Are you ready for Christmas? I am this year, but that wasn’t the case last Christmas. Our daughter decorated the entire house for Christmas last December, which was wonderful! But things were hard. Different. Everything was a struggle.
Large sections of lights on our thirteen-year-old artificial tree were lifeless. Working lights had to be strung. I said to forget it and not fool with it – to not have a tree at all. It was beyond me. With years of decking our halls when often no family members took part, I was ready to join the ranks of the others and do the same. Details didn’t matter anymore. December days of test after test resulted in a cancer diagnosis three days before Christmas.
Merry Christmas. You have lung cancer.
It was three weeks since an MS diagnosis and now this!? My only priority was to spend time with family. My church family, too. I savored Christmas songs and Christmas chatter. It was an altered Christmas, where I snapped not a single picture.
Memories remain of standing in church, longing to sing hymns but too breathless to manage it. (Christmas hymns are among my favorites!) Disappointment and questions loomed.
“Will I ever sing hymns again?”
“What will happen next year?”
“Will I even be here next Christmas?”
In February, as I continued more testing to identify the cancer staging, our dishwasher stopped working. “You gotta love God for keeping us grounded in the realities of normal life!” 😉
As we shopped for a new dishwasher in one of the stores, we spotted a room of floor model discounted Christmas trees. I’m talking many choices of pre-lit trees for dirt cheap. Dare I consider buying a new tree?
The irony of it all. God dangled the possibility in front of me. A hope for tomorrow. Was it possible to hope for future Christmases again? To trash the old, broken tree and take home a new one for a fresh beginning? In February?
It represented a new start as I faced so many endings…vision issues…couldn’t walk normally…couldn’t drive…limited movement due to pain…more challenges…more bad news. I was unable to write, and I missed my former blogging days of creating the home we (I) love to live in. But God would have the final say. Could I hope again while the list of endings felt hopeless? Could I trust God for one more Christmas and even hope for many more after?
When in a season of questions, the Lord is your Anchor. The Answer. Your Footing. Your Moor. As we look back through the years and see His faithfulness and view the lineup of ebenezers, we can surely trust Him! As I followed my Shepherd carefully for each step this year, He gradually brought health back into my life.
Two rounds of chemo ended with a new targeted cancer pill to halt further cancer growth. God led me to reduced pain…more steady steps now, and vibrant energy I’d never dreamed possible.
Now all glory to God, who is able,
through his mighty power at work within us,
to accomplish infinitely more than we might
ask or think. (Ephesians 3:20)
Am I back to normal, as in “the way things were”? No, but my new normal is far more manageable than in the beginning of 2018. The Lord showed me how to put action to my faith and keep moving forward. He was and is with me. He’s with you, too!
He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
1 Thessalonians 5:24
The boxer pictured with me (and my tree of hope) is our newest rescue and promise of hope.
Baxter joins us this Christmas, secure in his new beginnings. Two weeks ago, he was abandoned, alone, cold, and hungry. But, God had the final say in Baxter’s care – as He has in mine and yours. Baxter now stands securely with love, plentiful food, and warmth.
What obstacles has God led you through this year? Are you looking forward to an improved Christmas over Christmases past?
What represents your hope in Christ this Christmas? Whatever your current circumstances, I encourage you to make Christmas memories in any and every way possible. I’m joining you in that – while singing those Christmas hymns again. Praise to our Gracious Heavenly Father!
Because He lives~