I always thought I’d have a boy. Rough housing and baseball – I was certain that was what my future entailed. So when we got a call about adopting a little girl, I wasn’t so sure. I’m not really the girly-girl type (outside of my fascination with huge earrings.) I wouldn’t even wear dresses as a child. But as our adoption went through and we’ve spent the last three years raising a little princess, I couldn’t be more thankful The Lord had other plans for me.
The pink and purple palooza has taken some adjusting, but I’ve learned a lot from having a little girl. The Barbies and larger-than-life headbands show me that feeling beautiful is an innate female desire, at least in some way. The careful way she stuffs a fake baby bottle into a cloth doll’s face shows me women are built to nurture. To mother. Her interest in ballet moves and love of a frilly tutu shows me ladies want to offer grace. And the obsession with everything princess reminds me daily that Christian women are truly a royal priesthood and daughters of the King – regardless of if tiaras are “our thing.”
I still don’t consider myself someone who’s super girly. And I do plan to get a ball into her hands at some point. But for now I’ll gladly wear the pink hair or dress up in pearls for my girl. Because she is showing me the purest form of the princesses we were born to be.
A few weeks ago I experienced a defining moment in friendship: my close friend shared with me that I’d hurt her.
Although the situation that led to hurt feelings was unintentional, it happened nonetheless. Feelings of isolation, rejection and bitterness crept inside of her heart. I walked around oblivious.
And would have stayed oblivious had she not broken the ice.
After we both recognized our weaknesses in the situation and talked it out, we were fine. Actually, our friendship grew closer.
And the wedge that had grown, unbeknownst to me, was removed.
But it didn’t end there.
As I reflected on the experience, I realized there was another relationship in my life where wedges had formed.
Except this time, I was the hurt friend.
And the person who’d hurt me was God.
And while I knew I needed to do what my friend had just done with me, I delayed the experience. What place did I have to tell a perfect God that I felt hurt by Him?
None, or so I felt.
After realizing that this next step was inevitable, I finally caved. I shared with God feelings I’d suppressed and hidden. Feelings that brought me shame, but needed to be spoken nonetheless.
I shared with Him that I felt He caused my cancer. That I felt hurt from Him allowing it to happen. That I don’t know why I get to live and others die. I told him I struggle with knowing He is good. I told Him that sometimes the physical pain, embarrassing moments and situations that leave my heart broken because of cancer are tough. Really tough. And that as a big God who controls everything, I didn’t understand how His plans are labeled as “good.”
I felt silly saying some of it. I knew a lot of it wasn’t true. But as I shared my heart and admitted how I felt, I immediately noticed a change.
He wasn’t mad at me. Lightening didn’t strike. Ironically, I felt closer to Him.
And ultimately, I felt like I could believe Him again.
The walls came down once I addressed my feelings and the lies I’d believed. I recognized that I’d been trying to not make waves or ruffle any feathers. Even God’s feathers.
While openness was tough in the moment, I learned it’s what intimacy requires. If I want solid relationships, I’ve got to draw close and be willing to do the hard things.
I’ve got to remove the wedges.
I met with my mentor a few days ago. I always walk away from the coffee shop where I meet her much more caffeinated. And, full of great perspective. She’s a wise lady.
She asked a common question, “How’s life?” and it wasn’t until that moment had I slowed down to really think about it. Life’s been really, really busy. And I’ve been going from one thing to the next for about two months now. But, in the midst of it, life’s been really, really good. Here’s the Cliff’s Notes:
We took off the first of September with two of our great friends and had an all-out 10-day road trip. We ventured to Wilmington, North Carolina by way of Knoxville, Tennessee and had stops in Nashville, Asheville and Evansville along the way. Ten days in a van with a 3-year-old and great friends was splendid. Honestly. We saw the beach. The mountains. A huge Superman statue. And a big house (Biltmore.) It totally rocked.
I ran a 10K
It goes to show that I’ve been a tad bit busy since I never actually blogged to say that I DID IT! I ran the Plaza 10K in the middle of September and met my goal: I survived. I had a great time. Got an awesome medal. And most importantly, conquered a fear that I’d never be able to run that far. What a journey God took me on through training and amazing people he used to get me to the finish line.
My baby turned three
Welp, it’s official. There’s no baby around here anymore. My little lady turned three. We had a small backyard princess party to celebrate complete with an actual LIVE princess showing up as we chomped on cupcakes and cookies. And while the age of three brings about sass and attitude, I actually love it. I’m forming a relationship with my girl. It’s awesome.
Aunt B’s got a new nephew
My brother and sister-in-law welcomed by little nephew into the world a week or so ago. And what a trooper he’s been – came a few weeks early, has had to hang in the hospital since he had a complication with his lung and is still learning to keep food down. But – he’s cute as a button and I can’t wait to snuggle him soon.
National website launch
I started my new job with Fight Colorectal Cancer in June and was tasked with overseeing our website redesign. Up to this point, my small business had helped with web launches over and over, but the size and scale of building a new national site with about double the content was new to me. But, I had an amazing team and by golly, we did it. And, I’m really happy with how it turned out. Take a peek: FightColorectalCancer.org
Carried me Through
God is carrying me.
Sure, life’s been busy – some would say too busy. Being on the go can be hard. And in the past, with this hectic of a schedule, I’d be so stressed right now. I’d be unable to appreciate the great moments because of the lack of time to stop and process. I’d be sick. And maybe a tad grumpy.
But, that’s not the case. In the midst of the craziness, God’s shown me at every turn, nearly every day, what He’s up to and how He’s orchestrating things. I see Him in opportunities, challenges, relationships – He’s all over. And while that’s nothing new, what is new is that I recognize it.
The last time I felt like He’d picked me up and carried me through a season, I was receiving treatment. Or headed to surgery.
But in this latest season, He’s not carrying me through trial. He’s with me through triumph. I see his blessings all around.
And I’ve gotta say, I could really get used to this.
Last week I announced to the world that I was training for a 10K. Well, okay – not really the world, but I did mention my training when writing for the Huffington Post.
It was Week One and I was pumped. In my post, I explained how I wrestled with the initial fears of commitment but finally signed up for an upcoming race. I figured making it public would help me stay on track.
And it did at first. This time last week, I was pretty jazzed. I was on schedule, I hadn’t missed one day. Last Sunday night I ran a little over 3 1/2 miles. For someone who’d been in the hospital three weeks prior, I was pretty proud of myself. Shorts fit better. Mind was clear. Smile big.
And then, Week Two hit.
I headed out earlier this past week to run a quick two miles and struggled. Mentally and emotionally I wasn’t there. It was physically harder than I expected. Everything about the run was tough.
I chalked it up to a bad night and assumed my next run would go better. I was running with my trainer and another gal my age. I thought, “Surely having a group will help keep me going!“
But, not so much.
I struggled again. But this time I had some of the fun “I’ve-had-colon-cancer-and-still-experience-side-effects” come up. For anyone else who’s had radiation or colon surgery – you probably get my drift. It wasn’t pretty.
After soaking in the tub to make the sting go away, I decided to take the rest of the week off to heal up. Good timing since I didn’t feel well all weekend. I was physically, mentally and emotionally defeated.
I needed some strength.
I’ve got a couple of close girlfriends who’ve stood by my side (and over my hospital bed) for many years. Hitting a “low” point made me realize I needed help. So I reached out and let them know what was happening.
And, in true fashion, they gave me just the encouragement I needed to hear.
I have the “muscles” I need to get through this. I just need to flex them and put them into play. Not only from a physical sense – but the emotional and mental, too.
This isn’t the first time I’ve been down because I want to feel normal. It’s one of many times my past has affected my present… and my future. I’ve been physically limited because of a circumstance I didn’t choose time and time again.
But through the years, God’s given me the strength to get through the trials. And as they reminded me, if I’m going to get ready for this race, I’ve got to tap into that.
I see why so many Bible verses use running imagery. “Fight the good fight,” and “Press on to win the race.” That encouragement is no joke — running is hard.
And for me sometimes, faith is hard too.
It’s hard to use the muscles God’s given me to power through sometimes. But, if I’m going to run a 10K, I’m going to need that strength. And if I’m going to make a positive impact on others because of my story, I’m going to need to press on.
We’ll see what awaits me on Week Three.
Feels good to type the update from my recliner, I must say.
I’m finally home again. Doctors released me yesterday afternoon. Around 2pm, I asked the nurse if I slipped her a $50, she could get me home.
So either the nurse needed $50 or the doc could see that it was time to get me out of there.
I’m still taking it easy and can’t go very fast. I still feel like a walking water park – there’s fluid all throughout my bowels & I feel it. But, pain is going down and slowly but surely I’m feeling back to normal. And just so thankful we adverted surgery this time.
So that’s it – the update.
Maybe next time it won’t take a hospital stay for me to hop back on the ole’ blog again.