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God's sovreignty

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It isn't called a "battle" for nothing


Now I understand why people say they are "battling" cancer.  Every day is a fight.  There is always some physical, mental, or spiritual war going on inside.  

The physical effects are never ending.  Just as one ailment heals, another one rears its ugly head.  The fatigue is always there.  I cannot figure out the balance between sitting idle all the time and remaining active.  If I rest too long, my body aches.  If I am too active, my body aches.  I can't find my new normal.  I hear the advice of experts in my head: "Go about your normal activity." or "Don't push yourself too hard."  The irony of it all is that I was functioning just fine before I went to the doctor.  I was an active mama managing all the things that come along with moving to a new city.  Then 1 visit to the ER changed everything.  Now here I am feeling sick everyday, attempting to push through the "yuck" in order to be some sort of wife and mom.  It really stinks that the medicine that will save my life has to make me so sick.

Feeling so bad has led me to think about people who deal with chronic illness like lupus, MS, and fibromyalgia.  Fighting pain and fatigue is part of their everyday.  To those of you who are suffering:  I am so sorry for your pain. 

I keep thinking about children and adults with severe special needs.  Before this, I naively never thought about how they were feeling physical.  My focus was always on the things they couldn't do like run or feed themselves or speak.  I assumed that because they were born with their conditions that they were just used to it and knew nothing different.  But they deal with pain and discomfort EVERY DAY!  Suffering is a part of their normal.  To those of you with special needs: I am so sorry for your pain.

In the moments that I am feeling decent, the mental battle tends to kick in.  I start thinking about the "what ifs."  What if this treatment doesn't work?  What if I have to go through a more aggressive treatment?  What if the treatment works but then the cancer comes back?  Whew.  The "what if game" is a quick way to crazy town.  I try to shut it down as quickly as possible.

And spiritually...the temptation to ask "Why me, God?" is always there.  But God did something really cool for me in the hospital which has kept me from going down the "why me" path. When the cancer diagnosis was confirmed, I had a very vivid image of God handing me this cancer in the palm of His hand.  I felt such a tremendous peace that this was all in His control.  He had ordained this for me at this time.  It definitely is not what I would have asked Him for, but I knew that it was no mistake.  There was such a profound comfort in knowing that His hand was all over this illness and that it was no accident.  His presence was so real in those moments. 

I am reading A Place of Healing by Joni Eareckson Tada.  She became a quadriplegic at the age of 16 in a diving accident.  She was 60 years old when she wrote this book, and was battling severe chronic pain.  She knows suffering.  I look forward to sharing with you her thoughts on God and the mystery of suffering.  

But now, it is time for some ice cream.  

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A look back

I started this post months ago and have been hesitant to share.  I don't ever want to come across as someone who claims to have figured out the magnificent and mysterious plan of God.  He knows all and sees all and has a plan that involves all of eternity.  I will never comprehend it and that makes me look at Him in awe.

But looking back on the 3 years that we waited for our daughter to arrive, I can see that God was preparing us. He used various circumstances to get us ready for her grand and sudden entrance into our family.  Check out one incident that happened about 5 months before she was born:

One afternoon in the spring, we received a phone call from our social worker.  A baby had been born who needed a home.  With very few details, we decided to move forward.  A conference call with our attorney and social workers was scheduled for 9 PM.

At this point, I was in shock.  In an effort to prepare and process what was happening, I pulled out some baby clothes and went to Target for diapers and formula.  I can't say that it helped much.  We were about to become parents again overnight!

The conference call lasted about 45 minutes.  After finding out more details about the situation, we were left feeling torn.  Our attorney's honest assessment of the situation revealed a high legal risk.  If we chose to adopt this baby, there was a chance that we would find ourselves in a custody battle.  There was a possibility that the baby could be taken from our home someday.  

How in the world were we supposed to make this decision overnight?  It seemed impossible.  Was this a time when we were supposed to take a leap of faith in spite of the lack of peace we were feeling?  Was this the baby that we had been waiting for?  Or was our lack of peace a sign that this was not the right baby for us?

It probably goes without saying that not much sleep was had that night.  The next morning, I spent some time out on our back porch praying.  I still did not feel at peace about the situation and neither did my husband.  I wanted to move forward.  I wanted to be able to feel confident about getting in the car and going to get that baby.  But I didn't.  

I called our social worker in tears and told her no.  It was horrible.  I second-guessed our decision.  How could I turn away from something that I had wanted for so long?  

But the bottom line was that neither of us felt a peace about the situation.  As days passed by, we eventually became more confident in the decision we had made.  

Fast forward 5 months...

We received a phone call about a baby that had been born who needed a home.

Dejavu, right?

We moved step by step through the situation, and 22 hours later brought our daughter home. 

I believe that God used the situation in the spring to prepare us for our daughter's arrival.   It was a sort of "dry run," so to speak.  There were details about our daughter's situation that made it clear that she was the one for us.  Details that gave us the courage to move forward into what God had for us.  

I am often reminded of the lyrics by Steven Curtis Chapman:

"God is God and I am not.  We can only see a part of the picture He's painting."

It is cool to be able to look back and catch a glimpse of what He was weaving.  I know that there is SO MUCH MORE of the tapestry of my life and our daughter's life and her birth family's life that is hidden from me.  I don't know all of the whys and hows.  I am ok with that.  It is part of what makes God, GOD, right?