Set up signposts… Make landmarks…
I believe passionately that Jesus exchanges ashes for beauty; both my personal and professional lives are built on this very truth. But life just now feels like ashes in transition….
Since October 2015 when my husband, universally known as Papa John, was diagnosed, out of nowhere, with prostate cancer, then advanced prostate cancer, then bone cancer, then aggressive advanced prostate cancer with extensive bone cancer and finally with cancerous tumours in the lungs and lymph-nodes, we have been walking a road without landmarks or signposts.
Things which seemed clear and sure only a handful of weeks ago are clear and sure no longer.
Ministering at Beaty from Ashes, travelling on the road, speaking at groups, churches and conferences, being involved in leading retreats, seeing Jesus do miracles every day is my passion and joy. I could see maybe another ten years then a gentle retirement, times to go deeper into His heart, trips with friends, winters in Spain, that trip round Italy we had always talked about…. I had landmarks. All that changed one Thursday afternoon in October and then there were no landmarks anymore.
For, if we are not to share growing old together, then I do not know what my future looks like. I have never lived alone in all my 58 years. I’m scared of the dark, I don’t know how to change a plug or set the alarm clock. I can cook only only four meals…
There are also conundrums of etiquette….. Can you yell at a husband with cancer because, yet again, he drops his socks on the floor instead of in the laundry basket; is it OK to get frustrated with someone whose female hormone injections turn him into a caricature of unreasonable woman with permanent pre menstrual syndrome?
There are many hundreds of things I do not know and, right now, only two things I know for sure.
I know that the length of Papa John’s days was written in the Lord’s book at the beginning (Psalm 139:16) and however long or short that number of days, I know that not one can be stolen by cancer – because that would make cancer more powerful than Jesus – which it is emphatically not.
I know too, ‘Whom I have believed…’ He hasn’t changed with this diagnosis. He remains, as usual, cagey about questions that start out with ‘Why or how long….. but…..
But for this we have Jesus….
We are blessed with an overnight spa break – we will relax and be pampered. We will also be setting up a signpost….