Hard Thankful

“One act of thanksgiving, when things go wrong with us, is worth a thousand thanks when things are agreeable to our inclinations.”

-St. John of Avila (via Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts)

My brother Brooks’ lifelong friend died Sunday night. He had brain cancer. Jeremy was a groomsman in Brooks’ wedding. My brother loved him. Brooks has been in Haiti, working with some orphanages. He left last Wednesday knowing that his friend could pass away before he returned home. He’s supposed to speak at Jeremy’s funeral. He recorded his message ahead of time just in case.

I haven’t mentioned this on the blog yet, but my mom has been diagnosed with cancer. It seems so personal that I’ve held it close, I guess. My mom’s more private than I am (obviously, this blog will attest that I’m not so private), so I’ve also felt a little quiet about sharing it with you. (And, honestly, I haven’t liked the thought about seeing “my mom has cancer” in print.) But, today, she will be in surgery. It’s possible that they will remove the sick thing in her and that will be the end of it. Or it’s possible that more cancer will be found and we will have to face the possibility of chemo or radiation.

Today I’m on a flight home with my two boys to stay with my parents for the week, help care for my mom.

It’s Thankful Tuesday.

So, yeah, sometimes my Thankful Tuesday posts are probably the kind that make you feel like my world is all glitter and musical numbers. And, honestly, sometimes it is. But the hard Thanksgiving is found when there’s sacrifice in it. Today there’s sacrifice. Because I’m broken-hearted for my brother and for Jeremy’s family. Such loss. So unfair. And I’m hurt for my mom. I don’t want her to feel afraid. I don’t want her to face any kind of physical pain or heavy illness.

But sometimes being thankful is the sacrifice. That’s what Psalm 50 calls it: a sacrifice of thanksgiving. I don’t have to be thankful for my mom’s illness or for the terrible loss of my brother’s dear friend. Death is always Christ’s enemy. We should be outraged over it, because it is wrong, because death was never God’s intention. But I can be thankful that there’s grace in the horrible. There’s always grace. There’s always God’s good presence.

Yesterday morning, while I drove August to school, we had the radio on and news broke in to mention the school shooting in Cleveland. I realized what they were saying and that my boy’s ears were listening and I went to change the station, but it was too late. I looked in the rearview mirror and August wore the look he saves for serious questions.

He said, “We should pray for those people, Mama.”

Sigh. Yes we should.

Here is my sacrifice of Thanksgiving:

  • Bright red Texas sunsets and a backyard deck to watch them from
  • Coffee dates with my college girls, getting to love them and know them
  • My baby’s first steps! And how proud his little face was (and is).
  • Airplanes that can get me to my family in 45 minutes
  • The sweet sticky smell of springtime rain (yep, it’s springtime around here)
  • My friend Emily’s new baby girl

Will you join me in praying for my mom today? Please pray the doctors will remove all the cancer and that she will be healthy and encouraged by God’s nearness. I’m thankful for this community and all the encouragement you all bring to my life.

What’s your thankful?



Filed under Thankful Tuesday

27 responses to “Hard Thankful

  1. Praying for God to come near, and for days when Thanksgiving is easy again. These words are so true, and seeing the beauty in the small can take the edge off the outrage, can remind us that beauty will ultimately outlast death and illness.

    For me? I’m thankful for the everlasting grace of God, and how it’s given to me by a new friend that I’ve never met when I mess up. I’m thankful for grace when I fail my kids every day. And I’m thankful for the belly laugh of my 18-month-old, the one that hurts if he does it too many times. It sounds like bells, or a symphony.

  2. This made me cry. Beautiful and true and so hard. Praying peace and healing over all of you today.

  3. Linda Carleton

    Praying for you, your mom, your brother, and the rest of your family. May you feel God’s love in a special way. Love you, Linda

  4. Sam

    I’m so sorry, for all of it. It’s scary when your mom has cancer – my mom was diagnosed when I was 21 – and I didn’t handle it very well. I didn’t know how to handle it. I am thankful you can go be with your mom, and love her through this in the most practical of ways. I will be praying for her.

    And isn’t it awful, how many news stories there are about kids hurting each other? I tend to notice it more now (even though I’ve always been horrified and sad by any school shooting) and, like you, try to turn the radio if it’s a story like that. Thomas still can’t express to me if he notices that sort of thing, but oh, this broken world. Parents hurting kids and kids hurting each other. So much of that would have really bothered me when I was little, with my listening ears.

  5. My mom has lymphoma, and it’s been holding steady for about ten years. She had a doctor’s appointment yesterday and everything looks the same. We are thankful she can keep going and that it’s not getting any worse.

    I say all of that to let you know that I know how hard it is to actually voice those words. My mom has cancer, too.

  6. Clio

    I am praying for you and your family. I catch myself wanting to say “May God bless you and keep you.” Then I remember that He will, and has, and has always. May you find some comfort and grace in this difficult time. My thoughts and prayers are with you and yours.

  7. Yes, praying, Micha. Thank you for being vulnerable here, with us. We love you, and hope for peace and strength and healing and grace.

  8. Lindsey

    I will most definitely pray for your mother and you!!! I love that you are a 45 min plane ride away;). Will be prayin for your family and Jeremy’s family this week!

  9. tina sauer

    Praying for your mom and for Jeremy’s family. Thank you for sharing.

  10. Pam

    Praying for you all and knowing that sometimes God allows things he hates to happen so that amazing, awesome things can come forth out of it. You all are loved.

  11. Praying, Elaine…for peace, rest, joy, mercy, and a deeper understanding of Him than ever before. Love you!

  12. Byrda Woodard

    Praying for all of you Micha….love you

  13. Barbara Russell

    Praying for your family. Your mom is one of my favorite people.

  14. caq

    I’m going to write you an email after this but I am thinking about you all today. I’m thankful for your mom, because she gave the world Micha!

  15. You know I’ve got you covered, my luv.

  16. Praying. Thank you for sharing this.

  17. roxanne billington

    I love your mother. I am thankful she has a daughter like you. Haven’t read your blog for a while but I knew you would write something that would make ME feel better. Like mother like daughter. Love, Roxanne

  18. Praying for your mother today, and for you.

  19. Pingback: {Practicing Benedict} How Lent should be observed in the monastery | mama:monk

  20. Farah

    Loads of love to you and yours.

  21. Pingback: Thursdays are for healing… | mama:monk

  22. Pingback: Mama Monk, my new Favorite Blogger « Thin Places-Faith, Family and Disability

  23. Somehow, I’ve gotten way behind on reading my subscription blogs and I missed this! So sorry for all this hard stuff, Micha, but grateful that you can be with your mom during her recovery. Praying for healing – healing of all kinds for your family – and for grace and peace in abundance for you.

  24. Sarah

    Micha, I’m just catching up on all the news. I hope that your mom got through this okay–I’ll hold you close in my thoughts, since I can’t give you tea and popcorn in person. Much much love, Sarah

  25. Pingback: Good Thankful | mama:monk

  26. Pingback: {Practicing Benedict} How Lent should be observed in the monastery

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s