Those were the tear filled words I prayed tonight at church during an incredible evening of worship and prayer.
The news I got this week was not what I wanted to hear. I try so hard not to have expectations before scans. I try to stay neutral. Sure I pray for healing, and believe it could happen, but I try not to expect it. Don't get too high or too low. This time was harder though. I wanted so bad to hear the word remission. I caught myself daydreaming about how I would respond.
I was going to walk back out into the lobby of all these cancer patients waiting to see their own doctors and share enthusiastically that 18 months ago I was given a death sentence. Today I'm in remission. Praise the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me! Bless His holy name!
I didn't get to live out that fantasy. Instead I received another one of those gut punches that are so visceral and raw they make you nauseous and dizzy. Instantly my mind started to go down those familiar yet destructive pathways.
Tonight Kendra is staying with a friend in Kalamazoo. So Colton and I literally drove straight from Chicago to our church's evening service. I planned to take Colton into the sanctuary until he started getting fussy or anxious then he'd go to nursery. Instead he curled up on my lap and sat so quiet and still for over an hour and a half. I think he's picking up on the emotions in my family. He doesn't know what's wrong, he just knows where a safe place is. This little boy with his head against my chest and my arms wrapped completely around him. I kissed his head, smelled his hair, and sang quietly into his ear. I stopped paying attention to anything else around me and Colton and I had our own worship experience.
It's hard to praise God when one of the things you're most afraid of losing is sitting on your lap. This innocent (most of the time), soft faced, little joy of a human being is so important to me. I'm terrified about what my absence might mean in his life. I'm angry that I might not be able to love him like I want. I'm bitter that I might not be able to do the things with him I want to.
I'm very scared about the future.
I'm afraid for Kendra. She has so much on her plate now. She spent last week working till 7, 8, or later with parent teacher conferences. No big deal you might think, but the week before scans everything becomes more difficult. Time away from family is a big deal. Yet she faithfully serves in whatever capacity God puts her in. I'm afraid about what my health might mean to her though. Life is so much work for her already.
Cooking, cleaning, taking care of a baby (me), taking care of a toddler, working, commuting, being a part of a small group, doing the bills, coordinating medical appointments and travel arrangements every other week. This just the short list. It is exhausting. What will happen if I'm even more hassle? What will happen if I'm gone? Who will she have to lean on?
Tonight at church we sang a song that may have been the straw that broke Ryan's back.
I don't know what resonated with me but I was almost breathless trying to sing the words that just wouldn't come out. Then they showed a video by Francis Chan that I'd seen before, and again for some reason tonight it just jumped off the walls at me.
Right now I have a choice to make. Am I going to shrink back down and cling to the beam? Is my faith so lacking that one test result would knock me off this journey of learning about radical obedience I've been on? All I want to do is crawl up on my daddy's lap and have him wrap his arms around me and tell me it's all okay. That He's got it all under control and I'm going to be fine.
Sometimes we don't have the faith that we desire. There's a reason God calls us to work out our faith with fear and trembling. It's a process. As the father in Mark 9 says, "Lord I believe, help my unbelief".
Right now I want to perform on the balance beam. I know that's where I need to be. I sure don't feel like getting up and doing flips though. My emotions tell me to lay back down, strap myself to the beam, and just survive.
I'm so scared. I'm so scared of what you might have ahead of me. I want off this ride. I'm tired and exhausted. Lord please I'm begging to let this cup pass. God there are things I confess I'm holding on to. I've been holding on to my son, and my wife, and their futures. I know that you are in control, and will take care of them, but yet I still try to hold on to protecting them. God it's so tiring trying to do my job and yours. I can't do it anymore. I'm raising the white flag. To you I surrender again, all that I have. God when I can't pick myself off the beam, please pick me up. Please hold me not in safety, but in obedience. Use me even in my brokenness to serve you.
Lord please don't let the things I hold onto prevent me from serving you. I pray my moments of unbelief will not keep me from what you have ahead of me. God I know all of this is so minor compared to the pain and anguish you and your son shared when you took my sins and paid my price for me. I feel selfish and embarrassed that I'm struggling with this. Lord thank you for loving me no matter how I feel. Lord I lay this before you once again, and praise you.
Lord I'm not in remission, but I will still choose to say,
Praise the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me! Bless His holy name!