Friday, October 16, 2015

The Call to Persevere

I am not one to give up easily.

I stubbornly went to college for years, aimless in my direction until finally choosing to become a teacher.

I have held onto friendships long after they've drifted away.

I fight for things I believe in - even when it appears nothing is changing.

Once in college I went so far as to "chase down" the author of a very controversial biographical book.When I interviewed her over the phone she told me: "Your persistence is going to get you far."

I was 19 years old.

Twenty years later, I realize that she was right, but with a twist.

God has taken me this far.

The Bible is rife with examples of persevering, such as when Paul talks about running the race and finishing the course (of life).

And today during my Mom's group, we watched a video about the book Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas (LOVE his books!), and he drew the parallel that investing in your marriage for the long term is a lot like the endurance you need to walk the Christian life without giving up.

So why do I keep wanting to quit this Cancer?

In some ways it's been four long, arduous years. Although I'm not the one who is physically enduring it, it's still hard to watch.

Ryan is the one I entered into a sacred marriage with, the man I dream about walking side by side when we are old. I simply hate watching the effects of it on Ryan's body and want the Cancer to quit so that we can realize our long-term dream.

My heart is breaking after seeing him get worse from two weeks of a daily fever, just from a "viral infection."

Today was a really hard day.

A pull-your-covers-over-your-head-and-take-a-nap day.

But the message I heard in my Mom's group was loud and clear: persevere!

Don't quit!

Keep going!

Hang in there!

They even quoted James 1:4, which says that once we have our faith tested, the end result will make us perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

I want to lack nothing.

But today I was feeling emotionally depleted.

Definitely lacking.

God showed up in the midst of my down day. He gave me a friend at my Mom's group to give me a hug, listen compassionately, and encourage me to keep going.

Tonight, I'm still here, slogging through the effects of illness that zaps the energy out of my entire family in one form or another.

But more important than that, I was reminded that God is with me, every step of the way.

He's cheering me on.

Providing.

I am going to persevere.

No matter what.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Parallel Lives

I never thought that being pregnant would give me some insight into Ryan's Cancer, but it has.

I always looked at his side effects and couldn't really relate. But then I got pregnant.

Oh, women who have been pregnant know what I am talking about:

Weight fluctuations.

Nausea and vomiting.

Fear of bad things happening.

Swollen ankles and legs.

Feeling full quickly after eating.

Nose bleeds.

Bathroom issues (in pregnancy, from the hormones; in Cancer, from the pain meds).

Not feeling like yourself.

Back pain.

Extreme fatigue.

But then I thought about the ending -- how I know the hoped for outcome of pregnancy and it's SUCH a good one! Does Ryan get a good ending to his Cancer journey?

Yes, yes he does! There is victory, either way.

If he stays here on earth a little longer, he gets to be with us and celebrate this new little life and enjoy his other daughter and wife too.

And if he dies, he gets to be in Heaven with Jesus forever!

Paul said in Philippians 1:21: "For me to live is Christ and to die is gain."

So, like Paul, whether Ryan is here or in Heaven, He is given the hope in the Savior, or the Savior Himself.

I wish it didn't take living parallel lives in order for me to be more empathetic to my husband's condition, but it's done just that.

And it's made me closer to both him and Heaven.