Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Journey Continues: Joy in the Morning

“Weeping my remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”
Psalm 30:5b
It's been nearly five years since I was diagnosed with cancer, and nearly three years since I posted my last entry to this blog. I originally intended my blog to be an informational cancer journal. But in the process of writing, I realized two surprising things. First, it was therapeutic for me to reflect and write. And second, it was personally encouraging to others. In a certain way, my blog became less about my journey through cancer and more about journeying through life, and the hard circumstances it brings, with honesty and faith. 
Since my last post, I have continued to face several hard circumstances, including a few that I consider much harder than cancer. I have struggled with depression, a miscarriage and hysterectomy, addiction, strain on my marriage, separation from my family, and a move to a new city. As a result, I have decided to continue my blog, writing about some of those things with the hope that it will accomplish more good things in my life and perhaps also in the lives of others.
For the sake of clarity, I should say three things about how I will approach these hard topics.
First, I am not writing as one who has "arrived." I have not walked through these things perfectly or completely, and so I'm not pretending to be an expert or guide for others. I'm simply writing to share my experience as one who is in the midst of their journey. As I have gone through each hardship, it has been so encouraging for me to know another person who has gone through the same thing. So for those who are struggling with similar circumstances, I hope there can be comfort in knowing that you are not alone.
Second, while I want to share honestly about my struggles, I don't think it is wise or helpful to share everything about my struggles through this blog. Some things are just too sensitive, and other things are best shared in more personal settings. 
Finally, I am going to approach these topics as a Christian who believes that God uses hard circumstances for my good. Rather than decreasing my faith and joy, I believe God has used these circumstances to increase my faith and joy in Him. Matt recently shared a quote with me about this by Tim Keller. In the Introduction to his book, Walking with God through Pain and Suffering, Keller writes,
"[A]t the heart of why people disbelieve and believe in God, of why people decline and grow in character, of how God becomes less real and more real to us - is suffering. And when we look to the Bible to understand this deep pattern, we came to see that the great theme of the Bible itself is how God brings fullness of joy not just despite but through suffering, just as Jesus saved us not in spite of but because of what he endured on the cross. And so there is a peculiar, rich, and poignant joy that seems to come to us only through and in suffering."
While Keller's words may sound strange or even harsh to some people, they really resonate with me and my story. My "joy in the journey" has increased not despite suffering, but through suffering. As Psalm 30:5b says, "Weeping my remain for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning." I have had many "nights" over these last few years but God promises us that one day there will be no more nights: the day when we are in His presence. "By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day - and there will be no night there (Rev. 21:24-25)." So rather than being totally self-focused in my life and in this blog, my prayer is that God will keep my eyes fixed on His faithfulness to me and on His love for me as I turn to the promises in His Word for perspective on my circumstances
I'm not sure how frequently I'll post entries on my blog, and I'm not sure how long I'll keep posting. But for this season of my journey, this is something I'd like to do again. I hope you'll follow along, and find some strength and hope along the way.