Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Doing Battle, Week 14, Part II

Fact: Of the time I've spent crying throughout this journey, better than three quarters of those tears have been the overflow of my heart caused by the large, undeserved, consistent, audacious love that has been shown to us. Love that was immediate, unquestioning and is overwhelming.

One of the things I have embraced about being a photographer is that it allows me to quietly stay on the sidelines; involved, but not in the spotlight. Honestly, its been difficult to move into a position where life is all about me. Most days I wake up with myself on my mind and that is not a sustainable way to live a happy life. Prior to my diagnosis, my first breath every morning, before my feet were fully on the floor was:

God, I offer myself as a living sacrifice today, holy and acceptable to you. Use my hands and feet for your purposes. Help me to be aware of your presence...I don't want to miss anything you are doing around me. Now I pray it a couple hours later with the girls as we walk to school.

Cancer comes with countless gifts I'm learning, and one of those is an instant clarity of what is truly important. Life is no longer taken for granted and the list of things that are bothersome or annoying grows short. The words 'I love you' flow freer and with more meaning. And the hard makes you realize how very much you need God....that we are fools to think we do this life in our own strength.

I don't mean this to be startling but people have said and written things to me and done things for me that are too often reserved for funerals. But instead, I've had the very humbling privilege of being around as a witness and benefactor.

This Christmas was such a gift. As I've said before, it was not anything we could have foreseen or would have scheduled around, but God worked it out that my off-week was Christmas and I was able to enjoy family from Saturday to Saturday.

Little notes from strangers, generous donations from people who have never met our family, extravagant love from friends and family. All we are capable of right now is sitting back amazed as we watch people jump up to be God's hands and feet as they serve us in so many ways. 

On Sunday Shaun and I took a walk around the neighborhood, taking advantage of warm weather, sunshine and no kids. We talked in awed tones about God's faithfulness and the burdens that are being lifted from our shoulders. We also dreamed and talked in real terms about what our lives will look like when this is all in the past...how we've been inspired and challenged in the ways that exist to give and to pour into people....how we want to be the kind of people who step into the mess in real, tangible ways.

This week came with much more couch-sitting than I was prepared for but the kids always seemed to find me and I enjoyed a well-timed book someone sent me. I yielded to the urging of my body to rest and looked at it as a gift of time that it was.

My sister had t-shirts made for everyone to wear to our Outerbanks family reunion this summer. That's kind of the mark in time we are all looking towards....by the end of June, which feels like a lifetime from now, we pray we are celebrating a cancer-free body. The shirt reads 2015 OBX Life More Abundant, based on my blog name Blessed-inabundance and the verse:

 The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). John 10:10


And my aunt and uncle and cousins brought t-shirts for everyone that read Lisa Strong, with a picture of me at the finish line of the marathon I ran just two shorts months ago. I just love this picture of my brother and his precious family sporting the shirts.
I'm so grateful for the army standing with us. Because of your prayers, I am sitting up in bed blogging on a day when I shouldn't even be able to sit up or look at screens. God is good, all the time. He wants to be that for you, too if you'll allow him.


Amy said...

God is faithful, indeed! Love this post. Love you more! Precious picture of the Bourquins.

Melody said...

Had to read this several times to get through it all through the tears :) Good tears! Love you, and LOVE that you're able to write this today!

The Bug said...

Yes, God is definitely good!

Laura said...

Stop making me cry. Actually, keep making us cry. I love your real, authentic heart-felt words to keep us all learning and thinking on The Lord and what is important to Him.

Darla said...

I know a glimpse of what you are experiencing. My cancer was removed through surgery but before we knew how it would all play out, I received so many blessings from so many caring people. I also understand the clarity that comes from knowing how precious a moment in time is, how precious the time with our children is, and how great it is to be alive for another day!