Drip. Drip. Drip. The rain falls, thuds in the night as I try to sleep. The skylight above my head is lit up with lightning every few seconds. The drips turn into a downpour on the glass, and the wind howls. I move to another room, trying to get rest on the couch, away from the glass bowl I sleep in. Summer storms- they crash the night violently, waking heavy sleepers. In the morning, I awake after fitful sleep, to the reality of another summer storm. Back to the hospital. Drip. Drip. Drip. The chemotherapy over four hours long, dripping from bags as we sit in the infusion center. Ports and pumps and needles and nurses every which way one turns. Five months now since my brain surgery, and this time we're not at the hospital for me, but for the one I love, the one who walked me through my hardest road, faithfully by my side even when I could barely see, hear, or walk. Now it is his turn, his time for medicine and miracles. Two weeks of chemo down, and seven weeks left to go...The week he is finished treatment will be the week of our wedding. I never imagined preparing for marriage like this, planning our wedding day this way, with my head healing and him conquering cancer. From the outside, it must look frightfully crazy, but on the inside, every day is a gift, and the blessings are abundant. Some days are difficult, but the love of the Lord is the calm in this summer storm, and the light brightening our darkest nights.
(on our way to California last February for my surgery)
(at the hospital this July, preparing for the first day of Jamie's chemo)
Some of the blessings that have made this summer so very special... Walks every evening, hand in hand with my man.
Watching my dear cousin get married on a farm in June, and standing there as her maid of honor.
My fiancÚ, Jamie, visiting Maine with my family for the first time.
(at my cousin's wedding!)
Practicing piano little by little and beginning to sing and write again.
Wedding dress shopping with the girls in my family...then going again with my Dad and seeing tears well up in his eyes when I found my dress.
Celebrating one year since the release of the "Sing Over Us" music video on June 21st, and receiving the 2nd place award for "Best Music Video" from the International Christian Film Festival. (Wanda, my sponsor child in the Dominican Republic who inspired the song and video, will graduate from Compassion's program this September, around the time I get married!)
My eyes healing ever so slowly, to the point where they are better now than they were pre-surgery!
Sitting outside and hearing with both ears the sound of birds chirping and cicadas singing and my dad's patio waterfall splashing on rocks.
Picking blueberries by the bucketful (and eating blueberry pancakes!)
Watching farmer Joe's four chickens in the back yard (Easter chicks turned into family "farm pets"?)
Meeting brave sojourners who are walking through cancer every day that we go to hospital. Seeing their joy in the midst of uncertainty and pain is such a reminder that life is a precious gift and every minute we are here, we should be grateful. (Jamie's nurse likes to remind us- we're all dying sometime, it's just that people with cancer realize it more than everyone else!) So let's live on purpose here on earth and have our hearts set on things eternal!
"Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God's right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all His glory." (Colossians 3:1-4)
I encourage you, if you feel like this has been one of the best summers in your life, basking in the glory of sunshine as you sail through, enjoying simple pleasures- give praise to the Creator and Giver of all good gifts. If this has been a sticky season of storms, however, I encourage you to look not at the waves, but to the Maker of the waves and the Calmer of the seas.
"As evening came, Jesus said to His disciples, 'Let's cross to the other side of the lake.' So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke Him up, shouting, 'Teacher, don't you care that we're going to drown?' When Jesus woke up, He rebuked the wind and said to the waves, 'Silence! Be still!' Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Then He asked them, 'Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?' The disciples were absolutely terrified. 'Who is this man?' they asked each other. 'Even the wind and waves obey Him!'" (Mark 4:35-41)
In a sermon by Bill Johnson, which I listened to quite a few times after my surgery (when I couldn't watch TV or read or listen to music, because my eyes and ears were too sensitive to do any of that...), he mentioned that everything we do in life is based out of fear or love. Everything. Fear or Love. Those are the two root causes of every action, every word, every thought. The more I think about it, the more true it seems to be. Today, will I choose to fear or to love? Will I choose to watch the waves or wake up and call upon the Master who commands silence and stillness from those waves? What will you choose?