Monday, November 18, 2013
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Friday, October 25, 2013
Living Again After Loss
Many of my readers have suffered great loss. From you, I hope to receive wise words of encouragement and hope. For all the rest, may you find what you need here as I process the profound loss this summer of my dear brother, Roger, who entered Heaven July 5th after a ten month battle with brain cancer.
When I thought my world would begin to heal, it caved in with grief and depression. I needed medication to help me over the worst. God, in His extreme goodness, gave me months without deadlines and only one speaking engagement, wise and loving prayer partners, and patient friends. Best of all, God gave me a husband who loved my brother also and grieved his absence with me. Together, we are healing. After several years of loss, including all our parents, another precious sister-in-law, aunts and uncles and cousins, our hearts have been broken on this long walk through sorrow. And yet, Jesus accompanies us and teaches us about His comfort and truth along the way.
For today, I am learning that each day is an experiment in love and trust. Before I even throw my legs over the edge of the bed, I pray, "Here I am, Lord, to live for You today. Show me how to do that well. Help me not dishonor You in any way. Bring glory to Yourself any way you can in my life."
He gives me rest. Almost too much rest. I feel guilty taking naps every day, relaxing with my husband in the evening, cooking as little as I do. And yet, this is the rest He has provided for me. I take it in big gulps every day. It's OK. And I remember with deep thanks the years and memories we shared.
Monday, November 05, 2012
We are all on a journey in this life. For some, it's a roller coaster of events, for others a free fall, for some an adventure worth sharing. I've been in all of those groups and more. For now, I'm on a journey through inoperable brain cancer. Not mine, but my older brother Roger's. I wish it were mine.
He has the worst of the worst diagnoses: inoperable stage 4 glioblastoma. There are no promises of hope for him from doctors or friends, or even family. We all know the truth. This cancer is a killer.
Or is it?
As they say, "The opera ain't over till the fat lady sings." And she ain't even warmed up yet.
The other day, Roger's step son Jeff found a remarkable website produced by a survivor (Yes, an 8 year survivor) of glioblastoma. It's full of hope, a road map to treatment that works, and the plan of salvation included. How good is God? I pray this will be my brother's story one day, too. I want him to live much longer than 12-18 months. Eight years or more sounds great. And so I pray for God's best plan, His perfect will for Roger.
In the meantime, Roger is mining gold from this journey and sharing it with others. Read his Apogee Newsletter today and see what he's found lately. I hope I add this correctly. feed://www.apogeeceo.com/syndication.axd
And while you are at it, please pray for him. I love him so much!
Saturday, October 20, 2012
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
He'd had some small symptoms while visiting with us, just the annoying little memory losses we all experience from time to time in our senior years. Most of us joke about them, but he did not. In stead, he called his doctor who suggested a CT scan and an MRI when he arrived home in Omaha. Call it God. The tests showed a stage 4 glioblastoma, pretty much a death sentence. Roger is only 71 and remarkably strong and healthy. This was a game changer for us all.
"Lord, I'm not ready to lose my brother," I cried in my kitchen. "You have to rescue him. He still doesn't know You, and that's my heart's biggest desire. What are you going to do about this?" Three days later I mopped up my tears and formed a prayer team, "Roger's loop." Some of these folks pray like pit bulls. I love that about them. Others are new to prayer, some are not even sure God exists. But most people, when you ask them to pray even for your sick dog, will at least try. I knew they would. And God was listening. He always is. My prayer was two fold: "Lord, please bring Roger face to face with you now. Help him believe. And give Roger a story in this cancer that is all about you. Something only You could have done." And I watched and waited. Still am.
In the meantime, my dear husband Steve put me on a plane to be with Roger during his first brain biopsy, a life-threatening situation all by itself. His wonderful step son, Bill, was there doing all the real logistics. I just wanted to be with my brother. Actually, half the world wanted to be with him, too. He is loved by so many. And it was a week I'll never forget. Roger, my big strong "I can handle it" brother, suddenly knew real weakness, perplexity, something totally out of his plans. He became among the bravest people I've ever known facing brain surgery like that. Most of us would be crying out for help, or blaming Heaven. Roger is stoic in his acceptance of life. Only four years ago he returned from a business trip to find his beloved wife Nancy on the bathroom floor, dead from an aortic dissection. His heartbreak has been indescribable and has fostered years of insightful writing in his Apogee newsletter. Look it up.
Now I'm learning about life in a new way. "Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing." I'm God's child, his heartbroken daughter, looking to her Heaven Father for yet another miracle of grace in His bag. Another like the one he gave Steve's dear sister Sue who lived healthy, beautiful eight years after extensive surgery for pancreatic cancer. No one lives after that, but Sue did. And God gave the miracle. "One more, Lord! Please, one more!"
I wait, trusting God more for His perfect will every day. It may not be my idea of perfect, but if it's His, I know that's good. It's the best possible outcome. I believe it.
Will you believe with me? Will you pray for Roger, too? I thank you. May you find the real God I know, perfect in His plans, but always listening for His children's cries.
Saturday, April 07, 2012
Steve and I are sloshing through grief at very slow speeds. Some days feel almost normal, and others not so much. I can't imagine what it's like to lose a spouse or a child. Grief is heavy, and slippery. It doesn't stay put on a shelf, or come out at convenient times. Even with losing two parents after all these years, the memories adhere to your heart and don't fade. At some point, those memories will become a great comfort. Now they can be painful.
Cory TenBoom said, “People grow old, but emotions do not grow old.” Very true. Feeling childhood emotions is not childish, but very real now as I remember a birthday cake my mother made twice, after the first party was spoiled when I woke up with mumps. Steve remembers misty mornings on Chautauqua Lake when his strong daddy rowed two young boys and their fishing poles miles in a rented boat, going after “the big one.”
It is a quiet morning before Easter. And where are our parents now? Rejoicing in heaven with generations of faithful family, friends, but most of all with Jesus. I think they are but a breath away. We are this side of the veil rejoicing with them, wishing we had one more morning together.