Out of the ashes.

“At times it seems, if for no other reason than the size of the global population, that there has never been more pain, more disease, more famine, and more heartbreak on the planet than now, and yet God has trusted you with this moment in history! You are to be a force for good on this earth. Chayil. When everything around you is in the midst of chaos, when your own world is quaking, you are to be she who rises… she finds her brave and she rises.”

I’m not gonna lie, I’m scared. I’m so afraid that I’m going to die from this cancer. This past 5 months have been the hardest since I was diagnosed. I’ve argued with God, I’ve said that I don’t know if he cares about me. I pray and hope and wish and nothing seems to change.

It’s been 11 months on the 8th that I’ve know I’ve had cancer. It’s taken every. thing. from me. I’m on a medicine that is right up there with chemotherapy drugs. My hair is falling out, my vision has changed, bright light gives me a headache, I’m in pain all the time, I sweat like I’m running from the popo, I forget a lot of things, most of all it took away the person I worked so hard to become. My self-confidence is shattered. Like so many pieces I don’t know where to begin shattered.

As most of you know, as part of my treatment plan I’ve elected to have gastric bypass. I’ve completed every task, yet because of insurance changes and too many hands in the basket I legitimately don’t know when I’ll have it. Y’all, this could be the difference between life or death…

Now that I’ve told you all the dark and dirty let me tell you where I’m going with this.

Last knight about 4am I lost it. Crying, sobbing, thinking I’m literally losing my ever loving mind right here. I’m afraid of dying, afraid of this cancer, afraid of never amounting to anything, afraid of never find true love, and afraid I’ll never get the chance to hold my babies. Afraid that God has forgot me. Then my precious momma told me, “Samantha, there is not anything more you can do tonight. Give it to God and go to bed.” I’ve been struggling with this past semester, between the fatigue and the memory loss I didn’t know if I’d make. Today at 9:30pm I finished my final paper of the year and submitted. I gave it to God and he gave me the strength to persevere. When I was sobbing I looked at the verse of the day and it said,
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.”
‭‭James‬ ‭1:2-7‬ ‭NIV‬‬

A little after that it goes on to say, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”
‭‭James‬ ‭1:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I had never had such peace as I did when I read that. I don’t interpret this to mean everything will work and be sunshine and dasies, but that out of the ashes something will come if it. I don’t know what the next day holds. All I can to do is put one foot in front of the other. Faith it till I make it. Put on my brave and give it to God.

We will persevere.

2016 has not been what I expected it to be. It has not been my year. It’s been full of heartbreak, but much like life, it’s had its share of good times too. As a sit here and write this I have so much swirling through my head. My heart is hurt from the recent loss of what I thought were lifelong bonds and y’all, I’m really struggling with this one. It’s never easy to loose someone that you thought would be your friend forever but just like the year, all things have its season. I was diagnosed with cancer this year and that by far, was the most devastating thing I experienced. It’s changed my life in the course of a year. I think after hearing those three words, the very cells that make you are completely altered. My course of treatment has been decided, I will continue on the Megace and I will be having bariatric surgery sometime in the near future. I’m hopeful that this will save my fertility. My oncologist at Duke really thinks this is the way to go. It’s hard to really discern the right course because of my age and it being so rare in someone so young. I’m thankful for my cancer though, I don’t think I’d ever have the courage to change and to speak my mind if I didn’t have it. My relationship with my mom has grown by leaps and bounds this year, she is truly my best friend. This year has been an eye opener in that respect, I’ve really seen people’s true colors. My faith has grown deeper. I could not do this without God and would not be here without him. The outpouring of love and prayers from my community for me in this season has been the biggest blessing. We would not make it through without y’all. I don’t really have any insightful things to say to you about this past year. I think it just really sucked for all of us. But we know this to be true: God is on the throne and he is always good. Forgive me for being random and my prose not as flowing but my point of all of this is that we will persevere. That as long as we have breathe in our lungs, it is not too late to chart a different course. May 2017 be a year of great things.

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:37‬

Like Jesus Would.

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I’m up at odd hours now. I sit here in my chair and just admire the beauty of our Christmas tree. It’s old and missing some of its needles. It’s lights are missing in some places but it holds only good memories. All the ornaments are special, either they’re handmade or have a special meaning. Every year we would decorate the tree and then turn out all the lights and my dad would say “look at that. It’s beautiful.” It’s not perfect, but it’s perfect to us. I can’t help but think that’s how God sees us. People have such flawed versions of what beauty is and no matter how much we might wish to change that version, it won’t happen. If you look back at the centuries you’ll notice how versions of beauty have changed. It sounds cliché, but what we look like doesn’t contribute anything but outward adornment and decoration for this world. Your soul and your heart matter. People will claim it’s all in the name of health, but boil it down and it’s because you don’t look like everyone else. My point with this is, this Christmas season examine your heart. Your motives behind what you say. Be a little kinder, judge a little less. Love people like Jesus would; just because their people.

Giving Thanks.

In a season where it’s hard to be thankful, I really try to find something to be thankful for. Because if I’m honest cancer life sucks. It’s a forever waiting, hoping, wishing thing. There is a reason they call cancer a beast. It takes on its own life form. Its the waiting, it’s keeping you from normalcy, it’s how people leave you out of things. Read this blog, it really explains things so much better than I could. I’m forgetful these days, it’s hard to hold a conversation now; but my point is that even with this really crappy thing I find myself more thankful than ever.

I’m thankful for Gods grace and mercy. His provisions for Mom and I. His ever present voice saying Courage, dear heart.

I’m thankful for my mom. She is just the best person I know and my best friend. She’s my constant companion and her faith in me is never wavering.

I’m thankful for my cancer. I don’t know why, but I feel thankful for what it’s teaching me.

I’m thankful for my family. I spent the afternoon with them and despite our issues there is a loyalty and love that is never wavering.

I’m thankful for my dad and his spirit lives on in so many things.

I’m thankful for this life and another day to live. Tomorrow isn’t promised.

This break from life has been nice. Mom and I re-vamped our porch and spent time together that didn’t involve dr appointments. I’m thankful for our little house, it’s not much but it’s home.

Life will get hard again and it’ll be hard to remember all this but in the end it’s important to tuck it away and have it.

Your prayers and support are very appreciated and something I’m very thankful for. Keep them coming.

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Happy Mother’s day, momma.

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“She made the most of her life no matter what the circumstances where. She filled her life with the things that made her happiest, which were rarely things. She did her best to enjoy every step of her journey and always made it a point to learn something from every situation, no matter how difficult the stretch of road she happened to be on. She laughed and danced and played and sang. She made everything more beautiful. She was brave and lovely and happy and kind. She forgave easily and loved freely. She was a friend to all. She spread words of hope and actions of kindness and days of fun. She believed the best in everyone. She sacrificed what was very good for what was best. She made choices that brought her peace and she protected that peace. She made boundaries. She came to terms with what her limitations were and turned them into strengths. She had a wild imagination and big dreams and hope big enough to make it all happen. She decided to be brave and knew there had to be a better way. She dug in and got to work. She tried and then she tried again and then she tried again. She believed that life was on her side and while not everything turns out perfectly, it always turns out like it should.”

Mom,

You are the best person I know, you are my best friend, my biggest fan, my counselor, my helping hand, my other half. Thank your for all you do for me. Thank your sitting up with me and listening to all me fears and heartaches. You a true jem in a world that produces carbon copies. Thank you for your example and for your presence in my life. It is invaluable.

I love you, maj.

Seems like yesterday.

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Oh darling girl, how can it be 7 years since you came into my life? It is truly hard to believe. I remember the day you were born like it was yesterday. I stayed the night at Aunt Allie’s because I could simply not wait until the evening to see you. I didn’t sleep at all the night before your birth because I was too excited. I remember getting to the hospital to see your mom and dad before they took your mom into have the cesarean, your dad had on the funniest outfit, you would have laughed at him! I remember waiting on you to be brought back to the room and as soon as we saw the nurses wheel you in to the room we all jumped up and ran in there. I remember looking at you and knew that I would love you forever. You were crying and all balled up, not very happy with your new environment. I spent every opportunity I could with you your first 2 years, watching you grow and become very independent, very fast. You have been a joy to watch ever since! I continue to watch you grow into a beautiful, free spirit. You are beyond your years and are so very smart. Continue to grow in your faith, little one. You’re off to a great start. Never lose your excitement for life.

I love you more than I could ever tell you, Kelsey Grace.

Happy 7th Birthday!