Tag Archives: Childhood cancer

The Shape of this Year

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It’s amazing how something so painful can also reveal some of the things that I wish I knew all along.  Like how much more important people are than things.  How much more valuable time is than gifts.  How much better it feels to give than to receive.  How many of our daily complaints may in fact be our biggest blessings.

2013 has been a salt in the wound kind of year.  I have never cried so much, hurt so deeply, asked why with such passion.  I have never beat the ground in such agony, sobbed so desperately over something that used to bring me such joy.  I have never asked “why” so many times, knowing that I probably won’t get the answer this side of Heaven.  I have never questioned my God’s motive so much as I have this year.  Before this year, I honestly thought happiness in life was mind over matter.  If I ACT positive, then everything will BE positive.  I learned that there are some things that can happen in life that, although we will stand again, just completely knock us down and leave us in the most helpless place we have ever been.  There are things that can happen that keep you from seeing a silver lining because of the well of tears that cloud your eyes.

I have also never seen such compassion.  Such love.  Such encouragement from others.  I have never read such heartfelt stories.  Testimonies of how lives have been changed.  I have never seen one little life stir the hearts and souls of so many.  I have never seen God’s hand so literally reach down and grab a hold of me and so many others.

Losing the opportunity to experience life with Sadie (alive and in the flesh) was so up close and personal.  It’s much easier to absorb these things happening to somebody else’s family…not ours.  I’d much rather learn by reading about someone else’s story—I didn’t want the story to be my own.  Selfish?  Maybe.  But wouldn’t you agree?  Tim and I have actually laughed because, although many have told us over the past few months that they admire us—no one actually wants to BE us.  You’d have to be crazy to desire such heartache.

But we are stronger as a couple.  We are stronger as a family.  We may cry more, but we are learning and living with each tear that falls.  We are learning when to say ‘yes’ and when to say ‘no’.  We are learning what ‘love one another’ truly means, and that it sometimes has to be a very conscious decision.  We have learned that we really did mean the vow we gave to one another on our wedding day–“in good times and in bad…in sickness and in health”.  We are learning that it is more important to follow God’s will than man’s will for us.

All of these things really do describe how I have felt over the past year—it has been an absolute emotional roller coaster.  I can honestly say that, although I will never, ever, ever be happy about losing my precious daughter to childhood cancer, I have learned so much through this journey.  And the journey is far from over.  I have a strong feeling that this will be a life of learning to live by faith.  I mean REALLY living by faith.  Not just saying it, but acting on it.  God has shown me more of Himself than ever before…or is it that I have sought Him more than ever before?

 

And so our faith and hope is summed up in the words of my new favorite song, “Oceans” (this is not to downplay scripture, because there are so many words that have spoken to me through the verses of the Bible this year).  Anyways, I have quoted it before, but I think it’s worth another listen…here it is:

“Oceans” (listen to it here)

You call me out upon the waters, the great unknown where feet may fail.

And there I find You in the mystery.  In oceans deep my faith will stand.

 
And I will call upon Your name, and keep my eyes above the waves.
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace.

For I am Yours and You are mine.

Your grace abounds in deepest waters, Your sovereign hand will be my guide.
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me, You’ve never failed and You won’t start now.

So I will call upon Your name, and keep my eyes above the waves.
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace.

For I am Yours and You are mine.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders.
Let me walk upon the waters wherever You would call me.
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander.
And my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.

I will call upon Your Name, and keep my eyes above the waves.

My soul will rest in Your embrace.

I am Yours and You are mine.

 

 

2013 has been one for the books.  Nevermind the latter part of 2012, which is one big blur.  I joke about kissing it goodbye, but there have been some valuable truths learned.  So, here’s to 2014.  Let’s taste and see that the Lord is good.  Let’s find some more redemption in this story.  We need it.  We long for it.  We know it is there.

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Soggy Scrambled Eggs

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(Warning—this is raw and real.  So many have shared that you like my posts because I am letting you see the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Well that’s a good thing, because here goes…)

I’ve been wanting to sit down and write an update for a few days, but I have been without something divine or profound to share.  In fact, the past few days have been some of the hardest for us as we walk this new journey without Sadie right here with us.  We miss her so much, and are having a really hard time picturing life moving forward without her with us.  I miss being her mommy, and Tim misses being her daddy.  “But she will always be with you in your heart”, you say.  Yes…that is true…but I just miss being able to see her, hold her, hear her, be silly with her, create new memories with her, watch her grow and change…you get what I’m saying.  It’s almost like the fog is lifting and we are really just realizing the permanence of what has happened to our sweet girl.  We are left sitting in our home–the storm has come and gone (sort of), and we are sitting in a pile of wreckage. Wreckage of our hearts and souls.  Wreckage of our plans, dreams, goals, and desires for our little girl and for our family of four.  Our surroundings are familiar, but nothing feels right or normal right now.  It hurts on so many levels.  We cry over things like scrambled eggs and yogurt, walks down the sidewalk, playing in the side yard, music concerts in our house with one less member, and buckling only one kid in the car (although we are more thankful for the fact that we have Eli than ever before).  And although it seems we are not supposed to ask the question, “why”, it is difficult for that concept or question not to cross our mind.  I mean, yes we trust God and know that He works all thing for our good, but that doesn’t mean that we are just like, “Okay, cool—no biggie”.

So, here we are, 7 weeks after Sadie returned to her true home in Heaven, and I feel like I am playing tug-o-war. One side is tugging us toward “moving forward”, which we truly want to do as quickly as possible because this feeling inside is pretty miserable.  The other side is keeping us in a puddle of tears—like we are leaving Sadie behind if we walk forward instead of backward.  I mean, after all, this really did JUST happen, right?  I mean, three months ago today, we were home after Sadie’s first hospital visit, thinking we had a miraculous recovery from meningitis and encephalitis…

So, how long is a healthy amount of time to grieve something as hard as losing your 17 month old daughter to a vicious cancer in less than 6 weeks?  When are we supposed to feel “okay” again?  I honestly don’t know the answers to these questions quite yet.  But what I do know is that we are not done grieving, and although we are pushing forward as best as we can, we are not exactly “okay” yet—this is going to be a process that we probably shouldn’t rush.  We appreciate your prayers more than ever right now.  After all, our absolute worst nightmare just happened.  We just realized that bad things really do happen to “good people”.  I mean, we knew that in theory or in small doses before, but not like this.  We do trust that God is with us, and that He totally has the ability to allow for blessings despite this tragedy (actually, we are already seeing evidence of that), but all of that doesn’t take away the stinging fact that our sweet blue-eyed girl is not here with us anymore.  I am not sad for her—she’s in good hands—so I guess that leaves me selfishly sad for us.  Not just sad for Tim, Eli, and myself—but sad for everyone who had an opportunity to get to know Sadiebug, and even sad for those who didn’t get the chance to get to know her at all.  She was a very special gift and blessing to us from on High, and I honestly believe the world is a better place because of her.  So I’m just plain ol’ sad because I miss her so very much.

A dear friend of mine and Sadie’s—Ms. Katie—sent me this text the other day:  “There is not a foot too small that it cannot make an imprint on this world”.  She saw it on a preemie pic, but said it made her think of Bug.  I can totally see why.  I have a feeling if I had ANY IDEA the number of lives impacted and changed because of her life, I’d be blown away.  So many people have shared testimony with me, and for that I am SO THANKFUL.  It doesn’t take away the pain that I feel over losing Sadie, but it does help me to see evidence of God’s Hand in all of this.

One other thing that is worth mentioning is a prevailing theme in talking with two other couples who have lost a child in the past.  Both couples said this:  “Now is the time to live out all that we say we believed all along”.  So that means all of the prayers, songs, and responsive readings in which we have told God that we trust Him, have faith in Him, believe His Word, that we trust in His grace, and that we will remain forever faithful to Him no matter what.  All of that is being put to the test.  This is where the rubber meets the road.  I wish I were better prepared for this. Please pray that we keep our hearts and minds focused on the Lord.  That we continue to trust in His will, even when it doesn’t line up with ours…and please be patient with us as we figure out what our new normal is.

I will end on a positive note.  I love that my husband is real, and that he is not bottling up his emotions or pretending that he has this all under control.  I love it that we can cry together, and even try to laugh together at times.  Our conversations about what has happened with Sadie always end in a conversation about trusting God.  I am so glad that Tim is serious about his walk with the Lord, and that he is able spiritually and to lead our family through this trial.  The other thing I love and am EXTREMELY thankful for is Eli Davis.  Oh my goodness. He is three, and we have a ridiculous amount of love for him.  He still wants to play with Legos, build towers, watch Mickey Mouse, feed us plastic food.  He keeps us focused on the fact that our life is not over.  We have all kinds of blessings to be thankful for, and we would be doing ourselves a disservice if we fold because of all of this.  Eli is also extremely in-tune with our emotions, and he’s good at giving hugs and telling us, “Don’t be sad—it’ll be all fine”. Thank you, Eli, for showing us life through the eyes of a child.  We love you so much, and when you get older and read through this journal, I want you to know what an amazing treasure you are to us.

Psalm 34:17-18

When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears
and delivers them out of all their troubles.
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.

Amen to that.  Glad I really do trust in His Word.  Thank You for this promise, Lord!

(Sidenote–BIG FAT THANK YOU to my friends in Melbourne and Orlando that donated and/or ran for Sadie last weekend.  AND ANOTHER BIG FAT THANK YOU to those who participated in the Thirty One fundraiser.  AND ONE MORE BIG FAT THANK YOU to all of the others who have prayed for us and for giving of your resources to love on us.  We are overwhelmed by the generosity of others, and we are excited about paying it forward as we push forward.)