Saturday, November 28, 2015

my life has been a world wind of craziness this past month, [the same can be said about the lives of those i love the most], so i haven't been able to sit down and blog much. truthfully, i'm not sure how much will come out now either, but i thought i'd sit down and attempt to write out my thoughts any ways.

i'm heading back to ottawa in the morning to spend the week with my mom while my sister and brother-in-law sail the ocean on a much needed cruise. i'm excited to spend some time with her, and rest, but i'm feeling a little sad about leaving some of my loved ones here, too. truth be told, there are hurting people everywhere, and you, my dear reader, may be one of them.

i don't know much; i can't figure out why people have to suffer, why some suffer more than others, and why heartache of any calibre sucks so much, but one thing i do know is this: God promises to be close to the broken hearted [psalm 34:18] and promises never to abandon us in our pain (or ever, for that matter). [deuteronomy 31:6 and hebrews 13:5, to name a few].

jesus, be near.

those are the words i keep praying over and over for my mom as she battles terminal cancer, for my friends who are grieving the loss of a loved one or a relationship, for others facing the most confusing of situations, and for myself, as i carry some of it with them, and face pain in my own life.

we can argue all we want with scripture and wrestle though its accuracy [a process i find to be healthy], but we can't argue with experience.

as i sit here and write, my mind goes back to one of the loneliest times in my life to date. i made a move across the country to do an internship on the streets of vancouver back in 2003. despite leaving all i knew behind, i remember feeling super excited as i boarded the plane that day, and ready for the adventure that met me on the other side of it.

what i didn't know at the time, though, is how lonely of a season it would be for me.

i thought my friends would call, or write. i thought i'd find a circle of friends out there to hang out with all of the time and keep me busy [one of my coping mechanisms to anything, really]; i thought i'd be okay.

but i wasn't. for most of my internship, i felt deeply alone and depressed.

and on one dark day specifically, that loneliness brought me to the ground. for a long time, i found myself weeping face first in the carpet in my office. i wept, and groaned, and beat the ground. [that may sound dramatic to some of you, but some of you know exactly what i'm talking about because you've been there].

suddenly [although it didn't feel very suddenly at the time], peace covered me like a blanket, and i knew - i just knew - that God was right there with me in my deepest anguish.

i'll never forget the assurance i felt in that moment, and the strength that followed that allowed me to get back up and move on with my day, or the countless other times i have felt similar peace, and strength, either.

so, to you, my beloved reader, i am praying for you today! i'm praying that you would feel God surround you, that peace would cover you like a blanket, that you would have the strength to keep going, and most importantly, i'm praying for jesus to be near. to you, and to me. amen.

Friday, November 13, 2015

even in a season of uncertainty, there is always good we can cling to.

on a big scale, had my mom not have gotten word that she was cancer free four months a go [which turned out to be false], she wouldn't have made the move to ottawa, where she is well taken care of. things would look a lot different had she stayed in alliston, too; for one, she would have been alone, and two, she wouldn't be as comfortable as she is here, and comfort is key.

on a smaller scale, i had booked tuesday off to get a pedicure with my BFFN, and the weekend off to go to niagara will the girls [it's important to make time for such things], which ended up making my impromptu trip to ottawa this week feasible [and easier for my boss].

a sweet lady dropped by the house yesterday to give my mom a hand knitted shall/small blanket to keep her warm, and another sent her flowers.

a friend of mine handed me a generous amount of cash to alleviate any financial stress i'd have travelling to ottawa twice this month, while another covered my bus fair this round, and another, some food.

countless others have offered to help, too, while others have taken time out of their day to let me know that we're being prayed for, all of which i appreciate a great deal, and hope continues as my family and i continue to walk this out together.

truth be told, life was never meant to be lived alone, and i sincerely hope that you don't feel alone in whatever YOU happen to be walking through today.

we were never promised a pain free life, but we were, and are, promised the strength to endure it, and the assurance of God's presence to carry us through.

strength: "but the Lord stood with me and strengthened me" [2 timothy 4:17]

presence: "but the Lord was with joseph in prison and showed him steadfast love" [genesis 39:21]

in both cases, the but ensures that's there's more to their story than what preceded this very conjunction, and there's more to mine, too.

my mom has cancer, but the Lord is with me.

my heart hurts, but God is close to the broken hearted.

i get anxious just thinking about what life will look like without my mom, but i don't have to worry about tomorrow.

and you know something? neither do you.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

"it's not good", the oncologist said to my mom. "i cant give you a timeline, but i'm afraid that the cancer will..."

"take my life?!", she said, finishing his sentence.

she knew the answer. we all did. we could tell by the concerned look on his face.

sure enough, he nodded, followed by a very solemn 'yes'.

somehow those words pierced me even harder coming from my mom. in an odd way, it made it more personal, more real. "my life", she said. my mom's life. my only remaining parent. my rock, my inspiration.

for the next fifteen minutes, i sat there feeling numb, zoning in and out as my mom and her doctor discussed the next steps; steps that will inevitably lead to her passing on from this world to the next.

selfishly, i want my mom here. i love her, and need her.

but selflessly, i don't want her to suffer any more, a battle that keeps me awake at night.

what keeps me going, though, are these few principles/practices:

1) i cherish every moment.

of my life, and of my mom's life. even after her most recent appointment, my family and i found ourselves sitting around the lunch table cracking jokes and enjoying each other's company as usual. while there have been, and will continue to be, very painful moments along the journey, there have also been very beautiful ones in the midst of them.

2) i remain thankful.

i remember feeling deeply alone the last time my mom went through treatment, but this time the complete opposite is true. in just a few short days, i've felt an army of people surround me and lift me up, lift us up. my managers have been nothing but kind, and accommodating, and ready to give me time off whenever i need it. some of my friends have made long distance calls [even from texas] and have sent texts, and one even went as far as to send me enough money to cover my first trip to ottawa to be with my mom, who, at the moment, is being taken good care of by my younger sister, amanda, and her husband, al, there.

3) i cry & i write.

both of these things are therapeutic for me. crying releases pain, and writing helps me process it.

and lastly, and most importantly,

4) i cling to my favourite scripture, psalm 121:1-2:

i lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
my help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.