Fearing the Hopeful Future

I look back on the dream of me, those memories that are mine that seem as true as the movie I watched last weekend. People are so many people in one life. 

I have times that stick out to me in my fog of memories and I remember the emotion, the facts get blurred and I don’t remember the exact day, or even the exact month, sometimes not even the exact year. But I remember the emotion. 

I just remember being fearless. I remember taking it all in like instructions for a pickup game of basketball, I didn’t know what I was doing, wasn’t my sport, a little worried my lack of skills would not impress the others, but all in all it wasn’t that big of a deal. But it wasn’t basketball, and it was a big deal. It was cancer.

I was fifteen years old. I had absolutely no clue who I was, I just rolled with the punches and tried not to get in the way.  Doctor appointment, ok. Surgery, I’ll be there. Cancer. My job was to have a good attitude. 

The day. The first of those days arrived. Surgery. I remember nothing about getting ready. I remember no nervousness over the risks. There was no caution, no stress, no worries. I can’t even recall any of the presurgery details. But I remember something, something I wish I could forget. 

A pain too intense for words.  Immediately, as I began to claw my way out of my painkiller sleep, my body now understood the meaning of the word cancer.

Pain. And isn’t that what we are all scared of?  The fear of all people of all the world. We aren’t worried about the future, but we are afraid it will hurt. Maybe we aren’t scared to die, just don’t want there to be pain in the how. I don’t have trouble trusting Jesus with my life, I just want to make sure that his plan isn’t a painful one. 

And how do I come to terms with fear, that fear of pain, not just cancer, but any pain?  And the answer is:  IT WILL. 

It will hurt. In this life, you will have troubles. What is my priority?  Comfort?  Money?  Health?  Well, Jesus has bigger plans for me, bigger plans than just this world. 

How are we supposed to cope knowing that it is sure to hurt?  “In this world you will have trouble, BUT I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD!”

Jesus knows pain!  The ultimate pain, more than any human will ever experience. And he chose it!  Why?  Because there is something greater than this world!

And I want that!  I trade this world for heaven!  I trade these earthly possessions that are out of fashion and fall apart much too quickly for eternal gold and glory. I choose serving over me. I choose love over selfishness. And I choose hope over fear. 

My Cancer Survival Kit

Jesus. When I open my survival kit, there is one item:  Jesus. He completely fills and overflows my medical emergency survival kit. 

I was a teenage college student when I first began this book, literally when I began writing this book.  But its contents were real, they were raw, and it was relevant. It was relevant to a world that hurt and that needed my story. 

As a typical young college student, I was battling the discovery of who I was, who I wanted to be, and what was safe to share. Cancer. It was my little secret to keep hidden at all costs. Who could possibly understand that?  I sure didn’t!  

My release was found in writing. The story of a struggling young girl was scribbled through the pages of my Cancer journal. I, appropriately, titled it My Survival Kit. 

I shared my fears of others discovering my disease, my love of Jesus for bringing me to college, my uncertainty of the future, even my ignorance of what lived inside my body. 

Those pages were destroyed, burned for fear of being discovered. Dashed upon the rocks by an ignorant professor. I revealed to him my little secret that I was writing a book. That was all I had told him, it was the first time I had trusted anyone with that tiniest bit of information. 

His smirking ignorant comment sent my writing up in flames, “Write about something people will want to read. You can not write about yourself.”

I am a nineteen year survivor of a rare form of MEN2A Cancer. I am a rare condition within a rare condition. The specialists at Duke University Hospital study my case and the interns rub their hands together and giggle in excitement when they meet their living textbook, sitting in the doctor’s office with my family by my side. 

It took years and years and more years for me to begin to grasp that my weakness made me strong. Just now can I thank God that I am able to comfort someone terrified of their medical future because, I too, have been told those dreaded words:  Cancer. 

Only now, can I see that CANCER IS IRRELEVANT!  I am Caroline. I am a wife. A mom. A child of the King.

Wait. It is not just a comfort for the sick. It is a truth for the husband that walked out on his family, the highschool girl that longs for attention, the orphan baby with no mommy to make her dinner and no daddy to protect her, a real comfort to those that have screwed up big time and need the ultimate forgiveness, love for the unlovable, healing for the sick, LIFE FOR THE DEAD, we are loved by the King of all Kings. What else matters?!

Jesus knows my body inside and out. He knows my body needs extra salt and that I need to drink more water. He knows I love reading CS Lewis while drinking black coffee, that I love hitting the town and drinking a draft beer with my dreamy husband, it is no surprise to Jesus that I dream of a swimming pool in my backyard. He wants me to have all that!  BUT HE WANTS MORE!

More than being comfortable and enjoying a book, he wants me to serve. More than being healthy, he wants me to depend fully in him. More than a pool in my backyard, he wants me patient. And more than this life, he wants me for eternity. 

ETERNITY!  Cancer is irrelevant. 

The Real Writer in the Family

  
Yesterday, was my birthday. My 8 year old quarantined me to my bedroom while she hung homemade banners and made me a cup of coffee. She knows my heart well!  While drinking my birthday coffee, she handed me an envelope. 

I will keep it’s contents forever. Such wisdom and love in an 8 year old. She gets it!  Her relationship with Jesus is real and intimate!  

Get ready world, here she comes!

The Bright Victory

“Here is joy that cannot be shaken.  Our light can swallow up your darkness:  but your darkness cannot now infect our light.”  C.S. Lewis 

It does not matter how small I am, I am a light. And a small flame can set a forest ablaze. There is nothing that darkness can do to hide light. Light always wins!  Go to the deepest, darkest cavern, consumed by the darkest of darkness and it can not close out light. 

Christianity is under attack. Claim the name of Jesus and you will be mocked, you will be persecuted, be it verbal or physical. But what do we expect?  We are in a battle!  The louder we shout, the harder we fight, Satan sends his strongest to silence us. 

But we know the secret. THE BATTLE HAS ALREADY BEEN WON!  Christ the King will sit on the throne, he will claim the victory, and he will emaciate death and pain and suffering and Satan and all his greatest tools. And Satan knows it! He is the King of Lies!  

But we wave the torch, we march, we shout, we will fight and we will win. This light will shine brighter and brighter. The power of God Almighty is on our side and nothing can separate us from him, this light can not be extinguished. 

You are not Promised

Quiet, a pause in the deserted city.  The tactical team moves in.  Camo, gear, guns, training, this is the moment.  Footsteps are the only sound, turning, checking, on a mission.  Without even happening, it just is.  A man down.

Thousands, millions, billions of cars line the earth.  Driving the rough terrain, jammed in traffic, moving moving.  A daily occurrence that causes no thought.  Driving to work, carpooling to middle school, departing on date night, late to a meeting, speeding to the hospital, just a Sunday drive with nothing else to do.  Of course you did not know.  You never would have left the house.  And then it is all over.  Life is over.

A bustling Tuesday morning.  Coffee is brewing, a quick granola bar for breakfast, make a school lunch, leave the beds unmade.  The morning is rushed.  Grab a diaper bag and grab the baby.  And then that life is over.  A breathless baby, gone in the night, leaving desperation, panic, anger, and a life unlived.

Everyone always thinks it will be easy to go in old age.  Life is lived and the time has surly come.  They had been together through four babies, seven houses, three wars, forgiveness, choosing each other time and time again, and memories of 72 years.  She didn’t expect for him to go.  They had been together this long, surly it would never end.

Billions have come and gone and somehow we still believe that it will never be me.