I Am A Liar

It’s Christmas Eve morning and I must run those last-minute errands to get ready for the festivities planned the next two days. But, it’s not as it seems. There is not a lot of joy in what is usually something I look forward to every year. . ..

Last night, my daughter Megan came over to sit with her dad so that I could take our son, Mekenzie to get the last of the Christmas shopping done. I was doing my best to enjoy this time with my son and keep focused on the joy of Christmas. This is something that I usually love, but I was having so much trouble trying to shut off all the things that were troubling my mind as we drove toward the mall. Mekenzie noticed and said, “Mom, what are you thinking about?” Instead of letting those thoughts pass, like a dam breaking, I start to tell him all the things that are troubling me that I just can’t seem to shake. Rather than feeling better, now I’ve just laid all that weight on him, too, and I still feel troubled. In fact, I felt even worse that I had not protected my son from the hurts I was facing from people that I just could not understand, and now he had to try to process that pain, as well. I should have kept it to myself and not told him, but it is too late. I’ve already burdened him and now I’m trying to switch gears and be positive. I should have just done that to begin with.

Mekenzie and I finished our shopping and started for home. It hit me that I hadn’t gotten David’s prescription for pain medication filled that I had picked up yesterday evening and he would be running out of his current supply by tomorrow morning. Our shopping had taken much longer than I anticipated because of the crowds of people doing their last-minute shopping but, “The pharmacy closes at 9:00 p.m. so I’ll still be able to get it filled,” I told myself. As I arrived there at 7:15 p.m., I realized that they had closed early. David only had enough of his pain medicine to get him through the night and then he would be out. I was panicking! I went to every other pharmacy in town and they had all closed at 7:00 that evening. One of the pharmacies opened at 10:00 a.m. the next day, and I did the math of how many pain pills he had and the time frame and knew that I would be alright if I could get them filled first thing in the morning. My heart was racing, and I still could not seem to shake the feeling of heaviness coupled with anxiety that was overwhelming me. Now I must go home and explain to David that I couldn’t get his prescription filled but it is going to be alright. I will go first thing in the morning and get the prescription filled and come straight home. The weight of so many battles and so many unanswered questions . . ..

Questions. Why does my husband have cancer? Why hasn’t God healed him? Why does he continue to lose weight and how can I get him to eat? Why does it seem like every time we turn around we are getting hit by something else? My aunt died. My Dad had a 95% blockage and almost died. Our family dog died. Our dear friend’s son took his life. All of this and more in the span of a few months. When am I going to be able to return to work? How are we going to survive financially? How am I going to continue to pay for his mounting healthcare costs? Is the treatment even helping him? How long is this going to take for David to see his healing? How much longer are we going to have sleepless nights where he is up and down all night long? When will be able to resume normal life again? Why are some people that I thought were my dearest friends seemingly shunning us and even some family who are finding it hard to deal with looking at David’s physical appearance as he fights for his life? These questions and so many more are weighing down on me and I’m finding it harder and harder to keep fighting. I just want to break down and cry, but I can’t. I must be strong and keep that smile on my face. If I see someone I know, and they ask me how I am doing, of course I say, “I am good!” with a smile on my face. Yet, inside I want to just crumble on the floor.

I’ve been programmed that because I am a pastor and because I am a Christian, I can’t say anything negative. If I do, I’m giving the devil place. If I do, I will cause other people to lose hope. I must be positive so that others will see that I am strong because of Jesus. I can’t let anyone see what I am really going through. I can’t be negative because that will make the devil feel like he is winning, and I can’t have that. All of this continues to add to the weight I carry.

Christmas Eve morning arrives, and I head out the door to get the prescription filled. David has been up almost every two hours through the night calling out for me to help him. He is battling pain and because the cancer is colon-rectal, going to the bathroom in the night is literal torture to him. I’m up and down like a mother with a newborn baby and the sleep deprivation is starting to show in my face. I’ve had no sleep, but I must get to the pharmacy. I literally throw on some clothes and run my fingers through my hair. I don’t even brush my teeth or put on makeup. “Lord, please don’t let me see anyone I know!”, I pray in my head as I head out the door. I realized half way to the pharmacy that I have forgotten my phone, but decide I won’t need it as this won’t take long. The pharmacist rings up my bill and tells me that it is going to be “quite expensive”. “Quite expensive” was an understatement! It was three times the amount I paid for it the last month. I asked her why it was so expensive, and she told me that she didn’t have the generic brand and the other was much more expensive. I decided that I would have to wait for my regular pharmacy to open at 11 a.m. Since I had to wait, I went back home to get my phone and check on David and explain to him that I would be a bit longer, but it will be alright. In my head, however, I felt like I was going to explode, and I just kept saying “Jesus help me”.  As I go in our room where he is still lying in bed, my husband looks terrible, a shell of himself as he has lost so much weight. He is yellow with jaundice and his energy is zapped. His feet and ankles are swollen like the Pillsbury dough boy and his abdomen is distended. He is sleeping with his mouth open and eyes half open and the sight scares me. I’m doing my best to walk by faith and not by sight, but I am weary. I take David in my arms and begin to pray, “God, I just ask for one thing. That’s all,” I said. I cannot even repeat the prayer that I have prayed countless time for God to please heal my husband. “Jesus, this is what this Christmas season is all about. You came to earth to bring us salvation from sin, sickness and death. This is all I ask of you.” I kiss David on the forehead, grab my phone and head to the next pharmacy.

I was first in line when they opened and as she looked at his prescription she told me that according to my doctor’s last prescription, these could not be filled for another six days. What!?! I’m giving you a hand-written prescription from my doctor to fill them, today and you say you can’t fill them? She says, “I understand, but because your doctor put this note to not fill for 30 days on the last one, I will have to talk to him and make sure it is OK to fill today.” I’m continuing to remain calm (on the outside only) and smile at her as I tell her that my husband has Stage IV cancer and it is Christmas weekend and we do our best to stay on top of the pain so that he can enjoy his life while battling this terrible evil. The more I try to stay calm and keep smiling, as the words, “Stage IV cancer” leave me lips, the tears that have been dammed up all morning begin to flow, and I cannot seem to hold them back. I start apologizing that I am crying, and she hands me some tissue and apologized to me for the trouble. I tell her that it is probably not going to be easy to get in touch with my doctor on Christmas Eve morning, but I will do my best. I send my doctor a text message and thank the Lord that he had given me his personal cell number. Then, I wait. It is now after 11 a.m. and I am pushing David’s last dose running its course and I know how hard it is to get a handle on the pain, once that wear’s off. I decide to go get a few more things that I need in the store while I wait for the doctor to call but I continue to run into one person after another that I know. All of them ask me how we are doing, and I smile and say, “We are good! Taking it a day at a time”.

I AM A LIAR.

That is the answer I continue to give because that is what I am programmed to think I should do, but I AM A LIAR! I am not GOOD at all! It’s Christmas Eve morning and I want to be home with my family enjoying this day together and preparing for family festivities and cooking and baking. I want to be wrapping presents with my husband and cooking food to take to our oldest daughters for our Christmas Eve get together. That’s what we always do on Christmas Eve morning. But, I know my husband is at home in the bed looking like death and needing his pain medication to continue to function. I know that my bank account is low and that I am adding up the cost of everything in my cart to make sure that I don’t go over what is available, just in case I must go to the other pharmacy and pay three times as much so that I can get his pain medicine.  I have just cried in front of the pharmacist and the tears are literally at the door wanting to burst forth and I must hold them back and smile. So, I continue to lie as I see one person after another that I know and continue to wait for the doctor to call me back.

Finally, David’s doctor’s name appears on my phone. He is returning my call. I hand the pharmacist the phone to talk with him and I can tell by her answers to him that he is explaining David’s “condition” to her. Again, I’m trying so hard to be this person of faith who does not accept the diagnosis or prognosis because I believe that Jesus is going to heal my husband, but I still know that to doctors, nurses, pharmacists and even some of my friends and family, that makes me look like I’m just in denial of the inevitable and they pity me. I want to scream at the Lord that He is making me and Him look really stupid! What is taking you so long?! When will this end? Can you just hurry up already and heal him?! I’m sad. I’m angry. I’m confused. I’m overwhelmed. I’m exhausted. The one thing that I am not is, “good”. But, if you see me and ask me, that is what I am going to tell you. I AM A LIAR.

Finally, the prescription is filled, and I have the rest of the things I need to finish my Christmas cooking and I’m heading home with the weight of the world on my shoulders. Now, I need to walk in my house and continue this facade so that my children can enjoy Christmas and David can keep his faith up for his healing, even though mine has hit rock bottom. After I give David his medication and put away the groceries, I grab a cup of coffee and fall on the couch to check my phone messages and just breath for a minute. We had all planned to try to attend church together this morning for caroling and communion and sit with our children in service for the first time in months. However, it is just not going to happen and my heart aches that my children must go alone, again, and because it has taken me two hours to get this prescription filled, David and I have even missed the live stream for the day. I am so ready for this season to end.  As I file through my messages I see a message from an old friend who I went to high school with. She is not someone who I have stayed in contact with and we rarely even talk, but this day she has sent me a message. I read the message,

“Good Morning, Heather! I am in the kitchen listening to my favorite playlist and the song “Four Days Late” came on. I was singing along and your name entered my mind, with chills and choking up tears. I said, “OK, Lord, I will contact her when I’m done with this,” then I said a prayer for you. The song finished and started to repeat and I knew I had to tell you this. I don’t know if God wants you to hear that song or for me to just let you know He hears our prayers and sees your pain and is right there next to you and loves you so much.”

As I read the message, the tears that I had held in all morning (barring the few that escaped in front of the pharmacist) began to flow freely. I hurriedly looked up the song on YouTube and began to listen. God has used the story of Lazarus to encourage me many times during this battle when I feel like he is waiting too long, and yet, again, he used this story, through this song and message from my friend to assure me that He is right there with us and it is going to be alright. Here are the lyrics so that you can see just how amazing our Jesus is.

Four Days Late
by Karen Peck and New River

The news came to Jesus, Please come fast
Lazarus is sick and without your help he will not last
Mary and Martha watched their brother die
They waited for Jesus, He did not come
And they wondered why.
The death watch was over, Buried four days
Somebody said He’ll soon be here, the Lord’s on His way
Martha ran to Him and then she cried
Lord if you had been here You could have healed him
He’d still be alive
But You’re four days late and all hope is gone
Lord we don’t understand why you’ve waited so long
But His way is God’s way not yours or mine
When He’s four days late
He’s still on time
Jesus said Martha show me the grave, But she said Lord
You don’t understand He’s been there four days
The grave stone was rolled back, Then Jesus cried
Lazarus come forth then somebody said
He’s alive, He’s alive
But You’re four days late And all hope is gone
Lord we don’t understand why you’ve waited so long
But His way is God’s way Not yours or mine
When He’s four days late
He’s still on time
You may be fighting a battle of fear
You’ve cried to the Lord I need You now
But he has not appeared.
Friend don’t be discouraged
Cause He’s still the same
He’ll soon be here He’ll roll back the stone
And He’ll call out your name

My kids came into the living room where I sat on the couch listening, a mess of tears and snot!  I’m always amazed at how my Lord shows me His faithful love through the most unusual circumstances. I played the song for my kids and shared the story of how the Lord was encouraging me through this message from a friend and the words to this song. It’s just like Jesus to use someone random to show me that I am always on His mind and He sees me. He has not left us, and He will not fail us.

Next was David and while I didn’t share with him the overwhelming weight I had been carrying around or how difficult this morning had been, I let him know How God was reassuring me through this message and song and that I wanted him to be encouraged, too. I played the song for David and he laid in bed with tears in his eyes and we both thanked God that we know that He is still on time, even though we don’t see it right now.

I’ve always said that I’m so much like Martha, but I have always prayed to be Mary. I am a fixer and I like for everything to be just right. I think I know the best way for things to happen and when Jesus doesn’t do it that way, it really makes me crazy. I want everything to look great, whether it is great or not. I feel like I must put on that smile and lie to people when I see them because if I say how I really feel, they will lose confidence in me and I will look weak. I think that if I say anything negative, I will give place to the devil to fuel his attacks against us, so I don’t even share what we are going through because it is so bad. And I feel that if people see that we are going through a terrible season, they will lose confidence in God. But, in the process, I’m working so hard to make things good for everyone else, that I’m missing out at sitting at the feet us Jesus and that is where my strength and hope comes from. That is the very thing I need for the strength to get through this battle.

So, I will stop lying. I am not fine. I’m confused. I’m sad. I’m scared. I’m weary of the battle. Sometimes I really need help even though I say I don’t when people ask me. Sometimes I just want to scream and run away. I really don’t know what will come from each new day or how I should approach what comes. But, what I do know is this. I am not alone. God will never leave us or forsake us and there will be an end to this terrible season.

There will be people who judge us for what they don’t understand. There will be people who see me looking like a hag in public and think that I must have done something wrong for this to be coming upon our family. I can’t change the situation that we are in. I can’t heal my husband. I can only do what I can, and I must trust God for the rest. If that makes others judge me, my integrity, my relationship with God or anything else, I just can’t help it. I can’t make it better by putting on a smile and lying to them about the way things really are. And, no matter how hard I try to fix things, there are situations that are completely outside of my ability to fix and I just have to trust my Jesus. I know that I am His and He will bring us through this how He sees fit and for His glory and He will use this season we have been in to help others.

I have never been this vulnerable about this struggle or shared my innermost battles. I hope by being very vulnerable and sharing these things, I have helped someone who is also A LIAR. Let go of trying to look like everything is all good while you are about to explode. You must lean on Jesus and you must let others into your world. You cannot do it alone. Just like 2 Corinthians 12:10 says, “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (NIV) There are people who are going to be with you through the good the bad and the ugly. There are going to be those who decide they don’t want to be a part of your mess anymore, but that’s OK. For everyone who “bugs out” on you, there are so many more that God will bring to the surface that you didn’t even know were there for you. You will make it through and as the song says,

Friend don’t be discouraged
Cause He’s
still the same
He’ll soon be here He’ll roll back the stone
And He’ll call out your name

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8) and He does not lie!

 

Woman

5 thoughts on “I Am A Liar

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  1. Thank you so much for sharing this Heather. I can completely relate and empathize with your situation. Life is sometimes so excruciatingly difficult and at the same time, God is so overwhelmingly good. Continuing to lift up your family in our prayers.

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  2. Oh my dearest Heather, I completely understand everything you said. I’ve been a liar too. As you go through this journey I for one will be by your side always. I love you my dear sister in Christ. Hang on because you now need to grieve. Don’t hide or deny it because Jesus knows just how you feel.

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  3. Heather,
    You are an amazing and beautiful woman of God in every way! Strong and mighty at heart! I marvel at your stealth and you simply being you. Blessings will abound you dear heart. God is love 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Love you so much Heather. I’m so sorry for what you’re going through and wish I’d stepped in more to help you instead of waiting for you to ask. I’m learning a lot through what you’re going through. How to be a better friend. How to listen to the Holy Spirit. How to be a better wife and mom. I’m so glad you’re blogging. May God bless your courage and ease your pain in this season. May the peace of God overwhelm you and may the hope of Heaven rest securely in your heart for the days to come. Hugs, hugs, hugs, hugs.

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