grateful amazement

finding wonder…everywhere.

July 2010 – July 2015 :: A Cancer Survivor’s Retrospective :: Day Seven

on July 7, 2015

Some days I wonder about the grieving.
Some days I consider the many losses.
Some days I question the value of tears.

Honestly, there are days when thinking about these things steals my breath. Leaves me feeling sucker-punched. My heart feels disoriented and shredded.

I think some days being human, living in this broken world, is like that…
Breath-stealing, sucker-punched, disoriented, shredded.
Because we all have grieving to do.
Losses to face.
Tears to allow.

Without the frame of faith, without the perspective of perseverance, without the hem of hope, those gut-wrenching losses seem so pointless, don’t they?
And it’s easy to get angry.
To lose sight of the purpose in the pain.
To give in to the heart’s cry that it’s just not fair.

Four and a half years ago, I wrote the following words on my CaringBridge Jounral in the middle of a difficult day. I don’t remember exactly what the triggering thoughts were, but I do know the losses that I reference.
I still carry the story-filled scars – inside and out – that those losses left.
Whether I grieved them fully or well depends on the day you ask me about them.
Because sometimes what we think of as scars are actually still wounds.
Unhealed. Pain-filled. Maybe even a bit infected, if we’ve not properly tended them.
Those wounds?
We need to acknowledge them and present them to God for the healing only He can accomplish.
When we stand, bowed vulnerable, offering the wounds-we-thought-were-scars to the One who knows their purpose, we are inviting paradigm shift. One that finds us healed and ready to help others.

So, be brave about the grieving.
Face it.
Feel it.
Free it.
And then let your scars speak.
You never know who needs your story.

~~~~~

Jan 25, 2011
Today is proving to be a hard day for me, friends. I am struggling with a few things – one of which is the anticipation of these last two rounds. The logical, positive, ‘I can do this’ part of my brain knows that the fact that I only have two rounds left (ie – only 6 weeks!!) is AWESOME, EXCITING and TOTALLY DO-ABLE!! But the part of my brain that knows what’s coming, and that what’s coming may be even tougher than this last round has been, is recoiling a bit at the idea of having to figure out a way to dig even deeper and find the grit and determination to gracefully and positively weather whatever is in store. I am getting pretty darn good at the whole Positive Self-Talk thing, so am working to employ what I know. It’s just that the dread is fluid, shapeless and, at times, very hard to pin down long enough to douse with the necessary amount of Positive Mental Attitude. Who knew that fighting cancer had so many facets beyond the physical?!

Another thing I am dealing with today for some reason is grieving the many losses — some that are obvious and have left their respective physical scars as reminders, some less obvious without outward scars to mark them and some that seem to be unrelated to the diagnosis I received back in August. Loss is a tricky thing — if I am truly trusting that God is in control and has my ultimate best interests in mind, are the things I designate as losses really losses? What does my attachment to those things (and sometimes people) say? About me? About God? About my belief (or disbelief) that I can fully and unabashedly trust Him?

One thing is for certain – the pain and grieving that come, naturally and unbidden, upon any loss must be faced head-on eventually. Faced, acknowledged and walked through…sometimes even wrestled with. If I try to do any of those things outside of the context of God’s love and provision, though, it seems to me that I set myself up for having misplaced expectations of those around me, including God Himself. And, that, I’m finding, leaves me feeling alone in the loss. Alone in the pain. Alone in it all. Which is not an accurate feeling. After all, He has promised to never leave us or forsake us. That when we pass through waters, He will be with us and will not let them sweep over us. Isn’t that how some losses make us feel — like we’re drowning?!

My heart and mind need to hold on to those promises on days like today. Days when the word Cancer has a dark, insidious presence that shows itself wherever my eyes land. Days when my brain can’t seem to find the proper place to put the word Cancer, let alone absorb the fact that I am fighting it. Days when the losses gather together and demand to be faced and acknowledged. Days when the words that could diffuse the pain get stuck in the tears in my throat.

Yes, there are days like these. Thankfully, they don’t appear often. Thankfully, I am able to hit a button on my computer, or pick up a book, and find the promises of the One who knew this day would be on my calendar. The One who has a divine purpose, even for days like today. Thankfully, when days like these come, I can let them be, cry them out and know that I am loved in spite of, or maybe because of, the choice to let the tears fall.

In my search for the Truth today, I found something I feel led to share here. All of us face losses, big and little, in our lives. And all of us are invited to turn to God as we struggle to find peace and comfort in the face of those losses. May this devotional bring you that peace and comfort today — no matter what you are facing…

{{‘And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. ~Romans 5:3-4

God cares about our circumstances, but He is even more concerned about our choices. The choices we make as we persevere during hard times build character.

In order to persevere through an ordeal, we must choose to believe that God is in control. We must choose to keep our eyes focused on Him for guidance with our hearts trusting Him. Even in the most trying and difficult times, we must choose to walk in peace and joy, accepting His will and timing. Each one of these choices makes us more like Jesus, and it is His character in us that will be our victory, guaranteeing that we will emerge on the other side.

Let us glorify God for what we must endure and anticipate His use of our circumstances to produce in us the character of our Lord.

Thank you, Lord, that through my trials I may develop Your character, becoming more like You.’}}

Those things that hurt, instruct. ~Benjamin Franklin

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2 responses to “July 2010 – July 2015 :: A Cancer Survivor’s Retrospective :: Day Seven

  1. Reading about your faith and trust in God, is helping awaken me to this greater connection, to this Divine presence in my own life. Blessings to you for this gift!! Thank you also for sharing so openly about your journey through cancer. ❤

    • LauraK says:

      I pray that your awakening is filled with all kinds of sweet, bright gifts, Suzanne! So happy to have you continue to join me here! xo

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