Someone once asked me, "Why do you say you are nothing without God? You're basing your existence without proof of a god existing." The same person also asked me, "Why do you trust in God when you have all these problems in front of you?" For me, I had many instances in my life that proved God was very real. That's of course, my belief and faith that He's real. Life is all about facing problems. There are tests to improve our character and trials that we must go through because it's just the cycle of life. In the 2nd Corinthians, it states, "We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed, but we don't give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going. Through suffering, these bodies of ours constantly share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies." We would never learn without all of the trial and tribulations in our lives. We would never grow. We would go around the same mountain again and again without learning from our past mistakes.
Just yesterday, my sister said to me, "Remember Dad used to always say, 'Lookit' us -- we're so lucky. We really are." I remember him saying this quite often. He realized that we didn't go through early illnesses or deaths. We didn't see divorce in our families nor did we witness any abuse. We could have gone through a whole lot more than we did. She then continued to say, "We're not lucky. Look at what we've been going through these past few years. Our luck ran up, Deb. Our luck ran up."
No. It didn't. We're just seeing the cycle of life...for the very first time.
Although I completely understand where she was coming from because we love our family so much, I also understand God's will and I trust that we are in a better place. It is the cycle of life that we have to accept: illnesses, life challenges, growing older, and possible death that comes to all of us at some point, whether younger or older. And yes, that's very scary. I remember praying and praying one morning for Dad to get his request. He said to me, "All I want is another 10 years, Deb! That's all." I prayed so hard for that, but I knew that was not God's will, so I also prayed that God would give him at least, one week of quality of life. When I saw Dad get up from his bed that hospice provided, take his cane and start poking my mother jokingly and telling the funniest jokes. I witnessed him getting back up on his little tractor, swirling around to do a little yard work like he always did. He hadn't done that in almost a year. He ate well and laughed hard. It was all for one week. It was then I knew that God's will was going to be the final answer, and sadly, not my prayer. He declined so very quickly after that one week of awesomeness. We had so much hope.
What if...my prayer went through and the declination just got worse and worse? Would he have to live another ten years of misery? I would not want that and neither would he. Things happen in such a way -- a way that we sometimes can't comprehend. Why do some children get cancer? The horrific ordeal these kids have to go through, instead of having normal worries, like what time to get back home for dinner after a game of kickball or doing all their homework before bedtime. It's just so incredibly sad to see a young child endure the wrath of the big "C". Fortunately, this adorable kid on the left kicked cancer's butt. Recently, a young kid in our area, an athlete no less, died of a stroke at the age of 16. I mean -- what is the reasoning behind all of this? My uncle died at the age of 30 from a heart attack. You can think about that all day long and you will never, ever get an answer to "the meaning of life". No one has gotten an answer. But if you can accept the will of God and the cycle of life and all it has to offer and take away, you will not be disappointed. Expect the worst, and hope for the best. Expect the best, which is God's will.
My mom had her last week in radiation. The prognosis looks good. We've sat in that office filled with women who had to get their radiation treatments as well. These women's ages ranged from their late teens well into their late 80's. We spoke to one amazing woman named Ginger. She's 78 years old and has stage 4 lung cancer. She still smokes like a chimney. Her cancer is terminal, but she still gets her radiation like a trooper. I've never seen such a woman so full of life, laughing and making other people in the waiting room smile. She was the life of that little waiting room party. What makes her so damn happy? You have stage 4 cancer and you're happy...? God bless her, because I don't know how I could handle a death sentence like that. From breast cancer, to colon cancer to lung cancer and any cancer -- these people are all in there relating to one another, and sometimes, even sharing their personal stories together.
When a person is done with their treatments, they read them a poem and let them ring the bell on their very last day. The woman read a poem off from the plaque.
"Your treatment is done and we are glad,
Go out in the world and find fun to be had.
We wish you smiles and happy tears,
Spend time with those who you hold so dear.
Come back with good news to show and tell,
Now, RING THE HECK OUT OF THAT BELL!"
Mom sometimes says, "Why did God let this happen?" Sometimes she'll even say, "Why did your father let this happen?" I understand when people are sick or they go through something traumatic, it's normal to question God -- like, "Why did God let all bad things happen?" But why does He also provide good things in life? We seem to focus on the bad much more than we do with the good. I can't tell you how much worse my myoclonic seizures have been since Mom was diagnosed with cancer. I even went to a neurologist and they are hooking me up with a nightly EEG to see "if" it's related to epilepsy, which they feel it's not. It's most likely out of pure anxiety, which is what? FEAR. So while life is very scary, I do trust in God and His will that this is apart of life. My anxiety attacks have transitioned more into a sleeping disorder rather than a plain ol' panic attack during the day. It's the way my system is dealing with the underlining stress and sadness. Some people have other forms of anxiety, like indirect anger and lashing out at loved ones, or maybe a sudden case of migraines, heartburn and stomach issues. Well, this is my 'bag' so to speak that I have to deal with. I sometimes go without sleep for 5 nights in a row. At that point, I am totally useless and hallucinating from sleep deprivation. Otherwise, I think I'm doing fairly well considering all of the other anxiety symptoms I could have gotten.
"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us--that they help us learn to endure. And the endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation." --Romans 5:3-4
"Since I know it is all for Christ's good, I am quite content with my weaknesses and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." --2 Corinthians 12:10
I just want to thank all my little prayer warriors out on Twitterland, (thank you Cindy
) praying for my mother and also, praying for me to get rid of this awful anxiety symptom that leaves awake every single night. I want to thank all my family, friends and those who don't even know us for praying so hard and diligently for my mother's healing. I truly believe that she is cancer free. Someone said to me not too long ago, "Just pray. Just pray." And you know what -- it was the best advice anyone has ever given me.
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