Continued from The Boobs, the Basketball, and the Cancer
Once I had new eyes to see that God was adding a new chapter to my Epic Redemption Story, everything changed.
The darkness diminished; hope was born.
I began looking for where God was working to bring healing + beauty through this situation, instead of where he was trying to jack my life up (again). Big perspective shift.
Maybe the epic redemption story God was writing wasn’t just for me? Maybe my circumstances would be an invitation for others to consider their own epic redemption story. My passion is seeing people walk in the freedom + wholeness available through Jesus; maybe this would be a path for others to heal + grow.
And how much did I REALLY believe all those things I say in my presentations? I thought I believed them. Yet, this situation was testing the depth of my understanding. I was moving from believing to knowing. There is a difference. Experience is an invitation to a deeper knowing. God was doing deep work in my soul and I was grateful. I knew this was changing me for the better, even though it was painful.
There was another dream in the haunted mansion. This time an angel with massive white wings was walking through the mansion with me. He wasn’t afraid. He told me the creatures couldn’t get to me. They were bound into the cement walls and couldn’t break free to touch me. THIS is what John 10:10 looks like. In this season and throughout all of life. The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but God is with me, he is stronger, and always has a plan to redeem the brokenness in our story.
A peace washed over me. I acknowledged it would be a bumpy road. Peace doesn’t mean the hardship goes away. It means you have peace in the hardship. I knew the surgery would be a challenge and there might even be cancer, but I had a peace that we would get through it and a confidence that I would survive. The peace existed even though the unknown of the path ahead was unsettling, sad, and unwanted.
Once the darkness passed, my biggest challenge was to allow myself to feel all the feelings. It was easier to try to “save Christmas” than to acknowledge how scary + uncontrollable all of it was. I was busily planning our traditions and seasonal fun before surgery. (I will choose busy + productive over sitting in my feelings every day of the week and twice on Sunday.) Thankfully Tim (my therapist) and my Core4 (best friends) help me access + share my feelings.
The illusion of control is more comforting to me than it should be. The unknown reveals the reality of my lack of control. I don’t like not knowing how things will turn out. I prefer to guide, manage, and coach things to turn out the way I would like them to be. Embarrassing to admit, and prayerfully it won’t always be like this, but it’s true. Not knowing how the surgery would go, what the Dr. would find, if I would be in the hospital on Christmas, or how I would feel after surgery made me feel vulnerable. I don't like feeling vulnerable.
I felt sad because I thought I was disappointing my kids and others. I didn’t have the emotional capacity for much, I was physically still recovering and I had to stay healthy for the next surgery. I hate feeling like I have let people down. Saying no to offers to come to my house to pray for me, get coffee, celebrate Christmas together, etc. were incredibly difficult. Jose would affirm healthy boundaries and a broader perspective. Yes, there would be time for gatherings later. It was ok to say “no.”
The kids continuously surprise me with their resiliency. Jose reminded me they wanted a healthy mom more than they wanted Christmas on December 25th. We aren’t dishonoring Jesus by celebrating early.
We celebrated on December 19 with an Italian Christmas. We made Nonna’s Baked Ziti. Nonna means grandma in Italian. I do not have an Italian grandmother, but we played Chopped and I talked all about her and her famous recipe from the old country which she passed down to me. We pretended our sparkling lemonade came from Capri and indulged in Italian desserts. We played Italian Christmas carols and spoke with Italian accents. It was a Christmas to remember because of the memories, not the surgery. Grazie Italia. 🇮🇹
To make it festive I put on the Santa dress I've had for a few years. It finally fit because of the breast reduction surgery.
This is us playing Left, Center, Right with real money (a Casillas family tradition). The advent candles and our homeschool stuff are in the background #reallife.
That's enough about me. I wonder if the invitation for a new perspective might be for you too? Maybe you are walking through your own hardship and want hope. Is there a place in your story where you want God to bring redemption? I stopped to pray for you and your journey while I was typing. May you see beauty in your trial, hold on to the living hope that never fails, and experience the peace that passes all understanding.
God works in mysterious ways. Let's have open hands, open eyes, and an open heart to see Him bring beauty through our stories. It helps make the hard times more purposeful.