Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Living Openly and Expansively

Ever since the completion of my hyperbaric treatments, I have gone into a "get it done" mode. I have been organizing the things in my life and house that have somewhat been left unkept or untouched for quite sometime. I have accomplished all of the things on my mental list that have been adding up ever since my diagnosis....painting walls and bathrooms, organizing drawers and cupboards, getting rid of clutter and getting back into shape. Most of the things on my to do list are now crossed off. Yet, despite my accomplishments I still have a restlessness inside of myself. I am not satisfied. At first I wasn't sure what it was causing these feelings. But after some reflection I have decided I am tired mentally and physically. I have been through a lot this past year and a half. I have yet to slow down and take time to nurture myself and to invest once again into my friendships and my relationships with Jason and the girls. Yet, most importantly I have decided I need to spend some time reflecting on what God wants me to do with the rest of my life.

Matthew 11:28-30 "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me - watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." (The Message)

I found this verse as I was reading a book called "One Month to Live" by Kerry and Chris Shook. Our pastor did a series of sermons on this book and encouraged the congregation to purchase it to follow along. When I bought the book, I wasn't at a point in my life where I could start reflecting on the purpose of this book. I was still fighting for my health and life and that was the only focus I had at the time. The purpose of the book is to teach you how to start living a no-regrets life. The book asks you to consider how your perspective would change if you found out you had just thirty days to live. After the initial shock, you'd probably resolve to squeeze all you could from the days that remain. You'd say what you really think. You'd love with abandon. You'd focus on whatever you care about most. You'd stop wasting time and in whatever time you had left, you'd throw yourself into becoming the person God intended to be. I haven't been given 30 days to live, but as a cancer survivor my chances of living a long life are certainly not as high as someone who has not lived with cancer. So learning what it means to make the most of my time on earth and how to live my life without regrets is important to me.

I Corinthians 6:1, 11-13 "Companions as we are in this work with you, we beg you, please don't squander one bit of this marvelous life God has given to us. I can't tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn't fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren't small, but you're living them in a small way. I'm speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open your lives. Live openly and expansively." (The Message)

I am realizing that I still am not living my life as openly and expansively as I promised to if I were to go into remission and get my life back. Over the next month or so I have decided to be open to God's will for my life and what he wants me to do for the rest of my days, however long it may be. My life is not small and I am excited to see what he has in store for me.

I am happy to report, my skin has stayed in tact and there are no new holes. My next hurdle will be a MRI in December. My surgeon is optimistic it will bring good news that I am still cancer free. Although, I can't help but feel some anxiety as the date of the MRI approaches. After the MRI, we will discuss what options there are to fix my face and teeth. However, I am in no hurry.

We took a big step of faith and decided to book a family vacation in February. This was difficult and scary for us to do, but something that we all needed. Of course, we did buy some travel insurance just in case...but hopefully nothing will hold us back from going. These past few weeks, I have enjoyed volunteering once again at the girls' school, spending time with friends, going on dates with Jason and celebrating Halloween. For the first time, I attempted to make a costume for Kendall instead of purchasing one at the local Halloween superstore. Kendall insisted on being a jelly was a challenge but I made it happen. We had fun with the pumpkins and I was especially touched when Mackenzie decided to make a cancer ribbon on her pumpkin. I am looking forward to spending the upcoming holidays with our families. This year they will be extra special.

Please continue to pray for healing, for good news in December and for wisdom when it comes to making a decision on fixing my face.

With love,


Anonymous said...

Sue, your jellyfish costume is stupendous! As I read your comment about making one, I couldn't figure out how you would do it -- but you did a wonderful job!! Your girls are so beautiful, and I can see Grandpa Karrmann in MacKenzie. I think she looks like Elizabeth too. Such fun to see "family" in the faces of the upcoming generation!

Your readings really made me cry. At this side of my life, I still try to figure out how to spend my days in God's will and in His presence and those readings say it so beautifully. Thanks for posting them, and thanks be to God that you are here as a symbol to all of us who know you of His grace and love and infinite caring for all of us.

God bless all of you!

Bev Johansen

Anonymous said...

Hi Sue, The girls are adorable in their costumes! The jellyfish is very clever! How exciting for you to be doing so many wonderful "family" things each day...cherishing every minute, I'm sure! Our prayers and thoughts continue with you every single day...Dec. will bring good news and another burden lifted off of your shoulders...continue enjoying and getting ready for the holidays! Kari Karrmann Sides