Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Those Awkward Years (And How to Love Your Kids Through Them)

The highlight of my week in third grade was when Mom would drop me and my sister off at the local Roller Rink. Carpeted walls.  KC and the Sunshine Band playing "S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y Night!".  The mirrored disco ball. The hokey pokey.  The dice game.  Couples only.  That funky smell of the spray they use in the roller skates to "disinfect" them.  

Yeah, it's still the same.  

If you don't believe me, go to the roller rink.  It will take you back. 

I have some good memories from third grade, but honestly, it was a tough year for me.  I was overweight, wore glasses, had no confidence, was totally insecure and nobody really liked me.  During "couples only" at the roller rink, I was always sitting and watching everyone else holding hands, slowly going round and round the rink, wishing I was out there skating with someone like everyone else, but no one ever asked me.  I wasn't exactly what you would call popular and I was socially awkward.

I think it started when we were sitting against the wall at gym class and we had to sit "Indian style" (it wasn't a politically incorrect thing to say back then - now we call it "criss cross applesauce").  I felt a bubble in my tummy and tried to straighten out my legs to keep it from escaping, but my teacher yelled at me and made me sit "Indian style" again.  Even before I could pull my legs back into that unforgiving position, my "tummy bubble" escaped and it thundered loudly against the wooden suspended floor in the gym.   Everyone looked at me "Ewww!!!  Gross!!"  

Giggles. 

Pointing. 

Judging. 

STOP LOOKING AT ME!  

It was the end of my reputation, if I ever had one.  Oh, do I feel for kids in school!  One good thing about third grade for me was my friend, Jimmy.  He had a wooden leg.  I thought that was pretty cool but nobody else would talk to him. It's like they were afraid of him. I never understood that.  I would sit with Jimmy at recess on the bench and he would teach me math since he couldn't play on the playground equipment like everyone else.  I liked Jimmy a lot.  But I hated third grade. I hated math too, but that's another blog.

Did you ever have a year like that?  An awkward, socially destructive, frustratingly difficult year?  Oh, it's the worst.  The only thing worse is seeing your child live through a year like that.  If I didn't know those difficult days were what God used to build so much of who I am, I'd give anything so my kids would not have to go through it at all. But I know He taught me to become more compassionate, empathetic, humble and sensitive to others through those experiences. 

Romans 5:3-4 tells us, "We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation." Your child's character is going to strengthen through their struggles. They will become more empathetic, more humble, more compassionate and a lot more sensitive to others who are struggling.

If "awkward years" describes your child, share your stories of your awkward years with them.  Make them laugh.  Listen.  Hug them a lot.  Encourage them. Teach them the truth about who they are, according to God's Word. Be patient. Trust God and try not to "fix" it (I know that's a hard one)!

And one more thing...

By all means, please...don't ever insist that they sit "criss cross applesauce" on the gym floor. (smile)

Thursday, August 15, 2019

I'm in Good Hands

"It looks benign!

After about three weeks of doctor appointments, praying like crazy and wondering about the future, the heaviness that was pressing down on me dissipated in a moment. I was tempted to step on the scale because I felt I lost about 5,000 pounds! (smile)

A few weeks ago, I went in for a routine Calcium Score test for my heart. I had two friends have heart attacks this past year. Healthy, young and fit guys. So, it made me think that getting this calcium score would be a good idea. My results were great - my score was a 1 and that means I have little to no blockages - whew! 

But during the scan, they found a spot on my right lung.

My head was spinning.

After another chest CT scan, the radiologists recommended a biopsy. With the help of a dear friend, I was able to get in with an amazing doctor at Huntsman Cancer Hospital at University of Utah Medical Center within a few days. He looked at the scan and recommended a PET scan because the spot was so deep into the lung, that he was afraid a biopsy would collapse my lung. He told me it looked like it was either benign or a very treatable type of cancer, so he recommended I relax, go on my trip to Florida and enjoy myself. He said he would get me in for the PET scan the week after I returned. 

My PET scan was on Monday. My sister flew in to go with me and my husband came, as well. The test was over in a couple of hours. I knew it would be a hard time for me, so I asked people on Facebook if they needed prayer. During the test, they don't want you on your phone, you can't talk to anyone and they just want you to rest. So I prayed most of that time - thinking about each person who left a request on my Facebook wall. I can't tell you what a blessing it was to think of others during a time when my mind was tempted to overthink and worry about my own situation. I actually think back to that time and just feel in awe of the peace that I felt. I'm so thankful.

The doctor was kind enough to call me the very next day with my results. The phone rang at 5:05pm and he told me it looks benign and that he will have me come back in six months for a follow up scan and make sure it's not changing or growing. It could have been so much worse. My sister and I sobbed and held each other so tight! I was actually happier for her than I was even for me, honestly. The thought of losing my sister is way harder than the thought of going through something myself. She's my best friend in the whole world, and I am hers. I know she hadn't breathed deep in weeks - and now she was finally able to let it out! I'm so glad she was there when I got the news. And when I told my husband, I could hear the relief in his voice. He has had a hard three weeks, too. We all have - the whole family. But we always had peace that God had me in His hands.

I'm so much more empathetic to people who are going through this now, but some do not get the good news I received. I know the feeling of waiting, of wondering. But at this time, I can only imagine the horror of hearing the words "it's cancer". My heart breaks for my friends who are going through treatments, waiting on test results or watching someone they love go through it. This is hard, hard stuff. It's life at its roughest, no doubt about it.

I heard a teaching from Beth Moore once that never left me, and I'm hoping it won't leave you, either. It actually rescued me from thinking some pretty dark and scary thoughts over the past three weeks. She said that God is our deliverer. If we are at the doctor and we're told that we have a spot or a lump that looks suspicious, one of three things will happen:

1. You go in to get it checked out and the doctor cannot find it. It just goes away. Or it is benign. God delivers you from it. 

2. You go in and the doctor says it's cancer. You must go through treatments, possibly surgery, chemo or radiation. The road is long, but your Creator is right there with you. You finally get the all-clear and you are in remission. God delivers you through it. 

3. You go in and the doctor confirms it is cancer. After months or years of treatments, you cannot seem to get rid of it and you pass away and stand before your Creator. God has delivered you by it right into His loving arms! 

No matter what, He is your deliverer. Last I checked, the mortality rate for humans is 100%. But we can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that no matter what we go through, God will deliver us. After my three weeks of knowing something was there, but not knowing how serious it was, I can honestly say that God was (and is) my Deliverer. And He wants to be yours, too. 

Whatever you're going through, you can trust Him. He will not leave your side. He will be right there with you! He will deliver you - and He has a plan to bring you closer to Him than you could ever imagine - if you will just let Him. He can turn a dark time into a time of sweet intimacy with Him. It's truly miraculous!

Thank you SO much to those who knew and have been praying for me. I have felt those prayers! I'm so thankful that my doctor called with good news. But even if He hadn't, I promise you, I would still be in the best Hands ever. :)

Got Questions?

GotQuestions?org