June 1, 2023. It has slipped up on us all. SUMMER is here, kids are out of school, and families are going on vacation. There was a time when I was so excited about summer, even though kids were going from one sport camp to another, VBS (either attending or helping), church camp, or scouting trips – with weekends spent at my sister’s pool. How do things change so quickly?
During those years of hustle and bustle, I NEVER thought about a change in the life I had planned for my family. We would always go on family vacations, spend weekends at the pool, including holidays with laughter, hamburgers, and hot dogs. We still have the hamburgers and hot dogs, but somehow, the laughter is missing.
Over the last 28 years, I can say our faith has not wavered, definitely tested, but not wavered. December of 1995 is when Jay was first diagnosed with cancer. I can promise you that it has not slowed him, much to my frustration. His next treatment is next Thursday, and if he didn’t have to work on Friday, he would. He never slows down. His BROTHER did not slow down – he had goals (basketball, high school, college) while battling cancer. Jay’s FATHER still came to watch the boys practice football during his treatments. There is a pattern here. I firmly believe Trey learned from watching his dad, his papaw, and hearing about his uncle. Trey had goals in the midst of his battle. I remember someone asking me at the time why he had a bucket list. That bucket list kept him going. Also, as a result, I see so much maturity in my Collin at age 23.
Over the last year, I have felt myself slip into a depressive state because I have been dealing with an ankle that will not heal after a tendon tear, two surgeries, and soon to be my 7th (no, 8th) cast. Food, television, and a scooter have become good friends of mine. Even during this time, I have been praying for friends that have been suffering from circumstances much worse.
This morning, I noticed in my devotion (which was Trey’s), I had written at the bottom of the page I was praying for the Troike family (Yes, I misspelled Troike). Wyatt was a friend of Collin’s at Collierville and was a patient of St. Jude at the time. Believe it or not, I have never been one for journaling, so the fact that I noted this prayer for the family struck a chord. I am sure at the time, they were struggling with the unknown. It prompted me to jot down who I had prayed for on the way to work. EACH of them are walking a similar path our family has walked…cancer. But we have always known God is in control, His sovereignty, and He is definitely in the details of our circumstances.
Eleven years ago, our circumstances changed with Trey during his battle with cancer. We were told by his doctors his chemo had stopped working and it would be a matter of time. I remember asking, “A matter of time for what?” Even years later, my heart still sinks remembering being told Trey may have until September (2012). I would have never thought he would be gone in a month. But in that one month, he had several procedures that enabled him to make it to the beach with the church and an extended family vacation. There were plans to change his chemo after his return from the beach. That was not God’s plan. This coming month will be another difficult time of reflection.
Whether you are facing cancer or similar circumstance to make you feel defeated, do not let Satan control how you handle the situation. He will manipulate you towards loneliness and entice you down a path of darkness that will not help you when the going gets tough. Well, tougher. Like our Pastor has said, and I paraphrase, “If you aren’t going through tough times now, you will.” We may not know the outcome of our circumstances, but we DO know the guide!
If you need to be encouraged in your current circumstances, I urge you to get the book by Coach Mike O’Neill – Don’t Back Down (on Amazon and in local Collierville stores). Its content is filled with laughter, tears, struggles, uncertainty, hope, but mostly with the Holy Spirit.
Read the scripture again – I heard, but I did not understand. So I asked, “My Lord, what will the outcome of all this be?” Daniel 12:8 I don’t think we will know this side of Heaven. Right now, I’m okay with that and I’m learning to pivot as my circumstances change. Thank you, Ross Geller – character from Friends – PIVOT, PIVOT, PIVOT!