Absolute Edges

I received a beautiful letter from Michael last night.

It read:

My love for you is as far as the moon. When I’m sad, you make me laugh. When I’m hungry, you order pizza.

Well, it doesn’t say a whole lot for my “homemaker” skills. No, I don’t iron or cook much from scratch, but I will go to my absolute edges to make sure my boys laugh often and know they are loved.

Michael will start counseling Friday. Justin will have chemotherapy injected into his spine next week. Morning nausea and lower leg weakness for Justin, and frequently talking through “worries and scares” with Michael is my daily reality.

Picking up on my cues, Nicky has been really good at making us all laugh. He has developed a character named “Stupid Bob” who comes to visit when things get way too intense in here. Albeit very politically incorrectly named, Stupid Bob is much-needed comic relief and just has to exist right now.

It is said that in the part of our brain called the amygdala, exists our “fight or flight” stress response. But, this is, generally, supposed to be a short-term thing.

torrent-neufWell, I’ve been in “fight” mode for 501 days. I think of this as being at my absolute edges. I don’t know what this says about my sanity. But I am always and only, leaning into my safety guard rail whom is Jesus, particularly through the Psalms.

Also donuts. But mostly Psalms. Grace be with you, my friends.

Dirt and Pizza on Day 486

Justin has an ear infection and steroid side effects to contend with this week, which means we are cranky and eating everything in sight. Pizza and lemonade. A real steroid craving regular.

I’ve spent most of the week caring for him, homeschooling and, rather impulsively, planting vegetables and a flower garden. This is very possibly a sign of impending breakdown as this is way out of character for me. I generally don’t care for dirt and earthworms. However, we have made several “cancer friends” on social media and wanted to create something to honor them as well as their families. We chose plants that attract butterflies. To me, these amazing creatures paired with growing vegetables inspire hope. We have enjoyed sharing pictures with our friends all over the world.

Oh and lilac smells wonderful. So far, we have spotted one visiting butterfly.

Today, a sweet friend actually asked about an update as if she looks forward to reading. That was very much appreciated. If there is ever a significant amount of time between updates, it’s usually because I’m hiding in the laundry room with a box of Twinkies. Thank you for your prayers and support.

The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord. Psalm 33:5b


I Won’t Ever Let You Stay Down

Taking care of Justin is like taking care of a newborn or a toddler. I spent most of the day cleaning him up, supporting him while he walked, carrying and feeding him.

Tonight he got up from the couch to use the bathroom. I couldn’t get there in time to “spot” him as he was walking. He lost his balance and fell to the floor. Of all the painful, scary things we have been through, seeing his weak legs give out affected me the most.

Because it drove home feelings I’ve had nagging at me all week. Cancer is robbing Justin of being a little boy. Justin was active, rambunctious and loved to play sports. He was a fast runner and really good at soccer. Now he has weak, pencil-thin legs that can’t support him when he is tired. He is quiet and despondent. My heart aches desperately when I look into his blue eyes, once bright with mischief and enthusiasm, now darkened with fatigue and sadness.

Seeing him fall also hit a little too close to home. I often struggle with muscle weakness of the legs and mine have “given out” on me on more than one occasion. I hated seeing it happen to my five-year-old child.

So I drench my pillow and pray, “How long, Lord?” And I plead with Him to heal Justin and restore my little boy.

And people say to me, “How can you have faith? Why does God allow this to happen?”

I understand those questions. And I do pour my heart out to God in anger, frustration, fear and sadness. But I never ask why. Because whatever purpose God is working through all of this is too fantastic for me to understand. His ways are not our ways. (“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9)

And because the God of the universe doesn’t owe ME an explanation.

And because I trust God. I trust His reasons. After all, He was willing to allow His own Son to die on a horrid cross for me. When I think of this incomparable measure of grace, I trust the One who is the author of my faith. (“Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2)

To put it very simply, I trust Someone who was willing to do THAT.

Although I don’t expect to know why Justin is suffering, I AM promised that God is with me and we are not forsaken. (“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8)

So I cling to this promise for dear life and continue to hope in my salvation and my God. For God alone my soul waits in silence;
    from him comes my salvation.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken. (Psalm 62:1-2)

After I held him in my arms, I told Justin this, “You know what I do when I fall down? I get back up. Falling down doesn’t make us weak, staying down does. I won’t ever let you stay down.”

Grace be with you, my friends.