In April, 2010, when Andrew was 2 1/2, a tumor was discovered behind his eye. The tumor was removed, but it was found to be an aggressive cancer. He endured seven months of chemo and six weeks radiation. In December of 2010, the day after his last treatment, he was rushed to the ER with an almost fatal bacterial infection. He survived.

He is now seven-years-old!! I don't visit here much, because during the ordeal, this is where I dumped everything--my rage, my fear, my sadness, my ugly, my hope, my everything. But I want all of you who supported and prayed for us to hear his updates. You helped me survive, and I am deeply thankful. Every once in awhile, I will check in to let you know how he's doing. Please continue to pray that cancer will never return to his body. Thank you.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Coffee at the mall, with God

Ahhh...I'm actually sitting at my computer. 

I would have joined you earlier for coffee but... I was at the mall!  On a "should have been blissful" all-day shopping excursion.  My mom watched Andrew and gave me some time to myself.

Unfortunately, "time to myself" proves to be dangerous these days.

I just sit and obsess too much.  I sit and jabber at God so much.  All day. Every day.  He's probably up there thinking (much like you, dear readers) "Enough already!! Haven't we hashed this through before?"  Alas.  Yes.  Yes, we have.

 So, I had my coffee and conversation with God today.  I'm afraid I did all the talking.

It went something like this:

Me, searching through the sweaters at Nordstrom Rack:  Thanks! (tons of sarcasm there).  I knew it was too good to be true.  I could hardly believe my blessings.  I was so amazed at my three beautiful boys, how they were mine(!), and so sweet, and so cute.  Of course!! You saved pediatric cancer for my child.  For me.  But "oh how you love me."  mmm hmm.  Go sell crazy somewhere else.

Later (ordering a decaf ginger cookie latte at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and noticing that "Jesus" was a barrista):   I wish I had the faith that some people have. Where they can cling to You and believe that You are good even when their baby is diagnosed with cancer.  Are there really people like that?  Because, wow, that is impressive.  I'm not there.  Right now, I am SO ANGRY at you I wish I could punch you in the face multiple times.  But of course, you are invisible, untouchable, impermeable God and I am mere, weak, pathetic, human throwing punches that won't touch you in the least.  Happy for you.

And then as I wander through the CD racks, I reflect, feeling slightly worried that God might retaliate for my brazenness and lack of "appropriate humility:"  Really, things have gone quite well so far.  Maybe You have been involved more than I know.  Maybe I am not giving you credit where credit is due.  Maybe you have been protecting Andrew through all of this. I hope so.  Are you there God?  It's me, Julie.  Are you there?

And then I ask myself:  What do I want from God? Andrew is at home with Grandma, happy, playing, and making platelets.  He usually handles the chemo well, he likes going to the clinic...  Am I giving God a chance at all? Is there anything he COULD  do to show me that he loves me and that he cares?  I'm afraid I need a "mene mene tekel upharsin" moment, maybe on a sticky note.  "THE CANCER WONT COME BACK" would be nice.  But, that's not going to happen, is it? I won't get any confirmation that I will be alive tomorrow either...  Such happy thoughts for a day at the mall.

Me, considering a black sweater jacket at Buckle:  Why do you torture us God?  Why do you allow SO much pain? I think about my friends who have been through horrific family deaths, or multiple bouts with cancer,  and a friend whose wife died giving birth to their brain damaged (due to birth complications) child.  I want to believe that God will only allow us to be tortured to a certain degree and then provide mercy once we have met a pain threshhold.  But no.  Doesn't seem to work that way.   And I grow very afraid.  Terrified.  We are coming to the end of the chemo.  The moment(s) of truth is arriving.  Did the chemo kill the cancer?   I am so scared.

While considering various wall art today, I read a poster today that said, "Sometimes God calms the storm, and sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms His child."  Sounds so uplifting and soothing.  But I thought...screw that!!!  I don't want to be calmed.  I want the storm to stop!  I don't want consolation prizes!  I don't want toys from the toy closet to make me feel better.  I don't want hugs.  I want my Andrew.  Please dear God.  I want my Andrew.

Me, picking out three small ski hats and warm gloves for our hopeful trip to the snow:  I wish I could be more faithful, and stick with my "surrender" idea. I wish I could stay in those moments where I feel like I can handle it.  I wish I could let go, and trust, and feel at ease with whatever comes.  But today I just feel sad and worried and terrified.   Whenever I think about my little boy, and his happiness and glee, and his plans for kindergarten, I get SO angry.  I wish I were in a place where I could just be grateful for each day.  Not today.

Sometimes I feel like this whole world is a Jurassic park experiment gone bad, and the creation gets all the blame. 

But the idea of "no God" is worse to me than a seemingly absent God, so I keep praying, and hoping, and asking for forgiveness for wanting to punch Jesus in the face.  (The God one, not the barrista.)

A verse that I did find helpful today:  "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path."  Proverbs 3:5-6

Praying for hope, and trust, and faith, and forgiveness, and peace, and life.  Once again. 

I hope your coffee conversations were a little less intense than mine.


  1. What is the point of "coffee and conversation" with a friend if you're not going to talk about what's important... and meaningful... and even intense (if it's a real friend)? I know you and Andrew and the rest of the family have the strength to get through this last part of the chemo, and even the waiting after to see if it worked as it should. It might not feel like it, but you'll get through it.
    I have no answers for the god thing. I've had enough crap in my life that I've come to some sort of realization and even compromise about god. I think my god looks a little different from yours... but it's still there. And no answer about the god thing makes the suffering just be okay.
    I wish I could be there and have coffee with you and have these intense discussions... if it would help. It would help me, I know... I haven't had coffee with anyone meaningful in over half a year. (((hugs)))

  2. I think sometimes those can be the best kind of talks - just tell it all, and get it out. My thought is if He wants us to talk to Him, then He is going to hear it how it is...Hoping and praying with you.

  3. I've never really been able to figure out God's place in all of this either, but oooooo... I do like that verse!


  4. Julie, I always appreciate your reflections. You are honest and real and I, for one, am so grateful to you for voicing them, doubts, questions, and all.

    I like to think of a blog as one's personal space, kind of like a recording of her brain. So I say get it all out if that's what feels right. And we'll be here, listening and nodding and virtually hugging.

  5. I agree that the idea of "no God" is worse than a seemingly absent God. I love that verse...

    I'm so glad that you are nearing the end of the chemo and can't wait to hear that Andrew has a clean bill of health.

    PS: Not that it matters in the grand scheme of things, but did you buy anything for *yourself* or just browse?

  6. Julie, you always have me in tears. Extra EXTRA prayers coming your way as Andrew nears the end of chemo. Hugs!

  7. Julie - This post made me cry. I do understand, I could have written everything you're thinking. I feel the same way about not being able to turn my brain/thoughts/rants off and WANTING to appreciate each day but getting caught up in my own fear and worry. I am glad you were able to get a day off, even if it was to be alone with some very difficult thoughts. And I am hoping your sweet little boy gets some good news after this round of chemo. Hugs to you and your family, J

  8. Hi Julie. I wish I knew you were having coffee with God at the mall, I would have joined you. :) I think life works in mysterious way...we just have to struggle to keep the faith, and never give up hoping that things are going to turn out okay. Hang in there! Thinking about you always.


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