The Journey

These past three years (2008-2011) have been different and difficult for me.

My life has been completely turned upside down, and I'm still falling. Still grasping for a small thread of hope and normalcy.

But what happened?

This is a long story in the making. I lived a very different life growing up. My dad was a preacher, my mom a school teacher and an artist. But my mom was sick: very sick. I won't go into all the nitty-gritty details. I could write a book on that alone. The prevailing illness was the auto-immune disease, Lupus. It caused her kidneys to fail, which subsequently caused her to go on dialysis. She was on dialysis for nine years. She never could make it on to the waiting list for a kidney transplant. Most of my young life was spent worrying or caring for my sweet mom. She was an angel. She had a brilliant, creative mind. She was the most loving, caring, selfless person I have ever known. She gave of herself freely. 
My mom and I on July 4, 2008.
In October of 2008, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was shocked. She had been so sick for so long, I never expected or even thought that she would get cancer. We were very proactive in her treatment: the cancer had been discovered early, and with surgery the doctor assured us she could easily beat it. Sadly, things were not that simple. The breast cancer was not the only cancer ravaging her body: it was merely an extension of a more serious, deadly cancer. She was diagnosed with peritoneal cancer on November 25, 2008. The doctor gave her two years to live. She died two days later on Thanksgiving day. 

Quote by C. S. Lewis, speaking on his mother's death.
Life changed then. My world was absolutely shattered. As the days, weeks, and months passed I withdrew more and more into myself. On the outside I was everything I was expected to be: praising of God for healing my mother in the best way He knew. But I was secretly angry at Him. I withdrew from His love and the love of those around me. I was alive on the outside, but inside I was dead. Dead, dead, dead. I couldn't make myself believe that God still loved me. If He loves me, then why did He take her? I lived like this for months. Finally, the breaking point came. It was July, and I was at a denominational leadership conference called Truth and Peace. We were having a concert of prayer. It was so hard to pray, but I finally broke down and told God how I truly felt. I told Him I was angry at him for taking my best friend and my dear mom. He did not turn me away, instead, He gathered me up in His godly arms and told me He loved me. 

Things began to improve in my life. I naively thought that my mother's death would be the hardest thing I would face. That life would be, for the most part, smooth sailing. I was wrong. Two days after I graduated from high school, my dad became ill. Very ill. He went from preaching my graduation commencement address to being in the critical care unit in a hospital an hour from my house, unable to move and completely dependent upon a respirator to breathe. Acute Motor Axonal Neuropathy. A rare variant of Guillain-Barre Syndrome. His nerves had died and he was left paralyzed. He nearly died. But God was merciful to him and to me and spared his life. He spent five months in the hospital/step-down-unit/physical rehab. Up until the day I left for college, I drove two hours--round trip--every day to see him. Those were the hardest months of my life. I had no home: I slept on a friend's couch all summer. My brother had to take me to college. It was hard. It was HARD. 

I am however, happy to report that my dear dad is now home. He had to learn how to walk again. He still walks with a cane, but he is living life again, and back at work. He's even preaching again. His first sermon he preached out on the road was the sermon he preached at my graduation, ten months prior. 
At my graduation ceremony.
I know more hard times will come. In fact, they already have. But I've learned that I must rely on my sweet Savior.

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