Wednesday, October 1, 2008

come on in

I thought I'd take some time tonight to open up about a very real sadness that has been in my being for a little while now. I don't want to label it necessarily, other than to say these past days have brought me very close to the brink of the pool of what I assume to be a sort of depression. So close, that I could see my reflection in its water. One would think that this type of reaction would have washed over me in the early weeks and months of Ethan's initial diagnosis, but I refused to let it, and instead chose to stand on the promises I knew in my heart were from the Lord. And each day since, with His grace, peace and mercy, I've been able to walk down this road - not at all by my own strength, but certainly and completely by His.

My resolve has been much weaker as of late. Strange, I know, since one would think that the worst of this trial is (hopefully & prayerfully) behind us.... and Ethan has been graciously and miraculously protected! But this last leg of this particular marathon has been especially difficult for me. As we get a small taste of normal life, I'm reminded daily (well lately, anyway) that our lives are not anywhere near what my anticipation of "normal" would have been this time last year. And, it's been the small things lately that have caused me to crumble. Imagine a deck of cards that were transformed into a magnificent castle-like image - one card at a time, strategically placed and balanced on top of each other until the artist completed his creation. Only to have someone in the audience cough - and the tiny burst of air from that person's congestion - blew in its direction, even if only barely, and yet was enough to cause the cards to fall to the ground.

That would paint the perfect picture to describe how I've been feeling lately.

What do I mean by small things? Well, for example, Adam does a lot of the cooking in our family. Simply because he enjoys doing it. He really does. Throwing a meal together comes very easy to him... and he's very good at it! Well, yesterday I wanted to surprise him and make dinner for us myself. Ethan was napping, so I sorted through my recipes and was excited about finding a dish I knew we'd both like (we're very picky eaters!). I stumbled upon something that I thought would be perfect! I started looking at the list of ingredients and my heart sank. I realized that there were 2 important pieces of the recipe that I didn't have at home. And hot tears of frustration swelled up in my eyes as I realized that there was nothing I could do about it. Ethan can't leave the house - be in public - except for going to the hospital (even there we have to tell other people they can't get in the elevators with us). And no one can babysit him here at our house right now either for the same reasons (risks of infection) and restrictions. So making a simple run to the grocery store was completely out of the question. I felt angry and trapped by this trial in a way I hadn't felt before. And over what! Not being able to cook a meal?! But of course it wasn't just that.... it was the reminder of how limited we are right now.... and how much I dislike it. This is just one of the scenarios that inched me closer and closer to that metaphorical pool of water I mentioned earlier.... There's also the "having to plan" which one of us will attend a party/function or even run an errand - resulting in Adam and I having to live out various parts of our lives outside of the home, separately from each other.... and also without Ethan. That realization hit me particularly hard the night before last. Not being able to do certain things with other people, together, as a family. Anyway, all of this has been weighing me down... As well as just trying to balance the normal mom responsibilities.

The reason I write this is not so that you feel sorry for me, though I understand that it's only natural that you might.... so then, why am I writing it - telling you not to feel sorry for me - but readily admitting that I know you probably will anyway??

I share this with you for two reasons. 1) This blog is the one place that I am 100% me, all of the time. I open up my heart and pour out whatever is in it, because it's my way to release it or commit to it... whatever the "it" might be, because in many cases, I'm typing to you, but praying to the Lord at the same time. And 2) because many of you have shared such beautiful encouragement to me, saying that you've been encouraged by something I've shared here. So I see anything that I experience as a tool in which God can use whether in your life or in mine, or both.... so I feel it only appropriate to share it all.

So now you know where I've been the last several days. And today was no different. In fact, this afternoon I probably sat down on the brink of that pool and let my feet dangle in the water. I saw my reflection again... and I didn't like it. Which sparked the cycle of frustration all over again. I know better than this. I know the goodness of the Lord. I know the many blessings I can count... in fact, there are too many to count. But those things do not resonate within you when you are this close to the painful side of sadness. You have the head knowledge. You know what is happening to your joy, but you're too tired to fight it. The pool looks oddly satisfying. And it's true, I really do see what's been happening lately, as far as the attacks from the Serpent himself. But understanding that hasn't helped.... nothing has.

Until tonight.

Adam came home from work today and found me in what has been a "typical" emotional mood lately. I immediately started crying - yes, I mean the bawling, dry-heaving kind of crying. Side note, I bet you think I must cry all the time. I really don't. Contrary to this blog and my some times extroverted personality - I'm actually a fairly steady individual... but that's neither here nor there... back to what I was saying... The overall frustration of the last 5 or 6 months came pouring out of me in about 5 or 6 minutes. Among the stuff we talked about, he encouraged me to go to church tonight. I was certainly not in the mood to be around anyone else. But for some reason, I got ready and decided to go while he stayed home and got Ethan all set for bed. I snuck into the back pew right as they had started the opening hymn. The songs were nice and I appreciated being out of the house. But I wasn't really seeing any direct hit of something special for me. Our pastor invited a missionary from Spain to get up and give us an update on what he and his family have been doing in their work in Barcelona. His presentation was very nice... and as he was sharing his message, I asked the Lord to give me something... something to help me get back on my feet again. The gentleman was about to sit down when he said, "I have one last thing I want to share with you before I go..." And with ease and assurance he gave us the verse from Galatians chapter 6 verse 9, "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." I have literally heard that verse thousands of times. But it wasn't until that moment that it changed me. And the strange thing was that the verse wasn't particularly in line with any specific area of his presentation.

But it was specific to me.

I asked the Lord to give, and He did.

If my verse of promise during Ethan's actual battle with leukemia was/is John 11:4 (...This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby). Then Galatians 6:9 is my verse of promise that leaning on His strength in the "well doing" profits much in the end, thus making the prize worth the aches and pains of the trial... even when (as another mother of a child with restrictive and special needs put it so perfectly in an email to me recently) "Sometimes we feel so 'stretched' and we don't feel we are doing anything particularly well, [and] it's kind of a lonely feeling."

Man, did her sentence hit the nail on the head with me! I think her explanation sums it all up perfectly... feeling so stretched AND feeling like I'm not doing any of it particulary well. Anyway, I'm working on giving even that over to Him tonight, but even if I am unable to fully escape this clouded grip tonight, I know His mercies are new every morning. And I know He knows I need them. And as Ethan and I make the drive to Boston again tomorrow, He will be with us as usual... but more than that.... what touched me tonight is.... He's paying attention to me. And sometimes just that reminder alone is the life jacket you need.


And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:9

14 comments:

Honea Household said...

Praying for you dear sister in Christ.

Anonymous said...

Kasey,

Hey, I am a regular reader of your blog, but never comment. Today, I just had to write a comment. First, I have not had a child with as serious a health concern. But have been through serious health battles with my MIL and my mother. With that said, I found that during the really hard time, I was able to "handle" it with the Lord's help. But after that really hard season was over, each time, I faced a period of tremendous anxiety and even depression. I didn't understand how I got through the long days and nights at the hospital with out it hitting me then. But, I think sometimes, when we get through that first really hard struggle, go back home, and try to get back to normal, the weight of it all just hits us. The great thing is, the Lord knows this, He knows our every need, He will provide. And sometimes we need to just be still, realize what we have just been through and not have such high expectations of ourselves.
I did go through a 7 month period where no one other than my husband and I could care for my infant, however we could go in public. That alone was hard, so what you are going through is much more difficult. You have been through so much, and are doing so well. You have been a great inspiration. Keep the Faith!
I am praying for you.

Moz + Pam said...

Dear Kasey, what you're going through is a battle and just like soldiers who have gone through a battle sometimes have post-traumatic stress syndrome you are experiencing that yourself. One verse that really helped me with my battle against cancer was: 2 Corinthians 10:4 & 5-
"For our weapons of our war are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the OBEDIENCE of Christ:"
Praying for you daily, Kasey!

choelzel said...

Kasey

Gal 6:9 is my favorite scripture. I just want you to know that today in my prayer for you I am placing you on the lap of Jesus. He is stoking you and letting you cry and telling you (and you know it) tht He loves you just the way you are and He knows how difficult this trial is and has been but He is still in control. You in fact are a missionary to all who read your blog. I am excited to think about your little Ethan reading this some day and realizing how much God loves him through you and Adam. Try to take special care of yourself and enjoy resting and any down time you have to just be with the Father. Dinner will take care of itself.

Love and prayers

Carol Hoelzel

choelzel said...

Kasey

Gal 6:9 is my favorite scripture. I just want you to know that today in my prayer for you I am placing you on the lap of Jesus. He is stoking you and letting you cry and telling you (and you know it) tht He loves you just the way you are and He knows how difficult this trial is and has been but He is still in control. You in fact are a missionary to all who read your blog. I am excited to think about your little Ethan reading this some day and realizing how much God loves him through you and Adam. Try to take special care of yourself and enjoy resting and any down time you have to just be with the Father. Dinner will take care of itself.

Love and prayers

Carol Hoelzel

Lorri said...

Hi Kasey, Beautiful Daughter of God. You share your heart with so much honesty and self-exposure. Next time you find yourself sitting at the water's edge, I want you to remember something: you are not in this alone. Humility makes us more Christ-like and humility allows us the opportunity to let others grow in their own Christ-likeness. What am I saying? I'm saying, if you need a couple of groceries, call a friend to help you. Yes, it's late in the day and everyone has their own family to tend to, but what a chance for honoring God with sacrifice "out of my way but I'll do it for you Jesus" opportunity. This sounds harsh, but I say it with love: do not rob the Body of Christ the opportunity to serve and become more like Him. Humility shares its burden like you have written on your blog...the next step of vunerablity is asking for help when you need it.

Bless you today Kasey, I hope my words come across as loving. I am no stranger to depression so I speak from experience. What's helped me the most through my journey is one little statement: Satan is the caterer of pity parties. Shows that water for what it really is!

I don't know you IRL, but I am just guessing that you have an army of Jesus-Loving Friends who would be honored and blessed to serve the Lord by running to the store for you or any other number of little things. I know if I lived near you, I would be thrilled to help you in the little things - wish I could!

His love to you...Lorri

lcodrington said...

You have (1) a husband that cooks well and likes it (2) A child on the heal. (3) a Saviour who empathasizes with your every feeling and adores you and...... (4) a husband that cooks well and likes it.

Hollie said...

Praying for you, dear friend! You are amazing!

Ray Nothstine said...

Thanks for sharing. We are so proud of you Kasey. You really have been shaped to influence so many people in powerful ways.

We are all praying for you, Adam, and Ethan. Thanks for encouraging us and Praise Christ for the wonderful work he has done!

Lizzie Fish said...

kasey - what a beautiful gift, and how sweet that you were open to receive it. we are praying for you every day and your incredible honesty makes specificity easy. you are allowed to be sad sometimes...if you fall in, your faith, your friends and even random strangers like us will pray you right back out again. thank you for sharing your heart, you are amazig!

Anonymous said...

Dearest Kasey--we are all rooting for you and praying daily for you and your dear family. I can't imagine what you're going through, but know that we would love to help in any way! If you ever need a personal delivery (to your door--no further) of groceries, please don't hesitate to call!! God is good all the time and He uses other believers to be a blessing when you need it!! Don't hesitate....love, Molly

littleleaps said...

I GET IT!!! You are not alone in this trial or feeling. I REALLY get it. In fact I have only been to church twice since we have been home from transplant and the first time my pastor taught on weariness and gave Gal 6:9. God gave this message to me to and I heard it, though has taken me a lot longer of a time to get the point. God loves you SOOO much:)!
This period has been the only time that I have considered antidepressants. It is such a trial...but normalcy comes. A beautiful normalcy that God has reigned you in just for Himself.

Renee said...

Kasey, You don't know me, but I have been reading your blog.God is using you in so many ways,I just wanted to share a scripture with you for the times you are at the water's edge:
2 Corinthians 4:8-18
8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. 13 It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken." With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.


Even if you feel like you are wasting away, that you are always being given over to death, and that you are pressed on every side, with a spirit of faith you should believe and speak (which means you are making a deliberate choice) that you are not losing heart, that you are being renewed, and that THAT which is unseen, which is eternal is being achieved for you in these momentary troubles.
In Christ,
Renee

Amy said...

i know that i don't know you and i hope this doesn't offend you, but i just so wish i could come give you a big hug!

i've been reading your story since diagnosis earlier this year, and getting updates thru a mutual friend. and i am in total awe of your heart, your spirit and your strength and the strength of your family and faith. reading this daily, God uses your words to speak directly to me, even as i seem to walk a much easier road currently.

and as unqualified as i feel to give you any words of wisdom...i would love to offer you some encouragement. you are rockin the house girl! you are waking up every day doing whatever...whatever needs to be done for your son and your family. you are DUE some grief, some emotional rollercoaster rides. i know it's not where you want to be, but i also know that you KNOW that He will meet you here. obviously we all walk a fine line daily with where we allow our thoughts lie...but there's no shame, no failure in allowing yourself to grieve the life you dreamed of as a girl. you aren't betraying ethan in doing that i promise. you aren't being ungrateful for the amazing miracles that HE has done! HE longs to meet you and introduce Himself to you in a new way today.

i'm being humbled and reminded of His amazing provision of Himself lately...that we WILL wander in the wildnerness, but that He will always walk alongside. exodus 16 has been such a sweet reminder of this...a story i've heard for ages...but He is teaching me something new..today. i hope it can bring you the encouragement and hope that He's brought me thru such a longtold story :)

keep writing girl! i applaud you for doing what so many of us can't....get it out. don't allow the enemy a foothold....get it out and let your family, your fellow followers of Christ carry some of this burden along with YOU. thank goodness He is so relational and we weren't made to live these lives on our own! thank you for your heart.