We came back about a week ago from a time at a Christian family camp. Jono did some music there, and I felt well enough to join him a bit, playing a borrowed flute and even singing a little. I still coughed, but my cough improved enough that I could use my windpipes to make music – something I hadn’t done in many months! (So thankful for the new meds, although the side effects are a bit rough.)
I love singing, but haven’t really been able to sing since last summer. This has been so hard for me. I’ve been standing with the congregation but unable to join in the singing without erupting in fits of coughing. This past week and a half my breathing and cough have improved so much that I can quietly sing a little bit here and there with only a bit of coughing. This is such a gift, but there is still grief as I can’t really belt it out freely. I yearn to be able to fully sing again, and I hope this time will come soon.
… but back to the camp …
The people were so lovely and encouraging. I was given the opportunity to tell a bit of my story to the 400+ people there one evening, and I’m so grateful for that. It was such a privilege to be able to speak to these dear folks, and in the following days, many of them introduced themselves to me and thanked me for what I said. Many of them told me they were praying for me and following this blog, and some even honoured me by telling me part of their story. I felt very blessed and surrounded with love and support.
One of the things I said is that all of us are touched by cancer, whether directly or indirectly, and if it’s not cancer then it’s something else: we all have something. We all can relate to each other. We all can help one another carry our loads. (Galatians 6) We all have the choice to be grateful or grumpy.
Some people have said to me that I’m so brave, so strong, but the truth is that I’m not! If ever I appear that way, it is the grace of God on display. I find reading Scripture and praying regularly to be a great source of comfort and encouragement, but sometimes it’s hard to focus. I’ve printed the words of Scripture and prayers on paper which I’ve taped inside my kitchen cupboard doors to help remind and encourage me. I have the privilege of being able to ask friends to pray for me and/or with me, and to have coffee with me, or go for walks with me when I’m up for it. My community is such a gift to me, and I’ve had opportunity to grow in humility and grace as friends have served us so generously in many ways, including cleaning our toilets… significant opportunity for me to grow in humility and grace!
I have found it frustrating to not be able to do the things I normally do. I’ve often wondered how to faithfully navigate this strange season of life. Months ago I asked my amazing small group for their thoughts on how I could live faithfully, and they reminded me that this is a great opportunity to focus on deepening my relationship with God. I can’t DO all that I’d like to do, but I can still BE in relationship, and it’s relationships that really matter the most.
I am so thankful for my support people who take such good care of us. I am thankful for the friends who let me cry with them, for those who bear with me in my limitations, for those who pray faithfully for me (many of which I’ve never met), those who’ve sent encouraging notes and gifts, and the many who have helped in other ways such as cooking and cleaning, childcare, transportation, … there are so many offers of help that we’ve not yet taken up! We feel very well cared-for and we are so grateful! In these (and other) tangible ways, God shows grace and love.
A year ago, I thought I had my plan for the next year pretty much figured out. Boy was I wrong! I never could have anticipated this. The Living God is the Lord of my life, and that includes my calendar (James 4). My plans changed. Though this has been a difficult year, there is so much for which I’m extremely grateful. The brief summary would be: God, family, friends, acquaintances and strangers. The many ways I’ve been deeply blessed are way too large to count.
… but back to the camp …
We are so grateful for a fun time away as a family, for lovely people who shared themselves so generously with us, for boat rides and hours at the beach, for delicious treats, for laughter, for great speakers, for encouragement and inspiration, for opportunities to watch our children have great fun and be blessed, and for so much more.