I was thinking the other day how grateful I was. We had just gotten back from a family wedding in San Diego, and it had been so much fun! It was just a moment when I was reflecting on the wedding, the love of family, the amazing time we had and how far we had come this year.
I thanked God for the peace, strength and all the good people He has put in our path to make it all happen. As I sat there I wondered, would I feel this way if the outcome hadn’t been so good? What if Mike’s health and surgery had not progressed so well? Then I remembered that we aren’t really through it yet.
We had visitors and commitments this past weekend. While it is good to see people, it was even better when we were alone and driving up into the mountains. Ok… well the foothills at least. We went to one of our favorites spots, and I couldn’t believe the changes. It was the last place we visited right before Mike’s surgery and it was his first solo drive after. So much though had changed.
Our pre-sugery trip
Where we typically go is more like a creek than a lake. Monday though, it was definitely a lake! We’ve been going to this spot for the past few years now, and I’d never seen it so full! Beautiful water! I guess we aren’t in a drought any more. We typically climb down from the parking lot and explore a bit, but today it was all under many feet of water. So we found a spot, and just sat. The surroundings had drastically changed, and so had we.
“So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time, before the Lord returns.” ! Corinthians 4:6
I’ve said it a bit recently to those around me, “it’s not how you start, but how you finish.” And don’t get me wrong…. It’s easier to finish well when you get out of the blocks cleanly.
We judge a person on today or their past, but we have no idea of their future and where that will lead. The choices, experiences and people that will all come together to make a complete picture in a life.
I know it’s hard, but as I read the verse this morning I wondered if we judge in life, when we should just have discernment? So I got out the old dictionary and looked at the difference between judge and discern.
Basically, discern is to recognize something as opposed to judging where you form a conclusion about it. I mean, I can discern that someone else is doing something that is harmful or full out wrong. I can then take steps to not be harmed by these actions, but I just can’t pronounce judgement. The end isn’t written yet! If I do judge, does that contribute to an environment that pushes them towards a not so good result?
I am not sure….but it makes me think? There have been people in my life that have judged me prematurely, and I think there has been a bit of an impact. I am grateful though for those who have been on the other side. The one’s that have given me the chance to change, grow and mature. Those are the ones that didn’t write me off, but gave me the time, love and encouragement to fulfill the potential they saw and hoped to see bloom.
So it’s so hard to be me sometimes. It must be even harder to be my hubby, having to put up with me! I have a tendency to ponder things. Ok, I tend to ponder EVERYTHING! I think it’s irritating sometimes, but it’s who I am and so I try to embrace it.
I was sitting in church the on Sunday, and we were looking in the book of Revelation. The imagery in the book is always a pretty trippy experience, but of course it got me to thinking? I know…..what doesn’t get me thinking?
In a nutshell, we have John seeing into heaven and he’s upset because this important scroll can’t be opened. What does the scroll contain? Of course there are some very good educated answers, but what made me think was John’s reaction. Why would he be so upset? Did he know what was in the scroll? I am not sure, but what I do know is that, because there was no one worthy he was distraught. He lacked hope.
“We have hope….rebellions are built on hope!” Jyn Erso “Rogue One”
Yep, the geek came out of me at that point and all I could think of was the quote from the movie Rogue One. Oh, and my hubby. You see when he got the phone call from the doctor, his reaction was pretty funny. He was so happy! He was smiling and talking excitedly! I could hardly believe I was looking at a person who’d just been told they have a brain tumor! It was crazy, but I realized that the excitement on his face was what that diagnosis really meant for him. Hope! He was in a bad place, as the pain became progressively worse in the past couple of months. It didn’t help that he was frustrated by not being able to work a full day, his deteriorating eyesight and trying to find a doctor who could help him. It was the holidays, but it was hard to find the “happy” during that time. So with the diagnosis, everything changed.
Hope is such a powerful thing. It can take the gravest of circumstances and give you a different perspective. It gives you the strength to move forward, and face what you never thought you could. Hope is a beautiful thing!
There is of course a caveat to hope…you need to be careful where you put it. Let me be clear, at this point my hope was not in the doctor, not in the diagnosis or whether it was cancer or not. There was only one place where I could truly put my hope, and know that I would never be let down. And that was in the Lord. I knew at that time, no matter what happened, from the best outcome to the worst we would be OK. We would survive! I knew that because of how God had provided for our lives in the past, and from what I knew He had told me about the future. It was actually the first thing I wrote about this year, https://cherylmendoza.com/2019/01/01/new-year-same-playlist/.
We are still not done with the process. My hubby is still recovering and will have radiation later this year, so this chapter of our story is still being written. Even so, before we were out of the hospital we were making plans. New places to visit, a family wedding, concert tickets bought and a much more “happy” holiday season.
We look forward to it all, good and bad, with hope!
“Isn’t it amazing how long it takes to build something, and how quickly it can be torn apart.”
I had a sermon playing on my phone as I was pulling weeds. It’s funny. I’ve listened to it a couple of times before but this was the first time I remember hearing the quote. Maybe it caught my attention because of circumstances. I tried to keep listening, but the quote kept turning in my head, so I turned it off and put on some music.
We’ve had so much rain lately that the weeds have taken over. So it was past time to get out and clean them up. They were easy to pull, as the ground is soft and the weeds were pretty big. Some of it was small and kind of reminded me of ground cover. It was more delicate and harder to pull out. It was such a pain! I had half a mind to let it stay, but I knew no matter what they looked like, they were still weeds. As green as they were, I knew that it would take over and that wouldn’t be good. Plus, it would have gotten me into huge trouble! My son worked one spring to get the area all dug out and the mulch put down, so I want to honor the work he did by keeping it cleaned out and looking good.
I think of how upset he would be if I just let it all go to the weeds. It took him time, sweat and a lot of hard work to get it all completed. Like the quote, he had built something that took effort, and as I looked at the mulch, I saw how easy it could be ruined.
It’s a lot like life. Even things that are developed, worked on and cultivated can be ruined when we leave the habits, activities or even people that shouldn’t be there.
Timing is everything. I’ve really been amazed at the people we’ve met over the past couple of months. How they encouraged us, provided good care for Mike and helped us navigate the process. One of my favorites was an older lady I met while Mike was having an MRI. This was before we had his diagnosis. We had gotten to the office where the MRI would be done, and I can remember thinking for the first time how fragile Mike seemed. We both got out of the car and he waited for me. We’ve always held hands when we walked, but now it was different. We walked slower, more carefully. I was holding his hand more to help him, than simply out of affection. When we finally got into the back, Mike went into get the MRI done, and I sat out in a small waiting area. No one was out there with me until an older couple came back and were waiting. Ugh! I did not want to talk to anyone! So I kept looking straight ahead and did all I could not to make eye contact. When the man was called back, I was doing great, keeping my eyes to myself and not attracting any attention. Well, that was until I started laughing.
I mean it wasn’t my fault! It was the technician that was taking people back. So he finishes up with a patient, and tells him he can go. Right at that time a doctor comes up and wants to talk to the technician, so he tells the patient to just sit down. The patient, confused now that he is getting two different sets of instructions, stands there unsure of what to do? When the doctor steps away, the technician sees the poor man and asks why he is still there? The patient says “well the doctor told me to sit,” and the tech just says, “what does he know, he’s only a doctor?” The patient then leaves, and I start cracking up watching this play out in front of me. I then made my mistake, and made eye contact with the lady that was sitting there. When I relayed why I was laughing, she couldn’t hear me, so of course I had to sit next to her and share the story. By that time it was all over, I was trapped into a conversation that I didn’t want. For that, I am so grateful!
So we talked, or at least I listened while she talked. She shared a lot of her life in just a few minutes. We also got to talking about her moving into a new “adult community” and her fears of finding a place with the new people she would meet. We also talked about her son, and the new woman in his life. She had liked her, was impressed with her education and intelligence, but was unsure because she had tattoos. She was a good Catholic lady, and this seemed to bug her a lot. So I did what I do best, and told her what I had learned along the way. Encouraging her to remember the times she had been the new person in the past, and how she had found a place then. I told her that this would be the same, and not to worry. I also told her about my own son and his many tattoos. She seemed to be comforted by the words and my own experiences. It was a great conversation, distracting for me and encouraging for her!
By the time my hubby was coming out where we were waiting, she was giving me a hug goodbye and telling me she “loved me”. She was adorable, and it was such a fun conversation! Mike asked who she was, and I told him that we had just met. He just gave me a look? That was a moment though that I just thanked God for perspective. It was the last time I would try to cut myself off from the people around me. I realized that God may have put them in my path to help me cope. Even more important, God may have put me in their path for the exact same reason.
So day 2 is always hard. I always wonder, what will I write about now? I also feel behind the eight ball because I am tired. Taking care of someone can be tiring. Part of it is physical, but it’s also a mental tired. Since I tend to overthink things, I am sure that is a lot of it! There is a spiritual aspect to it too. The word “spiritual” makes it sound very serious, but it really hasn’t felt that way.
The spiritual in our journey has included a lot of laughter. Just to give you a little background, my hubby started having headaches that progressively became worse over the last half of 2018. He never really had headaches as a rule, so we felt that something was up. He started missing out on work, and it was really affecting how he was able to live his life. To see him get weaker and become a bit like a little old man, it was hard to watch. So you can imagine the excitement when we had a diagnosis. A brain tumor? All right! And he can have surgery? Fantastic!
I can remember watching his face as he talked with the doctor that Saturday morning. It lit up like Christmas! We had just been given a present. It was hope! With that hope, what was ahead held no concern. We knew that it was all out of our hands, so we rested in those who took care of him. The nurses, doctors and God.
At some point I thought of the verse that is quoted so often, “peace that passes all understanding.” At that point I totally got it. I mean really, brain surgery? This is serious stuff, but we wanted it! We had peace though, and I really didn’t understand how we could be feeling that way? I didn’t argue though, it was a place I was glad to be.
The neurologist gave us an idea to fastrack the whole thing. So he called a doctor at the local emergency room to get us in. My hubby was so excited, we would go to the ER and they would transfer us to a larger hospital. It would be there that they would see the big mass in his head and they may even do surgery this weekend. Isn’t it great? There was not one tear, one moment of hesitation or fear. We looked at each other shook our heads with smiles on our faces.
It wasn’t long till we got ready and were walking up to the emergency room. Before we got in I asked my hubby, “who are we supposed to see?” He looked at me with a smile and said, “Doctor Martin.” When I heard that we both started laughing and I knew it was going to be all right. Doc Martin is a TV show we watch, and the doctor is such a character! And of course as soon as the doctor came in we had to greet him as “Doc Martin.” The doctor laughed…..he knew exactly who we were talking about! I always knew God had a great sense of humor and today He proved it again!
Today is the start of the Lenten season, and in the past couple of years, I’ve come to really love it! I almost missed the beginning, since we have been a little busy around our house. My hubby reminded me yesterday was Fat Tuesday, and its kind of become a tradition to have red beans and rice for dinner. I am glad that we didn’t miss it because we needed a little fun this week, and I needed a little reminder of what Lent means to me.
Not being Catholic, Lent is something that I’ve adopted as an adult. I typically don’t give anything up, cuz that just didn’t seem right for me. What I try to do is write daily and this year is no different. It seems like the perfect time to process all the things that have been going on in my life and in the lives around me. Since December, our world has been knocked off its axis. What with my hubby’s tumor diagnosis and even some upheaval at the church I attend, chaos has entered places where I had felt pretty darn safe. The funny thing is, while I should have felt fear, I have only felt peace. Like I told a friend today, “I am not sure how it works, but all I can do is point to God and say it’s all Him!”
So for the next 40 days I am going to try my best to listen and write. To try and see how we got here, how God is getting us through and look into the future to see where He may lead us next on this crazy journey!
There is a song I’ve really liked since I was a teenager, “Only time will tell” by ASIA. It came out in my MTV years, and I must have watched the video a hundred times or more. I hadn’t heard it in years, but out of nowhere it popped into my head. Well not totally out of nowhere, as it seemed to sum up what I had been reading pretty nicely.
It’s something I started learning last year when I read about David. He was being run out of town, as his son was forcefully taking over. As he is leaving, he is heckled by a certain man who was a relative of the previous king. When David’s men wanted to kill the man for his words, David stops them. He tells his men that what this guy is saying may be true. God may even have told him to say it. So who am I, says David, to do anything about it?
I was really struck by David’s attitude. It was like he realized that God could have told this guy to say these things. That maybe this guy could be speaking truth, and until David knew if it was true or not, then he was going to leave this guy alone. We see later that when time had gone by, the man did get his comeuppance by David’s other son, Solomon.
It was like David understood that, “only time will tell.” And David’s life is a prime example. God says of David, “he is a man after my own heart.” Really? Looking at David’s story, there are plenty of times where he looked anything but that kind of man. We can only somewhat understand what God means when we look at David’s life as a whole.
So I had read that last year, and for some reason it really stuck with me. That sometimes you really have to wait to see the whole picture. Sometimes the real truth or even the real personality only comes out through time.
Only time will tell. I was glad to be pondering what God was saying to me. This seemed to be a lesson I needed to learn, although at the time I wasn’t sure why. It did give me hope that truth will eventually be made known. It made me think though, what will happen in the “only time will tell” portion of the story? How will that effect people? It made me nervous.
God is in control, but sometimes His work seems slow in coming. Really, that “slowness” is His mercy. Sometimes I am not obedient to what He is asking, and instead of dealing with it immediately, He gives me a little time to get my act together. Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don’t. When I do, it is pretty good. I learn, grow and get closer to God. If I don’t? Well, then typically God has to do a bit of work in my life to bring me around to His way of thinking. Many times it’s painful. If something shouldn’t be in my life, and if I don’t let it go, well then God has a way of taking it out of my hands. It is for my own good, but it hurts when that happens. Even more concerning, it has the potential of hurting others.
It is the potential harm to others that really made me wonder. How can that be averted? I have seen where God had to do this with people and depending on who it is and their position, it can be a confusing time. I know, I’ve lived it. By God’s grace, I was able to get through it by having someone whom I respected taking the time to walk through it with me. We would talk, bringing me wisdom when all I felt was confusion. I don’t even remember what she said, but her willingness to be a sounding board is what kept me on track. One thing I know we did not do, well that was get into a session where we just blamed people.
The funny thing was, I didn’t know the whole story back then and I don’t even know it now. One thing is for sure though, I made it through. I still love Jesus, go to church and even still serve. This did not make me turn sour on the church or the people involved or following God.
It really made me wonder why?
I am not sure, but I remember that it wasn’t long after this that I learned something very important to me. It was a comment that I took to heart. “Don’t be spoon fed the gospel.”
It really drove home to me that the responsibility for my spiritual growth, journey and beliefs was mine. Oh….and God’s of course! I wasn’t to sit back and let someone tell me what Jesus was saying, I needed to see for myself. I needed to use the brain that God had given me to read, listen, study and seek the Holy Spirits guidance. I can listen to others, but I was also to run what was said through the Holy Spirit to see if it made sense. To use scripture as a means to know this God I follow, so that I can make decisions that would honor Him.
Without realizing it, I just kept looking up. I started to learn things through God’s word. Not by someone else teaching them to me, but by the Holy Spirit making me see things. To hear truth in His word and see it reflected in His creation, people, and even in a song with a really bad music video.
While this post has been weeks in the making, I was not sure how to end. So it has sat for a bit. I was able to get a bit of perspective on this when I was reading on Thursday. It was just one line, but it gave me peace in the midst of questions. “Meanwhile, the word of God continued to spread…” Acts 12:24a