“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:” -Ec. 3:1
I have been writing more in my head than scratching on paper or moving a blinking cursor across the screen.
There is a time for everything.
Perhaps this is not quite my time for sharing and writing everything on my heart.
Perhaps I would prefer to write about beauty and truth and good rather than all things related to brain cancer and stroke recovery.
The words fade to dust long before they are given breath and life.
I miss the time when weaving the words came more easily. Perhaps it is not the time to speak or write, but a time to be still.
There was a time when I’d happily trade sleep for stringing together thoughts and words to land in the hearts of others and offer a glimpse of hope, beauty, and truth.
It IS a time for putting rest and healing above many things.
For now, our toil resembles the hidden work of spring bulbs as they quench their thirst and reach for the light beneath the dry, dark soil.
Here, hard and holy work is being done—hidden beneath the surface, behind closed doors, and in the sacred spaces.
Lately, I have found myself embracing being still, reading incessantly, listening intently, contemplating deep within, and serving those entrusted to my care.
Speaking of caring and serving those I love—#caregiverlife—it is hard to believe we are about six months since Jon’s last surgery and its unexpected complications.
What a time it has been.
There has been sacrifice, sorrow, self-denial, detachment, mortification, fasting (not the dieting kind), giving of alms, penance, forgiveness, grace, and mercy.
Thank God for seasons like Lent.
In this season, we enter the desert to unite our suffering with Jesus—the one who suffered and died for us. We are reminded we are not made for this world, but this is our journey of sanctification. This is how saints are made, and here we learn our purpose is to point others to the cross as we leave our worries at the feet of Jesus.
For every foot I wash, every shoe I lace, every step I guide, every meal I make, every affirming and encouraging word I offer, I remind myself I need to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus.
He will continue to show us the way. The Way of the Cross has been beating on my heart, guiding my steps lately. The Way of the Cross allows us to walk with Jesus through every suffering.
It has been a time of healing, rest, recovery, restoration, praying, holding space to quiet the noise while reconciling necessary things.
It has also been a time of holding hope, fixing eyes, finding joy, making memories, celebrating holidays, anniversaries, birthdays, and holy days. We have also been weeping with joy (Psalm 126) the last several months for the progress Jon continues to make—miraculous, to say the least. It’s a slow process, and the work has no definitive timeline but be guaranteed there is impressive and continual progress.
The growth and progress, healing, and return of function may not be readily evident to others. Still, our family here knows the truth in many ways.
Two months ago, we discovered there was no tumor progression (i.e., it remains stable), and there was evidence of healing on the brain. This was the first positive news from an MRI in over a year.
It bears repeating. There was no evidence of tumor progression, and there was evidence of healing on the brain.
We were able to exhale just a bit.
All of this was good news and worthy of celebrating. Just hours after receiving this news and after a very long day at appointments back in January, Jon had a seizure.
While it could have been far worse in the grand scheme of things, it was Jon’s first seizure, and it was traumatic and yet another of the many things that can go along with brain cancer.
There is a time for everything and many things.
Aside from a seizure and a hospital visit, it has been a time of a few setbacks trying to steal our joy and peace: there was a small electrical fire, a fall thanks to an encounter with a crazy bat that knocked us off our feet, unexpected medical bills that hit where it hurts, and pain from a few deep wounds that need healing.
It’s in the details, and the small, everyday unexpected requests is where He delivers answers to prayers and gives us strength and courage to keep going.
A month ago, we took a last-minute drive for a weekend to see our college peeps and a few of their friends in Ohio.
Taking that trip was an answer to prayers and a miracle that we will forever treasure with a few of the best days of our life. The fact that Jon was strong enough and willing enough despite a few adjustments was welcomed news. Jon and I continue to choose to LIVE in the moment and be present to the things that bring joy and peace.
As I read this to the kids, Isabelle (my joyful one) states out loud, “it’s a miracle nothing went wrong on that trip,” even though it snowed all weekend and the entire drive home. How is that for perspective?
We see God in all things.
After a few weeks of much-needed spring cleaning (and purging), we are now enjoying a spring break with a visit from our kids (and a few of their special friends). Thankful the weather has quickly turned the lion into a lamb. A quick March snowstorm doesn’t get to subdue the growth, joy, and life that is bursting forth as daylight savings time begins.
Growth and healing still abound—we reap what is sowed.
It is a joy to see all of the growth happening around us. I glanced over the garden gate to find the bulbs, new life, reaching the surface with so much excitement. Jon and I planted back in November, just days after being discharged from rehab. It was a way to hold space for hope and new life.
We are also reaping the bounties of other seeds we planted long ago. It is a gift to watch our children grow and become really unique, kind, compassionate young adults as they find their way in a stormy world that has lost its way and is fighting for its soul.
I often wonder if the world has lost its way because people don’t know who they are or whose they are. A story for another day.
Make no mistake, Hope is alive.
I am seeing God’s hand in the steps we are taking. Our patience and trust are being rewarded even in the smallest of ways.
I have been writing a reflection on patience for the past few months, though I keep putting it away. Talk about needing patience.
If I am ever given clarity on how to tie together the piece on how patience and waiting without complaining fits into our journey, I’ll be sure to share instantly.
Please have patience with me.
Patience is a necessary part of walking through hardships and carrying heavy crosses.
It’s ironic; I’m learning more about patience and how I am more impatient with myself than anyone.
God reminds me we are in this for sanctification, not for the other stuff the world makes us believe and the lies we have stored up along our journey in life. It has been a time to mend hearts as we roll away stones that expose the buried truths.
It is a time to roll beads between our fingers as we count decades and thank God for recovering things that have been lost and reconciling what still needs work. I invite you to grab those beads and start by praying only a decade at a time. You only need to begin this discipline one bead, one decade at a time.
It has been a time for many things and everything.
It has been a time to embrace the many Simons of Cyrene along our path as we open our hearts to receive. We continue to relinquish control to the will of God rather than to the oppressing voices shouting to steal our peace.
With grateful and open hearts, covered in an outpouring of prayers, God’s grace, and the protection of a Mother’s mantle, we will continue to embrace every small step we take on this journey.
It has been a time for many things.
It has been a time for everything.
A Time for Everything
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.”-Eccl 3:1-11
May you embrace your current season.
May your Lent bear beautiful fruit.
We will have another MRI scheduled this month to see if current treatment continues to keep any tumor from progressing/recurring. Jon continues to tolerate treatment well and with only a few days of fatigue surrounding his infusions. He continues to maintain the most positive attitude and keeps us laughing, sometimes crying when he offers the sweetest most loving words. Jon is unstoppable and is an encouragement to all who meet and work with him. He is a testament to those who fight the good fight—Keep on laughing (nonstop), Never lose heart, keep your eyes on God in his words—Only God knows, whatever is His will—and can’t wait to take longer walks as the weather continues to bring new life.