When the story gets sad

Marissa is sleeping across from me in the hospital bed. She has been running a low-grade fever in the evenings for a few days with increased shortness of breath, so her oncologist wanted her evaluated to rule out an infection or lung embolism. We spent 19 hours in the emergency room–they ran a bunch of tests and then we waited for a room upstairs so they could admit her overnight.

So it was in the middle of a darkened ER room when we were already so weary from waiting that we heard the numbing news. Marissa’s cancer has spread. More in her liver, and now in her lung and bones. Spine and sternum and ribs.

The trial drug has failed to halt the progression. There is no miracle today.

When the doctor left, I climbed up on the stretcher and we sat quietly. Still so numb. Numb, but aware that this is one of the saddest pages in the story.

When I was younger, I loved to read stories that made me cry. Age taught me that sadness is real, and now I hesitate. I protect myself from sadness.

And yet it has followed me. It has found me.

I would despair if I did not know the Storyteller.

I would  despair if I did not have the promise of His strong and sympathetic arms to carry us. The promise of His covenant love to sustain us. The knowledge of His almighty power. The assurance of His comforting presence.

I would despair if I did not know the end of the story.

Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; surely I will help you; surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Your righteousness, O God, reaches the high heavens. You who have done great things, O God, who is like you? You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again. Psalm 71:19,20










When the path is dim

Some nights the moon has only the smallest sliver of light. If you look carefully, you can see the outline of fullness, but it is mostly darkened. There is light, but it barely brightens the path.

It is light that comes from another place and won’t be fully seen until another time.

Life has seemed disconnected and hard to believe lately. I sometimes wake in the morning with a happy heart until the remembering creeps in. Was it just 18 months ago that we were living a normal life? Has it been such a short time since it changed into this hard, weary path?

Have we strayed so far from full light into this eclipse-like darkness?

Marissa is struggling physically, and it’s been hard to find a steady path forward. If one problem resolves, it seems there is always another to take its place.

The pain itself is brutal and searing and inescapable. I have been looking desperately for the beauty in this pain, but it has been elusive. The only beauty arises from the light.

Where can we find light in the middle of darkness? We find it in brothers and sisters who come alongside and minister to us. We find it in answered prayer. We find it in God–in His words and in who He is.

God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. 1 John 1:5

So we continue to cling to the light. We trust that the darkness will eventually be gloriously illumined. We believe that our dear girl will be given enough light to walk this path.

We rest in the promises of God.

We are always thankful for the sliver of light. For the remembrance of the full light and the knowledge of the source of it.

For the promise that all will be made right.

The light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven days, on the day the LORD binds up the fracture of His people and heals the bruise He has inflicted. Isaiah 30:26

Your sun will no longer set, nor will your moon wane; for you will have the LORD for an everlasting light, and the days of your mourning will be over. Isaiah 60:20






Things you will never regret

You will never regret rocking a baby and kissing a soft head while breathing in the scent of newness.

You will never regret mud pies or tea parties or your child falling asleep to your halting lullaby.

You will never regret late night talks with your teenager as you sit around a fire under the star-filled sky.

You will never regret listening to a struggling heart and loving the soul that is searching.

You will never regret kindness.

You will never regret running to God in your hopelessness and finding the eternal hope of peace with Him.

You will never regret opening your eyes to truth and the gift of faith that surges in.

You will never regret being rescued from your deepest, heaviest iniquities.

You will never regret trusting God, not in the sunshine and not in the darkest night.

In eternity, you will not regret pain or what could have been. You will not regret standing firm in your fiery trial. You will not regret the storm that drives you to your Savior’s breast. You will not regret the flood or the fire or the blackness that threatens you now.

It will be worth it all.

You will never regret loving Jesus.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing to the glory that shall be revealed to us. Romans 8:18