Even typing that title makes me smile.  I’ve never heard the song, but a friend of mine sings me a couple lines of the old song “Radioactive” ever since I told him I’d be having this treatment…  🙂  So funny!

Wednesday was a big day.  Treatment for papillary thyroid cancer has two main steps in my situation.  The first was surgery to remove the thyroid, which was done on September 10.  Since then, I’ve been on a daily hormone replacement pill and recovering from surgery. Thanks to a recommendation from a friend, we found out about a thyroid specialist in Omaha and Rich and I decided to go that route versus remaining under the care of a general surgeon in ND.  We drove down to Omaha on October 3 for my appointment on the 4th and since then, I’ve been on a special diet to deplete my body’s iodine in preparation for the second step, Radioactive Iodine Ablation.  On Wednesday, I had a full body scan done to gauge where any remaining thyroid tissue was and then was given two capsules with radioactive iodine (RAI).

The scans took a long time- almost an hour!  Thankfully, they came back with great news! The remaining thyroid tissue (which could still contain cancer cells) was only concentrated in the expected area- where my thyroid used to be. The fear was that it could have spread to my lungs and/or bones, but that was not the case and we thank God for that!  My mom and good friend, Sierra, were on hand for that news as Rich had to go back to ND for work. I missed him very much but was incredibly grateful to have family by my side for that appointment.  So after we heard that bit of very good news the doctor explained that they’d use the scan results and the pathology report from the surgery to determine my dose of RAI. We waited for a good long while while they did that- almost 2 hours- and then Mom and Sierra had to go out of the room while I took the meds. It was kindof funny when they brought in the pills; they came in a steel container wrapped in a plastic bag. When they opened it, they removed a vial from inside and it looked like something you’d see in a Mission Impossible movie or something… especially when I was instructed not to touch it.  😉  (Still doesn’t make a lot of sense to me- I can’t touch it but I swallowed it?!?!)  Bizarre.  Right after that, the radiology tech escorted Mom and I out and then we drove out to where I would be staying during my week of isolation.

For the most part, I’ve been doing well.  When I think about what other cancer treatments are like, I don’t feel like I should complain one bit about anything I’m going through.  But, this isn’t about comparison. It’s about my journey with cancer and how I’m doing.  The predicted side effects have been pretty much right on:  burning sensation or tenderness in the neck area, nausea and upset stomach, swelling and tenderness of the salivary glands, taste changes (hasn’t happened to me. yay!), dry mouth, and reduction in tear production.  Today was a really good day, though, and none of these have bugged me. The other really great thing about today was that I could have visitors and so  my friends Sierra and Steph came out.  After 2+ weeks of an extremely boring diet, I was greeted with my favorite soup from Olive Garden, a Pumpkin Spice latte from Starbucks, and a few other goodies from Trader Joe’s.  I have such thoughtful friends!  It was really good to see them and to take a walk on a beautiful Fall day.  I guess I haven’t even mentioned where I’m doing this treatment.  Here’s the part where you’ll stop feeling sorry for me.  HA!  Thanks to some very special and generous friends, I am at a gorgeous lake home at Beaver Lake near Omaha. This is a pretty sentimental place for Rich and I- we’ve spent a ton of time here with friends and miss it all a ton.  So, yeah, there are worse places to be.

That takes me to where I’ve been feeling– overwhelmed with the kindness of God. In the midst of extremely difficult circumstances, I’ve been blown away by the million ways He has shown me He’s with me. He’s cared for me by giving me such a caring friend for a doctor in Tioga, He’s cared for me by the artwork in the doctor’s office (see earlier post), through very gentle post-surgery care from my sister, He’s shown it through texts I’ve gotten from friends offering to help care for my family, through my husband who loves me and has taken on my normal burdens as his while I’m gone, through wonderful people helping Rich with Jack & Dylan, He’s shown it through profound times of prayer, through friends who have literally made me diet-approved foods, through Scripture reminding me of his promises, through sweet cards and gifts, through heartfelt embraces, through sweet times with friends who know and love me, through laughter so I don’t take myself too seriously, and through a gorgeous setting where I can rest and worship while my body works away.  I could go on and on.  Seriously.  On and on and on.  I do not deserve any of it.  They’re GIFTS.  I’ve struggled with the feeling that I need to repay all of these kindnesses.  To God and to people.  But they’re exactly that- gifts. I want to receive them and enjoy them as they were intended.

I think that’s about it for tonight.  Besides all of this cancer ‘stuff’, I have a lot of other things on my heart.  But that’s for another day.  😉

Goodnight.

 

 

 

What a crazy ride. I’ve gone from not knowing anything was wrong to thinking it was a minor issue to being diagnosed with cancer in the past 3 months. Tomorrow is the second major part of my treatment- getting full body scans and taking radioactive iodine to destroy any remaining thyroid tissue and cancer.

I’d like to take time to write a longer post tonight, but I need to get some rest… and what I’d like to say right now is summed up in this song, anyway. There are many details and plans to attend to, but for tonight, here’s where my heart is…

Whom Shall I Fear?

Good Morning!  It’s been quite a week. At this time last week I was on my way back to Tioga with Cindy, as a different person in some respects. We hoped that the growth on my thyroid would be benign, but it was not.  I was diagnosed with papillary thyroid carcinoma, one of 4 types of thyroid cancer.

I remember waking up in the recovery room and as my nurse cared for me, she told me that I would be moved to a room.  In my groggy and drugged-up state, I didn’t think too much about that except that it must not have gone according to plan.  When I woke up again, I was in a hospital room and Rich and Cindy were coming in to see me for the first time after surgery.  I told them I didn’t know anything yet and that’s when Rich told me that it turned out to be cancer.  And I cried…. but it really hurt to cry so I did my best to pull it in.   I was so surprised! I really had convinced myself it would be a harmless cyst that needed removed and that I would still have 1/2 a thyroid left. No biggie.  Nope.  Turns out I have a “good” kind of cancer.  That description still bugs me, but it IS true.  Thyroid cancer (most types) is very treatable.  I think the type I have/had has a 98% recovery rate.  My sadness hasn’t been over a fear of dying or of treatment.  I’ve been sad because cancer/illness is a reality in my life, that I’ve been unknowingly fighting it for quite some time, and how it would, does, and will change me.  I do feel different.  I’m not even sure I can articulate that yet but there’s something that happens inside when you’re told news like that. I have had many moments since when I’ve felt an intense longing for what life was like prior to this– even if it was crazy and tiring.  It was what I knew.  This recovery process is showing me how much I feel the need to be productive in order to be of worth.  It’s quite humbling but also pretty grievous that that’s where I’ve been placing my worth.  Definitely an area of pruning happening in my heart.

My study this morning was on Psalm 126.  I like this quote- “Psalm 126 comes from a people who are living between the times, between a good time remembered and another good time hoped for.”  YES!  There are times, not that distant in my memory, that were filled with such joy and laughter I thought I was dreaming.  I can feel it again if I sit it in long enough.  I’m so grateful for how God is certainly sustaining our family and quite literally, my life!  Our very difficult past year hasn’t made much sense to me, but I do feel like I’ve been given a little peek behind the curtain, so to speak.  God has pulled back a corner and showed me how He has arranged people and places to bring about the knowledge of this health issue, for one. He placed Rich in a HARD job that has been infuriating to us on many occasions, but it is also the reason we have some really good health insurance.  I have lamented not having my own home month after month, but had we not lived with the Pedersons (and a hospital administrator, no less!), the lump wouldn’t have been pointed out to me.  I’m grateful. I really am. And I’m sad. We are living between the times.  I have a road to walk with this thing.  I hope I’m already cancer-free and just need to confirm that over the next couple of months!

I do know one thing for sure.  What my Enemy wanted to use to destroy me, God wants to redeem and use for His glory.  I have said on a few occasions that I feel like the Enemy’s ‘leash’ has been lengthened with me.  Another way of looking at it is what Jesus said to Peter in Luke 22:31-32.  I’m not comparing myself to Peter by any stretch, but I identify with the feeling of being sifted.  My health was one of my comforts that I hadn’t felt slip through my fingers this past year, but now it has.  What will I do?   I pray that although I feel different in some ways, I will respond to this as I feel I have to everything else that has happened. There are moments of disagreement with my Maker and pity parties have definitely taken place, but I believe God that He wants good for me. I believe Him when He says that He’s not done with me and that this world is the closest to hell I’ll know.  So many metaphors- He’s the Potter, I’m the clay; refining fire; chaotic waters; Master Gardener pruning his beloved vineyard.  I love them all!  🙂

The practical side to all of this is that I have an appointment in Omaha on October 4 with Dr. Whitney Goldner at UNMC. She specializes in thyroid disorders and a good friend was treated by her when she had thyroid cancer, so I feel confident that I’ll be in capable hands.  The pathology report came back yesterday and showed that the cancer had NOT invaded the lymph system, so that is very good news!!!!  One step at a time.

Please pray for our family.  I will need to stay in Omaha for a while.  We don’t know what ‘a while’ means and so please pray that we would have wisdom in knowing how to best plan for that time, especially when it comes to Jack and Dylan.  Speaking of those guys, they’re pretty amazing.  They know exactly what’s going on and they’re standing firm. Jack said that he believes God has me and Dylan is my details-man who wants to ask a million questions but in the end, just wants me to get better.  They are blessings!

 

 

Restore Our Fortunes, O Lord

A Song of Ascents.

Psalm 126

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,

we were like those who dream.

Then our mouth was filled with laughter,

and our tongue with shouts of joy;

then they said among the nations,

“The Lord has done great things for them.”

The Lord has done great things for us;

we are glad.

Restore our fortunes, O Lord,

like streams in the Negeb!

Those who sow in tears

shall reap with shouts of joy!

He who goes out weeping,

bearing the seed for sowing,

shall come home with shouts of joy,

bringing his sheaves with him.

 

 

I love how God reveals Himself so personally, so meaningfully.  Let me explain… 

Tomorrow is a significant day for me.  I will be undergoing a ‘right thyroidectomy’ in Bismarck which is surgery to remove the right side of my thyroid gland.  Up until about 6 weeks ago, I had no idea that I had a growth there; I just thought I had a big throat! I was sitting at the dining table with Randy (still living with the couple I’ve mentioned before) and he brought it to my attention.  Had I ever had my thyroid checked?  My mind immediately rewinded to the homeschool conference we attended back in May 2012 in Chicago where Dr. Mark Zumhagen performed a muscle test on me and told me that my thyroid was weak.  I totally spaced that and the supplements he advised me to start taking.  Shoot!  😦   Anyway, after we got back from the Black Hills last month, I made an appointment to have it checked.  The results from blood work and an ultrasound took longer than they expected. On Monday, August 26, my doctor called and told me that it was not what she thought it was and that I had a growth that needed to biopsied.  Not what I was prepared to hear. Even though it wasn’t a diagnosis of anything, those words ‘growth’ and ‘biopsy’ weren’t welcome ones. I called Rich and he quickly came home to sit with me and hold me while I cried.  Our minds were racing.  Within an hour, I got another call that I had an appointment with a surgeon in Bismarck the next afternoon.  I was glad to get in so quickly but the urgency of it all was unnerving to us. 

As we checked in at the clinic the next day, my stomach was fluttering with butterflies. The crazy reason was not what I would hear, but what we wouldn’t find out.  My name was called and into the office we went.  After the nurse did the normal tests, she left us to wait for the doctor.  We sat in silence and I looked across the room. There was a picture on the wall and I couldn’t quite make it out as it was all white.  My eyes focused and I saw that it was a lion lying down with its paws crossed.  I pointed it out to Rich and after he looked at it, he said, “I think it’s wearing a crown.”.  No way. He got up to look more closely. Sure enough!  This was Aslan from the Chronicles of Narnia. I just sat there staring at it and it staring at me with this look of peace, control, comfort, and care.  I love Aslan, especially in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  There are a few scenes that never fail to bring me to tears.

Here was Jesus in the waiting room with me. His presence was unmistakable. His quiet strength remarkable and overwhelming.  It’s absolutely crazy to me how God cares for us so personally. His Word tucked in my heart would have been enough. His Spirit residing in me would have been enough.  He had yet another gift for me that day- a very tangible, visible gift of Himself. 

Surgery is tomorrow. I’m not freaking out… yet.  Actually, I don’t really expect to freak out. I know I’ll be nervous the closer it gets, but I’m just taking it as it comes.  I know, I know, I know that my God is with me. How much clearer does it get than this???? 

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Over the years, I’ve done a lot of Bible studies. Some of my favorite have been Beth Moore’s.  Her “Breaking Free” study was extremely helpful to me this past year.  Since finishing that one on Good Friday (very fitting at the time!), I’ve read a few books and took a break from the daily homework hers require.  But lately I’ve felt ready again, like I need the discipline for my mind and heart.  As I looked around and perused the bajillion Bible studies out there, I gravitated once again to Beth’s studies and found my heart settled on “Stepping Up”, a journey through the Psalms of Ascent.  One of the books I read in the past months was Eugene Peterson’s work, “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction”, also based on those Psalms.  I’m detecting a theme here…  😉  

One of the ideas that has struck me already in just a couple days in this study is that of moving forward with God.  I’m weary.  I feel like I need to stop walking (figuratively).  I feel like God should understand that and give me a respite from stress and barrage of difficult circumstances.  You know that old Christian poem, “Footprints”?  Well, it might be cheesy, but that image of one set of footprints in the sand sounds pretty wonderful to me.  This is an issue of trust for me- resting in the Father’s wisdom and care.  He can carry me. He is carrying me.  As for me moving forward, well, one thing I have learned is that heart is never neutral.  I’m either moving towards God or moving backwards.  As I’m allowing Him to prune me AS His Spirit carries me, my posture can still be a forward one.   I know that in my head, but I know I need the reminder in this study.  As the Israelites walked and sang these songs on their way to Jerusalem, I pray that I would do the same. Walk and sing.  

As my life is completely overwhleming and seemingly out of control right now, I was just struck and brought to tears.  I got the very fun privilege of getting to pick up my niece and nephews to take them home this afternoon. My sister Cindy’s home is such a haven for me and it hit me that although I’m here for a very short time and had to bring work with me that it is God’s provision for today. It’s His good gift to me to lift me out for 24 hours. I love her home and I’m so happy to be here. I’m happy to hear my boys and their cousins playing Minecraft downstairs (they are so excited for the new update that just came out!).  I will go home tomorrow but I had to record this.  Such an unexpected gift… although I have planned to come here, I didn’t realize how much of a reprieve it would be.

Thank you, God.

I am realizing something about myself.

I expect situations to improve with time. After being in something for a time and doing what I can to improve it, I expect it to change.  I expect that people will change after being shown that they are hurting with their words and/or actions.

This may sound like a ‘woe is me’ thing, but I don’t really mean it to be.  It’s a sad truth about living in this broken world, this world that we have created in choosing that we know better than God.

I’m reading a book by Elisabeth Elliot called Keep a Quiet Heart.  I think I could quote from it every day, but what I read yesterday hit me hard. I sat there staring at the words, knowing their truth, wanting them to be evident in my life than they really are, and asking God for more faith.

“He is not all we would ask for (if we were honest), but it is precisely when we do not have what we would ask for, and only then, that we can clearly perceive His all-sufficiency.  It is when the sea is moonless that the Lord has become my Light….  El Shaddai- ‘the God who is Enough’.”

And then, in another chapter, this thought ties in…

“Jesus learned obedience by the things which He suffered, not by the things which He enjoyed.”

Whoa.

If I was honest, I would ask for more than ‘just’ God. I feel like I need more. I want a different situation. I want loose ends to be tied up. I want resolution. I want comfort. I want friends.  Do I need those things? The longings feel that strong, but I know I don’t because my Father hasn’t given them. Do I trust Him or don’t I?  I say that I want God to do whatever it takes in me to make me more like Jesus- and I even understand that that will mean suffering- so why do I feel such sorrow and discouragement when it has settled into my life like a fog?

I’ve been given this GIFT, a gift that is unwelcome yet welcome at the same time. I welcome it because I believe it is building character and endurance. But it is unwelcome.  I’m ready for the ‘joy in the morning’ part.  Ha!  But then we’re back to the idea of joy coming from God Himself, not His gifts, power, or anything He gives me.  HE is what I need in sorrow.

Moonless nights. It’s scary to not see your hand in front of your face… and not know how long it will be before sunrise.

I Peter 1:3-7  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith- more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire- may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

It has been a long time since I worked outside of the home.  Well, I guess not all that long…. September 2010.  But it seems like it’s been a long time as I’m adjusting to getting up in the morning and having more than our family to care for. 

Since it was not going to be feasible to live off of one income here, I applied for and got a job with Gables, a company based in Texas, Florida and Georgia but who also operates here in North Dakota.  One of Gables’ ‘wings’ is Corporate Accomodations, which, in the case of North Dakota, includes the Hess Corporation (oil company) looking for help to coordinate housing for their employees.  There aren’t many Gables employees in ND. I’ve been getting trained by Mallory who lives in Minot, but other than she and I, everyone we answer to is in Dallas, Houston, and Boca Raton.  My job is to be Gables’ presence in Tioga and to help coordinate housing, make reservations, do projects, provide keys and contracts, and basically do whatever is asked of me!  This is my third week on the job and I feel like my legs are jelly.  🙂 Once I get into the swing of my day, I do much better and feel confident, but boy, feeling incompetent is not a strange feeling to me when it comes to work. I really, really dislike not knowing what I’m doing in a job.  And there’s no way around it! I’m new to the state, new to Tioga, new to oil country and oil country culture, new to the verbage, new to Gables… yep, pretty much new to everything! I look forward to the day when I wake up to a work day and don’t feel nervous about what I’m going to say or how I’m going to explain something. Ha! Not sure that day will come for quite a while! 

BUT, all that said, I’m truly grateful for my job. They are being very kind and flexible in allowing me to work during school hours and from home if I desire. Right now that’s what I’ve been doing as a space for me at the Hess office is still being worked out, but it’s been fine. We’re still at the Pederson’s home and they’ve been gone for the most part so I’m not disturbing their routine. 

I would ask prayer for my relationship with those I work with, with those I work for, for understanding to come quickly, and that I would choose daily NOT to take myself too seriously!  🙂   If I can poke fun at myself and my lack of a knowledge base, that will be much better than if I prop myself up to be someone I’m not.  I pray that this job will help me make friends in this new place and that I would allow myself to be known. I feel that decision so regularly- will I keep myself to myself which keeps others away or will I step towards someone with my feelings and failings so they are invited to do the same?

 

Today I thought it would be fun to take a look at the “home hopping” we’ve been doing since September.  Yes, it’s been pretty stressful, but it’s also pretty cool how God has provided in this nomadic era we find ourselves in.

#1.  A place near and dear to our hearts- the Goodmans’ condo in Lead, SD. Image

There are definitely worse places to spend a few months, wouldn’t you agree? Rich was here with us for a week and then the boys and I called this home. We made some good memories here- floundering through homeschooling, rock hunting, watching the deer and turkeys, trick-or-treating in Deadwood, Saturdays in Rapid City, scenic drives through Spearfish Canyon, and mornings at The Pump House are just a few. 

#2. Rich’s bachelor pad in Stanley Image

After leaving us in South Dakota the last week in September, Rich moved himself into this camper in Stanley, ND. Again belonging to the Goodmans and is parked in the yard of a family home there.  It would be pretty tough to live in throughout the winter, but for the few months he spent here, it worked just fine. Stanley is 26 miles from Tioga, so after a long day of learning a new job, he said he would come back here and read before bed.

3. House in Stanley

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After being apart for a few months, we all decided that was for the birds! The boys and I packed up our things in SD and headed north. The camper on the left is the camper above that Rich stayed in and the house to the right of it is the family home. The Goodmans were generous enough to allow our family to stay here for a bit while we arranged housing in Tioga. That, by the way, is no small feat. We got here mid-December and spent the holidays here. No Christmas decorations for us this year, but we still had great times together in this little house. Lots of reading, YuGiOh cards and BeyWheelz and Minecraft for the boys, and family movie nights.  As I mentioned earlier, Tioga is 26 miles away, so once school started we were up and out of the house by 7:40 and not back at home until after 6pm. Long drives scrunched up in Dad’s work truck!

4. Unexpected generosity from the Pedersons

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Over the past few months, Rich has done everything in his power to find us temporary housing in Tioga. That is not a unique story up here; so many guys working in the oil industry are here without their families because of the housing situation. Although Rich isn’t working for the oil industry, the circumstances are the same for all. Affordable housing is unheard of, it seems. But this is where God’s people are amazing. We were to the point of separating again as a family until summertime, but a couple from the church we’ve been attending extended a very gracious offer. Randy & Karen Pederson (below) are dear people and told us we could move into their basement until something else comes along. We’re getting to know them better now, but at the time, they didn’t know us and are empty nesters. What does that mean? It means that they’ve raised their kids and are now enjoying the peace and quiet of their home and just opened it up to a family of 4!  🙂 Generous, hospitable, kind. We’ve been here for a couple weeks now and are enjoying the space, warmth, and luxuries that their home provides. (One of these luxuries is cable tv. The boys are LOVING that!)

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5. Winter and Spring in a FEMA trailer Image

This hasn’t happened yet, but we’re waiting for a trailer (just like the ones here) to be brought next week. We’ll live right to the left of the one in the picture alongside other school staff that are in a similar position. These trailers are parked behind the high school and are very small, but it will keep us together until summer! This may change, but it looks like we may move in next weekend. We’ll believe it when I see it hooked up and have a key in our hands.  🙂

6. Our future home!

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This is where construction is with our future home. Rich has worked for months on design, getting bids, and is now once again strapping on his tool belt to build a home. Again!  Work is hit and miss right now as you can imagine with extreme temperatures, but he and another young man, Noah, are out there working away when it’s not too bitter outside. If the temps do what the forecast says, this will look a lot different this time next week. We are so excited to move in this summer. By the time that happens, it will be close to a year since moving from Illinois. We’ve met a few neighbors and look forward to opening our home to them and whoever else God brings into our lives here. We have definitely missed that!

So there you have it!  Of course it seems like a pretty big deal right now, but I know we’ll look back on it and see it as just a blip on the screen. There’s no denying God’s faithfulness to us in both the provision of a roof over our heads as well as the deeper “heart work” this is doing in each of us.

 

Hearts Broken By Loss
2 Corinthians 4:11
“For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. ”
Life involves change. Change involves loss. Loss involves death of one kind or another…
Every time we are delivered over to a death of any kind, we encounter a challenge to allow the loss to bring gain for Jesus’ sake. We accomplish this task by allowing His life to be revealed in our mortal bodies…
Joy and effectiveness may seem to pause for a while as grief takes its course, but those who allow their broken hearts to be bound by Christ will experience them again…
No, my life will never be the same. (I no longer live near ____. I no longer get to ______. I’ve lost ______. I’ve experienced ______.) But you see, the life of a Christian is never about sameness. It’s always about change. That’s why we must learn to survive and once again thrive when change involves heartbreaking loss. We’re being conformed to the image of Christ…
Life will not ever the the same, but I have the invitation from Christ to rise to a new life- a more compassionate life, a wiser life, a more productive life. And yes, even a better life.
By any chance have you been among the living dead? Resurrection life awaits you. Will you continue to sit in a dark tomb or will you walk into the light of resurrection life? Lazarus, come forth!
John 11:1-44 – all for the glory of God.

This is from the most recent lesson I did in Breaking Free. The study revolves around the truth of the Christian life being one of freedom. Yet each of us walks around every day with shackles of some kind. In order to be free, you have to remove them. That takes some introspection to see what those metaphorical shackles are in our lives. It takes the voice of the Holy Spirit to reveal what seems to be our very nature or just a part of our personality. Sometimes it’s specific situations that have left us feeling crippled, never to be the same again.  That would describe where I’ve been for months now. Grief over loss. The intensity of it has come in waves and I’m sure it will continue, but in a lesser intensity or for different reasons.

The words above encourage me so much. I’m so encouraged that Jesus takes my wounds and binds them. He is familiar with suffering and binds my hurts with his own wounded hands. I’m so encouraged that God has given me grief as a part of the healing process, but that I won’t be grieved forever. Well, at least I don’t have to. I’m so encouraged that the hurts of life aren’t for nothing. If allowed, God the Master Potter will use everything I’ve experienced to fashion me into someone whose life points to who He says He is- that His business is one of redemption, rebuilding, restoring.

I’m in the thick of it.  In no way do I feel like I’m on the other side of the grief. I think I can see the other side now and the intensity isn’t as debilitating as it was a couple months back. The lesson this morning was a part of that. Every bit of growth gives more hope!

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