I have been home for two weeks and it has definitely been a challenge. When I was in Baltimore I was focused on treatment. There were no distractions and I was able to rest. Now that I am home it has been a struggle and my inadequacies are more apparent. My doctor prepared me for the challenges I would face. I am not able to do everything I normally would do in a day. I get tired easily and because of my numbness this creates issues with simple tasks. However, I am feeling stronger everyday and I am accomplishing goals but it takes more time and effort. I know that my life is different and it is going to take time to readjust but I am hopeful. I am trying to spend time with my family and focus on what is important for today.
I continue to be so encouraged by family, friends, our community, and even people I don't even know. It has been an overwhelming experience to be loved and served by so many. It is hard to describe but honestly it challenges me to meet others where they are and love and serve them as well. Now that I'm home it has made me realize how much time I used to spend rushing from one thing to the next and never really enjoying and appreciating the time I had to love and serve my family and others. Before I was diagnosed with cancer I was so focused on what I felt I needed to do and I was so busy doing it that I really wasn't living. The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). (John 10:10 AMP) I had allowed my life to get to the point where I was so focused on my circumstances that instead of living an abundant life I was left feeling inadequate and unproductive. This trial has brought a lot of good because it has forced me to look at life from a different perspective. It made me realize how much I have been blessed with and how much greater life is when my focus is fully on God rather than my circumstances. I had lost sight of what mattered most Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 22:37-39 NLT)
We are called to love and this week I have been reminded many times that my words and actions matter because they reflect my heart and I am to be a reflection of God's love. As I was saying goodnight to Addy the other night she asked me what love is and I smiled because it is what I had been thinking and writing about. I told her that we choose to love others and read to her:
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless. When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:1-13 NLT)
I have heard this and read this so many times but as I read it to her I realized how it's not just about now but eternity. Our faith and our hope will one day be fulfilled when we see God face to face and on that day our love for Him and others will be perfect and last forever! When we choose to love we are a showing others who Jesus is. That really challenges me to love as Jesus loves. So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:34, 35 NLT)
As I have gone through these past two weeks at home I sometimes will have thoughts of how much time do I have and what more will I endure? Will I see my children grow? Will my husband have to go on without me and it breaks my heart. Yesterday, as I was thinking of it being Mothers Day I began to cry. I thought, is this the last one for me? I really don't know how much time I have but really that was always true. However, I can't let those thoughts consume me because then I can't enjoy the time I have. In those moments I can choose to have faith and hope in God and His plan. Most importantly, in those moments I can choose to love those around me and that love will last forever.