When we first got Caroline's diagnosis, I didn't think about much. I just existed and tried to force myself to function as well as I could. But I knew in the back of my mind that we'd get an outpouring of sympathy and support. I have great friends and family.
When the initial shock faded a bit, I started thinking about how much people were supporting me. It really quite humbled me, and made me feel incredibly blessed.
Here's why: I have a confession to make. I severely sell myself short when it comes to other people. I love to serve, I love to give of myself, I love to have friends, I love to do what I can for people. But I don't think about how others look at me, or how they respond to me. At least not much. In some ways, I have become "self-sufficient," and that can sometimes lead me to be...doubtful of other people's care for me. To clarify...I'm somewhat insecure about whether people care about me in return. There are some people I KNOW care. They prove it all the time. There are others who I'm not so sure about. It doesn't mean people don't care...it means I have issues trusting that they do.
This experience with Caroline has taught me A LOT about how much people care. It's also taught me not to wait for tragedy to strike to show others I care. I don't want people to wonder about me. I want them to know I care. But I digress.
It has now been three weeks since we got Caroline's diagnosis. It feels much longer to me. Much, much longer. Because it feels like it's been forever to me, every once in a while, I start to think that the outpouring of faith and love toward us is going to start fading. People are going to move on with their lives and "forget" about us and what we're dealing with because they have their own stuff to do. I keep steeling myself for that loss of support. I keep thinking that it's only a matter of time.
And I keep being proved wrong.
I actually have tears pooling in my eyes as I write this. Not only is this whole thing with Caroline strengthening my own faith with God, teaching me to trust him and rely on him whole-heartedly, but it's also teaching me that he uses his people a lot more than I give him credit for.
I have lived through some situations where people have hurt me dearly. They weren't strangers or acquaintances, or even people I didn't care for. They were people relatively close to me who I trusted and thought well of. Everyone has times like that. I have been blessed that I didn't let those times sour me toward God to the point where I lost my faith entirely. I've seen that happen in people going through similar circumstances. But it did throw me into a valley spiritually. It's only been in the past year or so that I've been able to really start to heal from some of those hurts, and they happened several years ago now. So I guess what I mean is that I'm slow to trust people, and I look for people to mess up.
I'm a great example of what NOT to do. Haha.
Through this trial, I realize that people are much more willing to follow God's lead than I give them credit for. They're a lot more willing to put themselves out there than I thought. And they're a lot more consistent than I ever imagined.
It seems like on the days I'm really struggling with this insecurity, God prompts people to show me that they care. I get an influx of email or messages or cards in the mail. God keeps proving me wrong about my thoughts towards other people.
I just want to say that while people are my secondary source of comfort right now, with God being my first, they are also slightly more tangible sources of comfort. God comforts the deepest parts of me, in my spirit and soul, giving me supernatural peace. The wonderful people around me give me hugs to feel, and cards to look at, and flowers to smell. I can't rely on the people around me to comfort what only God can reach, but I also know that he has placed these people in my life. He knows I need the stuff I can feel and see, too. That's why he wants us to live in community with each other...earth is hard, and people showing care and concern can really help us grow toward the Lord.
So after this terribly rambling post, I want to say thank you. Thank you to everyone that hasn't forgotten us in the busy-ness of life. Thank you to those who have given us tangible evidence that you care. Thank you to those who have continued sending kind words to us through email, snail mail, facebook, blog comments, or phone calls. Thank you especially to those of you who keep praying for us. Thank you all for letting God use you to comfort and sustain us in a very trying time. You will never know how much it means to us to be loved, supported, and held up in prayer by people who care.
I have had a lot of comments that God is working in our situation and our lives to glorify himself. He's showing himself in our faith, and in how we're dealing with this. I'm so glad he's getting the glory, and I hope we can continue to shine for him in a dark time. But I want you to know something...
God is working and being glorified through you too.
So thank you. To God be the glory.