learning to die...part II, "they lay at my feet..."


pics of my dad and my kiddies...

this is how i remember my dad as a grandpa, or "green pap pap" as they called him.


 

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And they lay at my feet…

It has been nearly a full year since the diagnosis of Glioblastoma in Dad. There have been many difficult times in these past 10 months. Surgeries, reoccurring tumors, weakness, long stays away from home, medical let downs, a tornado –yes, a tornado, and many personal trials as well.

It has been months of learning, days of crying, weeks of healing, and never ending praying. And through it all, blessings upon blessings and peace that I find hard to understand.

It is courageous at the beginning of a trial to claim faith and to set one’s heart to believing and clinging to God and his unlimited grace. Yet, it is a daily choice as one walks through a valley to take a deep breath in the fear and the pain to reach up for God’s hand even in confusion, for strength that is hard to find alone. It is a daily choice to believe when you want to cry. It is a daily choice to live when your body is tired and wants to die. And it is a daily choice to believe that God is in control, that this circumstance is part of a bigger plan and to know that He does not make mistakes and that someday there will be an answer. It is a daily choice to live without the answer, and to accept the peace and joy that sometimes even seems insensitive to behold.

Last June, I reached out for God’s hand – we all did, and the blessings that God has given have been amazing. I would be remiss to not mention them, as they are clear illustrations of God’s amazing grace.

What can Glioblastoma give? It gave to me, my daddy at Christmas, a Christmas Eve service sitting between my mom and my dad who have been divorced now for 13 years. It gave me a closure in my heart of having one more memory of a Christmas with the two people I love so much and weeks of Dad living with my family and precious memories and time with my children.

It has given me the gift of family and friends as they have opened their hearts and given of their time to talk with me, pray for me and to help me with my children so I could spend time with Dad. This outpouring of love and time has been a wonderful gift during this time, and the time I have been able to spend with Dad one on one is a blessing that will be marked on my heart forever.

It has given me a glimpse into my dad’s life in Arkansas and to the people who love him there. I was taken aback by the amount of love, care and respect that is shown to Dad everywhere, and it touched a daughter’s soul to see the hearts of the people that Dad cares about so much. How wonderful to find peace for myself and my family in the fact that Dad has a “family” away from his family. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone I met during my stay.

It gave me 10 days with Dad in Bentonville, in his home, in his work, with his friends, and it gave me days of just sitting with him, caring for him and loving him as he continues the fight.

It has given me renewed friendships.

It has allowed reunions with dear, dear friends 18 years in the waiting.

It has given me restored relationships.

It has opened my relationship with Christ to a new level and has given me peace that sometimes I even feel guilty to receive.

It has given me understanding that Dad is a vessel during these days. That God has worked His ways through him to bless us, teach us, care for us, and to love us. It has been the blessing of unselfish love as Dad teaches us to not ask why, to not administer blame, to cling to faith, and to press on. The Vessel that God has chosen has broken my heart witnessing his physical weakness but has stengthened my soul with his spiritual stamina. Thank you Dad for your tribute to us.

Dad – his body is weak, his breath is labored and his soul is tired from the battle. Yet, God has once again performed, and Dad’s tumor has shrunk over half its size even in the past 5 weeks. What will the next 5 weeks hold? How will we stand in the waters even yet to come?

These answers no one knows but our Lord, so I’ll give thanks for our today and I’ll gain strength for the blessings that now lay at my feet as I continue to hold tightly to my God who has upheld me – us- the whole way.

 

  my dad sitting with us in the back seat of our uber coll VANAGON!  i'm the girl with the "hair" on the right.  this was on our way to ocean city for vacation thank you debbie mechling for sharing this photo! 

 

my dad sitting with us in the back seat of our uber coll VANAGON!  i'm the girl with the "hair" on the right.  this was on our way to ocean city for vacation

thank you debbie mechling for sharing this photo! 

It’s five weeks later and the tears have fallen again. It is amazing to recount feelings and to look back on yesterday and know the answer for your tomorrow. Such hope we had for this latest MRI, and I think that the blow was especially hard this time because our faith was so great for a continued healing for Dad.

And yet again, questions fly around my mind and I search for the same answers that I find myself having to find again and again and again. I also think that it has been hard this time around as we fear seeing Dad suffer through chemo. yet once more.

A hard few days, and then church today…

I heard a message that spoke to me heart. And although it was not a message on healing, it was a message for my faith, and like I have felt so many times before, a feeling that a message was spoken only for my benefit.  I was reminded today that we need to believe God for what He can do today. How easy it is to live in the past and to rely on the events that have occurred in our yesterdays.

We hope for miracles, yet we continually remind ourselves of what God hasn’t done yet and we question if they can be done. We look at the past in our own lives and dare to look at the miracles in the Bible and ask ourselves, “why doesn’t God shut mouths of lions anymore? Why doesn’t he part the seas? Why doesn’t he turn water to wine and why doesn’t he send manna? Yet, if we look at our now, we can see that the reason he doesn’t shut mouths of lions, is because there are no lions in our country. He doesn’t part the sea because there is no need to cross the water. Our wine barrels do not run dry these days and we don’t have a need for manna from the sky…but, we do live through trials, and we do experience wonders in the lives of our today. God does heal. God does perform miracles in our today. God does provide vehicles to families that can’t afford them. God does heal broken wombs and God also heals newborn babies. God can heal Dad in our today.

When Lazarus died, and when Martha confronted Jesus, she cired..”Lord if you had only been here, my brother would not have died.” But 3 days did not mean a thing to our Jesus. Jesus needed to hear their faith now.

NOW, what a word our society clings to and claims to live in, yet when it comes to our faith, why is it so hard to rely on?

I have lost count on how many tumors or reoccurrences, or growth has happened in the past year. It has been a brutal battle for Dad, and for all of us who love him so dearly. I feel drained from the emotion and heartache, the elation and the recoveries. I don’t want to remember anymore the falls and the confusion that Dad has fought lately. It hurts my heart so badly that I nearly feel numb. I don’t want this demon called Glioblastoma anymore and I don’t want Satan to battle my dad’s body and mind. I’m tired – he’s tired – we are all so tired.

So I have decided this…I am choosing to believe in the now. I believe that God performs great miracles today. I’m believing that He is not too late, even through the past year of cancer and every kind of pain. I’m ready to sweep it all under the rug and to look God square in the eye and to say, “Lord, you’re here NOW, and I need you, Dad needs you like he never has before. I’m believing in your power now and I believe that your hands will heal now.”

I cannot express how liberating these words are. To truly believe it and to write it makes my heart leap. God has more to offer than even His precious peace…He has healing.

Again the vessel that Dad has been, has allowed for many blessings and healing. If God would have chosen to heal Dad immediately would I be able to reflect as I have and to be able to count the blessings that lay so tenderly at my feet? I think not. Would I realize on the many different levels how great God is and how He can become more and more to me even as my heart breaks? I think not. Would death be able to resound peace and could life ever be more precious? I know it would not.

And so we press onward. Waiting and watching, fighting and praying and most of all believing TODAY.

All my love, my strength and my prayers to you today Dad, and always,

Joelle