Tag Archives: reality

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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The Hardest Kind Of Prayer To Pray

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If someone were to ask you if praying is hard for you, what would you say? I don’t know about you, but sometimes prayer time is hard for me. It is, simply because I’m learning that my will and God’s will don’t always coincide. The things I want sometimes aren’t what is His will. So, for me at least, I’ve identify one of the hardest kinds of prayers to pray as the UNSELFISH prayer – the one where you ask for God’s will to be done, and actually mean it.

I have a “for instance” example, as a carry over from yesterday’s post really. My daughter is fighting a rare and aggressive cancer. We are about to go to the hospital where she will be admitted for chemo therapy. She is four. I don’t get it, and certainly don’t understand why. When I pray, my prayer has been for her healing. For her to be cancer free, and not live with any amount of cancer in her body. None. However, I have also been praying all this is according to God’s will. A service at church, in combination with some sweet heartfelt words from a friend, made me dig deeper and realize that His will and mine aren’t always the same. Well, no kidding. However, if I pray for His will, I better accept and understand that it may not go the way I want. In this particular case, that may mean that my child may not live to adulthood. That is a heartbreaking and sobering thought on the one hand. However, on the other hand, there is great joy in realizing that she’ll get to commune with Jesus – that she would get to lay her head on His lap, and rest in the arms of Jesus. Something purely peaceful and joyous about that. I DO NOT want this as our story, BUT if it is to happen, I’ve realized that it’s best to not live in dread or fear of it.

I encourage you to pray with diligence. Ask and believe for God’s will to be done. There is nothing wrong with hoping that His will DOES match up with yours, but understand that it may not always. During the times that His will and yours aren’t the same, take a moment and pray for peace in the process. It won’t always be easy, but it will be rewarding. It is hard to see peace or joy when your situation seems hopeless, but I assure you – it is possible.

I encourage you to surround yourself with people who care about you, and who are willing to walk through life with you – through whatever you are facing. When you are struggling, or just don’t know how to handle the situation, pray. Ask others for help. Never be afraid to reach out. Help is there. Hope is real.

Please feel free to connect with me. You can send me a message via the “contact me” link, or by leaving a comment below. I monitor all methods of contact.

Beyond A Diagnosis

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****I want to share this part of me with the world. This is something I have not ever shared openly – online or in person. However, the more and more I figure out how to accept myself as a child of the Most High God, I realize that this is something attached to a stigma, but not who I am. I am more. To those of you who know me in real life, and will find these things out for the first time, please understand I have had many reasons for keeping this to myself. Not many people – until today – know what I am about to share. It’s not a secret, nor is it anything I am ashamed of. My story is something I pray God can and will use to share His love and hope with the world. If you have ANY questions, please do not hesitate to ask. It is my desire that my transparency show you His love is real, and hope truly is real. I’m honored to walk through life with each of you. Please feel free to post below or to send me a message via my “contact me” page.****

The idea that I am worthy of grace simply because I’m alive seems sometimes foreign to me. Yet it’s what I’m coming to understand more and more each day. Inside me is a kid who was hurting, a teen who questioned too much, a young adult who explored and got lost, and ultimately a human being in need of grace and forgiveness.

My life has had good times, and bad times, and really bad times. The value of my life, to others and to God, never made sense to me. I wasn’t suicidal, but I also didn’t care if I lived or died.

One day, I realized the need for tangible help. I visited a psychiatrist and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I did not like – nor want – this diagnosis. And yet, there it was. I learned to cling to it. It explained why things were how they were. It became who I was. I was told I would need medications forever. My life would never again be med-free. It quickly consumed me, and became what I saw when I looked at myself.

But, it wasn’t me. It was a diagnosis. A shoe size. A hair color. A condition. But not me.

I finally came to realize that no diagnosis would define me. It may be a part of who I am, but it is not all I am. God’s grace and love defines me more than a disorder ever will.

With the help of people who let me know I mattered, I was able to see hope – one day (or hour) at a time. And today, when it sometimes feels like my heart is breaking into a thousand little pieces, I listen to the message and words of hope and I truly know that my life matters. God’s grace is sufficient to reach even me.

To anyone else who is hurting – please know that there IS hope. Don’t ever give up. Don’t ever accept a lie and be labeled something you are not. You are important, and you matter. You are not a past. You are not a reputation. You are not a diagnosis.

You ARE a child of God.