Monday, December 31, 2012


iPhone snapshot after our recent blizzard

"Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the LORD." 
Psalm 31:24

"Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy." 
Psalm 33:18

"Why are you cast down, oh my soul? and why are you disquieted within me? hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God." Psalm 42:11

"For You are my hope, O Lord GOD; You are my trust from my youth." Psalm 71:5

"But I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more." Psalm 71:14

"I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope." Psalm 130:5

"Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God." 
Psalm 146:5

HOPE. Such a short word. Only four letters. But that one little word makes a world of difference in daily life.

Hope is what we crave. 
Love this song by for KING & COUNTRY

It's presence means joy, peace, dreams, and optimism.

It's absence means depression, anger, defeat, and gloom.

With everything in me, I've been fighting for hope lately. "The most wonderful time of the year" has been challenging and I'm fighting for the wonderfulness. There have been many happy moments.

Food, family, fun, fellowship, snow...

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD." Jeremiah 17:7

"Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. 'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore I hope in Him!' The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for a man to bear the yoke in his youth." Lamentations 3:22-27

"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." Romans 5:1-5

"For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. Likewise the Spirit also helps us in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." Romans 8:24-26

"Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality." Romans 12:9-13

"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

"[Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." 1 Corinthians 13:7

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen." Hebrews 11:1

And yet through all the happy moments and rounds of laughter and plates of deliciousness, has been an overwhelming sense of anxiety, fear, depression, and hopelessness.

Proverbs 13:12 says, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life." And I have to say, that my heart has actually physically been hurting through all this "deferred" hope, crushed dreams, and uncertainties about the future.

My entire life is up in the air. Decisions are being faced that I thought were months out (at least). Relationships are not where I'd hoped they'd be.

As I fight this hourly battle, I'm reminded through these verses that the Lord alone must be my hope.

Not a job.

Not a bank account.

Not a home.

Not a car.

Not a boyfriend.

Not resolved family issues.

Not renewed health.

Not amazing friends.

Not staying out of the hospital.

Jesus is the reason I live and breathe. 
Amazing song by Casting Crowns.

It must be Jesus. Only Jesus.

His love.

His kindness.

His joy.

His strength.

His provision.

His plans.

His protection.

His comfort.

His peace.

Jesus. He is HOPE.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Heartbreak is Beautiful

My lovely sister-in-law texted me the YouTube link to this song today.  The first time I watched it and listened to the lyrics, I couldn't stop the tears from springing to my eyes or swallow the sudden lump in my throat.  Like so many people, it feels like this song was written just for me.

God has led me through more brokenness and heartbreak throughout the past several years, and especially this year, than is easy to recall.  Humanly, I've often wished or prayed that He'd take the pain and suffering away.  The mountains of difficult relationships, broken hearts, physical pain, emotional trauma, sleepless nights, floods of tears, and financial/job related times I've just wished them all to be gone.

"Life decided to change my plans and I found a mountain in the middle of my road."  That is how I could describe my whole life.  At the same time, watching my God bring beauty from the pain, flood me with His grace in even greater amounts than my innumerable tears, and shower me with love when I didn't think I could take another minute of the suffering, has made it all worth it.   

My life is nothing like I ever pictured it would be.  Nothing like it.  But as God has stripped things away one after another, after another, after another, I've been forced to cling more tightly to Him and Him alone.  This is what makes it all a beautiful heartbreak.

Heartbreak is beautiful when Jesus is glorified through it.  

Heartbreak is beautiful when I am sanctified through it.

Heartbreak is beautiful when it draws friends and family closer.

Heartbreak is beautiful when it unites the Body of Christ.

Heartbreak is beautiful when it becomes a testimony to a lost world.

Heartbreak is beautiful when God's hand holds it.

Heartbreak is beautiful when it draws us into closer relationship with Jesus.

Heartbreak is beautiful when it strips prejudices and differences in struggling relationships.

Heartbreak is beautiful when it touches us, having passed through our Father's hand.

Heartbreak is beautiful when there is an eternal good purpose for it.  

Heartbreak is beautiful when we let Jesus make it beautiful.

I'm not going to lie.  Heartbreak is hard.  Incredibly hard.  Letting it be "beautiful" is a daily, hourly choice.  It's hard to choose trust, faith, joy, love, and contentment over bitterness, anger, and discouragement.  It's hard to trust God to make each heartbreak beautiful when, from our point of view, it looks ugly as hell and hurts so much we can barely breathe.

But those hours, days, weeks, and months when we let God take each mountain, storm, and broken piece and hold it all in His hands, life becomes beautiful, no matter how painful.  It's only something He can do.  And the beauty, grace, and faith that He grows in us through the storms is the most beautiful and precious thing He could ever do in and for us.

"But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold." (Job 23:10)

"He has made everything beautiful in its time.  Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end." (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith in this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.  Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." (Romans 5:1-5)

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." (Romans 8:18)

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.  For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.  Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified."  (Romans 8:28-30)

"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?  Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies.  Who is he who condemns? Itis Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  As it is written: 'For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.'  Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created things, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:31-39)

"And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.  Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.  And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake.  For when I am weak, then I am strong."  (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Birthday Blogging

Love this photo that I snapped on my iPhone a couple months ago. It reminds me of God!

It's 2:23am on my 23rd birthday and I can't sleep.  

Physically I'm completely exhausted, worn out, and sick.  

Emotionally I'm drained and spiritually I'm tired.

I've been reading back through many of my blog posts from earlier this year.  It's still crazy to me all that God has led me through, carried me through, loved me through.

Earlier tonight I was telling a friend how tired I am.  And I don't just mean physically; I mean tired from life.  It can be hard to keep pressing on when life is hard.  

As I reflect on this past year of life and think ahead to the new one, my heart's desire is to draw strength from my great God each and every day.  On the exhausting days when I want to give up, on the days I'm my spunky, spontaneous, crazy self.

Jesus Christ is an endless, rich, abundant source of life, joy, peace, and love.  No person and no circumstance is beyond His reach, beyond His care.

Not the friends facing the loss of their father and grandfather.

Not the friend whose husband left her.

Not the close friend struggling with heart-wrenching challenges.

Not the woman regretting giving up the life of her unborn child.

Not the child with leukemia.

Not me in my weakness.

I will lift up my eyes to the hills--from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1)

God offers His help through anything and everything.  We just need to accept it.  That requires faith and sometimes a lot of it.  It's not easy and it's certainly not natural.  

After a year of learning more about faith than I ever have before, a year where my faith has experienced more ups and downs than I ever thought it would, I have to say that the path of faith and trust is always better.  But it's a daily choice and a daily battle.  There is major war going on.  The biggest war is the one I have within me.

Looking ahead to my 24th year of life, I'm so thankful I have God on my side, fighting for me.  I'm excited (okay, and a little scared) to see what He has in store on this crazy journey called life.  He's surrounded me with incredible family and friends throughout each adventure.  A year from now, I look forward to looking back and seeing all He has done!

Friday, November 30, 2012


It's been a very long time since I wrote on here. Way too long. But tonight, after an evening with my amazing family celebrating my birthday a couple days early, I just want to write to say how thankful I am.

Thankful for love.

Thankful for family.

Thankful for yummy food.

Thankful for incredible friends.

Thankful for doctors, nurses, & medicine.

Thankful for Jesus.

So thankful for so many things. Way more than I have time to list.

This year has been crazy. Crazy hard. But I can't begin to list everything for which I'm thankful. God is good.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Faith and Fear

Yesterday I had an appointment with my specialist down in Madison.  It was a routine follow-up visit like I've had several times before.  There wasn't that much unusual or different or bad about it.  That is, until I asked the question, "What do things look like long-term?"

I didn't really know what I was in for when I asked that and part of me wishes I wouldn't have.

Up to that point during the appointment, I was feeling encouraged.  After a horribly rough year, things are looking up, I'm feeling better, I'm able to be physically active again, and I'm not doubling over in pain multiple times a day. These are all huge things!  Things I praise God for!

But apparently, medically speaking, and based on my extra bad case of Crohn's, the worst is probably not behind me.  She gave me a picture of the future may easily hold and it is not pretty.  Surgeries, perforations, long-term effects of the awful medications, increased chance of cancer, etc.  It's all rather daunting.

Throughout the rest of the afternoon and evening, I was fine.  Shopping at Maurice's, out for Mexican, and good conversation with my mom, ice cream, TV show, and laughter with a couple girlfriends.  

But by the time I collapsed in bed at midnight, I was completely exhausted.  

And once it was just me, my pillow, and God, the tears and the fears came in a rush.  

Fear and faith had a huge collision right there on my tear-stained pillow.

I was passionately telling my God that I trust Him, that I know He has this, that He has a plan, that it is a good plan.  (Jeremiah 29:11)

At the same time, the fear of what the future could hold, was very strong.  And yet, as I told God last night, I only need to take a day at a time, holding my Savior's hand, and not worry about tomorrow. (Matthew 6:34)

I know He could heal me if He chose to. I know that! But I also know that may not be His will.  Trust me, I know that too!  Either way, He'll give me the strength and grace for each and every day.

This song talks about the waves of life. Some of them are bigger than others.  Some come crashing over me and completely wipe me off my feet.  During my recent vacation on the east coast, we went out into the huge, crashing waves of the ocean.  It was fun, thrilling, and crazy.  Sometimes they would literally take our feet right out from under us.  But the majority of the time, we'd grab the hands of the little ones and make a line and withstand them together. If one of us fell, another would give a hand to pick us back up.  That is so how this Christian walk works.  God uses His people to help His people, to lift up and hold one another during the waves and storms of life.  He's done that for me so many times this year.  I am so thankful.

"A new command I give you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I wait

It blesses me so much when God speaks to me out of the blue.  This morning I was showering and really struggling with something, trying to give it over to Him.  Out of the nowhere, He brought to mind a verse I memorized YEARS  ago and had not thought about in a long time.  It was like God Himself spoke to me while I washed my hair!  And yes, I know it was literally God Himself because it's His Word, but it was different then when He speaks while reading His Word.  This just came out of thin air and was just what I needed.

These are the words He gave me:

"I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait; and in His Word, do I hope."

The issue I am struggling with involves a lot of inner turmoil and a ton of waiting.  The reminder to take hope in His Word, His promises, was exactly what I needed.  He's been growing my love for His scriptures and this little reminder increases my desire for the living Word even more. I am excited!

Friday, September 28, 2012

a fall evening

It's 9:00 o'clock after a beautiful fall evening.  I made chili for supper and then went out to my parents house to take my dog for a run.  The crisp air, orange sky, smell of the farmer cutting corn, and my gorgeous golden retriever prancing beside me was heavenly.  (We won't talk about the heaving breaths, sweat, or jiggles.)  When I got back to the house, I did my stretches and then just laid on the pavement staring at the dusky sky.  There was only one star visible in the whole sky and it was right about my head where I was laying. It was like God put it there just for me.  Just to remind He's here and He loves me and He's got everything about my life.  Everything.  Even to the little detail of shining a star above my head.

 Gorgeous sunset over the bay in the Outer Banks, NC

I'm sitting here back at my place, hot cup of cider, fuzzy blanket, vanilla candle, and my new super comfy hoodie from my recent trip to the east coast.  My pillow is calling my name so this will be very brief.  It's about time to pull up the covers and turn on a movie.  But my baby sister told me she's been checking my blog every single day to see if I've posted so I decided I better write something. ::smile::

A friend shared with me from Psalm 91 yesterday.  She was commenting on how it's a daily choice to abide under the shadow of our Almighty God.  It really challenged and convicted me.  I fail miserably at resting under His shadow and protection. I worry, I get angry, I grow cold.  I know I'm human and I'll never be perfect (thank God for His grace!) but I do so want to rest under His shadow each hour of each day.  

Soon I will post a vacation update with a ton of pictures. Soon!  God is so incredibly good and that week on the ocean was the highlight of my year. Praise Him!

Happy sleepy Friday night!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Inside, Outside, Upside Down

August 17, 2012: This post was written on August 5th. Just now finished it and got the pictures uploaded.

Some of my favorite books when I was a little girl were the Berenstain Bears books. I loved them.  Probably the one I remember the most, is the one pictured above. And when I set out to write this blog post (weeks ago), the title of the book popped into my head; because really, it describes my whole year. 

God has turned me inside, outside, and upside down.

Over and over and over.

It's like this book on repeat. 

A difference, however, is that God hasn't put me in a box. He's given me more freedom than that. He gives me choices and decisions and opportunities, even as He allows me to be tossed inside, outside, and upside down.

The ride hasn't been easy. I have bruises, scars, and a different body as daily evidence.  And more tears added to God's bottle than I care to ever count!

The month of July was crazy. As most of you know, I moved. As most of you who know me well know, it was an insanely emotional change. Most details are too personal to post publicly but I'll put it this way: moving out of a beautiful country home where many of my best friends live (aka, my incredible family & my amazing golden retriever) and into a condo in town with an elderly woman with dementia who doesn't necessarily want me here is well, in a word, hard.

When I started this blog post (the first week after I moved), I was feeling completely inside, outside, and upside down.  I was a mess. In a way I'm glad I never got the post written then. Sometimes it's better that the emotional babbling be left to me and my closest friends. I'm thankful that several weeks later, I am not quite so emotionally inside, outside, and upside down. It still feels like my life in general is; and I definitely still have my days. But it's encouraging to see the progress made.

I am very grateful to say my health has improved tremendously for the time-being. This is my last week on Prednisone and I cannot begin to express how grateful I am to be almost completely weaned off of it. It is so nasty. I'm also grateful that the weight gain was more like five pounds instead of twenty this time around! It's the little things, folks. I had a Remicade infusion on Wednesday and it went the best it has ever gone; praise GOD! The horrendous pain that I normally get the evening after the infusion never came in full strength; I am beyond thankful.  I've started working out again and joined the YMCA. Enjoying the sweat & muscle burning and the extra time with my sister-in-law when we carpool & workout together!

There is still a crazy long journey ahead of me with this disease. But I am thankful for grace and strength for one day, week, and month at a time. Thinking beyond that is too overwhelming!

There have been lots of fun times the past month as well...Brewers' game, mini golf, going out to movies & for coffee, lunch, dinner, & ice cream, bowling, walks, softball, shopping, and more. Just a side note: see why I needed to join the Y? ;) I need to work off some of those good times! Anyway, below are a few pictures....just a glimpse of the many, many, many blessings this past month.

I was so crazy excited for the Brewers game that I was ready early...and tried to make the time go faster by taken self portraits ;)

Love this little guy so much!!!


We were sitting right next to Ryan Braun. Way fun!

Love watching these two teenagers be friends!




Went to see Dark Knight Rises for a second time with Lydia!


I don't bowl like this. I was stretching. Or something.

Loved the disco lights!



Sisters again!


He wanted his final throw/roll to be done like this!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


New. Such a short word, yet so much depth or change or hope or disappointment or almost anything can go along with the word. New job, new schedule, new medication, new relationship, new president, new loss, new haircut, new phone, new nail polish. The list is endlessly random.

This year has held several "news" for me. New health challenges, new medical journey, new pain, new doctors, new work schedule, new (amazing) friends, new understanding of my God, new understanding of myself. Some of these new things have been wonderful, (many) others have been some of the greatest challenges I've ever faced. And there are potential other "news" on the table for within the next few months, including moving out of my parents' home and new ministry opportunities.

Now I'll be honest; I'm not a huge fan of new. Don't get me wrong, I love new clothes, new makeup, new movies, new food, new earrings, new guns, new traveling experiences. What I don't like are new, uncharted, scary, painful waters. Unsettling change, well, unsettles me. This past weekend I had bad dreams about my new work schedule. While I'm thrilled to switch to full-time from a financial standpoint, I'm completely daunted by it health wise. I don't like thinking about the fewer traveling opportunities, fewer hours to spend with family and friends,  fewer moments to do "whatever". That will probably make many people chuckle. I mean, I'm in my twenties and this is normal. But it wasn't my normal. And now I'm getting used to a new normal. And really, the timing couldn't be more ironic. My health gets worse (needing more rest) right at the same time my hours quadruple. My hospital stay held frequent phone calls with my boss sorting out the new arrangement. Let me give you a word of advice: if at all possible, avoid long, logistical, financial conversations with your employer when you are completely drugged up. That's all I'll say.

On the flip side, there are new things I wish and pray health, new opportunities, new thoughts, new relationship. It's the good changes that seem to be so slow in coming. And yet, if they were truly for good, they'd happen. And my God is the only Decider of what's good or not good. I'm pretty sure He gets a laugh when I passionately express my opinion of how things should be.

Relationally this year has held new change as well. (Yes, I do realize relationally is not really a word. But I'm a Webster so I can make up whatever the heck I want. ::grin::) Struggling relationships have gotten to be less of a struggle. Differences have (finally) been overlooked as less important than a relationship. The struggles are still there, as is the judgment. But huge steps have been made in the right direction, largely due to the fact that we all came to face to face with my mortality. As much as the physical pain of this year has been nightmarish, the "side effects" of these improved relationships make it worth it. I may not love the means God's been using, but I sure as heck am thankful for the results.

I guess this whole "new" thing has just really been on my mind the past few days as it's been the beginning of a new week, a new month, and a new schedule. And just another random "new"'s crazy how many new colors a bruise can turn. I have several of them from all the blood draws and IV's of last week. If it wasn't so painful, it'd be amusing. (Random rabbit trail done.)

Change and new keep me on my toes and keep me trusting my God. There is nothing new about HIM. He stays the same. I don't know how I'd survive if I didn't live based on that Rock. My life is so completely unpredictable that if I didn't know the One planning it all, I'd freak out. Who am I kidding...I sometimes freak out even when I do know. So I hate to imagine what I'd be like otherwise. And as I sit here, I'm reminded that He is the God who makes all things new. New in a good way. New in a beautiful way. It's my humanness that doesn't care for new. He is a God of new beginnings, new chances, new days, new opportunities, new revelations of Himself.

I've decided to come up with a random list of new things I'm thankful for...and I'm pretty sure a few "old" things will be thrown in as well.

ben & jerry's gherry garcia ice cream
(thank you, Lydia, for yet another new fattening love ;))

new paycheck/budget

apple juice & sierra life-saving hospital "mixed drink"

pain meds that make it possible to breathe again

nurses that our out of this world amazing

doctors who give lots of time and input

gardens in the middle of a hospital

twix ice cream

several new pairs of earrings

funny get well cards

sea salt body scrub

relaxing bath salts

uplifting novels

applebees gift card

visits with my closest friends while in the hospital/recovering

a God who gives more grace in one day than I come close to deserving in an entire lifetime

mini ice cream sandwiches

snickers ice cream bars

yoga pants & tank tops

huge monetary gift in the mail

amish potato salad

a fun overnight visit with Colorado family

In closing, I'll just let you in on a little secret. I love ice cream. I know that will come as a surprise, but I thought I'd share something deep about myself. Happy 4th of July!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

My today...

Today. My day. Right now. Thursday, June 28, 2012. It's been a difficult one. A very heavy one. Depressed would be a good word. Pain would be another. Pure exhaustion probably the most accurate.

I'm sitting here in bed. Roll of saltine crackers to my left, along with the plate and bowl from my second grilled cheese & tomato soup of the day. To my right on the desk is my water bottle, bottle of sierra mist, hand sanitizer, Burt's Bees, thermometers, bottles and bottle of medications, and my (very needed) bottle of melatonin to help me sleep at night.

Also on the desk is a lovely vase of (fading) flowers that a dear friend sent me while I was in the hospital.  Next to it is a letter from my Compassion child that just "happened" to come today. (They are very few and far between so this is no coincidence.) Right above it is a card from an incredible friend that contained a love gift of several hundred dollars. I'm wearing the dangly blue earrings she sent as well...even though it's just me sitting here sick in bed. A pretty pair of earrings brightens any day! The adorable sparkly silver flip flops she sent are sitting on the floor next to me and I can't wait to wear them when I'm out next. My skin is soft and smells lovely after a two hour soak in bath salts and a thorough rub with a delicious sea salt scrub, followed by lots of lotion. My face is soft from a doing a facial masque just because. I'm in my comfy striped shorts and favorite lacy cami.  Some new music is playing on my Itunes and I'm waiting for the chicken & bacon ranch sub my dad is bringing me for dinner.

And I'm sitting here wondering how it's possible to have so many different thoughts, feelings, emotions, pain, joy, hurt, sorrow, confusion, peace, and passion all at the same time. In on single day. An ordinary Thursday in June after a week in the hospital.  I am so completely human and have to remind myself to give my mind, body, & heart a bit of slack. It's been one hell of a week. A week that showed me just how very fragile life and health are. A week that showed me just how precious my family and friends are. A week that made me eternally grateful to God for doctors, nurses, pain meds, and hospitals. A week that saw more tears, frustration, and sickening pain than I care to recall. A week that makes me weep just typing about it.

I don't know what to do with these feelings. There are the ones positively overwhelming me with humble gratefulness for ALL of God's goodness the past week. And months. And years. But then there's this completely exhausted part of me that is screaming to just give up and say I'm DONE. I'm DONE with these meds. I'm DONE fighting. I'm SICK of the side effects...the puffiness, weight gain, body aches all over, hair loss, risk of cancer and other serious possibilities. I'm so TIRED of crying. I HATE always asking for prayer. I DETEST having to find people to selflessly cover for me with my job. And it is incredibly unsettling to not know from one day to the next if I'll be at home or in the hospital.

And then all I have to do is recall the dozens and dozens if not hundreds of people praying for me...and all the texts, phone calls, Facebook messages, emails, etc....and look at the cards, flowers, balloons, earrings, checks, food, books, TV shows, etc., etc., etc. to be completely overwhelmed with how BLESSED my life is. Good gracious, I didn't know a girl could be so enveloped in love and care. And then there is my God, my faithful, faithful, faithful, loving, merciful, kind God. My God who puts up with my frustration, anger, and hurt. My tears, my anguish, my depression. My cold shoulder when I'm extra wounded. This God of mine just blows my mind. When I think of Him and an eternity with Him, all else pales in comparison. I just want to tell Him to hurry up, that's all.

Sharing these words is very uncomfortable for me. But I know there are other people going through similar and much worse trials and they've asked me to keep writing and to keep it honest. This is nothing if not honest. It's scary honest from my fingertips here. And yet there's so much left out, so much that just can't be posted publicly. Things between the lines that can't be written. My prayer is that those facing similar feelings will know that you are not alone. And know that I'm thinking of you, praying for you, and am right beside you in my heart. A lot of your testimonies, faith, and perseverance are what inspire me to keep going on this journey.