Thursday, January 20, 2011

Getting vulnerable: SUPER long. Read at your own risk...

I have been struggling for a while with how much to share on this blog.  I have a friend who also has cancer, and her blog was the one that gave me the idea to have this blog.  But her cancer seems to be much more "eventful".  She has weekly updates that include new treatments, how this one is working, how that one is working, etc.  My cancer seems to be pretty uneventful so far.  I am just plugging away day after day at the same chemo, and it seems to be working fine.  Not much to report.  The real reports are probably what is going on in my head and in my heart. 

I think about the title I gave to this blog: Hillary 2.0.  The title is all about who God is shaping me to become, not just how I'm feeling on this day or that.  It really scares me to think of sharing real thoughts, real struggles, because I'm afraid of being judged, or of saying something that reflects negatively on who God is, or of completely turning somebody off.  But really, God is reminding me today that part of the purpose of this whole cancer dealy-bopper thing, is to share with others the process of what God is doing in me.  Sometimes it's beautiful.  Sometimes it's not.  But like it or not, I feel like God is wanting me to just share what is going on.  Being naked is scary.  But here goes...

I am a little disappointed in what little change I see going on in me.  Yeah sure, there are some things.  Probably one of the best changes is that I've mellowed out a LOT.  To describe me as intense before, well... At least I've gotten better since high school.  But I am my mother's daughter.  We have a hard time just relaxing. We get our panties in a wad verrrrry easily.  (Just ask my dad...)   My mentor from my first year of teaching, one of my favorite people because she is everything I'm not (I love you Jan!) used to put in my evaluations that I needed to learn to "roll with the punches".  I am happy to report that I am rolling much better! So, I guess that is one of the good changes that I see.  The thing that I was really hoping to see going on was for me to become so much more dilligent in prayer and reading the word.  I mean, I've got ALLLL this time on my hands!!  You'd think that suddenly reading and prayer would be so much easier.  But it's not.  I don't know why I don't love it more.  It's not like it doesn't enter my mind.  It does.  There is just this THING that immediately draws away, and just wants to go watch a movie, or TV, or play cards or ANYTHING else.  For someone who claims to love the Lord, you would think that it would be more exciting.  But it isn't.  What is wrong with me?!?!  I really don't know.  I feel really lame. 

So far today, since I've woken up, I've only done a few things, and most of it (I am pleased to report) involves prayer, and just getting on my face before the Lord.  (Why is this so hard for me to write?  Why am I so afraid to put my relationship with God out there for everyone to see?)  Anyway, God has revealed some really beautiful longings of my heart (namely, I really really really want to be a foster parent, even though I am terrified at the same time).  But he has revealed a really ugly part of my heart too; one that I am ashamed to admit.  Here is my ugliness.  Here is what I wrote in my journal:

"God, at the heart of it all, I feel like my problem is that I don't feel like prayer really does anything.  Lord, if there is nothing else that you are trying to show me, it's that prayer does things.  I don't understand it."

I don't.  I don't understand it.  But I can't deny it either.  I can't deny how much I have felt the prayers of all of you.  I can't deny how ridiculously easy some of this journey has felt.  And I know it has been because of all the prayer warriors out there lifting me up.  I said a really funny prayer this last chemo treatment.  I was praying the night before, again lifting up to God "Why aren't I getting more spiritual from all of this" (or at least that was the gist of it).  I thought about how my main thing has been "I'm not nauseous, so I'm good.  No matter what happens, as long as there is no nausea, I am happy with whatever state I'm in!"  So I thought, maybe I am holding back.  I know that suffering is supposed to bring change in our life (as I've been hoping/expecting from my present circumstances).  So of course!  Maybe I haven't given God the permission to really take me through suffering.  So there on my bed, the night before chemo, I started praying "God, I accept it.  I accept whatever suffering you want to bring now.  I accept as much nausea and vomiting as You need to really refine me".  (I know, it's kinda a stupid prayer)  But I was fully convinced that the suffering was to begin now. I texted my bff Jenise, and asked her to pray for endurance for me, because I felt like things were going to start getting bad from here.... Aaaaaand they didn't.  Yes, I am waaaay more tired than before and I can barely do anything.  But honestly, having to sleep like 10 times more than the average person... it could be a lot worse.  When talking with her this weekend, and discussing my "logic" behind the prayer, she asked me the question that revealed my ridiculousness: "Do you really think you would pray more hovering over the toilet?" Ummmmm... Good question.  It just sounds silly when you say it like that.

So many of you have been praying like amazing prayer warriors for me, especially regarding nausea, and I have felt your prayers.  I have felt them in the absence of real pain, and the absence of feeling miserable during this time that my oncologist frankly told me that she expected me to fare really badly in.  I have shared with you all my physical ailments, and prayers for physical comfort.  I have been so blessed by that.  I have seen the power of prayer.  I have felt it.  So, if I cannot seem to get it through my thick skull by doing it better myself, then I have no choice.  If I really want to change, to become more of a woman who is wholeheartedly after God's own heart, then I need to start presenting new prayer requests to my community who is so faithful to me.  I need to present the diseases of my heart for you to pray for.  God "impressed" upon me today as I was literally sitting in front of the computer crying while looking at foster care sites, looking at profiles of kids 12, 15, 17 years old that needed adopting, or fostering.  He impressed upon me that if I really wanted to foster, I REALLY needed to learn how to pray!!  I need to have it burned inside my chest that prayer affects things here in the real world.  (I actually considered asking everyone to STOP praying for me for a week, so I could really feel the difference, and see what the prayers are doing, but then I saw Jenise in my head saying "really?!?" and realized that that was stupid.  It is probably just the science teacher looking to do a "control group, placebo study" for prayer.  haha!)  So, as I sit now, I am thinking that I should stop telling God HOW he is to go about molding me and refining me.  I'm sure he has a much more mysterious way to go about it.  I just need to ask.  I need to ask those of you who are more advanced than I to pray for me.  Pray that God would move in my heart in regards to prayer.  I want to be a prayer warrior.  I want to understand (not in my head, but in my heart, in my VOLITION) the importance of prayer, of scripture, and other spiritual disciplines.  I am relying too much on what I can see with my own eyes, and progress that is quick enough to behold.  But most growth isn't.  Most growth is too slow to see at the time, seen only in retrospect and with comparison.   I don't know what else to say.  I'm a little spent.  There is my heart, for all to see.  Deal with it gently.