Pruning Hurts!

October 26, 2017 at 2:53 am (Uncategorized) (, )

Sooooo God decided to do a little yard work in me. He and I had been having conversations like “OK God, so you know Casey needs a new job, right? So what are you going to do about that? I trust you Lord, I realllllly do!” I felt Him telling me He was going to do a work in her life and it might be challenging for me to watch but to trust. Hmmm. Sure. Sounds good…as long as you get her a job, like soon. Then in our Life Group someone mentioned their favorite part of following the Lord is having a companion to be with every day, to converse with and enjoy a relationship with Him. Bam! That kind of hit me over the head like a ton of bricks. I was immediately convicted I had been acting like a spoiled toddler; “OK God, you KNOW Casey needs a good job, like NOW. What are you going to do about this?? How are you going to fix this problem??” He totally convicted me of my demanding attitude, like He owes me something. He really showed me, lovingly, “Tammy, you have made an idol of your children. I have a relationship with you and with them. I’ll always be with them but there will be struggles and challenges for them. I’m doing a work in their lives. Trust me.” OK. You’re so right. This turned out to be just a warm up…

A week or so later, Adult Child #2 calls me with a real struggle in his life. I became ANGRY.  I really don’t usually do that. God doesn’t owe me anything; the fact He loves me and has promised me I’ll be with him in heaven someday is already more than I deserve. However, today I was angry. I shook my fist at him and said “Really? Seriously?” I had a Christian radio station on like I often do while I’m working. I cried out to Him. I yelled at Him. Each song that came on seemed to speak to my heart and offer peace. I’ve heard these songs daily but today they truly ministered to me. I decided to write down every song that came on that calmed my heart and encouraged me and by the end of the day I had a list of over 30 songs. Something happened too, as I was praying those songs back to God my heart softened and I was no longer shaking my fist at him I was raising my hands in awe and worship to Him! As a few days went on He again spoke to me, “Tammy, you have made idols of your children. Don’t you know I love your children even more than you do? I have plans for them, I’m working in their lives.” We wrestled He and I. He asked me, “Tammy, do you really believe I am good? I am not just good when I’ve worked things out to how you agree with. I’m not just good when things go your way. Do YOU believe I am good?” I honestly didn’t answer right away.

During these few days as He and I were wrestling all I could do was pray, listen, read my Jesus Calling (which seemed to be directly aimed at me)and scripture, listen to worship music and journal. Every time I stopped I began to feel panic and feel unable to breathe. God LITERALLY told me, “Tammy, fix your eyes on me. Every time you take your eyes off of me you see the chaos around you and panic. I’ll take care of the chaos. You’re like Peter who when walking on the water was good as long as he was looking at me. When he took his eyes off me he began to sink.” I felt His hands gently grab my face and turn back to Him.

I experienced God working in me ABUNDANTLY in just those few days, pruning me which was painful but we were so connected. I absolutely had to stay tethered to Him to be able to go through my days and be able to sleep at night.

I love God. I love that I can be honest and bring whatever I’ve got to the table and He is gentle with me. He may discipline, teach or prune but He is so loving. Life can be HARD. Guess what? Life will have times that are heartbreaking. God PROMISES He won’t leave us to go through those times alone. He will not swoop in and save us from every trial and struggle this life brings but He will guide, lead, hold and carry us if necessary. He IS good. I know this to be true.

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Feeling Introspective………

August 28, 2013 at 8:09 pm (Uncategorized) ()

Warning: this is sort of a ramble that’s been going through my head lately–I’ve been wondering a lot of things lately; what Russ will do when he retires from the school district in 2 years, where we will move to, what I want to get involved in, will I work, will we still have any kids at home, what new people will I meet, how often will I get to see my friends, the list goes on and on. I like a certain amount of change, I get restless. I get excited to think about the future and what changes are in store. Think about it, anything is possible and could happen! We had quite a lot of change happen in 2012. I quit my full time job at the beginning of the year and it was a huge adjustment socially. I was used to going in to the office and have friends to see every day to banter with, share in each other’s lives, learn and grow from each other. Then, a few months later we made the decision to leave the our church. Russ had grown up there, we met there, married and raised our children there. Suddenly, we were visiting churches where we were the visitors, strangers. It felt…strange. Then our small group that had met weekly for years made the decision to disband. All of these decisions were God-led; we made each one deliberately and knew each was the right decision to make. However, each had ramifications that have definitely taken more time to deal with than I think either one of us had thought. Now we were no longer proactively spending time with people that knew us, inside and out, or had walked beside us through death and loss, job stress or my cancer journey. Now we had to put more effort to spend time with these beautiful friendships and we have. We have been blessed to find a new church home and meet new wonderful friends. 

Going through these changes has revealed things about myself I did not know. It’s been a stretching, growing ongoing process. It seems we have a deep desire to “be known.” I’ve learned that when I don’t feel comfortable or accepted (or eek, *liked*) I get guarded, quiet and withdraw.  I’ve been a pretty confident secure person for ‘lo a many year now so it’s been weird to experience that again, it reminded me of how I felt a lot in high school or early 20’s, and yeah, I don’t miss that. As I look back, I was spending all my time with people who really knew me, so everywhere I went felt safe. Even our volleyball group has totally changed. It used to feel small and relational, which is right up my alley, and now it’s turned to much larger and more intense. New job, new church, new small group, new volleyball group, both kids living at home again..yeah, lots of change. 

Once in awhile I read cancer support blogs. It may sound dumb on my part but I honestly didn’t research much the cancer I had or get on cancer blogs or whatever. It made me anxious. But once in awhile I look at some and I get a sense that other cancer survivors experience the same sort of restlessness that I’ve been experiencing lately. It hard to label but maybe it’s a “OK, I need to really be used in a great way because I survived cancer” thing. I don’t have to be famous or do anything grand, I just want to matter and make a difference. And, feel known by those closest to me. 

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2 year “Cancerversary!”

October 14, 2012 at 11:55 pm (Uncategorized)

Wow. It is exactly 2 years ago, October 2010, that I was declared in remission. 2 years!

I remember the complete elation I felt, and I felt it for awhile. I journaled that Thanksgiving all that I was so thankful for. Things that had never appeared on my thankful list; food tasting normal (and so good!), not having heartburn or neuropathy in my left foot, feeling “normal” mentally again, less foggy, appreciating taking a walk around the block, appreciating having energy to run errands, go shopping! Not needing a nap when I finished showering. When you’re that thankful, there isn’t a bad day.

I know complacency creeps in and have really tried to always be on guard against it. I remain GRATEFUL. I feel great and am thankful for every minute that I do. A few months after my remission began my sweet mother in law was diagnosed with lung cancer. Stage 4. She is a fighter and fights for every day of life, still, a year and a half later. I have experienced the person she was, a lively 74 year old woman, stolen away. The person left fights for every day, still. I am amazed she still fights. She fights because every day she has with my father in law is worth fighting for. Watching them has been amazing. They are inspirational. I hate that this disease has stolen so much from her and slowly takes her. I remain grateful, and yes slightly guilty too,  that at least right now, that is not me. It is so many. Too many.

I have never wanted to waste my whole cancer journey experience because I learned so much and experienced God in new ways that I could never without having to have complete dependency on Him. I don’t want complacency to take away the humbleness and awe that I feel. Recently a few ladies and I were discussing complete dependency on God is actually freeing. There’s a lot we tend to control in our lives; obviously we make decisions every day. But oh the freedom when we choose not to fret, worry or twist our circumstances but let Him be in charge.

I have tried to use my experience to encourage. I even had the opportunity to share on a few other’s journey with cancer as well. The joy it brought me to serve in any capacity far outweighed theirs I’m sure. Every time I go for a treatment (2 year maintenance regimen) I purposely look for those who might need a smile or word of encouragement. It buoys me.

The beginning of this year I made a major change in my life by quitting my full time job. God had been whispering things to me and kind of gave me  a life slogan.” I feel called to live my life proactively and with purpose, live a life more in balance. Encourage others and come alongside them, to grow and learn new insights and perspectives. I desire to use the gifts, skills and talents God has given me to the best of my ability to contribute to those around me.”

Going through 2010 gave me a new lens. I don’t want to just go through life anymore but live more proactively. Do I always totally succeed on that? No. Am I going to beat myself up about it? No. I try to celebrate small moments, just sitting outside, feeling a soft breeze. Spending time getting to know someone over lunch, or having somebody over. Cooking! Lots of laughter, being authentic. Choosing to forgive. Receiving wisdom from others.

Continually Grateful,

Tammy

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Humor is the best medicine

July 23, 2011 at 4:42 am (Uncategorized)

I think life is funny and often bizarre; surreal and unpredictable. Growing up in my family there was always humor; we really were a bunch of goofballs. Still are. We’ve also been through a lot of loss. Even in loss, there has been humor and I know it’s helped us, helped me cope and move forward.

As I think back to exactly this time last year beginning chemotherapy, I remember my goal of creating the “Top 10 perks of having cancer” list. I think some people were uncomfortable with that, I know I got my share of strange looks but I love the saying “life is 10% circumstance, 90% attitude.” Thus it began…….

1) No more bad hair days. This also includes no more spending time on hair. You just plop it on and it always looks good :).

2) Lot of free lunches. Call it pity, call it charity, I had lots of free lunches.

3) Free dinners! No cooking! Most nights we were like “wonder what we’re having tonight? Who cares, I’m not making it!”

4)Lots of movie and book time.

5) Pull the “C” card. I sure did. Alot.

6)You get alot of wonderful cards 🙂

7)You meet your insurance out of pocket expenses quickly for the rest of the year

8) No shaving.

9) Very little housework and grocery shopping. Gotta conserve that energy ya know!

10) You really appreciate small things..food tasting good, lack of physical pain, fatigue. Feeling GOOD. Not being poked by needles every week. Eyelashes. Your filter is changed.

~Tammy

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Its a new day……

June 30, 2011 at 4:13 am (Uncategorized)

The morning after my meltdown I woke up with renewed fervor and strength. I felt now armed with “weapons” like “I can’t control this circumstance but I can control how I handle it and I WILL NOT allow it to consume me or allow fear to take over.” I have life to live. I have a choice to wallow in fearand self pity or choose to make the best of it, control my attitude and grasp every experience this new challenge would bring. That sounded better than sitting in a dark room crying and feeling sorry for myself. I was in the car driving and had a Christian radio station on that I hadn’t listened to in quite awhile. It hadn’t been edgy enough for me lol. Today I just needed that. Music is powerful and as each song came on I was soon smiling, crying and laughing because it was like each song was picked specifically for ME. Coincidence? Nah, I don’t believe in them. There was even one group that we had loved and followed for years that just released a brand new song and the second lyric in it says “the cancer inside, stealing my sleep” WHOA. I got it, You (God) are with me. You will not leave me. I felt so lifted and empowered that by the time I got to work I just had to share my experiences with “the girls.” I was downright giddy. One said, “so you’re OK?” I said, “well I still have cancer but mentally I’m great!”

my joy is not in my circumstances but in my salvation………….

Circumstances change on a dime but inner joy “sticks.” I want to be “sticky.”

~Tammy

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Processing…….

June 21, 2011 at 5:23 am (Uncategorized)

The day we  met with the oncologist and he informed me I had Stage 3 lymphoma and wanted to begin a chemotherapy regimen  we set up the appointments for the muga scan, first rituxan treatment and the first chemo. We were leaving for San Diego in a few days and as soon as I came back I would start all this. The following day after work some girlfriends, along with Casey and I, went to see “Eclipse.” In the middle of the movie it just hit me…this is heavy. Too heavy. I looked around the theater and felt so burdened and alone. I want normal life again. I wish the hardest thing I had to think about was what to make for dinner (which up to that point was pretty dang hard for me lol). Driving home by myself I just started feeling this huge weight on me and just started crying and crying out to God “this is too heavy, I can’t do it, I can’t carry this burden.” I came home and called my best friend/sister from another mother Tricia who was upset about a neighbor’s death and now about my news. We cried together. I was saying I felt so alone and I knew I wasn’t , I had so much support but ultimately I am the  one who’s going to go through all this upcoming crap. It’s MY veins they’re injecting (and I really HATE needles), MY blood going to be taken every stinking week, MY body going to feel…whatever it’s going to feel, it’s MY all of it….while I’m saying this I get a text from a friend that’s one of those forwards, the kind you never read. She NEVER sends me this stuff. It was amazing! It was a prayer to God on my behalf. This message, praying for me, expressing what I needed, gave me chills. I was in such awe of God’s amazing love, comfort and answer to me right when I needed it. It had been quite a little journey already just getting through all the tests to get to a diagnosis and God was with me every step but this was AMAZING. I felt the anxiety leaving me replacing it with absolute peace. I felt the arms of God holding me and assuring me. Complete peace. I knew didn’t have to rely on my strength to get me through, I had the Creator of the universe caring about little old me and He was in control. I slept very well that night……….

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The beginning……

June 19, 2011 at 3:03 am (Uncategorized)

The words you NEVER want to hear. The biopsy came back positive. For lymphoma. As in cancer.  I always had a fear of being that person, the person that may survive such a diagnosis only to walk through the rest of her life with that little black cloud hanging over her. And here I was THAT person. Ugg.

I have wanted for months to share my experiences and blessings that occured during my journey from cancer diagnosis to cancer survivor. I have been procrastinating; just never taking the time to sit down and do it and finally I thought the one-year anniversary of my diagnosis would be a great time.

 The purpose of this journal is to record for myself the experiences I went through, to help myself remember along the way, not the crappy times but the overwhelming experience of being carried by God. I can’t articulate a better word…carried. I do this for myself because it’s easy to get complacent and forget. I don’t want to forget. I get giddy when I remember some of the “God Moments.” I do it also  because all glory goes to God. ALL. While I appreciated encouragement, postitive remarks, compliments, etc so much, I really did, I know the only way I made it through and experienced such blessing through the journey was because of God. I cannot take credit. Bottom line, I don’t want to waste my experiences. I’m hoping someone else will be encouraged and have hope perhaps for their own journey whether its through cancer or another life challenge.

~Tammy

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