(Previously published on February 21, 2011)
(sorry this is a long one...so much to share on the morning of my last radiation treatment....)
Friday was ushered in with a quiet anticipation. It would be day 27 of my 28 days of treatment. But even more exciting....a close friend was having a c-section that morning welcoming their 10th child into this world. My heart awoke that morning with her before me, as throughout the morning, I brought her before God's throne. This was her first c-section. A lot of uncertainty for her. A new experience. But a solid faith and trust in God Almighty.
For me, a sign of new life from the hand of God. New breath. New joy. New sounds. A springing forth.
Child number 10 for them....month number 10 for me. The end and a beginning.
I waited anxiously by the phone to hear the news, checking my computer a few times to see if their children had emailed. By 10:30 I couldn't wait any longer and called to hear that a sweet, healthy baby boy was born. All were doing well.
Thank you, Lord for the life that you give us. The life in the physical....but even more, life eternal through your Son, Jesus Christ. A dying for the purpose of living. His life for ours. Bought at a price.
Worth the pain.
Worth the agony.
Worth the wait.
The day continued on, as each day does. Barclay had work commitments that prohibited him from coming to treatment that day. In the afternoon, off I went stopping along the way to drop Faith off at Preschool and then onto radiation.
And the pendulum continued swinging as my mind went to the getting on with life, while laying down the fears that the "getting on with" encompassed. Wanting in some strange way to just stay in this place a little longer because the "getting on with" it means waiting. The "getting on with it" means questions remain unanswered. "The getting on with it" means trusting God at the deepest level I have ever experienced. Will I live to see my children get older? Will I suffer at the hand of this disease? Will my husband grow old without me by his side?
Will I trust God with it all?
My head knows all the Bible verses. This isn't my first testing. It is one of many. And what I have found is that God uses each one to carve out fear deeper and deeper so that the word of God may be implanted in its place. A heart surgery of sorts....not laproscopy, not catheterization, but true open heart surgery.
But head knowledge isn't enough. Hence the surgery. Hence the walking it out. The testing.
You know faith isn't stagnant. You are either walking forward, standing still, or falling backward.
I want to move forward. And so my heart needs to align with my head. The Truths that I know, as I live them out.
There is a quote in the movie Shawshank Redemption that says, "You either get busy living, or you get busy dying."
I want to be busy living.
Later that afternoon, I called my friend to see if I could stop by for a visit. So desiring to see her. To encourage her in her recovery, after having 6 c-sections myself.
My husband took the kids off to their basketball practices, and I made my way up to the hospital, alone.
As I was driving, the Christian radio station I was listening to lost reception. As the garbled voices and music filtered through the speakers, I felt around for the stash of worship CD's that I knew my husband had somewhere in his car. One lone CD was felt behind the driver's seat, as I quickly grabbed for it, while trying to keep the car in the right lane.
I slipped it into the CD player. Praises poured through the speakers, clearly now. But my mind was in a different place. The words fell on closed ears as my mind bounced around with thoughts of the future.
I arrived at the hospital as darkness had descended. It was a hospital I hadn't frequented and the layout unknown. I eventually found the parking garage and then navigated through a myriad of walkways and doorways, more hallways until the elevator stood in front of me and I crossed into the maternity ward and then into her room.
We had a sweet time of fellowship. And her baby, simply divine. There was peace. The beauty of God's creation. All things made new.
As I left the hospital, reflecting on God's goodness. Once again on life. I made my way back through the maze of vacant hallways and doorways. The hospital closing down for the night, I turned into the parking garage foyer and there coming down a stairwell was my friend's oldest daughter. Distraught as she had just spent the last 30 minutes trying to find her way through the maze. Frustrated and tired after a long day.
Knowing the trouble I had finding the way, I asked her if I could lead her back to her mom. Together we quietly walked the steps leading to the elevator and up to the second floor. As we walked I pointed out the landmarks so that on her way back, she would know she was going in the right direction. The signs pointing the way were hard to notice. You really had to walk with your eyes open, looking for signs marking the way. But they were there.
We said good-bye and once again the steps retraced. Only this time, my mind went to the beautiful picture it was of our walk with God. Of trusting that He will lead us to the end location. His ending. He gives us the landmarks. He gives us His Word to direct us. He gives us access to the throne of God to talk to the Father. He sets up the signposts and is the lamp. If only we would walk with eyes open to Him. The road is often uncertain. The path winding. But He will lead, if we will follow.
I got in my car to travel home with a peace in my heart.
The air outside was still tinged with the warmth of the day. The thermometer had inched into the 70's, temperatures uncharacteristic for February in the northeast.
I glided the window down as I pulled out onto the road. I turned the volume dial on the radio and the CD from earlier flooded my ears, penetrating my heart.
I was ready to receive.
And this song came forth.....Mercy Me's "Word of God Speak"
at a loss for words
and the funny thing is, it's ok
The last thing I need
is to be heard
but to hear
what YOU would say
Word of God speak
Would you pour down like rain
washing my eyes to see, your Majesty
to be still and KNOW
You're in this place
Please let me stay and rest in your Holiness
Word of God speak
in the midst of YOU
beyond the music, beyond the noise
All that I need
is to be with YOU
and in the quiet
hear YOUR voice
Word of God Speak.....
at a loss for words
and the funny thing is, it's ok
I hit repeat and turned it up louder as I sang those words from the very core of my heart. Hearing this song long before. Knowing the words, well. But tonight a whole new meaning. They were words that I said in Truth. Not just lyrics. But my lyrics. The song of my heart sung to the heart of my God.
And the tears fell unabandoned, surrendered to Him alone.
Please, Lord, speak.
Give me a Word.
Show me You are in this place with me.
I have no words.
I am desperate to hear from you.
I am listening.
I got home and sat down at my computer, ready to write down all that God was speaking to me. I didn't want to lose this moment. Didn't want to forget for a minute.
But the kids walked through the door, moments later. A movie in hand asking me to join them for family movie night.
A tug of war....the kids wanted me....I shut the computer and snuggled next to them on the couch as God brought the day to a close.
Saturday morning, I awoke early and came down to the office to be with my Jesus and journal from the day before.
I opened my computer, as my email quickly filled my inbox. As I scanned the contents, there was an email from my sister in law. She had posted something on my FB wall.
She and I don't communicate often that way. I love her deeply, as I know she does me, but we don't talk very often. I was curious.
I opened the email. And here was the content:
"Hey Stacy, while I was praying on Thursday night with our praise team, I silently lifted your name up and God immediately instructed me to share a message with you.
As clear as day these words rang in my head: "tell her to continue to trust in me".
Sorry for the delay, I hope you are doing well and hanging in there. Know that we love you and are here if you need anything. Hope we can get the family together again soon-"
I started bawling.
I asked God for a Word. I asked God to show me He was in this place with me. And He did.
He knew the moment that I would need those words of encouragement. He knew the preparation that was needed that I would receive. My sister in law, the messenger with a message from God to Me.
God knows. He cares about the big picture, but He cares about the intimate details of our lives.
He is real. He is present. He is bigger than our little minds can comprehend.
"Tell her to continue to trust in Me."
Life giving words.
And today, as I walk through those radiation doors for the last time His Words will ring through my ears and into my heart as He blankets me with His love and Holy presence.
"Washing my eyes to see, your Majesty
to be still and know
You're in this place
Please let me stay and rest in your Holiness....."
Word of God Speak.
"I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill and to destroy.
I have come that you may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
I am the good shepherd.
The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep." John 10:9-11
Much love today,