This will be my last blog for a while. But it won’t be the last time I write!
Life has sped up once again, and I’m now in the midst of figuring out how to reclaim my life as it was. Not that I want a carbon copy, because let’s face it – it wasn’t that healthy to begin with, HA!, but I don’t do well watching life pass me by while I’m forced to sit ever so quietly on the couch. While I will endeavour never to go back to the stress-fest that was my life, I still have dreams to pursue, a family to enjoy, projects on my heart that will hopefully help make my city a better place and of course, mouths to help feed.
Included on this wish-list for my life, remains a passion for helping people via this wonderful thing called writing. I read a great quote today from Ernest Hemingway; “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed”. This has got to be the greatest description I have encountered so far. I’ve bled and bled and bled, for all to see and feel. I just hope I haven’t put you off blood too much!
I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting lately, and I guess I just want to say thank you for giving me the idea, confidence and courage to step out in faith and pursue my dream of writing. This is definitely not the end….Of course I have other plans at play! (This is me we’re talking about).
I must confess my heart has been overflowing with thankfulness during the last 8 months. It may have been one of the darkest periods of my life, but strangely enough it was also one of the lightest. After all, darkness cannot overcome light – it’s impossible on all fronts. In fact I’d go so far as to say that all darkness does is showcase the light.
I’ve had some big questions burdening my heart lately, but am happy to report these burdens have been removed. A little bit of clarity and understanding has helped ease the load, and brought me peace along the way. I’ll try to explain…
Many a hurting heart has asked the question Why? Why does God allow all this to happen in the earth. I have already written about this in a previous blog so am not going to crack this open again. It’s a big subject but I don’t believe that it is a) God’s fault and b) God’s intention to see us hurting like this. We (humans) have a lot to answer for and the bucks got to stop somewhere. But I divert. The next obvious question then is What. What will God do about it?
When someone like myself loves Him so much and calamity still befalls me, WHAT if anything, will my Father God do about that? Will He do something to make my life better, or will He sit back on His big cushy throne and just watch me squirm in poison as I fight for my life alone? Because lets be real, some people genuinely have that picture of Him - yes?
This is the big question mark that sits on the hearts of the hurting. ‘What will you do God? How are you going to help me through this, because I CAN’T do it alone, and why should I have to?’ For many Christians like myself, the question of love and loyalty come into play: ‘I have given my life to you Jesus, I love you, and I take representing you here on earth very seriously. Why has this happened to me and how are you going to get me out of this? ARE you going to get me out of this???’ Questions questions questions!
We don’t know the answers to everything, because some things are reserved for the sovereignty of God Himself - and I’m ok with that. There’s a bigger picture at play and most Christians realise this deep down. I have personally made my peace with it, and there's nothing like having peace about this subject. If you haven't, then may I encourage you to make this a priority. You won't regret it! So I don't have the full story, but I cannot for one second believe that God would save me, just to sit back and watch me suffer. And therein lies an issue that millions of non-believers have: If He won’t look after us (the believers), the people who profess that He is a loving and merciful God, then what’s the point?
This is where our story can change things. Because our story argues on our behalf – and His.
I can’t prove that God was with me all this time, except to say that He was. That I felt His presence, heard His voice, and experienced His love and sorrow all at the same time. He was my constant companion and I couldn’t have walked through this valley without Him. I can’t prove these things because they are a by-product of a personal relationship I have with Him. But God is also a God of manifestation, in other words He likes to reach down and physically care for us ALL the time, but especially during our time of need. We just don’t always see that help for what it is.
I want to make this one statement: Just because humanity has a perception problem doesn’t mean God is not at work. What do I mean by this? Take a step back and look at our primal default. When life throws us the good, the bad and the ugly, what do we tend to focus on the most? The bad and the ugly. It has been scientifically proven that our brains gravitate toward the negative (see a better explanation in this blog). For whatever reason, we just can’t help ourselves! The bad and the ugly isn’t going to go away anytime soon, in fact some may argue that it will increase until we implode or explode – one way or another. But when the GOOD comes, and it does come, we find it increasingly difficult to see it for what it is, and therefore find it almost impossible to acknowledge God’s hand in it. And if we do somehow manage to acknowledge it, remembering these good things also becomes an issue if we’re honest. The negative always creeps in and infects the good, and like all good infections, it slithers in slowly at first, and then smothers you with its sickness over time.
It may appear that there is no goodness because the negative has drowned it out, but appearances are just that: appearances, and of course they can be deceiving. Make no mistake, the goodness exists, is more powerful than appearance, and unlike its counterpart cannot be deceiving. The trick we need to learn is how to see it, identify it, hold it, look at it, treasure it, and never let it go. To be thankful for it, and remember it - especially when times get hard. We need to see God’s hand in this goodness, for it is surely His hand that is responsible.
During this ugly cancer journey it has been quite easy for me to wallow in the badness. Quite! But I have also been confronted with an extraordinary amount of goodness that has proven to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is a God who takes care of the ‘What and the How’. Absolutely confronted! He has compelled the heart of Christ in countless people to take care of myself and my family in the most mind blowing ways!! I have numerous examples of this love in action, (some of them were quite miraculous) but basically, whenever we needed something – it would be provided over and above expectation. THIS is the father heart of God in action, and there is evidence to prove it. I have so much proof….way too much to write here, but if you really want to hear all about it just ask!!
What I’m saying is that the goodness is real! All we have to do is change our perspective, search for it amongst the rubble of badness, and hold on to it as tight as we can. Thankfulness has the ability to heal and restore all on its own. To be thankful as your walking through the darkest valleys is a powerful gift that can change your life. It can even save your life! We may live in a world that is turning upside down and inside out but GOD is in the midst of it just waiting to extend His helping hand. Just pry those eyes open and see for yourself! Once you receive it, don’t forget to be thankful for it.
I’ll leave you with those final thoughts and I hope and pray they make some sort of difference.