Jehovah was not in the wind. And after the wind, an earthquake: Jehovah was not in the earthquake.
And after the earthquake, a fire: Jehovah was not in the fire. And after the fire, a soft gentle voice. (1Kings 19:11-12)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Take it Easy When it's Tough {Words of Life Wednesdays ~ A Link-up}

{Join us below for Words of Life Wednesdays with a link-up of your post.
We'd love to hear how God's Word has been nourishing you.}

"For this light momentary affliction
is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory
beyond all comparison"
{2 Corinthians 4:17}

Somehow, by rising before the sun rose in the eastern sky, showering while the birds were singing, then heading out alone to drive in rush hour down to the subway in the city and finally catch the shuttle bus, to arrive for my heart echo three hours later, I thought I would be rewarded with good news.

I lie in a dark room with goop all over my chest. The technician slides her wand looking for the perfect angle, while I'm listening to the clicks of the ultrasound machine and the whooshes of my own heart, thinking of a little three year old girl from our town who is battling childhood cancer. It's the ugly cancer that I had when I was three that brings me to this table.

It's been a year and a half since my last echo when I was told that I have severe aortic stenosis but that it is too risky to attempt to fix it so I've carried on.

Day to day, I don't stop and think a whole lot about how out of breath I become or the dizzy spells that I can get. Life just carries on. Any Mama knows how life goes like that. We count down the hours to bedtime, but the next thing we know the baby is a toddler and then starting school and then moving out! You know what I'm saying, right?

So, the way I have been trying to keep up and keep going, what else would I expect? I've got a thirteen year old, an eight year old, and a four year old who still need their Mama for many years, so why shouldn't I hear that I can keep on pushing it. Isn't that what every Mama would want to hear when she still gets to teach another child to read? And driving lessons will begin in about three years! Oh!! I'm not sure my Mama heart can handle that one!!

Our hearts near explode as we watch our children grow up before our eyes. The way our hearts beat with fierce love and pulse with fear like no other, yes, our hearts were meant to handle this kind of work out.

We all know that the heart is a muscle, and the last thing I was told by the cardiologist was that I should exercise it. So, I did. From physical exertion as well as in the way that only a child can make it race.

I check in with the secretary of my cardiologist. I've never met her and I want to put a face to the voice. I ask her, since it took three hours to get here, if it would be possible for me to not come back down for results unless there is a change from the last echo. The sweet secretary whispers for me to go sit in the waiting room; she is going to grab my file, ask Dr. Yu to look over the results and he'll come out and talk to me right away.

I sit down and take out my phone, and I'm filling time by flicking through Facebook as I wait. I'm not at all expecting to hear that this latest echo shows that the stenosis in the heart valve appears to be getting significantly worse. But, that is what the cardiologist finds and now, he says, putting my heart under any kind of strain is not a good idea. The risk of something sudden occurring is increasing. Alternatively, the risks of any surgical intervention are 'astronomical' he says, and will probably never be an option.

He wishes he had another option, but taking it easy, is the only thing he says he can give me.

Yeah, right. I'm only thirty-seven. Take it easy with three children. 

I'm too young to be told to take it easy.

What do you mean, I probably shouldn't be taking 3 km hilly hikes through the bush with my family and friends? Alright, I promise I will never shovel snow again; and no, I don't cut the grass; and yes, I will get a handicap sticker and try to use it when I should; and yes, of course, my children can help carry in the groceries; and me ask for help? Well, now, I don't know.

I'm ok with my toilet only getting scrubbed once a month. Seriously, I am. Life is more than sparkling porcelain. One of the best things an amazing friend did for me by gifting me a housecleaner for an extravagant eight months was that I was finally able to tell myself that I can't do it all and that is ok.

But, I hate being told that I shouldn't do things that any child needs from a Mama. And how, exactly, does a Mama take it easy?

Yes, many people live years with severe aortic valve stenosis, but most of them have two lungs and are in their eighties and they can sit around all day and they have had their promised threescore ten and they have people looking after them now cause they got to raise their children.

I've already survived childhood cancer. I don't need this too. Really. I've tried to pretend it away for a year and a half. I'm good without it. I don't want to be the young Mama with a heart of an eighty year old, too.

And, this, this is all you've got for me?

Dr. Yu looks directly into my eyes and says, you need to take it easy so we get to keep you around, and I look down at his shiny navy shoes tied with bright cobalt blue laces and choke back tears.

Take it easy this summer. The gracious doctor says it again and one more time as he walks into his office after asking me to come back in four months for another echo or earlier if I faint. I tell him I appreciate his honesty and I'll try.

I say, 'I'll try' for a reason; I'm not so sure I know how.

There are things to do—like raising my children, and places to go—like fly to Africa and people who have needs, more than I do.

I don't want to take it easy.

Hear me on this one. I have no real fear of the future. I long to be with my Lord. I totally get those words Paul penned in prison to the Philippians, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

But laugh at the days to come? Honestly, I'm not sure I'm there yet. I hurt for my children. 'Be content in every situation'? That's what Paul had learned. 

But this is how he did it: "I can do all things through him who strengthens me."

I know God is good.

I know medicine can only go so far.

I know miracles still happen.

I also know and believe with all my heart that God is Sovereign.

Life is a vapour.

But, He will give me strength.

So, why not slow down and take it easy?

Give in to my weakness.

What if I do get two, five, ten, fifteen years added to my life here by taking it easy?

But, something tells me, the way I need to take it easy is resting in my Saviour?

I don't need to keep going and keep pushing it.

I just need to rest.

I swing my bag onto my shoulder and walk around the maze of the big city and find my way home. It's one of three bags that I got last August when Ann invited us to her farm to celebrate her 40th birthday with her by having the opportunity to rescue women from slaveryI haven't even used it yet until I rummaged in the dark closet early in the morning to bring it downtown Toronto.

For some reason, I pulled out one for me today.  Before I knew what this day would bring and what I would need to remind myself of.

It is exactly the message I keep telling myself as I make my way through the city back home with the bag on my shoulder declaring this bold truth to me in downtown Toronto:

God is always good and you are always loved.

He's got my days and the days of my husband and children numbered.

Why should I expect blessings and not any pain?

Should I thank God for days of sunshine and grumble on days of rain?

"Shall I trust when I reap a harvest
But when winter winds blow, then doubt?"

God's got this one in His hands.

I don't need to worry; I need to surrender.

I don't pray for a miracle for my heart to start working better.

I pray for a miracle for those hearts of dear ones close to me to be made new.

I pray for a contrite heart and one filled with compassion.

I pray for a heart that is strong and courageous because its hope is in the Lord.

He is with me. And in Him, He will make me lie down in green pastures and quiet waters.

And I will learn to take it easy.

I let the tears flow down my face and sing in brokenness as I drive home and let the music wash over me.

"Oh let Your will be done in me
In Your love I will abide
Oh I long for nothing else as long 
As You are glorified"

When I finally arrive home, I throw my bag on my bed. My thirteen year old picks it up and says she likes it. She has no real idea what I've heard today or what I wrestled through, but she knows something is up. She reads the white words on the blue bag. Mom, she says, it's the perfect bag for you to take to Toronto. 

God is always good and you are always loved.

It's a message to declare over and over to quiet our restless hearts.


  1. "God is always good and you are always loved." This is joy in suffering! Lifting prayers for healing...

  2. Dear Rebekah- Wow, thank you for these raw and beautifully honest reflections. Praying for strength and peace as you rest in Him. You are loved and your words are a gift. May His Words be a continually gift to you, reminding you ever as His deep, unending love.:)

  3. "God is always good and you are always Loved" what if we wore that like we wear our clothes? like the pendant that drips down our chest and rests next to our we wore it like it was really true every day...what is a better anthem than that... thank you :)

  4. You will be in my prayers and your courage and refusal to give up, but make the celebrate your life all its beauty is so inspiring. thank you for writing this!

  5. I must admit, this was not what I thought I would read. Praying for you today, Rebekah. Our God is able to make all things new & praying for Him to make your heart as brand new. So grateful His specialty is heart issues - all kinds. May He restore health to you!

  6. Thank you for sharing your story...and your heart. You have encouraged me today :)

  7. Hugs and prayers, Rebekah. Those are 3 beautiful treasures you have there. I hear a quiet strength in your words here, and I wish I had that type of resilience. We are going through a difficult season in our family right now, and your story has truly encouraged me to keep persevering -- to keep leaning into Him. May God strengthen you and give you wisdom and courage to meet each day.

  8. I would say, "Do whatever the Lord tells you to do....your life is in His Hands!" I don't say this carelessly, I've had similar issues...such as 8 C sections, when the doctors kept saying I was risking my life. God gave me such a follow Him first! Let His peace guide you Rebekah! Love & prayers, in Jesus, Cynthia

  9. I can't see the words I want to write through these tears...

    Through your personal weakness and struggle, I see a woman who has the strength of Christ allowing her to speak and reach out...your heart of faith and perseverance , it amazes me. What a treasure Christ is to you! This is the most amazing thing any mother can give to her eternal perspective.(Rachel)

  10. Words are inadequate. Just know I'm adding to the prayers already being offered on your behalf. For opportunities for you to take it easy, for a miraculous healing, for patience, for grace, for God always.

  11. Oh, Rebekah. I know. I know every word of what you're saying, and I feel it raw in my soul right along with you. I live it with you. It's ok to grieve a little, it doesn't mean you've lost faith or don't recognize the truth and beauty of those words on your bag. And I know exactly who'll be holding you while you quietly weep or loudly rage. Praying with you through these times and sending you heart hugs <3 Shelly

  12. Whew, what a tear jerker, friend! Praying for you as you too enter this season of disciplined rest. I'm right there with you... As hard as it is, sometimes God uses our bodies to help us to tangibly understand HIS call to Rest. Sometimes that less-than-audible voice of His gets lost in the tangible "to-do" list of today. May you & I alike, learn to find sweet JOY in Resting in our Savior! Love to you & grateful to join you on your journey of rest! ♥

  13. How my heart aches for you! I know about this heart ache from a different angle. My oldest son was born with severe pulmonary stenosis. But God is always good in all things and you are always loved - what a beautiful promise to rest on! I'm praying for you.

  14. Rebekah, I've seen your link ups around the internet. I am so sorry to read this about your prognosis, but at the same time I know you are being held tightly by our awesome God and He is good. Praying for you!

  15. Wow, I am so thankful that you are sharing your journey with us all here on your blog so we can go through it with you. I so appreciate your honesty as you share your heart. I feel like my heart is aching with yours. I love how you always speak those truths about God that are true regardless of circumstances, even though it is hard to understand so many times. But your life is a huge example and testimony to so many. You challenge me so much. I am so encouraged by you. Know that I care for you and your family so much! I will pray for you all!

  16. Inviting you to add your song posts to #SongsonSundays at FHC !
    This Week's LINK
    Would love to grow our week's worship soundtrack posts and blogs - thanks for considering =)

    and thanks for hosting today's - here from Lyli's...

  17. I send more love than you can know and thank Jesus with you for today.
    God is always lavishly good -- and you are always faithfully *loved*


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