Saturday, July 29, 2017

Thy Will Be Done





Thy Will Be Done?  What does that mean?  What does it mean to you?  I'm not really sure anymore. I would like to say that my faith is always strong and that I always lean on that everlasting love, but that is not true.  I'm distracted A LOT!  Like this song says, "Sometimes I gotta stop and remember that you are God and I am not."

Over the last 4 months, I've felt a fog over me.  A deep, sorrowing, drowning feeling.  I put a smile on my face when I'm around others, and I continue to be the "keeper" of my family, but I feel like I am daily pulling myself out of a rut.  Sometimes I shout at God and ask him Why?  Sometimes I cry at the drop of a hat and wonder if God is even there anymore.  I wonder if he is listening or if all of the demons from my past prevent him from being able to hear me.

Then......

I sing, I play the piano, I listen to music.....and I am reminded that he loves me and that his sorrows are deeper than mine could ever be.  Music is my sanctuary.  It's my place to connect.  It's where I find God when I can't seem to find him otherwise.  I've heard people say that it's just "emotions" when you get all "wishy washy" over a song.  I disagree with that on the greatest level of levels.  Maybe for some people it is.  For me, and for many other "musicians" or people who connect to "music" would argue with me on that.   When I hear or sing a song about how much Jesus loves me, I feel that love.  I cry through the words sometimes and beg God to help me feel it in a new way.  Music is something that makes my heart beat.  Jerry is the same way.  I believe this is one of the ways that originally connected us.

About that.....

Jerry can't play very well anymore.  The numbness in his left hand has gotten to the point that he can't feel the strings on the guitar well enough to play the right chords.  Jerry has been playing the guitar for almost 50 years!  This has been very hard on him.  This is only one area in his life that has been affected.  I can't begin to completely understand how he feels, but I can try.  I can't imagine if I were to loose the ability to play the piano.  I find so much solace in playing.  It brings me a peace.  Jerry used to just go into another room and play and play for hours.  He loved to play and sing.  On top of not being able to play the same, he also can't sing the same.  His words don't come out when or how he wants them to all the time.  It can be very frustrating for him.  He struggles at times just to say the most simple words.  His brain will not let them come out how he wants them to.
This has broken my heart.  I feel so bad for him.  I can see the hurt and pain in his eyes, not just the physical pain, but the mental and emotional pain.  That fear that he will never be the same again.  He is so tired after working all day.

*******

If you've been following our story, or if you read my bio, then you know that I was a stay at home mom for many years.  2 years ago I went back to work.  I loved my job.  I was a preschool teaching assistant and I loved my job to the point that it was hard when the kids would leave for the summer.  I just wanted to bring them all home with me!  But.....the pay was not great.  It was an "affordable" tuition based preschool program, which means....the teachers don't get paid a lot.  (Sorry if this offends anyone)   I don't think it's a big secret that teachers on most levels, don't get paid what they deserve!!!  Anyway, because of Jerry's condition seeming to deteriorate, I started looking for another job last May.   I was looking for more $ so Jerry could work less, and I was also looking for Full Benefits.  The first job didn't pan out, so I applied for another, then another, then another.  It's easy now, cause you can do it all online through hiring sites.  I mostly used indeed.com.  That is the same site that we use for our business to hire mechanics so it was familiar to me.  After applying for near 45 jobs, being called for 5 of them, one I turned down over the phone, 4 I interviewed, 1 was a scam (insurance agency trying to recruit people to open a business), 2 I was not offered the job and 1 offer finally came in.  This offer was not EXACTLY what I was looking for, but it was better money than I was making and it was full time, year round so I would be more $.  I verbally accepted the offer, but was not starting for 2 weeks due to my vacation and unavailability before then.   Our vacation was at our Church Campground called Covenant Hills.  That week, I will just say, was a very tough week for Jerry and myself.  Jerry was on chemotherapy a good part of the week, and our vacation was just "different" this year.  I felt lost, alone, and afraid much of the time I was there.  I would take my dog for a walk and I would wonder how other peoples lives were.  I wondered if other people were carrying around the heavy load and burden that I was.  So, I started praying for people as I saw them, as I was walking.  I would pray for God to give them guidance in their decisions, faith when their faith seemed weak, and friends when they needed friends.  I prayed for them~what I needed for myself.  I was not feeling "good" about my job that I was going to start.  It was not a 9-5 day job, I could work some evening and I was very likely going to work many Saturdays.  This would put more pressure on Jerry and his responsibilities at home.  This was not what I was trying to do for our family, or for Jerry.  I was trying to find something that would "help" us, "help" him.  By the end of our camping trip, that unsettling feeling in my stomach regarding my new job turned into a decision that  I was going to decline the offer as soon as I got home.  So I did.  I sent an email, 4 days before I was supposed to start and told them that I was sorry, but I realized the job wasn't the right fit for myself or my family.  I explained Jerry's condition and told them I was worried I was going to burden him too much with the hours I would be working.  Instantly, I felt better.  I still had a job.  I still had a good job, a job that I loved and a job that allowed me to be there for my kids before and after school and also offered all the same days off that they had.  God must want me to keep this job. Then the next day happened.  I received a phone call from a job that I had applied for over a month before.  They wanted to meet me the very next morning at 8:30 am.  My daughter was having oral surgery that day at 9:40 am and I had to think fast.  I figured out a way to make it work as long as I was out of there by 9:00.  I told them this.  I figured at this point, what do I have to loose, right?  I probably wouldn't get it anyway....I hadn't gotten the other jobs.....my competition is 20 years younger than me, I was loosing confidence.  I went to the interview at 8:30 (I was actually there before the employer who was interviewing me...haha)   I told them, I'm older than my competition (I assumed) but I had experience, experience working with people, experience working with kids, I didn't just graduate from college, but I had experience in the real world.  I left by 9:00 am.  I didn't care at this point, I needed to get to my daughter.  Her surgery was over by 10:30.  My daughter's boyfriend brought her home, while I went to the store to get her some food and her prescriptions.   As I pulled in the Meijer parking lot around 10:45, only a couple hours after my interview, I received a phone call with an offer for the job I had interviewed for that very morning.  They wanted me!  I was stoked and almost shocked!  My new boss, the one who called me was so surprised at my response, that she thought I had accepted an offer to another job and that I didn't want it!  I was almost speechless!!  haha!   That's when I told her that I was very grateful and I was thankful for the opportunity.  Her words to me were "I just prayed that we would find the right person, and we believe you are her".    My confirmation that God had not forgotten about me.  My confirmation that he was still listening and that he was still looking out for me.  That unsettling feeling that I had with the other job was God telling me to be patient and to wait.  Once I listened, he moved.

When I'm in doubt, I listen to music.  This song below touched me after I received the job offer.  I cried in the parking lot of Meijer.  You are enough for me God.  I don't think that God is angry that I questioned him.  I think he expects that.  He just wants us to come back, like Kari says in this video, he wants us to lean in to him - he wants us to surrender - he wants our hearts.  When I surrendered my own will, when I could tell that what I was doing on my own did not feel good, I gave it up....I walked away and just prayed that God would provide for Jerry and I, and He did!


 My new job is a secretary at an elementary school with full benefits.  I'm so grateful and so thankful!









Saturday, May 6, 2017

WHO HOLDS YOUR TOMORROW?




I have had a lot of emotions going through me lately and the best way for me to deal with them is to write.  For some reason, it helps me to feel better when I talk about what is going on.  I don't have time to talk to a therapist or burden all my friends and family with conversations, so I write.... This way, people can listen if they want to, they are not forced to put on a smile and listen to me go on and on about my life while they are struggling with their own demons.  

So, if you have been following our story, you know that Jerry has been having several MRI's over the last year because the Dr's were seeing some changes.  There was no way to know what exactly was happening, so having MRI's often was the best option to figure it out.  Was it swelling?  Was it effects from radiation?  Was it good brain cells that were affected by the treatment?  What was going on?

At his last appointment, we received information to better explain what was happening because the MRI scans had become more clear.  The news was not good.  We were devastated to find out that what was happening was that he was developing new tumors.  In a new area.  They originate from the original area, but they are growing in a different location.  This explained a lot.  This explained why Jerry was having more issues of weakness and why he was so tired all the time.  Originally Jerry's tumor was labeled as a Grade 2 Astrocytoma, which means it was considered low grade, and slow growing.  Now, they have changed his diagnosis to a Grade 3, which means it is considered High Grade and becoming more aggressive.  Grade 4 is the highest grade.  

We have been so devastated by this news that we have not really shared with many people unless they came right out and asked or if we knew that they really cared to know.  


Jerry has been feeling better since they gave him some medication for the swelling, but it is a medication he cannot be on long-term.  He had a brain tumor re-section to remove as much tumor as possible (brain surgery), he had 6 weeks of radiation, and he had been receiving Chemotherapy treatments from December 2015 - January 2017.   So, for the last 3 months he has been treatment free, thankful that he was through all of that and hoping and praying that everything he had been through was "working".


He had an appointment this week with his new Oncologist.  After the tumor board met and discussed his treatment options, the best and only option for him right now is to go back on the chemotherapy. Radiation may be be an option, but they have to do more research to find out if the area the new tumors are in, were at all affected by the original radiation because you can only have that done one time to any given area of the body.  

Jerry's quality of life is pretty good right now.  The only change is that we are aware of his condition. We are aware that it is getting worse and not better.  He still functions normal and is able to work and do all the things that he did before.  But, knowledge is powerful.  It changes us.  It changes the way we think and the way we act.  For me, I have been angry, sad, hurt, depressed...really all of the normal feelings of grief.  Sometimes I don't know how to stop feeling this way.  I have kids that are watching me.  Kids that are following my lead.  If I'm good, they are good.  If I'm sad, they are sad. If I'm worried, they are worried.  I have to hide a lot of feelings.  I have to pretend a lot.  I have to put on this bubble wrap around my heart because it is seriously breaking every minute of every day. One question that I have asked God is, why?  Why has the last 20 years of my life been so hard? That is kinda hard for me to say because I know there are people that have had it much worse than me. (But this is my blog so I'm going to be selfish and talk about myself) There were a lot of good times in there, but in the last 20 years, I married a man because I was pregnant with his child.  I didn't know him, I was scared, so I married him.  We proceeded to have 2 other children and remained married for the next 11.5 years before the divorce happened.  I will not publicly bash my ex-husband because he is the father of my 3 daughters, but I will say that I was very un-happy many of those years that I was married. I'm not saying there weren't any good times, but it just wasn't a good fit, we should not have been together.  What did make me happy during my marriage and what did make me thrive and keep going, were my children.  I am always thankful for them and I always will be.  Then I married Jerry. Honestly, for the first time, I felt a love I had never felt before.  It's difficult to explain, but Jerry and I had a connection that was bigger than words.  It was what people consider a "sole connection".  That statement "soulmate" has been so over used that I think it has lost it's true value, but that is what I felt with Jerry.  We were one.  I was happy.  We were happy.  My girls LOVED Jerry and were very comfortable around him.  Shortly after our marriage (literally weeks) we found out we were expecting our little boy.  One day shy of our 9 month anniversary, we welcomed him into our family (he was a few weeks early just in case you are doing the math).  When Brayden was only 11 months old, we found out Jerry had the Brain tumor.  I can't say that I haven't had "happy moments" over the last 6 years, but there is always that dark cloud looming in the air.  That silent whisper saying "brain cancer".  I can never get it out of my mind.  I feel sometimes like I will never have a normal life.  I see people that seem to have everything together and it seems as though everything is good for them and I just think and wonder what it would be like if it could be like that for me, for us.  If I could wake up everyday and just be happy. Have no worries and no pains in my heart.  My girls have been through the experience of having a broken family then having a stepfather that is sick.  Our son will never remember a time when his Daddy wasn't sick.  Then it hits me........  It's not suppose to be like that yet, we are not suppose to live free of pain and sickness yet. We still live here, in the flesh and on the earth.  We don't get to have that freedom.  Just like most people don't know my daily struggles, the very same people I look at and "want their life", have struggles that I know nothing about. Struggles that I wouldn't want to bear.  This life here isn't suppose to be easy.  It's suppose to be hard. We are going to have worries and we are going to have struggles, it's just part of life.   This week I found out that someone I care about deeply has passed away, way too young.  Someone that held an important part in my life when I was a teenager whom I had reconnected with a few years ago. Someone that was encouraging and full of joy.  He's gone.  He's not here anymore.  It makes me angry and it makes me sad.  In my grief, I have to remember that he is happy now.  He gets that life that I want so badly.  He is free of pain, free of worry, he is happy.  He get's to have what he has longed for all of his life.  He is with his family that has passed on, with his friends that left the earth too early.  He is there, where I long to be someday.  Then I think of his children, and his wife.  They are sad, they are grieving, they are still here. Ironically, his son is one of my daughter's very good friends so she is with him today.  She is standing beside him and helping him keep his chin up, holding him and comforting him as he grieves.  His son is young, barely a man.  He has already lost his father.  My friend who passed, his daughter's are also just young women, he will not be in a lot of their new beginnings. When I bring all of this into perspective, I realize that pain has a way of guiding us.  Keeping our eyes and our ears focused on what matters.  My life is not great, it is not easy and my husband is sick, yes....but he is still here.  He hasn't left.  He put a bracelet on my daughters wrist last night before her senior prom..  He wanted her to know that she was special to him. That was a moment that he DID give to her, a moment they shared together, a moment that I need to remember.  There may be a future that I don't want to think about, but I need to think about today and make the best of every single moment and opportunity.  I need to live, as does my husband.  No matter what the future holds, today is good and I know that the future is something greater than I can even fathom because mine and my husbands ultimate future is with Jesus.  We will be with my dear friend, with my grandparents, family members, with everyone that will go before we do.  My future is bright and so is my husbands.  💕



These Pictures reflect the stories I shared:


Our Wedding
Our Sons Birth

My husband's relationship with my "his" daughters
I purposely picked pictures that were "real life" pics and not professional ones that were "posed".



My daughter's senior Prom

Her bracelet from Jerry




Matthew 6:34

"So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries.  Today's trouble is enough for today."

James 4:14

"How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow?  Your life is like the morning fog - It's here a little while, then it's gone."