Category Archives: God

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.

Sometimes…bad metaphors happen on bad days

I’ve mentioned before that life before knowing about the tumor had had it’s incredible challenges this past almost 2 years. We’ve been through some “stuff” and it’s been a roller coaster. Today, life outside the tumor had some hard news. I am not sure how to process how tough life actually is, with and without tumor issues.

Life is hard sometimes.

And sometimes its amazing.

Sometimes it’s all mixed together in a salad. The salad of life. Ok, so weird metaphor.

Mostly, it’s the hardest things in life that give us the most health in the end.

Like Kale. Some people love it. Don’t be offended if you do. But seriously, it’s a bad weed. A bad weed with a lot of nutrients. (By the way I know it’s not a weed) Not all healthy foods can be rock stars like blueberries.

I had a juice yesterday where I shoved about 4 cups of kale into the juicer and went to town. Then 6 apples. I had to get it down somehow.

Exercise. Now that’s another painful thing that brings us health. I hate it. Truly. Especially in the winter. Yet, I became more healthy when I pushed to run the 5 km. Dang!

So the hard times in life also bring health, if we let them.

It’s a balance to deal with the salad of life.

Today brought the kale of life, and it tasted awful.

So, to round out this salad, I bring to the table a hearty dose of protein (ok, another bad metaphor). The protein of the Word of God, who is the Life Giver. My Strength.

This was the verse of the day for me.

Psalm 22:19 But you, O LORD, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me.

 

 

Too much to say – Part 2

You know when you can look back and see things from such a clearer perspective than when you are actually going through it? I feel like looking back is giving me such incredible clarity.

I wrote this post yesterday but lost it all. Maybe that’s a good thing. I’ve been (probably) over-thinking in the last day about the last two years. But it’s been healthy…good even, to rethink it.

I am going to start in a different place than I had originally started from.

Two years ago I was driving in the beautiful autumn weather and God impressed something on my heart. We had been going along very well in church. There were new people coming in the door, our kids program was humming a long, the youth program had been started and people were EXCITED!! It seemed that God was doing something BIG. We were on the precipice of something grande. Hope was alive everywhere. We weren’t perfect but it was good.

Then I received a word from the Lord, driving down that road. He impressed in my heart that it was going to get hard. He gave me some specifics about what that would look like. When I get a word from the Lord, I do not pretend to assume that what I heard was correct until after it passes.

This word was hard because it included people I cared about deeply and I begged God to work a different way. I hoped it would just be proven that I had a crazy imagination.

Then Christmas came and a situation arose that had far reaching implications. In being a pastor to a few, The Reverend found himself in the middle of a difficult situation and seemed to get the short end of a big stick. We ended up hurt and confused and grieving. And we kept it to ourselves. There was little we could do.

It was one of those situations, like in movies where the character finds himself on a precipice and the ground starts to give way, in a shattering pattern. The hero runs for his life as the ground falls into nothingness behind him. Running to stable ground is an all out race and looks death defying and yet, with a leap, a bound or by a catch of a branch the hero snags on to stable ground. He would pick himself up and then realize how close to death he had been.

This year has been one of those years for our church and for us personally. Through loss after loss, due to many reasons we saw people fall away from us. Some through difficult choices they made, some through the choice of moving. Families and couples that have been a steady place for our church started falling away behind us and we began to run for life. All along the way, grieving. Reaching out for the next safe piece of land, only for another piece to be falling away. We were not the only ones left feeling breathless and wondering. The faithful and loving loyal  around us also seemed to lose their breath as the ground gave way.

We felt Broken.

There were some very specific times that we asked God what he would like us to do. Should we leave? Should we stay? Where did he want us to go? Self-doubt and grief clouded our vision. We sought the Lord in brokenness. A few times we looked at ways to escape the drama and trauma. Very specifically God told us to STAY. VERY SPECIFICALLY. We could have looked for writing on the wall and it would have said ‘STAY’. We love the church, friends and family here, but we wondered if it was God’s timing for us to go. It wasn’t. It SO wasn’t. I can’t tell you all the ways but it was miraculous and crazy things.

So, we stayed because God said to. Also, in him telling us to stay, in so many ways, we KNEW that there was a greater purpose at work here. We didn’t know what, but we knew there was SOMETHING.Maybe something incredible. That was my feeling.

I felt at peace. I knew God was up to a bigger picture here. I felt peace.

Then, we went to a Pastor’s Retreat in Lake Louise this last November. We were blessed to make it to this event that was incredibly healing for us. In front of 500 people I told them it had been a hard year. I told them that I believed we were on the precipice of miracles. It had been tough but I was looking forward to seeing what God would do in our town, in our church in MY life in the next year. They prayed for us.

As I was worshiping in the presence of the Lord, one morning, I sensed that the Lord had another hard word for me. I had just been praying for restoration in our church, our community, our little family and in our relationship with each other. I just spread my hands out and said “Do what you need to do to restore us.” At that moment, I felt in my spirit “It’s going to get harder than this year was. You think that was hard…. It’s going to be the biggest test of your life”. Knowing that I was speaking to the Lord of the Universe who holds everything in his capable hands I said “Ok.”

And I knew. I knew it would be big. I didn’t want it to be big… but it seems that growth/healing and restoration comes through the difficult. Tears streamed down my face as I realized I TRUST the One who made me. I wanted him to be at work in me. NO MATTER WHAT THAT MEANT.

I didn’t quite want it to be brain tumor big. I mean, that’s big. Too big for me.

It scares the crap out of me. But I still TRUST. I trust because he is Good (don’t worry I will address the question that almost everyone wrestles with which is “Why do bad things happen to good people?” another blog).

I write this to tell you how much God loves us. How he sees the big picture, how he’s working it all out together. He is at work and he works in mysterious ways. He works in different people in different ways because there is a plan. A good plan.

We didn’t move because he didn’t want us to move. There is a bigger thing going on here that we need to stay around for.

From the beginning of my life, God had a plan for me as he does for every person that ever lives. Not every person chooses to live in the potential that he created in us. He has been so good to me. HE is going ahead of me and preparing a way through the hard stuff ahead.

I see incredible promise in this whole thing. I know it sounds strange. Super strange. But I look forward to seeing the beauty of how this whole thing is going to play out.

Would you like peace? A sense of hope? A clear cut purpose or reason for your life? Oh dear ones….ask me how. Through all the crazy ups and downs of this year, we’ve been broken but I’ve had peace. I’ve had hope. I’ve had a crazy sense of purpose…and it is GOOD! It’s not ME. I’m not the strong one. He is. It is supernatural. From Him.

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