEST kid on Christmas morning).

It’s just that…well, I don’t even know what it is yet!

I feel God moving in my life in ways I’ve never felt before. I feel like I’ve won the lottery!

YES

That’s the feeling!! I’ve been trying to describe it for the last week!!

So now, I just have to wait for the payout! I have to make it to lottery headquarters and all the ‘paperwork’, wait for the press conference, set up the appointment with financial planners and legal folks, call my family, and give all the glory to God.

So whatever lottery it is that I’ve won, I’m so thankful.

I’ve already won the “AWESOME KIDS” lottery, the “best friends ever” lottery, the “coolest parents in the world” lottery, the “cancer” lottery…

I cannot wait to see what’s next!!

So That Happened

I remember when I quit my job at the elementary school and talking with my pastor about God’s plan for my life. I told him that I was confident that I was supposed to be a substitute for the remainder of this school year. Easy enough, right?

Then a couple of jobs opened up and I applied…two of them I knew I had no chance of getting, but applied anyway. The third, they aren’t actually filling so that was a non-starter. The fourth opening was my old job.

I’ve been subbing at my old job almost since the day I quit my last one. I mentioned last week when my job came open that I would put money on me not getting the job. They all laughed, “Why wouldn’t you? You have experience, you helped (her) out by switching in the first place?”

Today I heard the job went to another lady whom has subbed a few times at the middle school.

At first I was sad, and a little hurt that it felt like a slap in the face.

Then I remembered…God told me I was supposed to be a sub for the rest of the year. So then, I spent the rest of today remembering that being upset is my sinful self…not what God wants in my life.

I decided to take a huge leap of faith when I quit the job, I made the choice to listen closely to God’s calling and follow it wholeheartedly.

I don’t want to change that half way through.

God never called me to apply for any of those jobs. Subbing income is getting us by, I’ve had opportunities that I won’t have once I’m working full time. I’m okay with where I’m at.

My former coworkers are not impressed, some even down right mad. I said, I was hurt, but that it’s all part of God’s bigger plan; who am I to question that?

Following God takes so much effort. If anybody tells you this is the easy way; throat punch ’em. Ok, maybe don’t throat punch them, but definitely don’t believe them.

Society tells me I should have a real job, society tells me I should have more things, nicer things. My bank account shouts that it wants more money.

But God tells me, over and over again, “I’ve got this.”

I’ve got this.

I’m confident that He does. I’m confident that there is something HUGE in the works, and I just have to continue listening to His calling and spending time in His word.

I’m like a kid in a candy store excited about what’s to come…and I have no idea what it is. How do I even explain that to people?

“No, really, it’s okay that I have no idea how I’m going to pay rent next month, God’s got this.”

The amount of faith that takes…the amount of trust…

Yet it’s so freeing at the same time.

I don’t have to worry. I know it will all work out in God’s best interest. I’m not even afraid that it may not be MY best interest. How mind blowing is that?

Father,
Humbly I thank You for the provision and resources to get us through this difficult season in life. Help me to share Your word through all I say and do. Help me remain peaceful in Your plan.
As the summer season is upon us and my school year job ends, I ask for guidance in summer work.
Amen

 

 

 

Speechless

In 92 days I will skate my second marathon.

In that time, 10, 396 mothers, daughters, sisters, best friends, grandmothers, aunts, granddaughters, and cousins will die of Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) in the USA. JUST THE USA…

~~~~~~~
Well, this is not how this post was gonna go. I mathed (as Katie calls it) the numbers to make a point.

Then I re-mathed…and again, and texted Katie, and recalculated…

Holy shit.

I still have this pit in my stomach that feels like I’m going to puke.

For the first time in I don’t know how long, those numbers scare me.

It’s not like I didn’t know that 113 people die every day of MBC…but to put a number on a time line like that made my heart sick.

We are raising money for MBC research and a local charity…and suddenly it’s not enough. Suddenly, I feel useless and unworthy. I cannot save 10, 396 people.

But maybe I can save one.

Maybe, I can save two little boys from having to say goodbye to their single mom…a daughter from losing the one person she can count on to tell her like it is…a friend from the reality she has prayed against from day one…a mother from losing her favorite daughter…a sister…an aunt…a cousin…a grandma…

Maybe, I can be the voice for those I can’t save…the ones who are too sick to shout…those too busy trying a new drug, and another new one, and another experimental treatment…

I will be posting fundraising links in the coming days. Please join me in supporting those who are fighting for every breath, every step, every hockey practice, every bowling league, every football throw, every inline skate…for me and my friends. Shout with me for those who are dying for a cure.

My heart is so broken right now, and I’m throwing star fish back into the ocean…I can’t save them all, but I can save one at a time…I can raise one dollar at a time.

I CAN make a difference.

Will you help? Will you join me?