Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Writing and Writers

In case you don't know me, I love words.  I love how people can turn a phrase into something amazing and lovely.  I love to write.  Turns out it is very therapeutic...who knew?  Recently I have had several different people tell me I should "be a writer."   This is a hard concept for me to take one.  Because I write, I am a writer.  What else can I be?  

I think my friends who were encouraging me to be a writer were thinking I would do it for money.  I don't know anyone who ever really was great at something they just did for money.  I write for lots of reasons--I can't sleep, I am pondering things, or my brain is too full and needs a download of sorts--but I wonder how I can turn those musings into something real, something meaningful.  Any suggestions?  Where does one even start "becoming" a writer?  

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Church Testimony from October, 2009

So, here it is, after much delay.  Please bear in mind that there is much more light now than there was as I wrote this testimony for church.

Life is full of darkness.  Death, disease, disaster....we have all faced them.  It is in these times that I usually turn to God.  I answered God's call shortly after my brother died in 2001.  When my niece was very ill two years ago, the Lord was a great comfort.  I though that was how I'd feel in any darkness.  

In May of 2009, darkness landed on my doorstep.  I hadn't felt well for several months, but, like many women who are busy with other things, I let it go.  One afternoon at work, the physical pain was too great to ignore, and I finally made an appointment with my doctor.  

The news was not good.  I had huge masses on my ovaries and was scheduled for surgery the next day.  During that surgery, I had a complete hysterectomy, and over 25 pounds of "suspicious" tumors and fluid removed.  

Two days later, my doctor's worst suspicions were met.  I had cancer.  AND I'd lost any chance of having kids.  It was TOO MUCH.  I wasn't sure which was worse...a disease that had invaded my body, or my dearest hope--dashed.  

My family & friends kicked into an all-too-familiar caretaker mode.  Schedules were re-arranged, my Mom came down from Missouri...we were suddenly connected over something no one wanted.  I had phone calls and text messages, and very little energy to deal with them.  When people asked how I was doing, I kept saying, "God will take care of this," but I'm not sure I believed it.  

For me, that was the heart of my darkness--being able to speak the truth, but not quite believing it.  My physical pain was overshadowed by a noticeable lack of comfort in God.  

I tried, I really did.  My bible went everywhere I went.  I read it, but I didn't feel any connection to it, or its promises.  

I have often heard, and said, that the opposite of love isn't hate, it's indifference.  If, throughout this ordeal, I had been angry at God, it would have made sense.  People often commented about how calm I was.  I think they saw grace and acceptance, but in truth, it was indifference.  I just didn't have any interest in God.  I did not think God had abandoned me, rather, I was completely indifferent to Him.

I remarked to several friends, at different times, that it was a good thing that I knew God loved me, because I wasn't too fond of Him.  This went on for weeks.  Finally, with one friend, I followed it up with a question, something along the lines of "What do I do?  How do I change how I feel about God?"  My friend directed me to the Psalms.  He reminded me that many of them were written in times of deep despair.  Somehow, that light came through the darkness and revealed my heart.

Then Jeff (my amazing pastor!) started preaching from Psalms.  Then another friend read to me from Psalm 73, v. 21 "my heart was grieved, I was like a beast before God..."  That's how I'd been feeling!  Thankfully, she did not stop reading there, she went on to verses 23-24, and reminded me that "God is continually with me...His counsel guides me...I am His."  Much like Abraham in the Old Testament, God was with me, seeking me out, even though I was a sinner, lost in my own darkness.  

God's light became more clear to me then.  I was able to look back and see God's light in the family and friends who had gathered around me during my treatments.  The light became evident to me in the meals provided, the cards and letters I'd received, and the countless small acts of love in between.  At long last, I was able to see what Psalm 130 refers to as "the Lord's mercy, His abundant redemption."

On October 27th, I was told I am cancer free.  It would seem that the darkness is being overtaken by the light.  

This is not to say that worry won't creep in occasionally, that the sadness of not being able to have kids won't be a companion in the days to come.  When those times come, I trust that the light of Christ that has been revealed to me so clearly in the last several months will once again be a comfort and a certainty I can rest in.