Posted in Self Help

Life’s Little Instruction Book

I have some of those little life instruction books somewhere around the house.

Remember those?

Some days I think I need to dig them out, reread them and figure this life thing out. But, I don’t think life comes with a real instruction book.

Or, does it?

Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.

Proverbs 19:20

I’m the first to admit over the last year and a half I have been a real mess. My family knows better than anyone, and I kind of felt bad the other day when I was talking to my uncle and he said sometimes my blog makes him feel bad. Then, he said for me to keep writing.

I hope he, and all my family, realize what a comfort it is to have them to talk to and listen, and what a blessing my blog has been for me. I will apologize to all of them in advance, but I don’t think I’m through the storm yet.

I guess I’m glad people worry about me, but really I don’t want them to worry. Even though I know they still do.

I understand.

It’s all kind of hypocritical coming from me since we all know I worry A LOT! I don’t mean to, it’s just I can’t stop my mind from reeling. It’s possible my thoughts don’t focus in the right place. When I make a conscious effort to accept what is and trust God with the rest, I can actually stop the worry.

At least for awhile.

Sometimes, I get so wrapped up in my children’s struggles, and my own, that I forget to take a breath, look to my side and ask God for help. I am trying, it’s just a work in progress.

There are a handful of challenging days and “fall to my knees” moments, but I realize this is the new normal. Right now, this is our world.

I don’t claim to be perfect. I falter. But, I also know how to pick myself up.

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:29-31

The chaos, the uncertainties, the burdens, the overwhelming number of trips to the cancer center, and living with the unknown is all part of life. It takes some getting accustomed to, but under all of this disarray there’s some good to be found.

If you haven’t lived it, you won’t understand.

My overall health is getting better, my anxiety isn’t as bad and I don’t cry everyday. I will never be the same again, but change in my life is inevitable. My whole motivation to get myself back together is my children. They are everything to me.

I look at it with a weird sort of analogy. When on an airplane and the cabin loses pressure the oxygen masks fall from the ceiling, passengers are instructed to first put on their own mask, and then assist children with theirs. It just took me awhile to adjust my mask. But, I want my children to know I am here now.

Don’t panic. We’ve got this!

It may still be messy at times, but it will be OK.

I’ve tried to become more aware of how to help my kids deal with their dad being sick. It took some hard knocks, plenty of pain for our family and some undeniable facts to realize maybe we have all made some mistakes. People take all sorts of avenues to deal with life’s nasty truths, and most of them aren’t pretty.

In most cases we assume a serious life threatening illness would bring a family together. Sometimes it does, and sometimes it just doesn’t. We all deal with pain and reality in different manners, at different paces, with different resources.

People have no idea how cancer can tear a family apart. It can take some bad situations and make them worse, cause problems in finances, relationships, mental health and even addictions. People don’t think about that, but it’s true more often than anyone would like to admit.

Most everything I have read says be honest and realistic with your children about cancer. Honest about the state of health and the illness, then, realistic about quality of life, diagnosis and the effects.

Reading can comfort you, warn you of the eruption that can occur, provide resources and aid, but it can’t predict.

Everyone digests facts and their discernments differently. My children all have differing personalities and traits that have enabled them to absorb our situation in their own way. Some of them have handled it much better than others.

For me, I have used faith to come to grips with all the woes. The Lord has helped comfort me when I could not change the circumstances, provided me with strength I didn’t know existed, and helped me weather the trek.

I have realized I can read all the books in the world for advice on how to talk to my children about cancer in our family. I can encourage them to talk to me about their feelings, seek God’s help, or go to counseling. What I can’t do is tell them how to feel, expect them not to worry or tell them what will or will not work for them.

I can only offer advice and support them.

I can be strong for them when they can’t be strong for themselves, tell them I love them and pray for them. I can get them help if they need it, I can ask for God to give them strength and lead them.

I can assure them the Lord is always there for us, they are stronger than they know, and we will get through all of this together, but I can’t help them if they aren’t willing to help themselves. And, more importantly I can’t stop the bad news that keeps coming at us.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

I can be their mother, be a fighter, be the anchor in the storm, and show them unconditional love that never fails. But, in the end the best I can do for them is to tell them to have faith and trust in God’s little instruction book.