When You Don’t Have Words

Today I was scheduled to have a biopsy. And as much as I would like to say I was at complete peace about the whole thing, completely trusting God, I was a whole lot of anxious on so many levels.

A week ago I found out I would have to have the biopsy and immediately my mind went to the worst case scenario of breast cancer, even though I have no family history, and am not at high risk for it. Part of me expected the tests to come back with something bad.

I hate to admit that.

I could say with confidence “I know God’s got this – no matter the outcome.” But I couldn’t say, “I KNOW everything is going to come back clear.” And to be completely honest, I didn’t even know how to pray.

Have you ever noticed at times it’s much easier to pray for someone else’s miracle than it is your own? It’s easier to believe God for a miracle for a friend than it is to believe fully for your own breakthrough.

Sometimes, in the middle of your battle, the words to pray just don’t come. You’re heart is overwhelmed, and as much as you know you are supposed to, you can’t even pray.

I didn’t know what to pray regarding my biopsy. But I shared with the people around me, and they shared with people around them. And as I walk this out, I am finding more and more people were praying for me this week. So many people were lifting me up in prayer. I didn’t have words to pray – but God provided the words through other people.

I didn’t end up having the biopsy this morning. After taking multiple images – the radiologist came to me and said, “We are not doing the biopsy. We cannot find what we were planning to biopsy.”

The spot they found on both previous mammograms and the ultrasound images… is completely gone.

God did that. Even though I didn’t have the words to pray.

There are moments – seasons even – when you won’t have the words to pray. The pain is too deep and the circumstances overwhelming. It doesn’t mean your faith is week or your trust has failed. Sometimes we don’t have the strength – and we need someone (or a few someones) to help hold us up. Just because you cannot pray – doesn’t mean God won’t move. It might just be that God put it on someone else’s heart to hold you up.

And before you write off this blog post by saying “I don’t have friends who will pray for me…” Let me offer this. If that’s truly the case – and you don’t have anyone you can ask to pray – feel free to send me a message at the following randomacts.hope@gmail.com and let me know how I can be praying for you. And I will.

It’s Probably Nothing…

“We found something. It’s small, and most likely nothing to be concerned about. But I cannot rule it as benign without doing a biopsy. We normally do biopsies with a sonogram but this one we will have to do with a mammogram….”

Then the doctor proceeded to tell me why they prefer to do the biopsy with a sonogram instead – because to do the biopsy with the mammogram in order to locate the spot requires MUCH more setup time and preparation on their end of things. He talked about the equipment and such and again stated how these things are normally done using a sonogram.

Great. Not only is he telling me that I “shouldn’t lose sleep over it, but that it’s a HUGE inconvenience for them.

Fantastic.

Schedule a biopsy. Okay. This could still be nothing.

The sonogram tech leaves to talk to scheduling and comes back to get my phone number. Isn’t that in my records?? In their computer system or something?? The person in charge of scheduling is out for the afternoon. Of course. So they are going to call me.

She asked if I had any questions and then showed me to the front of the office and the doors to the parking lot.

It’s raining. Of course it is.

I get into my jeep and lose it.

It’s JUST a biopsy, Cath. Why the heck are you crying???

Text my mom. I KNOW if I call her I will just cry because, well, it’s my mom and I cannot hide anything from her.

Message a couple other friends who had also been praying for my appointment and I sit there for a while longer with my Jeep running…

Why can’t I stop crying.

I KNOW that whatever is on the other side of this biopsy – God’s got it. It’s not a big deal. But the emotions are WAY bigger than I expected.

Why am I crying.

I trust God. I KNOW He’s bigger than whatever this is – and it’s probably nothing. WHY AM I STILL CRYING????

I trust God. Why am I still crying?

I trust God, but somewhere in my learning to trust God more and more with my life I got it in my head that trusting God means I cannot be overwhelmed with emotions. God doesn’t get freaked out by the word “biopsy” then why should I? I should have stronger faith. If I try to talk to God about the enormous emotions I have right now, He’s just going to be disappointed in me and my lack of trust.

And that’s just not truth.

We’ve been told that God is not afraid of our emotions. Laugh, cry, yell, scream – whatever it is, He can handle it. But even more than that – I believe God wants us to come to Him with our emotions – all of them – especially when they are absolutely overwhelming and too big to put words to. He created us – He created us with the vast array of emotions we go through (some of them all in the course of an afternoon!).

Part of trusting God with my whole heart includes trusting Him with my emotions – even when – especially when they are too big for words.

My emotions do not determine my faith.

Your emotions do not determine your faith.

Tonight as I have been processing through all of the above, I’ve had this song streaming through my headphones on repeat. (Dear YouTube, please come up with a repeat video feature). There’s a part of the song-story that I LOVE – that talks about the “Giant” in front of them…. “I knew that Giant was going to regret the day he pointed his sword at…” (fill in with your own name and circumstance) “because just like Goliath pointed his sword at David – it became the very sword the little boy picked up and took the giant’s head off with.”

It’s time for the giants – whatever they are in each of our seasons and stories… it’s time for those giants to fall – in Jesus Name!

PS – I KNOW that whatever the outcome of the days ahead – this is a part of my story of HOPE! And I will share hope as long as I have breath!

I Am Not Enough

Dear future husband, I am not enough.

Now before my friends become defensive on my behalf, let me explain what I mean and why I have made such a crazy-sounding statement.

As a single woman in my forties, I have read all of the articles about what I need to do to attract the perfect man. I have listened to the advice of my friends about how to meet people. And I have even gone on dates set up by my friends who were absolutely sure we would “be the perfect couple”.

I’ve made lists of the ‘make or break’ characteristics I want in a husband and I’ve had enough guy friends to know what a lot of them are looking for in a wife.

I have imagined what my husband would be like for years now. Granted, that picture of him has changed the older I’ve gotten, but I still have an image of what he will be. And although I’ve never seen the movie, Jerry McGuire, I along with half the population of single women have been looking for the man who will say, “You complete me”.

It sounds like the perfect happy ending to a beautiful, love-story, doesn’t it? But instead of a love-story, that kind of expectation is more like a tragedy.

You see, I was never meant to complete anyone.

Yes, I can definitely be the help-mate that people talk about when referring to husbands and wives, but I was not created to be someone’s everything. That job belongs to God.

My heart might seem strong, but when push comes to shove, it’s frail and breaks easily. I will choose to love you unconditionally, but my love is flawed and nowhere near what it needs to be in order to “complete” your heart.

Dear future husband – I will be the help-mate you need – but I refuse to be your everything. That job belongs to God. And until you can say, without a doubt, that He is your all, I will never be enough to be the wife you need.

I Don’t Know What It’s Like

I don’t know what it’s like.

I don’t know what it’s like to lose a parent or a child. I don’t know what it’s like to have someone close to me take their own life. I have never been married, had a terminal illness, or gone through a divorce. I don’t know what it’s like to be in an abusive relationship or be in so much physical pain that you can barely function.

I have no idea.

Because I have no idea, many times I don’t have words. I don’t know what to say to the person walking through a divorce. I don’t know how to comfort the mother who lost her child to depression and suicide. I don’t know how to relate to someone who has lost a parent.

And so, I am silent.

It’s not that I don’t care. I am simply more afraid of saying the wrong thing. And so, I say nothing at all because surely there is someone more qualified than I.

Silence… can be so painful.

“Share each other’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:2

Share each other’s burdens. The verse doesn’t say, “help each other as long as you understand what they are going through….”. It doesn’t give qualifications to the kinds of people to help or the types of burdens to carry. It says share the burden. Help carry the weight.

Imagine the “burden” is a giant box someone is trying to move. We don’t have to know what’s in the box to help someone move it. We just have to help lift.

It’s going to be awkward. It might even be a little scary. And we are going to get it wrong now and then. But wouldn’t you rather have an awkward text from a friend trying to be there for you during a rough season – than nothing at all?

Enough…

I just want to be enough.

Have you ever felt like you weren’t enough?

You can fill in the blanks to fit whatever situation and circumstance in your own life, be it a relationship, a position at work, or any other number of ways we tend to measure and not feel “good enough”.  

When I think about the word ENOUGH I think about being chosen. If I was good enough then someone would choose me.  I would be someone’s first choice for….

But the truth is, we are human and flawed. And we are never going to measure up to even our own standards of what is good enough, let alone the list of “good enough” things we are striving for.

Still, there is that desire to be chosen by someone.

“You didn’t choose Me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using My name.” John 15:16

God chooses me. In spite of my flaws and my failures, my bad attitude and selfishness that rises up when I’m tired and weary. God chooses you. Not because of your name, the job you hold or how well you can sing. It isn’t because of anything you’ve done or what you will accomplish in life. 

God chooses you.

He chooses you every single time.

He chose you before creation.

He chooses you for all eternity.

Because of who He is, you are ENOUGH.

There’s Gonna Be a Wedding

Confession…

For the past few years I have dreaded going to weddings, bridal showers and if I’m being completely honest, baby showers too. It was selfish of me, I know, but every time I went to any of the above, I always left feeling sad. Be it a wedding, bridal or baby shower, it was always a reminder of how very single I was and it drove home the reality that those things might not ever be a reality for me.

Until today.

Today, I sat in the back of the sanctuary and watched a friend of mine marry the love of her life… and I cried. I cried, not because I felt sorry for myself or wondered when it would be me standing in that place. I cried because the depth of love they both expressed in their personal vows to each other was absolutely stunning. You could hear and see the emotion in their voices and in the tears they both cried. It was beautiful.

After the wedding, I joined in the craziness of tearing down the sanctuary and resetting for the Saturday evening service at church. And when all that was finished, I honestly expected to cry for all the other reasons that would have normally come after attending a wedding… but there were no tears.

I’m still single.

And I’m not getting any younger.

And yet, instead of disappointment, there is hope.

There is going to be a wedding… my wedding. And I am as sure of that as I am of the Hope I was created to give away.

I think I’m finally getting the hang of this hope that I was born to share…

Hope doesn’t look at the things I don’t have. It doesn’t compare my story to someone else’s that is coming together faster than mine. Hope says – God spoke it and I believe it. Hope says – I will wait – no matter how long it takes, because I trust God to do it.

There’s going to be a wedding.

My wedding.

And until then I wait… with brave hope.

“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun. Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” – Isaiah 43:19

Calling & Comfort Zones

I don’t like public speaking. For that matter, I find it hard to speak to someone I don’t know personally. There are few things that cause my stomach to spin and my hands to shake than getting up in front of a room full of people (be it 5 or 500) and speaking. It feels like everything, including my voice, shakes when I do.

And yet, once again I have signed up for Toastmasters, where I will be preparing and delivering speeches on a regular basis.

Why???

Why in the WORLD would I put myself through such torture. My hands literally shake just being in the room where the meeting is held.

Why? Because in order to walk fully in the calling God has on my life, I have to step out of my comfort zone. I have to speak.

I know that I was created to share hope. One way I get to do that is by creating and giving away floral arrangements. But if I’m afraid to talk to people, afraid to have a conversation with them about the very thing God has called me to share, then what am I doing?

I could say it’s too hard, or its too far out of my comfort zone. But then imagine how many opportunities I would miss because I chose not to speak, but simply handed someone flowers and walked away.

Public speaking and speaking to anyone I don’t know well is difficult for me. But it doesn’t have to be that way forever. The more I step out of my comfort zone and speak, the easier it will be.

This is the year of stepping out of my comfort zone on so many levels.

On Thursday morning I have an appointment to meet with a personal trainer at my gym. I kid you not when I say I have tried to come up with a dozen excuses to cancel said appointment. The very idea of being totally honest with someone about my health and my specific weight and all that goes with getting stronger is the last thing I want to do. It’s admitting that I haven’t taken care of myself and that my weight has gotten out of control.

But I know part of my calling includes being on my feet, be it standing in a floral shoppe arranging flowers all day, or delivering flowers or chasing after a toddler (still believing God for husband and family). I need to have more strength and energy than I currently do. Right now I’m exhausted all the time. And if I walk up a few steps and then try to speak, it’s not pretty.

I was created to share hope. I was created to speak hope. If I’m tired all the time and out of breath – then I’m not honoring the calling God put on my life.

I know I was created to share hope. But if I choose to stay inside my comfort zone, I’m missing out on a whole world of opportunities to do just that!

Is there something you know God has called you to do? Is it a little bit scary, or does it seem like it might be a little difficult? Is it just outside of your comfort zone? If you answered yes, then you have a choice. You can either stay where it’s comfortable and safe, or you can step out and trust that if God called you to it, then He’s going to provide everything you need. But you have to take the first step.

We cannot fully walk out the calling God has on our lives by staying within the lines of our comfort zones.