A State of Worship

For all accounts, today was a crappy day.  I woke up before the kids, a prerequisite for a good day, and drank coffee while chatting with the hubby.  Lucy was sleeping well so I hated to wake her for Sunday School.  Why?  Two reasons: 1. She is still a recovering cancer patient and when I tell you "she's going great, thanks for asking" I'm usually lying.  She gets tired, her brain shuts down and she needs sleep.  Lots and lots of sleep.  2. My kids get 5 days of Sunday School every week.  I am so grateful for the amount of Biblical emphasis our school places in curriculum.

So, there's that.  I totally justified letting Lucy and Ella sleep through the Sunday School hour.

Ella wakes up, we take showers and get fully dressed--makeup included for me.  Erik and Jack are at church, because a good Lutheran never misses a Southern Baptist Sunday School lesson.  No really, they went on fully expecting us to follow right behind.  When Ella and I are completely ready to walk  out of the door, I realize that Lucy has no intention of waking up anytime soon.  After a disappointing text message conversation with the hubs I realize it's just not going to happen for me today.

I wanted to go to church, I needed to go to church.  I give, give and give all week.  Sunday morning is my time to recharge.  I love the music most of all.  When our choir sings, the special music, the worship through instruments.  Music is my spiritual animal.

For about 3 hours I sulked and pouted.  I was literally mad that I didn't get to go to church.  I begrudgingly fed my family lunch, lounged around in my sweats and read books to Lucy.  We played golf outside in the backyard and then worked with Jack hitting a baseball.  Ella played with neighborhood friends and we had family pizza night--everyone made their favorite.  After that we colored in Jack's coloring book while the other two snuggled on the couch watching TV.

For all accounts, it was the perfect day.  It only took me until 3pm to figure it out, what with the whole missing church and me being a big baby about it.

Somewhere along the way, though, I allowed the legalism of being at church get in the way of my real opportunity to worship.  I have been devouring books lately.  Jen Hatmaker is shaking my world upside down.  She is piling onto the work God started in me 4 years ago.  I am simultaneously uncomfortable and totally hungry for more.

Everyday I am recognizing the gift of religious freedom that came with cancer.  38 years of religiosity has taken on a new life---and I love it.  God is surely stiring a spirit within me yearning for more, for so much more.  The greatest gift I have been given is the desire to read His word.  All my life I knew about the Bible but its only been recently that I've known the Word.  And let me tell you, It.  Is.  AMAZING.

Trying to reclaim my wasted opportunity, I sat outside for a long time this afternoon reading some challenging perspectives on life, I spent some time in prayer and then allowed myself forgiveness for the way I behaved this morning.  I think I'll always fight the urge to follow the "rules" of church.  It's who I am (type A super-pleaser).  My prayer is that I will continue to find God each day of my life;  in the small moments, in the rush of motherhood and in the trials of marriage.  And when I find Him there, and He will always be there, I want to worship Him then.  Right there where He is.  

I am learning that I don't have to wait until Sunday.


Moments that Sustain

Yesterday I cried (a lot).  3 kids and 3 sets of activities.  Homework, dinner, laundry, more homework.  I'm too busy, but not any busier than you dear reader.  

Some days it's just hard to move forward.  

Today as I drove to Memphis for a special meeting at St. Jude I scolded myself for agreeing to be on a council that I honestly didn't have time for.  It was a huge honor to be asked and not just anyone gets this distinction.  Erik and I discussed it and we agreed it was the right thing to do.  Still, this morning I was all but mad I had to go.  

I want to shared with you the letter I wrote to the director when I got home:

    " My daughter, Lucy, is the reason we came to St. Jude.  She is 9 now and its been 4 years since her diagnosis.  She has recently been having severe digestive issues and we have been struggling to get the answers we need.  After seeing several doctors she has finally been diagnosed with GI migraines.  The solution is a low dose of Amitriptyline.  

Today during the pharmacy talk on the genetics program this very drug was discussed.  As they were talking, my memory was searching through the past letters I had received from the study.  When I got home I realized my hunches were correct.  Lucy was one of the 16% percent who is considered an ultra-rapid metabolizer for the drug.  

If I had not been there today I would have never remembered to check the letters that had been sent to me.  She would have been taking medicine that was ineffective and still suffering through the migraines....."  

I know it might not seem like much but this God whisper, this God affirming interaction, reassured me that God will continue to sustain me on even the hardest of days.  I needed to be reminded that my life will never fit the normal ideal of a stay-at-home mom.  My job description is different than I ever imagined it would be.  Whether its splitting my time between XC matches, soccer games and swim meets or going to meetings at the hospital where I hear about future protocols that may one day save Lucy's life.  

That incredibly busy day yesterday saw two amazing moments that I have to share.  First, Lucy participated in her first golf match.  She had so much fun and even asked to go back today.  It's such a wonderful gift watching her play.  She's not the strongest on the course but she is steady and consistent.  Besides, she's super cute in her little skirt.  

At the same time (thank goodness for grandparents), an hour away, Ella was setting personal bests at her XC meet.  She placed 14th (adjusted time accounted last night) out of 160.  I was so nervous before she ran I almost got sick.  When she runs I thank God for the health legs and lungs she was given.  

Although I am going to bed tonight with a tired body I am sure to wake up with a renewed spirit.  I was brought out of a dark place today I am very thankful.  Had I not listened and been willing to step out in faith I would have missed a very important revelation.  Sometimes our moments and days may not make sense but I choose to believe they are all necessary pieces of an amazing puzzle God is creating with our lives.  


Grace-It's That Simple

The last 4 years have been nothing it not a long season of self reflection.  There is still so much I don't understand and there are so many questions to which I don't have answers.  I've spent lots of time talking to God, yelling at God, doubting God and then falling flat on my face totally in awe of grace.  

One thing I can say for sure is I never once asked "Why me."  Now, lots of times I asked "why Lucy," but never "why me."  I guess a part of me always struggled with my relationship with God enough that I just assumed I deserved something like this to happen.  I never was able to live up to the self-imposed ideal of what a God-fearing, Bible-believing Christian should look like.  Isn't it funny how we create these images of what God wants when really all we have to do is ask Him?

I have yet to find the Bible verse that mandates we be in church every single time the door is open.  I can't seem to find the verse that says you are forbidden from drinking alcohol.  I'm still looking for that verse that says my sins are greater than yours.  Funny how there seems to be no "formula" for salvation.  Seriously, people.  It's not that hard.  Why do we make God's love and mercy so darn unattainable?

Here is what I've figured out.  I am a sinner.  Yep (jaw drop) every.  single.  day.

You know what else?  Every day I find a bit of God's mercy just dripping down on me like a summer shower.  It is glorious.  And it's enough to get me through the next day, when I am more than confident I will fall in utter disgrace once again.  This grace thing.  You should find it.  And then when you do, why don't you try to live it.  I promise you won't be disappointed.

So, how does this relate to Lucy and cancer and my life now?  I won't pretend to understand why Lucy got cancer.  Honestly, it still hurts my heart to think about it.  I'm sure, though, that if she hadn't I would have continued on with life so unaware of real people and real problems and would have been continually frustrated trying to live out my very disjointed relationship with Christ.  Through cancer I was able to come face to face with the fact that there was nothing I could do or not do to deserve God's grace.  The relationship I was striving so hard to create was always there for me since the beginning of my life.  Faith is all it took.  The same faith that allowed me to place my child in God's hands is the same faith that grants us eternal life through Christ.

I am completely convinced that if we all walked through life with a little more propensity for love we would be much happier people.  Why don't we try it?  Let's be a little less critical, a little less judgmental and let's be a little slower to anger.  Today I allowed myself to be disappointed and hurt by my frustration with some issues in my town.  Why do we work so hard to keep each other down?  I can sincerely be happy for you--your successes makes me proud for you.  And your failures, well they make me sad.  I promise I won't kick you when you are down.

I found myself saying "I just don't understand" one too many times today.  It's got to stop.  I know this is crazy talk, but what if we tried?  Even for a week!  Let's give it a shot.  I can promise you this, being a person of forgiveness, grace and happiness is NOT going to hurt you.  You have nothing to lose.

For it is by GRACE that you have been saved..nothing you did got you God's favor.  You can't earn it, you can't demand it and you can't guilt Him into it.  If that doesn't for God then why do we expect it from our friends, our family or our children?

God's grace is sufficient for me.  Is it for you?


St. Jude Tests and a Hike

You see, this is what happens.  When I finally get ready to start blogging again--life.  It always seems to sneak up on me-BAM!  School starts in 2 weeks (crazy, I know) so we are cramming in two last minute trips out of town and several trips to St. Jude.

Lucy update: Lucy is having some testing done over the next few weeks to determine why she isn't responding to her growth hormone injections.  When they test her IGF1 levels she appears to be responding well, but there is no direct correlation to actual growth.  As usual, Lucy remains an anomaly in certain health issues.  While I am trusting fully that God's hand is on this situation I would be lying if I said I wasn't worried.  As my friend said today "sitting in God's waiting room is a lonely place to be."  He is right.

I also want to ask that you pray for our friend Mason.  Doctors have told his parents that he is in his last days.  He's 10 and fighting for every single day.  My heart is broken for his parents, especially his mother.  She has become a dear friend.  As I write about my summer adventures she is preparing the eulogy for her son's funeral.  There is nothing right about anything in that sentence.  It's hard to know what to say to her.  She knows that I have been there with Lucy--but Lucy got better.  Lucy was healed.  How can I even begin to relate to what she is feeling?  The survivor's guilt is almost more than I can bare when I speak with her.  If you read this Monica--I love you.  I'm praying for you.  I wish I could do more.

This past Spring we took Ella to East Tennessee for a soccer tournament and while we were there we visited a lovely state park called Cumming Falls.  It was a nice 1.5 mile hike that dumped us out at the base of a beautiful waterfall.

It was fairly chilly outside but I couldn't keep Jack out of the water.  Thankfully we had dry clothes along!

I am thankful for every day that I have with these beautiful children.  Every day I am reminded that each day is a gift.  For that I am thankful.


All is Well, Sort Of

Isn't it interesting that the very thing that brought me peace for so long now brings upon intense anxiety?  This computer screen was an escape and therapy on so many sleepless nights and burdensome days while Lucy was sick.  The things I couldn't say, I could write.  I found so much comfort at the keyboard.

Even before Lucy was sick I couldn't wait to get on this page and write about our daily adventures.  Even when those "adventures" never saw us leave our yard, there was always a reason to write.  This was my scrapbook, my journal.

I haven't blogged in a while and I'm honestly doing so tonight through clenched fists.  The pages of the last few months remain blank.  I have so many pictures, so many memories to share, so many words to write--yet I can't.   The passion isn't gone.  It's a physical sickness that is stopping me.

To those of you who have sent me emails, I want you to know that all is well in the Krull house.  The kids are enjoying summer and both girls are on swim team.  VBS is this week and we are going to the beach next week.  It will be a well deserved vacation.

I want to write again.  I want to find the freedom that my fingers knew once more.  Even opening the Blogger page was an anxiety-riddeled exercise.  I don't quite understand why I can't do it.  Why has the peace associated with writing escaped me?  Even if no one ever read this page again, I want to write.  I want to be here.  I want this to be my heart once more.

I'm praying and asking God to help me work through this.  I know it's all part of the grieving process but I'm ready to move on.  Working all those details out still has me on bended knee.

I wanted to share this testimonial with you guys.  We've told our story a million times.  I've listened to Lucy's hell retold by countless scribes.  But this one.  As I watched this video I couldn't breathe.  Maybe it was Dr. Boop speaking.  I'm not sure.  I can tell you that every bit of it was from the heart.