I have been away for a week and had time to look at one of Christina's journals from the fall of 2009. She was two years into her cancer journey--one brain surgery completed and radiation done--and still very little energy. My heart hurt as I read her words of frustration. Here is a peek--
"Wow, what do you have for me? I can't even imagine. Why am I alive, Father? That's the hardest and most tender subject to my heart. Why am I alive? I want to live my life SOLD OUT for you...what is that supposed to look like? Life can be exciting Father, just you and me. Why am I all of a sudden feeling lonely and like I need companionship? There is no doubt you are providing for me, Father. I am so grateful. But I still feel like somehow you must be disappointed in me. How do we overcome this, Father? How do I live in freedom, working hard, but being OK if it's not the results (financial independence) I was hoping for?"
"Jesus, let's do this thing! Let's thrive as a team. Let's do things that strengthen me in You. Let's try things that don't come easy. I wonder if you want to speak to me through dreams. I always thought that would be cool. Lord, show me where to read in your word. Show me how to pray. Show me how to best spend my time. I am excited to thrive together, Father. Oh, how I need you. I love you!"
What challenges me, as the reader of her journal, is the way Christina moved from deep struggle to deep trust in the space of one journal entry. As I continue to read, I see the pattern. Pour out the heart--especially the hard stuff. And then turn to the Source of Life--Jesus. Let His refreshment, His peace, His purpose flow in. Turn the corner quickly. Don't get lost in the dizzy swirl of confusion and struggle. Reach out and grab the hand of the One who walks on water.
"Oh life... What does everything mean? Where do I go? What do I do? Where do I belong? Do you have a purpose for me, Father? Am I just taking up space?
I know you must have a plan Father, I just don't know what I'm striving for. With limited energy, and limited funds...and not much clear direction...What is this supposed to look like?
I so trust your plan but I feel blind, or like maybe I'm missing something. Lead me and I will follow, Lord. I feel like right now I'm just guessing. I love you. I trust you."
"But you are a shield around me, O Lord;
you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.
To the Lord I cry aloud, and He answers me from his holy hill.
I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the Lord sustains me."
I think the thing that speaks to me so strongly is that she trusted her Jesus completely. As I read one of her journal entries, I noticed the date--November 1st, 2009. Exactly three years later, not only was she married, she was giving birth to her beautiful son, Isaiah. She could never have guessed that portion of the story. And before she got to that beautiful moment she had suffered a bout of deep depression brought on by an anti-seizure drug, another brain surgery, and a move back to Port Angeles to see if she could marry a wonderful young man.
No matter how confusing or difficult our journeys look, we only know a small part of the story. In my own life, I loved being Christina's mom. That part of my life is now complete. I wonder what God has in store. What is my purpose? What new adventures lie ahead? I will join Christina in turning to the One who has my days numbered and live each one for Him.
Again from Christina's journal...
"This moment is all we have!
It is all we are responsible for!
We can spend half our lives waiting for hard phases to pass and easy/good ones to come along.
But then we've wasted....hmmm...half our life.
We are not granted tomorrow, meaning we are not guaranteed the next 'easy/good' phase we are waiting for. So what does that make this moment--our last moment....absolutely empty.
How unbelievably sad...fear, disillusionment, neglect, avoidance, disengagement...
The cool thing about flourishing is, we don't have to just hunker down and 'survive' life..
- We get the choice to stand up, take in every moment, and THRIVE in it!
- We get to shine light in the darkest caves.
- We get to charge our fears with sword in hand.
- We get to be squished and then regrown.
- We get to stare ahead at a scary future with a pounding heart, trembling knees and a smile our faces wondering how in the world God is going to direct this journey for His glory."