One Year Later

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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

 

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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. 

Tiptoe


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.

You Can Find Hope With Him

It’s a sad day for me as I reflect on a friend that has passed away, a friend I didn’t always get along with but one in which I sacrificed a lot to be there for her during difficult times. We taught each other a lot about love, sacrifice, and surrender. 

I’ll never forget a conversation we had recently. She was feeling worthless, like her life had no meaning or purpose, and she struggled with whether or not I truly loved her. She wasn’t sure anyone really loved her. On this particular day, she needed to be rushed to the hospital for a life-threatening health issue but refused on the grounds that no one cared about her anyway. Several people had tried to reason with her all day, and we finally decided to do an intervention. 

I had discussed God with her many times during our friendship and she mostly hadn’t cared. But in this moment, when she was willing to give up on life because of how she felt she measured up to others, I couldn’t let that stop me from pressing in and telling her the hard truth. I spoke to her about salvation. 

I loved this girl with all of my heart but I had to tell her that her salvation does not depend on my loving her, and that it doesn’t depend on any of the people in her life loving her. I told her that it also didn’t come from her loving me. She had to know that salvation comes from giving her heart to Jesus, and allowing herself to be loved by Him. She had to surrender to Him, and depend on Him to fill the brokenness inside because no one else was going to be able to fix that for her. Through choked tears, I spoke passionately in a way I never have before, with words that could have only come from God himself. 

It was a defining moment in our friendship but more importantly, in her journey to know God. This was a person that had told me just two months prior that she would rather go to hell than know Jesus. It’s what she thought she deserved, and I’m happy knowing that she did finally choose Jesus. She started reading the bible and came to understand her  purpose in life. She even led another to Christ before she died, and is now in the arms of our Savior. 

We all need a Savior. Some, like my friend, are stubborn in their belief that they don’t need Him and don’t want Him. I’ve been there myself so I understand, but so I am thankful that she surrendered everything she had to Him, even her life. Heaven is the reward after a life filled with struggle and pain. Do you know where you’re going when you die? I hope it’s into the arms of Jesus. 

Rest in peace my dear friend. 

No More Excuses

There are things that you have called me to do,
But I have politely declined.

“I’m too scared. I don’t know how.
What would my friends think?
That’s not me, Lord.”

All of the times I’ve turned you away
When you needed me the most…

Prideful. Unbelieving.

Made in His image but doing my own thing.

How will I ever be useful
If I won’t let you use me?

No more excuses.
No more playing defense.

I surrender.
I surrender all.


 

For more information about Kristeen Nicole Gillooly, her music, and her ministry, please visit http://www.kngmusicministry.com or her artist site at http://www.kristeennicolegillooly.com. To learn more about Jesus, please reach for your closest bible. If you are in need of a bible and cannot afford one, please visit http://worldbibleproject.org/request-a-free-bible/

The Time is Near

My gig at the Coastal Carolina Fair in Charleston is coming up this Saturday night and I can’t wait. My friends and co-workers are getting excited because I’ll have things like a dressing room and a photographer, even someone working the crowd handing out business cards. For me, it will be the biggest opportunity for me to reach God’s people through performance. That’s what I care about most. I am a very humble person and I only need what I need to get the job done for Jesus. I appreciate that I will have a place to get ready and look my best and it’s really awesome that someone will be able to capture the moment on film. Still, I will know that I have done my best if I can help shine light of God’s love for all to see, to be a vessel for all that He has done and continues to do for each of us whether we embrace Him or not. He never fails us and always waits in the wings for us to want Him in our lives. I love you Jesus, and I am so thankful that I surrendered my life to you so that you could work wonders in my life. You are worthy.