If Monday’s post
made you laugh then yesterday’s post
might have surprised you. I was so buried in living a fresh out of amazing life I had no idea others were too. It took someone else to point it out to me. All along the way God was preparing my heart. And girls, he is always doing that.
Have you ever watched a bullet shot out of a gun in slow motion? Time lapsed video permits us to see the force of the bullet exploding from inside the barrel of the gun but everything else slows and fades into the background. You can see the bullet itself and you know intrinsically it is moving faster than you can think. The eye is fooled but the mind knows better. That bullet has somewhere to go and go fast. It can’t be stopped once the trigger is pulled.
This was precisely what my life felt like after I signed the contract with Harvest House. I returned home from my time with Brooke at Proverbs 31 and life shot ahead at break neck speed. It usually does for me anyway. I play catch up for days when I am away for a mere twenty-four hours. But this time it was even more pronounced, as if I was a runner taking her mark at the starting line. The gun fired and I was doing my best just to keep up.
Everyday life for a mother of four can be crazy full on normal days. But now I was trying to cram book writing into the nooks and crannies of my life. There was no beachside bungalow to escape to for dreamy writing days. I know I had heard that was the life of a writer before somewhere. I had no Stephen King mountain cabin of solitude to dream up words that would linger long after they were read by weary moms. A couple of Saturdays hiding in a booth at Panera would have to suffice. I learned during this time that my calling as a writer was not mutually exclusive to my life as mom. They were intertwined and in many ways dependent on each other. One fed the other like some sort of beautifully chaotic symbiotic relationship and I was the one tasked with figuring out how to make sense of it all.
At the same time a dark cloud appeared just over the horizon. My dad, who had battled and beat cancer three times over the past five years, was not feeling well. I had seen it with my own eyes when he and my mom visited during Christmas break. He was brave, but I could tell something was not quite right. A PET scan later proved our worst fears: his cancer had made a comeback and this time with a vengeance. I found out only days after I came home from my trip to Proverbs 31 my dad had a brain tumor that needed to be removed immediately. His life depended on it.
I flew to Indiana in the early morning hours of February 7th to be with my mom, brother, sister-in-law, and a whole bunch of other people in a hospital waiting room in downtown Indianapolis. My dad came through surgery beautifully. A few hours after surgery his first words were, “Coffee,” and he asked for a cheeseburger. He got both.
God stooped right down and heard our prayers. He gave us more grace than we could ask for. And we were so grateful. My dad still had a tough road ahead and we knew it full well. He looked at me on Saturday night before I left his room and said, “I love you. Tell Mike and the girls I love them too. I’m going to be fine. You get home to them. Now, how much was your plane ticket? I want to pay for it.” I smiled and said, “No, thank you, dad. I can take care of it. ” We snapped a photo with my big brother before I hugged and kissed dad gently. I said goodbye and slipped into the freezing Indiana night.
Nothing about that weekend was easy. First of all, when someone you love is hurting and in ICU you do a lot of sitting and thinking. Second of all, when you sit and think too much your mind tries to lead you down pathways filled with worry. Finally, it was -8 degrees outside and snowing. I could not get warm and I’m not sure if the shivers were from the temperature outside or the fear that snuck in my heart. I do know that when I got on the plane to come home I exhaled deeply and set my mind to the next thing on my list—helping my husband prepare for his business trip.
My husband left the country a few days after I came home from Indiana. He went to the Philippines for about two weeks for a conference. While he was gone I returned to life as mom and writing my book in the now fewer nooks and crannies of my life. I called my mom and dad as much as I could to check on his recovery. As can be expected he had good days and bad. But we kept praying and asking God for more miracles. Gratefully, our manuscript due date for Hope for the Weary Mom was extended by a week and when I put the finishing touches on my last chapter I was more than ready to send it on its way.
I had one more commitment on my schedule before I would melt into our planned and much needed Spring Break Vacation. Brooke and I were asked to speak at a conference in upstate New York for moms called Raising Generations. We would be sharing on “How to have HOPE Now.” We were nervous, excited, and I was tired. My heart grew about ten times bigger as we were able to share our stories of meeting Jesus in the messy parts of our lives and how he just keeps offering us hope. The women attending our session filled up the chairs, sat on the floor, and extended out the door into the hallway. Clearly, the message of hope was drawing women toward Christ.
The night before I left the conference, I was packing my bag for my early morning flight home. Brooke and I were replaying every sweet moment of our weekend and I told her I could not wait for Monday. I had big plans. I was going to rest, eat, and play with the girls. And then I was going to do all those things again on Tuesday.
I looked at Brooke and said, “I am truly feeling every bit of fresh out of amazing. Which reminds me—in April I’m going to think about that book.” She smiled and turned off the light. I snuck out of the door a few hours later and boarded my third flight in six weeks home to my family. I was poured out in every way.
It was Spring Break. And, man, did I need it more than ever.
(I’ll share more to the story next time.)