The longest decade ever...thanks be to God

My husband pointed out to me the other day, this decade is about to be over. That had not at all occurred to me...shocking, I know.

So I've been pondering this decade. It was by far, the longest, most painful, blessed, amazing decade I've ever had.

2000: I had my second daughter. We tried for 5 years to have her. We gave up thinking we were just meant to have Lindsay. Right before New Year's 2000, we found out Peyton was on her way.

2001: I got my dream job.

2002: Got promoted to a dream job I'd never dreamed of

2003: Cancer came after Peyton.

2004: Peyton began chemo on January 1st. She began radiation a few days later. Her treatment would last most of this year. Lindsay becomes a teenager (which I secretly wondered if that would be as scary as cancer) ;-)

2005: Peyton's sweet little friend Griffin (we met him in treatment) steps out of a world of Neuroblastoma, needles, meds, blood draws and pain into the arms of Jesus. The last few days of his 6 years on earth, all he wanted to do is snuggle up in his hospital bed while I read him Bible stories and told him about Jesus and Heaven. It is here I began to see some of God's plan for why Peyton had to be sick.

At the end of 2005, Courtney (another treatment friend and a young woman I loved as my own daughter) was called from 4 years of failed treatments and pain into God's glory. I held her hand as she died. And I thought I'd never be functional again...

Our beloved church splits. It's insult to massive injury.

2006: Peyton is in full remission and begins kindergarten. Lindsay begins high school. I decide I can't sit at home all day and cry, so I decide to go back to work. All the while, I'm hollow inside. I feel like God has abandoned me and I don't know where to go with that. This year, I become like Jacob and the angel in the desert. I struggle, scream, cry and demand answers from God on a minutely basis it seems. He patiently let's me be angry and distant from Him. Late that year, He moves. To say God scraped me off the pavement and began to rebuild me is an understatement. It is then, God and I went 3-D (thanks Jon! Your check is in the mail) Healing begins and I fall so in love with my Savior.

Courtney's sister Britney suggests the best way to heal our pain is to find others in pain and serve them. I agree. Our homeless ministry is born. Our families (and as time goes on, friends and friends of friends) hit the streets of Dallas each week to bring supplies, food and Bibles to the homeless. But more importantly, we just hang out and visit. The conversations and friendships are unparalled. God and I go 3-D again when I realize God has called us all to missions, and it doesn't have to be a church-organized thing.

2007: We've been visiting churches, but nothing fits. We commit the search to God in dedicated prayer. The last few years of toil and stress have begun to take a toll on my family. We all agree that what we've been through can take families down. We convenant to be on our guard against the enemy trying to take down our family. Christian counseling and some tough conversations ensue, but it's part of the healing.

2008: We return to our old church. But you can't go home again, when the home doesn't exist. It's another painful season. Probably in part due to the "dedicated prayer" for finding a church has morphed into "dedicated whining" about not having one yet ;-) But God is faithful and we know that.

Oh yeah, and I also find a blogging community . I begin to wonder, "how did I ever make it through life without these wacko's?"

Also? Realized there was such a thing as "medical bankruptcy". That would have been handy to know sooner, but all in all, I'm glad we didn't do it. God provided for us in some really creative and loving ways as we dealt with all the bills insurance wouldn't cover.

Dane gets his dream job as a recruiter/background investigator at the police department. He's happy. He's off the streets and no one is shooting at him. I'm very happy.

My baby-sister get's married :-) I perform the ceremony. Yes, I'm ordained as a Chaplain. Yes, I'm a baptist female. I'm a rebel, I tell ya. I'm grateful to get to be a part of the covenant Greg and Stephanie make to each other and to God. Would I ever have worked towards ordination and chaplaincy had cancer not been allowed in our life? Nope, probably not. God's plans amaze me, even when I don't understand them.

2009: Lindsay graduates from high school and goes off the college in the fall. We celebrate by buying her a shiny, red car. ($40,000 in hospital bills, be damned, we're celebrating a child who didn't lose her mind when life started to suck. A car was the least we could do for her) I'm in a weird place for a while. Can it be that I've successfully raised a young person who is ready to leave the nest? Did I teach her/show her all she needs to know? I stay out of her room alot when she's away. It triggers tears and I'm tired of crying. Besides, we have unlimited texting, so I can talk to her alot. And she let's me :-) Peyton is a fourth grader. Chemo and radiation took it's toll on the little developing 3 year old mind from her treatment days. She's showing some memory function issues and attention issues. Nothing tutoring and counseling can't handle for now. And if that's all that comes at us as the result of harsh chemo and radiation, we'll so take it.

Ahhh...September. God kicks down a wall for us and we find our new home church. The pieces just fall into place. Sunday's are a blessing again. We are serving in a church again. Our home group ROCKS. God, once again, shows his faithfulness and love.

How was your decade?

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Steph @Red Clay Diaries said...

GREAT recap post. I loved seeing the progression of what God's been doing in you. Also "God and I went 3D" = awesome phrase.

Helen said...

Thank you for sharing your journey this decade, and reminding me that God is there in the midst of our pain.

sherri said...

I love walking with you on this journey. I'm all teary-eyed- you have overcome MOUNTAINS, my sista! Flat OVERCOME them! I stand in awe. Of your faith and our God!

Annie K said...

It's a miracle that you have kept your wickedly awesome sense of humor. Sometimes that is all we have to make it through. And I'm glad you got through and can look back and see the blessings.

And you're a blessing to Marns!

Happy New Year!

Jewda said...

That was great (not the rough stuff you guys went through, but the way you recapped it). I will steal this idea later in the week. Actually, I mean tomorrow. I will steal it tomorrow. Thanks for sharing.

Marni said...

You guys amaze me. See what I mean about "how did I ever make it through life" without you?

And Jeff, steal away my friend because I totally stole the concept from Church of No People ;-)

Rebecca on The Homefront said...

I believe I'll snag this idea, too...but my decade was no where near as painful, amazing, or touching as yours. I've only begun to get to know you on the tail end, but you've lived quite the decade. Thanks for sharing!

Candace Jean July 16 said...

Love how you captured God moving through your decade. I am privileged to have shared part of your journey, and look forward to many more decades! Love you, Marni!

Kenny said...

I came over from Jeff's blog and all I can say is...WOW! What a truly inspiring story of your perseverance and the faithfulness of God. Very encouraging. Thanks for sharing.

~*Michelle*~ said...

In total agreement with the others....what perseverance!

Praising our God who was right beside you (even when you didn't realize or probably want Him there) during all the valleys.

I pop on over here often and always leave with a smile on my face....and I always say a prayer for you and your family too.