Finding your place

It wasn't when she walked in the door and said NED that I felt relief. It was a few hours before when I was getting all my labs taken. I felt it was ok. 

Months ago when I was diagnosed and looking ahead at lots of long scans and appointments my dad, a survivor himself of stage 4 throat cancer, sat at the end of my bed. 

He told me how in all those moments of scans he had to disappear from reality and go to his favorite place. For him, it was fly fishing in the Virginia mountain the trout streams. Tranquility, peace, just him in the water quietly spending time with Jesus. I started to cry, I love my daddy so much and I could imagine that place with him. I thought of my place at the beach, the ocean, the sounds, the beauty, and then I thought of the sun.. and no longer was that a peaceful place for me. Skin cancer and the beach don't mix, or can they? I mourn that sometimes still, but I have shared before about how God has redeemed that in my broken soul.  

 I thought and thought about where I would mentally go when I was being sent into a test tube of silence and needed to escape reality. Waiting as the scan machine looked intricately at every cell in my body to find cancer or lack of. I better find a place or I would need more drugs.  Then it came to me out of nowhere.  It was a vision. A picture painted as clear as day. A vision of myself in his arms. but not any arms, it's a bed of feathers as arms. I cannot see his face but only arms, not normal arms though, arms holding me that are covered by ginormous white feathers. And I sink in, and my body relaxes as a calm comes over me. 

"Hide me in the shadow of Your wings psalm." 17:8 

He's holding me and I realize, I don't need to find a place because HE IS my place, and when there is no where else to go, I will rest in his arms. 

"He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart." Psalm 91:4 

That's my place. 
I found it. 
He will hold me. 
He will be the place I go to find rest, tranquility, peace, and comfort. 

Every scan, every appointment. When I fade off, I'm sinking deep into the bed of feathers that he's holding me in. 

"How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings." Psalm 36:7 (ps. none of this vision to be taken as what God may or may not actually look like, to that we just don't know. But instead its been a vision to me of the way he has been able to show his comfort and care for me) 

"For You have been my help, And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy." Psalm 63:7

Ok so now you are thinking, I'm crazy. I have shared my place with like my 6 closest people and nobody else.  I know it seems wild but it's really not. It's really what this whole life hinges on. Finding Jesus is the place. the reason, your help. Go to that place yourself it's actually really nice there.  

Therefore this is the story that started my obsession over feathers. The sight of a feather is a visual reminder of the so many ways he's held and carried me through various seasons in my life. Specifically this cancer journey. Feathers also seems to have become a trend and a fashion statement, lucky me.  They are all over clothes, pillows, signs. Everywhere I look I see him holding me. Do I believe in coincidence? I've told you before there is no such thing. I believe with my heart that this is another way he's made himself known to me, because I see it everywhere. 

So there you go. Another sharing from my deepest soul. This is one way I've been able to cope. The ways God has comforted me probably isn't the same for everyone of you. I do know though, that he can comfort you where and when you will need to find that peace too. 

Something happened today and so I have to share. 

After my scans I went up to get all my labs. Which is quite a process. I think they test me for every possible blood test you can imagine. Yup. Not lying. 25 or so tubes. Hoping since good news we can spread them out for a few months. Although my counts are not exactly where she wants them to be yet. 

I was with my girl, Bianca. She's just rad. Everything about her makes me smile. There are things I love about going back to the hospital, it's so strange. You get it if you've survived cancer, there is something about seeing my doctor, and "checking-in".  Anyway, Bianca was singing her gospel music and I told her she should be a singer. She says she just likes to think and pretend she is. Then one of my life verses was taped to the wall.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

It was right there for every patient to see. YOU GUYS then on her little radio in the corner came on no longer slaves by Bethel Music.

"You split the sea

So I could walk right through it
My fears were drowned in perfect love
You rescued me
And I could stand and sing
I am a child of God..."
Bethel Music

And as as the song plays she starts her thing. You know you just feel this peace sometime? I just felt it. Tube after tube she went on her business. 

Then this... She starts coughing a little. Makes a comment about her allergies, but she's holding a needle in my arm so I'm hoping she can get composed. 

Then she said it. 

"I'm so sorry, excuse me, it just feels like I've got a feather in my throat just tickling me ya know?"

Huh? YES I do know actually. YOU are choking on a feather?  I looked at Kev. I wanted to respond and say it's probably my fault (since I was just laying in a bed of feathers in a CT scan like 15 min ago) but I kept it to myself. I mean Kev knew, he heard it too. But that was my sign. That's when I knew he was there, and I hadn't been making any of this up. He is real, he's in every present day and He has already done tomorrow too.  My life, his plans, my life, all of it are his and for Him. I wasn't worried, he told me I was ok. Ok meaning no matter what I walk into next he is right here. So friends whatever you are walking into, you will be ok because you aren't doing it alone. 

I've always shared that God is all over every daily and momentary unfolding. Sometimes we have to look hard, sometimes it's like fireworks. Sometimes you can call it coincidence, or perhaps make a story out of it like I have. Ultimately when you peel back all the layers and see your life and your circumstance for a purpose bigger than just me and you, he's right there. Giving his little hugs and big ones too. Sometimes finding a peaceful place can be hard and bring hurt. God can redeem that too. 

“A full reward will be given to you by the Lord, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.” Ruth 2:12

AND when you aren't getting the answers to prayers you want, and you're wondering where he is... Don't give up hope. There are seasons of waiting, he's in them too. I've been there. 

 “God will either give us what we ask or give us what we would have asked if we knew everything he knows.” Tim Keller

Please don't think that when the oncologist looks at me and says this is really good and that I'm beating the odds, and when I don't know if I should laugh, smile, or cry, I'm not thinking about YOU because I am. 

"Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by." Psalm 57:1

I've read this Psalm when my Daddy was fighting for his life, when I was fighting for mine, and today as we drive home looking out from the mountaintops. I'm feeling very grateful for this day. I know that life is a gift. I know that he is not done with me yet. Most important, I know where I'm going when its time because of what He's already done for me. 

"I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable." Psalm 145


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