Rambling: the traveling edition

I feel like these last few months have contained their fair share of me burning up the road along the southern part of Missouri, sometimes heading to southeast Missouri, sometimes to Southern Illinois, and most recently all the way across Missouri, through Illinois (briefly), through Kentucky and on to Tennessee.  While, I can't say that I relish hours in a car that does not have cruise control, I am so incredibly thankful for the opportunity and ability to make these trips.  To visit family, to be with a dear friend at the funeral of her grandfather, and most recently to Nashville to be with my sister and her family and my family as we learned of her cancer diagnosis---hours in a car seem like small sacrifices compared to the sweetness of time together.  And I have enjoyed watching the world come to life again as spring is settling in, the flowers are blooming, the grass is getting greener--God's creation is always inspiring. 

Yesterday afternoon and evening found me making the trek back to Nashville to go to the doctor with Melissa and Brian as they met with her oncologist to discuss treatment plan and the months ahead.  To say that we were all anxious and slightly nervous might be an understatement.  I don't know that I can really put into words the grief that has gripped my heart these last few weeks as I have watched my sister bravely face a world that I wish on no one, much less one of the people dearest to my heart.  I have found myself angry, aching with physical pain, desperately wishing to wake up from what seemed like a horrible nightmare, wanting somehow someway to make what we had been told 'untrue'.  It is a numbness and surreal feeling to walk this road with Melissa, so many similarities in our life circumstances surrounding our diagnoses.  Not knowing how to trust, but knowing that trusting is what we must do, struggling to grasp the "why?" of it all and yet knowing that even though we may never understand the 'why?' here in this lifetime, we can know that He is present, that He is faithful, and that He will redeem an ugly disease and bring good from it.

This morning, as the three of us went to the doctor's office, I was fearful of what the doctor was going to say--what if what he told us was actually worse than my worst fears?  Yet, God graciously gave us news that brought sighs of relief from all of us.  Looking back, it wasn't necessarily all good news.  We know the nature of this cancer is very serious, yet we were extended hope today, hope that although the battle ahead is going to be difficult and costly physically to Melissa, he felt that there is an 80% chance of this putting her cancer into remission.    My heart still aches for the road ahead of them, not just in the coming months of chemo, but also just the lifetime of knowing that the possibility of cancer is always there.  I have been amazed again at the peace that Melissa and Brian are exhibiting and the grace that God is giving them to handle and accept what is ahead.  I know that they must have their 'moments' just like Micah and I had ours of struggling with acceptance, of realizing how this changes their lives, and of grieving the loss of the innocence of not having been diagnosed with cancer.    But what comfort to know that we can trust our God, that even through the difficult days, I have seen them look back and see how God has been preparing them and providing for them and it just is an encouragement to me to see God's hand in their lives. 

Melissa posted a bit more in depth about the details of the chemo that she is facing on her blog here.  If you have time, I highly recommend reading some of the multiple multiple comments on many of her posts.  I can't tell you what an encouragement it is to me, her sister, to see the community of people who Melissa has touched throughout her life in so many different areas and to see how they are coming alongside her, supporting her, loving on her and her family.  I agree with all of them, she is an amazing person, she challenges me and inspires me every single day and my heart has been broken into more pieces than I can count that she is facing this fight.  Last week, after I went back to Tulsa, I found myself going back through Melissa's blog and reading through when I was diagnosed and just her love and care for me.  I felt like I was learning a little bit from her about how to love my sister well through cancer (if that makes sense).  Some moments, I am still just shocked by what our family has dealt with in the past few years and I honestly don't get it.  But, it is what it is.  These are the places that God has allowed us to be at these specific moments in our lives and we know from His Word, we know from experience, that we are not alone, that He walks each minute of every single day with us.  and we can trust Him. 

I maybe didn't mention at the beginning of the post, that my in laws along with several sweet friends have taken charge of my boys for this trip and I am greatly indebted to them for the ability to make this trip, to spend time with Melissa and her family and my mom (and eventually my other sister, just haven't seen her yet).  We are going to enjoy the next few days together, maybe do a little shopping, probably a LOT of talking, and much laughing.  I am so thankful for the sweet relationships in my family--such a gift!


Anonymous said…
My prayers are with you and your family at this time....as we know this is a tough road, but by the love and support of family and friends she will get through this. It sounds like God is already working by giving her and her husband a sense of peace...take care and let me know if there is anything that I can do for you and your family.

Take care,
happymom said…
I may not know Melissa personally but I am praying for each of your family members! We love you guys. This is a tough road. God will be with you every step of the way.
Girl, you needed to post kleenex warning at the top of this post! I'm a crying mess over here! Love you & your sweet sister so much. I'm so grateful that you've been able to be by her side & just be the friend and sister that she needs right now. You all are constantly on my mind and in my prayers.

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