This year we adopted a young Border Collie. I know very little about Bailey’s life before she became ours. The girl we got her from said Bailey had been abused, kept chained away from food and water, but didn’t go into detail. Other than to say, Bailey hated men, which apparently didn’t apply to the male’s in our household. Continue reading “Have Faith. Don’t Stash Your Stuff”
I have cancer. The words permeate my brain even through the haze of sleep. They haven’t been far from thoughts, since my diagnosis the week before. I offer up another pleading prayer for guidance and snuggle back to sleep.
My double stroller cast a long shadow in the cool morning. I push it along the sidewalk in front of my house, sauntering our way to my son’s elementary school around the corner. My youngest resting inside while my four and seven-year-olds run ahead.
I have a disease people die from. The words still ring surreal. This isn’t the sort of thing that happens to women with three young children to raise. Had I done something wrong? Was God done with me? Or maybe He just wanted me home.
As I walked my kids to school, my kindergartener got excited over the “helicopter” seeds that had fallen from a tree. He tossed one up and watched it spin to the ground and my other two boys joined him.
After a few moments, I forced them on and they found some dandelion thistles to blow. The seeds went flying onto the street and sidewalk.
The obvious parallel of the parable of the sower and how some seeds fall on the road and get trampled came to mind (Matthew 13). But when I tried to discuss it with them, somehow the lesson became about how all creation points toward our creator.
I followed them around the corner. “Yes. God made us just like he made the plants, flowers, and trees. But we have more opportunity to impact than a tree.”
When a friend asked me why I hadn’t signed up for the American Christian Fiction Writer’s conference yet, I had to stop and consider what had stalled my determination to go for the first time.
Seems it’s one thing to pound away day after day at my computer but quite another to dress up, spend money, and declare to the best in the business that I want to be a professional writer.
Not just that, but all that’s involved with traveling and feeling safe in a new place, trusting my instincts to make good decisions and not to make a fool of myself. Not to mention, wanting to blend in and needing to promote myself. It’s enough to make my stomach hurt.
So, like any decent psychology graduate, I analyzed what was holding me back. I processed my fears. And just as an aspiring author would do, I wrote a story about my anxiety thus creating Lilly. Because not even I could be this big of a mess! Let’s pray none of poor Lilly’s experiences happen to anyone attending the ACFW conference in September.
The time change put our family in frantic mode this morning. I had to yank my three-year-old, Isaac, out of bed so I could take my five and nine-year-old to school.
I wanted to scream, “You wouldn’t feel this way if you’d gone to sleep last night, instead of sneaking out of bed to play with Legos until midnight!”
But I just strapped him into the car seat while he cried and yelled, “No. No. I don’t want to go. I’m cold.” As if he ever got to choose not to go.
The story below is based off of a dream I had after learning of my breast cancer diagnosis. I’m sure it was born out of the outpouring of prayers from my church, friends, and family. Thank you. Your prayers are powerful.
The mouth of the rocky valley I trek widens into a high green meadow. A stream meanders the length of the grassland and trickles into a reflective pool at the opposite end.
Thank you, God. I slip off my shoes and splash into the pristine brook. The smooth rounded stones massage the balls of my aching feet. I dip my cupped hands into the water and relieve my parched mouth with the sweet, cool liquid.
Restored, I strut into the meadow. Soft new grass slips between my toes. The setting sun peeks over the top of the mountainside and tinges the wispy clouds in the sapphire sky with vibrant reds and orange.
A warm breeze lifts my hair. Some barriers along my journey had seemed impassable, but my skill had prevailed. I spread my arms and twirl. I’ve arrived.
My toes sink into a cool patch of black mud. Where had this come from? I step into a deeper patch, and mud oozes across the top of my foot to my ankle.
Sinister cackling echoes off the rocks. Satan stands atop a boulder at the edge of the valley. Against the glowing orange sky, the silhouette of his open-mouthed laugh reveals his cobra fangs. He wipes a string of venom from his chin.
The first time I wrote fictional dialogue, it was an assignment for my British Literature class at Abilene Christian University. On the day we would receive our scores, I was eager to see if my creativity had paid off.
My professor, Dr. Jack Welch, tall and lanky with gray at his temples, faced our class and grinned, a twinkle in his eyes.
That look, I’d seen it before. I settled back in my desk and prepared to be entertained by his dry humor.
The nurse squeezed my arm before rolling me into the MRI machine. I hadn’t missed the pity in her warm brown eyes. She’d read my chart. Stage 2 breast cancer at 39.
But breast cancer wasn’t a death sentence anymore. Unless my tumor hadn’t responded to the Chemotherapy and God chose not to heal me. Sweat broke out on my brow. The machine clanked over the foam headphones I wore. Soon I would know the answer.
I closed my eyes. Please God. Heal me. Allow me to raise my boys. Be David’s wife.
I swallowed and tried not to move. Or will I be meeting you soon?
Too often, my life resembles a dammed-up brook.
I want to be used by God to do His work, to flow freely down the river He commands, to show I’ve been redeemed, washed clean. Instead, I gather my logs of doubt and rocks of fear to build a barrier that pools the water safe inside.