I couldn’t connect the words together in my brain to even form the sentence. I only wanted to erase it out of reality. I wanted to squeeze my eyes tightly enough and cover my ears so maybe I could extinguish the very imagination of it. Like a child’s nightmare, I wanted to block out the offense of it.
I didn’t know how to tell anyone, confusedly stumbling over the words the first time; the words like ashes foreign to my mouth, a sentence I’d never uttered in my entire life.
My mom has cancer.
Was this really happening? Hey, God, haven’t I already been through enough? Apparently, brain injured husband doesn’t cut me any slack; I can take all the things. I just can’t lose my mom.
All these thoughts and questions sprinkled with entitlement and bitterness towards a God who I know can make it stop, towards a God who says He loves me and yet I’m singed with hurt feelings. Does He not see I’m already bent, near broken?
These offenses swirled in my mind and in my heart and with a deep breath I blew them all out, choosing to sink down into the arms of my Abba Father; the One who spread his arms open on a cross for me, the One who became human for me. A thin thread of hope pulled me back down to the roots of my faith, the very simplicity of it where my heart meets soil previously fertilized with faith through circumstances unwanted.
My mom has cancer.
It’s one more thing in all the mess of the things and I realize these singed edges have left ashes piled in my heart. I’m angry. It’s not a place I want to be in, but I am not sure how to get out of it. For more than 10 years, I’ve survived hour by hour waiting for God to move in a mighty way of healing for Danny. I’ve felt isolated and apart, living in the space of between; before the accident and the redemption of it.
And now, on top of everything else my mom has cancer. And, she’s far away and I can’t be there for her like I want. All my life things are big things of which I am completely out of control to make right. I can’t heal my brain injured husband. I can’t help him walk again, work again, drive again. I can’t do anything to make up for 10 years of our distorted existence. I can’t have the help mate I long for. I can’t be the mother I want to be or give Corbin the father Danny yearns to be and would have been if only; if only the accident had never happened.
If only cancer had never happened.
It’s not the first time my loved ones have been swept up by cancer, but it’s the first time it’s my mother. My mom, my best friend, my soul’s twin. I long to see His glory in Danny’s healing and in hers.
As stooped over in spirit as I am about all of this, I know I must rush to the lap of He who comforts, of He who is in control; He who has written the expanse of time and calms my tension. Living life on the parallel of our dreams, we are daily reminded that life isn’t to be lived based on our determination of its’ rightness but in obedience to the very steps along our narrow path. We are burdened and offended by loss, yet humbled to find ourselves in the posture of submission to God’s sovereignty, to His glory.
But, we must look for the glory to buoy the brokenness of our spirits. It is in the sunset each evening and the glow of our Christmas tree with two strands of dead lights. It’s in the full moon bringing light to the dark places at 3:32am when I’m up with Danny. It’s in dinner brought by and enjoyed with friends around our table. It’s in the belly laughter of my child and in my husband standing on his own two feet to wash dishes.
Warriors, no doubt you have your own pivotal moments in life that have bent you and singed you. Perhaps it wears the face of cancer, brain injury, divorce, grief, financial stress, or even the burden of perfection. The only thing I know is to tell you that you are not alone at that table. Yes, the Lord God is with you, but I will pull up a seat and order a cup of coffee. We’ll talk and share our junk and sit in the freedom of knowing it’s okay to not be okay and still love Jesus. We can bring all the junk of cancer and dead coffee pots to the cross and know there is enough grace at the table to cover it all.
Cancer isn’t the end of the story and neither is brain injury. Restoration and redemption of all the evils of life is the punctuation of finished work.
I look forward to the finished work.
In honor of my mom, I leave you with the verse she has selected as the manner in which her cancer story is written:
You are the living letter of the Anointed One, the Liberating King, nurtured by us and inscribed, not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God—a letter too passionate to be chiseled onto stone tablets, but emblazoned upon the human heart. II Corinthians 3:3 (VOICE)
May we all finish our work as a living letter written in Spirit ink emblazoned on our fellow human’s hearts.