One Year Later

Image result for long suffering

When I got diagnosed with cancer a year ago today, I didn’t think I would see the day when I had hope again. I didn’t think I would see the day when I believed I’d be okay again. I had spent so much time suffering up until the point I was diagnosed, and knew that having cancer meant suffering even more. But more than anything, it meant that I may be losing my life too. Losing everyone that I loved and everything that I had worked for. I can’t believe that I’m still here.

As much as I feared the end, I also knew that my life would never be the same. I was not prepared for the normal activities of life that I would no longer be able to do… like cooking, cleaning, taking a walk, or buying groceries. I was not prepared for the humility I would need in allowing others to care for me instead of me taking care of them.

I haven’t been able to serve others the way that I used to. I’ve spent my days just surviving, and trying to deal with everyday setbacks with my health because of treatment side effects. It’s taken a long time to get to a point where I can be a little more self-sufficient, like walking to the fridge on my own to get a drink without feeling like I’m going to pass out. And when I say a long time, I mean like I have only been able to do that in the last three weeks. My prayer is that I will get to a point where I’m able to start doing more for others, and give back to the heroes that have been there for me through this journey. In the meantime, I’m going to try to focus more on accepting the fact that I am a survivor instead of just merely surviving. I know that God will continue to lead the way.

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12



The Need For Rest Will Just Have To Do For Now

The last time I was sick on Christmas was five years ago… before my life was drastically altered after meeting my husband and embracing the Christian faith wholeheartedly for the first time. I had traveled to Colorado via Greyhound to spend the holiday with my best friend and her kids. Taking the bus was a great way to get out of the city to venture the beaten path with my camera after the end of a six-year relationship I never should have been in, and the end of a disillusionment for an affair that would never be more than a roll in the hay. 

Yeah, I’d had better days and the opportunity to run away from home was enchanting. The road to freedom was a little more traveled than I wanted it to be though; it took three days to get to Colorado and five to get home. I remember getting stuck in the Dallas bus station for a day and a half while a snowstorm wrecked havoc just north of us. I was still trying to get to Colorado, and I was completely at the mercy of a storm I couldn’t even see. It wasn’t snowing in Dallas where I was, but all around me it was coming down so heavy that travel all the way up to Denver was at a halt. I just wanted to get where I was going, and I wanted answers. There was no way out and nowhere to feel safe. 

I think it took a good 12 hours before they finally brought a bus out for us weary-eyed travelers to sleep on. I was so thankful… all I wanted was answers and rest, but I would settle at the moment for just some rest. It’s how I’m feeling again after all these years.

Cancer has a way of eating away at your soul… if you’ll let it. Sometimes I do, I won’t lie. Sometimes, I give in and let the cancer take a bite or two out of me. Sometimes it takes a few days, weeks, or months for me to wake up out of the chokehold-slumber that cancer is and stumble again onto my faith. On Christmas Day, it was just a reminder staring back at me that reads “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Yesterday, it was a complete meltdown on the living room sofa where I begged God to help me over and over again. Today, it might look like something completely different but I’m not giving up. 

The answers may come another day but for today, I’m going to take the rest that comes with knowing Him. 


Even when you’re going through it,

You’re not going through it;

You’re tiptoeing around,

Careful not to step on

Your own thoughts, your own feelings. 

You don’t really want to talk about it;

You don’t really want to write about it.

You only want to think about, write about 

Nothing at all.

The nothingness that stares you in the face,

The nothingness that will never be nothing again,

The life that will never be the same.

Feeling Tired and Worn


I’m tired. Like really tired, and not just because I don’t sleep well.

I’m tired of being poked and prodded. I’m tired of seeing doctors that can’t help me. Doctors that tell me they don’t know what’s wrong with me, or that there is nothing wrong with me at all.

I’m tired of pills, medicine, and treatments. Nothing works. I’ve tried so many different things… even physical therapy but it hasn’t changed a thing.

I’m tired of not feeling well, with this symptom or that. Every day it’s something else. My head still hurts every day, and sometimes incredibly bad. I sat on my bedside a few days ago at 3 o’clock in the morning contemplating going to the emergency room; they weren’t much help the last time I was there so I suffered through it like I always do.

I’m tired of suffering. Not knowing when it’s going to end. Will I ever be okay again? Will there ever be another season in my life when I am not feeling pain compounded over pain, let alone just one single breath with no pain at all?

I’m tired of doctors that keep throwing around words like anxiety and depression. How would they feel if they woke up sick one day, believing it would pass, but it doesn’t. And every day they keep waiting and hoping that the next doctor will have the answer or a solution to help them feel even an ounce like their old self? Grieving is not the same as depression, and being anxious just seems to be part of this whole ordeal with chronic pain.

This is a side of me that few people get to see. I’m hurting just like everyone else in this world. I don’t know what my future looks like. I have all of these dreams, but I don’t know which ones are God’s will. And I don’t know if I will ever be well again. That’s the most daunting question of all, and all the faith in my heart doesn’t seem to be enough to keep that question far from my mind. It’s always there, like a child repeating themselves over and over again until they get what they want.

Still, I wait and trust, giving everything I have to God because I have nothing left. I find myself draped over His promises, spent from exhaustion. Only He has the strength. Only He can carry me through the most trying times of my life. There is no use trying to do this on my own, no use trying to carry my own battered body down unfamiliar streets to search for a cure on my own. Where has that gotten me? What have I gained from all of this? Nothing I tell you, nothing.

I don’t know where God will take me from here but I do know one thing. I will not be alone. Through all of the pain, uncertainty, and upset, He has been there with me. He has carried me at every moment I couldn’t do this anymore. He has lifted me at every moment my body and faith have given out on me, despite my best attempts to keep everything together. And He will continue to be with me, only this time I will let Him do most of the walking and let His strength carry me.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Fighting to Breathe

While sitting here a few minutes ago reading Psalm 143, I endured the most excruciating pain in my side. It caused me to have trouble breathing, and I fought the devil literally to read aloud each word in that Psalm from start to finish until I found peace at the end. 

Some aspects of my pain comes and goes in waves, but while the tides I endure are sometimes scary and seemingly unrelenting, in my heart I know that Jesus is with me every step of the way. He will never fail me. And I will never give up on Him, never give up trusting up with the plan He has for my life. I pray that your faith is able to endure the hardships as well to the point of understanding how you are being used for His kingdom. 

Psalm 143:8 KJV

“Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.”

I Miss The Old Me

I’m laying down because I need rest

But the dogs are barking

The kids are screaming

My stomach is hurting

My body is jerking

My head is hurting

My conscience is guilty

And my heart is heavy. 

I miss the old me

That played with the dogs

That did things with the kids

That worked out my body

That always used my head

That had a clean conscience

And a heart full with joy.  

Lord, be with me. 

Defining Weakness


It was supposed to say strong. That’s what I really wanted to communicate to a pastor I was talking to this morning. I wanted to say, “be strong…” but the Spirit told me no. So instead my words came out as…

Stay weak so that He can be strong in you.

Not easy to type, not easy to read. Not easy to digest and say to another person. I mean, what does that even mean? I shared it with my husband, and his first response was “why would you want to remain weak?” I’m sure I would get that response from a lot of people.

In case you didn’t know, I’ve been dealing with sickness a lot lately. Headaches, nausea, numbness, vertigo, as well as vision and hearing issues. Been like this since the first of the year.  Being that it’s the 9th of February, I’ve been dealing with this for 40 days. The good news is that a ton of people are praying for me, and my MRI will be done tonight.

40 days is a long time to endure the wilderness of suffering.

During this time, you are in disbelief that it has been so long and you’re tired and desperate for relief. There are days when you suffer more and days when you suffer less, but overall you’re still suffering. And when you are in the wilderness, there is weakness. The pain is wearing you down. It’s all you can focus on, and you do your best to get through your days with impairment affecting you on many levels. You can’t do the things you used to do. You make modifications to your lifestyle so you can get by, and you try to rely on others more than you really want to. For all intents and purposes, you are weak.

With our American independence, weakness can seem like a pretty dirty word. Why would we want to appear weak or lean on someone else? Often, people with illness and disabilities are left to fend for themselves because we live in a “me, me, me” society. No one seems to really care how you are feeling, what you are dealing with, or what you can and can’t do until it affects them personally. Sure, that can be upsetting to acknowledge but as hard as we try, it really is difficult to walk in someone else’s shoes. Especially when that person is in pain all the time.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about 2 Corinthians 12:9. The words have not left me, and I find myself meditating on them, trying to understand the depth of their meaning:

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

What does that mean? How is grace enough? How can I apply this to what I am currently going through? This is what I have been wrestling with and I’m sure it had something to do with why I told the pastor to stay weak. No one chooses weakness; we would all rather take life by the reigns and do things on our own. Why let God take over when the sin of pride says that you got this?

The thing about ministry is “you don’t got this.” You truly can do nothing worthwhile for the Kingdom if your interests and your desires are steering you.

You and God can’t lead at the same time.

That being said, it is a lot harder to walk away and let God take over when you feel like you still have enough control in life to be strong on your own. When you are fighting sickness, you already feel out of control.

I’ve noticed some things in the last 40 days as I’ve battled whatever it is my body is going through. For one, listening to or writing worship music seems to strengthen me to the point that I can move past the pain I’m feeling. It doesn’t make it go away but it is no longer the object of my consciousness. This also seems to be the case when I’m actively involved in ministry work, like when I led my small group recently or when I’m working with the youth for the Fine Arts competition this year.

When I am focused on working for Him, regardless of how I feel, He steps in and gives me the strength to help me get through it.

When I am weak, there is room for God to do a work in me. I have made a way for Him to perform a miracle only He can do. How many miracles can He do if I’m leading the way? None. I may not have a choice over being weak from my illness, but I see now the beauty in it. I’m starting to understand how suffering does not have to be such a bad thing, even longsuffering. When I look at those that have endured pain all their lives, I’ve often wondered how they do it. Now I know – it was never them but God himself.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

How Far Are You Willing To Go For Christ?


Are you willing to die? Are you willing to die right now, let go of everything in your life…

Your loved ones… Your children… Your family?

“And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.” Luke 9:23-24

That’s the question that became so clear to me last night when I lay down to sleep. This question that seemingly came out of nowhere, and yet one that so deeply affects…


It haunted me. It haunted me so much that I lay awake for hours… wrestling with who I am and where I am going in life, questioning my relationship with God, and if I am truly ready to meet the One that gave me life, that I claim to love so much.

Cue the tears. One by one, they fell into a seamless wave that would later wash over me again and again as I searched, tearing apart every thought that came to the surface.

What am I so scared of? Why do I run away from pain? Who am I to think I should escape suffering, that I can somehow keep myself shielded from having to endure more than I think I can handle? When am I going to trust God? When will I finally surrender EVERYTHING to Him? When will I allow myself to endure the pain? When will I finally accept it? When will I accept the long suffering that comes with life? When, when, when… when, when, when… oh how I here these words echoing, screaming, taunting me, killing me from the inside… tearing me apart… oh God, help me… Help me, please help me. Lord, who am I to deny you? Who am I to deny you everything that you want to do to me? Who am I to take away everything that you have worked so hard to build, to restore, to awaken in my life?

I consulted the bible with my questions, and one by one, they were defeated gracefully by the wisdom and love of God. And in the end, the final wave that came over me was unexpected and beautiful.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

Peace, a peace I was not seeking. Sure, I go back and forth with my fears, knowing that God has called me to so much more. But in that moment, ready to fall asleep and put my day to rest, I was content to sit in my fear rather than crawl out of my jail cell. Whether it was me or God that chose that moment to wrestle with the devil himself, I can say that the sleep I lost was worth the peace in my heart right now.

I’m willing to die. I am willing to die. I’m willing to do whatever it takes. All day I have heard these words ringing in my head, not as a silly mantra I hope to believe one day, but instead with the resolve of a faith-filled Christian that finally, FINALLY is ready to take up the sword and not just sit scared in the corner, hoping God won’t call on me to once and for all, finally fight my fears for a chance to sit at His table. How far am I willing to go for Him? I’ve decided. I’m not sitting on the sidelines anymore hoping I’ll finally muster the courage to play in the game, knowing I’m going to get tackled, knowing… knowing… knowing… that my life is completely out of my control. I’m gonna get knocked down, and I’ve always let my fears keep me out of the game because I don’t want to feel the pain… but no more. NO MORE.

We have to be willing to die to truly live. We fear pain, but renewal requires letting go. We have to embrace the change by facing the pain of fear. If we allow ourselves to stay stuck in fear, we deny something that rightfully belongs to God: every part of ourselves. Give God your fear & let God use you for His glory. With God, we can do all things. That includes letting go of everything we know about ourselves, and letting go of the only self we know.

We have to accept the pain. We have to accept the challenge that He has put before us. We have to accept all of those things we keep trying to deny out of fear. God is with you and me. Let’s be willing to walk with Him.

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12





It’s Coming, It’s Here, and It’s Gone

The world is crashing all around. 
I see the pain and I try not to touch it;
I see the strain, and try to dance around it.
Anything, anything but the reality of this moment
And all moments from this moment on.
It’s coming, it’s here, and it’s gone all at the same time,
This swirling of emotion that wells up inside.
Where to run, where to turn?
There’s nothing left to face
That is pretty in this world anymore.
I want to say something, say anything
That will make sense, that will bring comfort
But words always fail me.
I’m just a nobody loving a somebody
In a cold and broken, dark, dark, world.


My heart hurts. It’s just spilling out all over the place. This flood I couldn’t find before doesn’t seem to have an end now.

Death. You are a good God and yet death still occurs. One by one, they disappear and gone are the dreams that once were so alive.

It doesn’t seem fair. I know you are a just God but sometimes the people left behind are left to question how good you are. I understand, I do. I know you are good but it’s hard to feel the good when your heart is filled with so much pain. It’s hard to hold on to the truth when you are at a loss for words when reality sets in.

How can I preach the Gospel to a person who is dying when that person is someone I love? How can I separate my pain from the job that I must do? Furthermore, how am I to show them comfort when I feel so uncomfortable with everything going on?

I want to turn them to God, I want to turn them to Jesus, but I can’t answer the tough questions. I know the answers but I can’t seem to speak them. I can’t speak them because I am at a loss of words. Grief has stolen the wisdom from my heart and replaced it with prayer void of too much emotion as I deal with the numbness.