Yeah… almost a year and a half later. A very long, eventful, hard, interesting, and rewarding year and a half. Never would have thought it’d take me this long to finish this, and I never in a million years could have predicted the events that took place over that time.
That being said, here’s a picture of myself (so what if it was taken at Easter).
This is me and bff June. I feel like at the end of the photo challenge I’m in a pretty good place. I have a good job that I enjoy, a great group of friends, I love my family, and I’m moving through this whole grieving thing. I really can’t complain about anything. God is good, and I am blessed.
Not a something, but a someone. I love Jesus. I could spend a ridiculous amount of time explaining why. Words will fail miserably. The abridged version goes something like this:
He saved my marriage. He saved my family. He saved my life. I am nothing without him.
Lately, I have walked a very fine line. I love Jesus, and I live my life loving him. However, I am very conscious of pushing people away because I love him. I want the very opposite. I want people to see what I have and want that, because they see that love in action, not because I shove it down their throats. Sometimes, though, I wonder if I stifle too much, because I’m afraid of turning people off to him. That is not to say I bend on my beliefs, I just wonder sometimes where the balance should be. Something I’m working on–I’m sure he’s gonna let me know what’s up. 🙂 In the meantime, the simple fact of the matter is… I love him.
I went to a funeral today. It was amazing. Now I know that most people don’t describe funerals as amazing, but this one was truly unique. Yesterday, I would have told you that a 13 year old little girl lost her battle with cancer. Today I will tell you that she didn’t lose her battle, her work on this earth was simply completed. I’ve met this little girl, and she was inspiring, strong, and always filled with joy. I don’t want to sound cliche, but I can’t tell you this story without expressing how much I have been and continue to be inspired by this little girl and her family.
My husband works with this little girl’s, Briana’s dad. We knew when she was diagnosed with cancer, knew when she was doing well, knew when she was in remission, heard about all that this family was going through. My husband is friends with him on Facebook, and every update on Briana, while asking for prayer, was always filled with optimism and praise for God. Not once did I see this man or his family feeling sorry for themselves. Throughout their ordeal, I was impressed and pressed upon by their joy for life, love for each other, and the strength they have in Him. Every step of the way they gave God praise, even little Briana, in a video she made from the hospital said, “Don’t you worry about me, God’s in control”. That sweet baby with her big eyes, wide smile, hair gone from radiation was so focused on what is true and real in the midst of a storm many of us will never have to face–God’s in control.
When I found out that the cancer had come back this last time and that the prognosis wasn’t good, I cried. I won’t lie, I cried for a day straight. I grieved for this family. I also tried to imagine how I would react if I were in this situation–if I were losing my daughter, my joy, the light of my life, would I be able to carry myself in the way these people were? I have to say, I really don’t think so. I have a hard enough time keeping my focus when the little sandstorms and drizzles happen. But seeing this family today, remembering how they’ve handled this traumatic experience, it’s touched something deep on the inside of me. It’s funny, because at the start of this new year I made a sort of a resolution. I was going to stop being so stinkin’ negative. I was going to roll with the punches and look on the bright side of things, because really, being negative is counterproductive, and I sure was tired of being miserable. I’ve been doing pretty good, but being sick last week had me feeling pretty beat up, and just, well… tired. I even let myself have a pity party for about an hour. It wasn’t fun, even though it didn’t last long. When I was able to refocus, I was that much more sure that I didn’t want to go back to that way of thinking. It’s kind of funny, because my Facebook status last night was “Kris has found her rose-tinted glasses. They got misplaced last week.” Life is so much easier and worth living when you can see and focus on what’s really important, what’s good and worth spending your energy on. Then I go to the funeral today and see that practice truly in motion. Focusing on God, celebrating a life, praising Him for the gifts He gives us, however fleeting they may be, and never losing sight of what’s important can get you through a situation like that. I’m humbled, and I’ll say it a 70th time… Amazed.
Briana’s dad, Larry, asked my husband if he would play at the funeral. Of course Trace said yes, but Larry made it clear that this was to be unlike any other funeral–it was Briana’s Homegoing. It was a celebration of her life. He needed some New Orleans flair, so Trace played “When the Saints Go Marching In” dixieland style. A perfect illustration for Briana, because this little saint also had the privilege of becoming an Honorary Marine just 2 days before she passed away. After that honor, she got to march on home.
One last thing I’ll leave you with before I let you watch the video of Briana’s Honorary Marine Ceremony and scenes from her Homegoing. I had some friends comment on my rose-tinted glasses status. They wanted to borrow my glasses, or wanted me to send them a pair, and I had to tell them… Mine won’t work for you. Just like Larry’s or Briana’s wouldn’t work for me, and I can’t hunt down your pair for you. You have to find your own pair of glasses, your own joy, find out who He really is to you, find out what you are to Him, decide what’s significant in this life and let the rest pass on by, and then the world will really be a whole lot rosier.
“A life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump; a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree.” Proverbs 11:28
Ahhhh… this life is so full of twists and turns, surprises and disappointments, but ultimately (and this is a truth I’ve recently grasped yet, again) it’s NOT ABOUT ME! I forgot this and made it about me for a while there, but thankfully, God is faithful and persistent, and I’ve been reminded. When I try to shape my life it’s often a mess… an unrecognizable, misshapen lump, but when I let God do what He does it’s always a thing of beauty. I may not always appreciate it right away, but there is always a purpose and a plan in what He lays out for us.
Her MRI came back with nothing abnormal!!! Thank you, Lord. Just waiting on blood work to come back and we’re totally in the clear. Thank you to all who prayed or sent kind thoughts and words our way. It was all much appreciated.