Three weeks ago, my mom had an ultra sound for back pain she was experiencing. I called late in the morning to hear how it went. When I heard her say they found lesions on her pancreas and liver, my heart sank. Two days later, October 14, 2015, we received the news we were all preparing for, but still rocked our world. Stage IV Pancreatic Cancer. A 6 cm mass on her pancreas, two spots on her liver, loss of blood flow to the spleen and indications that it had spread to the kidneys and one of her adrenal glands. It’s bad. It’s really bad. My raw emotions came out. She’s only 66! I’m not ready. I’m too young to walk this journey of losing my mom. My kids love their grandma and need her. I want Hunter to know and remember his grandma. My mom is supposed to be there to see my kids graduate from high school and get married. She is supposed to be there when she has great grandchildren. This isn’t happening. It’s all surreal. It’s something you hear happening to others but not to you. That night after getting the results from the MRI, I closed my eyes trying to get rest. My heart was desperately crying for my Father. Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Come! I need you! I felt His presence. I felt Him tell me it’s ok. I’ve got your mom, you just rest in me. Rest in my arms. It was so comforting but I felt so guilty. To not be praying for my mom and my family felt wrong. I felt selfish. But I trusted my heart. I know this situation is not something I can control. I can’t fix this. What I can do is rest in the arms of my Father and walk with Him on this hard journey. In doing this, I am able to see His beauty. See His strength. See His goodness. See His faithfulness.
A few days after receiving the heartbreaking news, I drove up to my parent’s house with my three children. I was filled with anxiousness. I wanted desperately to give my mom and dad a big hug but going there would make the situation more real. It would no longer be a bad dream. But I knew it was part of the process. My kids and I had the opportunity to love my mom and dad and bring them joy in this time of pain and deep sadness. And we did. I held my dad’s hand as he opened up his heart, tears rolling down his cheeks, sharing the reality of my mom dying. It was a painful and beautiful moment. My heart hurt so much but I knew my God was bigger than the hurt. He is bigger than the hard in this journey . . . and this journey is HARD. It is a waiting game. A very long and painful waiting game. I have found myself wanting more and more information. We have lesions, but I want more information. We have masses in the pancreas and liver, but I want more information. Blood work is done, now wait for a biopsy. Get the biopsy, now we wait for the results. Get the results, now we need to find a local doctor to do chemo. We get into to see the local doctor and he wants to conduct a genetic test that will take a week and half to get the results before we start chemo. Seriously!? The clock continues to tick. The cancer continues to spread. My mom continues to suffer. Her pain continues to increase. She continues to lose weight. Lose joy. This sucks. This really, really sucks. I feel helpless. I feel hopeless. I crawl to my Daddy. I press up and press into my Father. He is my hope. He is my refuge. He is my strength. He is carrying me in His arms like a little girl. He catches every tear that falls from my eyes and the tears fall often.
As I have walked this journey the past three weeks, although it feels so much longer, I have learned to give myself permission to not be ok. To give myself grace knowing that I am going to have some moments and some days that are just plain hard. Last week there were several days that were hard. I needed to find some time to get away and be with my Daddy in my favorite place, the mountains. The time and the opportunity came yesterday morning, when I hiked the Manitou Incline. Every step I took, my Father was with me. Each step represented this journey I am on. Some steps were small and some were larger, but I kept moving. I was surrounded by His beauty. I was surrounded by His presence. As the sun climbed higher into the sky, the rays would extend out across the sky for miles. I felt the hands of my Father reaching for me. Yes, Jesus. Yes, Father. Yes, Holy Spirit. You are with me. You are carrying me. As I continued to climb, towards the top of the incline there is what is known as a false summit. You think you’ve made it to the top but you haven’t. You have to climb a little farther. I felt my emotions welling up inside. Really!? Really!? I’m not there yet!? I can’t do it. I don’t want to do it. I just want to be done. I don’t want to walk this hard journey anymore. But my Father gently whispered to me, you can do this. I am with you. Trust me. I did trust Him and I did make it. And it was beautiful. God is faithful. God is good. Even in the hard. Even in the midst of this battle, He is there. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Father. Thank you, Holy Spirit. I love you.
Psalm 36:5-6 The Message
God’s love is meteoric, His loyalty astronomic, His purpose titanic, His verdicts oceanic. Yet in His largeness nothings gets lost; Not a man, not a mouse, slips through the cracks.