“But we are not the Author of our story. We are the characters.”

The Hardest Peace by Kara Tippetts  

October was coming to a close as we sat in the waiting room. Another test. Another doctor’s appointment.

My man’s birthday.

I watched an older couple across the way from us. A frail and aged lady, folded into herself. Not much bigger than a sparrow. A fragile little thing, curled up in a wheelchair. The gentleman with her, aged too.

He was crouched down before her, rubbing warmth and life into her tiny hands. Whispering soft words.

The tenderness between them a tangible thing.

I watched until my name was called.

When the tech was finished, she carried off a stack of papers, left me waiting in a chair alone.

I was quickly ushered in to my physicians office to another chair.

The doctor showed up with my man in tow, the sheath of papers, and his nurse;  I began to feel a little anxious. Worry lines etched deep into my man’s face. The tender way he looked at me, as if to prepare me for a blow.

A few days into the write31days series , there was a soft whisper into my soul.

“Tammy, as you are writing your story, I AM going to change your story.” 

It was a moment of panic. All the ways my story could change dancing across my mind. As we women often do, going way out to the place of “what ifs.”

This moment, this place in time, sitting in my Doctor’s private domain, my heart pounds. I hear it in my ears. Feel it down to my toes.

I wait. I hold my breath.

My man, he places his hand on my shoulder. My Doctor, he stoops low in front of me. Nurse Mary, she’s standing in the doorway, wearing a sympathetic look.

The blow. The thing we had been waiting for. Degeneration of the spine, every area of my back, most likely down into hips as well. Two full pages of words I did not know, could not even say. “The elephant in the room,” he says.

The words that stuck. “There is no way to slow this down. No way to stop it.

Pain management. Palliative care. To keep you comfortable when the pain overcomes. Which it will. 

Debilitating. Possibly bed ridden.

The medications we use, will throw your P.O.T.S. out of balance. We are walking a fine line here.”

I am shaking my head no. I. Am. Not. Doing. Those. Things.

He’s gentle with me. Covers all the next doctor will want to do. Another specialist added to our list.

Is it cancer, the thing we feared? No. Is it deadly? No.

No, it is not the worse. But, what if the worse is that there is no end?

We left the office, walked to the car.

As my man is gently helping me in, there beside us is the aged couple. He is helping her in. I saw her in all her frailty, the fragile place she found herself in. We made eye contact.

I saw me somewhere down the road.

Numb and silent, we drove to Old Navy. There, in the middle of the tops, I had my meltdown. The first of many, I suspect.

My man, he was patient with me. Reminded me, we were expecting cancer. And, yes, this is a blessing.

Oh yeah? Is P.O.T.S. not enough? Now I have not one but two debilitating chronic illnesses. I stomped. I cried. Shook my fist at the injustice of it all.

It was an unholy temper tantrum before the Lord, my man, the folks meandering about Old Navy.

Exhausted, I laid it down.

“Boldness says that we don’t see every little obstacle as some big hindrance. We’re not to fragile to adapt and too finicky to accept. Boldness says that each circumstance is up for rent as an opportunity. What we are willing to do with the room we’ve been given is up to us. Boldness makes the best of it.” Audacious~Beth Moore

In the minutes, the hours, the days that followed; there was manna. Provision of word and comfort.

A peace, His peace had settled over me.

Conversations with godly women, who patiently reminded me, I am a fighter. Emails loaded with tender and gentle words, that soothed me. The book, Audacious, delivered to our door. Scriptures, the same I clung to in the first hardest days.

Habakuk 3:17~19 Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.

Psalms 103:3~6 He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!

Proverbs 31:25 She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.

“Will I surrender to Jesus Christ, placing no conditions whatsoever as to how the brokenness will come?” Oswald Chambers

Will I surrender this to Christ? Am I willing to walk through this and not place any conditions on how the brokenness will come? Can I honor God in how I handle this?

Will I see this big obstacle as some big hindrance? Too finicky to adapt?

Or can I be bold? Bold enough to make the best of it? See this set of new circumstances as opportunity to glorify God and reach others through it?

I am not giving up. Yes, I am a fighter.

I am madly in love with the God who created me. This way. Fragile and broken.

There is a purpose. He has a plan. His ways higher than mine.

He will meet me here, with His Grace, as He has in every other dark and hard place. In the uncertainty. The pain. He will be present.

“When we lay the soil of our hard lives open to the rain of grace and let joy penetrate our cracked and dry places, let joy soak into our broken skin and deep crevices, life grows. How can this not be the best thing for this world? For us? The clouds open when we mouth thanks.”

One Thousand Gifts~Ann Voskamp

Gifts of Grace

Tammy Mashburn

when it feels like there’s not enough hope to go around — #TellHisStory