Friday, January 25, 2013

Anguish and Joy

My mom has been diagnosed with Stage IV cancer for almost two years, and it sucks. There is no sugarcoating, there is no silver lining, it just sucks. Period. The roller coaster of chemos working and then not working sucks. The sickness sucks. The worrying sucks. You pretty much get the drift.

Its been a long two years of a lot of emotions, but as I sat in the Beth Moore bible study I'm doing on Wednesdays, she used a word that describes the one I have felt most often through this ordeal. ANGUISH. Although, I probably would not have come up with this word on my own, it struck such a chord deep within my soul. It so perfectly describes the heartache I have literally felt as I have been a passenger on this roller coaster. As I have attempted to hold my moms hand as we go through the ups and downs, I have felt much anguish.

And can I be honest- I have let it overwhelm me, consume me. Recently, we have been given more bad news. The chemo is not working- again. The difference this time is- we've done all the standard options. ( We are currently in the process of exploring experimental treatments.) As I processed through that- anguish took over and brought its good friends- hopelessness, fear, despair, bitterness, and just plain out pissedoffness. (Clearly a made up word.) I have spent much of the past two weeks, in just such an angry state- one I clearly feel I deserve to be in and one I was just ready to settle in. I was just FED UP.

But, like any other 'good' Christian I know, I continue to go through the motions, continue to go to my bible study that I am just not in the mood for- fully expecting just to go, sit, listen, leave, and still be mad.

So imagine my thoughts as she began to describe the very feelings I have been fighting, but she tacked another word onto it- JOY. She talked about the intertwining of the two, and even gave an example of a time in her life where her family was dealing with anguish and the Lord gave her her first daughter, who brought unspeakable joy to her life in the midst of unspeakable anguish.

It was like listening to her tell my own story.

If you know me, you already know this story, but I need to write it, I need to be able to look back in the midst of my anguish and see the truth from this story.

When my mom got diagnosed, Ryan was finishing up his last year of PA school. Everything was going according to 'plan.' Ryan would graduate, we would both work a year and reboost our savings, and probably try to get pregnant sometime that year. But the day she got diagnosed, we walked out of her hospital room and I looked at him and he knew. He knew I needed to experience all of those things with my mom. I needed to be able to call her and ask questions, needed her to be a grandmother, needed her. He knew, and he pushed all his 'plans' aside right there in that moment without taking the time to think about the budget or plan. With a simple, OK, that was that- we were going to start trying.

Here's where things get a little TMI for a blog- but I'm banking on my lack of posting meaning a lack of readers. Everything I knew about trying to have a baby meant it would take some time. During this time- Ryan and I were not even  living in the same place. He was doing a rotation in Plainview and I was spending a lot of time at home with my parents in Snyder. Clearly- I knew that was not conducive to making a baby either, but about a week, maybe two, after my moms diagnosis Ryan and I met for the day at our apartment in Lubbock. I had taken an ovulation test, so I knew I was ovulating, but was not expecting anything in the first month, especially given that we saw each other one day that month.

Two weeks later- I took an early pregnancy test just in case- and it was positive! Our minds were blown, but honestly until I sat and listened to Beth Moore this week, I really chalked it up to the birds and the bees.

But not anymore.

The Lord, in His Sovereignty, knew the anguish we would walk through. He knew the despair we were facing. He knew, and He sent us joy so that it would not overwhelm us.

He sent us Owen.
He sent me Owen.

I have cried more tears than I have ever cried, but I have also smiled more smiles and laughed more laughs at my sweet baby boy.

I have felt the most anguish, but also the most joy. At the same time. If I'm being completely honest, I often feel forgotten by the Lord during this journey- where is He? Why is He not taking care of us? But, He is- in His own way. He gave us unspeakable joy to accompany our unspeakable anguish because He cares and I needed that reminder this week and will probably need it again.

Owen's giggles will serve as a reminder that He does see and He does care even when it feels like He doesn't- even in the midst of my anguish. He gave me that because He knew I would need it.


  1. Beth, your post brought me to tears. What a powerful testimony! Thanks for being honest and real. You are on my heart almost daily. I haven't stopped praying for you or your mom.

  2. Beth,

    Thank you for sharing your heart. I continue to pray for you and your mom! Thanks for being really real! Love you!!