You’ve seen the turtle by the side of the road, bravely living life, suddenly it senses danger and it quickly pulls back inside it’s shell. Scared. It hides. Avoiding the danger, the hard and unknown things. Closing itself off to the world around it. Protected in it’s hard shell there it stays until it feels life is safe again.

Lately I have felt a lot like a turtle. Wanting to pull myself inside my shell and hide. Life feels scary and I want to avoid reality. To pretend that nothing is wrong. I want my normal back. That cancer word? I want it gone. For life to just be all okay again. These hard times come and this is my human reaction. Like the turtle, I just want to close myself away and hide until life feels safe again. Just like I want it to be.

The death of a loved one. Cancer. Shattered relationships. A marriage that is just barely holding together. Broken dreams. Financial difficulties. Anger. Abuse. Fear of failure.  You have your list and I have mine. And what a long list it can be. So many things we would like to pull back from. And we do, we pull ourselves inside our little shell and there we hide, and we make our excuses and have our reasons. And really, who can blame us, for life is hard. And we all know how deep it can hurt. And how scary it is to have your head out there when you know danger is near.

But I’ve been challenged lately to live a little more ‘outside my shell’.

What if instead of closing myself off, hiding away and avoiding the hard, difficult things, instead of pulling myself back in my shell when the scary times come, what if I would turn and face it?  And not only face it, but face it with Jesus. With joy. With gratitude. Turn that fear into something beautiful. Something Jesus can use. And that long list? That list of scary things. Turn it into your joy list. That person that hurt you the most? Put them at the top of your prayer list.  That cancer? This gets my heart, because this is close to the top of my list and I’m still trying to find the good in it. But it’s there, right outside my shell. And all I want to do is hide. But Jesus is working on me, and maybe joy and gratitude aren’t always in feeling it, but choosing to believe it? And someday I want to look back and be able to say, “That season of my life, that season of cancer, it was hard. But it was good.” And those shattered relationships? Broken dreams? Abuse. Anger. Oh, there can be bitterness, I know.  But forgiveness, choose it!  Choose to let Jesus use that hurt and turn it into something beautiful and useful. And choose to let that shattered relationship drive you to the relationship you need most of all. The one with Jesus. The things you find on your list? Face them. Head on. Get out of your shell. With Jesus, you’ve got this!  I know, life hurts and there are many things out there I have not personally experienced. Many of you have wounds and scars deeper than I will ever know. But I challenge you, with whatever you are facing, choose to be grateful and have joy, even when you can’t find anything good in the situation, in the hard you are facing, choose to believe He is working for your good. Because He is. He really is.

I’m writing this for me, to put the confidence back in my steps. Through Him I can do this! This week there have been hard days. Tears. Weariness. So much humanness. Scary “what-if’s” But there have also been rainbows. Moments of hope. Of laughter. Big moments of Jesus. Things I want to be grateful for, to count them as joy,  even when I don’t understand and feel like I just can’t take anymore.

Wes spent last weekend in the hospital for his chemo treatment. Everything went as was expected and he was able to come home on Monday. Wes’ mom and sister came to spend the weekend wth us while he was in the hospital and then Grandma stayed with us all week, which we were so grateful for. It always gets long for the children when Wes has his hospital stay because they aren’t allowed in the hospital to see him. So we are always so ready to have him home again. We had a rough week with sickness, the children and Wes all were sick, making for nights that were hard with sick children, and just a lot of not feeling well. We thought Wes’ chemo schedule would probably get bumped back a week, because he was running a fever and had a cough, but Saturday morning he was feeling a lot better and was still able to go in and do his outpatient treatment.  (thank you Lord!)

Can we ask you to pray? He is scheduled for another MRI of his spine Wednesday evening (Oct. 18) to see if the treatments are working, or if the tumor is growing. While we have been given hope to the success of the treatments, we all know that it is God alone who heals. So please pray with us that the tumor is not growing and the treatment plan is working. And Monday (Oct. 23) he is scheduled for a PET scan, which is a scan of his whole body, looking for any new growth or signs the cancer is spreading. Please pray with us, for peace, for strength, and for healing. These days look hard and I want to hide, but I want to choose to face them boldly, with Jesus.

For this I am grateful,  Jesus and all that He gives so freely. For you, dear friends and family, we are loved and cared for so much by you. Thank you seems like such a small thing to say.  For doctors and nurses, who know what they are doing and care about their patients. For this season in our lives, may it bring Him glory. And may I face this season of my life, head on with joy. For I have Jesus.







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