Cancer. The division of abnormal cells within the body. Such a small word…just six letters. Yet, this tiny little term has turned my family’s world upside down.
My grandmother was an amazing lady of faith and wisdom. She always said, “At the end of each day, if it’s been a good day, thank God for your blessings. If it’s been an awful day, thank God it’s over and pray renewed blessings on the morrow.”
Well, at the end of 2016, I found myself thankful that the entire year was behind me. Believe it or not, I am actually not talking about the election. Two surgeries…one planned (for my oldest daughter) and one unplanned (for Prince Charming).
But the biggest rubber band between the eyes?
A cancer diagnosis for my mom. Stage IV pancreatic cancer.
In the midst of all this, the two Bible studies I wrote for mamas and their tween girls were picked up for publication. Oh, and the Team Grace retreat was coming up, something I lead and look forward to every year. These are dreams I’d laid at God’s feet, and when God made them a reality, it suddenly felt daunting.
Do you ever feel daunted by everything in your life–blessings and burdens alike?
Friends, I love to plan. Love it. For those of you who cherish your office supplies as much as I do, can I please get a witness? When I graduated from the greatest school on the planet (Gig ’em, Aggies!), my very favorite thing was being handed an office supply magazine from my first employer with the orders to “pick out what I needed.” Yes, sir. Not a problem. I sure needed those pastel colored paperclips and matching Post-it notes. They made my desk so happy.
Do not even get me started on my yearly planner. Oh, pinch me. I cried when my husband finally convinced me to migrate to my iPhone so we could sync our calendars more efficiently. Although, my oldest daughter and I attended the Radiant Conference last month, and guess what they gave out the very first night…uh-huh. The most beautiful paper planner ever.
Here she is:
When she was placed in my hands, I lovingly ran my fingers over the cover and gave thanks to God for hearing my cry to see beyond a step or two.
Since August, there has been no long-term planning. My mom’s cancer diagnosis changed all that.
Since August, God has reminded me that His Word is indeed a light unto our paths.
Yet, a light on our path illuminates just enough for us to take a step or two. It’s not a high-beam that lights 500 yards in front of us–much as we may wish that were so.
We are asked to trust, to believe and to step in faith even though we cannot see what lies ahead.
I was plugging along with my well-planned life, and BAM! Cancer.
God and I had a serious heart-to-heart. Y’all, I already wore my clothes inside out on occasion and not as a fashion statement. It’s because I am a hot mess wife and mama who relies on my super cute and coordinated office supplies to help me keep all the balls of this crazy season of life in the air.
But guess what? My uber cute polka-dot folders and Paper Mate felt tip pens failed me.
The Master Planner and Lamp Lighter did not.
Two surgeries, a cancer diagnosis, one book launch down and one to go…mixed in with countless daily blessings that I was missing, because I was planning for tomorrow.
God’s blessing in the midst of cancer is time. How silly does that sound?
I have no idea how much time my mom has or how much time any of us have, but I do understand more than ever how precious every second is. Each day that my children squeeze me so hard I feel like my eyes are going to pop or ask to sit in my lap, these are precious God sightings and nothing I could ever plan for.
God grants us unexpected and unplanned gifts every single day.
They come in the form of high fives at work, kisses and hugs from your loved ones, an encouraging note from a friend just when you needed it most, a smile from a stranger on the street…our gift list is endless, unexpected and unplanned by us.
When we choose to walk by the lamp and stop stressing about the lack of our ability to see what is far on the path ahead, God can bless our spirits and those around us in a pretty spectacular way.
Cherish the gifts lying right in front of you.
Even when life feels so heavy that you can hardly draw a breath…
Even in the midst of incredible blessings…
Resist the urge to strain your eyes in search of that high-beam view, and instead keep your eyes fixed on the Lamp Lighter and the path He has illuminated just for you.