Saturday, September 6, 2014

Life-Giving Living

This is a Dear John letter to the part of this blog devoted to sickness.

I love this blog- I love writing in this blog. I love the countless people who have joined my life and celebrated God’s goodness with me in this blog. I love the way God opened this door for my husband and I to be transparent about our hardships in this blog.

And yet I don’t write in it frequently because I dread writing about being a cancer patient.

Because my reality is that I am not a cancer patient at all. More like a cancer person. I would never dream of classifying my experience as a “battle” with cancer, but more of a journey with an old friend. The kind of old friend that you’d rather not take on a journey with you or see ever again, but that’s just the way it has to be. It’s not all the adrenaline and fatigue of a battle, instead it’s the constant awareness of new surroundings and quiet fatigue that you would expect from a long journey.

So if I am to continue writing and continue journeying, I need to let the cancer blog fade away and begin to beckon in a new season of life living and reflection. I need to be free to write about all the things that stir my soul and wreck my understanding of how I thought the world works. And sometimes that has something to do with cancer, and a lot of times it doesn’t. This declaration is more for me than for you, I am needing some closure and forward momentum. I’m ready to leave the part of life behind that was constant doctors appointments and immediate updates scattered among hours of crying. I am ready to officially close that chapter and let this new chapter fully take hold, and I’d like to bring the blog along, too. I want to love writing in the blog again.

I’m not at all sure where the next part of life will take me. I have no idea what the grand plan is. Or even the overall direction, let alone what’s coming next.

But I know The Lord has set me on a journey, and I want to take you with me.

God opened the floodgates of his blessings when we decided to share with our people and our people’s people and even complete strangers the meticulous craftsmanship He was working in our lives in the midst of complete uncertainty. And to have this great cloud of witnesses standing with us and holding up our arms as we marched forward- I am still brought to my knees at the very thought of your kindness.

God is so glorified when we are open with one another about the transformation He is doing in our hearts, even in the really ugly looking parts. We need to hear that other people have ugly looking parts of their hearts, and we need to hear that The Lord is all about beautifying that mess. I believe that our stories matter, that our stories are God’s story, and that God’s story gives healing.

I’ve been learning a lot about healing recently. Specifically that God’s healing looks different than my idea of what God’s healing should look like. Typical. I should have known. God’s everything tends to look different than I think it should look. It’s so much more intricate and grand and big-picture than my ideas are. At this moment in my life, healing looks like staying at home with our sweet little toddler girl instead of working as a PA. It looks like getting 9 hours of sleep and eating well and skipping the junk or sugary (delicious) foods every time, NO EXCEPTIONS. It looks like me learning to do my part to take care of myself. Low stress,  lots of care. Turns out these things really matter, especially for me, especially right now.

I thought healing would look like God’s sovereign hand reaching into the depths of my literal heart and removing the cancer that lives there and also all cancer and all disease from my body forever. No tumor = healing. Healed vs. not healed. There or gone.  And for a lot of people, that’s how cancer works. But I’m not on the front lines of a battle field, I’m on the road trip with my quirky annoying friend on a long journey. And on the journey you have to learn to coexist, to see your pestering companion and to find a way to steel yourself for a long and turbulent journey.

Find things that bring you joy and purposefully and intentionally engage in those things. Listen to the Holy Spirit guiding you to people who will speak encouragement into your soul and who will teach you to experience God differently. Live in the word of God, figure out what constant prayer means, slow it all down and drink in some goodness.

Have a life-giving life.

That’s what I am trying to do now. That’s what healing is for me. Living a day-in-day-out that gives life instead of drains it.

I started doing calligraphy.

In April I took a crash course class and then practiced for hours every day for about 2 months before addressing my first batch of wedding invitations. Then I created a couple of rehearsal dinner invitations, then some place cards, then some personalized photo mats as gifts, then some custom art pieces… and now I have an online shop where I take orders for custom pieces. This is the thing I found that brings me joy.

This is my emotional therapy, my creative outlet, my gift from The Lord to nourish my soul. I didn’t realize how desperately I needed to be doing something creative. When I started devoting time everyday to creating (i.e. practicing, so it wasn’t creating at the beginning so much as destroying), I began feeling more alive than I had in months, years maybe. I felt more myself, more grounded, more connected to the people around me, more connected to the Creator. I felt alive again. Turns out I wasn’t taking care of my soul well enough when I was immersed in text books and job boards preparing for what’s next and forgetting what’s now. I didn’t know how important it was, despite the countless Pinterest graphics telling me to DO SOMETHING CREATIVE. I should have listened to the Pinterest graphics. And to what my soul was crying out for all along- a life-giving life.

The tag line to my shop is “Life to the little things.” I want to use the tool that gives me life to give life to other people. And it may not look like CPR or surgery or medicine like I thought it would, and it may not be saving lives like I had imagined for myself. But oh how our day-in and day-out needs a breath of life! Even if it is one little reminder that hangs in a cubicle or a verse mounted on the wall, those are the little things that give us life in the midst of our everyday. I may not be in a place to do any life saving today, but I can provide little pieces of life-giving goodness to the littlest of things. And little things are big things too.

So goodbye sickness. Hello life-giving living.

P.S. My shop is if you would like to visit :)

P.S.S. Kelly Minter actually said the phrase "The Lord has set me on a journey, and I want to take you with me" at a women's gathering I attended recently. She said it about something completely different, but the moment I heard it I thought "That is exactly what I want to do on the blog." So please don't think I made that up because I super did not :)

1 comment:

  1. I love this for so many reasons and am so glad you're featured on Lori's blog today. Hoping more people will read your story and be awakened to the need to share their stories and to do something life-giving. Also love that today I also wrote about how our stories matter. I guess great minds think alike! :)