It was a sunny day as we traveled to the clinic, Joe was tired and I was too. We counted the days by the weeks he had to carry a bag full of chemo or ‘the bag of death’ as he called it.
The days seemed ‘different’ than any we’d ever experienced.
Maybe it was how good the sun felt hitting our faces as if it could carry its light into the deeper places of our souls and bring us some much needed refreshment.
Or perhaps it was how we looked for opportunities to be thankful in the tension of knowing the sheer battle we were in . . . a longing for a good distraction.
All I know is we were spending almost every day running from clinic to clinic trying to kill whatever was trying to kill Joe and it was a fight we weren’t willing to give up on.
Because we weren’t alone in this fight.
Every waiting room held others wanting a cure too.
Brave souls undergoing every kind of procedure to save their lives.
There are times in our lives when it takes all we have to fully live and keeping our soul alive was a big part of this battle for us.
There were several things which became part of our daily routine, not a burden but a ‘get-to’ kind of thing.
–We paid attention to things to be grateful for whether it was the beauty of nature we chose to acknowledge, a kind medical person or even a procedure that was successful.
–We chose to do something fun every.single.day.
Because life is too short to pretend like its over rather than enjoying its blessings. Mind you some days walking to the stop sign was what ‘fun’ looked like or going for a drive to get out of the house, in the sorrow there’s always a glimmer of joy to chase.
-And lastly we walked in a sacred rhythm of worship throughout it all.
Whatever place all of these first began, they all were where we landed our hearts everyday.
Because there are seasons of our lives we don’t know how it’s all going to turn out but we can determine the steps we take to get there.
And this season was no different.
This season took us through daily chemotherapy for twenty-four hours a day with spinal chemo injections every cycle, for six months. It took us through twenty-two radiation treatments in which Joe was strapped down to a table with a large mask that looked like it came out of a sci-fi movie.
There were hundreds of blood tests, scans, x-rays, awful tasting things to drink, countless medicines to ingest and breathing treatments to endure.
But it honestly wasn’t about all of this.
It was more about the stories he was writing on the lives of those we had the gift of walking beside through all of these days. It was about the plethora of conversations and trading of stories, it was about the prayers we were given to pray for others, the exchanging of photos and treatments with brave friends who were fighting their own hard battles.
You see, sometimes there are places we must visit to meet the ones who are there every single day, which we’d otherwise miss.
Like, Nancy our dear friend who showed us what living life to the fullest in the midst of the hardest days looked like. And the way her family loved us in the middle of their own trying season was such a testimony!
Or a friend who was told the baby she was carrying may not make it and yet she chose to worship through the uncertainty and that sweet boy now worships alongside of us each week.
There’s also a courageous friend of ours who although cancer has overtaken his body he’s not allowing it to quiet his voice in the midst of it as he daily writes of how God is working in his life.
You see, a diagnosis, a tragedy or even a hard loss can’t stop what God invites us to do in the middle of any of these.
Because there’s something deeper that happens inside of a soul and when it’s ignited by God it can’t quit shining for him.
In the midst of each of our battles is an opportunity to allow sorrow and joy to collide through a rhythm of gratitude and worship.
You see, we never had to be thankful for the pain or the suffering, we just had to look past it . . .
And perhaps this is the vantage point God calls us to daily return to.
Because in some of the worst of times God has taught me the sacred beauty of being grateful and offering him praise even in the midst of what we never wanted.
A small sentence of thankfulness spoken, a stirring of our souls in worship each transformed what was hard into the sharing of some of our holiest of moments.
Since then I’ve thanked God for taking us through this valley, in such a sacred place that he would return my heart back to his in worship. Those days were long and full of so much heartache and I don’t wish even one of them back but I can be grateful for the life they’ve returned to me.
I pray as life continues to be laid out before us that I can look at the days ahead as opportunities given for us to worship and live life full of gratitude, regardless of the valleys we may face.
Worship has returned our eyes to focus on the things which truly give us life these days and it has taught us how heaven desires to fight our battles alongside of us.
And the most beautiful thing in all of this is how God sustains us through what we didn’t think we could ever walk through.
As worship and giving thanks became the oxygen mask God wrapped upon our faces filling our lungs with what we needed to continue pressing on in those days full of so much hard its also what is getting us through the moments of our days today . . .♥️