Sunday, November 4, 2012

One year later

Tomorrow is my birthday and I always tend to get introspective this time of year. I generally spend some moments around this day reflecting on the past year and thinking about the upcoming year. I've always felt it was healthy to look at areas of growth, places of weakness, and seeking out where God is bringing not only me but also my family.
     Well, this year has been quite a year. If you've tracked with this blog at all or if you "do life" with my family, you know that I started it at the end of last November after being convicted that the fears in my life were getting in the way of my relationship with Christ and my ability to fully trust in my God. I had no idea that God would use this time of strengthening for what would end of being the hardest year of my life.
     1 month later (almost to the day), a vicious tornado struck our property. We moved through Christmas in a bit of a blur, pulling together what we hoped was a fulfiling holiday for our children.
     Several weeks later, I found a large lump in my breast while getting ready for work one day. I made note of it and called my doctor that day for a slightly overdue yearly checkup and tried not to dwell on the possibilities. My doctor believed it to be a benign cyst but wanted to be conservative and sent me to a surgeon. From there, after being reassured that it was likely nothing of concern, I insisted on a biopsy. Several days later, Jeremy and I were waiting in an exam room for my followup. I never really gave in to much thought that I had anything to fear. However, as the waiting time grew longer, I began to worry. My doctor came in, clearly nervous, and said the words I never thought I would hear. "It's cancer". We went into autopilot, received the information, drove home, and started making some phone calls to family and a small circle of friends. We told our boys 2 days later.
     The next several months would be a roller coaster of emotions for us. I had surgery and the doctor confirmed that it was, indeed, a very aggressive form of breast cancer, somewhat unusual for my age, level of healthfulness, and lack of family history. My next course of treatment was determined to be several months of chemotherapy followed by 30 days of daily radiation, and 5 years of adjuvent therapy (medication). Within this time, Jeremy also lost his job of 7 years and it became a reality that we could potentially look at losing our home.
     So, here I sit, almost a full year after starting this blog. We are in a different home, managing with one semi-reliable car.  My sweet husband is desperately seeking God to figure out how he can be obedient to Him and I am feeling a little bit stronger every day. Where does that leave us? We definitely feel like we have been through a bit of a war. If you've known me for very long, I may have moments when I seem a little quieter than I was a year ago. I am definitely feeling the effects of the year, physically and emotionally. I am processing much these days-seeking God and wanting to walk with Him in everything.
     Our story definitely does not have a fairy tale ending. But, I will tell you this. God has been faithful. That may not make sense to some of you, especially if you are reading this and don't know my God well. But He has. He has provided us everything we have needed , exactly when we needed it. Not a moment before, but just in time. He has provided love to us in so many forms. He comforted  me in some dark moments when faced with thoughts of  huge unknowns, including dealing with my own mortality. He brought His people around us from the very first moment. People that said that we could be real with them. That we could cry, yell, and struggle in front of them.People that literally encircled us in praying arms and hands multiple times and wept with us. People that surrounded us in love in very physical ways from months of meals to pressing money in our hands. People that we can laugh and cry with, depending on the day. We are simultaneusly humbled and uplifted by so many of you.
     I have tears in my eyes as I reflect on the last year. Not tears of despair and loss, mind you. Tears of thankfulness. Tears of joy. Tears that remind me that I am alive and that I am loved by my Father.

I sought the Lord and He answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered in shame.

Psalm 34:4-5

Love and blessings,
Laura