Nurses work hard to heal the sick and injured. It’s instinct to go toward one in need and not turn the other way. Though some treatments designed to heal are painful at the time, trust me, causing discomfort is the farthest thing from a nurse’s mind. We want to help because we care. That’s why learning to fire a weapon was quite the foreign affair. It’s loud, dangerous, and jolting, not to mention my target’s shaped like a human, those beings a nurse’s instinct wants to assist.
You’d be surprised how many women shoot. When we walked into the firing range there were two women at work before my very eyes, one to the right, the other on my left. I had to suppress the urge to ask what got them into shooting, you know, girl gab. What with the sound-supressing ear gear and loud explosive pops, communication was at a premium limited to eye contact and a smile. I was happy to see them though, their presence offered a welcome.
We picked lane #2, parked our belongings, and got down to business. Jimmy’s pantomime mixed with hollering went as so, “spread your legs shoulder width apart, bend your knees, lean foreword not back, set your sites on the target, breathe, and shoot.”
First shot startled. I knew it would but I didn’t drop the gun. Goal met.
He mimed to continue.
One blast then another and another. As the shells arched up and over my right shoulder I thought my contacts were drying up. Everything was foggy no matter how much I blinked. Then it dawned on me, gun powder was filling the air.
I shot over and over until I got the hang of it, doing better than I expected having never shot a weapon in my life. I’ve never liked guns knowing the damage they can do to the human body. Life is precious, God-given, and only one give per soul, so it took a shift of mind. I had to imagine the paper-thin guy was out to harm me, not a patient or person in need. I had to be on the offense unlike the time a serial rapist tackled me like a football player and all I did was take the hit. I didn’t fight, kick, punch, or scream. I went down with him like a sack of potatoes. God protected me but I learned something about myself that dark fright-filled night, I am not a natural fighter.
I hope to never use a weapon for anything other than smacking a worthless target but the skill has value; you just never know. Jimmy and I enjoy our new hobby and I can’t help but think it’s good hand-eye coordination for this ole nurse in reverse.
I sat on this couch reviewing the talk I was about to give. Behind me, on the other side of the wall, a room was packed with ladies having a blast, a very loud blast. Whatever they were doing was going to be a tough act to follow.
I spend Friday evening and Saturday teaching the importance of Remembering God in Our Past, Seeing God in Our Day, and Trusting Him for Our Future. I told our story, what it’s like to have a disabled child, how overwhelming it is to hear you have breast cancer when you have no income or health care, and how God always finds a way.
As I spoke they cried and I realized how little I share our experience, the challenges, the pain. I rarely tell what our life is like except for when I speak, making me wonder if I should share more, perhaps here on this blog.
Would anyone want to hear?
Then came the podcast interview. I go over it again for parents facing the challenges of caring for special needs children. I hear the interviewer quietly state…”such wisdom.”
Again, I wonder why I don’t share more often.
The reason isn’t illusive. I understand why the mum. It’s because this tiring trial consumes my every day. It saturates every moment and my last desire is to stow away to a key board and spell it out in words. Yet our story of the last 25 years helps others.
Maybe part of our story involves encouraging others by its telling so that others won’t feel all alone. After all, it’s been my experience misery loves company. Why not join those going through what I know so well.
Selfish me wants to remain quiet so as not to rehash. Benevolent me feels conviction.
Maybe I shouldn’t assume our story might bore and trust it to lift up. Trials in and of themselves are of little value unless they benefit another. Perhaps it’s time to think less of me and more of others. Perhaps it’s time to crack the shell and open up.
Maybe more people can relate to our trials than I realize.
It’s worth a try.
Almost instantly, after finishing a year plan of listening through the Bible I missed the routine. I didn’t know what to do with myself each morning. Coffee, as much as I love it, wasn’t enough to start the day. I needed more. Something supernatural.
For 365 days, every single solitary morning, rain, shine, hot, cold, spring, summer, fall, and winter, I’d wake up, grab my phone, and see a read number “1″ hovering over the Bible icon. The program held high honors parked in the top left spot of my main screen. It was never pushy or rude, just a gentle nudge pointing me toward my heavenly Father.
This program and I became buddies, faithful and intimate for four whole seasons. I’d listen to the man recite scripture whilst bathing, putting on makeup, driving in the car, peddling my stationary bike, or laying out under the umbrella on a hot summer day. It had become a close partner, one I looked forward to meeting each day, which is why I cried last week listing to last words of God’s letter to man in Revelation 22. Like a balloon released to the wind I felt lost with no particular place to go.
I couldn’t take anymore so today I began surfing for a new friend. There are lots of programs but I wanted another year plan. Low and behold, by the grace of God I found one! It’s called One Story. Each day reads through scripture but not chronological this time, more like a story.
Here is its description,
“One Story” plan takes you through the key stories of the Bible in one year. The plan shows how the many stories of the Bible make up one interconnected story – God’s story. The plan calls for reading between one to three chapters of Scripure a day from three separate chapters (i.e. the main storyline and key cross references), six days a week.” — OWNit365
I finished day one and am in hog heaven again. I layed on the couch, rested my phone on my chest, closed my eyes, and listened to Genesis 1, John 1, and Colossians 1. The theme – the sovereignty of God and His son Jesus.
I have a friend for the next year and it feels good. I know come rain or shine my ears will wake to the words of scripture. My buddy and I will likely make beds, dust, do laundry, wash dishes, set out on a few trips, recline in a chase lounge, swing on the porch, and soak in a hot tub over the coming days. Me and my program will be tight like ticks and while I don’t know what 2014 will bring, I will be armed with all the strength I need from the word of God.
“May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14
Hobbies. They’re a dime a dozen. I love, love, love to write but lately been enjoying another leisure, soap making. If cleanliness is next to godliness I’m flying near glory.
There is always a reason why we do what we do. Once, when our daughter suffered a long bout with diarrhea I found myself stealing away to the mall to buy perfume. After so much bad I craved something good. Only after the fact did I realized why the sudden interest in scents.
Now it’s soap. Why?
I pause, reflect, and realize soap making fits my situation. Once again Dani has undergone a long stint of illness that has had both of us homebound. With winter holing us up even tighter I decided to learn a craft.
It started out making Frankincense and Myrrh bars for family and friends at Christmas, then came lavender, chamomile, lemon-lime, peppermint, and coconut. I eventually ran out of people and occasions to give soap as gifts so I began selling them locally on an online garage sale site and at my chiropractor’s office. I quickly realized people LOVE delicious soap!
Could it be, like me, other folks crave a fragrant escape? One that takes them far far away to a better time and place. I’m convinced we are all alike, we love lovely smells and some of us are willing to pay for things like…
Frankincense and Myrrh
Chamomile (sold out in one day)
We were made in the image of God and He loves good smelling things too. His favorite happens to be our prayers lifted high to His throne.
“And as he took the scroll, the twenty-four Elders fell down before the Lamb,
each with a harp and golden vials filled with incense—
the prayers of God’s people!”
Stop and visit me on Beigetone’s Facebook page.
Continued from Part 1 and Part 2
We sat quiet staring, first at the notepad, then at one another. We breathed in, then out. Every time we looked at the pad it said the same thing. There was nothing we could do, nothing to say. It was really happening. I have cancer. His wife is malignant. My dream of a lab mix up was fading.
After a few minutes the hot steam inside began to subside. My heart’s tempo slowed, my hands dried, and numbness filled in. We expected cancer but the nurse’s words were harsh and jolting. She didn’t mean them that way, they just were. The term that assaulted most was the word invasive. It made me think of invading soldiers strapped with knifes, guns and rifles crawling under barbwire fencing. They had crawled under my fence and hadn’t come to surprise me with a party. I felt perfectly fine but had been invaded. Cancer’s soldiers were present, active, and out to get me. Without permission and in spite of best efforts to take care of myself, I was under attack, drafted into a war.
I couldn’t absorb it all so numbness kicked in to protect. It plugged the valve, preventing fear from spilling over into panic and panic into who knows what. The news threatened and overwhelmed. It would have been easy to get off balance. It would have been normal for me to become angry, angry that this was happening and angry God did not stop it. You’d think after hearing I had cancer that would have been my response. Instead, numbness kicked in, halting all other emotions. The shut down felt good, a brief respite for the time being.
In the quiet God whispered, “Come, bow down and worship. Do not harden your heart. Remember all that I’ve done. Keep your focus on me. I am in control. You are not forgotten. I will provide. I am with you.”
Like a coach calling out to a faint athlete, God was reminding me where to focus my attention. He knew that if I were not careful I’d slip to my default, the familiar quagmire of worry and fear. I’d stew over every horrid scenario, set off on one rabbit trail after another, all while frantically batting off a swarm of what ifs. I had to keep my heart focused on the only One able to keep my mind balanced; Him, otherwise I’d be consumed.
One measly phone call turned our world upside down. Comfort, stability, and freedom vanished in an instant. We were pinned in a corner with nowhere to turn. No one could dispute we were destitute. On paper we were paupers. I believe even God agreed our circumstance appeared hopeless, at least from our point of view. He knew about our situation, He cared, and He understood, which is why He instructed me to set my eyes on Him. Things were bad, all the more reason to trust God with all my heart. This would be the key to my survival.
The Lord knows what we need. He knows us inside out, every fiber, every cell, every feeling and concern. He realizes that when, from our perspective, life falls apart, human instinct calls us to fight, to do something, anything to right our world. He understands our inclination toward fear and worry, but He also knows the devastation instinctual reactions can cause when left untamed.
For God our jam was no surprise. He allowed it. I find this comforting. From His perspective our earthquakes are not scary, nothing to incite panic. At the same time He understands the frailty of our flesh, the limits of our perspective. He knows we don’t understand when our world is crumbling to the ground and that we can’t see how things will turn out in the end. Even in His supreme wisdom He never degrades us for our insufficiencies. Quite the opposite. Our trials open the floodgates of His compassion. They rush over us in our time of need and envelop us in our darkest hour.
The fact I had cancer and we lacked health insurance and an income was a big deal, to us and to Him, but it wasn’t the main point. Knowing instinct would focus me on these pressures, God called me to center my heart on Him from that moment forward. Nothing else mattered. He would handle everything. My job was to simply trust, believe, and watch Him work.
Staring at the pad of paper, Jimmy and I begin to talk, slow at first, just a few words at a time. Jimmy’s eyes were drippy but no one caved. God had prepared us for this moment. By all accounts we already knew this would likely be cancer, the call just sealed the deal. This final blow was hard, but we were intact. It was time to cling on to what was positive. Time to count our blessings and hang onto them like buoys in a storm.
We began to chime in alternatively. It’s cancer but we caught it early. I’m so glad the doctor pushed me toward further testing in spite of the two normal mammograms in six months, otherwise I’d never known of this deadly speck. We may not have insurance but bills are paid and God is our accountant. I will lose a breast but keep my life.
Like orphans we scrounged for blessings. None were too small to count. One by one we recalled all the things God had done for us through the years. The more we thought, the more we thought of. The list grew, our hearts lifted, and soon the scales tipped toward hope. Emotions calmed and I noticed something fresh and oddly new, I was growing fond of meditating on things that were good. They were sweet lifesavers of hope telling me that even though I’d just been diagnosed with breast cancer, things were going to be ok. God had taken care of us in the past, He was with us in the moment, and could therefore be trusted for the future.