So ever have those days when you step outside only to see the train tracks in front of you are in serious need of repair? Ever worry they won't be able to carry you to safety? Maybe not but I have them often! The truth is after facing the beast, most of us feel fairly brave even if we don’t realize its courage leading the way out of our den of despair, into the darkness while the train of destiny is chugging along. We tend to overlook this strength so often we don’t even realize we have buried this ability deep inside us. It’s not that we aren’t unafraid, leading the way for those who follow behind us, it’s just we have been battling the beast so long, sometimes close to the death, we take it for granted. We have been found our way out so many times we begin to believe we can rise above the trails of this world without feeling the pain of yet another scar. Then there are those days when we feel fairly broken down, as if cancer has had the last laugh, gotten the best of us and left us without mercy to the buzzards. You know those days I am talking about, when the beast roars her ugly head in those moments life can seem almost impossible. That lump on the back of your head, that pain in your leg or the cough that never seems to go away can be very distracting if you let them. Seriously, I may have beat breast cancer, but I still have days when I worry she may yet still get the best of me (and taking my breast was not getting the best of me!).
On an typical day I am neither a victim or a survivor to be honest, I am Christina, mother of Joshua and Micah, wife to my Johnny, daughter of Bobby and Patty giving all she can to be the best at all three. I don't obsess over where I have been, I don’t call attention to my scars sitting just under the surface. I don't even jump up and down shouting I am a survivor! Mostly I live a simple, very busy life. A life I am humbled to have each and every day and beyond thankful for. Each day I wake I am amazed by this gift I never truly appreciated until I had to face the truth a day may possibly emerge where my children would be raised without me. Today, in the years which have passed since my death match with the beast my days are primarily filled with taking care of those I love. I fight for them, sometimes with them, I listen, I laugh, I fuss, I clean, I cook and I love them beyond measure. I am moved by the small things, grateful for this second chance even if all the pieces don’t fit together all the time, I have today, the here and now. Plans may not always work out but having the opportunity to watch my children grow, find their first love, to experience heart ache alongside of triumph is not a small feat! I am not consumed so much by the what if's anymore, instead I am filled with the joys of today... the drumming coming from upstairs, the dubstep created on the lap top, the football ( even if I gripe) from the TV or the messes left everyday as my family heads out the door for the day. What more could I ask for, seriously I have today, and if God is good I have tomorrow. I have nothing to fear but fear itself and it’s just not an option! Life may have taken a few unexpected turns and this journey may not have been easy, but it has certainly been interesting and real!
I wouldn't change the course, the path my life has taken. All the back alleyways, the pot holes, missteps into 10 foot ditches, the flat tires and bumpy roads I have traveled down in order to keep moving have taught me one thing: strength comes through trial and error. I wouldn’t exchange the pain, the hurt or any of the uncertainty of my life for perfect sailing on the calmest of seas. These scars, the ones I own, are a part of me, left behind as a road map. All the failed attempts at happiness, the oops moments and the dance I have shared with both the beast of breast cancer and the devil have made me stronger, brought me closer to my Father in Heaven. My eyes are now open; I continually count my blessing knowing I have been blessed beyond any measure earthly hands could ever account for. Every detail of my life has had a purpose, good and bad; each one has been part of the process, the unseen hands molding me into who I am today. Yes we all have a story, we all have a past and our own idea of happy ever after, but it's not these things which truly define us. Nope it's what we do with all those things in life, how we convey our stories, how we move forward and how we allow our scars to both teach and bless our lives which truly define us. Honestly our lives are defined by how we rise above the suffering. The pilgrimage we take, embrace for that matter and how we let all the anguish, agony, affliction, distress, grief, woe, suffering, misery, wretchedness, despair, torment, tribulation, trial, torture and the ordeal of life tether our lives into a one of kind, unique and amazing beautiful tapestry is what ultimately defines us!
I have found peace in where I stand today. I am content with who I am in my Lord and where this life has taken me. I am so far from perfect it would make your head spin, but I know I am perfectly secure in where life has taken me all by His hand. I may not have a perfect temper; I may not make the best fry bread or keep up with the laundry like I should. I most certainly may not know the Bible from memory or speak eloquent words at just the right moment. The nitty griddy truth is I am not everyone's ideal mom or even the most beautiful wife, but I am happy with being a work in progress. By God's grace I am alive, I have this second lease on life and I don't plan to waste a moment!
Absolutely I have been hurt, I have felt the distress of bad decisions, I have grieved the loss of my breast, been wounded and injured by both good and bad news, trouble has found me, I have felt depression creeping into my heart, been saddened by loved ones actions, had sorrow cut me to the quick but these things do not own me, nor have they captured my heart. I am a survivor, and yes some days I feel like cancer's victim, broken and bruised, but mostly I am just Christina, Joshua and Micah's mom, Johnny's wife, Bobby and Patty's daughter and oh yes I am also very much a child of God, imperfections and all. I am simple, sincere, and at times insecure. I am not perfect, I make mistakes, take things too personally, have my feeling hurt and I turn into crazy ninja mommy when I feel my babies are threatened. But the real truth is my heart is strong even if my body may be weak. Sure I may fail everyone around me in my weak moments but I am never down for the count. Breast cancer came for my life, she attacked my breast, she invaded my lymph nodes and she tried to steal my joy. Yes, the beast took my breast and she held me down, caused all kinds of uncomfortable in my life, held me under water while laughing at my fear, but you know what, today I am alive, living by faith, sitting here able to tell the tale. No doubt I am a survivor even if I don't feel like one every day. So those days when I feel overwhelmed and worry the cancer has breached some invisible line, when I feel I have failed at everything, I know God’s got this! By God's grace and only by His grace do I sit here today able to smile, laugh, cry, to type on this laptop in front of me and acknowledge I have been given a second chance to experience life and all its joys and sorrows. So today no matter how rusted the tracks in front of me are or even if they begin merging with another train is speeding close by, I am not afraid, cause my journey is already planned and God's got this!