Metastasis. Pulmonary embolism. Pleural effusion. I was an English major in college so needless to say I had no reason to know these medical terms until today. My momma has been in the hospital since Tuesday. She went in for unidentifiable pain she’s had for almost a month. After a series of every test known to man, we will hopefully get answers tomorrow after her lung doctor and cancer doctor consult one another. Even though they’re not totally sure everything that’s causing the pain they have decided to begin treatment on her cancer, which we learned a week ago has become active again after almost six months of being in remission.
Needless to say, I am overwhelmed, flustered and numb. The best way to describe it is I feel pressed but not crushed (2 Cor. 4:8). The burden is pressing on my heart, my mind constantly. I am confident in who God is, not in the circumstances or my knowledge of what’s going on. I will not lose heart (2 Cor. 4:16-18) because God knows all and He has my momma in the palm of His very capable hand. This does not mean I won’t have times of questioning, I won’t have times of being angry, sad, anxious. So, what does this mean to me? I know that He is able to heal her, completely, to erase everything away and make her physically well again. I will pray that it’s His will to do so. But, whatever the outcome: more chemo, more abnormalities, more unknown: I will CHOOSE to trust Him, even when it’s hard. I will do this, not because it’s easy or because it’s the “right” thing to do: I will do this because I will “remember the deeds of long ago” (Psalm 77:1) and choose to trust He still is doing good deeds and will continue to do them. He doesn’t change, even as my circumstances do.
So, do I pray that my momma would be healed? Yes! I pray that would be God’s will. I thank God for how awesome He is. Reminding myself of who He is allows me to gain a perspective that I don’t have if I just focus on myself, my mom, the situation. I then lose sight and begin to spiral into “what ifs” and I begin to try and take over control. I pray that my momma would know how deep His love is for her in the very depths of her soul. I devotedly pray (Colossians 4:2), that she would experience peace every moment, an indescribable peace (Philippians 4:7)…right now as she sleeps nine miles away from me, hooked up to oxygen and resting deeply because of pain medication. I pray that my family (myself included) would not become “anxious about ANYTHING but in EVERYTHING present [our] requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).
I pray for myself, that I would lean IN to this experience. Leaning in for me means to enter into this with my mom and my stepdad as he cares for her. Leaning in for me means to pray, to carry this burden to the throne room of God on their behalf. Leaning in means involving my children in the reality (age appropriate of course) of what their M’ma is going through. A great opportunity to remind them and myself that this world is not our home (Hebrews 11:13). Leaning in means allowing friends and family (near and far) to help my family bear this burden: taking up people’s offers to watch my kids so I can be present with my mom, bringing food- doing things for us. After all, this is what the body and community is for. We were created to live life with others.
I am a “doer” and if I’m being totally honest and vulnerable, I operate in my natural self as someone who wants to look good to others and to have it all together. If I do not allow others to be involved I come across as someone who is not in “need.” And boy am I ever in need. Not just now because a loved one is going through something really difficult- but EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I will choose to not be prideful. I will choose to not place barriers around my self and the situation. I will choose to let people in. Why? Because there’s much more at stake than whether or not I keep it all together. A representation of the gospel is at stake. We were created to be IN community, do life with people, just like God the Father exists in community with the Son and the Holy Spirit. I pray I will portray a true picture of why Jesus even came. He didn’t come because I’m almost perfect, almost good enough, almost have it all together and only 2% of me needed restoration. He came to bridge the gap between me and His Father (John 14:6): something I cannot do- through any means (Romans 3:23). Thankfully the story/situation never ends with depressing news. My story and my mom’s story will hopefully reflect the one Story that has the power to change lives, mine included.
So, I’m leaning in. Sure, its messy. Sure, its hard. But it’s also beautiful, it’s also lovely. Thank you for leaning in with me.
*Update: since writing this we have found out the pain was most likely caused by the fluid around her lungs. She will be having surgery Monday to drain the fluid and seal the area in order to prevent future fluid from gathering. When she’s recovered from that she will begin chemotherapy to arrest the active cancer cells. Thanks again for leaning in with our family.
Myra Grace spontaneously praying for M’ma
Ballet performance for Granddaddy and M’ma
After M’ma was wheeled out for a test, they took over the space
Mackey enjoying a popsicle from a sweet nurse