Thinking back my teenage years were not the happiest memories for me. I wasn’t cut out for the typical mind game scenarios that transpired. I was hurt over and over and over. Wearing my heart on my sleeve.
I thought, if only I could be in college.
Then college came. College felt like a taste of freedom… learning how to stand on my own two feet and the first time of creating the life I thought I wanted. But, I kept relying on the world for happiness. None of it seemed to make sense. I thought, if only I could get away...
After college, I moved to New York City... I remember thinking, this is it. But, again after the temporary high, I felt homesick, lost and farther from God than ever before.
If only I could move home...
In my mid twenties, I moved home and the market crashed. So my marketing degree suddenly felt like a waste. I was a mess, I was jumping from one temporary job to the other aimlessly wandering around.
Then one night, God made a divine appointment. I walked into a sports bar and with some convincing sat across from my future husband.
I am forever grateful for God's miraculous intervention in my life, I was walking down a dangerous, heartbreaking path and it was not what God planned for me.
The back half of my 20s was spent smitten with my new man. Blissful years of falling in love, traveling, engagement, marriage and newlywed life. We moved several times...Dallas, Frisco, Denver, Austin, Denver, Austin.
I remember feeing ready to have a baby and thinking, if only I was a mama in my own home.
Our prayers were answered swiftly, and looking back now, perfect timing.
Halen's baking Henny is baking Baby Halen Baby Henley
My 30s felt(feel) like a blur from being a newlywed to a new mom to a cancer survivor.
Somewhere along my adult life, I kept thinking, if only I could make it to 40. Like it was some miraculous number in my head where all would be well.
If I could just make it to 40 life would be swell. I would have the confidence my 20 year old self craved, I would have balance like my 30 year old self yearned for.
40 created a mirage for me like an OASIS.
When all "should" be going well, kids are growing up, marriage is a good 15 years or so in, friends are more established and stable… careers are stable… you know overall stability.
Now as a 38 ¾ woman who is continuing this grueling cancer battle, 40 feels so close and yet so far away.
Part of me wonders if I will make it.
I know that seems like a melancholy, somber perspective… but truly none of us 30 somethings are guaranteed to make it to 40.
I’ve been battling cancer for over 6 years now. It has taken over our lives, taken over my motherhood and my marriage, my “career” and our finances.
Cancer is disruptive and nasty.
After 2021 and the chaotic summer I spent in and out of the hospital, we started a new medication, that while it was not fun, it kept us somewhat “normal” … that worked for about 15 months.
Then in October 2022, a lung tumor started growing… we switched meds and it seemed like a minor setback. That med lasted about 8 months…
Now here we are, with this lung tumor that has grown larger and more tumors popping up in my lung/pleural space… it just makes me wonder what our future holds.
Will I make it to 40?
Now in any battle there is victory, even if it is the smallest praise you can think of… there is always beauty in the ashes.
The cancer is still contained. It has not penetrated into any other organs or my bones.
HALLELUJAH. Thank you Jesus.
In life we (I) get so caught up in the next item on our to do list, the next sporting event, the next gathering that oftentimes our gratitude and our stillness in this life gets snatched away by all the busyness. (Any guesses who is to blame for distracting us....?)
Looking back I realize how much Jesus was beckoning me to lean in to Him.
In my 20s, He pursued me… but I was "too busy" chasing the next self-help trend.
In my 30s, He finally got my attention, it became crystal clear that any life apart from Him would lead me to destruction, selfishness, broken and swept up by the consumer culture.
We always think we need to take the next trip, plan the next thing, sign up just to sign up when we need more time to be still.
To make room in our busy schedules for time.
Time is something worth more than any goldmine can give.
Time is something we all think we have more than enough of…until we don’t.
Maybe that extra time looks like going on a walk in your neighborhood, just to make yourself available to help a neighbor, to pick up trash, to see someone in need.
Maybe that extra time looks like bringing a friend coffee who just had a baby, picking up a mama’s kids so she can have a quiet moment alone, playing Bananagrams with your kids.
God makes divine appointments and miracles every single hour of every single day… but are we still enough to see His beauty at work?
These are things I am pondering when it seems I am running out of time.
I pray this medication will work, I pray it will grant me time with my precious girls.
I crack inside thinking of leaving them without a mama…but as a stage 4 breast cancer survivor…that is my reality.
But in my reality, that is much different than most, I hope and pray I can share some wisdom that God gives me as I walk this grueling path.
Lean in to Him.
Resist the worldly fruit.
This week I created a War Room (go watch the movie if you haven't already) under my stairs, because the best fighting we can do is on our knees. This will be a place of solace my family and I can go to when we need to cry it out, write our prayers, sing worship songs, or just rest.
I pray each of you takes a moment to evaluate how you are spending your time and maybe just maybe God is calling you to something greater with that time.