As much as I like to jibber-jabber, my deepest thoughts and ramblings always seem to come together best when I write it down. Much of my writing is personal, between me and God. Every now and then, I share what I write beyond my little bond with the Big Guy upstairs.
Lately, I’ve had a major case of writer’s block.
I’m not just talking about my posts here on my blog. I mean a contagious case of writer’s block that spilled over into my prayer and journal time, too. Quite honestly, my thoughts have been so scattered that I just haven’t known what to say.
So even I, a girl with a pretty big mouth, have been oddly quiet. Each morning, I sneak down stairs (creeping to just the right spot on every other step to avoid the noisy steps that wake whole house) to read a morning devotional or two and follow it up with a good long silence, listening for God.
Now, there’s a difference between hearing and listening. At least, this is the way I used to explain it when I taught elementary school. When you hear, your voice is quiet, your ears are open and you can repeat back the sounds in the air. But, when you listen… not only is your mouth quiet and your ears open, but your mind is focused on what you’re hearing. You’re actively engaged to the voices and sounds around you.
That’s the thing. I’ve been praying an awful lot. I’ve been talking less and wanting to hear God; yet, I haven’t been engaged in what He really had to say. My thoughts were still wandering into what could be, should be, and might be… and frankly, it’s kept me 100% distracted and deaf to anything He’s had to really tell me.
As many of you know, I’m an incredibly positive person, always looking for the silver lining and hoping to the joy and laughter to my kiddos and anyone else I meet. I can turn into the Stewart Smalley (SNL character) of life. I like it that way.
Yet even Stewart Smalley has bad days. In fact, I’m pretty sure that lately, I’ve been so scattered in my thoughts that I’ve morphed in and out of a schizophrenic hodge podge of SNL personalities. Mostly on account of my being just plain TIRED.
I’ve been exhausted from the current chemo that I’m on (just completed round 4) and all of its side effects, generally wiped from still recovering physically from the last time I went through all of this, and emotionally wiped from the ups and downs of tests and scans and holding my breath, waiting for good reports. Every time I seem to get a handle on combatting one physical challenge, it seems like a new side effect seems to be lurking around the corner in the next round.
(insert next SNL character change…)
With each round, I’ve been putting all of my physical strength and focus in to staying involved with my kids, throwing everything I’ve got into having fun with my family in all of our holiday traditions and celebrating, being present to my friends who need a listening ear or friend to be there in support and prayers, and rally anyone and everyone to help in spreading HOPE, JOY, LOVE, & LAUGHTER through our non-profit: BUNA’S HOPE (Which I can’t wait to update you on. It’s been incredible to watch the community rally, see over 100 “Buna Boxes” packed and sent out to families in need, and raise funds for further blessings!).
But this gal has been flip floppin’ back and forth, in my mind, through all the possibilities of what could be if maybe my treatment wasn’t working quite as well as we’d hoped for. I’ve been bracing myself to handle any results from the next PET scan.
Frankly, it’s left me feeling heavy hearted. That usual “pep in my step” has only been around for my friends and family. For me, on my own, I’ve been dragging my feet in my prayers like a real “Debbie Downer.”
(cue next of my sketch comedy personality switches)
What a drag!
Even I’ve been rolling my eyes at my own inner voice.
So finally, as Advent began just recently, I told my voice to “can it” as best as I could and remembered the difference between hearing and listening. I’ve gotten pretty sick of hearing my Debbie Downer what if’s and was ready to engage in listening to God’s voice instead. And I’m pretty darn sure that God was relieved. I haven’t exactly been a party!
It’s been time to put away the shoulda, woulda, coulda’s and engage in active, unceasing, prayer. If I do say so myself, I’m pretty good at battling all the physical stuff, putting my best foot forward and keeping my spirits up to enjoy my family and friends… but my spiritual battle techniques have needed a little work. But whatever I’ve had to give, I’ve recently asked God to take (for what it’s worth) in an offering for whatever way He could bless me in return, however He wanted to do it. It was time to live in the moment in prayer.
The most reassuring part of it all, has been that I have had no doubt in my mind that I’ve not been alone in my prayers.
So we’ve prayed.
And we’ve listened.
And we’ve prayed some more.
Well guess what!
SOMEONE’S BEEN LISTENING.
That same SOMEONE has been answering prayers, and just this week, it was time for me to hear his answer.
On Monday morning I had a PET scan to see where we were with treatment. Just a few weeks prior, I’d had a CT scan that showed some improvement in my lungs and chest wall, but nothing yet in my liver. Now, while in the middle of what has felt like my toughest round, physically and emotionally, I was scanned again. So much has been riding on this scan for me.
Yesterday, on Tuesday, I got a text from my fave pirate oncologist and friend (Dr.Jay Saux) saying that there was “DRAMATIC POSITIVE CHANGE!!!”
What?!?! Are you kidding me?! Not just a little change, but DRAMATIC! This whole chemo thing isn’t just throwing a rock in the ocean. We’re making waves! We’re on the right path. It’s making a difference.
I received the text while at a red light and stopped in shock, horns a blain’ behind me to start driving again. I put the phone down and quickly found a parking lot to pull over and process what I just read.
He went on to say how incredibly happy he was for us and that this was clearly evidence of the power of our “midnight prayers around the Christmas tree! So don’t stop now.”
No worries, Doc! No way we’re stopping now. Never!
So there you have it. After an forever long case of writer’s block, I’m back to pray, write , and ramble again. in fact, my hubbie even gave me an early Christmas present of a brand spankin’ new laptop to keep my blog-journaling alive. Even if I keep some of my rambling posts unpublished between me and God, I’m sorting out my thoughts again.
Yet now, I’m pausing between monologues to actively listen and engage with God, giving every last paragraph, sentence and word to Him to sort out and edit. I don’t think I really realized that He actually followed my blog. He’s been reading and He’s been listening. He’s actively engaged in my life and He knows every one of my deepest desires, concerns, and random jumbled plans to counter attack the what if scenarios in my brain.
He knows the physical and spiritual battle at hand and He’s already on top of it.
God’s sooooooo got this.
Sometimes I just need to be reminded when He sings those Marley songs in my ears… “Every little thing is gonna be alright.” He means it.
No matter how many battles I have to fight, no matter how much longer our fight goes on, I have faith that we will WIN THE WAR. I know it’s not even close to being over yet, but I just heard the pep talk that I needed to get back out on the battle field and
KICK THE HELL OUT OF CANCER’S BUTT!
Cancer, you’ve gone and messed with the wrong girl.
And just as we won our last war, we’re reinforcing that armor now. Just as I gear up with healthy foods, medicines, oils, etc. as my armor and shield,
I’ll never put prayer down as my sword.
God bless you all and thank you for praying UNCEASINGLY with me. Someone is listening. Someone is answering. Someone is asking that we DON’T STOP NOW.
I can never THANK YOU enough.
Sweet Elise that is the best news ever !!!!!
Beautiful post! The Holy Spirit shines so brightly in your writing…I’m so happy that Jason bought you a new computer so we can all “listen” to what the Holy Spirit has given you to share. All praise and thanks to Him for your “Dramatic Change” Pet scan results!!! (Now off to Winn-Dixie because you made me run out of Kleenex.) May God continue to pour His choicest gifts into your heart Elise!
Great blog. Way to go Elise for perservering and quieting to hear God’s voice. My prayers are with you and the family!
Sorry-this is Dianas blog
So happy to hear the good news. When so many people are praying for you, “He” has to stop to listen, the noise is overwhelming!! I wish you and your beautiful family a very blessed holiday.
Thank you for this!
Encouraging to all of us in the spiritual reality of the ups & downs of “listening/hearing”.
Thrilled with your news!!! Best Christmas gift ever 🎄
Sending warmest wishes for peace and grace to you and yours😇
John and I pray for you every morning in the car on the way to school. Praise God for the good news. Keep fighting and listening!
You are a constant on my list… Of course, had to put your big bro on it, too… Getting him training wheels for Christmas and unending prayers for you, the kiddos and the hub… God Bless and Merry Christmas
You are always in our daily prayers!!!!
Praying for you daily! God Bless!
Cheryl and Bruce Gerhardt
Sent from my iPad
Happy tears and continued prayers.
Sent from my iPhone
So Happy for you! Will continue prayers! Colleen Hoover Sent from my iPhone
You are perfect at being you!!! Don’t dismiss those times you need to let God carry you on the days things feel too heavy. Your faith in our precious Lord will always lift you up again. Sometimes God allows us to recharge and remember who is in control. Thanks for your beautiful words and allowing us to share this journey. Prayers for you and your beautiful family. May your health be fully restored by God gracious hands.
You are in my daily prayers and I’m not stopping until you’re completely well! You hav such a beautiful family:)
So glad to hear it!!! Love you so much. So proud of you. Thank you for suffering, it IS doing good, even if you don’t see it. Kisses and hugs my dear!!!