Thursday, January 24, 2008

I thought I was ready...

I thought I was ready to get back to my life the way it was BEFORE cancer was diagnosed in my little boy. But I discovered my life will never be what it was.

I thought I could jet off to Africa like I did in 1997 and 1998 serving the poorest of the poor, helping to love women and children who were and are suffering beyond anything we in America can really understand. Back then we had just the four girls. It was difficult to leave them, but I knew it was right, I knew they were in good, capable, loving hands for the three weeks (each trip) I would be working alongside my husband in eastern Africa. Our youngest daughter was only four years old and yet I had peace as I traveled far from home.

I havn’t ministered in Africa since the late 90’s, because God blessed me with my “surprise grand finale”, Joshua, in 2000. My husband traveled to the eastern African continent often, bringing resources for the nationals who work for the non-profit ministry that allows them to help their own people. It was and is vital work. It’s a ministry that has flourished and grown, changing lives and making a difference. Then in 2004, Joshua was struck with childhood cancer. Africa and our work there were shoved into the background, no longer a priority.

Fast forward three years after cancer and with life settled down and calm again, I thought I was ready to go. I thought it would look and feel and taste the same as it had before. Back when life seemed more innocent. I felt such a strong desire to minister to the suffering mothers, to share my Joshua journey and all God had done, but I was wrong. I faxed in my application for the trip, a sure sign of my commitment to go, but... I felt no peace. I wrestled with God all that night and throughout the next day, finally realizing, I wasn’t supposed to go.

I discovered emotionally and mentally and yes, even spiritually, I am still healing. I was disappointed in myself and in my reality. Why isn’t life the same as before? Why does the past trauma still seem to have a grip on me? I can’t leave Joshua. It’s that simple. It’s not the time or season in my life to go. I always want to be willing to be willing and open for what God might have for me. Sometimes it’s hard to accept the change. I am not who I was before childhood cancer. I need to give myself grace.

Joshua is such a gift in my life. My girls are gifts too, but in a completely different way than Joshua. I can’t put it into words really. He is God’s message of His immeasurable love for me. Josh is my love picture. I thought I was ready, but I wasn’t. It may never be right for me to go again. But that’s ok, because I am serving here in my home, with the precious women God has placed in my life, with my children. I am not the same, but I am still serving.

I thought I was ready...

Maybe one day, I will be…

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