Faith of Cancer

We should have named her Ariel.  Madison is a fish.  Born in Florida, raised in the pool, she is at home in the water.  At the age of 3, I removed her floating aid and decided that I was going to teach her to swim.  She pushed away from me and took off kicking through the water.  No one ever told her that was something she was supposed to learn.  It goes to reason that she is now on the swim team.  An amazing swim program with amazing facilities.

Last night, I sat with her Daddy at swim practice.  At the far end of the olympic pool, there is a high dive.  Occasionally, the coaches let the younger kids wander over to the massive giant and take the leap.  First timers take the ladder with shaking knees, climb to the top, take a look over the edge, and then almost always climb back down to safety.  After a few times of this march, they eventually push their nerve over the end, screaming the whole way down.

Last night, a lone girl stood with her coach beside the skyscraper high dive.  She climbed the ladder with confidence.  She grabbed our attention.  We fixed our gaze as she walked to the end and stopped.  Time paused. Slowly, she bent at a 90 degree angle.  Arms stretched out straight to her side.  Balance gained, she lifted her toes.  Paused.  Fixed.  If there had been a slight breeze from behind, she would have tipped over the side, but she stood.  She stood in strength and she stood in confidence.

The leap of faith.  The lighting of the torch.  The bullet ignited.  It was so graceful, I wanted to stand.  She slowly tipped over the side, soaring through the air with the most captivating beauty and grace.  A perfect swan dive.  The beauty was in the falling, not in the safety of returning to the pool.

Life is scary.  We climb life hurdles with our knees knocking, scared to death.  The diving boards are such huge scary monsters that we do our best to avoid.  And then we have no option, we kick and scream and we don’t want to, but we are forced over the edge.  Jesus is the Diving Team.  He is the best facility available.  He is the coach that never takes his eyes away.  Once you have done it, there is nothing to fear.  Fall into his mercy.  Fall into his grace.  Fall in to his loving arms with resolute confidence.  Cancer is one graceful swan dive.

Once you have taken the plunge, the standard diving board, Nothing.  I jump right off that thing like it never existed.  Once I have, literally, fallen on my knees and prayed for the health of my three month old, financial problems don’t make me blink.  Once I have been covered with scars and swelling, the popularity club doesn’t seem worth my time.  Loss of a job.  Transfer of schools.  Social drama.  Political upheaval.  Dreams crushed.  Swan dive in to the arms of my Jesus.

I have the faith of cancer.

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I Am That Boy

Mountains spread before me.  The river cuts them apart.  The morning sun yawns and slowly rises.  I lift my coffee.  My two hands cusp its warmth.  Deep breath and peace in my heart.  I pray.  I seek.  Early in the morning, in my life, in the conversation, I seek God.

His word says give.  His command is to love.  The law says purity.  I obey him and I am happy.  All my heart searches for him.  I study in the library, feasting on knowledge.  Listening in class, Science is his creation.  Attentive in speeches, charity is his work.  I want to know his good.  I want no compromise in my life.  When I eat, it is of the fruit he provided.  When I speak, it is an outpouring of the knowledge he provided.  When I clean, it is of his blessings.  And when I laugh, it is joy that can not be contained.  I want others to look at me and see you.  I want your principles to radiate from my life’s obsessions.

I am young.  My body is healthy.  My body is fit and handsome.  Young women notice me.  Pretty girls flirt.  How can I stay pure?  I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.  I think about you when I am tempted.  I have disciplined my eyes to look away.  I have trained my mind to look for goodness, to call it out, and to praise it.  Even though I am sought, I have already been won.  I am untouchable.

A crowd forms around me.  They follow my example.  They have wandered away like sheep and you find them.  I rebuke evil that preys on others.  I listen, I feel, and I cry.  A beggar lacks the training so easily given away.  A nagging child needs the discipline her bratty spirit craves.  A neglected life begging, begging for love, one soul alone can give.  I want to see.  I want to give.  I want to heal.

A conspiracy forms against me.  I will not wander.  I meditate on your principles.  I am overwhelmed by the power that swells within me.  Disgrace is among the people that lie about me.  So short is their conniving plan.

I have determined to follow you.  Teach me, O Lord.  Give me understanding.  I will put it into practice.  I walk in your path.  I ponder my direction.  My eagerness is for you, not for money!  Blessings are poured out on me.  All this world is lavished upon me but it is not my fulfillment.  It all is at my fingertips, it all, I give away.

Forever you stand firm.  My lips burst in worship.  I live to sing your praise.

I, Caroline, long to be that Psalm 119 boy.  So easily, Lord, you provide that life for me.

Don’t Tell Anyone. Everybody Already Knows.

Florida. One word pops into your head: SUN. Yes, Sunny Florida. Well, I had the privilege of living in Sunny Florida for five years. I had a little ranch style home and a little tropical yard. I was young and loved our little place I made into home.

I vacuumed every day. The laundry basket was always empty (almost always. That stuff breeds!) Eggs were displayed in a bowl in the fridge. You could always find fresh baked goods. I couldn’t be happier to be my own little version of Martha Stewart.

Like a good wife, one day I headed to the grocery store to stock our home with tempting, yet healthy foods. I had a grocery budget but I loved to squeeze it in the food area and have a little extra money left over to buy something extra for our home. I was on a gardening kick so: a new flower pot for in front of my front door. The decision was made and I had in my head what I wanted.

I made my grocery run. Kept tabs on my total, I had a full cart and a little left over to indulge myself. I strutted to the other side of the store and to the outside garden section. You know the garden centers that have the mesh covering so the rain can reach the plants? Yes, I was in that kind of area.

My eyes scanned the pots. No. No. No. Ummmm. No. No. YES! I found it. It was huge. That was what I wanted. Only one problem, it was on the top shelf. The tip top shelf. But, no worries, I am tall. I stretched up. I could barely reach the pot with my finger tips. Sweet. Here was my plan: Inch the pot forward so that it falls off, then I catch it.

I started inching. It was going according to plan. It slowly inched forward. Then it tipped forward. I reached my arms out, ready to catch my prize.

It was like a rude prank! The pot was full of water! Remember the mesh ceiling? I was soaked with rain water! I mean, down my hair and face and clothes! And remember Sunny Florida? Well, it was about 100 degrees outside and I didn’t remember when it had rained last, but it wasn’t now!

Well, remember my cart full of groceries? I needed those! So, I squeaked and sloshed back through the store, all eyes on me.

Oh bless me. I would like to say there was a lesson to my story. But all you get out of some things is a good laugh.

He Spoke to Me

I hit the pillow and I am out. I sleep peacefully in a deep sleep until the rude alarm clock taps my shoulder and tells me to wake up. This girl loves her sleep.

One dark, routine night I was in this slumber. I dreamed. I dreamed I heard a voice. I did not see anything but I heard a voice say, “Do you want to wake up?”

It was a stupid question, and I replied, “Of course I want to wake up!”

“It is going to hurt.”

My response was immediate and without question, “They need me.”

I jolted out of my sleep and woke falling into Adrenal Crisis. I was barely able to wake my husband in my weakness. He called 911 and I was rushed to the emergency room. It hurt.

I am not scared to die. One day I will claim Paul’s words adapted as my own, “Living was Christ, dying now is gain.” But not now. “They need me.” My husband and my seven year old. And Christ has not quite yet carried on to completion his work in me.

I Want Everything

I give you my health.
I give you my future.
Here is my self righteousness.
My plans are yours.
I give you my family.
Take my strength.
Have my heart.

I need your peace.
My souls longs for heaven.
My prayer is for grace.
Your completion in me I crave.
Make me a servant of those I love.
I beg for your power.
I desire your love.

All of me in exchange for all of you.
I give you nothing.
I want everything.

My (lots) younger days

A few weeks until my wedding, you can guess I was a little distracted. I had invaded my sister’s home and I had been living with her and her precious girls for a few months already. I remember that time and I smile. Chubby cheeked five year old Conner and her one year old blanket carrying sister, Kate, had (and still do have) a deep part of my heart.

The girls were with me all the time. I was often told how beautiful and sweet my girls were and I just smiled. They were my girls.

I had also invaded my brother’s car. A hand me down little red Dodge, Neon. He was not quite old enough to drive and I had sold my car.

One sunny June day, sweet voiced Kate and I were traveling around town enjoying life. I turned up the radio and thought about how great it was to be me. We sang and giggled and continued our errands like the happy girls that we were.

Work at nursery (with my Kate by my side.) Check.
Pick up wedding shoes. Check.
Fill up car with gas. Check.
Run through carwash. In progress.

The radio still up and my happiness still overflowing, I was enjoying even the carwash.

“Ehh.” It was a sweet, polite, one year old, “I don’t think this is supposed to be happening.”

Attentive aunt turns around to see soap suds and water and car wash brushes swishing through my OPEN back windows!

I wish I had a video of me turned around in that little car trying to roll up those manual windows as fast as my arms would wind!

Have I told you I’m blonde?