(6/13/18) This morning as I was leaving to go back to the hospital to be with Lynn, I went into my baby girls room to chat before being gone all day again. Her sleepy eyes reminded me of the little version of her when I would try to coax her awake for school. Time passes so quickly. I related what the day looked like for her Dad and she gave me a run down on her schedule. I stood to leave and noticed a verse she had written on her dry erase board in perfect swirly lettering: “The Lord is my strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” Proverbs 18:10. God is so amazing. Those words written months ago out of her heart and quiet time were now speaking straight to my heart! If we just listen, if we are sensitive to His voice, we’ll hear His encouragement and His reminder that He is with us. We don’t have to do anything in our own strength. I read the verse to Lynn when I got to the hospital. We are claiming that verse! It is truth! He is our strong tower!!!! Be encouraged by these words in whatever you are struggling today or whatever you may be going through. Run to Him and know you are safe!
I am thinking I need to write something a little less focused on the woes of the Armstrong family…..I sat here trying to think of something humorous or uplifting…..something joyful and a verse came to mind “weeping endures for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5. I had to laugh….not joyfully, but in an eye rolling, “that’s really funny, God” kind of laugh. That’s the verse He brings to my mind? Then as I pondered on those words for a minute, I realized He was reminding me that this season is only for a season…it may bring tears, and pain and even suffering, but then it will pass and the sun will come up again and joy will return. I met a woman named Joy yesterday, and she was truly filled with joy….the kind that makes her see the gift and beauty in everything. I want to be like that. I want to see the moments in all of this that will be remembered forever, not because they were painful, but because they were profound and we saw the hand of God in our lives in an amazing way. Wherever you are today, whatever you are going thru, whatever is difficult for you right now, remember joy comes in the morning!
I cried yesterday. If you know me, you know I don’t do that a lot. It came out of nowhere. Completely unexpected. I have fought back the tears for a month….trying to be positive, encouraging and strong. Strong for Lynn, strong for my girls and strong for me. One word from my friend, which I can’t even recall what that word was right now, and the tears welled up and spilled down my cheeks. She quickly closed the door to her office and pulled a chair up next to me and took my hand in hers. She let me cry and try to get out the words that I had been pushing back for some time. She listened and held my hand tightly in hers, then gently rubbing it between her hands, it was comforting and personal and needed. Then she began to softly speak truth to me. I felt the flood of emotion begin to relax and recede. I felt my spirit fill with peace and my heart stopped aching. I knew everything she said was truth and was whispered to me in love. I felt myself breathing normally and I knew I was going to be okay. I trust God, but that doesn’t mean I won’t have to deal with fear. I don’t have to be strong all the time. I believe in His sovereignty and I know that He walks with us through whatever is part of His plan for our lives. We are not alone. We might not “see” Him, but He is with us in the hug of a friend, He is in the sweet whispers of encouragement, He is in the contagious laughter of my girls when they are together, He is in the warm meal brought to my door, He is in the beautiful sunset that takes away your breath, He is in the smile of my precious man-cub, He is in the quiet as I sit with my sweet husband finally sleeping quietly in His recliner, He is in the kindness of a friend riding by to see if our grass needs cutting, He is in the warm laughter of dear friends as we share breakfast, He is in the words of a song at the right moment, He is in the profound words of Psalm 46 as it reminds me that He has already won the battle and He is with me.
I’m sitting in a waiting room full of people with cancer….and the loved ones here to support them. Some are smiling and talking as if their lives have not been altered by the “c” word. A few sit solemnly cautiously watching the others, or jumping when the nurse from the lab comes to call yet another name. There is coffee and couches and a t.v. set on some channel with a talk show, all to make these victims of this ugly monster called cancer feel more comfortable. Lynn is in a room waiting for the radioactive chemical they’ve given him to circulate throughout his body so they can then use their big fancy machine to scan for any other areas this cancer may be lurking. I can’t be in there with him this time because he is radioactive and I can’t be exposed…..how can that be good for you to be shot up like that with such a chemical?
Life is no longer normal. At least not the normal we’ve enjoyed for so long…not the normal we took for granted. This is the new normal. Every thought, every moment is controlled by this new monster in our life. Before May I knew nothing of words like Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma,Follicular Lymphoma or phrases like Double Hit. I didn’t know this process of evaluation, testing, biopsies,results and treatment plans took so long. It’s not like the medical shows on tv where the doctors are super concerned and jump through hoops to save their patients. I look around the room and realize the reality of how many people are being attacked by this monster.
I am doing my best to be strong, to be positive, to be encouraging. I declare often each day riding in the car, standing in the kitchen or looking in the mirror “I trust you, God”. And I do. Maybe I am convincing myself that I can and will accept whatever that means for us. Why would my determination to be a spiritual rock in all this exempt us from the possibilities. Do I really trust Him? Or am I hoping He is impressed with my faithfulness and does a miracle in my precious husband’s body and kills this cancer and allows us to grow old together? I’ve trusted Him with everything so far…..with the difficulties, finances, my girls, my life, my pain, my calling…..why wouldn’t I trust Him now. I do trust God, and I trust His will, whatever that looks like. He is my refuge. He is my strength. Psalm 46 says “God is our refuge and strength, a very sufficient help in troubles. Therefore we will not fear…”. Fears. I am working hard to hold them back and not listen to the lies satan is throwing at me.
Joshua 1:9 tells me “Be strong and courageous, do not be dismayed, do not be discouraged, for the Lord is with you wherever you go”. We can do this. And whatever happens, whatever the doctor from MD Anderson tells us when he reads the pathology report, whatever they find in this PetScan, whatever tomorrow, next week or next month holds WE WILL TRUST GOD.
For those of you reading this, thank you for following along on this journey with us….and whatever is going on in your life right now, take a deep breath, close your eyes and tell yourself and anyone listening “I trust you God” and know He is with you wherever you go. He promises that, and He keeps His promises.