As much as I want to wait to publish this so I can come back later and change my mind and put it into my growing file of unpublished writings, I am hitting that button tonight. I know someone is over burdened and can read these words to help lift them up. I’m praying for you.
So, I can’t sleep tonight. It’s just after midnight, everyone is snoozing away, but here I am wide awake. Nothing is really bothering me, really, but I know I have wanted to write lately and I have been holding back. Every time before I publish a post I go through a million names in my head to make sure nobody is going to be offended by something I have said. I try to be graceful with my words; to please everyone…but the fact is that I cannot do that. Pleasing everyone is being a dishonest person. If anyone knows me, they know that I am anything but dishonest. I am a klutz and a ditz and my heart is on my sleeve to feel all the emotions and show all the emotions, which is probably why I can’t be dishonest! If I try to lie, the guilt would just shine through like the sun!
Anyway, so I am a hot mess, and I am holding back. But, what am I holding back? I have my Bible right here beside me and I want to dive into those pages and find that answer so badly! Right now I am reading through the Psalms, and so many times I am reading David’s words as he cries out for grace and forgiveness and relief from his pursuers and I think of just how pertinent the Psalms are to our own lives. Shouldn’t we always be crying out for God’s mercy, as undeserving as we are? Should we not be at the feet of our Lord in awestruck wonder as we realize that He chose us? He sacrificed for US!? He forgives us.
This is the month of July which is the “unofficial” Sarcoma Awareness month. And this is one thing that is weighing so heavy on my mind. I usually try to be witty and funny, but Sarcoma is so serious to me. AND, I found out that there are THREE church members in my church family who have suffered through and survived this terrible cancer. This surprises me and worries me because Sarcoma is technically rare (though there are MANY sub-types). It is a cancer that affects the soft and connective tissues of the body so it can literally be ANYWHERE in the body.
You guys, this is crazy. Anyway, that wasn’t really my point; my point was more along the lines of David crying out. You see, I have been one who cries out, and I know it is so hard to cry out in the time where there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel. A year ago this week is the anniversary of the second surgery to remove Scott’s cancer; the first recurrence he experienced. I remember the initial surgery when the surgeon came out holding the “unidentified mass” (because we did not know what it was at this point) in a specimen cup. I remember sitting with Scott’s mom and we were in happy tears because the surgeon was so proud of how easily this mass came out. He “popped it out with [his] finger”. This apparently aggravated the cancer that we did not know was cancer and when we went to our first appointment at M.D. Anderson we quickly found out it had grown almost the same size in a few short weeks. And boy did I cry out.
I remember the second recurrence just as vividly as I remember the first surgery and recurrence. It was like getting the first cancer diagnosis all over again, only worse, because we had nothing now.
We had been living in my aunt’s house (thank God for gracious family) and found out just before Christmas. It was terrible. I am actually in tears at this moment remembering the phone call. Scott had taken this trip to Houston solo because it was to be quick since it was the holiday season…all he could do was tell me it wasn’t good news. He felt like a failure…it grew back THROUGH radiation. I felt I had failed him. Maybe I didn’t cry out to our God enough. Maybe my faith wasn’t as good as a mustard seed. Maybe we were simply getting what we deserved. But, friends, we did not let that mentality keep hold of us for long. Though it is so hard, we refused to worship cancer, which is what we were doing if we allowed that, and not the Word, to guide us.
So, we pulled up our pants and got through the holidays (with a couple of secret Santas I still cannot name and will NEVER forget) and in January, just after Isaiah’s birthday, we headed back down to Houston to fight some more. It was worse this time. Scott lost most of the use of his arm, most of the feeling in it; he will never lift over five pounds without great difficulty and, according to many kids, he looks like he got bit by a shark. Recovery this time was terrible. He had to come home with a wound vac which basically means his surgical site had no skin; it was covered in plastic with a machine that vacuumed out the…whatever the stuff is. It had to heal up before he could get a skin graft, and the skin graft was no walk in the park either. It was yet another surgery, a new recovery and so much pain.
I would love to say I stood strong through this, but I did not. You see, I don’t agree with that saying that “God never gives you more than you could handle”. While Scott was in treatment and having all these surgeries, I was a full time student keeping over a 4.0 gpa. I was also home educating our children. We were hundreds of miles from a home that wasn’t really ours living with another aunt and uncle (yet again, thank GOD for gracious aunts and uncles) with no income and no way to make an income. The money Scott made from short term disability paid for our health insurance and that is all. We were denied every form of financial aid available to people who are struggling. We were frugal, and got by through our savings and the grace of God who brought people into our lives who really took care of us financially and emotionally and physically.
God gave us WAY MORE than we could handle. If we had tried to confront cancer head on, we never would have made it through. I am certain of that. But, Just as the Lord heard David as he cried out, God heard us as well and we had what we needed. We had a drastic lifestyle change, and we are still working on clawing our way out financially, but we are here and happy. We had way more on our plates than we could handle. How on earth could I have been a full time student, a home educating mother, and a care giver to my husband all while being away from a home we didn’t have any more if I was trying to go solo? “At that time Jesus said, ‘I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do. All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. COME TO ME, ALL YOU WHO ARE WEARY AND BURDENED, AND I WILL GIVE YOU REST. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:25-30 NIV).
So, friends, it is now almost one in the morning and I am ready to sign off. Writing can be so revealing. I don’t know if I will fall right to sleep, but I know that I can learn from my Savior. I know He has carried me through more than once, and He will again. I know, on this night, He is willing to take my yoke upon Him so I can learn from Him. He gives us more than we can handle all the time, friends, but it is good for wisdom. He is telling us right here that he gives us more than we can handle because we don’t have to handle it alone! Though the same people aren’t in my life now that were then, we could never have gotten through our trial without those people. Every prayer, penny, morsel of food, kind word, and care package was God teaching us how to share our burden; teaching us that, though we have been given a load we cannot carry, He will carry us.
So, friend, is your plate over flowing? Is your load too heavy? Is your heart burdened? Remember, you may have more than you can handle alone, so learn to lean on His wisdom and His words will guide you.
“My tongue will proclaim your righteousness, your praises all day long” (Psalm 35:28 NIV).