Faith, Love

and so it started

CYMERA_20160831_224851We found out my dad had cancer 20 months ago.  We were saddened by the news, but because it wasn’t very advanced, it didn’t seem real or terribly pressing.  He made the decision at the time not to fight it because of his age and his desire to maintain a good quality of life.

Yesterday though, it all got real.  As I stood next to my dad’s hospital bed he told me that the doctors had given him a more specific amount of days left.  All kinds of emotions came flooding in as my mom and I tried to process this news. I felt stunned.  I had no idea how to react.  Many of you know how this feels and can recall the exact moments in your life when you heard similar news.  It is nothing short of surreal.

During the last 24 hours I have held back tears numerous times.  When I talked to my daughters, I tried to remain factual so that I didn’t trigger panic in them.  When my mom started to get scared, I held back the tears so that she would be able to rely on my strength.  And today, I held back tears as my dad talked to his Palliative Team about my faith and writing because I didn’t want to ugly cry in front of strangers.  I decided tonight that I don’t need to hold them back any longer though. This crying is a gift.  This crying allows me to feel the sadness and to process the loss that is occurring.  It tells my dad that he matters to me and that I love him and will miss him greatly.  It supports the emotions of my mom and my girls and says that I’m here, fully present, and you can let go with me and be vulnerable.  My friends will also get to see me cry, not to make them feel awkward, but to open myself up to humbly receive kindness and care.  My hope is that by receiving this care, others will know that I am available for them when they need it from me too.

Y’all know that being authentic is really important to me.  I am no longer able to put on a happy face and pretend that life isn’t filled with a large spectrum of emotions and experiences.  And this time will be no different. My blog will be devoted to honestly seeking Jesus while grappling with this grief.  I know many of you have been here and I long for your support.   I know the last few weeks of his life will be hard as I wade through family emotions, give courage to my grieving girls, love and support my mom in the ways that she needs, and crown my dads life with gratitude and joy.

This journey I’ve just begun demands faithful companions.  I hope you’ll join me as I rely on Jesus hour by hour to hold me heart and my hand.

XOXO,

Summer

 

 

 

Faith

Margin Release II

My typewriter has a lot of useful keys that give me the ability to go over and beyond basic functioning.  These keys include the Shift, Tab, Back Space, and Margin Release keys. I am quite fond of the bell that rings that warns me that I am almost to the end of my line too, but the Margin Release (M-R) key has captivated me recently.

My typewriter lets me set the margins for my work– I decide how far and how big I think I want text to be on my paper.  I choose what I think is appropriate, normal, effective, and safe.  I don’t make margins too close to my paper’s edge, because it’s too risky and might end up not working.  The bell is my typing safeguard in this process and warns me that I’m getting close to the end of my writing row so I don’t mess all that up, but when I disregard the bell,  the margin steps in and says, “You can’t go any farther.” The Margin Release key at this point can answer with, “Oh yes I can.”

I have created a pretty strong life-margin too.  These margin requirements are similar and often just as unforgiving. These margins reside inside my head and frequently say the same thing to me– “You can’t go any farther.”  I created my self-imposed margins by determining what seems appropriate, good, normal, and safe too.  My history, my family, my experiences, and my faith have contributed to where I have placed my margins.  The fact is that I often know where I want my margins to be placed, and then out of fear, shame, and lack of confidence, I move them in even a bit more.  It’s really no one’s fault that I move them, I have placed them where I thought everyone would be happy. Sadly, where I have placed my margins has resulted in a smaller, safer, self-centered life. A life in which I often dictate where I allow God to lead and where I can safely trust him so nothing too radical happens.  But the love of God, if allowed, comes in and answers, “Oh yes I can.”

After years and years of hearing the bell ring when I get too close to the edges of my life, I have decided to use the M-R key and free myself.  I’m not willing to stay inside my self-imposed margins any longer. [pullquote] God calls us all to step out of the smallness of the margins that we create based on fear and judgement, and into a bigger God-centered life of trust, obedience, and abundance.[/pullquote]

Oh friends, we all have these margins in our lives.  Where is God calling you to release your margins?  Where in your life have you been living out of fear and smallness?  Take time today to ask God.  He loves it when we ask, he loves it when we seek.  Don’t worry, he won’t keep silent.  He has promised us that he has good God-plans that he wants to bring about in our lives. All we have to do is be open to them–let go of our self-imposed rigid margins and be obedient 30 seconds at a time. We can do 30 seconds at a time!  God loves you and according to some pretty awesome Bible stories, marginless God-plans are his specialty.

XOXO,

Summer