Last year February 1 was a Saturday and the weather was similar to what it was today. Crisp and fall like with rays of sunshine peeking through clouds meandering across the sky. We were hosting a group of high school girls for the weekend and had celebrated my birthday the night before. Saturday morning I was on a service project with the girls when one of my friends who was with us said Bekah called to tell her that she’d been trying to reach me. Friday evening Eddie had a CAT Scan and the doctor called him on Saturday morning to confirm the worst. Eddie had metastatic cancer. I was 15 minutes away from our house but the drive home seemed like it was on the other side of the country. A few of my small group girls made the drive with me and their presence kept me from falling apart. The events of that day still play like a movie in my mind. Life changing news we will never forget.
We had hoped to make today a day of celebration. Redeem the day by celebrating that Eddie is still alive and doing remarkably better than what the doctors had originally thought. Celebrate the amazing people near and far who have loved and supported us. But today has turned out to be an ordinary Sunday. I’m propped up in bed with pillows and my sweet dog Peanut curled in by my side. Bekah is in her room relaxing. And Eddie is doing one of his favorite things...watching football. A blessed and ordinary day that I will take all day every day!
I don’t understand why Eddie has cancer. Some days the life saving treatment he’s receiving causes him discomfort and there’s no glamorizing it. Quite frankly, it just sucks. Planning financially for the worst is smart but depressing. I hate seeing the pain all of this has caused my young daughter. Every day others receive the same phone call that sends their life into a tailspin. There is so much sadness in life that I will never understand.
In Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith, Anne Lamott writes, “The opposite of faith is not doubt; but certainty”. There is tension in faith. Part of the struggle that keeps us away from faith that God is good and loving is that he has the power to prevent bad things from happening and yet they still happen. A very understandable struggle that I relate to.
But this is what I’m certain of. When we hurt, God hurts too and when we call out to him, he never leaves us. Psalms 145:18 What I know without doubt is that God is good. He is so loving that he sent his only son Jesus to die a horrific death for us so that even though our sin separates us from him, we are made right with him and because of Jesus’ death we can spend eternity in heaven where there will be no more sickness, suffering or pain. Revelation 21:4 This truth not only gives me hope for the future but reminds me of his amazing love for me every day.
One of my favorite authors, Brene' Brown describes the faith struggle well. “As a lover of all things certain, I wanted faith to work like an epidural; to numb the pain of vulnerability. As it turned out, my faith ended up being more like a midwife – a nurturing partner who leans into the discomfort with me and whispers “push” and “breathe". Faith didn’t make my life less vulnerable or comfortable, it simply offered to travel with me through the uncertainty.”
We don’t know what this next year will bring for our family and the uncertainty can be scary. What helps us through is holding on to who God is and his love for us when the pain seems too great to bear. And holding on to who God is and his love for us on calm and ordinary days. When we walk in the certainty of knowing who God is we remember that each day He will give us the grace, love and strength we need. Today and every day has been redeemed!
John 16:33 – I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.