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Feb. 27th, 2010 Update

February 27, 2010

Seldom do I talk with anybody these days, that two words don’t quickly come spilling from their lips:  “How’s Cindy?”

So I tell them – then they either groan or smile {depending on her status when they happen to ask} and then they say, “You guys are on my mind all the time.  And every time I think of you, I pray.”

We know you do.  We feel it.  And we feel those prayers at a level of intimacy that would be way too hard to try to describe.  Just know this — your prayers are carrying us. 

Alright already…I get it:  How IS Cindy?

It’s been another difficult week.

• Toggling between managing pain and dealing with nausea. 
• Bouncing between managing to eat a few bites and struggling to keep those bites down.
• Not liking how she feels when she takes her pain meds and yet not liking how she feels when she doesn’t take them even more.

Not that there haven’t been some bright moments.

There have.

A friend dropped by yesterday, bringing a comfortable chair for Cindy to sit in when she feels strong enough to sit up.  Evidently, my chair is too big and too “broken in” for her taste!  Go figure.

Her water-infused heating pad also arrived yesterday.  Some stranger from a medical device company in California cared enough to ship it within hours of ordering it and sent it next day…gratis!  We are very grateful, because this tool is already helping us manage her pain more consistently {and comfortably}.

Not exactly the kind of “bright moments” we might have celebrated even twelve months ago – but moments that now lift our spirits and keep us living in anticipation and hope. 

Two nights ago, Cindy was experiencing a great deal of pain.  As I held her hand and knelt by her side, we talked.  It was another one of “those” talks.  We talked through what God’s plan must be for us.  We questioned what the future would bring.  We prayed together and then we cried together.

Soon after, I went to bed and Cindy stayed on the couch {She seems to be more comfortable there}.

She informed me the next morning that she had slept quite well, in spite of everything.

Me…?  Not so much.

It was one of those nights when I couldn’t stop my brain from thinking or my heart from wrestling.  It was only after several hours that I realized, “I need to surrender.”

Surrender…what?

I’m not sure.

Surrender…how?

Fully.

Surrender…again?

Yes, surrender again.

So I did.

I surrendered.

And when I did, I found the words of Sister Basilea Schlink to be profoundly true.  Sister Schlink, the founder of a Protestant order of nuns in Germany, counsels Christians in the midst of a mysterious season to make a modern day version of a vow of praise:  “When you are in suffering say, ‘Yes Father’ and strength will flow into your heart.”

So I said yes.

Hours before, I had tried to say “yes” when Cindy and I were having our “talk.”  But in the darkness of my half-empty bed, I said it this time — to the Lord.

And this time, I meant it.

I wasn’t saying “yes” because I no longer felt alone.  I wasn’t saying “yes” because I was denying our experience.  I wasn’t saying “yes” because I was throwing up my hands in defeat.

I said “yes” as a declaration of our mutual commitment to glorify God…in spite of cancer.  I said “yes” in defiance against our despair.  I said “yes” as a renewed covenant to reflect Jesus no matter what comes our way.

The next day, His strength flowed.  Whether Cindy’s eyes looked brighter — or I just saw them more clearly, I’m not sure.  Whether her appetite was stronger — or it just seemed to me to be stronger, I can’t say.

But I saw strength.

I felt strength.

So, renewed by God’s power, I said it again.

I said, “yes.”

So…

That’s my prayer request this week.  Pray that Cindy and I keep saying “yes.”  Pray that we don’t succumb to our fears and never, ever give in.

Except as we give in to God’s perfect purpose.

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