Another long email -
Hi #fightlikemike army. Summer days have come and we continue to try to find hope and joy in each one. We hope and pray summer has been great for you all too !
I would be lying to you once again if I said I did not spend many moments worrying about cancer but we do our best to keep swimming ( literally til the kids are pruned ) every day.
In the past month, I have been reminded again how fragile life is with those near to us facing more unexpected turns of events in their lives. Tragedies close to home and all over the world that make me sad and anxious for our family and children. I am reminded that although what we are walking through each day is SO hard, so many have it worse. My heart is with all who are suffering around us. And so my trust in God deepens knowing that clinging to him is where peace, hope, and love are found.
My new song discover is Grace Got You by Mercy Me.
I have been thinking of these words
“Have you ever met those who
Keep humming when the song's through?
It's like they're living life to a whole different tune
And have you ever met those that
Keep hoping when it's hopeless
It's like they figured out what the rest haven't yet”
I follow the story of this mom named Brooke. She and her husband have three young kids , and she is battling and living with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer for the past 18 months. ( I may have mentioned her before ) . She is one that inspires me as she is one who keeps humming when the songs through. She is living from scan to scan , like us , and expresses the difficulty it brings and yet she is never with out hope.
Her latest post was about grace. God’s Amazing Grace . I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and reflecting on grace myself. So it was a God wink to read her post.
She says when she starts to become fearful of the future. Scared of scans and days ahead. Worried of what may or may not happen.
She has come to realize she is thinking of these days with out the pairing of grace.
She says it’s not reality , because the grace God grants will always match the difficulty in that day .The grace is there when I need it , not necessarily on the day I envision all the worrisome possibilities .
She says her job is this - TRUST that the future grace WILL be there and to be encouraged by looking back and seeing how God has always been faithful to provide it in the past.
Her words were just the reminder I needed and hug for my very worrisome heart.
If you haven’t guessed already , Mike will have
his millionth scan Thursday. 🙏🏼
I thought about the past couple years. How there have been days that I felt a fear that there really is no word scary enough to express it.
But as I look back on those days and reflect I can see clearly the way grace was paired with those fears and those feelings of sadness and worry.
That GRACE is what has pulled our family through . Especially those days we imagined to be too difficult to conquer. I have realized that besides rainbows, sunrises, cardinals, and other signs and gifts straight from God - that every moment of grace has come from feeling the love from family, friends, nurses, doctors, strangers.
Love from our fightlikemike army.
Love from humans.
I’m attaching a clip from a video interview with Mark Nepo and Oprah. (Totally ignore if you are not interested )
But he talks of the day he found out he had cancer. He says a door was opened that you will never walk back through. Your entire life perspective has changed forever. He says this isn’t just for people who are diagnosed with cancer but for any loss or any life changing event causing extraordinary amounts of grief.
I believe that we have a choice to make when we enter those door we wished we had never had to open.
We can slam it in the face of God. ( I have chosen and still choose that route on impossible days and has gotten me as far as it gets J,C, and G 😜)
Or we can walk through and allow grace to open us to a new life. Where we realize just how powerful God’s love for us is.
The choice is truly up to us. Can I allow myself to be that vulnerable? We are each born with enough grit and love inside to choose grace. I am pulling for you too. It’s not easy.
But I believe that sharing our journey with you all has opened the door to GRACE for us. You have shown us through human touch what God’s grace looks like and feels like. I have flash backs to all the incredible things you all have done for our family.
I remember our dear friend Mel standing and watering our flowers in the back yard after he delivered Bambinellis for dinner still warm on our counter . It was the very first time I had come home from the hospital since Mike was admitted. Only now am I truly understanding the magnitude of what these moments meant to me and did for me during this storm. He was doing anything he possibly could to help ease our pain. Grace. You can’t predict it or like Brooke says ,save it all up. You have only to trust it will be there. One day I will write down all the moments of grace we have experienced. There are thousands . These things you do that you think are not enough. Are grace that catches us and keep us hoping when it feels hopeless .
But it’s funny how Grace shows up most vividly when I am at my most vulnerable point. Not that it doesn’t show up on good days too , but always when I feel the most broken open , most fearful, most out of control, and most sad . I notice it more on those days.
Cancer. That’s its most magical poewer. It has stripped Mike down to his most vulnerable state. Figuratively and literally stripped him down 🤣 ( I’m not telling you anything he wouldn’t share himself😬). The recent fun is the chemo shots in his butt. The nurse will pull the curtains around you in the middle of Winship infusion center , like it provides some great amount of privacy, to administer them. Mike tells his nurse - at this point so many people have seen me naked we might as well provide some entertainment for the rest of the bay and leave the curtain open 🙃I think we decided that might cause an unnecessary code met :)…have I told a story similar to this ( probably- emails are running together again).
And yet in our most vulnerable states we realize we are all the same underneath. When we have been stripped to our core. And... God’s grace shows up there. In my most favorite way ....through humor. If only we can be willing to be broken open to it. I’m most proud and in awe of how Mike has accepted each step of cancer stripping him down to his core with a tremendous amount of grace that only come from above.
Graft verse host disease (GVHD) continues to wreck havoc in his life. His eyes have been the target lately. He tore is cornea a few weeks ago due to extremely dry eyes. And because of gvhd they don’t heal properly like ours would. He is trying his best to power through and live life as “normal “ as possible but the brutal side effects of his transplant and continued chemo are not on his side everyday. Swelling In his legs and feet are another fun annoyance. He has finished two more rounds of chemo since I last emailed 💪 and ….
the only other change is my love for him grows more everyday.
We have been graced with plenty of fun and laughter with a beach trip , vbs, time with cousins and friends , baptisms, gender reveal parties, bachelorette / bachelor parties , and grace will continue to catch us with a wedding in a few weeks .
So in our attempt to continue to be vulnerable 🤪 we ask for a few prayers or good vibes in this coming week. We know Gods grace is already there to catch us. Most likely through one of your arms. Thank you for taking care of our family and loving us. We are able to make it through ,no matter the news we hear, because of Gods grace that comes through you.
And like Brooke, I will keep trusting Gods grace to come. I might as well continue to be vulnerable and let grace get me. It has the power to give you enough strength to pull you off the dirty bathroom floor where you are laying - quite possibly in a pile of TT from our potty training toddler and can’t aim 7 year old. 🤷🏾♀️
Grace. It gives me the energy to keep hoping. And I want more than anything to be one of those who keeps hoping when it feels hopeless. If for no other reason than to teach our children, that when they are going through rough waters- God will be with them. ( Hoping they got something out of VBS this past week ..ha).And that they will figure out what the rest haven’t yet.
We will keep you posted!
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
I cried out to God for help;
I cried out to God to hear me.
When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
at night I stretched out untiring hands,
Proverbs 3 5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.[a