In 1997, at the age of 25, my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. She endured chemotherapy, radiation, and multiple surgeries. She was cancer-free for about six years. During this time, she started classes to receive her nurse’s degree. However, cancer came back in her bones and lungs. For the next three years, she fought and endured chemotherapy again. She worked as a CNA on the mother and baby floor. She loved her job! However, she was slowly losing mobility in her left arm and hand due to radiation of the lymph nodes, so she had to quit her job. In May 2006, she was told that chemotherapy was no longer an option. Her body just had enough.
Welcome to Joy Everlasting MinistriesFinding Joy and Truth Everyday
And like an animal, I was willing to mangle myself as long as I could ensure my own survival. As if I could fight my way out of hell and climb high enough to ascend into heaven. What else could I do? God had abandoned me, and so I could either rot, or save myself. God did not find me valuable enough to waste the effort himself. If he did, why would he allow me to be subject to such crushing pain and agony? I must have lost his love and favor. I could not rely on him to take care of me. There would be no presents under the tree from him.
But you know what, I see you mamas. I see you just wanting the best for your kids and for your family. I know that you are trying to survive. Trying to teach your kids while working and keeping your house in an acceptable state of cleanliness. I know you are worried about the future. We all are.
So I decided to bring together a few of my friends – teachers and homeschool moms – to share some of their best wisdom and tips with you. You have got this, Mom. Were all in this together.
Can I trust God? I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t asked myself that question over a million times. Walking by faith and not by sight is no easy task, and even though I grew up in a Christian home, it’s something I still struggle with. I’ve always believed that “God will carry you through the storm” (Isaiah 43:2) and I’ve heard countless testimonies that confirm that He will make good on His promises, but I lacked that one-on-one experience with God, which made it so hard to trust His word, to trust Him.
I struggle to adequately explain this feeling- it goes beyond words, beyond my understanding. It was then Jesus reassured me, “You never have to go there again.” I suffered that night, after giving birth. I carried the pain and trauma of bringing that one little life to the world.
For me, isolation meant I no longer had to think about anyone else – no out of the home human interaction meant that I was allowed to live within my own thoughts and not think about how others view me. I buried myself into my projects so that I didn’t have to deal with the reality of our world. And the changes happening in my soul. Usually, a couple of days of this is no big deal. You get over the funk of being stuck in yourself and go on with your life and see friends and move on. But we’ve been doing this isolation thing for a month. A WHOLE MONTH.
Blood, sweat, tears, surrender, new life. With the recent celebration of Easter fresh in our hearts, these words make us think of our sweet Savior and what he has accomplished for us! His labor of love, his perfect life, his willing sacrifice, his ultimate victory and living presence with us! I deeply believe that God designed an analogous process for mothers. This labor can ultimately give mothers a rich appreciation of the cost and reward of heaven.
Cherry Snow. It was the color of the new nail polish I applied that morning. I had a slice of toast and listened to my Steven Curtis Chapman album. It was cloudy and a bit cool for the end of April, so I slipped on a jacket. Two surprise pink tulips greeted me in my front flower garden as I left the house.
I had dealt with occasional depression since childhood, and am still prone to it- and the sense of utter isolation I felt there threw me into the longest period of darkness I’ve experienced. My present was so dismal that I coped by seeking refuge in my past- my fantasy world- pining for the magical, happy days where I had felt loved, wanted, hopeful. In reality, I was cheerless and disinterested in every aspect of life.
There is still hidden pain in the day to day struggle, but finally I have my answer as to why I am so different than everyone else. I am gifted with a treasure that only empathy from God can see. I am blessed with some of the most amazing minds in my family. I am cursed with trials that I fight invisibly daily in quite. Blessedly, I am rewarded with growth and wonders that only the gift if neuro diversity like spectrum and sensory processing can offer.
We’ve been doing #Testimony Tuesday for a few months now but I know that some of you are still asking “But Why?”
“What are testimonies really? Why do we share them? Why is it important to our faith? Does it really matter anyways?
Today, I want to answer those questions and I’d also like to invite you to share YOUR testimony.
The world is weird. No way around it. And sometimes, okay – a lot of times – we start to feel a little bit salty about the cards were being dealt. We feel like God is doing this TO US. And IT HURTS. And it is HARD. Any time our routine is all messed up we feel anxiety and stress that can send us on this insane emotional rollercoaster.
On our wedding day, we vowed to accept children lovingly from God and bring them up in the Catholic Church, and we wholeheartedly meant it. We assumed we would have to drive an E350 with the amount of kids we were planning on having, and we had lists of baby names that we playfully fought about, as we couldn’t agree on any of them. We started trying to get pregnant right away with hormonal supplementation.
God sees hard places and broken people and He moves toward them, not away from them. God comes to us in our brokenness and He feels broken so that we don’t have to anymore.
I’ve struggled with self-esteem issues for as long as I can remember. I‘ve struggled through abuse, food addiction, eating disorders, and low self worth among other things. When I became a Christian thirteen years ago, I learned that I was “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) and I learned “even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:7) I learned that I was forgiven and loved and cared for deeply by my Heavenly Father. I learned that He valued me. I knew all this in my head but didn’t believe it and allowed lies into my heart and my life. Lies that I was worthless and unlovable.
Thank you for letting me go on a little tangent for today’s post. I appreciate you. if you feel the same way about this month that we are so #blessed to have an extra day of this year, I would love to hear from you in the comments down below. I’d also love to know how you cope with the midwinter doldrums. Because March might be a lion this year, and I am not prepared for that.
Or maybe you think, “gee, it’d be nice if God would just speak to us like that today!” Which sends you on a whole mental rabbit trail about the struggle of discerning how to live as a Christ follower, how to determine what to do and when to do it. Maybe you wish life didn’t feel so much like shooting an arrow in the dark and praying like crazy that it comes somewhere close to hitting its intended mark. Take courage, dear friend. Life is not a shot in the dark and God certainly does still speak.
One thing I learned from our miscarriage is just how fragile life is. In my pride, I sometimes take it for granted. We weren’t even through our first trimester before we were telling everyone we were pregnant “again” and laughing about it. Now looking back, I’m embarrassed at how invincible we thought we were. How flippant we were with such a special gift.