Words and thoughts fill my mind, stacking up like a deck of cards. So many words, so many thoughts over the last few days I feel as if I can’t sort them out. Like a clog in a drain, the clog needs to be released to let the words flow freely from my heart.
My heart is full, filled with the love of Christ, brimming over like river flowing over its banks in a flood. My heart alive with the prospects of new beginnings, new normals, a newness like I haven’t known in quite some time.
Joy fills my soul. This joy has been present in a way I am only able to understand through the lens of the love of Christ. He has done more than I can put into words to fill me with joy and sustain me over the bleak days and the good days, the days of cancer and healing, surgeries, and disappointments, set backs and a pandemic. This joy, this feeling is more than happiness, it is deep inside my soul. This joy sustains, fills my every crevice and is even present in the sadness, and there has been grieving. But I am still standing because of the grace of God. He has done a work in me through the difficulties over the last 3 years and He has opened my eyes to parts of me I have left buried and hidden. He has drawn me out, changed me, transformed my heart and given me a hope for a future that is in His hands alone.
A little over 3 years ago I was diagnosed with cancer that resulted in a removal of my one and only kidney, leaving me on dialysis with a wait for a transplant. I have been waiting two and a half years. There have been struggles, I haven’t felt well, I’ve been tired, depleted is the word I would best use to describe how I felt the majority of the time. At one point I used the word damaged to describe how I felt. A lack of wholeness, a physical part of me missing. That word damaged has a whole lot of implications but for me it opened the door to do some healing in my heart and to help me redefine what wholeness truly looks like.
I’ve found a spiritual wholeness through Jesus. A peace and rest that comes from knowing Jesus and being known by Jesus. Vulnerability, honesty, and allowing Jesus in to help me become a better me. The me He designed me to be. I’ve also come to the realization of this: The story of my life is known fully by God, created by God and designed specifically by God for me. In that, there is peace.
As I reflect on the road I have traveled and on the sustaining presence of God, I am in awe! He has traveled with me through the highs and lows, gently providing for me through the exhaustion, encouraging me through the disappointments, and going not only before me to make a way for a transplant, but walking alongside me every strep of the way. I have felt His presence, seen His hand at work, heard Him speak specifically and directly to me. His Word has been the light, the steady force, the constant through it all.
“Come to me all of you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
Though I have been weary and burdened by my health, there has been peace and rest. I continue to approach His throne of grace and boldly ask for peace and a time of both physical and spiritual rest. And God has not disappointed. I have felt this deep sense of peace that is so deep in my soul it is hard to explain, to actually put into words. There has been no fear, no real worries, very little anxiety simply peace. It truly is peace that surpasses all understanding. (Philippians 4:7) He has and will continue to sustain.
My love for Jesus has grown deeper, more constant, more personal. If not for my illness I do not think I would have this heart full of love for Christ nor the awareness of all He has done for me. He sacrificed his life for me. This is real. I now have an even greater appreciation as I watch my donor Kristina, sacrifice for me, so I can live a more normal life.
One big realization through it all…Sitting in your pain and processing it is necessary to be able to embrace the Lord and His presence. We must walk through the pain in true vulnerability to allow God to transform and do true work in our hearts. I thank you Jesus for loving me and sustaining me through it all.
As we wait for transplant on Tuesday morning (tomorrow), there are challenges. Kristina’s daughter is sick and she needed to run home after traveling all the way to Madison for a Covid test, only to need to return again in time for surgery tomorrow. So we pray. Please pray for her daughter Bexly and for doctors to determine what is causing her to not keep anything down. God is faithful and will see us through this as well.
Enjoy this song that has really filled my soul: