… cancer really sucks

Today, I had the most amazing day but to be honest, my heart is kinda heavy and is breaking in so many ways.

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I have a really wonderful friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer at 27. TWENTY FREAKIN SEVEN years old. Thankfully, THANKFULLY, thankfully, as of this past year, at 30, she is cancer free.

For that, I will forever thank God for. She is the most incredible woman who has the most positive outlook on life and is so supportive of her friends and family. This gal is  a gem.
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Today, I learned that a woman whom I’m connected to in a couple of exciting ways, is battling breast cancer. My heart completely broke for her. For her young daughter. Her family.

I think about everything that we go through in this life, I consider all of my friends and their struggles and I think about how BIG we make the small stuff. How silly we behave when things don’t go our way. How easily we break away from relationships before we truly attempt to find solutions, and tough out the tough stuff. How we value things and neglect people. How we are such a self absorbed people.
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My survivor acquaintance/friend’s shirt says “A selfie (self exam) saved my life!”

Today in Houston, The Sisters Network, Inc. hosted its 5th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness 5k Walk/Run. I truly had a wonderful time and ran into women I hadn’t seen in a while, ran into a survivor acquaintance, and was in awe of the love and support shown for women who have battled this cancer.

As I thought about this post, I literally thought that it would be this sweet, fluffy post about how truly great today was. (and, it was really great.) But, I honestly can’t. My heart is aching and broken for women and families who have to endure such a difficult task before them. Such a life altering task. It changes everything. It changes how families will be expanded, it effects and challenges how women view their bodies and their femininity. It grows you up, strengthens you, and puts life into perspective.
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I’m thinking about how unfair all of these difficulties seem.
 I have friends whose children are stuck in the DRC. I have friends whose babies are waiting for them in orphanages. Women are battling infertility. I have a friend who went on a trip to Uganda with a team who removed jiggers (little mama bugs that furrow in shoeless feet and have baby bugs that just hang out causing immense pain) from the feet of little ones. There are people who are living on the street. Who don’t have clean water. Who are being abused. Who are struggling with life. People are literally fighting day in and day out for their lives.

There seems to be no justice. No consideration of how much a person has experienced and endured. No thought behind a person’s character. No peace. No rest. No relief. No break. (Ever feel that way?)

There is nothing easy about this life. It is full of disappointments, heartache, and pain.
And, yes, some people seem to have it easier than others. But, the truth of the matter is, we’re all struggling in some way. We will all struggle. We have all struggled. No one is exempt.

1 Peter 5:7
Cast all your anxiety on Him, for he cares for you.

The beautiful thing about the pain of this life is that not only is it temporary (thank God!), but we don’t endure it alone. We aren’t in it by ourselves. Yes, we are given amazing people to walk these roads with, but better than having our people with us, we have a God who is the creator of all walking with us. Leading us. Guiding us. Comforting us. And, bearing our burdens for us. I know I keep saying that, but it’s truly what keeps me sane. I can’t get past who God is.

Nothing is lost on Him.
He is righteous and always right. He is thoughtful, purposeful, and just.

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Today was beautiful. The weather was amazing and totally made liars of the meteorologists and apps that forecasted a rainy, cold day. I celebrated life. The lives of two cancer survivors and the life of a sweet, little girl who turned 4 today. A little girl we prayed pretty hard for. The life of the one we’re waiting to come home. Celebrated the lives of God’s people who are in this thing fighting with everything they have in them. Who are believing Him to be exactly who He said he is.

Today, through the difficulties of life, I was reminded of how faithful God is and how beautiful and inspiring life can be is.
How if we stay focused on God, our hope remains in tact and our perspectives positive.

… here’s to feeling your boobies & getting mammograms. Do it! Do it! Do it!

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… God is great, God is good

(this picture is completely unrelated to anything written below, but I ran my very first 5k on Saturday…. I’m incredibly proud of myself and totally praise God for the opportunity and guts. *** yes, there’s a story there…. maybe later! ***)
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God is great. God is good…..
We know this. We’ve said it. We read it. We’ve recited year over too many breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack meals to count.

But, do we really grasp what God being great and God being good really means?

I, for one, did not. And, still have not fully grasped the depth and intensity of how good God is. I started to truly “get” his goodness through the struggles and heartaches of attempting to adopt….. but, I hope that I am forever in awe of these facts as I would hate to grow immune to their grip it has on the heartbeat of my soul and take it for granted.

Now, I’ve learned a lot about his during this chapter of infertility during the last couple of years but I am learning God in an entirely new way.

I’ve learned a while ago that God’s goodness is based solely on who He is. The part I struggled with is he remains good REGARDLESS of where I am in life. It’s not that I thought he began to be “bad” but more as if He almost quit being anything. I knew that He could never be bad, but I’m left in this horrible situation and it’s certainly seems as if He’s not doing anything good. Almost as if He was treating me as if I was an Isrealite before God freed them via Moses & Aaron…. He just quit listening to them and at some point He decided to turn a listening ear to them. Can you say that a God you KNOW is good is now bad because of this?

Does His state of goodness ever cease?

He is good because His mercies are never ending, He is good because His love unfailing… UNFAILING. He is good because He is with me always.

He is good because he chose me and is allowing me to impact my corner of the world for his Kingdom. An honor. My reasonable service.

He is good because he is perfecting me for His glory.

Most of all, because He is good and because we are made in His image, we have the ability, through the power of Jesus Christ who works inside of us, to be good, as well.

He is good and will always display His goodness to me because I am His child, and He is my Father in Heaven.

Matthew 7:11
“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!”

I wrote a piece for Style Magazine this past Tuesday about my views and hopes in raising “the good”.
I acknowledged that in order for my little wonders to be “the good”, I have to be and model the good.

I get my standards and characteristics of what “good” is from my Heavenly Father ….. For he is good.
Consistent…. Wise…. Forgiving…. Gracious…. Loving…. Merciful

I believe that the more I imitate God, the easier my children will come to know, trust, and love who He is. And, will more likely learn how to imitate Christ by way of modeling the goodness I portray to them. They will eventually learn on their own who God is and will move from imitating me to solely knowing and imitating Him directly.

Consider the contrary – how difficult would it be to understand that a person you cannot see, feel, or take in with any other sense, is good and loves you when those you can see, those who are responsible for you, are not good to you. Will you truly grasp forgiveness if its never been displayed to you? When you do, how long could it take? How much more difficult would it be to unlearn holding grudges, nastiness, and letting go of the past than it would be to never learn those detrimental characteristics in the first place?
From someone who’s been there…. it takes time. A few patient, good God imitating people, with a passion for Christ and helping others find freedom in Him to help you get there. It requires a willing spirit, long conversations, lots of self reflection/inventory, and understanding the real result of Christ’s decision to die on the cross to get it. It takes those good, God imitators to imitate, imitate, imitate and to be courageous enough to call you out when you’re wrong and are acting in anyway opposed to who Christ is. It takes them focusing more on Christ than your response to push you back to Him when you are so incredibly wrong. It requires you to be gripped by and understand the fact that Christ  took the penalty for our every sinful action, thought, word, and deed to understand that we have no reason to hold another hostage. Especially when we were and are forgiven so freely.

GOD IS GOOD.

I do not believe that as parents, aunts, anyone over or even alongside another, we have the luxury to desire to be anything other than imitators of the ultimate good. Why? Because we have a direct impact on the next generations of kingdom builders.

We are to raise little images of Christ. We are charged with the responsibility to raise these little people who will become believers to leave our homes to form their own Christ centered homes to raise another generation of believers who will live out loud and serve God big.

Have you ever wondered how drastic the your home, school, work place, community, church (yup.), and WORLD can be changed if we all decided to own the fact that by the grace and power of God, we can be the good. What if we truly acted out and portrayed the good that Christ shows us daily?

Ultimately.
I’ve realized that He is good always. Even when the Isrealites were enslaved…. God received (and,continues to receive) the utmost glory for the freedom of His people. They endured increasing pressure and hatred before the miracles and acts of God that led to their freedom. God would have never received AS MUCH glory if the degree of his percieved goodness equated to the intensity of the Isrealites’ comfort.

God’s glory and our comfort are typically inversely related. Things don’t typically turn around until later on in the chapter, as you continue to read a bit further into the book.  Then you notice patterns of struggle and heartache that preceed redemption and the peace of God…. sin will forever come before forgiveness, grace, and mercy. All of the events that lead up to God recieving the utmost glory are immensely difficult but definitely for our good. And, His glory.

So that pretty much means that we can count James 1:2 – 4 as true…. that we can absolutely consider struggles as pure joy….. the benefits of these hardships are good.

…. here’s to truly knowing and believing with your entire heart down to the depths of your very soul that God is GOOD… that He is FOR YOU… and, completely had you in mind before He created the foundations of the world.

… here’s not never being foresaken.

Amen.

 

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