I’m Only Human

You have to admit it. You started singing the song, right? “… of flesh and blood I’m made.” Human League from 1986. That is exactly what I thought Monday when Jay called me after seeing Dr. Fleming and told me his biopsy returned as cancer in his neck.  I will tell you, I was angry.  It was a throw your hands in the air and scream – What the hell? – kind of anger.

Then I crashed. Rock bottom. Do not look at me; do not talk to me, kind of crash (at work).

Trust me, God was not on my radar to run to for answers. Why? Because I have done it time after time, occurrence after occurrence and still…cancer. I am not even the one fighting it! Jay has to endure more than I do. So much more. His words ring in my ears, “I hate this.”

I put my foot down and said enough.

That might have been when God laughed. Or maybe when I was spilling my guts in the office of one of the attorneys I work for at Burch, Porter & Johnson.  My kind friend, as tears streamed down my face said, I’m glad you are in here. No, I do not really think God laughed at me.  I truly believe He saw my hurt and understood that I was hurting for my soulmate that He had so graciously given me. He knew the crushing weight of emptiness I felt because I could not and still cannot help my husband.  I also believe He was preparing someone else to minister to me also.

Monday nights are when I attend a high school bible study and help as a small group leader. I immediately thought, there is NO WAY I am going there and act as if I have it all together, because I obviously do not. I might cry or yell in front of one of those precious kids and I just could not take that chance.  So you text the leader, right? I did not want to hear her words either. I think she knew that, but she was persistent.

This is what she shared: (We are studying Exodus) She said, “I don’t know if you have read chapter 5 yet, but it is good and right where you are.” (I am thinking yeah Moses, come on down, join me.) “And in 6:1 God doesn’t shame him or condemn him or even strike him dead, but just gently reminds Moses…just watch what I will do.  It has nothing to do with you Moses, it is all about Me and when it is done…I will be glorified and it will be for your good.”

As you can imagine, by this time I am in tears reading her text.  Her words were hard, but truth, as we both agreed. Sometimes the truth, especially the word of God, is hard to hear or read. However, when it is delivered in a loving, caring manner, God can change the heart of the receiver. Isn’t that why we pray for others?

She went on to share:

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!” Ephesians 3:20-21

Yes, that anger was fleeting, but it was there.  As I said at the beginning, I’m only human; of flesh and blood I’m made. Anger, frustration, worry, and anxiousness, all things that cause us to drift from God were filling my heart.  Nevertheless, God did not drift away from me or from Jay. I cancelled all commitments for the week (except women’s bible study), and we did what we always do, we have watched television together, ate pizza, and talked football (oh, and maybe Big Brother).

Jay and I are registered to participate in the West Fight On Run/Walk tomorrow.  We both have agreed to stay home and do a little cleaning before football. (He does not know about the cleaning part.) We know that only with God makes us stronger together.

Jay has his PET scan on Monday to see if his cancer has spread. He will then see Dr. Tauer and decide which specific chemo pill he will take with the plan to eventually have radiation.  Things always change.

We ask for your prayers as we file insurance claims, juggle this and that, and mostly for Jay to endure the side effects without missing work. We have a good group of firefighter family and growing in Living Hope Church. I also have other friends battling cancer that need prayer.

When someone steps in to speak truth, listen. You may not want to hear it at the moment, but it will eventually soak into your soul and feed you where your heart is aching.  Be thankful for those that speak truth to you and remember they are human also.

#cancerstillsucks

Only Human

BLUE ALERT-Memphis Drivers 101 Blog

Ok. First. The Blue Alert in Effect on the signs over the interstate.  I asked my sister on the way to work, “What is that? I know what RED alert is…when you have to get to the bathroom fast, but Blue Alert?” Then, today, it says POLICE Blue Alert.  OHHHH…  Don’t worry, I see the news, it’s via Facebook, right?  This has nothing, NUTH-ING to do about the Memphis Police.  They are working hard to protect us. So let’s talk about whom they are protecting.

MEMPHIS DRIVERS!!

I have been driving from out east to downtown on and off for 25 years.  I have never experienced the traffic behaving as bad as they have been lately.  So, I thought I would throw a few tips out there since, you know, I can drive with my knee while eating and talking to my husband on the phone.

  1. When you DO see the police, PLEASE do NOT SLAM on your BRAKES! If you do, most likely, I’ll be running up your butt. The police have said they are there to pull over reckless drivers and those suspicious. I think slamming on your brakes while traffic is going 70 miles an hour is a big hint.  They might pull you over for a broken tail light, expired tags, or if you have a bumpa draggin.
  2. Bullies bully back. When you see TDOT in the distance with the flashing arrow to move into the next lane, don’t think I’m going to let you in when you speed ahead of me and get stuck at the TDOT truck. Uh, no. If you would like to merge, use your blinker. Remember, I’ve mentioned it before.  That stick on the side of your steering wheel.
  3. When you try to exit off 385 going WEST (towards downtown if you need to use google maps), the same thing applies as above. Don’t think speeding from the right lane and merging by pushing me over into the left lane will work.  I’m not Clark Griswold and I have not perfected driving under a semi.  Give me time. Once you get in your lane, you are the freeeee to cross three lanes at a very high rate of speed until you are stopped with the rest of the morning traffic and I’m sitting right next to you.
  4. Some of you might not get this, but as said on one of my tv shows – stay in your own lane! This bobbing and weaving is good for nighttime play when no one is on the interstate. Hannah would not approve and you would not receive a rose.

You probably won’t believe this. About six months ago I went to my neurosurgeon and told him that I had pain down my neck in between my shoulder blades.  It was so bad I could not life my arms to drive to work.  I had to have an MRI (which is expensive) for him to tell me it’s coming from between my shoulder blades and stress is a big factor. (hum, cloud above head, morning traffic?).

  1. So tip number 5, wear a Thermacare heat wrap on your neck or keep one in your purse or in your car for those days that you get stuck in traffic and you feel those pains of stress tense your muscles up your neck. It will not make for a fun rest of the day when your boss asks you, “Why can’t you lift your head?” Reply, “Don’t ask”.
  2. Don’t EVEN get me started about what you need to do when you see an ambulance or fire truck coming.  They have these things called sirens, but I understand your music is probably a little louder than their sirens so you don’t have time to move over.  That’s okay.

My friends – drive safe.  Be considerate of others.  Moreover, if you see my black Altima, it might be wise not to drive in front of me.  A friend of mine and I HAVE driven her volkswagen home while she used the clutch and steering wheel and I did the gas and geers.  I CAN drive.  I hope you found this amusing and funny as I meant it to be.MirrorJust saying…

Righteous Anger vs. Real Anger

You deal with anger a lot when you are grieving.  Many Christians like to categorize our anger as “righteous.” But when does that righteous anger cross the line and become just plain anger?

I have found myself angry a lot lately.  I won’t sugarcoat it.  Ephesians 4:26 says, “When you are angry, do not sin, and be sure to stop being angry before the end of the day.”  This anger has led to so many other things, such as depression.  (You should see my house – war zone.)

Why am I angry? I hate cancer.  Oh, wait, another sin…hate.  I feel like instead of being eaten up with cancer, maybe I’m eaten up with sin.

Let me tell you why.  In the last three months, my husband has had surgery for malignant melanoma and basosquamous cell carcinoma; July was “Trey” month, his birthday and the anniversary of his death; I lost two good friends to cancer; and, I have another one that has just been diagnosed who is fighting for her life.  Collin’s endoscopy that was scheduled for August has been rescheduled for November.  I won’t even mention that Aretha Franklin died of pancreatic cancer.

I have to make it clear that I am not angry at God and I don’t know why.  I think because I have a healthy fear of the Lord.  I know God is good.  I think most people would be angry AT God believing that He is the cause.  Yes, I have shaken my fist in the air a couple of times over the last six years, but that has not resulted in any relief or extreme pleasure.

Can I admit that I am angry at the people working in research? Why haven’t you found a cure? Why do you keep saying you’re so close?  Don’t say you’re so close and lead us on.  I remember researchers saying that about ALS in 1982 before my Dad died and I don’t believe they are any closer than they were 30 plus years ago. I had to get that off my chest.

I want to place my anger somewhere.  When we are angry, we all want to place blame.  I do not know who to blame anymore.  I remember so vividly when the doctor who was from genetics came to see Trey at St. Jude to tell us about the P-16 gene.  They told us that it was passed from the father to the son and Jay immediately turned to the wall, became red, and tears began to flow down his face.  Dr. Sara’s hand suddenly grasped his shoulder and she said, “Jay, this is not your fault.”  I believe Jay carries that burden, as do I for giving birth to my children.  (It does take two, ya know.)  There is NO anger towards Jay and NO burden he should carry since God in His almighty power, knowing beginning to end, had a plan and purpose for Trey.

Wait, what?  …since God in His almighty power, knowing beginning to end, had a plan and a purpose…  My apple watch just told me to BREATHE.  And I think I just received an invisible B-12 shot!

Hummm.  “Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” James 1:19-20

You might not see me in an outrage with my anger, but am I using this anger to help others, help them heal, grieve, or need Jesus? That would be righteous anger.  I don’t know that I am, but I want to.  I just know that God is not finished with me yet.  I am thankful He still catches all my tears.  I stepped out of the car crying yesterday…because the Dragons will play their last game in the stadium where Trey played.  Oh, my heart aches.  It aches for the past that cannot become the future.

I watched a video I recently taped for Trey.  The person asked if I liked it.  I told him that I had told Jay all I talked about was Trey’s faith and said nothing about how Trey suffered.  Jay and I got a good laugh how that sounded coming out of my mouth.  So did the person on the other end.  Maybe it not always about the suffering or the anger – righteous or not.  Maybe it’s just all about the faith.