Sunday, December 7, 2014

Season of Thanks

When the seasons change, it allows for new beginnings.  Texas is known to have several seasons in one day.  This fall has been a rather chilly one, compared to the past few years.  We've had colder weather for longer periods.  Fall and winter have always been my favorite seasons.  For many reasons, I love wearing big sweaters that hide my fluff, cute scarves, and curling up on the couch with the warmth of a fire.  Also, it means Christmas is near and there are so many things I love about Christmastime.

This Thanksgiving as been different.  This Christmas will be different.  The rest of my life will be different, if I'm being honest with myself.

That's what happens when the tide rises, bringing chemo treatments, scans, more doctor appointments, and waves of fears and unknowns.

While all those things fill my calendar, along with birthdays, school programs, lunch dates - I can't help but focus on the difference on years past.

Before my mom's diagnosis (I refuse to use the "c" word, mostly because I refuse to proclaim that over her life), life was normal.  My mind often thought about the normal life things such as paying bills, making my grocery list, dreaming of the farmhouse I want to build one day, getting mad over things not going "my way" or whatever else may have seemed to matter.  Basically, I didn't have much to fret over, yet I fretted.

It's not that those things don't matter and of course I still pay my bills, but what truly matters has certainly shifted.  Along with the things I am thankful for.   Nor do I fret over things the way I did before.  Life is too short and precious to fret.

I am thankful for a perspective change.  I'm thankful even for the bad days because it means I still have my health, I'm still able to pick up the phone and call my mama, or get in the car and go see her even though 100 things went wrong.  Like our A/C going out or the hot water heater or our microwave/vent-a-hood all within a 3 month period.

This is the first season in my life, where I am thankful for the storm.  Yet it's the toughest storm I've had to weather.  The time in the wilderness with my mom's illness has been nothing short of amazing.  Hard, yes.  Incredibly hard.  There have been moments I wasn't sure I'd make it to the next.  My heart ached to the point of physical pain, tears I thought might never cease, and times I wanted to toss my anger into the sea - along with Satan aka cancer.

But thankfully, those moments are few and far between compared to the moments where God has reached down, carried me, held me, and sustained me.

And for that I am thankful.

So often I see signs of hope as I go throughout my day.  On the rough days, God shines so bright that His goodness captivates me.

And I can't help but sing of His praises..."Though my heart and flesh may fail..."

Sometimes it is as simple as a small gesture from a random person.  Sometimes it's through Brady.  Sometimes it's through a random text from a dear friend, simply to say, "How are you?  Praying for you!"  And other times it is no denying, it is simply God reaching down from above.  Like how lately, I've noticed some of the most beautiful sunsets or skies.

On my 32nd birthday (November 20th), I remember kind of dreading it because while it was my birthday, it was also mom's day of more blood work, follow-up with the oncologist, and then round 2 of chemo.  She normally always comes to see me during my birthday and while I was okay with her not being here, I hated knowing she was even having to go through this whole process.  Being at M.D. Anderson, isn't exactly a fun, hope-filled day.  Brady had school that day and on the ride there, we prayed for Mimi and tears filled my ears as Brady prayed for her and told me, "Mimi is going to be okay!"  And all was right in my world.  I let go of the anxiety and fears, and knew I must trust Him....and Him alone.

After school, he was telling me about the bible story Pastor told them.  He said,"there was a lion who just fell over and then God just held Mimi!  That's just what He do."

And for that I am thankful.  Thankful for child-like faith.  That my 2yr old (almost 3) is able to see God holding Mimi even when I'm not.  Oh my heart, be still.

Cancer has a way of spiraling you into whirlwind.  Everything prior to that dreadful news almost seems like a whole other world.  And you're now entering a new world.  Or new season.

Because this is just a season.

This will not be my world forever and I refuse to allow it to take over my world.  But I will allow the storm to rage.

And I'm actually thankful for the raging storm.

Jesus never promised us that storms wouldn't rage.  He actually told us storms would come.  I'd almost be more worried if I didn't have any storms in my life.

But this storm is different than those past.

Those past I thought I wouldn't make it through to the other side.  Similar to how the disciples felt when they followed Jesus on the boat to "the other side." (Mark 4:35-41)

The waves were so big, almost capsizing the boat.  But yet, Jesus slept.

The disciples worried, even waking Jesus to ask Him, "if He cared that they may drown?"

After Jesus tells the waves to be still.  He replied with, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

So this Thanksgiving season, I am thankful for the storm that rages while I stand firm in my faith and be still.  Knowing it is through the storms, our faith is strengthened.  Where Christ meets us, tattered and broken.  And maybe it's not so much about the storm, as it is about us learning to trust in Him - regardless of the storm.  It's about our focus in the storm.

My mom has been so courageous through all of this.  She radiates what it means to stand on the solid rock.  Of course she has moments of fear and struggles with the unknown, but one thing she does know is her illness is no mistake.  Of course, He didn't give her this illness but what she chooses to do with it is a divine appointment.

She said from the very beginning, if this will bring Him glory than she's ready for the ride!  She feels honored He has chosen her and this is just the beginning of her story, her legacy.  Wow, what a legacy!  This will give her a platform to transform so many hearts, as it already has.

What Satan intends for harm, God will use for good.

And good it will be. 

So while we weep on some days for cancer just plain sucks.  We also rejoice for we are walking this road along side a God who loves us more than we know and will do anything to bring us to the point where we can rest in Him, trusting Him.  Even when the waves are crashing.

So for this storm, I am thankful.

Thankfully, our suffering is never in vain.  It is our sufferings that cause us to cling to Him, resulting in full abandonment of the things of this world.  Transforming us to be more like Him.

He wants us to come boldly before Him, knowing our circumstances aren't ideal but even when the odds are stacked against us - we remain in Him.

We are able to lift our hands and praise the hallway, while we wait.

With thanksgiving...His word tells us. 

 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.  Philippians 4:4-9

So this season in my life, I have so much to be thankful for.  For when we shift our eyes away from our problem and focus on Jesus, we're able to be sleep in the stern of the boat while the waves crash over us...because even the wind and waves still know His name.

So let go and trust in Him.

Thanking & praising Him for this season.

For this storm.  The peace in my storm.  For I have nothing to fear.

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass
through the rivers, they will not sweep over you...
For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your God."
Isaiah 43: 1-3


  1. Nancy, that is beautiful. I hold fast to your family's love. All of you were there with me during a sudden hard time. Rhonda's resiliency (and her family) were a true blessing to me. Now, after only a couple of months, we have a new storm and I am trying to find reasons to be thankful for this one. As my children and Grandson start this painful healing after a bad wreck last week, you show how to accept these storms with grace. I love your Mom and continue to pray for this storm too. Our only Christmas celebration this year is to be thankful no lives were lost and we can be whole again through Faith. I know His arms surround us all! God Bless you and I love you dearly!

  2. beautifully are an amazing woman. i am proud to have you in my family. i pray for your momma . i pray for you