Weathering The Storm

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I posted on my Team AJ FB page this week the following: “So we are supposed to leave on our “cancer free celebration” trip this weekend. There is now threat of tropical storms in the Atlantic. Mark bought trip insurance (thank goodness) but obviously we would really love to go. This may be a selfish prayer request but I believe my God can control the wind and rain with but two simple words “Be Calm!” (Matthew 8:26-27). Please join me in praying that this storm stays toward Central America and doesn’t turn North. But to be bold, pray that it completely dissipates!!”

The Scripture I referenced states: 26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. 27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!””

(If you are wondering, we are headed to the small islands just under the ‘H’ in Hurricane in the red box in the above picture.)

We have gone back and forth.  Do we go?  Do we not go?  Is it safe?  Will the storm turn north or stay west?  All questions without any way of getting answers.  I even threw myself a pretty big (embarrassingly big) pity party this morning – I mean I was in it – streamers, balloons, and all.  Thank goodness I have some friends that could slap me silly and knock some sense in this head of mine.

Because here is the deal – we have weathered the biggest storm (to date) in our lives over the last 8 months.  And honestly – here is what I said, “God I tried to give you glory throughout it all, and all I wanted was a little celebration trip.  And you give me another storm.  A literal one this time.  That’s not fair and it hurts my feelings.”  Oh my!  Yuck!  (I seriously want to erase that paragraph, but I’m trying to be real with y’all.)

My sweet friends sympathized with me, but they also said, “Ashley, you can go and still celebrate and enjoy life.”  Of course I can.  Again, I say, where is that pause button I mentioned in my previous post?  When I can hit my head and say, “Duh!  Of Course!”  Sometimes the enemy manipulates his way into our emotions and steals all the joy from a situation, doesn’t he?

O, Lord! O, Lord!  How dare I say, “all I wanted was…”.  Don’t I sing “You are more than enough” – I don’t need (I am not in want) of anything.  I don’t deserve anything from You.  How dare I be so selfish to steal the joy from this amazing gift of time you have given me.  Not only more precious days on this earth, but sweet one-on-one time with my husband.  Time to reflect.  Time with you.  Lord, I can’t wait to spend time in your beautiful creation with you, even among the storm clouds.  Because you are always among it all.  Of course, Lord, even in this you are teaching me.   You are still present in the storm and joy can still be found!  In what situation do you need to find Him in?  He is there!  Where do you need to find joy in your life?  It is there!

So here is what I decided.  I decided I am going to go on my vacation with my man and celebrate life, rain or shine!  Abundant life!  Eternal life!  Both of which God has graciously gifted to me (and to you).

Now you tell me, how completely ironic is it that I quote Matthew 8 in reference to the storm on September 27, the day before it gets named Tropical Storm Matthew (now Hurricane Matthew).  And, just to throw some more humble pie to the face, do you know what Matthew means?  ‘Gift of God’.  I stand surrendered Lord.

…and I may just come home with a T-shirt that says, “I survived Hurricane Matthew!”

Reentry

I realize that there has been quite the lack of posts lately and I apologize for those of you wondering how I’m doing and feeling and what the latest is with my health.

After seven months of being provided at least three meals a week, my meal calendar stopped.  I can’t thank you enough for providing food for my family during this time.  It prevented them from going hungry and kept us out of Chick-fil-A every night.  It truly was amazing how you literally were the hands of Jesus by you preparing dinners for us.

So it was a bit of a perfect storm.  The same week the meals ended (which I asked for them to) was the same week we got Garrett back from Texas, the same week Garrett started school (he’s going two days a week to preschool), and the same week that CBS started back.  (I know I’ve mentioned CBS many times on here.  I don’t know if I have mentioned that I’m the Class Coordinator which means the start up process is one of the busiest times for me.)  I also thought it would be a good time to ween Garrett from his paci, start back Hamilton’s piano lessons, start Luke’s first season of TBall, and plan two birthday parties.  (Ever have one of those moments where you could pause life, hit yourself on the head, and say “What was I thinking?”).

I think I was so excited for life to be ‘normal’ again I jumped in on the deep end of the pool rather than slowly reentering on the zero-entry end.  Whew!  Today is the first day I have felt like I could take a deep breath and just float.  Thus, the reason why you are able to read a post from me.

I received my last ovary-suppression shot Tuesday.  I won’t have another one since I’m getting my ovaries out at the end of October.  I’m still going to physical therapy once a week.  My cording has come back with a vengeance – much worse than it was the first time.  They said it would take time for it to completely go away – so for now I continue with PT and my at-home exercises.  They also gave me a compression sleeve and glove to wear to try to release some of the tightness. Please pray the cording will release!

We are celebrating Luke’s 5th birthday this weekend.  Next week is Fall Break for my boys so we will be taking it easy.  We have family pictures scheduled and then Mark and I leave for our ‘Cancer Free Celebration’ trip a week from today!  I can’t believe it is finally here.  Mark surprised me and booked this trip soon after my diagnosis (8 months ago – amazing it’s been that long).  He would send me pictures periodically as encouragement and something to look forward to once all of this was over and behind us.  I hate I still have a surgery after we get back, but there is still much to celebrate!  Much to look back over and ponder on how far we have come in this journey.

I will make sure to post some pictures upon our return.  For now, I appreciate you reading and keeping up with me.  I am so blown away by your consistent care and concern.

Sincerely,

AJ

P.S.  I’ve been hat-free for a few weeks now.  It’s much darker than I thought it would be.  Here is a picture of Mark and me on our way to his 20th high school reunion last weekend.