The only constant...

One of my favorite sayings is "The only constant in life is change." I don't even remember where I first heard it, but I searched the quote and learned that it originated with Heraclitus (a 500 BC, Greek philosopher).

At the age of fifty, I can definitely vouch for the truth of his words. I have lived long enough to see and experience plenty of change, lots of surprises, many storms, some tragedies, but even more rainbows and silver linings. I remember a Tim Keller sermon I once listened to where he explained how the greatest joy is birthed out of the deepest sufferings. I can vouch for that too!

Yesterday was one of the hardest days emotionally that I have had in a long time. When these days come (I just want to cry and it seems like I can feel every nerve ending in my body), I remind myself that I am a fifty-year-old woman and this is a part of the terrain. I am no exception. However, one of the surprises of my life the last few years has been the lack of these expected (and dreaded) symptoms. I have yet to experience a serious hot flash. I have friends who started experiencing them in their thirties. The only time I have experienced noticeable symptoms of the dreaded "change" have been when I was under a lot of stress. And once that stress subsided, the symptoms disappeared.

Yesterday was one of those days when I just knew there had to be a physical component to how badly I was feeling. I am able to recognize that component because the "pain" I was feeling has been in my life for years. It's not new; although it has been brought back to the surface through recent circumstances. I started to write on my blog while in the middle of my most fragile moments (which were a combination of very real pain and recognizable hormonal imbalance). But thank the Lord I was able to stop myself from putting the details of my pain here on my blog. That is a major victory for someone like me! ~I say this with a triumphant smile on my face!~

Instead of blogging, I wrote a long, rambling, pitiful private message to someone who I know really cares and loves me unconditionally. And then last night I wrote a "please forgive me" message explaining that it was just one of those really tough days. To which she replied, "Don't feel bad! I love you so, so, so much!"

Today I have all of those same hurts, but today I can handle them again.

Next week is round four of chemo for John. Treatment week is very stressful. Today I'm feeling thankful that treatment week and hormonal day did not collide. I typically battle just a touch of mild situational depression at some point during John's treatment anyway. Usually it's the weekend following treatment. It is so hard to watch someone you love suffer. And having been through cancer with my mom years ago seems to make it harder because I remember. I not only project myself into an uncertain future; I do so with the reality of some of my worst memories. It's hard to put into words, but in this case the past complicates and intensifies the present.

The emotional pain I was feeling yesterday also ties into memories of events surrounding my mother's illness and death. Deep emotional wounds were inflicted during the last week of my mother's life. Ironically -- or not -- those wounds have been reopened simultaneously with my husband's present cancer battle. The pain I struggle with comes and goes in its intensity, but it is always present. Yesterday it was overwhelming, but today it is manageable.

Yesterday I broke down while talking to John on the phone. But in the middle of my pain, I told him what I always know to be true: "Even though I am hurting so badly, I know tomorrow will be better. I always get through it. I never feel like this very long. I just have to push through, and then I'll be fine." I know that because I have felt intense pain before and I have always overcome it to find joy and triumph on the other side of the pain.

God is faithful and He is sovereign. Everything He allows me to suffer is for my good. I trust Him. Whatever I lose, I know He will redeem. At the core of my being, I believe it with all of my heart. He will redeem every loss. I have faith that He will redeem every loss because He has promised to work all things for my good. But it isn't just through faith that I know this. I have lived for fifty years and He has already done this for me many, many times. His timing has not always been the timing I would have chosen. But He has rescued me so many times in the past, and when He has visibly shown up in my life I could always see, in hindsight, how He had been working for my good long before I ever realized the grace and deliverance I was going to need. My circumstances may have surprised me, but they never surprised God.

I will have tough days. I am weak. I am fragile. I am a dysfunctional mess within myself. And I know it. But His strength is made perfect in weakness. I know that I don't have to find strength within myself. I am completely and willingly dependent on Him.

2 Corinthians 11:30
If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.

2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.