This may not make much sense. Late night journaling, beware. 🙂
A month or so ago, I ordered myself two shirts from one of my favorite t-shirt vendors, when they had a sale. ( Ruby’s Rubbish ). This first one reminded me of my grandma, but also of myself. I will explain.
My maw-maw, who passed away almost 3 years ago, was a true riveter. I never knew this until after her passing, when going through old letters and memories that my mom had pulled out. She’d gone off to California to work as a riveter, something that showed her strength, in my opinion. Not just this, but my grandma lived life for what, 15+ (18 I am thinking) years, without her husband by her side. Out in a little wooden house in the woods, taking care of life all alone, with all of us to come and visit her every weekend as we could. She wasn’t afraid of anything. Strong, sturdy, taking care of it all. I have no idea how she was way back when, but from what I think, I’d like to believe that I get my strength from her.
However. I am not all that strong, when you look at it. I hear it all the time, though. “You are so strong!” “You’re stronger than you think you are!” “You have more strength than I could ever dream of having.” I’ve heard a lot of that lately, during this cancer journey that we’ve been on. But you know what? It’s not me who is strong. I’m the one who absolutely fell flat apart on the drive to the oncologist that dreadful day in July when we first heard the diagnosis. The wife who sat in a puddle of tears under my baseball cap, sitting in the doctors office, trying to answer question upon question about my now-sick husband. I’m the one who has cried at the drop of a hat when I get alone with my thoughts, due to the stress and pressure that’s floating on my shoulders. I’m the one who hasn’t had many seconds of down time, to process all that’s happened to us these last several months, and I am just flying by the seat of my pants, hanging on until the ride is over. I keep going because I HAVE TO. I am not strong. My GOD is strong, though, and back on that horrible day in July, I had a choice to make. And here’s where my next shirt comes in.
I have always been a strong person. I’ve had to be. I divorced a man 2 legal years after marrying him, and was left alone to survive in a huge city with no family or friends to call my own. I have never owned my own home — been renting and trying to make it in this life for 17 years of being in this area now, and home ownership still hasn’t happened for me. We’ve faced job loss, job struggles, kids, family struggles, school troubles, all of it, and I had to survive it. Because the alternative was not doable. So I gathered all of the strength I could find, and just made it work. Dealt with the issues that came my way. Believed that one day, God would give me a break.
Then came cancer. You realize how strong you really are NOT, when cancer enters your life. The phone call. The rushing to get someone to watch the kids. The sitting in the doctors office, trying to stop crying long enough to listen to the upcoming plan for my husband. No, God, NO. I do not deserve this. I do not NEED this! This isn’t FAIR!!! Please not us, Lord. Not Miguel. Not my kids. No, I cannot handle this. Please, NO! Take this away. Make this test result be a false positive. Make the tumor disappear. Please, God, please just let this all be a bad dream, a mistake, anything. Just no, not us. Please, not us!!!!!
Waking the next day, a nightmare. Knowing that God didn’t give me the break I so begged for. Why, God, why?! I cannot do this. I cannot handle 6 months of my husband facing cancer treatments and possibly not surviving. CANCER. Cancer, Lord! People die all of the time from this. I can’t face that fear. The anxiety. Oh why me.
God asked, when I couldn’t even hear him over my wails, Why not you, Kati?!
I had no choice. For what was the alternative? To give up and let Miguel just be alone in this? To let go and run away and make him and the kids do it on their own? To be scared and run away? (oh yes, that’s exactly what I really wanted to do! Take my family and run away!! In fact, I wanted to do that a LOT during those months!!)
Did I ever stop and think, “perhaps I was made for such a time as this?” Oh heck no. For the entire 5-6 months, I’ve said almost daily, that this isn’t fair. Because it’s not. I’ll explain that later. (pretty much, it’s not fair that we have life when others around us have their loved ones dying or struggling more than us)
Perhaps *I* was made for such a time as this? Really, God? Did you choose me to go through this with Miguel? Did you put this into my life, when all I wanted was a nice cushy life with a home of my own and a car that didn’t break down every 5 months, and pure joy for everything that came my way?
Wait. God didn’t just choose me for such a time as this (and believe me, THIS, this is still current, present day stuff going on in our lives. Cancer treatments are over, but this journey definitely is not). God TRUSTED me with this. What?! What does that even mean?! I’m NOTHING!! Why would He trust ME?! I’ve endured enough, right?! Trust someone else, please, God, not me!
I chose to accept what He put in front of me. In front of us. This journey was Miguel’s to take because he has cancer (had?!). Yet THIS journey, God also gave to me. If I didn’t take it, who knows where we would be. I mean, I could’ve taken the journey He gave us, but I could’ve taken it a whole different way. But God placed a struggle in front of me, gave me something to buck up and accept, and I had to.
This may not make any sense to you. Sorry.
But really. Sometimes, when you’re faced with a horrible reality, one that you’re about to face for 6 months to a year of your life, you want nothing more than to run kicking and screaming away from life. Your strength is gone. All hope is gone. Anxiety, fear, all thoughts from the devil pop up. But guess what? God places you there. You didn’t just end up there by chance. God knew I had the strength instilled in me long ago. I do not know why I have faced trials of different kinds in my life. I do not understand why certain things happen or don’t happen in my world. But I do have strength.
It’s God. God is my strength. HE has been strong this whole time, definitely not me. When you say that I’ve been so strong, maybe change that to what it really is — GOD has been so strong for me and I have been so blessed to have Him backing me up. That’s what it is to me.
It’s not my strength that’s gotten me through this.
I’m just a riveter, doing what God has placed in front of me to do, for such a time as this.
Don’t say no to God. Even in your weakest moments. When you are faced with death, sadness, trials of whatever kind. God placed you there. HE has the strength to see you through it, NO MATTER WHAT IT IS. You are not alone. Be patient. Keep going. Cry, kick, scream, have all the feels! But don’t doubt that you are placed there, just like I was/AM.
There is a reason. And it’s probably so much bigger than you or I could ever understand. God is just that awesome. We don’t need to think on it too much. Rest in His promise that He’s handling it all, with all the strength in the world.
Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong, I am weak but He is strong!
Praying for you, my friends.