Monday, December 18, 2023

Newsletter post

 Just popping this in here for posterity's sake.

Hello friends!

I’m sitting down to write this the week of Thanksgiving, and as I do I’m ruminating on all the things we

have to be thankful for at this moment in time. While our family is in a moment of distinct challenges, if I

really stop and evaluate, the evidence of God’s provision and goodness in our lives is overwhelming. 

We are seeing (even at this early stage in the journey) how God pre-lined up provision for a season we had

no idea was about to begin.

I’m going to tell you that just a few short years ago when we were walking through another challenging stretch

of road, I did not feel this way!  If you know me even a little bit you will know that I am not a Pollyanna. 

The Pollyanna's in my life have been a continual source of annoyance to me through the years. 

In my mind the glass had always been half empty… is this even a real question??  But one Kiwi summer’s

day in December of 2018 as we were beginning to pack up our lives in that lovely land and my heart was

heavy with loss, I had a conversation with my oldest son about my half empty glass. For whatever reason,

his perspective and attitude just struck home to my heart.  This is by no means verbatim, but the essence

of what he said to me as I was looking to him to commiserate with me on all this loss (since I knew he

personally was losing a lot having to leave NZ) was, “I’ve decided to be thankful for the time we've had here,

the friends, the culture, the experiences… all of it.  I’m choosing to look at all the good.”  It was one of those

frozen moments because for whatever reason that came home to me in a way it never had before. 

There was nothing I could control about my circumstances, but I could control how I responded.

To say the least, this has been a learning process with many faceplants for me.  Am I doing it perfectly and

with ease? No. But I’m trying.

We are saturated with messages about “positive” thinking, and if you’re anything like I was, you’re scoffing

at all that positivity.  Good grief!  Life is hard.  Can we just say that and not try to spin it positive? 

And this is true, "Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something." But life is also amazing and joy laden. One of the significant beauties of life in Christ is that Jesus holds space for all of it and all of us. God gives me all the space in the world to lament, to rage, to

bawl my eyes out and pound his chest over the pain I’m experiencing and in tandem with that he lifts

my head, asks me to count it all joy, holds me close and teaches me to re-frame pain, suffering and loss.  

Having come from a faith tradition that did a good job of embracing the hard things in life but often

lacked joy and then moving into a church culture that only wanted to experience joy and lacked the ability

to look pain in the eye, I’ve come to this: I’m not either a glass is half full person or a glass is half

empty person…I’m a human walking through a broken world and both joy and pain are the experience here. 

Ann Voskamp says this so well, “Joy and pain, they are but two arteries of the one heart that pumps through all those who don't numb

themselves to really living.”  

Ok.  So here we are.  Just at the beginning of this road winding through the bleak wasteland of cancer. 

We are anticipating 6 months of chemotherapy for Alex at least.  His attitude is really good, he’s done

his research on Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and is doing everything he can to beat it. 

The rest of us are trying to provide a support system for him that will see him through to the end of this journey.

Thankfully Alex has amazing friends who are supporting him really well. Do we know what lies ahead?  No. 

It could be gut wrenchingly tragic or soar to the heights miraculous.  We don’t know. 

What we do know is that we are not alone, we have a God who sees, who knows,

who is acquainted with grief and who won’t leave us.

Thank you for all your prayers and kindness, you are much appreciated and loved!

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