To this day, I still hate those types of questions.
However, five years ago, I was contemplating what life might look like five years out. . . . You see, it was five years ago this week that I was told, "We found cancer." The initial things we heard caused us to start looking at where we (or ultimately where I and the kids would be) in three to five years. Would my husband still be here? How old would my kids be at this point - and would they be ready to face what seemed to be coming? What would life look like between there and here? Many, many more questions were going through my mind.
From the very day I heard the surgeon's words, I realized that I could end up as a single parent . . . I couldn't have envisioned, though, that it would be my reality in less than seven months. In fact, I don't think I could have visualized anything that our lives were during those months. None of the 'experts' predicted what our days would be. Through the very end, our path was different than they thought it would be.
There were occasions when someone would ask me what I thought life would be like after my husband was gone (some more tactfully than others). My thought was always, "I have NO IDEA how life will look on the other side of this!" During that time, it was all I could manage to focus on that day - sometimes only that moment. What I thought our day might be could be changed instantly by the vicious nausea or a sudden pain crisis.
And now - we have arrived at the five-year point for all of the events of that year.
Nothing I could have formulated would have looked anything like what life has been.
As I have looked back at some of the things I wrote down back then, my heart is thankful. I have a God who never changes. My first post about the cancer diagnosis included the following paragraph:
As I prepared to go to sleep that night, I felt wrapped in God's blessings. The night before, I had gone to bed thanking God for His love, care, and total control in this situation. That night, I realized that it was a great blessing to be able to do the same thing -- those factors had not changed. God still loved us; He still cared for us; and He was still in control of every aspect of our situation. This diagnosis may have been a surprise to us, but God already knew. Through the emotional turmoil of the day, I was still blessed.God has been with me every step of this journey. At my most difficult moments - and no matter what my emotions want me to believe, I can still know that God is ultimately in control and that He works things according to His plan.
My follow-up post talked about plans being 'tentative' and about not being able to make concrete plans.
We were going through life as normally as possible. Making plans as best we could, but everything was tentative.That truth remains. We don't know what a day will hold. We don't know how our perceived paths may be altered, but we can trust that God knows the outcome. We can choose to trust that He knows best. Psalm 18:30 says, "As for God, His way is perfect." It may not feel perfect, but God sees a bigger picture than we ever could. I am grateful that God knows my outcome - as it says in Job 23:10, "He knoweth the way that I take:" And in Psalm 47:4, it says, "He shall choose our inheritance for us."
Funny how that works -- The truth of the matter is that all of life is unknown, but we certainly don't live like it is. We live like we know what will happen, but the reality is that we don't know. Something like this just puts that fact in front of us and forces us to acknowledge it more.
I am thankful for who God is!
On a rubber-meets-the-road kind of note, I will say that life isn't what I expected - but I think that is mainly because I had very few set expectations, and I'm not really sure what I expected. I am simply doing my best to live life where I am - and follow God in doing so.
Some will ask what it is like getting to that 5-year mark. I think if you asked a dozen people what it is like, you might get close to a dozen different answers. The best way I can describe it is that it feels strange -- strange to have gotten that far out. So much has changed, and yet - so much is the same. It does feel odd when people ask how long it has been to say 'Five Years' -- I don't know why it feels any different than saying that it has been four years, but it does.
And so, life continues. . . . Where do I see myself in five years? I have no idea! My plan is to keep walking on the path where God has placed me, doing my best to keep my eyes on Him, looking to Him for guidance, asking Him for direction at each decision point, trusting Him that He will make His way clear as we go forward.
Where do I want to be in five years? I want to simply be following God.
Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.