Bridging The Gap Of Faith And Reality

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To anyone reading this, I want you to know this is going to be a transparent look at the way I think. My reality is an interesting one, and I have had a lot of opportunities to examine just how I relate to God, and to what makes up the reality of life. The overall theme of this entire blog is where faith meets reality. I’d like to create a word picture and share my heart on how this looks in real life.

If you have followed this blog for any length of time, you will know two are true about me – I have been diagnosed (years ago) with bipolar disorder, and my daughter is fighting a rare and aggressive brain cancer that once was gone and has now returned, having returned and metastasized to multiple locations down her spine.

Alone, either of these things provide enough reason to question God, and ask a multitude of questions. Together, however, things can be unbearable at times. It’s what happens during these times that define how I see the world, and even how I react to the world around me.

Let me level with you. Things have not been easy lately, incredibly difficult at times even. How do I respond though? I recognize that the God I say I know and love truly is in control. I continuously strive to do things and live within His will – knowing it is the perfect place for anyone to be. The thing is this though. His will and my will are often not the same. They may differ only slightly, or there may be huge differences. The question I always have to look at is if I truly believe the things I say about Him. This is the place where the virtual rubber meets the road.

As for me, I make a conscious decision very regularly to remember these things I have come to know as the truth. I know that God is still good, that He is still in control (even when I’m not), and ultimately He IS in control.

Let’s talk about bipolar disorder for just a moment. That is a title, a label that describes why certain things are the way they are for some individuals. Things are difficult to imagine, unless this is something you have personally walked through in some capacity. I recently heard someone I love and respect say “these people” referring to people who deal with mental illness, bipolar disorder specifically. It was a negative connotation stemming from personal experience with someone who chooses not to take care of them self, and in so doing hurt innocent people who surround them. Being lumped in with “those people” initially bothered me. However, it also made me realize that there is something altogether different about the bipolar person who doesn’t care, and the one who does. That alone is one reason I choose to take care of myself, and to seek help when help is needed…and believe me, it IS needed more often than I’d like to admit. However, as such, it’s okay to not always be okay – it’s just what I CHOOSE to do, or to surround myself with, during these times that either breaks me down or builds me up.

This is the same concept that goes hand in hand with watching your own child fight aggressive cancer not once, but twice at this point. It hurts, and the emotions that go hand in hand with this are unimaginable. People often tell me they cannot imagine what we go and walk through just daily. That’s good. I don’t WANT people to have to understand.

Imagine being told that your child has cancer. That’s difficult, to say the least. Imagine, then, the joy that goes along with hearing that the cancer is gone – no evidence of the disease. Imagine the cancer being gone, and treatment being complete. There is unimaginable joy that goes along with these scenarios, let me tell you.

However, try to not understand the emotions that go along with hearing that the cancer is back, this time having spread. Add to that, that one part of treatment is aimed at curing the disease, while the follow on part of treatment is aimed at being more palliative in nature – helping her live with this as long as she can. That, my friend, it’s a hard thing to hear, hard facts to swallow.

Where does God and my faith come into play here? It all goes back to that moment where I either trust God, or I don’t. I recognize that, without a miracle that only can come through God’s hands, my daughter’s long term survival isn’t fully expected. It’s hoped for, but in medical eyes, Just not a realistic expectation. I know, without a doubt, that God can supernaturally heal her – with or without medical treatment.

I KNOW that He is able. However, for whatever reason, He doesn’t every single time. I’ve walked this road with other families who have children who have valiantly fought but completed their fight on this side of Heaven. They die before they’ve had a chance to really live life. Watching other families – ones filled with incredible faith and never-ending hope for healing (while on earth) for their child – is incredibly difficult. To know that God is in control, and that He has the capability to heal – but doesn’t always doesn’t make it any easier when He doesn’t. For whatever reason, God’s plan often doesn’t look the same as the plan we’d choose if given the option. No one would wish death from cancer on anyone, let alone an innocent child. However – the reality is that it does happen…and more often than anyone realizes.

The fact of the matter is that God IS still good, and He still loves me (and you) when it’s hard to see or to feel it. To realize that He is in control and that His plan is the best isn’t always easy, but it IS ALWAYS worth it.

I will not ever stop praying and hoping for total and complete healing for my daughter – and for all fighting cancer – until there is no longer a reason…until cancer is completely cured once and for all, or until she is in Heaven – – at which time I will forever seek that cure for others. I will never give up the faith that God IS in control, and my prayer will remain that this whole situation is in His hands and that His will is for her to live a full life, one completely free of any cancer or disease. That is, and will remain, the reality I hope and pray for for her…and all the others fighting this monster. Thank you for being alongside us on this fight.

If this post has spoken to you – for whatever reason – I’d like to know. If you just need a friend, or a listening ear, I’d be honored to play that part in your story. Please feel free to post below in comments, or to message me through the contact me form. It’d be an honor to connect.

Similarly, I am sincerely grateful to each and every person walking with us on this journey, even when it’s just plain difficult to walk. For all the kind words, and all the prayers, I’m forever grateful.

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8 responses »

  1. Eagerly read your updates daily, and pray daily for your precious Janet and for you. May our God richly bless you and walk with you during this journey!!

  2. Blessings come from trusting God even when the reality we see is to us unfavorable to say the least. There are no human answers to some things but the Lord is faithful.
    I love these verses … ” I give thanks for your loving-kindness and faithfulness for your promises are backed by all the honor of your name. When I pray you answer encouraging me with the strength that I need.” Ps. 138:1-3. God bless & strengthen you, precious Janet, & your family.

  3. Very well said! You put in to words what I often feel but can’t seem to express in words. It is very hard to hear the words cancer when it involves a loved one. I remember the first time we were told my husband had cancer. My heart felt like it literally fell out of my chest. Then like you we were told his cancer was in remission. Yes he still had precancerous cells but not cancer. What joy we felt! Then exactly one year later, the gagging on food started again. We go back to the Dr. another scope is done. I get the call while he is still in surgery that the tumor is back and it is malignant and can not be removed. WOW! What a let down to say the least! I didn’t know how to react, scream, cry, faint, get angry and throw things! What do you do! Like you we put it ALL in God’s hands! We know he is in control, but the human side of us wants to question why. Why him? Why is? What did we do to deserve this? Then you realize, why not him or us? God has a plan, we may not like it but we have to trust in Him! He will bring us through this in His time and in His way. Thank you for reaching out to others it is nice to relate to someone who is going through the same struggles although it would be nice if neither of us had to. I’m sorry to hear that being bipolar has been thrown in the mix! There are so many others that suffer from his disorder that don’t seek help. Thank The Lord you sought help. Like you, I hope this blog will help others reach out for help. I myself suffer from anxiety which has increased with my husbands diagnosis. I have since had to increase my medication. Like you we take it one day at a time! Rejoice in the good days! Much love and hugs! Pauletta

    • My goodness Pauletta. Thank you so much for connecting. I know our meeting at Red Robin that one day was not by chance. I know it was part of God’s intricate plan. I’m so grateful we took the time to connect and learn each others stories. You’re so right – why them, but also why not them. We live in a broken world. I don’t understand it,and won’t pretend to like it all the time….but, it is what it is, and we either trust in God to hold us, or we don’t. I’ve found it’s MUCH easier to let God be God, and for Him to take care of us – like only He can. I’m so sorry you’ve struggled with anxiety as well. It doesn’t make you broken, but rather human. I’m glad you seem to know it’s okay to not always be okay. HUGS and love to you both!!

  4. I use to have a problem understanding Christians with depression but it’s funny once depression had me in its grips, I started to understand. I had brain surgery and was also on a seizure med that had the side effect of depression so of course I dropped right into it. I could not understand why I was suffering with this. Was I not faithful enough? Did I do something wrong? It wasn’t like I had not given glory to God for bringing me through the surgery. I had to realize that depression was not about being happy but it was a chemical imbalance. My skull was opened up which disrupted it and I was taking drugs that hastened the depression on. I thought if I talked about how rough things were that I was saying God was not taking care of me. I did not want to get out of bed and I asked God why had he not just let me die on the table. It broke my husband’s and daughter’s hearts. Thankfully my neurologist figured out I was in depression and switched my meds and I started an antidepressant.I did go for counseling for a short time just to get my head on straight.

    I am so sorry about your daughter. I have said before that I would go through another dozen brain surgeries to keep my child from enduring what I have. There is some research that shows the type of brain tumors I have are hereditary so I worry about that. I hate to think that I might have passed it on to her through my genes.

    God is in control. I don’t have the answers why bad things happen but I know God has it all taken care of.

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