A moving testimony

Originally at: http://wedonotloseheart.com/be-still-sit-with-this/

Be still. Sit with this.

Dear friends,

My attempts to order my life (and most recently my attempts to stay alive) are now officially in shambles. Arriving at my intended outcomes on time and on schedule . . . well, if you’re waiting for my train, it derailed a few miles back.

What at one time was my sequential journey through life where my plans took me toward my goals through my efforts has now turned into the “magical mystery tour.”

I am Alice, having fallen down the rabbit hole, wondering what this strange new world is that is inviting me to be present to it. Oddly, I feel at peace here – when I am not completely freaked out.


Here’s something I never thought I would write: outcomes are fading from my agenda. It’s not where I’m going (more life here on earth or life in its fullness in heaven) that I am most concerned about. The journey God has me on and my place in it today is becoming increasingly important to me.

Don’t misunderstand. I have not gone to this place willingly. I have people helping me with this. Still, I fight with God constantly. He and I wrestle. I spend most of the time on the mat, in a headlock, looking up saying, “Yes, Lord. Your servant is now listening.”

Last week when I wrote, I had a polished plan – as usual, no editing would be required. I will do this, and then I will do that, with the result being my desired outcome. I am incorrigibly sequential.

Monday I arrived at my oncologist’s office for chemo after fighting an almost irresistible urge to NOT turn left and, instead, drive to the Gulf of Mexico, submerging both my car and myself. But I went. It was a part of the plan, after all.

Trouble erupted immediately. At the front desk, the calendar showed I was NOT scheduled for chemo. Instead, they only wanted to give me my overdue Lupron shot. There was some shouting and perhaps a brief struggle. I needed chemo for my carefully crafted cancer treatment plan and they didn’t even have any to give me.

My plan was in disarray. It was being edited by God without my permission. Damn.

ship tilting

There had been some sort of administrative SNAFU (look up the acronym, if you don’t know exactly what it means). This meant it was time for me to blame and condemn other people.

I had an email chain on my iPhone to prove I was where I was supposed to be to get what I was supposed to get at the time I was to get it.

But no big deal. It’s not like my life depended upon it or anything.

Then it happened. Not an audible voice, but loud enough for me to hear nonetheless:

“Be still.
Sit with this.
Quit trying to fix your plan and just live in this moment of chaotic grace.”

Meeting with my doctor a few minutes later, he told me he didn’t want me to do another round of chemo anyway. It would mess up my blood markers and create a new 4 week “wash out” period for any new clinical trials for which I might be qualified.

Of course! There was a better plan. Life was still orderly and sequential. I had been saved from the ravages of chemo by virtue of my willingness to endure it. It had simply been a test – one that I had passed.

Now, a new option would open up for me. My faithfulness would only lead to an even better result. This is how life works.

Uh, apparently not.

The NIH (National Institutes of Health) called me yesterday (my oncologist had contacted them on my behalf) only to say that, after reviewing my medical records, they were shocked that I was still alive but had no trials currently suitable for me.


That was the sound of my plan disintegrating for the second time.


Then the voice again:

“Be still.
Sit with this.
Quit trying to fix your plan and just live in this moment of chaotic grace.”

be still

This would be easier if I could breath.

You know what the issue is? I’m used to managing my life by trusting in my plans. Now I am trying to manage my attempts to stay alive the very same way – and I am exhausted.

Folks, this is a swirl. It’s chaos I cannot manage. My perfect plans keep getting blown out of my hand. I don’t have the energy to chase them down the street any longer. Besides, a bus just ran over them.

But as I am learning to quiet my heart in all of this, I am finding a new desire growing within me.

I want to quiet my soul, to be still, to live in the moments of reality that terrify me, to do the next thing as it is revealed to me, and to let the edits of my story be ultimately God’s business, not my own.

“The mind of  man plans his way,
but the Lord directs his steps.”
– Proverbs 16:9

Whether I live or die, I want to be at peace with God’s universe, content in my circumstances, and ready to go places I never imagined I would go.

This isn’t passivity. Instead, it’s being alive to the moments of my life, knowing in my soul that God is in them, and that they are His gift to me today, regardless of what the ultimate outcome of all this chaos may be.

God writes a story

Of course, because God has an amazing sense of humor, I just received this email from my “I’m a bit crazy” oncologist in New Orleans:

“Be in my office Tuesday morning,” where, in his words, “We will concoct something!”

You might want to stand back. There may be high levels of testosterone in the cauldron we will be stirring.

My life makes me want to believe in God.


cold Ed

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