Before I was a married mommy, I spent hours each day at my favorite coffee shops around Nashville, computer at my fingertips and coffee within reach, writing until I could write no more. When people ask me if I miss anything about my life before marriage & children, I always respond “no, not really…except the coffee shops.” I don’t remember the last time I did this–it’s been at least a year, maybe two. However, my husband needed some good, quality time with our daughter and this mommy needed some good, quality alone time so here I am, in my favorite coffee shop (this time in Atlanta), computer (iPad) at my fingertips and coffee within reach. Such a familiar feeling yet this time, I hardly have the words.
Two weeks ago I wrote a post called “Dealing with Lies, Pain, & Really Terrible Weeks.” that was so vulnerable and honest that it had friends and family texting and e-mailing me to make sure I was ok. I was fine, I just needed to get out some of the jumbled emotions and thoughts I was dealing with. It was raw and messy and showed that the human struggle is real and despite my determination and often overwhelming love for Jesus and all He is that I, too, cry, hurt, and struggle with pain.
Fast forward to today and here I am, speechless, struggling to find the words to convey what’s bursting forth from my heart. Instead of pain, it is joy. Instead of anxiety, it is peace. Instead of the sting of death, it is the life of life.
What changed, you might ask? Everything…yet not a single thing.
October was a hard month for me and my entire family. I was sick for a few weeks and really felt terrible. My husband and sister experienced a tragic loss and over all, it was a month we are happy to leave behind. In the midst of all that, I would attempt to refocus my heart and renew my mind but not surprisingly, it was tough. The only thing I could do was just get in the presence of God…and that’s about it. I would speak joy into my house and my family and speak life into my body but even muttering the words felt more like pushing a boulder than an overflow of what was really in my heart. So I’d sit. I’d get on my face before the Father and do nothing. I had absolutely nothing to give.
Fortunately, it’s not about me.
In the midst of what looked like chaos and defeat, He was at work. When joyous words felt forced and insincere, He was at work. When hearts were heavy and tears flowing, He was at work. How easy it is to believe that our reality is His reality when in fact, the opposite is true.
He never, ever, ever changes. He is loving, kind, and slow to anger. He is abounding in grace and mercy. He is the giver of life and the redeemer of all things upon which the enemy dares to tread. He has given us healing without restraint and has opened the doors to unending joy and peace. He’s the one who always shows up & He’s the one who always comes through. And he’s the one who never breaks his promises.
Despite what we might think in our moments of weakness, our situation does not determine his ability or intention. We can’t rest in what we see with our natural eyes but we rest in the consistency of who He is and who He will always be. And that’s it.
The last week of October was the 3-month mark for all new scans. Like any cancer patient will tell you, scan anxiety is very real and even though I felt strong and had found no new tumors, it’s still unnerving! Scans came and went and a few days later it was time for my monthly appointment where I would get the results. After a ridiculously long 3-hour wait, I went into the exam room, changed into a gown, & waited on the doctor to come in. A few minutes later, in he came…with a giant smile on his face.
“Well, Mrs. Cruz, your scans looked great. Chest & abdomen were clear, except for a small stable tumor on the adrenal gland.”
Clear? What do you mean? Clear? It’s been a long time since I’ve heard the doctors use ‘clear’ and ‘scan’ in the same sentence…but it happened! I know I shouldn’t be surprised since I stand and believe for complete healing but this is a really, really, really big deal. It wasn’t even a substantial medical expectation that the current treatment I’m on would completely dissolve the tumors (in the lungs, liver & more)…shrink, yes. Keep stable, yes. But dissolve? Not really expected.
But as I said, my reality is not His reality and what I see rarely conveys what he’s really up to. When my situation and world seem to be constantly changing, He is not. As transition comes and seasons shift, He remains the same. And so does our access to Him. He invites us into His world, encouraging us to pursue him without reservation. He happily accepts our pain and turns it into joy and to him, our tears are mere vessels to hold his oil of gladness. Our silence gives him the chance to speak and most importantly, when we have absolutely nothing left to give, the opportunity is HIS to give everything.
He IS who He says He is.
So what has changed?
Everything..yet nothing at all.