Monday, August 17, 2015

Struck by Reality

While we've found so many reasons to be thankful, there are moments when we're struck by the reality of our situation.  In these moments, we become overwhelmed and cry out in disappointment, confusion, anger, fear, hopelessness and tears. Efforts to think positively or focus on one step at a time go out the window as the raw emotions and reactions take over.

After three days of enthusiastically embracing my newly shaved head, I broke down.  My bald head was not only something to get used to in my physical appearance, it was a constant reminder that I had cancer. The reality of having epithelial ovarian cancer at my age was now staring me in the face every day.  I wept.  I wept because I was embarrassed of my outward appearance.  I wept because chemo sucks.  I wept because I hate cancer.  I wept because I didn't feel like reading my Bible, my greatest source of comfort.  I wept because I was scared of my upcoming major surgery.  I wept because we don't know the final outcomes.  I wept because Andy and I want to start a family and have no idea what that will look like.  I wept because this situation sucks and I wish it wasn't happening.  

While these moments are shockingly rare (praise God for the peace He gives us daily), they are real.  These moments scream humanity.  I've been relieved to discover that the Bible is full of human cries like my own.  Isn't that wild?  The holy text for Christianity which is written to reveal the power, holiness and character of the Almighty God has a place for the raw voices of humanity.  The human cries of desperation, angry complaints and pleas for rescue are found throughout the Holy Bible.  This not only gives us permission to do the same, it reveals God's compassionate character.  The God of the universe does not silence human cries. He listens. He weeps. He comforts. What a glorious God!

Rather than suppressing my raw human emotions, I am liberated to follow the biblical examples of faithful men and women who cried out to God in their suffering.  Like Hannah who begs God to hear her prayer, I can admit, "I am a woman who is deeply troubled." - 1 Samuel 1:15.  When doubting the plans of God, I can take Habbakuk's question, "Why do you tolerate wrong?" - Habakkuk 1:3. When emotionally pouring out my soul to the Lord, I can use David's poetic cries, "How long must I wrestle with thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?" - Psalm 13:2, "My back is filled with searing pain; there is no health in my body.  I am feeble and utterly crushed, I groan in anguish of heart." - Psalm 38:7-8, "My tears have been my food day and night." - Psalm 42:1 and "Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me." - Psalm 55:5.  Job, a man who loses everything he cares about in life, gives me this cry to echo, "What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me. I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil." - Job 3:26.  There is freedom in allowing ourselves to be human.

One of my favourite passages in the Bible is Lamentations 3:17-26.  While many Christians love the last five verses, I just love the realness in the first five verses.  It paints a deeper picture.  These are the cries and promises we can take into those moments we're struck by reality.  
17 I have been deprived of peace;    I have forgotten what prosperity is.
18 So I say, “My splendor is gone    and all that I had hoped from the Lord.”
19 I remember my affliction and my wandering,    the bitterness and the gall.20 I well remember them,    and my soul is downcast within me.21 Yet this I call to mind    and therefore I have hope:
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,    for his compassions never fail.23 They are new every morning;    great is your faithfulness.24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;    therefore I will wait for him.”
25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,    to the one who seeks him;
26 it is good to wait quietly    for the salvation of the Lord.


  1. is a small comfort I am sure but you are one of the most beautiful people I know, with hair and without. Thank you for including so much scripture in your posts, God really is at the center of your life. Thank you also for continuing to be so vulnerable and giving us all a peek into what life is like for you at the moment, it really helps me to focus my prayers for you two.

    1. Kelly by the way..guess I need my own google account!!

  2. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. Your journey is drawing many to Christ!!!

  3. You are a source of encourgement! You move forward and let all know its okay to move forward....keep the faith and I am sure that by the power of God all will be good!

  4. Through many tears, I have found them to be therapeutic as painful as it is to have to break down to that point. And you are not alone. As soon as I feel alone, I call on God and He walks beside me. I think and pray for you every day. Even though we may not know each other, we can be one with God. Joyce DeBoer (Danielle Rainey's aunt).

  5. Wow Julia, thank you for being so real. We all have ideas of how we would handle a situation like this, but never really know unless it happens. I'm thankful for your honesty through this and reminding us how truly feeble we are as humans, and just how mighty our God is.

  6. Your testimonies are bringing tears to my eyes. I don't know you personally but your confession to the Lord are so beautiful and so real; Thank you Julia for being a light in this world, even when you are battling darkness.

  7. Your sharing has blessed me. I am old enough to be your grandma, but your wisdom is beyond my years. God is good. God brings comfort. God's Word is beyond words. Blessings to you, Kathy August 30
    Proverbs 30:32 If you have done foolishly in lifting up yourself, or if you have had an evil thought, clap your hand over your mouth.
    ( done )

  8. Julia, I too am astonished by your wisdom, courage and incredible demonstration of faith. I want you to know that you have been in my thoughts and prayers every day since you were first diagnosed. Your name is written on my make-up mirror in lipstick so that I am constantly reminded to lift you up to Him who is able to do far more than we can imagine or hope for. Thank you for your raw emotion and transparency. You are deeply loved and admired.


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