The lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie in green pastures, he leads me beside still waters, he restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his names sake. As I walk through the shadow of the valley of death, I fear no evil , for thou art with me. Thy rod and staff, they comfort me. Thou preparest a table for my enemies, and anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the lord forever.
That is a psalm I memorized at age 10, back in the days when I had many fears.
It tells us not to fear and walk an trust God, forgive enemies, rest assured you are protected and only good will come your way, and in there is no end in Heaven..
I share this because it still brings me comfort and rest.. Even through most recent moments of fear of the unknown.
Sleepless nights my parents fought when I was a child, days of endless bullying and nights with prank phone calls claiming I would die if I went to school..
I remember being filled with anxiety at a young age. Moving almost every year of my life during my school years. As my parents would split and then get back together.
It was hard, but it taught me to be an adaptable adult and strengthened my character.
One fearful night at age 10, my mother told me to read PSALM 23 in the bible and it will help me feel safe. So I did, almost every night… Since I was a child and until this day.
I have recited it to myself out loud and quietly in times of fear for many years..
When I’ve walked alone, or fear the unknown. It brings me peace and a gentle reminder we are not alone, and when called upon God brings us peace and support through many resources and people and circumstances..
This week I must have recited this psalm at least a dozen times in my head and out loud as I have been preparing and undergoing radio active iodine. A form of radiation to kill any remaining cancer cells in my thyroid. Once the pill is administered you must be in isolation for 48 hours without any contact, and after 4 days its ok to be in public but you must remain 3 ft. away from people. I must sleep alone for 6 days. Not very comforting knowing its that dangerous and I have to swallow it.
So what better than to take some forced time away to relax, pause, and reflect on all my blessings. I am lucky enough to be resting and restoring in a beautiful lodge beside still waters. What a coincidence.
The time I have had here so far has helped me heal and reflect.
Although I didn’t feel my best the first 2 days, I have not had any pain or nausea as I had expected. Today I am full of energy its hard to believe I’m still radio active..
My friends have helped in so many ways with my children, sending texts of support and love, and lining up visits to come see me as I’m away for 1 week recovering.
My husband is holding down the fort and making runs to my room to bring me food, flowers and anything my heart desires. My children have sent me messages of love and concern, and heart felt hugs before my departure that filled me with joy.
Just 2 weeks before my procedure I volunteered at Lighthouse Family Retreat in Destin Florida with my family for my 4rth year.
One of the most magical missions trips that exist, where all you do is help families with childhood cancer forget their worries and have the best week of their lives. Through this experience I felt loved beyond words by children going through cancer much worse than I have.
On our first day we got news that one of our closest friends at Lighthouse would have to endure a risky heart surgery as his heart is failing and he is father of 4.. They are such an amazing family that has helped our family in so many ways along our journey, ..fear and worry consumed my heart for them.
And just 1 day before I started my treatment I got news that a good and old friend of mine was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer.
The families at Lighthouse, our friend that will undergo open heart surgery, and my good friend facing cancer and chemo for the next 6 months have shown so much courage and confidence in their recovery that they have filled me up with strength and courage to do the same.
One little girl Katelyn age 12 at Lighthouse, just a year prior, was a healthy young girl running track. She was diagnosed with a brain tumor and after surgeries and treatment attended Lighthouse with her family this year. I was assigned to sit with her in the afternoons and help keep her comfortable in her wheel chair. My first day I was unsure of how happy I could make her , and how she would respond.. I decided to give it a shot and take her into the pool where she dangled her feet in pure joy.
Once inside we watched a movie and ate a snack, with me talking to her the whole time. Then she did something that took my breath away and brought me tears of joy. She pulled me in and wrapped her arm around me with all her strength, and whispered in my ear, “I Love You” and “Thank You”..
That moment I felt a feeling of genuine love and appreciation and her arms that made me feel safe and assured God has me, and is using her to speak to me through all of my fears and worry..
The week with Katelyn was so moving as she thanked and loved on me all week long.. It was I that needed her, more than she needed me…
My family and I were assigned to care for an amazing family of 5 from San Antonio Texas, with one adorable little girl fighting leukemia, two teenage brothers and an amazing couple that showed us so much strength as parents, respect and love for each other as a couple that only the faith could bring. We felt close to them almost immediately as if we have know them for years it was that easy.. They inspired me in more ways than I can even list, and Ella, the little girl fighting had such spunk and zest for life to watch her left me speechless at times.
Our last day we entered their room to help clean up and pack their luggage in the car but to our surprise they already had it done.
For the sole purpose of sitting down and praying for our family. As they asked my husband, each of our children, and I what we needed in prayer, they took our hands and they prayed over us and my health.. I was so taken by there gesture as if they knew instinctively that each one of us had our own fears and battles that needed prayers as well. Another sign how god uses people to help you in your time of need. We needed them in our lives that week. This family will surely be in our lives for years to come and I appreciate all the texts and calls of support they still show me as I’m under treatment..
When you serve to help others in time of need, you are being helped and blessed in so many ways as well.
Our friends we love so much now face a risky heart surgery with a positive outlook, strong faith, and confidence.. They are truly an inspiration to me and all that know them.
My conversation with my friend in the hospital now facing cancer was short and sweet and her words still ring in my ears, “ This won’t take me down, I’m going to fight this thing.” Through my tears I assured her I have no doubt she will. And now she has also inspired me with her strength.
As I ‘m on day 3 of my treatment and year 43 of my journey, I have gained much perspective that there’s nothing to fear. He’s got me in the palm of his hand and if I pray and believe I am always comforted in knowing there is a master plan.. We all have a journey that leads us to the next chapter. What we choose to do with our time on this planet is precious and our days are limited. That is what I believe.
I have grown in my faith and am not afraid to announce it. It has only led me to peace and brought so many opportunities and good relationships into my life. I feel guided and protected, hope, and a life I am grateful for.
Nothing is perfect, the day to day struggles are real, but I rest in knowing my faith has helped me create a life I am proud of, and a husband and family I have always dreamt of.
There has been much adversity, hard times, trials, but I have learned from them and used all my knowledge for growth.
Our days are limited so enjoy the life you have, EMBRACE ADVERSITY FOR GROWTH… LOVE., .FORGIVE., SERVE., .and in time of fear remember PSALM 23..