Hard Pill to Swallow

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So, obviously, it's been a pretty hard couple of weeks for me.

I want you all to know the following:

1. I already take medication. I am not embarrassed or ashamed and I do not think it makes me any less of a Christian.

2.  I share my life on this blog as an act of honesty and accountability to myself and others.  There are, unfortunately, too many parents suffering through similar situations as mine for me to be anything but completely upfront about life.  What an injustice it would be for me to give anyone false hope or set forth unrealistic expectations .

3.  I sincerely appreciate all the loving and compassionate comments you guys have left over the past few days.  I'm in a valley but I'm climbing out.  I am looking forward to finding a Christian counselor or psychologist to speak with.

Now, in an effort to try to appease my hurting heart I've been trying to better understand how I can feel so much faith one day and then feel utterly hopeless the next.  I can say tonight that, beyond a shadow of a doubt, I still don't have a clue.  Other than the fact that I am human,  I am full of sin and I was never made to be perfect.

I was able to pray today and it felt really nice.  I couldn't find the words to pray for myself but I did pray for others.  Today it proved to be true that giving really was better than receiving.  I started thinking about how I often say that even if I can't pray God knows my heart.  I wish I was more versed in the Bible to be able to find a vast array of verses to back this assertion.  In my limited time I didn't find an arsenal, but more specifically a few verses that affirmed my Hope.

In Psalm 139:1-6 David pours out his heart and says " O Lord you have searched me and know me.  You know when I sit down and when I rise up...you are acquainted in all my ways.  Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether."  If this doesn't speak of a promise that God knows your heart I don't know what does.  Surely the God that knows your thoughts surely knows your heart.

This my friend is what I call Blessed Assurance.  This is what I am able to cling to on my darkest, darkest days.  And believe me, there have been some very dark days.

As I was reading I found something written by the great Oswald Chambers in the book My Utmost for His Highest.  (In the recesses of my tired brain my grammar degree is telling me that I need to italicize or underline or something....)  He wrote this:

     "The goal of faithfulness is not that we will do work for God, but that He will be free to do His      work through us. God calls us to His service and places tremendous responsibilities on us."

Ok, I get that.  I totally believe that.  I'm actually ok with that.  It's the whole refiners fire thing.  Some days I'm actually excited about what God is doing in and through my life.  Most days I pray that God will use me.  And then....here comes the kick in the butt.  Chambers says, 

       "He expects no complaining on our part and offers no explanation on His part. God wants to        use us as He used His own Son."

Wow.  That's a hard pill to swallow.  You mean I don't really get a say so in all this after all?  And seriously?  I'm not supposed to complain.  Someone must have read that wrong.  Surely there was a misinterpretation, right?  Don't get like a vacation day or something?  

This is the part of the story where I struggle most.  How in our flesh are we to go through life without complaining?  Not even the smallest whine?  While this is obviously a nearly impossible task it sure gives us something to live up to.  Its probably an unattainable goal but one that will bring so many blessings in the end. 

We pray through the Holy Spirit and He will speak for us when we can't find the words on our own.  I am thankful tonight for the promises of the Bible and how God brings me peace in even the worst storms.  

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  1. Kate, my prayers are with you! I am praying for healing for precious Lucy and that you and your family continue to feel His love and presence. Know that He is always with you and that many many people are holding you and your beautiful family up in prayer.

  2. Hi Kate,

    I am all to familiar with spiritual warfare and the feelings of oppression. Satan is dark, heavy, and very depressing. When he comes in and oppresses someone it is like that person is walking under a thick heavy, wet blanket. Breathing itself is tough. What I find works is to pray and pray either for myself, others, worshiping God or moaning and trusting Holy Spirit is lifting my unspoken words up to Father. Sometimes this feeling lasts for days and sometimes just minutes. It is horrible, but that is the case of warfare. Wearing our armour;
    Ephesians 6:10-20 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

    Seems to me like you are doing the right things. Praying you will find someone to talk to who will help you through this.

    Praying for you.

  3. I'm far from an expert on much of anything--but I have no doubt knowing that our frailties and fears and questions are just part of our being human. We all should work towards being what God intends us to be--but he is always there to love us and hold us when we fall short and have those moments when we are so tired of handling life and all it throws at us that we start to doubt what we do truly know. No one, and certainly not your beautiful family looks at you with any blame or shame for how you are feeling. You are a mother with a child dealing with cancer and all that goes with it. And you have two other children, a husband, parents and everything else life calls on you to handle. You are doing a remarkable job. Just stop when you need to--call on help from any one who offers--and take care of yourself physically and mentally. That is what Lucy and you and your family needs. A healthy Mom--and never ever think you have to explain or make excuses for yourself or how you feel or asking for what you need. Never. And you already know God is there with you--Always--and through anything and everything...

  4. I really really appreciate your honesty. I recently lost a child, and on my darkest days, I do so much doubting and feel unanchored from God. Before my son died, my kids called me Holy Moly, I'm not that holy moly person that I once was. Somewhere on this journey I lost it. I'm working on that. ;). It's so refreshing, your honesty, I read all these blogs with women who are going thru the same, but they are always standing strong never actually telling the dark days, the anxiety attacks and all the craziness that comes with these journeys. I think it makes those of us reading it feel guilty that we aren't that put together, (for want of a better word) and that something's wrong with us because we still struggle. It makes me feel that way. Thank you for sharing, it's such blessing and even if you haven't figured it out yet, I think a ministry that God has hand picked for you ❤️
    Lisa Brown

  5. I know from experience-a time comes when depression medicine doesn't work-See your doctor-they may have to increase it or give you something different-mine has been increased and now decreased--was in hospital because my blood pressure was stroke level and couldn't get it down. It took months to find out why BP was so high-probably have taken about 30 different meds. for BP. Took 7 months of tests-including going to Vanderbilt in Nashville. Finally-surgery to remove an adrenal gland that didn't function. I still have to be careful about sodium intake-have damage to my kidneys because of high BP. Have had Lucy and family in my prayers from day 1.

  6. Kate,

    I first came across your blog about 5 years ago while sitting in my computer science class at Union. At first, I was just looking for something to distract me from the boring lecture that was taking place. But your story, the life you were living, captured my heart.

    I found myself praying hard for your family, especially back in June 2012. Since then I haven't checked your blogged- until tonight. I laid awake at 2am thinking there was someone who needed praying for and you came across my mind.

    I'm so glad to see how much your children have grown and how much life Lucy has experienced and seemed to have enjoyed over the past few years.

    Thank you so much for letting God use you to minister to people through this blog. My prayers are with you :)

  7. Thinking of you Kate. Sending hugs to you and your precious family. XoXO from maryland, keri

  8. My prayers are with you, Kate. Being the parent of a child with a lifelong illness myself, I know how heavy and dark the worry and how exhausting the juggling of providing can be. It is certainly a roller coaster ride. I hope that a counselor can help you focus in on the blessings of mothering such a child and give you tools to manage the darkness.

  9. You have way more faith than I could imagine I would have at this point. Take it day by day. You are obviously a great mom, wife, daughter, sister, Christian. I don't know why God has chosen this path for you but someday you'll understand. Godspeed.

  10. I know that God had no hand in making Lucy sick. In fact, I believe that he hurts right along with you and everyone who loves her. I don't think God expects us to not be frightened or sometimes fail in our faith. He knows our humanity. Hundreds of times a day, I repeat to myself, "Lord, I place my trust in you".

  11. I lost my father a few years ago and started seeing Dr. Tonia Long, a therapist from the Christian Psychological Center in Memphis. She is awesome!!! You are in my prayers. Hope you find some peace for your heart and mind soon.

  12. I'm a couple of days behind on reading your blog. When I read your words they warmed my heart. To know what I thought to be true about praying or lack of the ability to pray was scripturely true - WOW!!! thank you for sharing the places in God's words that say it is ok.
    You so very rarely complain or whiney I would have never guessed you struggle with all that you shared. But it is so understandable!!!
    I can related so well with how you are feeling. There is no way to predict what your day will be like until you open your eyes and realize it is another day. Some days or ok others are the worst and yet others are good. So goes the beast of depression.
    You are taking all the right steps. You are an amazing woman and a child of God.
    Thank you for sharing your gut retching struggles and blessings and prayers to you always.
    WA State

  13. I'm a frequent reader but infrequent commenter, and just wanted to say that my thoughts and prayers are with you. Although your valley is deeper than I can imagine, I have full confidence that you will find your way out of it.

  14. Hi Kate,
    I am a pretty silent reader typically but just wanted to share this passage from Romans 8 which totally backs you up! Romans 8:26,27 "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will." (NIV, 1984) I hope it brings you peace that the Spirit is interceding for you in accordance with God's will!

    Love from California,


  15. Kate, it is so hard to live without fear, with total faith. I think even the most faithful people struggle from one day to the next in some way. You are not alone! Last week we acknowledged our oldest son's 21st year in Heaven. 21 years! Some years aren't so bad; other years are horrible. Why can't I just rest in the knowledge that Clint is secure every single year? Idk... And now, as I watch my little Eli grow, it is hard not to think about the what ifs of his future. I just have to keep trying. I think of you often. :)

    "It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect." Psalm 18:32

  16. I love this post. Although I too would like a vacation day every once in awhile to complain :) I'm continuing to pray for you Kate.

  17. Kate, I have been praying for Lucy and your family for a long time now. I want you to know that I am very grateful for the honesty that you give to us on this blog. I know of a very good Christian counselor in the Memphis area. If you would like his information please feel free to email me at sanderss@bethelu.edu

  18. God may not expect complaining (although I'm on a different page with the great writer here), but He most certainly accepts it. I often return to Psalms precisely for the honesty, in anger and in adoration, with which David went before The Lord in prayer. May He overwhelm you with blazing compassion. For we do not have a High Judge who doesn't understand...

  19. Thanks again for sharing Kate. I don't know one person who doesn't struggle with complaining when we are in that dark place. A friend of mine lost her cerebral palsy daughter after 29 years. She had a very bad case. For 29 years she did everything for her daughter. It was so hard watching my best friend since high school face this terrible time. I honestly didn't know if she was going to make it. After a long while she started to come out of it. She related to me that when she woke up, before her feet hit the floor, she started quoting scripture. She quoted what verses she knew all through the day. She saturated herself in God's word everyday and got involved in Bible Study Fellowship. That was 8 years ago. She attributes her recovery strictly on God's Word and how it ministered to her. I have done the same thing when I've gone through challenging times and it works. Will continue to pray for you and Lucy. God bless you both.

  20. Dear Kate -- I also disagree (as did another commenter here) with Chambers and his thought that we should not complain. Look at the Psalms....they're filled with people "complaining" faithfully to God. The Jewish people today believe that "complaining in faith" is good. I have a friend who's a rabbi and she says that in times of great troubles she feels that she's "done my part" if she "shows up [i.e., prays] and tells God just I think" every day.

    Yes, there are many places in scripture that say "do not complain" but usually those are in situations where people are complaining about the good things God has given them -- the Israelites in the wilderness, for example, complaining ["murmuring" lol] about manna. -- But this doesn't apply to your situation at all, obviously. :)

    To be honest, I would wonder about someone who had been through what you have and who said that everything was fine, they had no doubts and no worries and were being strong. I would wonder because I don't think that's possible after going through the horrible things you have.

    I've been following your blog for several years now and I pray for you daily.

  21. Kate, you're amazing!!! You have countless people who you minister to in the highs & the lows. I am one of them & all these precious people & we are daily lifting you up to the Lord!

  22. desperateforavacationJanuary 11, 2014 at 6:30 PM

    Kate, I am a caregiver to my 83 year old mother. She has Alzheimer's. Today I received news that a friend and mentor passed away from a heart attack. (she is my kids great aunt on their dad's side) - she and I remained closed all these years even after the divorce. Today, hubby and I took my father-in-law to doctor - he has pneumonia - he is here at my house. He is staying with us a couple of days - now mind you - I have two children (one grown - but still here), the other 15 and my mom. We don't have a huge house - we turned our dining room to accommodate mom when we moved her in.
    I say all this - because two years ago I went to the doctor - and was put on medicine for anxiety and depression. I still average about 4 hours a sleep a night. I work full time - we have a caregiver during the day so I can work. And my employer allows me to work from home on mom's bad days. I do not feel less a Christian for taking medicine - God have doctors the ability and the tools to use to help us.
    Continue to share - you inspire me - but share only what you want. You are human - wonderfully made by God. Cling to His word - I cry out to Him all the time. I share on my blog and Facebook and have decided to write a book - don't know how it will be published - but my adventures in Alzheimer's land - keep me hopping and I hope to help others.
    Praying for you - thank you for your honesty, openness and testimony.
    Becky in Brighton

  23. Oh Dearest Kate,
    I'm sorry I've NOT been on a lot, I've been dealing with a lot of strife & pain in my own life but I wanted you to know you have NOTHING to be sorry about!!! I'm so glad you are NOT embarrassed you take medication b/c there is NOTHING to be embarrassed about. No wonder you're struggling Kate....it seems like if it's not one thing, it's another difficult situation to deal with. It wears on the best of us. I'm sorry you are hurting....I'm sorry you had to alter your hope and dreams for Lucy. I'm sorry she is dealing with such a terrible infection and I am sorry on top of everything else you feel the need to explain yourself to judgemental people. You are NOT alone my friend....you are NEVER, EVER ALONE - Reach out and we will grab your hand!!! God Bless!!! Jenn xo

  24. I agree with the people disagreeing with Mr. Chambers, for the same reason--the book of Psalms and the book of Job. And because many major prophets (Jeremiah, Elijah, Moses, Jonah) told God that they would rather die than deal with what they were dealing with.

    Another verse for your arsenal: "By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything." 1 John 3:19-20.

  25. I have not commented before but this post was filled with such pain I felt I had to. I have been following your blog for about three years now and have seen the adversity and joy that has filled your life. You have been through hell and have always faced the challenges with such determination and strength and hope. I don't pretend to know all the effects of depression and how it can cloud your judgment, but you really need to cut yourself a break. You have mentioned previously that you are a perfectionist and it comes through in all of the projects and day to day events that you share with us. You give 120% in everything you do. You could have chosen to feel sorry for yourself, but you have given your all to running fundraisers, comforting families in situations similar to yours, balancing family commitments and nursing a very sick child back to a very special life.
    Not everyone could do that. You have been on a rollercoaster the past few years and the ride is beginning to slow down a little bit. Your legs are wobbly and trying to gain firm footing. I admire your courage in sharing your battle with depression. It is ok to complain, to question, to ask for help. No one can live up to the standards that you have set for yourself for as long as you have. Breathe - and know that you have inspired so many people with the good that you do and the love that you obviously have for your family and friends. The world will right itself again, but in the meantime be gentle to yourself :-)

  26. Kate,
    You are in my prayers! I am here for you if you need me.

    Love in Christ,

  27. I know you didn't ask for help, but please read "The Mood Cure". Many people (myself included) are deficient in simple vitamins and minerals and need to supplement those things. I do not know what it is like to have a child go through cancer treatments, but I am a mom (of 13) and yes, I can imagine it. I'm praying for you and your family. This too shall pass.

  28. Kate, I read your blog several times a month and am always so appreciative of your transparency and honesty. I am in my own dark space with anxiety and panic attacks right now and knowing that such a deeply faith-filled person is also wrestling her own stressors and fears provides me with peace. I pray for your peace.
    Jill from Missouri