This is what we’ve become. Day counters. When I walked into the kitchen this morning and glanced at the calendar, this is what was staring back at me. A reminder of time lost. Three long months.
Subconsciously I was keeping score of what has been ripped from me but I had know idea that the kids were too. Funny how I thought on some level that it was just me in my crazy thinking. Not so at all. And if it is crazy, then my whole family is in the boat with me. And that’s comforting….in a weird way? They’ll jump ship on me.
It’s horrific that we all know someone whose life has been affected by cancer, if not our own. An online GBM support group that I’m apart of has over 3,000 members with new members being added daily. Think of all the time that’s been robbed from them. GBM is classified as an “orphan” disease meaning that it affects fewer than 200,000 people in the US. It has a median survival rate of 14 months. It doesn’t get all of the attention that breast cancer, colon cancer, skin cancer or any other cancer does. Wanna know why? Because there’s no cure for it. And there’s no federal money being put into research for it. Just within the last month I know of three people diagnosed with GBM and another two families who have battled GBM to the end. I think the numbers need to be re-looked at.
Considering the trauma we’ve experienced, I’d say we’ve all done ok. Some days are better or easier than others. They all hurt. But in those moments when it’s the darkest, it’s easy to let the enemy get a foot hold. To allow him to plant those seeds of doubt in my mind. To relive the not so nice moments over and over like a projector has been installed inside my brain, running continuously. And I go back to the many Bible studies that I’ve done – that Momma and I did together, and I remember to capture those thoughts and images. Taking every thought and making it obedient to Christ is sometimes not easy – but it’s the only way. “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” ~ 2 Corinthians 10:5
I remember when I was little and would have a bad dream and call out to Momma in the middle of the night. She would come sit beside me and rub my back and in the softest, sweetest voice she’d redirect my thoughts to a happy place – my favorite place to be….on the beach. And I could imagine us building sand castles, playing in the crashing waves, listening to the ocean and birds above squawking at us for a just a drop of boiled peanut, a chip or a crumb of fried chicken, walking our dog. And those bad thoughts would be captured and good ones would replace them and calmness would return.
Over the last few weeks in Kids Church we’ve walked through Jesus’ baptism, his temptation in the desert and his healing of Peter’s mother-in-law. I don’t believe for an instant that the lessons I’ve been teaching the children are coincidental with where I am. I think they were for me. I always tell the kids that you may hear a Bible story 20 times BUT if you really listen with your heart and your mind, you’ll hear something new. Always. After Jesus was baptized and the Holy Spirit came down on him and he heard God speak, he goes right out into the desert to be tempted by Satan – for forty days with angels attending him. For forty long days Satan tried every temptation to break Jesus. Mind games. And Jesus used God’s word against Satan.
And. He. Won.
God always wins. Hebrews 4:15-16 tells us that Jesus absolutely can sympathize with what we are going through because he has been through it all himself and we can approach the throne, with confidence that we will receive grace and mercy and help in our time of need. He is FOR us!
So when those mind games start, I have to remember who I am in Christ. I have to remind myself of all of His promises for me. I have to search for Him in all of it. I do know that He has great plans for me. I don’t believe for a minute that my great God makes bad things happen. But he does allow us to walk through the muck and mire, learning to navigate it. To experience it. To learn from it. Sometimes we get stuck in it but He can rescue us and use it all to help us grow. As I tell my kids, it’s called character building.
And that’s about the time they give me the eye roll. And yes, I sometimes roll my eyes too.
And when I capture those bad thoughts or images and replace them with God’s truth, it’s then that I can recall all the good times and great memories that I have and be joyful and thankful for them. It’s in those moments that I can hear her voice, hear her laughter and feel her next to me….like right now.
Thank you Jesus for all that you’ve done for me. All that you will do for me.