Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Looking forward. . .

I'm sitting here trying to figure out how to start this entry and I realized I don't have to think so hard. I just need to start writing as if it was in my own journal and nobody else would read it. So here we go. I am embarking on the end of a stage of my life in the next few weeks. My amazing husband is finishing up what will end up being 6 months of grueling chemotherapy. The past 6 months have been the best and worst of my life. Our precious Hayley was born to us the week after his first treatment and I have never experienced more love in my heart. Looking back is such a great feeling---much better than where we were in July and looking forward. My life has been a series of looking forward to's. I'm looking forward to going to kindergarten, then to 1st grade when I could go to school all day and not just a half day. I looked forward in 1st grade to my newborn sister to get big enough to play jump rope with my other sister and me so we didn't have to tie one end to a pole. I looked forward to learning how to write in cursive in 3rd grade, to having the pretty, nice teacher in 4th grade, to being the oldest in the school in 6th grade, to going to jr. high in 7th grade, to going to high school in 10th, to being able to drive on my own, to graduating and going to college, to teaching after college, to meeting the man of my dreams, to having children of my own and the list stopped there. I have realized lately that everything I've looked forward to my entire life has either passed by or I'm living it. I'm not even 30 years old and I'm done with my looking forward to's. (the major ones anyway) One thing I've thought about as I've pondered on this is it is possible to waste some precious time looking forward to next stages of my life. I've never looked forward to anything more than Tra finishing chemotherapy so we can begin somewhat of a "normal" life with raising our daughter. But when I really think about it, I know in my heart that God has placed us in this situation at this stage of our lives for a greater purpose than we are aware of. Now that this stage is almost over, I am very convicted to look hard for the purpose of this trial and suffering in our lives. I don't want it to be wasted. I want to make sure to remember every day for the rest of my life how difficult this time has been and not forget it and how I didn't make it through taking care of Tra and raising Hayley practically without him for 3 months of her life by myself. Almighty God, Everlasting Father, My Rock, My Comforter, My Consoler, The Lifter of My Head, My Prince of Peace, My Strength, Lover of My Soul, Giver of ALL Things, Holy One, My Jesus has carried me through every step of the way. I want to live the rest of my life making others aware of the power of God in my life and that they too can be blessed with His power in their lives. Although I have depended on the Lord to carry me through this time, it hasn't made it miraculously easy. I have known people who say things like, "I'm doing great---the Lord is getting me through." They seem as though they are untouched emotionally and not hurting as if they would be "weak Christians" if they were. I do not pretend to be untouched by this trial in my life. Like I said earlier, it has been the hardest time of my life watching my best friend, my soul mate, the love of my life have to live this nightmare of a disease and even worse nightmare of treating it. I understand the words, "And the two shall become one flesh." When he hurts, I hurt---and I don't get the drugs to numb it like he does! : ) So in the midst of the deepest hurt in my life so far, I have also experienced extreme joy. I have come to know the Lord and lean on Him like never before. I have actually experienced the power of prayer. It's wild to get cards from people we don't even know telling us they are praying for Tra, Hayley and me. Tra and I have a connection that goes deeper than I ever imagined it could after only 3 and a half years of marriage. And of course the joy of my baby girl smiling up at me every morning and watching her grow daily----my cup overflows. I wouldn't ever choose this path again, but I sure wouldn't change it now. I look back to the morning of July 14, 2004 before the colonoscopy and think, "Who was that woman?" I have been refined by the Spirit's fire and forever changed. After going through this experience (and surviving it) I have begun a list of more Looking forward to's. But this time it's a little different. I'm not so much looking forward to stages like when I was younger, but to what tomorrow will bring. I look forward to seeing how God will continue to use this time in my life for the rest of my life.

10 comments:

tine said...

Shelly,
I am so glad that all of these stay at home mommies are entering into blogworld! I was introduced to it a few months ago, and it really is a nice outlet. Matt and I appreciate you and Tra so much. Though we don't know you that well, we have been so blessed by your example and your bold faith in the face of trial and suffering. You are heroes of the faith, whether you know it or not, and I will continue to pray that God pours into you with the strength and peace that you need to move forward. What an awesome God we serve, who is our healer both physically and spiritually! I am blessed to know you and look forward to knowing you better as our babies grow up together.

Angie said...

I'm glad you didn't have to tie a rope to a pole anymore! I sooo hope Hayley won't, either! :)
I love you!

Summer said...

Your faith is constantly encouraging me! I'm so thankful that God brought us together in college as roomates for a semester, and has brought us closer again through the births of our sweet daughters. I can already see Him working through Tra's cancer to strengthen and inspire others (including me), and I am excited to see how He will continue to use you as you seek His will. Glad we're bloggers now!
I love ya!

Abigail said...

Shelly-

You have no idea how much of an inspiration you have been and contiue to be in my life. You are such a strong woman, and your faith in God will continue to make you even stronger. I can wait to see you and my precious liitle Hayley this weekend. I love you so much sister! (I love Tra and Hayley too!) :)

Chad said...

shelly,
thanks for being so vulnerable with your thoughts as a blogger and as a friend. You mean more to my wife than you will ever know. Somehow (probably because you are a female and I am not) you are able to fill emotional "gaps of encouragement" for Summer that I am not able to accomplish. You and Tra have been an encouragement to both of us. I challenge you both to step up to the summit that God is calling you to through this trial. He is going to do powerful things through you both. Thanks again for the insight into this transforming time in your life...

jettybetty said...

Shelly,
Well, I cried all the way through your blog. Thanks for being so vulnerable in sharing your thoughts. We have known Tra for many years--and all 3 of your have been in our prayers through the last 6 months. I am so thankful you can see so clearly how God has brought you through hard times. I pray the new "normal" your family finds as the chemo ends will bring you bring you much joy and peace.
Betty

Mom said...

Shelly,
Do you have any idea how blessed I KNOW I am to be your mom? I so see God's strength in you and Tra, as you both come to the end of the treatments and move on to living "normal" lives (whatever that is!) We're going to have some fun with our Hayley--it will go way too fast! I love you!

Jana said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Your blog is already ministering to people you don't even know! Blessings to your family.

Jana said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
TMK said...

May God bless you and your precious family! Thanks for sharing your heart.