Monday, May 13, 2013


There's this little statue at my grandparent's house. It's of a little boy with his arms folded holding a little bird. This little bird is made of lead and is pretty hefty in weight considering it's size. This little statue has been at my grandparent's home for as long as I can remember. And, I can remember fairly well, because that little bird was in my hand from the time I walked in the door until they had to rip it from my hands to go home. I surely received some lead poisoning from this little guy... effects yet to be seen. Every single grand kid (and now great-grand kid) has done the same thing. This little bird is proof that age appropriate and high dollar developmental toys are far over rated.

While I sat with my grandma Thursday afternoon, with tears in her eyes, she looked at me and said "we're going to have to pack up the house, is there anything in the house that you want?" I immediately started crying saying we didn't need to think about that now. She then went on to talk about her mother's silver that she's added pieces to over the years. I thought to myself... no I wouldn't want anything valuable or big ticket items. So I listened as she talked about her silver for a little while. Then it took all I had to not get my name on that stupid, little bird first and escape the emotional battle that's guaranteed with my cousins.

The next morning I read Psalm 47:4 where the beginning says "He chooses our inheritance for us..." God knows me intimately well, better than I know myself. He knows what I need, want, and cherish already. He knows what is the best for me. Now, my grandma knows me. She honestly played a major role in raising me, but as much as she knows and loves me, it pales in comparison to Christ. In this weird way, when I read that verse I pictured Christ lovely placing that little bird in my hands saying "here, I know how much this means to you."

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Simple Faith

Since crying over the phone with my friend, things have not gotten easier as I watch my grandma's health deteriorate. She has stage 3 Multiple Meyloma which a younger person in excellent health who underwent invasive treatment would live around 5 years. My grandma might have a year. She doesn't believe she'll make it to Mother's Day (tomorrow); I think we have weeks and praying she makes it to her 65th wedding anniversary in the end of June.

Thursday morning we got the message to get to the hospital ASAP. We typically gather once or twice a year at Christmas and in the summer. My grandparents are always prepared for this and have outfitted their home to accommodate us. Their basement as a row of twin beds so all the cousins share a room. Last night as we were falling asleep my oldest male cousin started praying quietly out loud to himself. I don't come from a family of great faith and prayer is something done before big, festive meals. So there was something very special about hearing this young man pray. He prayed briefly and so desperately to himself. To hear him pray was so beautiful especially since he's autistic and relates to people differently. I just laid there and listened to his simple cry to God.

"God, be with me.
God, be with my grandma.
Help my grandma.
Help me."

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Community in Trying Times

The past week has been incredibly hard and I don't think it's going to be getting easier any time soon. Last Thursday my grandma went back into the hospital. She was just there the week before after being short of breath and having low oxygen. Then really early Saturday morning they transferred her to the larger hospital because the small town hospital couldn't get the fluid to drain of her lungs with oral medication. Saturday she had fluid drained from around her lungs, Sunday she had a CT scan that showed masses in her abdomen, Monday she had another CT scan this time of her whole abdomen, Tuesday she had a biopsy of the masses, and Wednesday she had a tube inserted into her lung cavity to make draining fluid easier. Today she rests.

I was with them Saturday through Tuesday. It was probably the hardest days of my life so far. My grandparents provided a refuge and retreat for me all through my childhood. My best memories are on their farm: riding their garden tractors, sewing with grandma, and sweeping grandpa's wood working shop. Every summer they would take my brother and me on vacation in their motorhome for a week or so. We saw most of the US by their sides. Now, she's in the hospital and there is no other place I'd rather be than by her side. Yet, it's not easy. I'm a couple hours away from friends and community who now love, support, and care for me.

It's this community that I am so grateful. The word cancer had been thrown around several times, but Tuesday morning the words "advanced cancer" were spoken for the first time. It was too much. I had to leave the room and eventually leave the hospital. As I walked out the doors, I texted a good friend of mine and then talked on the phone. After hyperventilating crying for a bit she spoke grace and love over me. She reminded me of the gospel and the holy spirit that is giving me strength, wisdom and courage.

From that moment on I was different. I was living out of Christ's strength and not mine. There are few moments in my life where I can distinctly remember experiencing the mystery of Christ's church interceding for me. God uses His church to speak to His people. Nothing else would have satisfied or comforted me but the words of God being spoking directly into my life and circumstance by a good friend. God's words and grace are real and felt in times of trouble. He is always present and quick to lavish His Fatherly love, protection and comfort.