Shine a Light for Me

This year is off with a bang…and it’s only January 30th.  As per our usual, this year we’ve seen more than our fair share of medical professionals; we have been enduring a cancer scare with my 4-year old daughter, Jera; I’ve been working through a challenging MBA course…and  all of this has culminated into the ridiculous body of tension that I have become.  This day, Monday, January 30th, was especially overwhelming for me.  I had a quiz due that I have been killing myself studying for…and while that weighed on me heavily, there was more to my stress level today than school.

I have been a total stress case.  Caring for Jera following her tonsillectomy last week, trying to keep her comfortable and happy, working to master my MBA course, Corporate Finance…it has all been…hard.  

I’m not normally a crier, at least not without good reason (I mean, aside from when I watch Marley and Me…but really if you don’t cry during that movie, you’re just stone cold).  In the past two weeks, I’ve found myself in tears more often than I care to admit…trying to sort out my thoughts and feelings…trying to manage myself by myself. Until I just can’t anymore.  My poor family…my mom has received a crying call, my husband has been tearfully dialed, my best friend has gotten sad text messages.   While I’ve worked hard to hold it together, the stress and worry have taken a toll on me and my soul is drained.

The surgeon told me I could call his office in a week to check on Jera’s biopsy results.  Today, five days following the surgery, I couldn’t wait anymore.  I dialed the office mid-morning and left a message with the nurse, hoping that Jera’s biopsy results would be in.  When lunch came and went and I didn’t receive a returned call, I figured the results hadn’t arrived and I would have to wait.  I went online and took another dreaded Corporate Finance quiz (what kind of quiz takes 90 minutes FOR SIX QUESTIONS?!!!)  I was relieved to score better than I had expected.  But still, in my heart was a heaviness.  I decided to take Jera for ice cream and we pigged out.  There’s nothing like soft serve to soothe the soul.


Then, as I was making dinner, my phone rang.  It was the ENT’s nurse.  She was calling to tell me that Jera’s biopsy results are in and the biopsy was NORMAL.  That’s right folks, Jera is CANCER-FREE!!!  She’s just my little fruitcake of a daughter with a former set of goofy (AKA asymmetric) tonsils.  I thanked the nurse for calling and hung up the phone.  I can’t describe to you the feelings that moved through my mind, body and soul in that moment.  Relief, joy, gratitude, exhilaration…there aren’t enough adjectives on this Earth to describe the happiness that call delivered.

There are people whose calls are different than the one I received.  There are people who aren’t  relieved of their worrisome burden with a phone call delivering normal biopsy results.  People I love have received devastating news instead.  I’ve watched those I love wither away with cancer and pass on in the most painful, devastating way.  I’ve also watched others I love fight bravely, becoming the very essence of strength and beauty and beating the fearsome beast.  Today, I am so thankful.  I am so thankful that my sweet daughter doesn’t have to face that fight.  So thankful that she will continue to be her bright, funny, reserved, goofy, girly, wonderfully-made self.


There are no words to repay the prayers that have gone up for us.  There are so many who don’t believe in the power of prayer.  I do.  While prayer may not always change test results, it certainly can lift you up and carry you through difficult times.  Prayer lets us know we are not alone.  Prayer is love.  You cannot pray for someone without loving them.  In praying for your neighbor, you strengthen not only your neighbor, but you grow love in your own heart as well.  And even more importantly, in praying for yourself, you invite God in and allow Him to help. I have been stressed.  I have cried.  I have been short and snapped and laid awake wondering.  But through prayer and the support, prayers and love of our friends and family, we have made it through this trial and we are ready to move on to brighter days.  The start of this year has been difficult, but after the good news we received today, it has also been awesome.  God is good.

I’ll end this blog with the lyrics of a song I heard for the first time yesterday by Brad Randall. I had never heard of him or his music…I was listening to a “popular” music station, not a Christian station…but this song came across my speakers at the exact moment I needed it and I know it was a God-thing. 

Make a path for me, make it wide for every man to see

Maybe I’ll find it

Shine a light for me, make it pure and hang it from a tree

So bright I’m blinded

If I said I don’t want you to come knockin’ on my door

Then I’d be lying

If for some reason I told you I don’t need you anymore

Then I’d be lying… lying

Enough, hearing voices I can’t stand to hear like thunder from a storm

Where is your lightning

I’m tossing and turning underneath my sheets at night in a room no longer warm

My chest is tightening

If I said that I could get through this without any help

Then I’d be lying
If my lips claim I’m strong enough to take care of myself

Then I’d be lying… lying

I’d be lying

Cover my ears and my heart is broken
Bruise on my knees when the walls start to open
I’m searching through the tunnels of the feelings that are running deep

Wasting time because the answer is right in front of me
Battling an enemy that is standing about five foot ten

Wondering if I’m ever gonna be myself again

Hold me in your arms and take away my worldly fears

Please don’t tell me all the things that I don’t wanna hear
I’m so afraid of what you’re gonna tell me
The fears come but I know you led me

Know the problems that are wearing out my soul inside

It’s the only way that I can make the wrong go right

Make the wrong go right

And I love everything about you

Everything about you 

If I said I don’t want you to come

Knocking on my door

Then I’d be lying… Lying…

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Life Changes, Rearranges

As I grow older, life that used to seem so joyous becomes more and more difficult to bear. As a child, the losses in life seem few and far between. But in this stage of my life, while my joys are still mountain peaks, the losses have become steady. Life certainly changes and rearranges. The old, steady features in our lives pass on to heaven and the little nuggets of children we have brought into the world are growing into real, actual people. This cycle is sad, it’s rewarding, it’s amazing, it’s so many things that can’t be described in text. There are moments I sit back and just marvel at the complexity of this life.

This week I sat and watched grief wash over my husbands grandfather, Curt, as he yearned for his wife. We lost grandma Betty last week after a long and painful decline in her health. After the funeral, we all went back to work, to school, to activities, to life…because we have to. But watching this strong man, still lost in that moment of grief, it struck me in a way that will be a part of me forever. 

Curt shared with me that he enlisted in the air force as a young man, unsure at the time where that choice would take him. Rather than being thrown into battle, he was asked to sit at a desk and learn to type. He had never typed a day in his life. He had been put in a class of 12 men and as he sat at his typewriter, the fingers of those men around him flew while he struggled to find the next key. He may have felt in over his head but he did not give up. He persevered. He learned. And he was sent on his life journey to places he didn’t expect. He won the coveted position, along with three of his cohorts. They were sent one direction while the eight others were sent another direction . Curt had great success in the air force and climbed rank in his time there. He was on a four year commitment, when three and a half years in, a lifetime ailment of asthma flared. He was able to leave the Air Force at that time and came back home to Perry County. 

In Curt’s telling of the story, there was doubt in this moment. He wondered if things would have been different if he had been able to continue his Air Force career. He wondered where he would have ended up. He wondered who he would have been surrounded by on this day had his path been different.

But those doubts vanished when he began to talk about Betty. He said he knew it was meant to be because when he came home, he met Betty. I look at my husband and know Curt’s path was destiny. My own life would be very different had Curt made a different choice all those years ago. Curt had gone out with a friend to a dance in a neighboring county (Curt and Betty’s favorite pastime was dancing throughout their marriage). My favorite line of his story was “I saw her ‘south end’ moving north and that was that.” I admire his honesty and sense of humor. 


Curt and Betty were married for 58 years. They had four children together. I know many years were not easy for them. For those of us who have chosen to devote our lives to another person in marriage, we know the road can be difficult at times. But watching Curt today, knowing he is now half of the person he was a week ago when Betty was still by his side, my passion and advocacy for the unity of marriage is alive and well. Curt and Betty were a team. They enjoyed life together, built a legacy together. They were still jumping in the vehicle for adventures long past the time that their children approved. They visited local stores and restaurants up until Betty’s very end, brightening the day of all who encountered them. They made the most of their time together. But most of all, they loved each other. On the good days and the bad. In the hard times and the easier times. Curt is still loving Betty today, and I believe wholeheartedly that she is still loving him as well. There are some bonds that not even death can sever.

My life has changed. I see the older generations passing on into heaven, becoming glorious characters whose stories are retold at each Christmas or birthday gathering to our children. These stories of their character, of their eccentricities that made them so lovable, help them to live on in our hearts and minds. New children are born and we see grandma’s chin or grandpa’s jawline and we remember those that we’ve lost along the way. And me and my husband? Yes, even us, we’re getting older. I see many ways we’ve changed and some ways we’ve stayed the same. All of this helps to remind me of how special our bond is, how much I treasure my partner in this life, how thankful I am that Curt met Betty and had a daughter named Roberta, who met Tim and had a son named Philip, who met me and has meant everything to me in this life. God works in mysterious ways. It is in finding the blessings that we can make it through all of life’s losses. It is how we manage to move forward. I look at the man standing next to me and know without a doubt, I am blessed.