On the Menu: Humble Pie

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This week. This week has been hell for me. It was supposed to be a happy week, because Monday was my birthday, but it got overshadowed by all the crap going on. I mean, I guess that is what happens as you get older your birthday just becomes part of the mundane. Which if you know me, you know that I LOVE birthdays, so having my birthday become apart of everyday life and not something special, sucks.

Got to love those real life moment’s that wake you up and set you straight, or not.

But, I did get a life gift this week. That’s the way I am going to view it, any ways. You see, this week in the midst of all the crap I got a huge dose of humility, served on a freaking silver platter. One of those, “oh, shit… was I like that?” moments.

The thing about pain, physical or otherwise it is all-consuming. It literally takes up every part of your being. It’s all you can see, feel, think about or process. Everything else is hard to focus on.

I have spent the past three and a half years dealing with chronic pain. Today, is better than it was even last year, but it is still part of my everyday. I can focus better on the rest of life around me, but it hasn’t always been like that. Especially after my accident.

After my accident my world changed drastically. I was dealing with chronic back pain before that, trying to come up with solutions, going to any doctor I could think of to try and help me feel better. Then when I was rear-ended I was worse off than before. It was horrible. I thought my life had already been focused on living in pain, I had no idea what was in store for me now.

I could barely function. I was so dizzy I could hardly walk to the bathroom from my bed without wanting to fall over. I had to take showers sitting down on the shower floor. I couldn’t sleep because every position I tried would send shooting pain either up my back or in my neck and head. Nothing I did could relieve it. I couldn’t sit up without having to hold my head in place with my hands. I was a mess. But I was determined to get well. I was not going to live my life like this.

Well, my determination also looked a lot like control and stubbornness. My family, God bless them, wanted me to move back to Texas so they could help me and so I could simply focus on getting better. I refused. I didn’t want to leave the life I had built, even though in all honesty, that life was crumbling around me. I just was refusing to accept it.

My family kept pushing, kept loving me, kept trying to get me to see things their way. I still refused. I isolated myself because I knew I was making the wrong choices but I just so desperately wanted to still have a say in my life, and my body wasn’t letting me, so I wanted the rest of it to still be okay. I never was trying to push my family away on purpose or refuse their help because I didn’t want it. I did I just wanted it on my terms.

That’s the HUGE thing with pain. We want the healing and outcome to be on our terms because nothing else is on our terms, when dealing with pain. But, truthfully, the healing doesn’t usually happen on our terms either.

So, here was my dose of humble pie that I got served. I had already started seeing some of this over that last year but not fully. Because who wants to honestly admit that they were being a giant dirt bag and being stubborn as hell? I know I sure don’t. But, this week I watched my mom do the same thing I did. And I listened to myself say very similar things to her that my family did to me.

Oh, I was so aware of the irony of the situation and was truly humbled by everything. This week has made me want to do things all over again. I have for a while, but this time in very different ways. But I can’t change the past I can only learn from it and move forward.

It is such a unique position to be in at this moment. Because before I was the patient, I was the one in pain and needing help and I couldn’t see what everyone around me was doing. All I could see was my pain and that everyone was trying to take away my life, even more, from me. But that wasn’t true. They were simply trying to help me better myself for me to have a life.

Now, I am the advocate. And it’s been hard because I have lived in the shoes of pain, so I can relate on more levels than most. But I also don’t know my mom’s exact pain and feelings through all of this. I can just sympathize in ways others can’t.

But, in that same vein I also see the power of trying to fight for the person in pain. And I have had to do and say things I didn’t want to say or do, because I knew it would make me look like a hypocrite after my reaction to people doing the same thing for me. Hence, humble. freaking. pie. but know I understand. I understand where they were coming from. I understand the importance of both sides. And I know that I will be able to walk out future situations a whole lot differently than I have before. On both sides.

None, of this has been easy. The past three and a half years have been hell. But I am grateful for the hard lessons that it has taught me. I know I am and will be a better person for myself and those around me because of it. So, I am going to continue to eat my humble pie, until it sinks in. Until it clicks and I know that I can be a better person because I took it.

28

If you were here last year on this day, then you know I have a thing about birthdays. I get very contemplative on my birthday. I evaluate the past year(s). This year is no different.

This year I turn twenty-eight. I am two years away from thirty… How on earth did that happen? I mean ten years ago I graduated high school. That is just freaking crazy!

How is it ten years have past since I legally became an adult and graduated high school but most days I still don’t feel like an adult. I mean, like I said before, I am two years away from thirty. I am pretty sure you don’t get more adult than edging your way to thirty. I have officially started the journey away from a young adult.

So, that brings me to the question that has been rolling around my brain. When do you begin to actually feel like an adult? I have experienced a lot of life in the past ten years. Some good and some, not so much. But none of those experiences have made me feel like an adult. Do you feel that way once you get married? When you have kids? When you buy a house? (all things I have never done)

There have definitely been moments in the last ten years that I have felt more grown-up than others. Like making the decision to move to Florida and then again when I had to make the hard choice to move away. Being in the throws of things with my moms battle with cancer has for sure made me feel more adult most days. Being asked to come back and work for my old company and being the go-to person while people were out, definitely made me feel like a real adult. But they have all been just moments. It’s never been a moment that happened and that continued into my every day thinking.

So, maybe that is the thing. Maybe even those of us that seem to live more “grown-up” lives they truly don’t feel that way either. Maybe we never truly do. Maybe we feel that way in moments. Because honestly, who defines what being a grown-up or an adult is? I mean I bought a car. Adults can do that. I have voted. Adults can do that. I have bought liqueur. Adults can do that. I live on my own. Adults can do that. I pay bills. Adults can do that. I do many things that other adults do and yet at twenty-eight I still feel like I am still on the cusp of being a full fledge adult.

I mean when I am eighty years old will I still feel this way? I think I might. Because I will know that there are others who have gone before me and still lived longer and/or experienced more life. Adulthood is an experience more than a feeling. We all just become adults in our own form. Like with most things in life there is no right formula for being an adult and making you feel like one. It is mostly just a concept of what society tells us it should look like.

And maybe it’s best to never completely feel like you are an adult because you loose the innocence, joy and mystery that comes with the feeling of being young. It’s something we should always cling to. I’m pretty sure the Bible even mentions something about us being like little children. So, if Jesus is telling us that, then my guess it’s okay if we don’t always feel like we are adults, even at twenty-eight.

Another year has gone and another is beginning. The moments aren’t always pretty but I am so very grateful that I get to celebrate living another year! Here’s to 28!

For Everything There is a Season

I am currently sitting on my bed, drinking a glass of wine, with music playing gently in the background in my new apartment.

Selah.

If you don’t know what that means it basically just means to pause and soak in the moment. Last year at this time I was spending my days lying in my bed at my parents house wondering if I would ever be able to experience this moment. My life seemed over a year ago. And now it has opened to many possibilities.

It is so very surreal. I still can’t believe that this moment has come. I fought like hell for three years to get to this point. Even though I am not 100%, I am way better than I was. I mean come on, I am better enough to live on my own! I began to fear I would never be able to experience that. But here I am almost 28 and living on my own for the very first time.

I have lived with roommates in the past but this is a whole other experience. This place is my own. I don’t have to ask opinions or permission to decorate. I don’t have to worry if someone left a mess out in the common areas. I don’t have to get upset that someone didn’t pay their portion of the electric bill. I get to call the shots. I get to turn on my music on as loud as I want and dance around my kitchen! I get to wash the dishes when I want to. I can watch tv out in the living room and not worry if someone else is going to like what I am watching. This is a moment I always wanted. I wanted to opportunity, at some point in my single life, to live on my own. No roommates or family members. But after my health issues and car accident happened I didn’t know if that dream was even an option.

I thank God every day that I am here. That I am doing something I always wanted to do. Especially after a season of loosing my independence completely. This moment is just very precious to me because I had lost faith and hope that I would ever get the opportunity to be independent again.

It may seem very minuscule to some, me living on my own. But it is a huge accomplishment and I am going to relish every moment of it. It definitely hasn’t come with out it’s growing pains, in many ways, but it has been worth it. Oh, so very worth it.

My hope for you reading this is that something dear to your heart, that you imagined impossible, becomes a reality for you. No matter how big or small.

Connection

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I recently took a break from social media. Well, really Instagram because that is really the only platform I use anymore. I decided in December of 2017 to delete my Facebook permanently, which was honestly one of the best decisions I have ever made. But I still kept Instagram because I love seeing the life of others through photos. It’s how I view life, always with an image in my mind and so I connect with the little squares better than just a bunch of random words being posted with a stream of other nonsense. At least that is how I view Facebook.

Well, this past December I decided it was time to take a break from Instagram too. I wasn’t ready to call it complete quits, but I needed a reality check. You see, when life gets tougher than the typical every day things that are hard, I shut down. I choose to escape reality. I typically do this by either watching waaaay too much TV, getting lost in books or in this instance getting sucked into the realities of others on Instagram.

When my mom got diagnosed with cancer, again, this past November it was hard to face reality. I knew if I thought about it too much I would go on crazy tangents of the “what if’s”. So, I escaped to Instagram. Watching videos of animals doing cute things, or people creating incredible cakes, or just watching the many Instastories of all the influencers and friends I follow. Everyone else’s life, at least in those curated squares, seemed much more fun to be sucked into than the reality outside of my tiny phone screen.

December came and the day of my moms surgery was upon us. There were six of us there, waiting ever so anxiously during her surgery. But, we were only allowed four of us in the waiting room, no exceptions. So, I volunteered to stay behind in case a doctor or nurse came in to update us, while the rest of my family went to the cafe area to wait out the 10 hour day. It was one of the longest days of my life and I had plenty of time to think.

During that time I spent my day watching peoples lives on Instagram, but it all suddenly became so meaningless. It was a distraction from the day, but it didn’t change the reality of what was going on around me. And I decided that I was going to take a break from social media. It was time for me to connect to the reality around me and not the reality of others through my screen. There is so much more to life than what my tiny hand-held computer can provide me.

Today was the first day that I logged back on to Instagram. Two and a half months being social media free. Which in our day and age, I think, is a feat.  I honestly have been hesitating for weeks on if I wanted to re-download that little app. I have even been contemplating re-deleting it multiple times since I downloaded it this morning. I realized that I have enjoyed not having that little button on my phone. It has been more of a freeing experience than I thought it would be.

I feel like I have created more time for myself to think, to breath, to not feel like I had to connect with my phone instead of the life that is being lived in front of me. I love taking pictures but during this time I only took pictures because of the beauty of something (or my cats) not because I had to post it to social media. Also, the comparison that I was beginning to let myself get wrapped up in went away. I wasn’t constantly thinking about how to make my little page be more interesting and more likable but I no longer had the pressure of trying to impress this world of people that had no real connection with me.

How did our world suddenly get so invested in trying to impress and connect with the people that we only meet through our phones? What happened to wanting to do that with the people that are around us? I am grateful for technology, don’t get me wrong. One of my best friends lives in another state and without technology we would not have the relationship we have today. And Instagram has it’s perks too, I have bought a lot of different products I love because of the recommendation from an influencer I follow. or even come up with fun design ideas that I want to try one day.

But, like everything in life there has to be a balance. I want to find that. I love photos. I love taking them. I love seeing other peoples perspective through a camera. I love ideas and inspiration. I loved Instagram because it was the one platform that I felt most connected to. But it also became this thing that I couldn’t live without. I had to constantly check to see what was being posted. I had to watch all of my Instastories to see what fascinating things people were sharing.  I had to post to see if I could get a bunch of likes to see if people liked what I posted just as much or more than someone else.

I want to keep being inspired by others. I want to enjoy looking at other photographers work. I want to keep up with friends from my past to see what’s going on in their lives. But I also want to connect on a deeper level. I don’t want social media to be the only way I connect to people and the life I am living. I want to spend more time calling people or going out to coffee. To enjoy the moment I am in with the person I am with rather than trying to figure out how we can get the best photo op to remember our time together. Because am I really experiencing the person I am with if I am constantly trying to think up the best way to get a photo?

I want to be more present in my life. I want to be more present in the life of those around me. I don’t have it all figure out yet. I still had other things, during those two and a half months, that pulled me away from reality now and again. But overall I feel like I connected with people more and was more pro-active about making time for things that need to be more important in my life.

Connecting with the world around me in a world that is able to connect with the entire world with a click of a button will always be a challenge, but it’s a challenge I am willing to accept. Because the people close to me and the things around me deserve more than just a passing glance and the thought of how I can make this into a great Instagram post. The deserve my full attention. They deserve the fullness of my presence just as much as I desire theirs.

So, moving forward you will notice my phone being put aside more and more, and my face less and less in front of it. Instead you will get to see my face more and my hand reaching out for more connection with the ones I love.

 

Photo By Three Feathers Photography

Picking Up the Pieces

IMG_8053The other day I found myself saying, “I’m starting to get the pieces of me back.” When I sat back and thought about it for a moment I actually realized I’ve been saying it a lot lately.

If anyone has ever experienced trauma, of any kind; physically, mentally or heart wise you know exactly what I am talking about when I say that phrase.

Trauma is a different kind of death, in my personal opinion. Because with trauma a piece of you dies. Maybe it’s your heart, maybe it’s the lack of being able to use vital body parts, or maybe it’s the loss of being able to function with the same mental capacity as before or like others around you. No matter what it is, it’s a loss. And it sucks and it’s painful and you grieve, just like you would if someone you loved died.

You grieve because you do lose someone. You lose yourself or even just pieces of yourself. They either get lost in the mess of the aftermath of the trauma or they go away completely, usually replaced by something else.

I wonder, when Humpty Dumpty fell off that wall how long did it take for them to put him back together? And was he put all the way back together? Wouldn’t there be little pieces that were missing or so shattered they couldn’t be put back?

That’s how I see myself after the traumas I’ve been through. I feel cracked, lacking pieces and unsure if even some pieces were put back in the wrong place. It seems as though I’m still looking and figuring out what’s gone.

Truthfully there have been some pieces that were completely shattered that there is no coming back. But, I have been finding other pieces that fill in the holes. And there also have been some pieces that have taken a lot longer to find, ones I thought were lost for good. But I was pleasantly surprised when I found them.

I always felt bad for Humpty too, in those storybook pictures, he always looked so terrified and unsure. Now I know why. It’s hard to recover from a trauma. Very possible. But oh so very difficult. It is literally like walking on eggshells at first. Terrified of breaking again, knowing your fragility and constantly wondering what will cause you to re-break. Relearning yourself and even the world around you after trauma is very challenging. It takes patience and grace. It takes forgiveness and grieving.

For me it’s been over three years since all of my trauma first started. Where the floor dropped from under me and my world was shattered. I’ve been trying to pick up the pieces ever since. None of it has been easy, most days it is still difficult knowing where my life is now versus what it was before. I grieve constantly for the person that I lost.

But, I am also not a person that stays broken. I’ve felt broken a lot longer than I have wanted but I have fought like hell to find healing and to pick those pieces back up. I have searched high and low for the pieces that I knew I wanted and am figuring out how to fill the holes of the things I lost.

You will never be the same after a trauma, but you don’t have to let it define you as weak for experiencing it. I want to be stronger now than I was before all of it happened. I want to be braver, more confidant in myself, more hopeful, more rooted in the things I believe, more rooted in God, not so naive, more sure of the life I am living, and more intentional of the life I am living. It’s a struggle, daily, to work on these things but I’m not giving up because life after surviving something life altering is a true testament.

Some may gasp at the next statement I’m about to make, but it’s the truth. I am not whole, yet… and it’s not because I don’t have God in my life. Yes He makes me whole, but I am still in the process of letting Him heal the holes that were created by the trauma I experienced. And that has been the beauty through this whole thing. I have found that my mess doesn’t scare Him and I can make statements like “I’m not whole yet” and know that I am still in good standing with Him. I get to be a mess and let Him heal the brokenness so that one day I can be whole again.

The trauma may have happened but it didn’t win, and I am getting the pieces of me back, little by little every day.

 

My 2018 Book List

I thought I would change things up a little bit for this post. I wanted to share the “self-help” books, non-fiction Christian reads or whatever you want to call them, that I read this year. These are the ones that inspired me or taught me something on my journey of re-finding God during 2018.

Lets start with the most recent read, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp:

I discovered Ann Vaskomp through a friend of mine that tagged me in one of Ann’s posts on Instagram, one day. When I read it I was weeping by the end and wanted to know more of what she had to say. I read her book The Broken Way first (I will share more on that one later) and she kept referencing her One Thousand Gifts book. So, I added it to my amazon list and my brother and sister-in-law bought it for my birthday. It honestly was probably my favorite book of the year. One Thousand Gifts is all about joy. She starts out talking about bucket lists and how in life we don’t feel complete and feel our life isn’t as meaningful if we don’t do these crazy outrageous things to make us happy. So, she decided to make a different kind of list. She challenged herself to write down one thousand things that bring her joy or that she was grateful for. She started off with things like, the way the light hit the soap bubbles and made incredible colors; “little things” that may not seem very important. As she progressed thought she went into deeper sides of things, like how to be grateful in the midst of pain and chaos, which is tough. And she ended by tying it all together in that in these little moments God is trying to show and share his love with you. This book gave practical tools to find joy in anything, even when it’s hard. But I also love the way Ann Vaskomp writes, it is very poetic and speaks to your soul. She is one of the most real writers I have ever read.

 

The Broken Way by Ann Vaskomp:

This was actually the first book I read in 2018. Technically I started at the end of 2017 but I finished it in 2018, so it counts. This book was very insightful to me as well. I had just moved from Tampa and was still in a pretty dark place about moving, my health and just feeling utterly useless. This book talks about your brokenness. She isn’t telling you to push it aside or walking away from it but to use your pain to better yourself. She is constantly referencing the bible and how it talks about our brokenness and using it to shape and mold us, not to destroy us. To have someone validate you feeling like crap and it being okay but to not let it keep you from living an unfulfilled life, helped me to push past a lot of my hurt and reach for more goodness. She also talks about how our brokenness actually helps others who are broken and being in community when you’re broken, reaching out to other broken souls is one of the best ways to mend your brokenness. It just was a good book for my soul during the season I was in.

 

Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis:

Once again, another author I discovered because of social media. I kept seeing her name  and book pop everywhere so I started following her on Instagram and fell in love with her platform. She is all about inspiring women and empowering them, but in a very healthy way. A lot of times when you see women trying to empower other women they are on a power trip and it’s all very unhealthy. But Rachel Hollis, in her book and on her social media is all about empowering you to be the best you! It’s not proving you can do it as well or better than the boys. It’s not about you proving you are a bad ass, because you are but you don’t have to be a jerk about it. It’s about doing what will make you feel like you can be your best you. Changing the things in the life that are keeping you from your dreams and goals. It’s about proving to yourself that you are worth it, and in the end the only persons opinion that matters is your own. If you haven’t read her book or follow her on social media, you should. I love watching her and her husband Dave on their morning show that they do live every week day morning at 8am central. Shameless plug for them, because they are seriously so fun and have a lot of wisdom.

 

Come Matter Here by Hannah Brencher:

Honestly, this is a good one if you are a single woman trying to figure yourself out or struggle with anxiety or depression, at least in my opinion. Hannah is super down to earth and one of the other, most real, authors that I have read. She gets down and dirty about her anxiety and depression and for me it helped me to not feel alone knowing someone else struggled so badly too. But what really hit home for me was her struggle with God in all of this. As she was trying to figure out if she was making the right “big life” decisions and going through a dark time. What made me connect to her story was that she questioned God and what he was up to during all of this, just like I had been during my mess. I loved her realness and vulnerability in all of it and she inspired me to dig deeper into God’s word like I never have before. It has been a struggle but I am determined to see His word as a love letter, and Hannah helped give me some tools to do that. It’s a really great read and she is an amazing story teller.

 

Without Rival by Lisa Bevere:

I actually talked about this one a little bit in one of my other posts. I read this one this past summer. And again, it is another  book about empowerment, but a healthy one too. It is about understanding the power and the strength you have inside of you; knowing your worth and what you bring to the table, it’s very much about self-confidence and self-worth. She talks about that God created you uniquely but not inadequate, you have different strengths and weakness that others don’t have, but that doesn’t make you less than. But she also goes to say that those “rivals” we do have in our life to not see them as a threat but as a way to grow and better yourself, not to prove yourself but to understand how you can be better for you and the world you are influencing.  This book is a biblical example of how to be an empowered woman of God.

 

Stronger Than The Struggle by Havilah Cunnington:

This book is about spiritual warfare. I hate using that word because it has a bad connotation, but that’s what it is. But Havilah lays it out differently. This book isn’t about casting out demons or exorcism or things like that. This book is about understanding the power and authority you have because of Jesus’ death, that you have Holy Spirit as your helpmate and you being a child of God. She talks about how important knowing the word is in order to help keep your heart, mind and spirit on solid ground when you are in a tough spot. But most importantly knowing what you have inside of  you as a daughter or son of God that can help you to win the battles you face, but in practical ways. They are good helpful tools that help you to understand who you are in Christ and the authority you have to tell the enemy, “not today.”

 

Daring Greatly by Berne Brown:

This book is all about vulnerability. Berne did a study about vulnerability and what makes people shut down and what makes them open up. She interviewed both men and woman to get the different points of view and shares different peoples answers to how the felt, how they shared or maybe why they didn’t share. It is an interesting read from the fact that you get to hear others thoughts about vulnerability and know that it’s not just you that feels a certain way, we all struggle. She gives you practical tools to help you be vulnerable with the people around you and also gives evidence on how being vulnerable is very healthy and beneficial to your relationships. It is a great book for everyone because we all have people we are in relationship.

 

So, there are the non-fiction books I read for 2018. Each of these was very instrumental for me this past year. It was funny how every time I picked up one of these books to read, it was very fitting for where I was at in that moment. It spoke to what my heart needed at that time. Just like God to give you what you need right when you need it.

Reading these books was so helpful to me this year because I was on this journey to find God for myself and instead of listening to one voice I got an assortment. I was able to read and take my time to see if what I was reading was good for my heart and soul or if it was something I needed to dig further into. I was able to censor what my heart needed; to choose how much or little I could handle. I was able to go after God in a way that worked for me by reading each one of these stories and applying certain things to my life. Some of it hasn’t been easy and I am doing a lot of trial and errors with what I am trying to implement but it’s helping.

I hope this list was insightful and maybe will inspire you to pick up one of these books and read. I am a firm believer, especially after this past year, that your wisdom and teachings don’t have to come from just one source but can be from a multitude of places, as long as it resonates with your heart and lines up with God and his word.

Happy reading to you!

Alisa

 

 

Peace in the Storm

November 13th, 2018. It will be added to the list of dates that I will remember forever.

November 13th, 2018 my life stopped and then changed in an instant. When the words, “It’s cancer” came out of my moms mouth my heart stopped. I had this gut sinking feeling for days that those were the words I was going to hear, but I was praying that I would be wrong. One of the few times you pray to be wrong.

I feel like I am living someone else’s life, although I would never wish cancer to come to any family. It doesn’t seem real. But watching my mom be in severe pain, seeing her energy be nil and seeing her transform into someone I don’t recognize because of those things; makes it all too real.

I have to keep myself busy or the why’s begin to play like a broken record. I won’t even list them or I will go down the dark hole. At work I keep myself so busy that when I get home I can’t even think straight. At home, I keep myself just as busy or try to put on a show that will keep me from thinking. There is too much pointing at the bad that it’s hard for me too think positively. I used to process people’s medical records that suffered from cancer. I know certain things now that most lay-people don’t. So, I try to keep from thinking about the real facts in front of us.

The doctors want to do surgery. Dad says, they don’t have “death” written on their face. Praying that it stays that way. But they still aren’t saying much. I want to know if they are going to do full body scans, but there is no indication they are. But, this is the second time she’s been diagnosed with cancer, shouldn’t they do a more thorough look?

I pray. I pray. And I pray some more. Tonight was the first time I have picked up my Bible since I found out. Tonights the first time, since I found out, that I’ve had a “quiet time”. I’ve been afraid. I had finally gotten into this sweet-spot with God. Where, even though it’s been messy I feel like I’ve found the real him in my life. It’s been like the buddings of a new relationship. Awkward, messy, sweet, vulnerable but oh so real.

I was afraid. I was afraid of picking up the Bible and Ann Voskamp’s 1000 Gifts, because I didn’t want it to shatter what I’ve got with God right now. I was afraid that if I dug in again that I would get angry all over again. Angry like I was when I was dealing with all of my health stuff. Angry that cancer has entered my mother’s body, for the second time in her life, and why is he allowing this to happen not once but twice!? See, there is the beginning of the rabbit hole of why’s. But, instead I don’t get angry, at least not the same kind of angry. Why? Because instead of anger there is peace. What the… Peace? How is there peace in the midst of this storm?

Just before all of this came about I read through all four of the gospels. I spent about a month going through them all. And now I am seeing Bible stories come to life, in my life. I have always struggled with reading the Bible. In fact, as I was reading all four gospels last month I did get angry. I was angry because it all just felt like rules and a “how to do life” book, not the love letter that everyone says it is. But now, now I am seeing God use those stories in my life. Stories I have heard countless times throughout my twenty-seven years. I am now understanding them.

Jesus, Jesus died on the cross. We all know that. It’s like christian 101. But as I was in worship at church, the weekend after we found out mom had cancer, God showed me something in Jesus’ death. Maybe everyone else has been able to see it but I hadn’t until that moment. Jesus died. Jesus suffered. Jesus saved us. But before all of that he questioned. Jesus questioned the Father. What? Jesus questioned God’s plan for him… let that just sink in.

Jesus, the son of God, the one who knew his purpose, even he questioned God’s plan. And then he suffered, he paid the ultimate sacrifice and brought about the fullness of joy for him, the father and us. And during that whole process people kept telling Jesus, “if you really are the son of God why don’t you save yourself?” But he doesn’t, because if he didn’t we wouldn’t have received our salvation. But, he could have… He could have.

I’m in worship and I see all that and start relating it to my families situation. My mom has cancer and only God knows why and I hate that I don’t know why and I want to ask God why and can he please take it from her. And I know he can. I know that in a snap of his finger he could take the cancer from my mom’s body and it would be a glorious miracle. But he hasn’t yet. And we want to continue to ask why. But I don’t know his plan. We don’t know his plan. I know God didn’t give my mom cancer, just like God didn’t kill Jesus, but he did let those things come to pass. Why? Well for Jesus it was to save man-kind. For my mom, well that is still a mystery. And I could be very angry about that because it feels like this cruel game that God is playing. I mean, he could take away the pain and suffering of my mom but he hasn’t. Why? What is the purpose? I want to get mad but I can’t. I can’t because for the first time in my life my soul gets it. It get’s this whole crazy, I don’t understand, suffering thing. My person doesn’t understand it at all, but my soul does and so I have this unwavering peace that I can’t explain.

I have cried, a ton, during this whole thing. I can’t stand to see my mom in all this pain, I can’t stand the thought of possibly losing her if all of this goes south, I can’t stand watching her change, I can’t stand seeing her so upset, I can’t stand the thought of her having to fight for her life. I can’t stand any of this. So, I cry but I have peace. A peace I can’t explain and that I want to be mad at sometimes. But, it’s there and I don’t want it to go away. And I pray with every ounce of hope I have in my being that she will come out of this healthy, whole and healed.

Life is precious and it can change in an instant. It can change in a single moment, by an action or a word or a thought. Don’t take it for granted and fight for the peace of knowing that God is there no matter what, even when the storm looks like it’s going to take you out. Daily I am calling out to him and asking him to calm the storm, because right now I can’t. I can’t do this without him because if I even try I will fail and go down that dark hole. I don’t understand it but my soul does, it trusts in him so I will trust in him and pray and hope that all is well.

 

 

Thank you to everyone who has reached out, for all the prayers, for the letters to mom. Thank you for loving, caring and being there. My family is forever grateful. Keep praying.

 

Alisa