Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Broken Hallelujah

With my love and my sadness
I come before you, Lord.
My heart's in a thousand pieces,
Maybe even more.

The last few days have been filled with small joys and great sorrow. I was in the backyard on Sunday afternoon with Little Middle and Baby. Hubby had taken Goliath to Lowe's, giving the three of us a chance to play playdough on the picnic table without interruption. While we rolled out the pieces we needed to build The Longest Road Ever, I told the boys that Mommy is going to lose her hair because of the chemo medicine. Little Middle had a few tears and sniffles, and even more questions. "Why does the medicine do bad things to you, Mommy?" "Will you be sick again if you don't have any hair?" "Will you look like Poppy?" (That one made me laugh.) Baby listened intently, but finally got fed up. He put his little hand on his hip, looked at his brother, and said, "Little Middle, it is okay, because God is taking care of Mommy." Then he went back to building the playdough road.

Hubby and I had decided that we would do everything we could to prepare our sons for what is to come. After all, they are just as much a part of this family as we are, and they deserve to know what is going on. So after we enjoyed a takeout dinner and a little bit of classic Star Wars, I put on my wig (aka "pretend hair") and pulled out the hats/scarves we had purchased. We let the boys see how much the pretend hair looks like my real hair, and allowed them to try on some of my hats. Each hat has a name--there's the Swimming Pool hat, the Bank Robber hat, the Blue Bandana (which is actually a beautiful floral print scarf, but my kids like the word "bandana" because that is what cowboys wear), the Karate Kid hat. Little Middle and Baby had a great time modeling for us, and we were able to snap some pretty funny pictures. Goliath, on the other hand, did not enjoy our little family meeting at all. He kept a safe distance from me the entire time, and did not say much. As soon as he was able, he escaped to his room, and when Hubby went after him, he was laying on his bed crying. I took over (I felt a sense of entitlement--it's MY hair, after all!). But after I lay down next to him and wrapped him in my arms, I was lost. All I knew to do was to hug him and tell him that I love him, and that God loves him. We cried together for a long time, and it felt like he was comforting me just as much--maybe more--as I was comforting him. After a while, the tears stopped, and he whispered these words: "Why is this happening to us, Mom?" I swear I heard my own heart break.

I don't know, baby. I DON'T KNOW.

How could I doubt your goodness,
your wisdom, your grace?
Oh Lord, hear my heart
in this painful place.

On Monday, I got up early, and after dropping off my two older boys at school, I headed to a place where I love to be: preschool! I have the best class of 4-year-olds, and I have missed them terribly. I have been feeling pretty good this last week--good enough to go back to teaching, at least for a little while. I was tired after a few hours, and left around 11:30. But those sweet little friends were every bit as happy to see me as I was to see them...the smiles on their faces made every minute worth it!

On Monday and Tuesday evenings, I volunteered to be the parent on Sports Duty. I took Little Middle to his karate class and to soccer practice. My boy athlete amazes me...I love to watch him learn new skills and play. In spite of his quiet nature, he loves karate, and is quite good at it! I especially enjoyed watching him spar. He went four rounds, and won each time! On the soccer field, he is fast and swift. He listens carefully to his coaches, and tries hard to follow their instructions to a T. He swells my heart.

These seem like small things, but I have missed them so much! My life is being a wife and a mom. These four people I live with are everything to me. There is nothing I would not do to protect them and keep them from being hurt. It feels like my prayers are falling on deaf ears--is it really too much to ask that I am able to keep my hair? But this truth from my childhood still rings true: Jesus loves me, this I know. I will continue to trust and praise Him, even when all I can offer is a broken hallelujah.

When all that I can sing

is a broken hallelujah

When my only offering

is shattered praise

Still a song of adoration

Will rise up from these ruins

And I will worship You

and give You thanks

Even when my only praise

is a broken hallelujah.


Anonymous said...

Hi there - you do not know me. My name is Kelly and I am the cousin of Angela Stripling. I also have cancer - it is stage IV breast cancer with liver metastasis - I just wanted you to know that I love reading your blog site - you are such an encouragement to me. You often say what I think but can never seem to put into words. I especially like the Broken Hallelujah song that you posted. I will continue to pray for you and your little guys and 1 big guy!! Hugs and love!!
Kelly in Kansas

wilsonfamily said...

You are God's child. HE knows how many strands of blonde hair you have on your head and they do matter to him because YOU matter to him. Remember when we sang this in choir?

I have a Maker
He formed my heart
Before even time began
My life was in his hands

I have a Father
He calls me His own
He'll never leave me
No matter where I go

He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
And He hears me when I call

"For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

Kandice said...

just wanted to say..I don't think it's too much to ask to keep your hair!! love you bunches..

Lisa Buffaloe said...

Beautiful song to go with your post. I'm so sorry for the tears, the pain, and the uncertainty.

I'm asking God to hold you and your family close. I'm asking for your healing, strength, and comfort.

Gentle hugs,

Jennifer & Jason said...

Thank you for introducing this song to me. It's exactly what I've been feeling in our current circumstance. You are an amazing witness every day for those who are around you. Thank you for being faithful to Him! Love you! :) Jennifer

Betty H said...

You are just so beautiful...
Great song. I'm praying & I know He hears.

Bobbi Jo said...

God has prepared you for these days, and though it may not feel like it most of the time, you are living out his perfect plan. Thank you for giving those of us that are "stronger" than you... strength! Wow! You continue to amaze me. Love you so much and on my knees asking that God gives you daily comfort and peace. Consider this a HUG!

Anonymous said...

I went to a retreat on trials this weekend . . . and, the thing that she said over and over and recommended that in our darkest moments audibly speak truth even in the midst of your tears speak outloud God's words and promises . . "God will never leave me nor forsake me . . . . I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength . . . every hair on my head is numbered (and under the command of their Creator!) . . " She also gave us a phrase to memorize . . "trials are for MY GOOD and for GOD'S Glory" Much love, tears, and prayers sent your way Allyson.---Rebecca (Coffee)

bhayes11 said...

I'll be praying Tuesday.
Betty H

Anonymous said...

Your brother Phil sent a message to my manager about you and your story. I was moved to tears as I read your blog. I am so glad that "Broken Hallelujah" has been a source of encouragement to you. You, my friend, are a source of encouragement to me. Thank you for your honesty, transparency, and availability. I have no doubt that God is, and will continue, to use your life for His glory. Know that I will continue to pray. God bless you.