"My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip- he who watches over you will not slumber... The Lord watches over you... The Lord will keep you from all harm- he will watch over your life." Psalm 121:2-7
I find so much comfort today knowing that God never takes His eyes off of us; he never sleeps; he never misses a moment of our life. He knows exactly where we are, he meets us there. I write to you completely exhausted, with just a few total hours of sleep in days. But Chemotherapy #3 is done (yay!) and I know ever more fully that my help comes only from the Lord. There is such a sweetness, a victory really, looking back on a chemotherapy week and seeing God's blessings amidst so much ickyness. My wonderful little sister, Ryli, was here all week to take care of us. McKinley loved having her Aunt Ry Ry here and I just treasure that time with my sister. Oh, how I pray that McKinley can have a sister (and brother) one day! I don't know what I would do without my siblings. As far as the side effects of the chemotherapy, they were very similar to round #2, just extreme weakness and nausea. However, it was so much better than the first round of chemo, and I am 75% done with the really harsh chemotherapy treatments. Praise God! However, this round has given me terrible insomnia. Despite many sleeping aids, my silly body just does not want to slumber. So I have had many sleepless hours deep into the night to spend with my heavenly Dad. Although, I do truthfully wish I were sleeping, and oh do I cry out to the Lord for sleep, I have come to treasure those still moments just with Him. It comforts me so much knowing that God doesn't ever sleep; as I lie awake He is there: my protector, my shepherd. When McKinley was first born, I would love to watch her sleep; the peace of a precious sleeping baby is unmatched. I am sure that is exactly how God feels as He watches his precious children sleep. I wish He were watching me sleep a little more these days, but He has been teaching me such a sweet lesson as I learn to rely on Him for every ounce of strength.
A couple of weeks ago, I was at a "mommy's" class at our church about having an attitude of gratitude. We were challenged to look at everything as an opportunity to be thankful. "Be Joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in ALL circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. " 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Its sounds so simple: that part of God's will for our life is to be thankful in ALL circumstances. I sat there and reflected on all that I have to be thankful for and I was overwhelmed and humbled. But I so pridefully thought, 'gosh I am great at being thankful'! God really doesn't need to teach me anything else about thankfulness! Ha! Then as I was driving home with my sweet friend and our darling daughters, she asked how I was feeling and I began to complain about how exhausted I was and how terrible this insomnia is. She asked what the insomnia was attributed to and I explained how the insomnia was not actually from the chemotherapy drugs, it is a side effect of the Lupron drug that is being used to shut down my ovarian function. As I rattled off with all my explanations and complaints, the Lord just took a hold of my heart and reminded me so loudly that His ways are so much bigger than I can possibly understand. It dawned on me that the Lupron, the silly drug that causes me not to sleep, have terrible hot flashes and go through menopause at age 28, is the very drug that is allowing the chemotherapy drugs to be effective, killing the cancer and not having to fight with my estrogen and progesterone. The Lupron's function of shutting down my ovaries is also the means by which we have the hope of having another biological baby. Oh Lord, how silly I am to question your ways. I will take a thousand sleepless nights for the hope of getting to live without cancer and the hope of getting to have another baby. God taught me such a huge lesson that day about trying to look at everything from His perspective. Unlike me, He sees everything, from the very beginning of time until the very end. He knows exactly whats best for my life. In Romans 8:28 its says, "For we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love Him and who have been called according to His purpose." I know that most people would think I'm crazy to say that this cancer is good, but I am so confident that the Lord is using all of this for good in my life and to make me more like His Son. Oh, how I want to be more like Jesus. Sometimes, more often that not, I just need God's sweet reminder that He is in control and I'm not. I can't make my cancer go away and I can't make myself sleep, but I can be so thankful that God cares so much about me (and you) to work out everything for His perfect purpose in our lives. There is a song, called "Blessings" by Laura Story that I heard for the first time right before I was diagnosed. I loved it then, and I love it evermore now. I could listen to it a thousand times over, because it speaks such truth. Listen to the words...
"What if your blessings come through raindrops;
What if your healing comes through tears;
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it take to know you are know you're near.
What if trials in this life are your mercies in disguise."
Oh, how those words bless my heart and remind me how Big and beautiful God's plans are for my life. He uses every trial, every heart break, every moment of sickness, every disappointment, every sleepless night. None of it is in vain. He's working it all together for our good and His glory. Although we may not understand what He is doing today, we can trust that He has our very best intentions in mind. He's our Dad; he cares more than we can possibly fathom. He knit us together in our mother's womb, he knows us better than we know ourselves, and only He knows what is best for our lives. We just have to trust that and believe with all our hearts that sometimes God's greatest blessings come from our worst pain. I know that so many of you are facing really hard things today, so I pray that you will find comfort in knowing that God's plans for your life are so good and He will use this pain for something so beautiful if we allow Him to. I encourage you to think about all you have to be thankful for today. I just know that an attitude of gratitude changes my heart and draws me so much closer to Jesus. Will you allow whatever you are facing to draw you closer to Jesus?
Friends, I just love you! The Lord uses you to encourage me every day. We are so thankful for you. It is easy to see how great God is when we think on the blessings He has given us through your friendships. I hope you are having a wonderful week! Have fun having an attitude of gratitude!
Joyfully in HIM~