Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts saved me when Tim was diagnoised with cancer. God had begun a work in my life years before, each new stone laid out on the path that He was leading me on towards healing. His patience and goodness, the mortar around the stones, holding it firm and in place. He gave those stones one by one, never dumping a wheelbarrow of stones all at once. He would gently lay a stone and then use his trowel to add the structure to hold it in place.
With each of those stones the mortar around the stones were the gifts that He gave. One after another. I learned to trust my Father, because He gave good gifts. Gifts of abundance, of love, of security. Even when the sky was dark, the rain falling, the winds howling. He was there. So when Tim was diagnoised with cancer, the pathway was already firmly in place. From the very first day I clung to the gifts. I could see them everywhere and I knew that God was right in the middle of all of this. He hadn't taken a vacation day that Sunday when Tim was diagnoised. This is what held me when I felt like we were all freefalling. We went from cooking bacon at the campground for breakfast in the morning to a cancer diagnoise in the ER that evening at 5pm. I remember telling my sister when we were moved up to the oncology floor that evening that I felt like the train had left the station and that I was running down the track to catch the caboose. How does this happen in a day?
We were in the hospital for a week. I went home one night and I brought back the little bed spring that had a birds nest nestled into it. A friend (Sheri from Junk Chic 5280) knew how much Ann's book had meant to me and given me this reminder months before. God taking the old, restoring and giving new life, never taking his eye off the sparrow. I set it on the shelf where I could see it at all times in that hospital room. A constant reminder that He had us and He had good plans for us.
Tim wasn't supposed to leave that hospital room for one month but by the next weekend his fever was gone, which meant we got to go home. We had hunkered down to stay the month and now we were packing up to head home. While we were staying that week, the hospital had let us know that there was a room that was available on the floor so we could sleep better but still be near to Tim if he needed us. The night before Tim was to go home I slept in that room. Bekah and I had gone to Walmart before bed and I had been drawn to the art pads and pens. The next morning I awoke crying. I had never experienced this before but I had been crying in my sleep. The tears I hadn't been able to shed in the day had spilled out in my sleep. Cancer? How could this be? My baby, my 6'4 son was lying in another room and he had been dying before our very eyes. As I showered and readied for the day, God pushed me to those pens and paper. Thankfulness for all the staff had done. Gift upon gift that they had showered upon us. I knew that I needed to write it down as a thank you to them but also as a reminder to me, to us, of God's loving kindness even in the very darkest places.
And so what began many years before poured out onto paper and so much more. For He had helped me to see.... to hear..... to know..... his very goodness.... So many gifts to count and still counting....