So I’m not sure what God is doing. I have days I feel like I just want a normal life. Out of ministry. Hang out with girlfriends. Make play dates. Plan meals and bake and volunteer at school. Have Friday and Saturday nights FREE. Go to church as a family. Really, I want all of that. And a lot of it I DO have until the rude awakening of my husband having to rush off to the hospital to pray for someone that is sick…or use his day off to spend counseling a couple on the verge of a divorce…or have the entire Sunday spent just me and the kids because he goes to service early, stays late and plans meetings. And the expectations. I’m a pastor’s wife. They weigh heavy on me so often. I feel I have to be there not to serve or minister to others but because of "who I am" and I should be there sitting in the front row. I feel like I need to be put together and smile at people I don’t know and reach out and shake their hands when they leave…because I’m supposed to. I’m an introvert. I don’t like all eyes on me, I even dreaded walking down the aisle at my own wedding. I’d prefer to blend into the crowd and even the thought of speaking out at small group bible study sends my heart into palpitations and my hands sweat. Reaching out to someone I don’t know, smiling as if I’m enjoying every moment just feels so FAKE to me. And yet I do it. Because I feel like I’m supposed to. Those dang expectations get me down every single time. Well, the other day I started to realize something. When all you see around you is the outside and lack the relational mentoring from another who walks in confidence of who they are it’s very easy to get stuck in that game. Stuck. That’s exactly what it is. Stuck. I’m stuck when I pretend to be someone I’m not. I’m stuck when I do things out of expectation and obligation. I’m stuck when my focus is on who I should be rather than who I am. Oh yes, I’ve been stuck for a few years now. I don’t mind the heart palpitations or sweaty palms, I can get over it. And I have. I have stood in front of a crowd of 100 women and shared my heart and touched theirs. I’m not excited about it, I’m still nervous but I get through it and see how marvelous and wonderful is our God when we walk in obedience. And the kicker is, I did that not because I was expected to. I did that because I knew I was CALLED to. Well I know I’m a pastor’s wife and I know right now, that IS my calling. Yet I’ve struggled with what that is supposed to look like. See, there’s that word again. Supposed to. Who makes the rules anyways of what a pastor’s wife should or should not be? Say or shouldn’t say? Wear or shouldn’t wear? I must have missed that book in the Bible. Something has awaken in me recently and made me realize that it’s not my job to fit into a mold – it’s my job to simply walk in confidence with who God has made me to be. He doesn’t make mistakes. He never intended me to CHANGE my character for a role He has called me into! So if I’m not comfortable sitting in the front row, then why should I? If I don’t want to smile and shake hands of every person because I feel obligated, then I won’t. But this brings me to another point. It’s not about ME. God doesn’t really care about my level of comfort. I think in all those details we have to learn to look past ourselves and at others. And you know what…women feel connected when I shake their hand. People feel valued when the pastor’s wife acknowledges and smiles at them. When I overcome my barriers of comfort, I set the bar for others to follow. When we shift our thinking from doing things out of expectation of others to doing things FOR others out of love for God – things change. I might not enjoy every aspect of my role but I respect and honor God enough to commit that I’ll do whatever whenever He says. It’s not about me. And it’s not about doing anything out of obligation to others. It’s about a servant heart with an eternal perspective. Looking at it that way, the small things in this world that give me insecurity don’t seem so big anymore. Afterall, I serve a God that is secure and loving and unchanging and forgiving and merciful and strong and wise and who am I to shy away from anything that might bring someone just a tad closer to seeing who He truly is? So ok, maybe I don’t have a so-called “normal” life for the mere fact that I haven’t been called to one. Oh yes, once again I’m reminded….I’m called to be uncommon.
I know too many people affected by cancer.
Family members, friends, children, parents.
My heart breaks every time.
Something inside of me whispers that cancer is somehow the result of the world we live in today, the foods we eat, the air we breathe...and that the chemicals used to cure it are only making things worse. How many times do you hear of someone "going into remission" only to find new tumors in another location later on in life? Chemotherapy is harsh and I know first hand that it kills. Some might argue that it also cures but how can something truly cure that kills everything it comes into contact with, has a skull and crossbones on its labels and requires special handling to transport? And that is what we allow them to inject into our loved ones' bodies to "heal" them of cancer? Low immune system response, hair loss, taste buds die off, weight loss, muscle wasting, dizziness, nausea. These are all the side effects of the treatment used to rid cancer, not cancer itself!
I have done countless hours of research on cancer and it's cures over the past few years. I was touched immensely by someone I was acquainted with that was battling and hospitalized for months on end. God drew me to this older gentleman and I found myself researching and talking with his wife about what I could do to help. Something gnawed away inside of me telling me that God held the answer and healing was possible through His creation. I have been AMAZED at what I have learned through the process that still, years later, hasn't ended. Sadly, though, his life did. It had been simply too long, too harsh, his body too weak and full of infection and literally hundreds of side effects from all the medication competing to dominate his body. My desire is not to see it happen again...at least not in my close circle of friends and loved ones. And yet a year later, it did, again. A close family member began the fight and though receptive to some of the things I had learned regarding natural cancer cures, was not able to keep up with the regimen, lost his will to fight, and allowed his immediate family to turn back to conventional chemotherapy. He passed away during his first chemo treatment. All this to say that cancer has affected me personally. I understand the pain, fear and uncertainty associated with it and it's outcome.
HOWEVER, the story doesn't end there. I came across this article and it's everything summed up into one list of cancer prevention strategies and includes a documentary that is worth seeing.
I'l let it speak for itself. I urge you to make time to educate yourself on "the other side" of the story even if cancer hasn't yet affected you personally. Sadly, it will at some point. There are simply too many factors in our world today for it not to. Ultimately, I know that God is our healer but sometimes believing for healing without changing our lifestyle is the same as praying for weight loss but not changing what we eat.
Action begins and ends with our faith but the middle must contain the sustenance of right choices to keep us going.
EDIT: Only a few hours after this post was written I have received news of yet another person, a parent of a friend, losing her battle to cancer. My heart is overwhelmed once again and pained for my friend and the suffering her mother endured for so long. :(
Forgive me for the silence. Not the best way to start off a new blog but I have let life get the best of me. We have battled numerous obstacles regarding one of my children recently in the medical arena and those of you with kids know how taxing that can be. My faith hung on by a thread and it was all I could do to get through the day. I'm so thankful for God's grace. I don't have to have it all together all the time or do things right all the time for Him to love me and bless me. Thankfully, the issues are not life threatening...just "joy-threatening" if I allow them to be. They are time consuming and a nuisance and have been so for 7 long months now. My focus has been here this past month, hoping to get a little headway. I've allowed it to consume me and steal my joy. And then today I read a blog post about a little girl given 3-6 weeks to live with an inoperable brain tumor. After a long fight with cancer, the celebration barely over from the declaration of cancer free and now again. My heart is broken and my world has been shaken back to reality. Me toiling over minor issues from which no child of mine will perish from is nothing compared to what so many other families are facing right now. My soul cannot comprehend the pain, fear and emotions that must come along with such news. Granted, I read my Bible and I know what God says. He IS Healer and He does STILL heal. All the time? I am no theologian. I'd like to say yes because He is loving and pure and perfect but yet it doesn't always look that, does it? I don't get it. There's too many questions. Not enough time to even try to figure out a sliver of His truth. And thank goodness it's not my job, or yours, to do. All we can do is continue to live and cherish every breath we have been given. The joy of the Lord is our strength. That is where the secret lies. Heart aches will happen in life, some unbearable and unthinkable, others mere pebbles in the face of the mountain others are facing. But regardless, my strength will come from Him. Today my prayers go out to those families in turmoil right now. Words can't express the depth of what is in my heart...but God knows what I want to say. May you feel peace in the midst of your circumstances today and stop and thank Him for your breath and those around you.