Prayer of Protection

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Stepping out on my front porch this morning, I looked up at the bird’s nest that has housed four baby birds, and saw only two. They have grown up so fast! Just a few weeks ago, I saw four bald heads up there. They had a few, small random hairs on their heads. I could relate!

I have raised my daughter to the best of my ability, and trust God to do the rest. I have not said ‘No’ often, because I trust her judgement. I would rather her learn everything she can, while she’s still in the nest, so when she flies, she will know what to expect. I want her to have strong wings, like the eagle, but watching her learn to fly sucks.

She is going to a concert tonight.

I have always told her, “I trust you. It’s just the people around you I have a problem with.” The band is Twenty-one Pilots. She was introduced to this band by a boy that came into her life a year ago via social media. This boy was in a world of pain, and she was there to listen. It was hard to watch, and she got hurt, but she learned a lot from that boy. God’s grace was upon her, and He healed her heart.

I prayed for God to send the right person to accompany her to this concert. I wanted her to go with someone I felt would protect her from the crowd. One of her very best friends is a guy she doesn’t get to see very often. One time they were hanging out together, and she asked to ride his skateboard. He handed it to her, and she hopped on. When he saw she was going to crash, he dove toward her and landed between her and the pavement. He is going.

Yesterday, I did something completely illegal. She received a letter from her boyfriend, that lives in Missouri, and she wrote him right back. He had gone on a mission trip, and didn’t have his phone for 10 days, so her wrote her a letter. The good ol’ days right? She wanted to mail her letter to him immediately, so I sat still and told her, “Go ahead. You know how to drive.”

She has been driving since January with a permit, and will have her license in a couple of weeks. She is an excellent driver. Better than most adults I know. She drives me to Chemo once a week, and I usually sleep on the ride home. That is how confident I am in her ability to drive. I believe she has been uneasy about driving alone, so she has lingered getting her license.

I saw this letter as a good opportunity to let her fly. She hopped in her car, and drove off to the Post Office. We live in a very small town, so the Post office is less than a mile away. The only thing you have to worry about here, is a cow, or tractor, stepping out in front of you. When I first learned of my Breast Cancer, she drove me in and out of downtown Austin, so this was cake.

After she had left, I stepped out on the porch, and leaned against one of the large posts. I was filled with peace, and knowing that God had this. Now with this concert, I have to believe, God will protect my daughter from the world around her. There is a prayer I have been praying over her since she was tiny. It has saved my sanity as a parent, and gives me strength.

Prayer of Protection for Your Family by Kellie Copeland Kutz

Allowing her to be a part of this world, but not of this world is rough. She knows more about what’s going on in the world, than I do. We talk about everything, and she shares with me all the crazy stuff she sees on social media. It’s a scary world out there, and I’m not excited about letting her go into it without me. Mama’s…Do your best, and let God do the rest.

Soft and Strong

I woke up early this morning, and was able to think. There is a distinct difference between thinking, and having thoughts. Thank you Chemo for teaching me that difference.

A lot of thoughts came rushing in, once I had my coffee. Most of them were pictures of my past, and mainly my Mother.

Pieces of the path that helped make me who I am today. She was such a strong woman. I don’t recall seeing her sit much, and if she was napping, it meant she had worn herself out. The same with crying. She would hide somewhere and weep, and if my siblings, or myself, heard her weeping, something was big time wrong. My daughter sees me cry quite often, and I’m glad.

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My Mother grew up as an only child. Her Mother was of small stature; maybe 5 feet tall. Her Father was a big man, and stood soundly at over 6 feet tall. My Mother was built like her Father, so this ain’t good. She was told, her birth was so traumatic on her Mother’s body, her Mother couldn’t have anymore kids. She grew up believing it was her fault she was an only child.

What a burden to carry. I think because of this, she thought she had to be everything to everybody. I’ve seen a lot of similarities between my Mother, and me over the years. The first time I went through the ‘Letting Go’ process, I looked at what I learned growing up, and if that served me today. I loved my Mother, but I saw areas in me that needed to change.

My Father was an alcoholic, and so am I. My Grandmother, Mother, and Sister all had Breast Cancer, and so do I. Some traits we inherit, or call it genetics. We might not can change that, but we can change what continues. God is a master at breaking chains, and strongholds, so through Him, we can choose what is good to pass on to our generation.

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I didn’t quit. I stopped it dead in it’s tracks.

My Mother waited until all four of us kids were grown, and then she left my Dad. He bought her a beautiful house, with everything we didn’t have growing up. Air conditioning was one of those things, and this new house had that. Her walking away pissed me off in more ways than one. This new house had everything she could ever want, but it didn’t have that one thing she craved.

It still lacked love, and acceptance of who she wanted to be. She was tired.

I was the same age as her when I walked out of mine. That was my first clue that something needed to change, and it was probably me. Mother stayed strong, and stubborn till her death, but I wanted a different ending to my story. I wanted a story filled with love, and goodness. I refused to allow my daughter to grow up, and not see her Mama truly loved.

Strong will get you through, but soft will get you more.

I walked into the bathroom this morning, and noticed a package of toilet paper sitting on the counter. It was being advertised as ‘Soft and Strong.’ I thought, “Well heck! If a roll of toilet paper can be that, then surely I can too!” I am hoping God sees me as more than something we use to wipe with.

I will fast forward to the end. My Mother’s funeral. I believe she gave of herself her whole life. She was always busy, and helped anyone at the drop of a hat. She gave, but she sucked at receiving. From the simplest compliment, all the way to, “I can do this myself’ mentality. The people that came to her funeral, were the people that felt indebted to her.

We need to receive as much as we give. This is what fuels our flame, and gives us even more to give. Maya Angelou said, ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’ I hope a lot of people are at my funeral, and not because of what I did, or who I was, but how I made them feel.

 

No More Pain

I caught our landlord, Pete this morning taking the trash down to the street. Pete is happily married, and he and his wife treat me like a daughter. It’s nice, you know? He takes care of all the manly stuff around here, and then goes home to his wife. I like it.

He asked how I was feeling, and I just beamed and told him, “Great!” He looked so perplexed, and said, “You are handling this whole thing so well.” (The Breast Cancer )

I looked at him and said, “It’s not me. It’s all God.”

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Breast Cancer was my secret for a while.

I ignored the symptoms for months, and self diagnosed continuously. Reaching for some other conclusion besides the big “C.” How can God get the glory for the miracle in store if nobody knows? I am sharing this journey in hopes of encouraging others through.

An ordinary woman, walking into the second half of her life with a daughter, a few of my favorite things, and God. If I can do it, so can you. How was I going to continue this mission with Cancer? For me, it was an ugly word, so how was there going to be beauty? Because God is a master at beauty.

God knows I am stubborn. He knows it’s going to take time to get me where I need to be. The best way to get my attention is physical pain. God doesn’t cause pain, but He will use it.

I was in a lot of pain. It took time, but it got to the point where I dreaded going to bed at night. I knew it was going to hurt when I laid down. I didn’t share this with anyone. Only the few people who saw me, could tell I was in a world of pain. They watched and waited.

They knew it was going to have to be my decision to go see a doctor. Finally, I surrendered.

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Do you know, the day I left that doctor’s office, my pain subsided? That night was the first night in months, I slept all night with no pain. By surrendering, and taking that first step into the doctor, and onto this path, God was pleased. I was terrified, but God was happy.

At first, I didn’t want anyone to know, or anyone to pity me. There is a difference between pity and sympathy. When I wrote the initial Blog about it, some friends were taken aback, and not sure what to say, so I just let them be. Others embraced it, and stood up as Prayer Warriors immediately.

My life seems more beautiful recently than ever before, or maybe I am seeing it through eyes of no pain. Whatever it is, there’s no more pain.

While I Wait

They say it’s Cancer, but they don’t know my God. I sit and listen as they tell me what they see, but I can’t assimilate all the words at once. I’m a writer, so I love words. Just not these.

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The Insurance kicked in March 1st, and one week later I saw my doctor. She sent me straight to Austin, TX for the mammogram, and a few days later, I was having the biopsy.

The biopsy was Friday, and Monday afternoon my doctor called me in to talk. That is never good. She said the ‘C’ word, and said I have ‘Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma.’ It’s the most common type of breast cancer in 80% of women, and typically hits the more mature woman of 50 or over.

My grandmother, mother and sister had it. I thought I would break the cycle.

I woke up this morning more grateful than a week ago. The Cancer Specialist cannot see me for another week. My doctor had to call four places before she could find one to take me in. Our Cancer centers are overflowing with people with a similar situation as me.

So, I have a week to wait and see a doctor’s plan for treatment. God has been in front of me on this journey. He has moved swiftly up until now. He’s not done teaching me how to wait.

God is working while I wait.

He needs time to line up the next part of this journey. What that looks like, I don’t know, but He has a plan. My first thought during this was, “How can God get the glory for this?”

Well, I can write about it, and hopefully encourage someone else by what I’m going through. God has given me a beautiful life. The last three years have been exceptionally beautiful. I’m not sure this is going to be pretty, but He promises to turn everything around for His good and His glory.

He has already proved that His plan is always better than mine.

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There is a song by Colton Dixon, Through All Of It. I have no regrets, like he mentions in the song. God sees what we’re going through. He has seen every tear I’ve shed over this. My favorite part of the song is…’But Oh…You have been my God through all of this.’

There are no surprises for God.

He’s on the throne mighty as ever.

So, while I wait to see the next doctor, I see the beauty in life a little bit more. The pace of life has slowed, and what I thought was important is not so important. I hug my daughter every chance I get, and tell people ‘I love you’ more than before. My laughter still shakes a room, and I take time to notice what other’s may be going through while they wait.

Sometimes life feels like one big waiting room.

 

 

Way Beyond Me

I had a call from a friend this morning.

His wife wants to move out to the country. He is a city boy and had lots of questions about wild animals, sustainable living and the Internet. He thinks I’m brave being a single Mom, living in the country.

I think he’s brave for living in the city.

You just can’t beat the drive. Listening to music with the windows open, in no hurry at all. I drive a little over the speed limit, but someone always comes flying up behind me on this last stretch of highway to my house. They are in such a hurry, and the passing lanes are few.

Sometimes, I’ll pull over and let them pass, so that I can continue to enjoy the drive. They are focused on the destination, not the journey.

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This is the road that I get to drive down.

Did you notice I said, “Get to?” I pulled over earlier today and took this picture to share with you. Within minutes, it will look different, but just as stunningly beautiful. I have run off the side of the road while driving and staring at this sky. This is way beyond me.

I love the way God give us things to enjoy, but they are out of our reach. Like this incredible sky is all Him, and we ‘get to’ enjoy it’s beauty. TobyMac has a song entitled, “Beyond Me“, and he talks about God giving us the stars but putting them out of reach. Called us to waters a little too deep. God wants us to know, He did this.

I wrote a Blog a couple of days ago entitled, God Is Sneaky. I put that wooden sign in my truck and headed into town. On the way there, I had the feeling it wasn’t for the person I had intended it for. God had a better plan.

This morning at church, we had a guest preacher. His wife stood up and told us about their daughter being in a serious car accident. She said she lost all control when she heard the news.

She was out in the driveway, half dressed, twirling around in a frenzy when God called her to a standstill. If you read the Blog I mentioned, you can guess what He told her. “Be still.” Be still and know that I am God.

As I was leaving the church, I asked a lady to walk to my truck with me. I reached in my truck and handed her the wooden sign to give to the preacher’s wife because Matthew 6:4 says, “So your giving may be done in secret.” The lady was amazed I had this in my truck, realizing this verse is what God had told that preacher’s wife after the wreck.

I pray she is blessed, and God is glorified over that wooden sign. It’s not about me and thank God this is way beyond me.

It’s All New

I have been through some storms in my life.

Learning to weather any storm, instead of trying to stop it was painful. My nature was to stop things from happening and keep the seas calm.

Walking on eggshells will make your feet sore.

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Being treated wrongly over the years comes in the form of a storm. Doing the next right thing is all I know to do. Forgiving comes easy for me, but forgetting takes time. The pain is similar to bricks, when placed together make a pretty sturdy wall. Not to lean against, but to be surrounded by.

This quote about the butterfly describes it well. They wrap themselves in a cocoon, like I would huddle close to God. God can get me through any storm, but it’s knowing when to fight, or seek shelter. Seeking God’s shelter versus fighting the fight myself yields richer results.

Letting go of hurt, and pain is not easy but it’s a must.

Otherwise, we are afraid to love and enjoy life again. It’s not fair for me to expect a new person to treat me like an old one. God will send people to help you through the storm and protect the cocoon. When the storm is over and we allow ourselves to step out, the beauty begins. We are better than before and life is beautiful again. Then we can love.