28 July 2020

my hungry mess

To add to the general struggle of the day, I have been been going through one rubbermaid tote after another of my mom's things, put into storage after her death and just being opened now as I try to sort and save and toss. Wedding invitations, baby registries, dozens of photo albums. Journals, old Bibles, keepsakes.

One of the true treasures is a book I found of letters and printed emails she was writing to her prayer warriors throughout her battle with leukemia, from start to finish.  I've never read those letters.

I was in them. I was with her. I remember the battles she is talking about.

But I've never gone through it from her perspective, shared vulnerably and freely with her friends.

I remember a lot more physical hell for her than she described. I remember her chemo sores. Her bleeding mouth and gums. All the vomiting. Her thinning hair. The horrific, relentless, poisonous metallic taste in her mouth. Painful procedures. Several excruciating bone marrow transplants. Her bruised, paper-red skin. Her weakness. Her fatigue.

But she never complained through the whole book of letters, not once. Her medical accounts are factual, not self-pitying, littered with positives, with ways she saw the Lord show up, with blessings she was holding onto.

All of her journey,  tears have poured down my face to read in her own words, in snatches between laundry and math problems, dishes and repair men and children, children.

But she has humbled me most with this line, one she repeats again and again, one that takes my breath away as I remember the nightmares, in her signature curly handwriting.

This, she writes a week before her unexpected death, has been an incredible journey of faith--one I would not have wanted to miss.  

an incredible journey of faith
one I would not have wanted to miss

She is suddenly in the room and even after all these years, I can hear her voice say it, even of the journey that led just days later to her death, and I am utterly undone and humbled.

What a ridiculous statement of faith regarding the physical and emotional hell she was enduring.

Quarantined in a tiny, incubated, filtered, sealed hospital room she could not leave while being poked, prodded and poisoned, she was missing all of life and in continual pain.

You know what made THAT an incredible journey of faith?

She trusted Him.  

She trusted Him so stinking much that she grew in the middle of total drought, wanting Jesus more than anything else, and finding Him, unhindered, again and again.

She wouldn't have wanted to miss that hell, because she trusted Her Father in Heaven was in it and was at work...and she didn't want to miss that.


I've been struggling. I'm struggling.

Why am I still such a mess? a friend asked today over coffee in my kitchen, tears pouring free and ugly down both our faces.  I had to leave Niger months ago, and God has been with me and in it. Why am I still such a mess?

I couldn't help her.

I want to have faith like my mama.

However painful this process of being utterly uprooted and unresolved and isolated from everyone and everything we've known and loved all these years has been, could I not have half her faith and aspire to say, I wouldn't want to have missed this...for how greatly I have come to depend on my unfailing Father?  

Could I ever call this painful journey an incredible one, because of His perspective, not mine?

Could I ever give up all I've lost in exchange for what He's offering me to gain in Him?

Could I be satisfied with my hungry mess, because I trust that I will taste and see that He is still good? That He's strong in weakness? That He's beauty in broken? That He's more than enough?

THAT kind of faith doesn't just happen, friends.

I'm working on it.


  1. What a beautiful perspective! I’m still struggling with it, too. I’m sure your mama had to fight for it, too. Keep fighting, friend.

  2. Thank you for sharing, I loved the picture, such great smiles. Just one foot in front of the other, knowing HE is right beside you and knows your pain. I love you and miss you!