Be Not Afraid

Who Was and Is and Is to Come

When Mike and I lived in Colorado I sang every week at mass with a group of amazing people.  I loved singing each week not only because of how kind and fun the members of the band were, but even more so because worshipping God in that way changed my relationship with Him.  Over the months that I began worshipping God consistently and in such an intimate way, I found myself praying and talking with God much more honestly than I ever had before.  And though not everything during the months we lived in Colorado was easy, knowing, without a shadow of a doubt, that God was with me through everything brought me joy I’d never known.

Two weekends ago Mike and I went back to Colorado so that I could sing with my old band for our church’s confirmation retreat.  We had an amazing time seeing friends and connecting with God, but it was also extremely emotional.  Our first day back Mike and I drove by the adorable house we lived in last year and walked in the park by our house.  Not only was it hard to be back because I loved living there and still miss it, but I kept thinking of how last year, I didn’t know I had cancer.  I don’t know how long the mass in my chest was growing, but since it was already the size of a softball  (apx. 12 X 14 cm) when I was diagnosed in February, it’s likely that I had cancer for at least some of the time we lived in Colorado.  Yet, I felt great up until when we moved in October.  I had morning sickness since I was pregnant, but I was hiking and biking and felt healthier than I had in years.  And being back in our old neighborhood, where Mike and I took many bike rides and walks through the park, reminded me of what it was like to feel healthy.

But even more so than the difference in my physical health or the freedom I used to have to do what I wanted to each day (instead of getting chemo or having blood work taken at the doctor’s office), being back in Colorado reminded me of who I was before I had cancer.  Last year I felt that I was the person I always wanted to be.  I was joyful, and my faith was the strongest it had ever been.  And since being diagnosed with cancer, I worry that I’ve changed;  I worry about the anger I feel.  I know that anger is okay sometimes, and that it’s a normal reaction, but I also worry that cancer has stolen away the hopeful innocent person I used to be.  And being back in Colorado reminded me of that person…the person that loved God so much I spent hours and days writing songs to Him and only for Him.  I want to be that person again.  I know that that person is who I truly am, deep down, it’s just that it’s sometimes harder to find my hope and my innocence these days.  I feel like I’ve been betrayed by my body, and the trust I used to have in the goodness of the world is compromised.  And that breaks my heart.

During adoration on the retreat, and again at mass on Sunday, I led a beautiful song called “Revelation Song.”  One of the lines reminded me of something that never changes, even when I fear I’m losing the best part of myself and I don’t know who I am anymore:  God.  Singing, or actually praying the song, reminded me of the consistency of God, no matter what is going on in my life and no matter how I feel I’m changing.  The same God I felt with me as I hiked the Rocky Mountains, as I felt strong and healthy despite the mass growing in my chest, is also the God who was with me as I threw up on my beautiful white comforter during my first cycle of chemo.  The God I have come to know doesn’t change.  He is truly the Savior “Who is and was and is to come,” and this consistency comforts me.  It reminds me that God is bigger than anything, than everything, and that His grace and love are with me in my pain as much as my joy, in the darkness as much as the light.  When I struggle to see Him it is merely my perception that is cloudy;  He is still there, ever-loving and everlasting.

Sometimes, I don’t know who I am.  And I don’t know the Allison that will come out of this journey.  I know that I’ll be different, and I pray that if I am changed it is for the better.  But no matter what, I know that God will be the same God He has always been.  His love will still be as strong as ever.  And in this knowledge, I find joy.

If you’d like to hear me singing “Revelation Song” with my church band from St. Francis Cabrini in Littleton, Colorado, click below.

Worthy is the,
Lamb who was slain,
Holy, Holy, is He.
Sing a new song, to Him who sits on
Heaven’s Mercy Seat.

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty,
Who was, and is, and is to come.
With all creation I sing:
Praise to the King of Kings!
You are my everything,
And I will adore You.

Clothed in rainbows, of living color
Flashes of lightning, rolls of thunder.
Blessing and honor, strength and
Glory and power be,
To You the Only Wise King.

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come.
With all creation I sing:
Praise to the King of Kings!
You are my everything,
And I will adore You.

Filled with wonder,
Awestruck wonder,
At the mention of Your Name.
Jesus, Your Name is Power,
Breath, and Living Water,
Such a marvelous mystery.

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come, yeah
With all creation I sing:
Praise to the King of Kings!
You are my everything,
And I will adore You.

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7 comments

  1. Alison,

    Just came across this and I want to let you know that you sound beautiful! It takes me back to sitting next to you in choir. 🙂 I have volunteered with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in the past and learned a lot about the blood cancers during my involvement. I posted a link to a picture of me and one of my favorite lymphoma survivors – at the time he was about 4 years old. I know soon you’ll be able to join him in the survival club! Your baby is adorable and a testament to just how strong you are.

    Best wishes,
    Kara

  2. You wrote your Colorado post! 🙂 Thank you for telling your truth and sharing your song.
    As I read your words, a thought came to me, a paradox of sorts: God is unchanging, everlasting love. And yet it’s also true that Jesus’s suffering on the cross changed Him, and us, forever. The unalterable God choose to be altered by pain. He chose to become intimately acquainted with suffering, knowing that it would save us.
    Not sure what all that means, but it’s what I’m thinking about today. My new prayer, after reading what you wrote, is that the person you become in your life after cancer is even more who you were always meant to be.

    • Thank you for encouraging me to write my Colorado post. 🙂 And thank you for your prayer for me. You’ve encouraged me to pray for the same reality.

      I love the thought you shared. I’m not sure what it all means either, as God’s love is such a mystery, but I do know that at times the only comfort I find in my own suffering is the very knowledge that God too knows intimately, through His Son, what it means to suffer.

  3. Katrina

    I miss you so very much. My hearts aches to be there with you now. You are such an incredible gift not only to me, but to each person you continue to encounter on this journey. I am so proud of you my Dear. Continue to find your strength in and through Him. Be not afraid… for you are never alone. Love you so very much!!! xoxox k : )

    • Katrina, thank you so much for commenting. You know I too miss you unbearably!! I need you to be my nurse (and can’t wait until you’re here)!! I can’t tell you how happy the news that you’re thinking of pursuing nursing school made me….I can’t think of anyone better. Thank you for always being such a strong example of faith to me. I love you so much.

  4. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 10 & 11 Give Everything (Plus Prayer Request) | Be Not Afraid

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