Sunday, May 3, 2009

My manna pile

Today is Sunday, and while Reese rested at home, the kids and I were able to soak up a lot of love and hugs from everyone at church. I can't count how many times I answered the question, "How's Reese doing today?" with, "Well, if it's not one thing, it's another." The Emend really does seem to have helped significantly with his nausea, vomiting, and appetite. Unexpectedly though, he now has quite a bit of bone pain from yesterday's Neulasta shot. No amount of pain relievers, heating pads, and hot baths seem to be giving him complete relief. His ribs, arms, back, and joints ache like he's about 100 years old, and it's been nearly impossible to get comfortable for very long. He didn't have any problems with the Neulasta shot the last round, so I wasn't anticipating that being a big problem this time. If it's not one thing, it's another.

Reese's cancer experience has been one big exercise in giving up control. I do not like giving up control. Here I thought that if I had enough meals scheduled, enough childcare back-up planned, enough bottles of medication on the bathroom counter, and enough healthy and palatable food in the fridge, that we could handle this weekend and it wouldn't be so scary and frustrating. I do not like giving up control, but the truth is that I am not in control. God is.

When the Israelites were journeying through the desert to the Promised Land, there was a lot of grumbling. There was a lot of, "God, it's too dirty, hot, cold, dangerous, uncomfortable, unfamiliar, scary...whatever." I get the Israelites. I tend to grumble a lot too. When they were hungry, God gave them manna -- little flakes of sweet bread that rained down from the sky to feed them. If they tried to pick up more than enough for the day, it would turn rotten in time. Whatever was left on the ground, melted away in the hot afternoon sun. There was just enough for everyone, every day.

It would feel good to hoard up a big manna pile in my spiritual pantry, rather than going out to gather it every day. If I had a big manna pile saved in the corner, then I would know exactly how God was going to work things out ahead of time and have tangible proof that everything was going to be okay. But God doesn't operate that way, or at least He tends not to with stubborn me. He is less about me being self-sufficient and more about Him being all sufficient.

Why does God keep me guessing? Is it to punish me or make me feel insignificant? Hosea 13:5-6 sums it up best: "I cared for you in the desert, in the land of burning heat. When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me." When I start to think I've got it all figured out, I get proud and I forget him. He wants relationship with me most of all. He wants me to depend on him every single day for what I need. He has never failed me in that, even though I still fight and often forget his goodness.

So, I will try, even though I hate it, to see cancer as God's way of keeping me right by his side. I will choose to see Him teaching me to be humble. I will choose to see him showing me his faithfulness, every day, in the middle of the desert.


  1. I love your line, "He is less about me being self-sufficient and more about Him being all sufficient."... I can so relate to the difficulty of lessons regarding His sufficiency!
    We so wish that Reese wasn't feeling so badly. I hate it! I so wish that you, him and your kiddos didn't have to face this. But, I am glad that we can trust the One who knows all things! The all sufficient One! Trusting Him with you.

  2. Thanks Steph - for everything! I'd had a "manna post" percolating in my mind for weeks now. Reading your blog post the other day added a new perspective and then going through today just solidified the rest. I sat down tonight and it just all spilled out. God gave me that thought (self-sufficient/all sufficient) right there on the spot and it hit me like a ton of bricks, bringing tears to my eyes! He is so good, but it hurts sometimes to find that :)

  3. I usually know when God is trying to get something through my thick skull when it comes at me from various directions. Just this morning I was wrestling with Him about wanting to know be able to verify that His plans are good before I step out to follow Him. I want to be in control! Thanks for sharing your journey. You have been used by Him to teach me today.

  4. From Michelle S.

    You are so eloquent with words, Cara. Your post really resonated with what I learned in waiting for Vienna to come and struggling with possibly being induced. This is so petty compared to what you all are facing, but the lesson is the same: God wants us to walk with Him daily, not run ahead of Him. The song we sing at church that says "You are in control" says it so clearly as does this verse:

    Micah 6:8
    8 He has showed you, O man, what is good.
    And what does the LORD require of you?
    To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.

    Thank you for sharing what you are learning. What an amazing God we serve that provides for our needs daily, even when we want to be in control and provide or plan for ourselves.