Category Archives: faith

Putting Anxiety in a box

Thinking…it’s a beautiful thing, really.

Until the thoughts take a turn for the anxious.

I have struggled with anxiety for my whole life. I remember being shy and hiding behind my mom’s legs when someone new was in front of me.

I remember having dreams that would amplify the fears inside of me.

My brother died an unexpected and tragic death and that made me more anxious.

Then I said good-bye to my babies and almost died.

I struggled. Oh how I’ve struggled.

I’ve worried about losing Richard, my kids, my parents, my friends…my security.

Two years ago, I asked God to take my anxiety. I was done with it. I didn’t want the physical sensation of fear continually with me. The pit of my stomach churning and heavy. I told him to do what he  must. I wanted to be free…to understand God’s peace…

Philippians 4:6-7New Living Translation (NLT)

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Truly, I wanted to know the peace that passes all understanding.

Now I see.

When you are in such a place that all the worry in the world will not  do any good or change any thing. When life is threatened and there is little you can do…why worry? When there is EVERYTHING in the world to worry about….

Why worry?

I could. I could sit and stew…and sometimes I do. There is so  much at stake that it literally blows my mind. I have to shut it down. I have to put it away and I do. I place it in a little worry box in my mind and give it to God. He knows exactly where to put it. He’s got it all under control.

I can do this because I believe. I believe in everything he has said. I have experienced things within this crazy life of mine that I don’t doubt that he’s got it all.

He’s got it.

Oh sure, I’m normal and still want to take that box back. I demand it. Then I open it and look inside a bit. I realize it’s an ugly box of rubbish. I take out each worry and look at it a bit then put it all back and give it back to Him.

I have also realized that part of the increase in my anxiety is actually physiological. I mean the tumor is sitting right on that part. It’s fiddling around with my emotional state.

I realize that being a person that has coddled my anxiety has not been healthy for me and I want to get rid of that toxin.

So, I concentrate on the truth. Most worries are lies anyways. Did you know that?

The truth is this. God’s got it. He’s already there. He WAS there. He’s always been. And he loves each and every one of us more than we love our own children. He LOVES me! That’s a lot of love because I get choked up every time I talk about my kids these days. That’s how much I love them. I know I may not be there for them at some point.

Truth is, I have a shortened life span. I will probably not get old. There is a chance I may. I would be super happy to get old with my guy. I could get old. That would be cool. But likely, I won’t. It’s the stats. I’m ok with it because whether I get old or whether I see eternity’s gates sooner rather than later, He’s there.

I know that My Father will always be there. For me, for my kids, for my guy.

He’s got it.

And when I should be riddled with worry, anxiety, regret and fear, I am not. I am NOT. That, my friends is a miracle.

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In the in between.

Putting the stuff that is in my mind down on a paper, of sorts, gets messy at times. There is a need for me to process this through words and what my fingers are made to do by the words drifting in my head.

What happens? What happens when I am in surgery, in Saskatoon? Still don’t know. It could be that I walk out of there in a few days and go on to bravely fight with chemo and radiation in Alberta. That’s my dream That is what I am envisioning me like that, walking out. Going home to my kids to give them a big fat snuggle. It could be that I may have to be transferred to the Cross Cancer via ambulance if things go less than optimal during surgery. Realistically, this could be a long road filled with therapy and treatment. We hope the best but acknowledge the rest.

I imagine me being in treatment for chemo and radiation for quite a while but coming home in between to snuggle and to rest. We are doing Cancer treatment in Edmonton at the Cross Cancer.

But I wonder in the in-between times…who will listen to the talk of my children? Who will hug them when I am not there to pat the bed beside me and say jump in. Let me watch that Minecraft Game I don’t understand. Come and talk to me. Can I snuggle with my girl? scoot on over. Who will take them to dance recitals and basketball or swimming lessons. Oy. I want to do all of that, but realistically, I”ll miss some of that this year.

What If I’m gone from home for long periods of a time? Who fills in for me. There are many offers and many options but how do they all come together.

Who will bring me my kids to see me at the hospital, because I really need them there to shine their hopeful faces in my general direction and need them to tell me about their days and adventures. I need them to jump into bed with me and share their art projects. I need them to read books to me.

What happens if the “motor deficits” are more than we are able to handle in our little house ? I have a lot of questions and not a lot of answers.

I know there are people able to transport me back and forth in different scenarios. I know that there are so many ready to step in and pitch in.

I know that whether in Saskatoon (for the surgery) or whether in Edmonton there are people and professionals that will step into roles and make life as doable as possible. So many possibilities.

I am hoping, HOPING for the best. The rest is all muddled into what “could” happen.

What I do know is that I have people stepping into willing roles and that they may be asked to step into them once or if able on a more long term basis. It really does depend on how this goes.

I have a friend that is making a list. I am  blessed by this friend. She is my organizer. My extra brain. It is she that will be delegating and I am so so thankful.

When you want to play a role, let her know. I’ve got her number and email. Just tell me. She’s the master list maker and delegator of all things Marcy. Even has down what I can or cannot eat. There are a lot of details that will get worked out eventually. I know they will. She is going to be scheduling what we need. And if she poops out with her role and needs a break, I know there will be others to step in. this is only until I’ve kicked this tumor butt and am ready to take on from where I have left off. I can’t wait for that truly. I can’t wait until I can do the silly hip hop dance off in my living room again. Make Turkey dinners (that I do really well, by the way) and go back to life as “normal” but not as it was before.

I am blessed to have people who say they are in this with us. We need you and YOU ARE AWESOME!!

I plan on walking out of that hospital and then march right to treatment and kick this little beast.

With the help of my family and friends, we are all going to pray our way through this and see the other side. God is listening and a lot of the saints are praying for us. Wow, how that makes me want to dance!!

Too much to say – Part 3

I’m going to attempt and put part 1 and part 2 in a final act, of sorts.

Perspective comes in strange ways. Our life has had it’s strangeness…that’s for sure.

Two and a half years ago, we were feeling really good about where our lives were headed, the direction the church was going, confident in relationships and, for the most part, pleased with our decisions in personal life. At the same time, my physical health was going down hill and we didn’t know our way around a stick. Life was good, bad and all sorts of NORMAL…for us. It was a winter I never wanted to repeat. Does that sound confusing? It really was a confusing time of life.

Pivotal moments seemed to line every part of the race of life. Moments like the loss of friendships, the gaining of new ones. God teaching me how to pray more effectively. Showing me that spiritually I had a long way to go. Areas of sin that were blatant and screaming for attention.

God was moving so many parts of the picture our heads spun. He was doing such a deep work of renewal that I felt I would drown at times.

One of the pivotal moments happened on our 20th year anniversary celebration trip to Jamaica. Anxiety was trying to knock on my soul and when I stepped on the plane I chose not to take it with me. I left it, like a bag of dirty clothes outside of the plane. I decided right there that I couldn’t stop anything bad from happening so why take all that baggage with me? If something terrible was going to happen all the worrying in the world would not stop it.

Relief.

Then I went snorkeling.

My brother drowned when I was five. Since then water has had  a certain grip on me. I could swim but didn’t like it. I could put my head under water but it wasn’t fun. Being without breath scared the bejeebers out of me. I had dreams when our oldest was a toddler that he had wandered away from me near water and we couldn’t find him.

When I decided to go snorkeling I knew it would be a test. I looked at everyone else surviving on just a little tube of air. I pumped up my air life vest as fat as it could go and stuck my head under water. It was liberating! I survived! It was a feat of the mind.

Fear. It’s hounded me.

And on that trip I let a lot of it go. It was amazing! I didn’t worry about what to make for supper, whether my kids were ok (because I was 10 hours away and couldn’t do anything anyways) and I didn’t lose any sleep, besides what should be lost on that kind of vacation.

We came back and I set off to train myself to run a 5 km in the fall. I don’t run for any reason. Not even a bear. With a bear you best lay in a ball and stay put. Well, that’s what I’ve heard.

When I started to train I didn’t realize how much of an exercise of the mind it would be. The first time, I jogged for 30 seconds off and on. By the end of the summer I was jogging for 30 min’s straight. Say WHAT? It took a lot of mental grit but God, in his strength, led me through it. So very cool.

I completed the 5 Km and was so excited that I finished that challenge! It changed me forever too. All that time breathing deeply and being in the fresh air. It renewed both my body, my spirit and my mind. It was beautiful!

The winter after that run was when I started the new ladies group. What I didn’t know then was that God had a hand in that too. It created a community I would need through the tough times ahead. It gave me a business that I could be challenged by, in different ways.

You see, what I’m trying to say is that all the threads of my life, of your life are being drawn together in a beautiful pattern. Even now, as we face another monumental challenge, our lives are being woven by the Master Craftsman.

I prayed for God to restore us in many ways. I prayed that he would bring people back…to us… but mostly to Him. He has restored some relationships that I cried over losing. How great is THAT? He is restoring that which has been broken.

He is working in ways that are mysterious and so very amazing. In your life too. You may not see it now. You may not see it in a year. You may never see the beautiful pattern that is being knit together. But have you given it a thought? Have you given HIM a chance? It is a matter of choices. He gives us all that. You get to choose to get better or to get bitter. You make the choice to let anxiety kill you from the inside out. You can let it go. You choose to let him work in the hard places. You get to choose so many things even when things seem out of control.

A lot is out of my control right now. But I get to choose how I react, how I live the rest of my days. He’s given me so much. How about you?

What are the choices you need to make?

In my Vulnerable Moments

There are moments where I feel scared. I feel lonely…I am secretly, or not-so-secretly, terrified of a few things.

I don’t want to lose who I am. With this thing in my brain, wrapped around the important parts like my personality, I am scared I will lose who makes me ME. Marcy. Quirky, sometimes funny, ready for a laugh, moody (ok, wouldn’t miss that part much), loves to sing, Loves God…occasionally adventurous, sometimes spontaneous, recently extending the boundaries of my safety zone….I’m afraid I’ll be some swearing, ill behaved, grumpy middle aged lady that no one wants to be around. I am terrified I’ll end up alone in a home somewhere because the people I love don’t know how to handle who I have become. I’m afraid my kids and husband will have to visit me out of duty and bolster their courage to face me for __ amount of minutes until they can get on with their lives and do what they have adjusted themselves to do in their lives without me. I know they are more than that. That they will shine and love, but I still wonder…

I’m afraid I’ll lose my voice, my ability to write, to communicate, to move…to love.

Those are some of my vulnerable moment scary thoughts.

If you want to pray, please pray with me that the Fruit of the Spirit will always be evident no matter what happens.

“The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.” Gal. 5:22

That my life will shine the beauty of His Glory. Even if I can’t sing. I still want to SHINE.

Pray that I may be able to express myself in words. I love words, even when I don’t make much sense. I have noticed that when I speak I get mixed up easily. I hope that it comes back. The ability to speak fluently. I am thankful that I still have what I have.

Pray that I will still see the funny in the situations I find myself in. It helps me. It’s my coping mechanism that I really don’t want to lose.

So now you know some of my secrets. Some fears. Fear does not come from God but peace does, so I choose to embrace peace and put the fears aside. There are some moments though…when I’m by myself wishing I was able to do things I can’t do as well anymore. But then peace comes to rest in my heart and I know I am not alone.

You’ve been dealt a lousy hand

some people may think this of my life. In a nutshell, it’s had it’s losses and heartaches…I’ve lost a brother, a son, a brother in law. We have kids with special issues, church challenges…then there is this tumour…

Ok, now tell me who DOESN’T have things in their life that stretch and challenge them and I will show you a person who hasn’t really lived.

Let’s face it we are ALL dying. You, me, my kids, my friends…every human that has ever lived has ceased to live at some point. We are born, we die and in between we live life. It’s in how we live it…now there’s the trick!

I love living! I love facing a challenge head on. Ok, except when I’m in pain and tired. Then I just want to go to bed.

My son asked “Why us?” I said “Why not?” There are people dying every day, dealing with terrible disease and poverty and we live in a country where we get fairly decent medical care. We are safe, warm and loved. Why NOT us? Maybe it’s in a bigger plan, a bigger picture. God has more going on than just me, just us. There is something much bigger at work here.

I haven’t been dealt a lousy hand at all. I had parents that loved me, thought I was beautiful. They gave me love, a stable home and lived in the sunny Shuswap where I grew up loving water and beaches.

Then I got to marry the man of my dreams. He treats me with respect, kindness, love and tenderness. After a lot of hardship and tragedy, I got to be a mom to four amazing little blessings that some days make me crazy and other days build character in me.

I get to live in the best province EVER…Alberta. It rocks. Alberta has mountains, it has rivers, it has oil and it has great people. It has lots and lots of open spaces that look so great in the summer. In the winter, well, in the winter I wish I was born in the tropics…but I got to go to the tropics TWICE in my life. TWICE and that is pretty darn cool.

We have family here. My inlaws have made our lives rich and beautiful in ways I never imagined. We get to spend time with them now and again. I love me my inlaws!!

I have friends. Really, really awesome friends. Friends who make me laugh, friends who listen to me whine about the hard days and friends who come and hang pictures etc for me because I haven’t learned how to drill holes yet. I have friends that let me bunk in their home when I have to drive to the city and they make me feel like I’m at home.

We live in a pretty terrific community. One that rallies around people in distress and fixes things and feeds you things and makes you feel special and loved.

We have a small but loving church family. They shine Jesus to us. They warm us with their special-ness. We live in a warm and tiny home where we are free to make our chaos and let people come in and see it.

We have a far away family that we can skype and love. We travel every single year to Manitoba so we can enjoy the prairies for days without end from a van and then pile out and have fun with the rest of the extended family.

We have the internet in this day and age and I can communicate with people I had long since lost contact with. Now I can text my best bud from high school. How great is that? I sure do miss her though!

I haven’t been dealt a lousy hand. It’s been a fantastic life. And it’s not over yet. I am prepared to enjoy all the moments I can, and medicate the moments that are painful (like actually physically painful). I love my life. Oh, it has it’s challenges…but don’t we all? Every one of us?

If you have no trouble or no challenge then how are you growing as a person?

See it’s in the choices we make. It’s in the paths we choose when the challenges come before us. Do we face it head on or do we skirt around it and avoid it by pretending it’s not there. Do we let God in and make it beautiful, even joyful?Taking joy in the moments that are beautiful and sacred. That’s what I’m hoping I keep doing. It’s what I hope my kids see, on this bumpy road we are on.

We have a terrific life. It’s going to get a little crazy here and there, but that’s life.

James 1:2 ESV

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,

Romans 12:12 ESV 

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

Oh the places I’ve seen

Through the last few months I have had a lot of blog posts percolating in this mind of mine. The problem is that they stay up there and rattle around too long and then they are gone.

Truth is, I’ve been going downhill for a long time now, and I didn’t really recognize it until I couldn’t balance when I walked, couldn’t focus on what I was reading and what I wanted to say seemed just out of reach. The words…just not coming. I thought it was something…something big. I’ve been told for a lot of my life that it’s probably nothing. It gets into the mind and rattles around and gets the old thought processes making no big deal about having spells that disorient me or falling into a wall or forgetting what I was going to say…a lot. It makes me think it’s all my fault for not being organized enough in my thoughts that I can’t pull this house together. I mean, it’s always a battle, but lately a real BATTLE. Chaos has been blooming and growing for 2.5 years and I didn’t know what it was. I thought it was nothing…just me being a failure. Now there are some answers for all of that. Awful answers but answers nonetheless.

The thing is, I was getting really amazing things going on in my life. Tea business was taking off like a slow but powerful rocket. I LOVED it. My kids were learning even if my teaching wasn’t perfect. We held down out chaotic fort. Our non existent youth group burgeoned up to 16 kids one night at youth. Wow! We are on the edge of miracles here. I was all kinds of busy and feeling like I was really on FIRE!!

Then God happened. Since Dr’s had been ignoring my pleas to check into my migraines and “spells”, for years and God wasn’t having it, he saw a way to get me into a pediatric neurologist in Edmonton. A friend of mine was seeing him with her daughter. She told him about me and said “sure, you can send her to me!” Really? Wow! cool. Funniest Dr. I’ve ever had. Maybe I get him because I am childish (in a humor sort of way) and short, and he deals with children most times. It’s a good relationship. He got me into an MRI but wasn’t very worried about it. When Dr’s tell you “it’s probably nothing” it’s most likely SOMETHING. Lesson learned.

Shoot, a week later we found out I have a big ol’ tumour on my brain. Freaked my GP out, Freaked the Neurologist, it freaked US OUT!!!! and didn’t FAZE the really-difficult-to-communicate with Neuro surgeon a bit. Not a bit. He wanted to wait and see what changes happened in a few months. We changed neuro surgeons for a second opinion in Saskatoon and I believe God moved for that to happen too. We will not be waiting around to see if this blob on my brain is growing, he’s going into my Marcy brain and taking bits out of the ugly sucker to test it out and see whats up in my head. We will find out what we are dealing with after that and possibly commence treatment and whatever else they recommend.

We were in shock. The week that we found out, we thought I was dying within a moment’s notice and it was nothing I can describe. I was a mess, My big strong guy, the Reverend was a mess. My kids were messes in their own ways. We didn’t know what was facing us. The fact that he thought it was an astrocytoma means he thinks it’s been there quite a few years, maybe decades. No rush for a possibly slow growing monster on the brain. No sweat. WHAT? We knew enough that a biopsy would be helpful. The original Neurosurgeon didn’t think any of our questions were relevant. What we took from that was that I was not immediately dying and Christmas would not have that hanging over us. We can celebrate Christmas together!! Yay! Enjoy the moments we have. The normal crazy moments. And we would wait for a second opinion and wait some more for a biopsy.

I had friends help me in ways I didn’t know I would need, and I did need it. I needed it so much. I have spent a lot of time crying about how people have touched our lives with the way they’ve loved on us this last 6 weeks. Incredible! We’ve had our freezer stocked, a few times, gas cards, grocery cards, gifts given, money handed off secretively…floors washed, cupboards organized, moments with people I’d never take back. Free hair cuts… We were entered for a Christmas Wish from a friend and we WON a few sweet prizes like a housekeeper, a bunch of gifts, money for groceries, and money for a TRIP of a lifetime!! I really want to go now. But we’ve been loved by so many in so many ways and it’s humbling and amazing. We found out just how truly great our little community is in a crisis.

This has been a wild ride already but in the end I know it will ALL BE WORTH IT. During my quiet, resting moments, Jesus has given me some incredible times with him. Times I have felt him close, speaking to me in hushed tones. Comforting me. He has covered me with his peace…the kind that is impossible to understand unless you are lying underneath his beautiful wings of protection and love and you KNOW it. He was there all along, I just KNEW it in those moments.

I’ve already  had an ER visit due to bad meds reacting with my heart. Scary moments. And yet He was there. In the form of people who didn’t know me well, running to my house to see if I was ok, through really deep snow. People wiped the feet of snow off of their trucks to bring me a blood pressure cuff and gave me really good medical advice. People who care but don’t know me well…they cared.. That touches me in places that make me tear up every time. That God loves me that much to provide in ways that mystify me. I love that he’s so near. Working in ways, behind the scenes that we aren’t privy to.

In the ER room that night the Internal Dr who saw me and when I heard that my husband was a pastor, he said “Well, since you mentioned it first, I’m a Christian too!” He proceeded to pray with me, give me a prescription of scripture and was generally very compassionate. One lonely night in the small and noisy ER God heard my cry and answered it with a beautiful African Dr.

And I know it’s what I prayed for, way before this all went down. I prayed that God would move in an incredible way in this church, in this town….in our FAMILY. I prayed that it would have an eternal impact. That others would know his incredible love. I didn’t want it to be me possibly dying or having a tumor…but I knew as soon as we heard it, that this was what he gave me life for. For others to know him. And I am blessed to be used in such an incredible and difficult way. If what happens in my house and in my family and in my church furthers the Good News of Christ then I am a willing vessel.

Some people may ask…why you? Why NOT me? Don’t I feel like I’ve had enough in my life? Well, yes. and no. I live to love Jesus. As LONG AS I HAVE BREATH. Lord give me the grace and strength to do it all as you would have me do it. People are having tumors and cancer every day. Why not me? It’s ok. It happens. It sucks but it happens. My kids will go through things many kids won’t. My husband is going through things that no husband should go through but he’ll be ok. Because I know Jesus holds them too. He goes before us. He’s been there with us back there in the other places. He’s going ahead of me, to make a way.

And I am looking Forward to seeing what he does. Because it’s going to be AMAZING!! No matter if I live or die…it’s going to be down right INCREDIBLE!670313088