It’s 10:46pm on July 5, 2016 and I’m crying at a blank page.
There is so much to say and somehow it feels like I’ve written every single line before.
It also feels brand new.
There’s nothing new to say under the sun and we’ve gone around this circle six times now, but every rotation brings something new into focus.
Every flip of the calendar brings me right back to my knees.
For five months I prayed for answers but the answer to my prayers was a brain tumor. In a round-about, seemingly twisted way, I got what I asked for. I received an answer. And with that diagnosis, almost all of life shifted into the form of a question mark.
It looks dramatic written out, and it sounds even more so when spoken aloud, but I didn’t know what the next day would hold. Six year ago, every day after July 5 was completely unknown.
I remember quickly packing for the hospital and then writing page after page after page, tucking pieces of paper into envelopes for loved ones to read. I wanted to be prepared for “just in case.” I remember praying in my bed as I fell asleep. I remember waking up after just an hour or two and getting dressed in the dark. I remember pausing in my bedroom doorway and turning around to take it all in. I remember allowing two seconds and then walking to the car.
Now it’s 10:57pm on July 5th and I’m crying harder but the page is no longer blank.
I sat in the backseat of dad’s car, notebook paper and envelopes beside me, a pen in my hand. The letters weren’t finished and suddenly everything felt like a giant tick-tock-tick-tock hourglass. Because “just in case.”
I didn’t know where I would wake up after my time on the surgery table was finished. And nothing will wake you up to life like the harsh and yet somehow bittersweet truth that so very little matters.
I was 17 and had so much left that I wanted to do, see, live, dream, experience, be.
I was 17 and had already done and seen and lived a lot but all that mattered when the rest of life wasn’t a guarantee was love.
Too often now I forget. I forget how I forgot about the to-dos and the rushing and things that once seemed important. But I never forget the peace that replaced any fear and the assurance of being home no matter what world I woke up in.
The rest of life felt like a question mark but He was a period, a certainty. I asked Him to write an ampersand into my story. I begged Him to keep writing. I asked to see His goodness in the land of the living and He picked up the pen and the story continued on earth — at least for now.
Psalm 27:13 is the verse I write below my name when I sign copies of my book. Because the book would have stopped at chapter 2 if July 6, 2010 turned out differently.
Psalm 30:2 introduces the chapter titled sickness & healing because only He deserves the glory; only He gets the praise.
Sometimes He gets more glory by writing in the period before we’re ready for it, but I am so grateful that I got an ampersand.
It’s 11:04pm on July 5th and I’m holding a copy of my book, opened up to page 37.
“There are countless tests and scans of my brain and they all tell the same story over and over again: I was sick and I have been healed.
But that story was already mine long before an early July morning rid me of a brain tumor.
My soul knew the truth: He could heal me but I would choose to love Him even if not. And if He chose not to heal me? It would not make Him any less of a healer.
The truth is, my history includes a chapter titled July 6, 2010, but it’s actually His Story. I just get to tell it.”
He has healed me in more ways than one. The scar that remains on the back of my head only tells a piece of the story. This, now, is mine to carry. I long to carry it well, for my history to be His legacy. It isn’t the prettiest of stories, but it’s my very favorite. Some pages are confusing, others unfair in the most gracious of ways. It is mine and I am grateful.
It’s 11:13pm on July 5th and life is a glorious uncertainty, a beautifully ordinary ampersand.
Read an excerpt from chapter two of Even If Not, sickness & healing, in this post titled When You’re Waiting for God to Heal You
Thank you for sharing your testimony of what you learned and are still learning from having a brain tumor. I can’t even imagine! I found you at Hope Writers. Your blog is beautiful. I’m following you on social media. May God bless you as you share what so many people want to read! I love reading what others learn from their trials because so often that’s where we meet God and come to a deeper understanding of His love for us. Thank you!
Hey Valerie, it’s great to “meet” you. Gotta love Hope*writers. Thank you for following along and have a great weekend!
How special to have read more of your story. I had been amazed by the portion of your story I heard you share on our trip. Now I feel blessed to have read more…What a truly amazing young woman you are and an inspiration to all ages! May you continue to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living for years to come! Be blessed my dear sister!
Ms. Karen, I’m so glad we met in Israel! It was great to experience it with you and your mom. I hope you’re both doing well!
Lovely to meet you. Thank you for the blessing of being able to read about some of your story. Oh how grateful I am to our Lord for His hand upon your life.
Anita, I’m so glad you stopped by!
These are such beautiful words, and such a beautiful story of God’s Great Purposes! Thank you for sharing your life with us here. I’ve just signed up to subscribe to your site; I’m eager to “catch up” with more of your story! –Blessings to you
So glad to “meet” you here, Bettie! Thanks for reading along. :)
Oh Kaitlyn….this is so honest and beautiful. So much THIS: “It isn’t the prettiest of stories, but it’s my very favorite. Some pages are confusing, others unfair in the most gracious of ways. It is mine and I am grateful.”
Thank you so much, Tara… glad you’re here today.
“The rest of life felt like a question mark but He was a period, a certainty.” Awesome truth here for everyone. not just those who are facing a serious health crisis. The world tells us there is no security, no hope, nothing solid. God promises us that HE will never be moved. Blessing on you!
Yes! He is sure.
“All that mattered when the rest of life wasn’t a guarantee was love.” So true, yet I/we concern ourselves with truly frivolous stuff when in reality it amounts to nothing when compared to being lived and loving others well. Great truth you learned at an early age. So grateful God gave you an ampersand! !!
I’m relearning this all the time. :)